Lavender Oil – Skin Savior or Skin Irritant?

A question came up recently on TheBeautyBrains forum: Lavender oil in cosmetics – does it cause skin cell death, and is that a problem? This was in response to the description of “lavender extract and oil” on Paula Begoun’s Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary. Paula is known for her belief that fragrances, natural or synthetic, have no place in cosmetic products. Here are some random examples from her website: “Cedarwood oil: there is evidence that cedarwood oil is allergenic and can cause skin irritation. Rose oil: Fragrant, volatile oil that can be a skin irritant and sensitizer. Tangerine oil: Fragrant, volatile citrus oil that can be a skin irritant.” And so on. In her profile of lavender oil, she goes out of her way to find negative information, but is hard pressed to find anything positive to say:

Lavender: widely-used plant that’s a member of the mint family. It is primarily a fragrance ingredient, although it may have antibacterial properties. There is no research showing it has any benefit for skin (Sources: Phytotherapy Research, June 2002, pages 301–308). In fact, it can be a skin irritant but there is a conflicting research on just how much of a photosensitizer lavender can be. It appears lavender oil all by itself isn’t a photosensitizer, but when exposed to oxygen (as it would be when applied to your skin), one of it’s fragrant components, linalyl acetate forms substances that lead to allergic contact dermatitis in and out of sunlight (Sources: The New Ideal in Skin Health: Separating Fact from Fiction, Thornfeldt, Carl M.D., Allured Books, 2010, pages 286–287; Contact Dermatitis, January 2008, pages 9–14; Hautarzt, February 2002, pages 93–97; and Contact Dermatitis, August 1999, page 111).

Research also indicates that other components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, meaning that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is known as a skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is pro-oxidant. This enhanced oxidation also increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) can be problematic. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, but is fine used as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Source: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).

Let’s take a look at these points one at a time.

“There is no research showing it has any benefit for skin”
Well, this was almost true in 2002, but not quite. Of the articles I’m about to cite, all except three were published either in 2002, or later. But today, this statement makes no sense. One of the early papers was on wound healing (Guba 1998/1999). A mixture of oils including 4% lavender oil was used on 18 patients with skin ulcers or wounds. In most cases the formulation was applied daily, and healing took from 5 days to 12 weeks. There were no adverse reactions. In an anti-allergic study, lavender oil, applied to the skin of rats or mice at 0.1%, 1.0%, 10% or 100%, inhibited immediate-type allergic reactions. It also inhibited the release of the inflammatory mediators, TNF and histamine (Kim & Cho 1999). In a clinical trial of 120 women post-childbirth, lavender oil sitz baths (a few drops in water) significantly reduced redness during healing after episiotomy (Vakilian et al 2011). Two other studies have reported positive effects for lavender oil in wound healing (Hartman & Coetzee 2002, Kerr 2002). No adverse reactions were reported in any of the above studies. Hartman & Coetzee also used lavender oil at 4%, and blue chamomile oil at 2%.

Lavender is one of the most active essential oils against MRSA (Edwards-Jones et al 2004), and the benefits of preventing MRSA establishing itself on your skin should not be underestimated. Lavender oil is moderately active against Propionibacterium acnes (Zu et al 2010), one the the principal bacteria involved in acne. It is moderately active against two of the principal fungi that can cause skin problems such as athlete’s foot and ringworm (Trycophyton rubrum and T. mentagrophytes) (Cassella et al 2002), and highly active against a third, Candida albicans (D’Auria et al 2005). The use of up to 0.5% of lavender oil in aqueous body milks allowed the regular synthetic preservative to be cut back by up to 8.5 times without any reduction in efficacy (Kunicka-Styczynska et al 2009). Lavender oil is very effective against some problematic bacteria and fungi found on the skin, but not all (Kunicka-Styczynska et al 2011, Sokovic et al 2010) so it would not be appropriate to use as a stand-alone preservative.

There is anecdotal evidence that lavender oil is a useful remedy for burns (Gattefossé 1993, p87). This is supported by the antimicrobial data above (i.e. preventing infection), and by the fact that lavender oil has a proven analgesic action (Ghelardini  et al 1999, Sakurada et al 2009). This action is mostly due to linalool, and may also explain why lavender oil reputedly soothes bee stings, something I can personally attest to. Burns too.

