It is time for some essential oil safety information. The summer is just around the corner and we will be spending a lot of time outside in the sun. I’ve seen some nasty burns from people who have used a citrus essential oil on their skin then gone out for a day in the sun or in a tanning bed. I want to be sure we all know about using citrus essential oils safely, so here we go. Let’s get our learn on!
What is photosensitization?
Photosensitization, or phototoxicity, as it is also called, is a skin reaction caused by exposure to sunlight or other ultraviolet light. It can cause increased pigmentation and redness to the skin. Some essential oils absorb more energy from ultraviolet light than the skin does. These oils are photosensitizers and can only cause photosensitization when exposed to the sun or other ultraviolet light. The photosensitizing oils need to be applied to the skin prior to exposure to ultraviolet light in order to produce the phototoxic reaction. Photosensitizing oils should not be exposed to the sun for at least 12 hours after applied to the skin
What are photosenstising oil?
Essential oils are considered photosenstising when they contain either bergaptene or 5 methoxypsolaren at concentrations in excess of 0.000075%. Sound small doesn’t it?
If the concentration of either of these two components in an oil or product is below 0.000075% then the substance is considered to be safe for use prior to sun exposure. If it is over this level then photosensitisation can occur.
Essential oils that may cause photosensitization
***ALWAYS BE SURE TO LOOK AT THE LIST OF OILS USED IN BLENDS AND CHECK FOR PHOTOTOXIC OILS!!!***
As you can see, the phototoxic oils themselves are not causing any reaction when applied to the skin without exposure to ultraviolet light. So, make sure that the essential oils are not applied before exposure to ultraviolet light and that you dilute the essential oils properly.
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