What is photosensitivity? Which essential oils are photosensitive?

photosensitive oils
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. You can develop a rash similar to sunburn and even pigmentation on your skin. 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, Grapefruit, and blends that contain these oils such as Young Living’s Peace and Calming. It also includes Angelica.
Check out my Top 5 Photosensitive essential oils video to learn more about which essential oils are photosensitive. Some are more so than others. 

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

Young Living 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.

Some essential oils aren’t photosensitive such as Tangerine, Orange and

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.

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