Sun sensitivity and essential oils What phototoxicIty means and how it applies to your essential oil usage

Sun sensitivity or otherwise known as photosensitization occurs when an agent, in our case certain essential oils, are used and they cause the skin to be more sensitive to sunlight, any ultra violet light.

The oils themselves do not cause skin sensitivity, but when applied and the skin is exposed to the UV light, sun sensitivity may occur. So, if a phototxic oil is used during a massage it is best to not suntan for at least 12 hours. You may be asking, "what causes this?". Good question! The main oils that are photosensitive come from the citrus family; the agent causing this sensitivity is the bergaptene which is found in these oils. Oils like bergamot, lime and some oranges are severely phototoxic when undiluted. So please, be cautious, be safe and by all means DO NOT add it to your tanning lotions as it WILL NOT help you tan faster! It will cause burning and/or skin damage when exposed to the sun.

  • Oils that may cause skin sensitivity are as follows
  • Bergamot
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Tangerine

UV light promotes free radicals; amber bottles are the best way to keep UV light out! For the safety of our customers we label our single oils and oil blend bottles that are photosensitive with a warning.

I would suggest that when in doubt, exercise caution and consider that all expressed citrus oils could be phototoxic. Keep in mind that as phototoxicIty is a reaction that takes place between the skin and the phototoxicIty component in the oil, inhalation of the oil doesn't usually have the same reaction.

If you have any further questions please feel free to message me or email me!

Created By
Nikki Waliser

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