Photosensitivity or phototoxicity is a skin reaction seen when certain essential oils (usually citrus oils) are exposed to UVA light. Inflammation, reddening or burning of the skin are common photosensitivity. Therefore, it is critical to keep skin that has been exposed to these oils out of the sun or away from UV lamps for 12 hours.
Photosensitive oils include:
Click on any oil in the above list to learn more about it’s uses.
I have actually experienced this first hand. I’ve been using bergamot aromatically to help lift my moods and reduce my anxiety. I place the oil in a personal diffuser necklace. However, after spending Spring Break on my husband’s motorcycle, I was flummoxed as to why only my chest was burned when the rest of my skin was fine. Turns out the oil left residue on the necklace, which spread out to the skin of my chest and encouraged my skin to burn much more quickly. Luckily, I had lavender in roller bottle handy and used that to soothe my skin- and learned to not put bergamot on before leaving for a road trip!
Sources: Adapted from the book Essential Oil Safety.
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*These claims have not be evaluated by the FDA. If you have serious health concerns, consult a doctor- and bring your oils with you! You never know which doctors will be willing to help you take a more natural approach to health care!