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The Answers- Do Essential Oils Cause Man Boobs?

You’ve probably seen it by now and know that in a recently posted article, the BBC cites two studies that suggest a link between the use of essential oils and gynecomastia aka man boobs or male breast.

When looking at all the info out there, I saw a lot of studies and articles that were scientific, but not really any that answered the questions I wanted to know. So that’s what I’m doing here, for you, for me, for all of us that are curious and thought ‘WHAT?!” when read the headlines.

The Reports

Lets start with taking a look into what was actually said, and what the claims are about oils and enlarged pectoral frontal regions.

One of those studies (led by Tyler Ramsey of the American National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)) argues that the chemical compounds found in essential oils tend to disrupt endocrines. The disruption has been found to inhibit testosterone while at the same time promoting estrogen.

The second cited study was conducted by Dr. Kenneth Korach, a senior researcher at NIEHS. Although this one had been done earlier, its findings were not so different from those of the Ramsey-led research. Basically people who are frequently exposed to essential oils have a lower amount of hormones that boost male characteristics.

Though not conclusive, the two studies do present a valid question that is worth exploring further – will the use of essential oils lead to gynecomastia? This is a point of concern for women as much as it is for men because women would like to keep their husbands, male children, brothers, fathers and other males in their lives healthy.

I sought out to answer a few questions that may ultimately help you going forward:

Question 1: what are essential oils?

Answer: essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that are used for alternative medicine. They contain compounds that are known to treat/prevent diseases, boost immunity, and enhance physical and mental performance among many other benefits.

It’s worth noting that essential oils are completely natural. So unless you are allergic, they virtually have no negative effects. But make sure the brand you pick is a trusted brand that only deals with 100% natural oils.

Question 2: what is gynecomastia? 

Answer: gynecomastia is a condition where breast tissues of a man start to swell resulting in enlarged breasts. Most people refer to the breasts as man boobs or moobs for short. Gynecomastia is caused by a reduction in testosterone (a male sex hormone) and an increase in estrogen (a female sex hormone).

While it is not life threatening or harmful to your health, gynecomastia may cause esteem issues among men. Plus it is an indicator of an underlying problem – low testosterone.

Question 3: how is the use of essential oils and gynecomastia related?

Answer: according to the two studies explained above (by Tyler Ramsey and Dr. Kenneth Korach), the chemicals found in essential oils tend to lower testosterone and boost estrogen. If the user is a man, the hormonal change hinders some male characteristics and promotes female characteristics, particularly enlargement of breasts.

Question 4: do all essential oils contain chemicals that enhance gynecomastia?

Answer: Dr. Korach only tested lavender and tea tree oils. Ramsey and his team extracted eight key chemicals found in hundreds of the most common essential oils (65% prevalence rate). Four of the chemicals are found in both lavender and tea tree while the other four are found in either oil. 

Both studies found that the chemicals have varying effects on the level of estrogen and testosterone. While some cause a significant change in the two hormones, others have a negligible effect. Unfortunately there are no data for the exact effects of each oil. Instead what we have is a general conclusion that essential oils do, in fact, affect the production of the two sex hormones.

Additionally, the effects vary from one person to another. Some individuals may be more sensitive to essential oils than others. Again, the studies do not highlight exactly what kind of people may develop adverse effects.

Question 5: what should I do if I want to enjoy essential oils without the risk of gynecomastia?

Answer: whether you choose to believe the findings or not, they underscore key important point regarding the use of essential oils:

  1. They have different effects on different people. Doing a background research about yourself and essential oils could go a long way in ensuring that you don’t face any potential adverse effects when using the oils.
  2. Do not use undiluted oils. Both studies considered topical application of essential oils. It is a well-known fact that using highly concentrated essential oils topically is harmful to your health. By diluting them you will be reducing the extent of any adverse effects significantly.
  3. Do not use excess oils. You’ve heard it said that too much of anything may be bad, even if it’s a good thing. The same goes for essential oils. Their benefits are unquestionable, but don’t expose yourself to health risks by overusing them

Final Verdict

In summary, the link between the use of essential oils and gynecomastia can be a cause of concern. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use the oils safely. As long as you regulate your usage and their concentration you’ll be fine.

That said, the topic is a very important one that’s worth keeping track of. We will follow up on it as new studies emerge, so be sure to visit our website for the latest on essential oils and gynecomastia.



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