Do essential oils go off?
No, not exactly. Not like food goes off. Some essential oils oxidise though which does effect how they work.
Most essential oils are amazingly stable and can last many years without breaking down or changing in aroma or chemical composition (oxidation).
While they do not exactly go off, they are sensitive to light, heat and air. Upon exposure to air, essential oils may oxidise, and some oxidise faster than others.
The term oxidation was originally used to describe reactions in which an element combines with oxygen. So when essential oil molecules come into contact with the air (oxygen) a chemical reaction occurs which changes the essential oil. I like to think of it as the essential oil going rusty.
Is there a difference between a synergy and a blend?
A Synergy is a blend purely made up of mutually enhancing essential oils. These don’t tend to go off unless they contain citrus essential oils (expressed oils).
Blending is where essential oils are added to a carrier such as jojoba oil, macadamia oil or almond oil. These will go off as the carrier oil goes rancid long before an essential oil oxidises.
How can you tell if an essential oil has gone off?
If it smells off it is off.
If it has changed colour or gone cloudy then it has probably gone off.
A lot of essential oils sold in shops and online aren’t pure. They have additives in them which cause them to go off faster. If they have a carrier oil added to them then that has a short shelf life and goes rancid.
I have Young Living essential oils that are close to ten years old and have never had any go off. Mind you the Citrus oils in my collection are used up before they could ever expire.
What happens if you use expired essential oils?
If an essential oil has oxidised or gone off it may cause some skin sensitisation as the oil is no longer whole. You are not getting all of the constituents as nature intend and therefore you may develop a rash as your skin reacts to some of the constituents.
Do pure essential oils bad?
Even pure essential oils evaporate over time because they are volatile. The lighter molecules evaporate and leave just the heavier ones. Make sure you do up the lids on your essential oil bottles to stop evaporation.
Why do some essential oils have an expiry date?
Some essential oil companies don’t want to risk this and in order to meet certain regulations they have to include an expiry date.
Which essential oils go off?
Some essential oils will evaporate faster than others because of their chemical make up. For example those containing monoterpenes evaporate quicker.
However, some essential oils—such as Tea Tree and citrus oils—are more prone to oxidation.
It also depends on how well you look after them. If you keep them out of the light and heat they will last a very long time.
Store in a cool, dry place without excessive light, and keep the lids screwed on tightly.
Essential oils that are more prone to oxidation include:
How can you make sure your essential oils last longer?
You can extend the life of your essential oils by protecting them from heat and sun exposure. Don’t leave them in hot cars or on the window ledge in the sun.
Young Living package all their essential oils in amber glass bottles to protect them for years to come.