Ah! The grey skies of winter have finally disappeared, and sunny days are upon us. Before you grab your beach towel, sunglasses, and sunscreen, wait up! If you're looking to defrost in the sunshine, there are a few things you should consider to make sure your skin stays protected. Of course, sunscreen is an important addition to everyone's skincare routine, but have you considered what interactions essential oils may have with the sun?
We all know that essential oils offer a wealth of benefits, from reducing stress and anxiety to improving skin health. Did you know that some essential oils can cause photosensitivity when exposed to the sun? That's right, some essential oils can increase the skin's sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays, resulting in skin redness, irritation, or even sunburn.
Don’t worry though, we're not here to rain on your parade. Here’s what you need to know about sun safety and essential oils.
What is Photosensitivity?
Photosensitivity, also known as sun sensitivity, is a reaction that occurs when certain substances increase the skin's sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. When it comes to essential oils, some of their active compounds can cause photosensitivity, making the skin more prone to UV damage. This may result in skin redness, irritation, or even sunburn. To minimize the risk of photosensitivity, it is recommended to avoid direct sunlight for at least 12 hours after using essential oils that are known to cause sun sensitivity or to protect the skin with protective clothing and a high SPF.
What Essential Oils Cause Photosensitivity?
Although citrus essential oils may seem like a summertime go-to, unfortunately, these zesty-scented oils can cause photosensitivity.
Here are some essential oils that are known to cause photosensitivity:
It is important to note that while these are the most commonly known essential oils to cause photosensitivity, other essential oils may also have similar effects.
Can You Still Use Citrus Oils if Your Skin Will Be Exposed to the Sun?
Yes, you can still use photosensitive citrus essential oils if your skin is going to be exposed to the sun, but it's important to take proper precautions. If you're going to be outside, it's recommended to avoid direct sunlight for at least 12 hours after using the essential oil or to protect your skin with clothing and sunscreen. Additionally, it's important to properly dilute the essential oil before applying it topically to minimize the risk of skin irritation. This includes diluting these essential oils with unscented creams, oils, and lotions.
If you're still concerned about photosensitivity, you may also want to consider using other essential oils that do not cause sun sensitivity or using citrus essential oils in a diffuser or at nighttime when your skin will not be exposed to direct sunlight.
It’s so important to understand the effects of the sun and how to use essential oils safely. By taking precautions and using photosensitive oils with caution, you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils while protecting your skin from damage.