Let's talk oils + photosensitivity. You may have seen some articles floating around facebook with pictures of people with pretty severe burns from using essential oils and then going in the sun all day. Some of the articles are a bit sensational and misleading, and I always want to educate you guys with the TRUTH so that you are equipped to use your oils safely, effectively, and confidently!
It is important to know that some essential oils ARE photosensitive (mainly citrus oils, and blends that contain them). This means that when they are applied topically, they increase our skin's REACTIVITY to the sun's UV rays. If we put Lemon oil neat (undiluted) on our wrists and then go spend time in the sun, there's a good chance that we'll walk away with a severe sunburn. This is not a burn from the oil itself, it is a SUNBURN because the oil made our skin much more reactive to sunlight. The same thing happens if you handle lemon or lime juice and don't wash your hands before going in the sun. Google "margarita burn." This is called phytophotodermatitis.
The good news is that we don't have to stop using our beloved citrus oils in the summer! We can simply apply them at night or somewhere that will be covered by clothing. Even the bottom of our feet! I like to wear them on a diffuser necklace so that I can still smell them without having to apply them to my neck or wrists. You can also dilute them well and apply them where you usually would - just be sure to pay attention to how much sun exposure that spot is getting. If you do apply a photosensitive oil, be sure to avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours.
I made this handy dandy flyer for you to download and print to keep with your oils so that you know which oils to use with caution this summer!
*This list is not comprehensive. Be sure to read your labels (especially blends!) to see if any oils on the list are in them before exposing to sunlight.*