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Are Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffusers Safer than Scented Candles?

Aromatherapy is a very effective and helpful part of your wellness regimen. Scents can be soothing or invigorating and can change the mood of the room instantly. Both scented candles and oil diffusers are popular ways to spread your favorite scents around the home. There are key differences between the efficacy of perfumed candles and pure, natural essential oils. Candles could, in fact, pose some risk to you and your family's health and safety.

Saying No to Smoke Stains

Even if scented candles use pure essential oils to derive their fragrance instead of synthetic perfume, all candles have the same byproduct: smoke. Using a candle in the bedroom or bathroom frequently can eventually stain the walls, especially if you like to take a bath by candlelight. When the smoke mixes with steam, the net result could be sticky tar that is hard to scrub away.

Aromatherapy Diffusers are Child-Safe

Candles can be dangerous to leave around children unattended for even short periods of time. For your little ones to enjoy the same benefits of essential oils as you do, an oil diffuser is clearly the safer option. If you want to fill your child's room with menthol oil or eucalyptus while they're fighting off some chest congestion, a diffuser, like a humidifier, can remain plugged in while they sleep, something you simply cannot do with a candle.

Avoid Burnout

High-quality candles should only be lit for no more than one to two hours to avoid a potential mess. No one wants to risk letting a puddle of melted wax spread on your favorite table, a desk, or a nightstand. The soothing scent of an essential oil diffuser uses electricity and ultrasonic waves to produce a cool vapor without heat, fire, or mess.

Where There's Smoke

So, if that smoke is staining your walls, imagine what it's doing to your nasal passages and your lungs. Essential oil diffusers essentially use the same technology as a vaporizer or a humidifier, so it's far healthier to have around the house. There are some studies, including one executed by South Carolina State University that show that paraffin candles could cause many health problems, including asthma. Some companies were found to have lead in their wicks, only after those particular candles were used in studies.

The overall health outlook of candles isn't particularly clear. So far, no regulatory body in the U.S. has stepped forward to take responsibility regarding the overall cancer risk for candles. What is clear is that candles, just like any flaming object, should only be used in well-ventilated areas to guarantee they don't pose any health risk. While they are certainly lovely for ambiance, and no one is suggesting that you should do away with them entirely in your home, if your goal is using aromatherapy to improve your mental and physical health, it may be time to look into a safe, electric diffuser.

What's in that Perfume Anyway?

There's a reason that you shouldn't ever burn synthetic fragrance in your home: it can be full of alcohol, chemicals, and other impurities that aren't any better for you than canned air freshener. Many candles are scented with artificial perfume, which could link back to those cancer risks outlined above. In fact, some of that sooty residue from popular brands has been proven to include some pretty nasty byproducts, like benzene, a carcinogen, and toluene, which has negative effects on the nervous system. If that wasn't alarming enough, this probably will be: to date, no company is legally obligated to list the ingredients in their candles. This means that you're going to have to trust whatever any company chooses to disclose or not disclose on the label.

If purity matters to you, as it should when it concerns what you're breathing in, an essential oil diffuser is much more efficient and effective at distributing oil in the air. The simple truth is that if you want to have the utmost confidence in what you're taking into your lungs, you need to stick with quality oils you know and trust. Unfortunately, that may not be the scented candle you just bought at the bath store.