Ultra-violet (UV) radiation can damage the skin because it leads to the generation of free radicals. The body has a limited amount of protective antioxidant enzymes, and these enzymes tend to decrease with age, making the skin more vulnerable to oxidative stress. A Japanese study reported that lavender oil inhibited the generation of singlet oxygen, which causes the most damage in response to UVA/UVB radiation (Sakurai et al 2005). This suggests that the regular use of lavender oil in skin preparations could suppress the aging effects of sunlight on the skin. Lavender oil has shown excellent antioxidant activity in several assays (Yang et al 2010), suggesting that it could inhibit degenerative change such as skin cancer, sun damage and the effects of ageing. Linalool, one of the major constituents of lavender oil, has shown very good in vitro activity against human basal cell carcinoma (Cherng et al 2007) and a topically applied 10% dilution of linalool reduced skin tumor incidence in mice by 33% (Gould et al 1987).

So today we can say that the principal known benefits of using lavender oil on the skin are that of numbing pain and healing wounds (cuts, sores, abrasions, ulcers), and other probable benefits include preventing bacterial colonization, treating fungal infections, combating blemishes, preventing skin cancer, and countering the damaging effects of UV radiation (photo-ageing).

“There is a conflicting research on just how much of a photosensitizer lavender can be.”
There is no conflict. Perhaps Paula Begoun does not know the difference between phototoxicity and photoallergy. She also seems to have confused allergic reaction with phototoxicity. I know, dermatology jargon can be very confusing! Lavender oil is not photosensitizing on the skin (Opdyke 1976 p451), and linalyl acetate is neither a photoirritant nor a photoallergen (Bickers et al 2003). This means that there is no risk of an adverse reaction in strong sunlight, as there is with bergamot and some other citrus oils.

There is one report of photoallergy to lavender oil (Goiriz et al 2007). This is the only case of photoallergy to lavender oil ever reported, and photoallergy from essential oils is so rare that it can be discounted as a risk. This is not only a non-issue, it’s also ironic, considering lavender’s protective action in relation to UV radiation damage.

“When exposed to oxygen (as it would be when applied to your skin), one of it’s fragrant components, linalyl acetate forms substances that lead to allergic contact dermatitis in and out of sunlight.”
Lavender oil contains two major constituents in approximately equal amounts – linalool and linalyl acetate. Oxidation is actually more of a problem with linalool than with linalyl acetate, and it’s true that, over a period of months or years, lavender oil constituents can oxidize to hydroperoxides. These “oxidation products” are often slightly more skin-allergenic than the original compounds (which are virtually non-allergenic). However, oxidation is a very slow process – it does not happen in a few minutes while a product is sitting on your skin! To avoid the possibility of oxidation, I recommend that products containing lavender oil also include an added antioxidant. This is in line with the International Fragrance Association recommendation that essential oils high in linalool should include an antioxidant, such as the addition of 0.1% alpha-tocopherol (IFRA 2009). Even without an antioxidant, the shelf life of a lavender-containing product should be good for at least 12 months, so long as the essential oils were reasonably fresh when first used.

“Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is pro-oxidant. This enhanced oxidation also increases its irritancy on skin.”
This is partly true. It’s important to realize that in these tests, the essential oil is typically exposed to the air every day for a period of weeks or months. This scenario does not reflect real-world use of lavender oil, though it does show that oxidation will happen eventually. But Paula Begoun is wrong to label lavender oil as a pro-oxidant – it is not, it is an antioxidant that can itself eventually oxidize. That does not make it a pro-oxidant! Pro-oxidants cause oxidation. And, she uses “irritation” here when she means “allergenicity.” They are not the same thing, and the hydroperoxides that can form in lavender oil are potentially allergenic, not irritant.

Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is known as a skin irritant.”
This assertion smacks of desperation! Lavender oil contains less than 1% of camphor which, anyway, is only a mild irritant. If you have a product containing 1% lavender oil, then you will end up with less than 0.01% of camphor. Even if camphor was a powerful irritant, this would hardly be an issue.

