This questions comes across our team facebook group time and time again. It seems to be the only thing many pediatricians know about essential oils. We get panicked mama’s who’s doctors told them that their sons will grow breasts and they need to stop using lavender RIGHT NOW.
How did this nasty rumor get started?
There was a study done in 2007 that concluded that prepubescent boys developed prepubertal gynecomastia, or benign enlargement of breast tissue, after “the topical application of products that contained lavender and tea tree oils”. This study was a hot mess. First of all they do not specify which products were used but what we know about most products out that have “tea tree oil” or “lavender oil” is that they are typically either synthetic or low quality oils. And most products that would contain such oils, such as soaps, lotions, body scrubs, etc are FULL of other hormone-altering chemicals. To put the blame on the essential oils while not considering the other ingredients is bad science. Even if it was the “essential oils” we have no definition for those. I dont know of any commercial products that use pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. Lower quality essential oils can be extracted with solvents, adulterated with chemicals etc. You get my point.
This study has nothing to do with using pure, therapeutic grade essential oils like the brand we recommend.
“If you take a close look at the study, some issues are raised . . . The full list of ingredients in these products were not mentioned, nor the possible chemicals included in the packaging of the products. Parabens were likely included in the ingredients and phthalates in the packaging. In a recent study, diethyl phthalate was found in 103 out of 252 products, which included fragrances, hair care products, deodorants, nail polishes, lotions, skin cleansers and baby products.3 Both phthalates and parabens have been shown to have an estrogenicity presence.4&5“ Are Lavender and Tea Tree oils estrogenic?
One of the worlds leader essential oil experts Dr. Robert Tisserand shares on his post about this topic:
Lavender oil does not mimic estrogen nor does it enhance the body’s own estrogens. It is therefore not a ‘hormone disruptor’, cannot cause breast growth in young boys (or girls of any age), and is safe to use by anyone at risk for estrogen-dependent cancer. The lack of estrogenic action is the conclusion of a new report, which used a novel form of ‘uterotrophic’ assay.
This measures the effect of a test substance on the uterus of immature or estrogen-deprived female rats over three days. Any estrogenic action causes a rapid and measurable increase in uterine weight. The assay has been in use since the 1930s, was adopted by the OECD in 2007, and is now regarded as the “benchmark animal assay for estrogenic effects” (Politano 2013).
So relax mamas, you have nothing to worry about if you are using quality, pure, safe Lavender or Tea Tree (Melaleuca) oils. Do pay careful attention to the ingredients in other products such as lotions, deodorants, etc. Avoid any products with the word “paraben” as part of any ingredient, “fragrance” or other ingredients. Never use low-quality essential oils that could contain chemicals. Always dilute for your little ones. Remember essential oils bring balance, they do not force the body down a path. Lavender and Melaleuca are such wonderfully useful oils when you have children – enjoy their benefits!
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Have questions? Need help deciding whats best for you?
Email me [email protected] and I’ll be in touch very soon. Happy oiling! I look forward to working with you!