Plant-derived oils are increasingly becoming a key ingredient in new-age grooming products including soaps, lotions, and shower gels. You’ll often find them being marketed as the ‘safer’ and more ‘effective’ alternatives to the traditional chemical-based products. Plant oils are also known for their medicinal and therapeutic properties and are commonly used for massages and in spa therapies. Some of the popular ones include lemongrass oil, lavender oil and rosemary oil. When the majority of the population is all praise for these essential oils; it is difficult to believe that some of them might have certain adverse effects too; especially for men.
Man boobs is not an alien concept. And you might be surprised to know that this condition is in some way related to essential oils. Excess exposure to essential oils, specifically lavender or tea tree, could disrupt your natural hormonal balance and lead to the development of man boobs, a condition also known as Gynecomastia.
The chemicals found in tea tree and lavender oil are identified as ‘endocrine-disrupting’, which means that they can interfere with the production of hormones in your body. This discovery was made by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. According to the study’s lead investigator, J. Tyler Ramsey, “Our society deems essential oils as safe. However, they possess a diverse amount of chemicals and should be used with caution because some of these chemicals are potential endocrine disruptors.”
Gynecomastia refers to the swelling of the breast tissue in boys or men and is caused by an imbalance in the hormones estrogens and testosterone. This condition can affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly. Newborns, boys going through puberty, and even older men may develop the same as a result of changes in their hormone levels. And among other causes, the use of essential oils on a regular basis might be a key factor leading to gynecomastia.
The reason why oils such as tea tree and lavender are associated with man boobs is because of their weak estrogenic activity. During the study, it was also found that men who developed man boobs experienced an improvement in the condition once the application of these oils was discontinued.
While the use of essential oils may not lead to the development of breasts right away; it is still advisable to exercise caution as they are also linked to the development of a rare condition called male breast cancer.Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when using plant-based essential oils:
• Never use them in the undiluted state.
• Never take essential oils internally, unless under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist.
• Some essential oils can irritate the skin if used in high concentrations.
• Several essential oils are known to be flammable.
Avoid mixing two oils without doing adequate research or consulting a specialist. Although essential oils and aromatherapy products may be generally safe for use; it might be a good idea to consult your doctor or an aromatherapy specialist before applying them regularly on the chest area.