Essential Oil Glass Bottles; Amber Glass or Dark Violet Glass – Does it Matter?

You should always feel confident about the quality of the products that you purchase. This includes the bottles that your botanicals come in. When it comes to essential oil glass bottles, amber glass is the most commonly used packaging in the industry. Although it’s the most commonly used container in the industry, is it really the best way to sustain the life of your products?

As we all know, all matter is subject to degradation, no matter what it is, including your oils and resins. We know that the primary causes of degradation are Light, Heat and Oxygen. These largely contribute to what is called “Rapid Oxidation”. Rapid Oxidation is a process where the chemicals in essential oils are altered and break down, slowly losing the therapeutic potency of the overall product.

LIGHT, OXYGEN, AND HEAT. THE TRIPLE THREAT

Photo by: Hari Nandakumar

Light, Oxygen, and Heat are major contributors to promoting life to organisms, so when organisms reach maturity, those same elements that gave them life, contribute to their own decay. This goes the same for any botanical product. When your products are exposed to heat, light, and oxygen, this creates the basic grounds for the organic volatile compounds in the product to break down.

Let’s look into this further.

OXYGEN:

Most of us know that oxygen is a major contributor to the degradation of volatile materials. Oxygen changes the chemical composition of essential oils or volatile materials as it reacts with their constituents. A change in the chemical composition of the essential oil means you won’t get the same properties as when you first purchased the product.

HEAT:

When an organic compound is heated above average temperature, the rate of which the molecules vibrate at increases, and as such, contributes to the rapidness in which the molecules break down.

LIGHT:

Lastly is Light. Now there are two types of light. Visible, and Invisible.

Starting with invisible, this would include; radio, infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray. The UV light, the most commonly referenced type of light,  is an invisible light commonly known to cause free radical damage. This alters the chemical composition of the botanicals, potentially reducing the therapeutic effects of the product, or even creating new and harmful chemicals.

So how does this all fit together?

More commonly than ever, botanical retail products such as essential oils, resins and extracts are packaged is standard amber glass.

WHAT SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT UV LIGHT AND VISIBLE LIGHT

Although there are claims that amber glass is enough to protect your product from light damage, new research on this subject is indicating that this does not guarantee that your botanicals will be entirely protected.

There are two types of light. Ultraviolet (UV) light and visible (Vis) light. These are considered to be able to accelerate oxidation processes that result in the formation of particular radicals, the contributor to depreciating the therapeutic effects of your botanicals.

Although the studies referenced in this article are correlated primarily with Dermatology Research, the universal concept of photo-excitation is the same. This is the process of exciting the atoms or molecules of a substance by the absorption of radiant energy.

“I UNDERSTAND UV LIGHT CAN CAUSE DAMAGE, BUT WHAT ABOUT VISIBLE LIGHT”?

Newer research has been discovering that the visible and infrared wavelengths can also cause damage too. “The energy from the sun that reaches the earth’s surface at sea level is around 3-7% in UV, 44% in visible light and 53% in infrared (IR). UV rays cause disproportionately more damage. Shorter wavelength means higher energy, so each photon (light particle) that hits your skin has more energy.

When it comes to visible light, even though each particle has less energy, there’s a lot more of them, so it ends up being almost a “death by a thousand paper cuts” situation.” Light, whether it is visible or invisible, causes degradation, especially when in contact with organic surfaces such as skin.

PIGMENTED OILS ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO LIGHT

In the case of essential oils, this is especially relevant for oils that are more pigmented in color. Pigmented oils tell you that there is significant activity in the visible light spectrum, the light has the ability to affect the oils because they are exposed to all frequencies of the visible light spectrum. Examples of pigmented oils would be Blue Chamomile or Blue Tansy due to their high chamazulene content.  

Being able to see the product inside the bottle means that a certain level of visible light waves are passing through.

I STORE MY OILS IN DARK PLACES, ISN’T THAT THE SAME THING”?

Photo by: Augustine Wong

Yes and no. While storing your oils in dark cool places is recommended, light can still be exposed in those dark places in limited amounts. In addition, every time you take out your oils for use, you are temporarily exposing your oils to visible light. By using a dark glass bottle, you ensure your oils entirely protected. You can even transport your oils in your purse or pocket without the fear of damaging the volatile constituents.

HOW TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR OILS

To further contribute to the therapeutic life of your essential oils, you should always keep your bottles sealed tight when not in use to avoid as much exposure to oxygen as possible.

It is also important to store your oils in cool temperatures ranging between 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit (refrigeration being ideal), which will slow down the molecular degradation of the volatile compounds.

WHY XINERQI USES UV RESISTANT DARK VIOLET GLASS

At XinerQi, we believe essential oils are an investment, and they should be treated with the intention to last. We go the extra mile to ensure you are getting value in your product, up until the very last drop. It doesn’t matter if you are purchasing a costly ingredient, or you are buying a less expensive botanical, all our products are carefully packaged in handcrafted food grade UV dark glass bottles. Our bottles come with tight sealing and fire treated wooden caps, making your bottles perfectly safe to take anywhere with you.

By following these basic care procedures, your oils will maintain their therapeutic potency longer, meaning more value for you, and long term, more money in your pocket.

SO WHY DOESN’T EVERY COMPANY USE UV RESISTANT DARK VIOLET GLASS?

The answer is simple. It’s not cheap. A standard amber glass bottle imported from China can run for a few pennies on the dollar. This is obviously not the case with UV Violet Glass. One. The demand isn’t as high. And Two. There are far fewer manufacturers who specialize in this type of glass. This is another one of those classic cases of “You get what you pay for”.

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