Several factors can affect the shelf life of essential oils:
- Quality: The quality of the oil plays a significant role. High-quality, pure essential oils that have been properly stored tend to have a longer shelf life compared to lower quality or adulterated oils.
- Storage conditions: Essential oils are sensitive to heat, light, and air exposure. They should be stored in dark glass bottles, tightly sealed, and kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Exposure to heat and light can cause the oils to oxidize and degrade more quickly.
- Type of oil: Different essential oils have varying chemical compositions, making some oils more stable than others. Essential oils with higher percentages of monoterpene compounds (such as citrus oils) tend to have a shorter shelf life, while oils rich in sesquiterpenes (such as sandalwood or patchouli) have a longer shelf life.
- Carrier oils: If an essential oil is diluted in a carrier oil, the carrier oil can affect the overall stability and shelf life. Carrier oils with a shorter shelf life, such as grapeseed or sunflower oil, may impact the longevity of the essential oil blend.
It’s important to note that over time, essential oils may gradually lose their therapeutic properties and aromatic qualities. They may also undergo physical changes, such as thickening, darkening in colour, or developing a rancid odour. These are signs that the oil has likely expired and should be replaced. To ensure the longevity and quality of your essential oils, it’s recommended to purchase from reputable suppliers, store them properly, and check for any signs of degradation before use.
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