Phototoxic Essential Oils

Essential Oils Safety

Phototoxic Oils

Certain essential oils are said to be phototoxic because they contain furanocoumarins. If applied directly to the skin followed by exposure to sunlight or a tanning light, the molecules of these oils amplify the ultraviolet (UV) portion of the spectrum and can cause long-term, even permanent, skin discoloration as well as severe sunburn.  It is recommend to wait up to 18 hours following an application of phototoxic oils to the skin before exposure to sunlight or the UV radiation of a tanning booth.  Applying oils with furanocoumarins after sundown poses no problems then or the next day.  One can go out into sunlight after applying phototoxic oils if the parts of the body receiving the oils are well covered with clothing.
Common essential Oils Considered Phototoxic are:
Angelica . . . . . . . . . . (Angelica archangelica)(0.8%)
Bergamot . . . . . . . . . (Citrus bergamia)(0.4%)
Bitter Orange . . . . . . (Citrus aurantium)(1.25%)
Grapefruit. . . . . . . . . (Citrus paradisi)(4%)
Lemon. . . . . . . . . . . . (Citrus limonum, Citrus x limon)(2%)
Lime (cold pressed) . (Citrus aurantifolia, Citrus aurantifolia)(0.7%)
Rue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(Ruta graveolens, Ruta montana)(0.15%)
Mandarin Leaf. . . . . .(Citrus reticulata, Citrus nobilis) (0.17%),
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