Essential Oil Phototoxicity

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It is vitally important for us all to know we cannot use certain essential oils topically in strong direct sunlight, no matter how properly diluted they are.

This is because certain essential oils are phototoxic, which means they can cause severe burns by promoting photo-sensitivity, (sensitivity to the sun), within the user.

Phototoxic essential oils cause photo-sensitivity if they are applied during sun exposure or before using a tanning bed.

Learn how to use essential oils safely :: Using Essential Oils

Phototoxic Essential Oils Are In Many Skincare Products

Many of the Citrus Essential Oils are phototoxic, which is more than a little horrifying when we think how regularly citrus fragrances are used to perfume facial skincare products, body creams and scrubs, shampoos, shower gels and even sun tanning oils etc.

Many fragrance oils used in the cosmetic industry to create alluringly scented products are simply, but tragically, adulterated essential oils.

(Essential Oil adulteration is a hugely common practice, which strips beautiful essential oils of their healing potential often rendering the remaining ‘fragrance oil’ horribly toxic to all living beings. That includes you, your children, your partner, your pets and your household plants, and your garden, etc…)

So, that means these adulterated essential oils are not only phototoxic, they are broadly toxic in every respect.

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Many People Are Harmed

It’s not only invasive procedures, like cosmetic surgery and injections which leave so many people scarred for life.

There’s a lot of formulations which use adulterated essential oils and unsafe chemical compounds which are potentially very harmful, sometimes immediately, but almost certainly over time, owing to the accumulative effects…

A shocking number of people are harmed by their skincare products each year. Unfortunately, suppurating facial wounds, and the attendant vicious scarring, rarely, if ever, hit the headlines… but the internet is awash with stories of extreme skin reactions to cosmetic and skincare products…

Just do a search for things like “worst burns caused by cosmetic & skincare products”, and you’ll be shocked by the results. This search term delivered research papers into the chemicals used in most sunscreens, which are harmful to everyone. It also delivered this…

Student is rushed to hospital with chemical BURNS and oozing blisters after trying a cult £4.20 skincare product to brighten her complexion.

Shockingly, the person in question was using a product by The Ordinary, which is a company which trades on the simplicity of it’s products. The Ordinary is a cleverly branded skincare range which creates the impression of simplicity, affordability and effectiveness to consumers…

Sadly there’s a rule of thumb in skincare… that is… the cheaper it is the more guarantees you have it’s doing you harm. But, please note, there’s some seriously toxic high-end skincare products too… and, of course, there’s some clean ones as well. The major difference between low and high end products is that at the low end of the scale there are NO clean skincare products… and some are even carcinogenic!

Mix the wording of your search up a little to find even more horrifying tales of skincare products causing skin harm! Clearly, the term skincare has become an oxymoron for many!

Further Reading:

Which Essential Oils Are Phototoxic?

The following essential oils are some of the most commonly used phototoxic essential oils:

Because Citrus Essential Oils are some of the most popular skincare (and weight loss) essential oils, the essential oil industry has taken steps to render the most popular phototoxic essential oil as benign as possible.

Bergamot FCF Essential Oil has had the constituent which makes it phototoxic removed. This means Bergamot FCF Essential Oil is as non-toxic as non-phototoxic essential oils.

The toxic constituent in Bergamot FCF Essential Oil is Bergaptene, aka as Furocoumarin.

Bergamot FCF Essential Oil is one of the leading anti-anxiety essential oils with a lot of skincare benefits, so the removal of the phototoxic element within this essential oil has been an important achievement for many people.

Bergamot FCF Aromatherapy Oil is the ‘go-to’ essential oil for PTSD.

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Non-Phototoxic Aromatherapy Oils

  • Bergamot FCF Essential Oil (Citrus bergamia)
  • Mandarin (Red) Essential Oil (Citrus nobilis)
  • Orange (Sweet) Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis)
  • Orange (Blood) Essential Oil (Citrus x sinensis)   
  • Tangerine Essential Oil (Citrus reticulata)

*When Lime Essential Oil is steam distilled, as opposed to cold pressed, it is not phototoxic. However, steam distilling Lime Essential Oil removes some of the healing constituents.

Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil Is Truly Exceptional!

Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil is NOT phototoxic, and it really is an exceptional essential oil in every respect.

Wild As The Wind uses Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil in a number of very well loved products.

–> Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil is in the biggest selling Wild As The Wind product :: FACIAL OIL No. 2

–> It is also in Frankincense & St John’s Preparation, due to it’s powerful anti-oxidant action.

