You may have been told that essential oils never expire. But the truth is essential oils do have a shelf life. Yes, they do. It’s because essential oils are volatile, and they can oxidize. And by oxidation, essential oils can deteriorate and lose their therapeutic values accordingly. However, good news is, if you keep essential oils properly, their lifespans can surprisingly extend for years, for good.
What makes essential oils go bad?
There are 3 key factors that lead to the degradation of essential oils :
Oxygen that gets into your bottle and reacts with some of the constituents is called oxidation. The oxidation can affect the aromatherapeutic properties of the essential oil.
Heat causes some constituents of essential oils to evaporate more quickly and cause degraded aromatherapeutic properties.
UV light generates free radicals; hence, the faster degradation of essential oils. For this, it is recommended to use Amber colored bottles to best keep UV light out.
How to tell if your essential oils are oxidized ?
If you make yourself familiar with the aroma of the essential oil when it is fresh, you will notice it smells “off” once it has oxidized. A change in smell can alert you that it may not be safe for topical applications.
Once oxidized, the potential for the essential oil to cause redness, irritation, itching, etc., increases even when diluted. If this starts happening to you, stop using the essential oil.
If you happen to find dregs or sediments at the bottom of the essential oil bottle, please avoid using it because that essential oil may have been kept for too long and is no longer good.
How to Maximize Shelf Life of Your Essential Oils ?
- Keep them closed tightly when not in use.
- Keep them away from light.
- Store them in a cool place.
- Refrigerator is the best place to keep you’re your essential oils.