I had a fellow Lemon Drop friend post this on her wall so I took the opportunity to ask Dr. Cole Woolley why exactly pure essential oils don't expire, here's what he said.
Pure, from the ground, plants distilled into oil DO NOT expire and can last for centuries. Essential oil is not a perishable item. If oils come from plants (as long as they are contained) they maintain bio-activity, safety, and efficacy. They don’t grow mold, yeast, or mildew because they don’t contain water and have antimicrobial, anti-viral properties.
Young Living has a date stamp on every label; yr/m/d. They stamp when the product is bottled and can trace back to a particular batch of essential oil (through the seed to seal process) with that stamp. (Read about the seed to seal process here.)
Not even heat up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit can affect the molecular properties of the oils. That much heat or below will only affect the rapidity of the evaporation process. Evaporation does not affect its molecular properties, it will only affect the volume. In a pure oil, the monoterpenes are going to evaporate first (because they are lighter molecules), and the sesquiterpenes will remain. When a person leaves a bottle open and oil has evaporated slightly, it was the monoterpenes evaporating. They’ll even evaporate slowly through the plastic caps and leave the sesquiterpenes behind. But that’s ok, the sesquiterpenes are the powerhouse of the oil. They’re the bioactive power of the oil.
Essential oils have been unearthed in jars in Egypt and were still usable and sesquiterpene rich. Dr. Woolley found frankincense resin in the sands of Oman and there was still oil in the resin even after 65+ years of being buried. Resin itself can stay in the Omani market for 5-10 years and still maintain its properties.
Most other companies use a 3 year expiration date, 3 years from the oil being bottled. Yet, an expiration date for oils is not required in the US but only in Austria and very few other countries. It's not required so why put it on? It would seem that other companies may have a concern with their oils. What are the chemicals in their oils that only allows them to last for only 3 years? Is their oil reactive, is it stable? Is there something in them that makes them unstable? So why the expiration date on something that doesn't, or rather shouldn't expire? Why would their oils go bad?
It's interesting to think about and definitely something to consider when purchasing oils. Phil and I use YL's oils for a reason, not just because we think they're cool but when we know the behind the scene process of how Young Living grows and sources their oils there's just no other oil that can compare.