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Essential Oil Allergy

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Rebecca Leanne

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Hi everyone! I've been soap making for 2 years and it's been a long road. I've only just found a recipe I'm happy but in the last few batches I've added too much essential oil for my over-sensitive skin. Although I used less than 3%, my skin becomes dry and irritated. After much experimenting I am 100% sure that it is the essential oils causing this and that it's the same with any combination of EO used at this percentage.

My question is, is there any chance that the Essential oils will fade over time and become less irritating in the same way that the scent fades over time? Or should I just throw out all my wonderful natural soaps? :( I don't even want to give them away just on the off chance that someone has the same reaction.
I have at least 50 so some advice would be really appreciated! Thank you!
 

AliOop

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Are you making sure to abide by the recommended usage rate for each specific EO, as well as the blend? It sounds like you are using somewhere around 3% regardless of which oil you use. That isn't safe! Some EOs are strong skin sensitizers and have very low safe usage rates below 1%, including anise, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, thyme, oregano.

You should run all single oils and blends through a calculator like EOCalc.com, or manually check the usage rates in a respected EO guide, such as Tisserand.

Even those that are generally skin-safe can cause irritation if overused. I personally overused tea tree and eucalyptus in properly diluted leave-on products, and now I can't use those on my skin at all.
 

Zing

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Did you run your essential oil amount through Find Free Essential Oil Blends - Modern Soapmaking Some recipes and sources suggest to add "3%" of any essential oil -- but eocalc will tell you what levels are safe for each specific essential oil.
Also, which essential oils are you using? I had a severe reaction to cinnamon and had to shower for like an hour.
Also, I'm wondering if the dryness is due to the oils in your recipe, like if it's too cleansing.
Good luck!
 

Rebecca Leanne

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Hi guys, thank you for your replies! Regarding the essential oils, I have checked the usage rates of each but thank you for the EOcalc recommendation (this makes things much easier!). I only meant that as a rule I would stay at around 3% or less of total essential oils. For example for a total yield batch of 950g cold process soap, I used 14g of Bergamot, 7.5g of lemongrass and 3.5g of Cedarwood. These are well below the safe usage rates but irritated my skin. But the same soap (olive, coconut, shea, sunflower and castor) with a weaker essential oil blend was lovely on my skin.
 

AliOop

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That's great that you were checking the usage rates!

Like cinnamon and anise, lemongrass can be irritating to some folks' skin. You might be one of those people.

Or you might be sensitive in general to EOs. Contrary to MLM advertising, people have widely varying reactions to EOs, and many of them are not good. You sound like you are in tune with your own body, so I'd go with what works for you, and take everyone else's reactions with a grain of salt. :)
 

Rebecca Leanne

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Thank you for your lovely reply :) I've made a few blends and each is the same when I go passed a certain amount of overall essential oils. So I imagine that these do not fade over time as the scent does? Thanks!
 

AliOop

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Yes, even if the scent fades, some components of the EO remain in the soap.

A couple of questions:

1. Do you get the same reaction on your skin from any essential oils if the percentage is too great?

2. Are you sure that the soap recipe (and cure time) was exactly the same?

3. Are the EOs purchased from a reputable supplier? (Usually that excludes Amazon, BTW. Regular soap and scent suppliers sell unadulterated EOs of the same or better quality than EOs sold by the MLMs, but at far less cost).

4. Have you tested the soap to make sure it isn't lye-heavy?

If you answered yes to all four, then to me it sounds like you are somewhat sensitive to at least the EOs that you have been using. But there is no harm in letting others test them, as long as you disclose the ingredients so they can make their own decision.

If you get a lot of feedback that others find them irritating, then you could consider rebatching them with new soap batter that has no EOs in it.

That's my 25¢ answer; someone else might chime in with some other thoughts. :)
 

violets2217

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Hi guys, thank you for your replies! Regarding the essential oils, I have checked the usage rates of each but thank you for the EOcalc recommendation (this makes things much easier!). I only meant that as a rule I would stay at around 3% or less of total essential oils. For example for a total yield batch of 950g cold process soap, I used 14g of Bergamot, 7.5g of lemongrass and 3.5g of Cedarwood. These are well below the safe usage rates but irritated my skin. But the same soap (olive, coconut, shea, sunflower and castor) with a weaker essential oil blend was lovely on my skin.
Just an personal experience... but in the beginning of my homemade face care journey, I made a face wash with just a drop or two of lemongrass essential oil and although I do not have sensitive skin by any means... my face got all Itchy, red and blotchy and in some places even swollen. I’ve not used lemongrass essential oil anywhere near my face since! But now that I think about it, oddly enough it does not effect me at all when I use my mosquito repellent spray which also has lemongrass in it... Weird! 🤔😳🙄
 

Rebecca Leanne

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Hi, thank you guys! Yes yes yes yes! :) So yes I'm buying from a reputable wholesaler (mysticmoments.co.uk) and yes exactly the same recipe with a lower amount of essential oils overall does not give me the same reaction. I've used different blends without lemongrass :) the same soap recipe each time.
My husband doesn't have any reaction and nor do my family and friends (except my mother but she also has very sensitive skin).
I think it's down to just having easily irritated skin. I've had the same reaction to other homemade cosmetics with slightly too much essential oils. :(
Rebatching sounds like so much work! And also I'd have to mix it with other fragrance free soap to dilute the scent I imagine?
But this is wonderful talking to others about soap! Have a good day everyone! Thank you
 
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