Now is the perfect time of year to remind you which essential oils are not to be worn in the sun. You may have heard the term “photosensitive” before, and I will explain the “why” to you for avoiding certain essential oils being applied to our skin if we are in the sunlight.
Two words: Furan Molecule. All clear, right? Hahaha. No, I hear you! Right now, you’re saying, “What in the world does that mean, and what does it have to do with essential oils and the sunshine?”
According to the Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple, “The five-sided furan ring can make a compound phototoxic if no compounds are in the oil to quench it. The furan pentagon acts like a molecular prism, or magnifying glass, that favors the frequencies and wavelengths of ultraviolet light. In other words, the dimensional lengths of a furan ring can resonate with the wavelengths of UV light and amplify that portion of the spectrum. What that means is that if you apply oils with furanoid compounds to your skin and then go out into the sunlight or lie in a tanning booth, it is possible that you could experience a severe sunburn, dermal discoloration, and other skin disorders-some permanent.” To which I always ask, “but why?”
Here’s the simplified version of the above…
Citrus essential oils are made from cold pressing the rind of the fruits. These essential oils contain properties (hint: furan molecule) that make the fruit ripen in the sun. If you put citrus essential oils on your skin and then expose that to the sun, you will ripen… except you are not a citrus fruit. You are a human, and your skin will burn instead of ripening. Understand?
Primary citrus oils (a.k.a. do NOT wear these in the sun):
And blends like Stress Away, Citrus Fresh, Awaken, etc. Read your labels!
Does this mean we cannot use citrus essential oils topically in the summer? Absolutely not! Just apply the essential oils where the sun doesn’t shine. *wink*
Aside from avoiding citrus oils in the sun, an excellent way to support your body’s ability to use the sunshine well is by incorporating vitamin D into your life. Go watch Dr. Jessica’s Video on vitamin D and the sun at the end of this post. Another way to support your body is to ensure that you eat plenty of healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil.
Many Our Essential Life members enjoy a “Sunshine Spray.”
Sunshine Spray Recipe
4 oz glass spray bottle
30 drops Carrot Seed essential oil
20 drops Lavender essential oil
10 drops Frankincense essential oil
10 drops of Peppermint essential oil
Fill the rest with avocado oil. Spray before being in the sunshine and every 30 minutes while in direct sunlight.
If you are looking for more robust protection, use Young Living’s Mineral Sunscreen, containing zinc oxide which provides even greater sun protection.
I also make sure I have an extra bottle on hand of the Young Living’s Lavaderm Cooling Mist to spray anytime I’ve spent extra time in the sun.
It is time to make friends with the Sun and know what oils serve you best and which ones you should leave at home or save for winter (or the body parts that never see sunlight)!