–> It is also in the most popular Wild As the Wind Bath & Body Oil.

Wild As The Wind Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil is over 90% D-Limonene, making the concentration of this potently healing constituent slightly higher within Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil than even Organic Lemon Essential Oil, after which this constituent is named.

D-Limonene has been conclusively proven to be anti-tumour in many peer-reviewed scientific trials.

d-limonene exhibits antitumor activity by inducing autophagy and apoptosis in lung cancers… d-limonene is a plant extract with widespread application, and it has been recently reported to have antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects on cancer cells. 

US Government Medical Information Website

*Sometimes Cancer is the body’s response to hyper-toxicity. Hyper-toxic states overwhelm the body, leading to excessive, rapid cell death. In an attempt to keep us alive, our body turns off the natural process of apoptosis, (natural cell death), which often ultimately leads to the creation of cancer if the source of toxicity is not eliminated.

Cancer can also be caused by mould / fungus / mycotoxicity.

Skin Health

Apoptosis simply means natural cell death within our bodies. This is a process which ensures tired cells can be replaced by new, vibrant ones.

It is the high turn-over of facial skin cells which keep us looking younger… and, it’s why Wild As The Wind recommends using a gently exfoliating Muslin Cloth or UK Handmade Cotton Makeup Pad for exfoliation several times a week.

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Photo-Sensitivity Explained

When we are suffering from phototoxicity, or photo-sensitivity this means direct sun exposure is toxic to us.

Thankfully, the period of phototoxicity / photo-sensitivity after using properly diluted topical citrus essential oils is short lived.

The general consensus with regards the period of time a person should wait before exposing themselves to direct sunlight, after applying a phototoxic oil, is 12 to 18 hours.

However, if a phototoxic reaction is triggered, through exposure to the sun before it is safe, the phototoxic reaction can continue for up to 36 hours after sun exposure has ended.

Non-Citrus Phototoxic Essential Oils

There’s a few non-citrus phototoxic essential oils, but most of them are not very commonly known.

Because Wild As The Wind stocks a really diverse range of essential oils some of the essential oils on this rather obscure list of photooxic essential oils are available within pour range, hence the need to mention them here.

  • Angelica Root Essential Oil
  • Cumin Essential Oil
  • Lemon Verbena Essential Oil
  • Fig Leaf Essential Oil
  • Opopanax Essential Oil
  • Rue Essential Oil
  • Tagetes Essential Oil

There’s a couple of essential oils on this list which Wild As The Wind doesn’t carry. This is mainly because of the cost, and because other, more affordable essential oils provide the same, if not more, healing power.

Don’t Let Essential Oil Phototoxicity Put You Off!

Citrus Essential Oils are profoundly healing so it would be folly to allow fears around photo-sensitivity to put you off using them. We just need to be a little more thoughtful and careful when using them.

Using Citrus Essential Oils in the UK is a lot less of an issue to those living in hotter, more sunny parts of the world.

It’s only in the summer in the UK we need to pay special attention, and even then, on a cool or rainy day we don’t have much to worry about in he UK if we we opt to go outside for a little while.

If in doubt, use an umbrella! Now, there’s not too many of us in the UK who don’t have one of those!

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The information provided is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider. This information is not meant for the diagnosis of health issues. If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils or associated products. If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.

Deepen your knowledge by using the Wild As The Wind Recommended Resources

Another resource you may find useful can be found by following the link below. *Please note, I use sources from the Recommended Resources list as well as sources from the Healthcare and Skincare Information Sources list when researching articles for the Wild As The Wind Blog.

Best Healthcare and Skincare Information Sources.

Wild As The Wind use a number of resources when deciding which essential oil formulas to put together for optimal healing and efficacy, as well as to support any health claims we may make.

We use the industry ‘bible’ on essential oil safety: Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals [2nd Edition] by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, to establish the safety of the Wild As The Wind formulations.

We owe a particular debt to GreenMedInfo, and, of course, the teachings of Penny Price and Patricia Davis.

Many of the scientific studies used to inform the claims made on this website are via GreenMedInfo, as well as via Dr. Josh Axe, Ty Bollinger on the Truth About Cancer website as well as, on the odd occasion, Dr. Eric Zielinski

Other resources include:

  • PubMed
  • WebMD
  • Robert Tisserand
  • Dr. Robert Pappas
  • Dr. Mercola
  • AromaWeb

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