- Amid fears about the Wuhan coronavirus, Dr. Sandra Lee, known as Dr. Pimple Popper, shut down a claim on the beauty guru Michelle Phan Instagram Story that “antiviral” essential oils could kill off viruses.
- Phan had posted a picture of her essential-oil diffuser with the caption “If you are burning antiviral essential oils around you this will kill off the virus before it enters your system.”
- On Sunday, Lee tweeted a screenshot of Phan’s Instagram Story and wrote, “Sorry, antiviral essential oils DON’T EXIST.” Phan responded that her intention “wasn’t to mislead.”
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Dr. Pimple Popper on Sunday shut down a claim from the beauty guru Michelle Phan that essential oils could kill off viruses.
Phan, a beauty YouTuber with more than 2 million Instagram followers, had posted an Instagram Story that instructed followers to burn “antiviral” tea tree, lavender, clove bud, lemon, ravensara, and eucalyptus globulus oils.
She posted a picture of her essential-oil diffuser with the caption “Our first point of contact for viruses is our nose. If you are burning antiviral essential oils around you this will kill off the virus before it enters your system.”
Dr. Sandra Lee, the doctor behind the hit TLC show “Dr. Pimple Popper,” tweeted a screenshot of Phan’s Story and wrote, “Sorry, antiviral essential oils DON’T EXIST.”
— Dr Pimple Popper (@SandraLeeMD) February 3, 2020
Science doesn’t back up Phan’s Instagram Story. Essential oils are a rapidly growing industry, and about a third of respondents in an Insider poll last year said they believe the oils have health benefits. But the evidence that essential oils have uses beyond smelling nice is flimsy at best.
Phan told Lee on Monday that a friend, a nurse who’s “into holistic care,” shared the essential-oil tip with her.
“I reshared,” Phan wrote in a tweet with a screenshot of other tips. “My intention wasn’t to mislead, but thank you for enlightening me.”
My friend who’s a nurse and into holistic care shared with her friends and family detailed tips that help boost the immune system. I reshared. My intention wasn’t to mislead, but thank you for enlightening me.
— ???? (@MichellePhan) February 3, 2020
Some of Phan’s followers admonished her, accusing her of spreading misinformation and continuing to tweet tips that may not be grounded in scientific preventative-care advice.
To prevent the spread of viruses, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands regularly, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoiding close contact with sick people, regularly disinfecting items that could be contaminated (like your phone), and staying home from work or school if you feel sick.
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