“Research also indicates that other components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, meaning that topical application causes skin-cell death.”
Here lies the fundamental claim of risk, which however is based on a fundamental misunderstanding. Lavender oil was cytotoxic to human dermal fibroblasts and endothelial cells (skin cells) in vitro at concentrations greater than 0.125%. Linalool (35% of the oil sample) had similar toxicity to the essential oil, while linalyl acetate (51% of the oil sample) was more toxic. Membrane damage was thought to be the mechanism of toxicity (Prashar et al 2004). In this type of assay, the test substance is in direct contact with isolated cells in a petri dish. Without that direct contact, cell membrane damage will not take place at those low dilutions. It’s an in vitro test, and you can’t assume that the same effect will happen when you apply lavender oil to the skin, because the skin has a protective barrier: the stratum corneum. However, even if you applied lavender oil to broken skin, it would still not be equivalent to the test using isolated cells, because the dermis is a complex matrix of tissue that contains those cells.

Any type of in vitro test is only suggestive of a possible effect. You can never assume that the same effect will take place in the living body. It might, it might not. Either the cytotoxicity described above will manifest as irritation, or it will be so negligible as to have no importance. The most telling evidence is the fact that lavender oil has been successfully used in wound healing at 4%, with no adverse effects. Dermatological testing also reveals a lack of irritation. In a 48 hour occlusive patch test on 50 Italian volunteers, undiluted lavender oil produced no adverse reactions. Similarly tested at 1%, it produced no reactions in 273 eczema patients (Meneghini et al 1971). Undiluted lavender oil was slightly irritating to rabbit skin, but was not irritating to mouse or pig skin; tested at 10% on 25 healthy volunteers it was neither irritating nor sensitizing (Opdyke 1976 p451). So if there is any cytotoxicity, it’s not significant.

It is a must to avoid in skin-care products.
Skin allergies to lavender oil do happen occasionally, and I know of five cases (not cited here) in the dermatology literature, reported between 1986 and 2000. Considering that it is the most widely used essential oil in aromatherapy (global annual production about 200 tonnes), lavender oil allergy is extremely rare. And, although it is a very low-risk skin allergen (possibly only when oxidized), it is not an irritant. Nor are rose, cedarwood and tangerine. Undiluted lavender oil can work wonders on stings and blemishes, but it should not be applied to large areas of skin simply because it has a drying effect, due to rapid evaporation – the same reason that alcohol is drying.

If you don’t want to use lavender oil – or essential oils in general – that’s fine. But please, don’t mis-represent the science just so you can justify your world-view! Paula is right to draw attention to the possibility of lavender oil oxidation, but this is not a major problem, and is easy to avoid. To be super-safe, use undiluted lavender oil within 12 months of purchase, keep it cool and away from strong sunlight, and add an antioxidant to any product containing it (not needed in soaps).

If you search for negative effects you will surely find them, and it’s easy to become enmeshed in that negativity. I submit that the dermal benefits of lavender oil outweigh the risks to a considerable degree.

References
Bickers D, Calow P, Greim H et al 2003b A toxicologic and dermatologic assessment of linalool and related esters when used as fragrance ingredients. Food & Chemical Toxicology 41:919-942

Cassella S, Cassella JP, Smith I 2002 Synergistic antifungal activity of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oils against dermatophyte infection. The International Journal of Aromatherapy 12(1):2-15

Cherng J-M, Shieh D-E, Chiang W 2007 Chemopreventive effects of minor dietary constituents in common foods on human cancer cells. Bioscience, Biotechnology & Biochemistry 71:1500-1504

D’Auria FD, Tecca M, Strippoli V et al 2005 Antifungal activity of Lavandula angustifolia essential oil against Candida albicans yeast and mycelial form. Medical Mycology 43:391-396

Edwards-Jones V, Buck R, Shawcross SG et al 2004  The effect of essential oils on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus using a dressing model. Burns 30:772-777

Gattefossé RM 1993 Gattefossé’s aromatherapy.  CW Daniel, Saffron Walden

Ghelardini C, Galeotti N, Salvatore G et al 1999 Local anaesthetic activity of the essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia. Planta Medica 65:700-703

Goiriz R, Delgado-Jimenez Y, Sanchez-Perez J et al 2007 Photoallergic contact dermatitis from lavender oil in topical ketoprofen. Contact Dermatitis 57:381-382

Gould MN, Malzman TH, Tanner MA et al 1987 Anticarcinogenic effects of terpenoids in orange peel oil. Proceedings of the 78th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research 28:153

Guba R 1998/1999 Wound healing: a pilot study using an essential oil-based cream to heal dermal wounds and ulcers. The International Journal of Aromatherapy 9(2):67-74

