Essential oils have been prized for centuries due to the many positive effects they have on the mind and body. However, the summer is a season in which these oils should be used with care, as some of them are photosensitive and can become unsafe when exposed to sunlight. Here are some tips for using essential oils safely during summer.

What Is Photosensitivity?

Some essential oils, such as citrus, are photosensitive which means that they contain compounds called furanocoumarins which dramatically enhance sensitivity to UV light. In addition to citrus, there are other essential oils which are also photosensitive, which means they should never be applied to the skin before you go outside on a summer day. Examples of such oils include bergamot, lime, tangerine and grapefruit. You should always peruse the labels of the oils you buy to determine which are photosensitive.

There are many types of essential oils on the market, and some brands may not place warnings on the label regarding photosensitivity (although they should). If you come across an oil that you’re not sure about and there is no warning on the label, it may be best to only use it at night until you’re sure.

How Photosensitive Oils Should Be Used

Photosensitive essential oils can still be applied to your skin during summer; you just have to be cautious with when and how you do it. For instance, using these oils at night, in a body wash is a great way to get the benefits without the risk associated with sun exposure. If you do decide to wear the oil while going outside during the day, you will need to cover the area where it has been applied. While this will reduce your chances of reaction, there are some obvious issues you’ll run into.

First, summer is hot and when most people go out they want as little of their bodies covered as possible. This is especially true if you plan on heading to the beach or lake, or plan to engage in any outdoor activities. No matter what, it is best to read the label and follow the instructions and warnings that are described on it.

What To Do If You Experience A Reaction

If you make the mistake of wearing a photosensitive essential oil outside on a summer day you’ll immediately regret it. You will develop a reaction, and you will immediately need to get out of the sunlight and into an area where you can rinse your skin with cool water. The reaction will cause pain, and if it covers a large enough part of your body you will need to seek medical attention.

People enjoy using essential oils. They smell good, feel good, and provide many medicinal benefits. However, photosensitivity is an issue that you’ll have to work around if you intend to continue using them. Educating yourself and researching any products you buy is the best way to keep yourself and your family safe.