Essential Oils That Cause Sun Sensitivity
Sun Sensitivity ~
Essential oils are not always beneficial when applied topically.
Certain oils may cause the skin to become more sensitive to sunlight and can result in the skin resembling sunburn.
This reaction is known as phototoxicity or sun sensitivity and there are certain essential oils that are known to be sensitive when in direct contact with the sun or indeed any UV light.
Yuzu Citrus Fruit
Bergamot Essential Oil
Sun Sensitive Oils ~
- Bitter Orange
- Lemon Verbena
Lime and Orange
Rays of Sunshine
Cold Pressed Oils ~
The “usual suspects” list is dominated by cold pressed citrus essential oils and it is important to know this when using these oils in beauty products, as the saying goes forewarned is forearmed.
I love citrus oils and have used them in different skin products including lip gloss and lip balm recipes successfully so they do not have to be omitted necessarily, just used wisely and sensibly.
The tangy, invigorating and refreshing scents of different citrus fruits and oils are too good not to use.
As a rule these oils should not be used within 12 hours of skin exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays.
Any facial treatments including a face scrub and face mask should be done at night-time.
The citrus oils that are produced by cold pressed extraction are the most likely to react on the skin with extended periods in the sun.
Lemon however, remains phototoxic even after distillation.
Lime, Bitter orange and Bergamot are incredibly phototoxic when undiluted but when they are diluted in small amounts the sun sensitizing effect is virtually negligible.
What is Bergaptene?
- Bergaptene (5-methoxypsoralen) is a chemical which is found in citrus essential oils and the ingredient responsible for causing the sensitivity.
- Oils that have a low percentage of bergaptene (less than 0.000075%) will have less of a reaction such as Sweet Orange Oil which contains 0.00005%.
Did you know about sun sensitizing oils?
Do’s and Don’ts ~
DO avoid suncreams or tanning products with citrus oils in the ingredients.
DO leave it until later in the day or early evening to apply any beauty treatments.
DO use homemade mouthwash recipes using citrus as normal.
DO cover up if venturing into the sun after applying any phototoxic oils.
DON’T use a lemon lip balm for a day at the beach but use it for later on.
DON’T go out in the sun after a massage treatment using any of the sun sensitive oils.
DON’T forget that these oils DO have many therapeutic and skin benefits when used appropriately.
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