Hartman D, Coetzee JC 2002 Two US practitioners’ experience of using essential oils for wound care. Journal of Wound Care 11(8):317-320

IFRA 2009 Standards, including amendments as of October 14th 2009. International Fragrance Association, Brussels. http://www.ifraorg.org

Kerr J 2002 The use of essential oils in wound healing. The International Journal of Aromatherapy 12(4):202-206

Kim HM, Cho SH 1999 Lavender oil inhibits immediate-type allergic reaction in mice and rats. Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmacology 51:221-226

Kunicka-Styczyńska A, Sikora M, Kalemba D 2009 Antimicrobial activity of lavender, tea tree and lemon oils in cosmetic preservative systems. Journal of Applied Microbiology 107:1903-1911

Kunicka-Styczyńska A, Sikora M, Kalemba D 2011 Lavender, tea tree and lemon oils as antimicrobials in washing liquids and soft body balms. International Journal of Cosmetic Science 33:53-61

Meneghini CL, Rantuccio F, Lomuto M 1971 Additives, vehicles and active drugs of topical medicaments as causes of delayed-type allergic dermatitis. Dermatologica 143:137-147

Opdyke DL J 1976 Monographs on fragrance raw materials. Food & Cosmetics Toxicology 14 supplement

Prashar A, Locke IC, Evans CS 2004 Cytotoxicity of lavender oil and its major components to human skin cells. Cell Proliferation 37:221-229

Sakurada T, Kuwahata H, Katsuyama S et al 2009 Intraplantar injection of bergamot essential oil into the mouse hindpaw: effects on capsaicin-induced nociceptive behaviors. International Review of Neirobiology 85:237-248

Sakurai H, Yasui H, Yamada Y et al 2005 Detection of reactive oxygen species in the skin of live mice and rats exposed to UVA light: a research review on chemiluminescence and trials for UVA protection. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 4:715-720

Soković M, Glamočlija J, Marin PD et al 2010 Antibacterial effects of the essential oils of commonly consumed medicinal herbs using an in vitro model. Molecules 15:7532-7546

Vakilian K, Atarha M, Bekhradi R et al 2011 Healing advantages of lavender essential oil during episiotomy recovery: a clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 17:50-53

Yang SA, Jeon SK, Lee EJ et al 2010 Comparative study of the chemical composition and antioxidant activity of six essential oils and their components. Natural Product research 24:140-151

Zu Y, Yu H, Liang L et al 2010 Activities of ten essential oils towards Propionibacterium acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 cancer cells. Molecules 15:3200-3210

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this information. It is so refreshing to see positive information provided, in general, but mainly for specific ingredients that end up with a bad reputation for no good reason. I’m happy to read the many benefits of this wonderful plant.

  • http://www.zaega.com Melissa Christenson

    Finally, a scientifically based article from a real expert.  Thank you, Robert, for this excellent post!

  • http://greenskincareblog.com/ Kristin Fraser Cotte

    wonderful post Robert. Thank you for addressing this!

  • http://www.jepowell.com Joshua Evan Powell

    Given Paula is listed as an expert on this site (though I don’t recall her ever writing anything here) it would be interesting to see her response to this.

    Great article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nathan-Rivas/100001195250784 Nathan Rivas

    Hi Robert!  Great points, I would agree that the degree of an ingredient is a crucial point.  However, I was curious about your pro-oxidant comment.  Phenolics can, when subject to oxidation, form free radicals.  Thus, doesn’t this then become a pro-oxidant?  I also noticed that the examples of lavender’s effectiveness as a medical aid is small-scale, and isn’t necessarily accounting for a placebo ratio. In this respect, it doesn’t seem that this is any more demonstrative of lavender’s effectiveness than the claim of that lavender has no positive effect.  After all, it would seem that there are similar size studies showing lavender’s ineffectiveness, or harmful response in use by humans. 

    Ok, ONE more thing.  You brought up that in-vitro doesn’t extrapolate to topical use of lavender, which I am in agreement, but then you cited research that uses animals to support your argument.  Animal models cannot be any accurate in this respect than in-vitro studies.  Right?

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for addressing this question.  I’d been away from the blog for a while and just saw your very thorough article!  I was skeptical of Paula’s claims, as they seemed rather extreme, but didn’t really have any factual basis for my skepticism. 

