Just when you thought humanity is increasingly imposing on the advent of technology and scientific discoveries when it comes to health and wellness advancement, the return to centuries-old medical practices to improve one's physical well-being comes. Meet the noticeable popularity of essential oils and their therapeutic effects on our wellness. From soaps to lotions to foot scrubs and hair moisturizers, the use of these ethereal oils has been widely accepted by a vast majority.

And with the wide selection of products today claiming to have the therapeutic effects of essential oils, we wonder how can we be so sure the consumer products we buy in the market are really “natural” and not “synthetically spotted”? How will we know when that body lotion we love buying at those posh boutiques, for example, really contains essential oils and not artificial produced fragrance oils?

For one, essential oils are not really oils but natural mixtures of organic compounds found in herbs and plants. They are extracted from the petals of the flower, leaves, stems, roots, rind of the fruit, seeds, or even the wood of trees using distillation or expression (squeezing). Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are synthetic and man-made, which are engineered by chemists to yield an attractive scent “inspired” by essential oils.

Unlike essential oils, fragrance oils are not used to nurture one's well being, although the fragrant smell can give a feeling of satisfaction for smelling good and even let you take a second sniff on that dashing guy or that sassy girl passing by. Essential oils produce specific pharmacological effects through skin absorption and inhalation, which is the very foundation of aromatherapy practice, a widely used form of natural alternative medicine; fragrance oils are used to scents a wide array of commercial products with the only objective of improving the smell of the product and as such, are oftentimes called “perfume oils.” And while both can cause allergies to some extent to someone, fragrance oils can trigger allergies to people more than essential oils since the former have different chemicals as their component.

It is obvious that essential oils exceeded fragrance oils by leaps and bounds when it comes to health and wellness benefits. Sadly though, the high cost of producing essential oils leaves most companies no other choice but to use fragrance oils in their commercial products instead. The good thing is that there are still a number of product manufacturers out there that use natural ingredients with the firm belief that quality products will always find a sizable patronage in the market.

Now that you know the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils, it's your choice what products to introduce in your lifestyle and your family's. Knowing the difference between the “aromatherapy essentials” and the “artificially created fragrance” is an important first step in deciding which products are best suited to you and your family's needs. Be an intelligent consumer. Read the label carefully before throwing that product into your grocery basket.