Monday, June 9, 2014

Phototoxicity - What does that mean?

Now that summer is here and the days are longer and the sun is shining more, I wanted to talk a little bit about the safety of using essential oils in the sun. More specifically, which oils create phototoxicity because I want us all to be safe in the sun while using EOs.

What is phototoxicity? 
It is the reaction that occurs when some essential oils on the skin are exposed to UV light - like the sunshine. 

Which common citrus essential oils to avoid?

  • lemon
  • bergamot
  • bitter orange
  • expressed lime
  • sweet orange* (distilled)
  • grapefruit*

Note: you CAN use phototoxic essential oils in body washes because they are rinsed off. This is for anything that stays on the skin. Although, if that skin is not exposed to the sun/UV light, then there's no need to worry. 

Since I'm not a certified aromatherapist, I wanted to share with you three ladies who are and what they have to say about phototoxicity:

Important Note: *You'll notice, if you read the above posts, there is some discrepancy when it comes to grapefruit and sweet orange essential oil. Both Lea Harris and Sharon Falsetto were kind enough to chat with me about this and they both referenced sources backing up their information. Because of this, I'm choosing to avoid both. I encourage you to ask questions and research further when you decide which essential oils to use. 

I also encourage you to always wear sunscreen when outdoors, seek shade between 10 am and 4 pm (as recommended by the CDC) and visit a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. 

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