How to Safely Use Phototoxic Essential Oils

Lemon, Grapefruit, Lime . . . ahh, sweet, fresh citrus essential oils!

They have such vibrant, zesty energy and smell so good when you diffuse them or use them in topical blends…

But wait! Citrus essential oils are phototoxic! Can you really use them in topical blends?

Yes, absolutely.

“Phototoxic” essential oils can cause skin reactions in sunlight and UV light (such as tanning beds). These reactions are no fun, and some people choose to avoid using citrus essential oils in topical blends altogether just to be on the safe side.

But there’s good news! You can “be on the safe side” and still use citrus essential oils!

First of all, there are some citrus essential oils that don’t cause phototoxic reactions at all. These are:
– Orange (Citrus sinensis)
– Tangerine (Citrus reticulata)

What about the EOs that are phototoxic?

You can still use those in topical blends, as long as you dilute them in carriers appropriately.

Here are the guidelines for each cold-pressed/expressed EO and how many drops you can safely use in 1 oz (30 ml) of carrier.
– Bergamot = 2.4 drops per oz (round down to 2 to be safest)
– Lemon = 12 drops per oz
– Lime = 4.2 drops per oz (round down to 4 to be safest)
– Grapefruit = 24 drops per oz

As long as you stay within the above dilution guidelines, feel free to use these citrus oils in your topical blends. Don’t let the word “phototoxic” make you shy away!

Citrus oils want to inspire happy feelings! They’re wonderful in body oils and lotions, digestion creams, and discomfort relief blends. Simply be mindful of how many drops per oz. you’re using, and you’ll do just fine.

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