    Anecdotally, as a mild rosacea sufferer, I do find some of these fragrant essential oils don’t do well on my face (mild irritation), but I don’t really understand the mechanism for that.  Nor could I tell you off hand which oils–other than (for sure) lavender and peppermint.  It could be the drying effect that you mention (alcohol is also a rosacea trigger for me).  I have no problem using them on my body, it’s only the rosacea zone where I notice it.

  • Gary

    I wonder how many cosmetic companies are behind this site because they are loosing profit to smaller, safer choices? Guess the pressure sooner or later was going to force some sort of comeback from all you high-paid peeps.

    Science in many ways has created a lot of what humans, animals and the environment face today. Are we too believe that science is the ultimate answer to all?

    Through science, many people today are found on medications that create more harm then help – not to mention that many of the chemicals found in drugs, foods and cosmetics work there way back into the food chain. But hey, fish on prozac makes for a happy meal right? or lead in Halloween makeup that we use on our kids is just fine.

    The proof is there, yet we let science and governments tell us that in small quantities it’s acceptable/safe for humans.

    Our point is this – who gives the right for science, governments and large cosmetic companies to tell us it’s safe for human use to not only find out years down the road that it’s not.

    Look how long it’s taken J&J to accept the fact that what they called safe is now changing their formulations. Same for OPI and others.

    While you debunk lavender in some ways, there are many variations and many essential oils on the market that are far from superior grades which do not do what you state when used safely.

    For us, we’d rather use what nature provides rather then the so-called science of high profit monger companies.

    Many of these companies ship out products that in turn end up being banned because of their choice of ingredients. No problem, botox, snail extracts, human dna and pill form perfumes should be in everyone’s household!!!

    So, the debate rages on Science vs Nature

    • Robert Tisserand

      Gary, I have no idea what any of this has to do with the safety and efficacy of lavender oil. Unless you are saying that you want standards imposed for essential oils? For me, there is no science vs nature, nor raging debate. Science is not an entity like government. It is a form of human intelligence, and is one of the ways we have of understanding nature. As for companies that want to make profit – shame on them!

      • Gary

        Thank for your comments Robert, and yes I may have gotten off the topic in some ways.

        As for stricter control of essential oils, yes, I support this as you can find EO’s almost in every pharmacy and even in dollar stores which are not CTEO and are far from being true essential oils.

        Over the years I’ve seen hundreds of variations and 60% + are far from being of good or of therapeutic quality. We have used lavender in many product formulations for many years and have well treated many skin afflictions and helped many clients improve both skin and health.

        True, science has it’s place when neutral in context and not being paid out from large companies.

        I do well appreciate your views and that of your expertise.

        The cosmetic industry needs a real shake-up as there is far too much garbage being pushed to market well before long-term studies have been performed on all levels.

        • http://colinsbeautypages.co.uk Colin

          Thanks for your contribution to the debate Gary.  Do you have time to share with us a protocol for what you would consider to be a suitable long term study?

          • Gary

            Hi Colin,

            I believe for the most part of my comment it was not really the place for this article and posted my comment too quickly. I must say I highly disagree with many of the comments back at my post.

            Long term studies should be based on what’s safe for consumption, not with a potential threat at any level, whether human or environmental.

            Point is this…
            How can a government, manufacture or scientist tell us that a certain ingredient being used is safe in a limited dose?

            As consumers, how are they to know what is safe and not. Most never read or can’t understand terms used on labels while governments tell consumers it is up to them to make an educated choice. That’s like telling us gmo modified foods are good for us.

            Many of the large manufactures have known for years that many of their products contain harmful ingredients but have been saying these ingredients are too little to be harmful because some scientist or government says it’s a safe accepted level. It has been by pressure from groups that some manufactures are making change.

            Point again is that there is no safe level of any ingredient that can have the potential to harm, no matter what anyone says whether it be a scientist, health worker, government or other. If there is a possible danger, then it has no place in cosmetics, medication or food.

          • Dene62

            Gary, I am intrigued to understand on what basis you know better than scientists, health workers and governments on the safety of ingredients. What amazing insight do you enjoy that is beyond these trained scientists?

            If I interpret your comments correctly, you are saying that any ingredient that causes harm at ANY concentration is not safe at ANY concentration. In other words, if something has been demonstrated to be fatal to humans, it is not safe for ANY application, again at ANY concentration. 1g of acetaminophen (aka aspirin) can be fatal – yet millions of people take a SAFE dose of this drug on a regular basis. Water kills hundreds of people every year – not by drowning, but by simple ingestion to quest thirst. Your logic would have water banned. Your logic is based on no facts whatsoever – sorry to be so blunt, but you are simply wrong.

