Earlier this week, Dr. Pimple Popper struck down Michelle Phan's claim that essential oils can stop a viral spread in its tracks. Dr. Pimple Popper, aka Dr. Sandra Lee, corrected Phan's pseudoscientific claims, writing simply, "Sorry, antiviral essential oils DON’T EXIST," on her Twitter account. Now Phan is doubling down on her belief in "alternative medicine," in a long message on her Instagram stories, encouraging her followers to "question science." 

Before we get into the story, it goes without saying, but there is zero scientific evidence that essentials oils can prevent the transmission of viruses, or cure viral infections. If that was the case, my sandalwood oil would have knocked out my persistent cold by now, and that definitely hasn't happened. 

Phan was initially contrite on Twitter.

At first, Phan explained that she had no intention of "misleading" anyone, and that a "friend who’s a nurse and into holistic care shared with her friends and family detailed tips that help boost the immune system." 

These "tips" falsely claim that that World Health Organization (WHO) recommends "boosting" the immune system via intaking large quantities of vitamin C to "stop" the spread of the coronavirus. The WHO's guidance on coronavirus prevention does not specify anything about immune system boosting.

But Phan doubled down on her essential oil claims on her Instagram stories.

But on Phan's Instagram Stories, she defended herself in a now-deleted three-part note series. Reddit user u/stellar-child posted the receipts — and Phan continued to to push scientific skepticism, writing that her opinions changed when she tried alternative medicine. She does not explain if it was for an unspecified health condition.

"We don't know everything."

She continued to push anti-science rhetoric, writing that "we don't know everything," and that we should "always question everything in pursuit of the truth," which is correct — except that she's using the language of scientific reason to promote un-scientific conclusions.

"Do you."

Phan defends alternative medicine, including essential oils, crystals, and sound baths, writing that her followers should "do you." Which would be fine — except that Phan neglects to tell her massive following that such treatments are not cleared by the FDA to diagnose, treat, manage, or prevent any medical conditions. 

If essential oils make Phan feel comfy, go for it. But it's irresponsible to imply that oils can prevent anything, especially the deadly coronavirus. Do you know what can prevent the spread of at least one type of virus? The flu shot. Get your flu shot.