So last blog post we were discussing phototoxic essential oils and towards the bottom of the blog I mentioned "folded" essential oils. Many of you are probably wondering just what a folded essential oil is.
To easily break it down, a folded essential oil is a pure essential oil that has been further distilled and thus concentrated even further from it's already highly concentrated form. There are a couple of reasons one would want to do this, which will be explained momentarily. Basically, during multiple distillations the terpenes are extracted. These are the more volatile (and thus prone to oxidation) portions of the oil. So one reason for "folding" essential oils would be to prolong the shelf life of that oil. Terpenes are also what make an oil phototoxic or photosensitising. So further distillations also reduces many essential oils potential to harm your dermal layers (skin) when combine with ultra violet light exposure (IE: sunshine).
Folding also changes the scent of many essential oils. Removing some of the more bitter properties of the oils leaves a cleaner, fresher, more "to the point" scent reference. Another word for this process is deterpenation and the end product know as terpeneless oil (folded essential oils)
|Essential Oil of Lemon|
The most commonly "folded" essential oils are those of:
Orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, tangerine, blood-orange, mandarin, and bergamot essential oils.
One will most often see 5-Fold or 10-Fold oils. The higher the number the more times it has been "folded" or redistilled.
*Some people will argue that "folded" essential oils are no longer suitable for use in aromatherapy.
Even while using folded essential oils it is not recommended to use directly on skin or with only a carrier oil. And still be mindful and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.