          • Sarah

            Psst Dene–acetaminophen is Tylenol.  Sorry for digression….typo aside, I agree with all you have said:)

          • Dene62

            Thanks Sarah – as you’ve used a capital T, I assume that Tylenol is a brand name for the generic acetaminophen. Aspirin is the generic name used for this same product in the UK – I used both terms so that my colleagues in the UK and the USA would know what I was talking about!

          • Robert Tisserand

            Acetaminophen = paracetamol

          • Dene62

            Yes, you are right, of course, Robert. I’ve made that comment in several discussions, and it’s the first time I’ve made that mistake – honest!

          • Sarah

            And I’m such a nerd for pointing it out:)

          • Dene62

            Not at all, Sarah – mistakes should be opinted out!

          • Sarah

            Oooh.  Nevermind:)  Here aspirin only refers to acetylsalicylic acid.

          • Sarah

            Oooh.  Nevermind:)  Here aspirin only refers to acetylsalicylic acid.

    • Dene62

      “I wonder how many cosmetic companies are behind this site because they are loosing (sic) profit to smaller, safer choices? Guess the pressure sooner or later was going to force some sort of comeback from all you high-paid peeps”

      Ignoring the fact that your intemperate comments are wayoff the subject, you seem to think that you can make several assumptions on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, then make far-reaching claims that have no substantiation. All you need to do is to check out the bios of the experts which are helpfully provided, which would enable you to avoid making at least one of your assumptions. You have no right to assume that all the contributors are highly paid, and I don’t consider myself to be a “highly paid peep”. Nor am I allied to a large cosmetics manufacturer.

      Your claim about J&J doesn’t actually make sense, but I think that you are claiming that they are accepting that they have been using unsafe ingredients and have now re-formulated. What is more likely is that they decided to bow to public pressure and remove the “offending” ingredients. That is very different to what you try to claim.

      Your belief that natural is safe and synthetic is not safe is, frankly, naive and there is no science to substantiate such a broad, simplistic claim. There are other articles on PCT that you may like to refer to on this very topic – I strongly recommend you do so. http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/05/natural-is-safe-and-synthetic-is-dangerous-truth-is-safe-and-myths-are-dangerous/

    • Sarah

      “While you debunk lavender in some ways…superior grades…do not do what you state when used safely.”  Minor vocabulary word correction: ideas can be debunked, lavender can’t.  Also, I’m not sure you read the article, because the main thrust of it, unless I missed something, was to “debunk” the mistaken idea that lavender oil is not good for skin. 

    • Sarah

      Also: claims like “superior grades (of lavender oil)…do not do what you state when used safely” are scientific claims.  You are talking science talk to argue your anti-science view.  I think you are confused.  If you believe science is worthless, why talk about things like superior grades, or safety, at all?

      • Dene62

        You raise a very interesting point, Sarah, and I mean this in a general sense, rather than just about Gary’s comments. Many of the people who criticise the synthetic ingredients in cosmetics (or ALL synthetic substances) will openly admit that they don’t trust science, or scientists – it is often the very basis of their argument. In that case, on what do they base their opinions? It HAS to be on evidence produced by scientists at some point because, otherwise, they would not have any grounds for suspicion. What it boils down to is that the anti-synthetics lobby only trust the scientists that produce information that supports their position. As soon as evidence is produced that detracts from their position, they don’t trust it. You just can’t beat ignorance and entrenched, shallow thinking!

  • Lex

    I wanted to get your opinion on Burt’s Bees repair serum–I have researched the ingredients and they seem wonderful in claims, and this even has the Vitamin E mentioned as an antioxidant though it is not listed in the alpha form. The first ingredient is Rosehip oil, (great for scarring?), the second is Jojoba (closest oil to sebum?), the third lavender, etc. etc. I would like to use this all over my face to balance my acne prone sensitive skin. My skin had a very bad reaction to pregnancy, and over a year post birth, I find myself suffering from clogged and enlarged pores. I try to take great care of it, and do a lot research, but I am at a loss. I am sure this is primarily due hormonal shifts. I actually even like that some of the ingredients in the product are anti-androgenic. Paula gave thumbs down to it due to the lavender, what do you think?