Which essential oils are photosensitive?

which essential oils are photosensitive young living
As an aromatherapist, some mummas have asked me, “Kim, which essential oils are photosensitive?”
Great question!
You see, when you’re using essential oils, especially with your kids, it’s SO important to use them safely. Of course, essential oils – from Young Living at least – are super-pure and all-natural. But you still need to use them correctly. And the fact is that a few essential oils can make your skin photosensitive.
Photosensitive basically means a sensitivity to light in this case the light from the sun. Have you ever put lemon juice on your hair to make it go lighter? Well, using essential oils on your skin and then going out in the sun can cause much the same thing. The results will vary from person to person. For some people this might mean developing a rash similar to sunburn. Other may even experience some pigmentation of their skin.

So, which essential oils are photosensitive?

This is why it’s important to know which essential oils have the potential to cause photosensitivity.
Some essential oils contain natural molecules called furanocoumarins (FCs) that react with sunlight (UV light) and cause a sensitivity reaction. These are mostly citrus oils like Lemon, LimeBergamot, and Grapefruit.
Blend that contain these oils may also cause some photosensitivity. This includes Young Living blends such as Peace and Calming and Angelica.
For more information about this, you should check out our Top 5 Photosensitive essential oils video to learn more about which essential oils are photosensitive. Some are more so than others. 
YouTube player

Do I need to worry about time in the sun after applying photosensitive oils?

The short answer is yes! The good news is that Young Living bottle labels have a warning for all essential oils that carry this risk, including a recommendation to avoid sun and UV rays for 12–48 hours.

Not all citrus essential oils are photosensitive – for example, Tangerine and Orange.

Young Living formulates its beauty and cosmetic products to remove sun-sensitizing agents to reduce the risk of sun sensitivity.

What is the dilution ratio for photosensitivity?

When applying essential oils topically or using them in products you will be applying to your skin, make sure you dilute photosensitive essential oils using the correct ratios listed below.

Essential Oil/Expressed Oil% dilutionNumber of Drops per 30ml carrier oil
Bergamot (cold pressed)0.4%2.4
Lime (cold pressed)0.7%4.2
Lemon (cold pressed)2%12
Grapefruit (cold pressed)4%24

Source: Tisserand, R. and Young, R. (2014). Essential Oil Safety (2nd ed.). London: Elsevier.

And if you want the recipe for my choc orange lip balm that I talk about in my video, then head over to my Mother’s Day gifts post for the recipe.

Love it? Share it!

P.S. You might also be interested in

Laugh and learn as Kim & Jeremy bring you the best essential oil info on Youtube.