Photosensitive essential oils

Photosensitive Essential Oils

The sunny days of spring are finally here!  Spring and summer are definitely two of my favorite times of the year.  As we go into these sunny seasons, it is important to know that there are many essential oils that you do not want to use on exposed skin before going outdoors.  In this post I will give you all the essential oil singles and blends that are photosensitive and the precautionary measures to take when using these oils in the sunny months ahead.

What is Photosensitivity

Photosensitivity as it relates to essential oils means that the particular oil, if applied to the skin before going into direct sunlight, could cause a discoloration or even a mild skin irritation.  I have made this mistake once using Joy.  I applied a little to my sons chest and completely forgot as we went out to the lake for a few hours.  His skin in that area had a slight discoloration that went away eventually, but it was about 4-6 weeks.  There was no skin irritation or anything but I honestly could not believe I made that mistake.  Sleep deprivation was to blame on this day.  🙁  We just need to remember we have to take the extra precaution with some essential oils during the summer months when we spend a lot more time outside.

How to use with Caution

If you want to use an oil that is considered photosensitive, make sure you avoid exposing the area where you applied the oil to direct sunlight or UV rays for a minimum of 12 hours.  The amount of time in which direct sunlight and UV rays should be avoided will vary from 12-24 hours with each oil.  Always check the individual bottle directions before application for usage and safety guidelines. Applying them at night is always a good idea.  You could even apply to areas that you know will be covered by adequate clothing and not be exposed to sunlight.

Essential oils are absorbed into the skin very quickly. Unfortunately, no action, including washing the area of application with soap and water, will reduce the possibility of a photosensitive reaction. To ensure a reaction does not occur, please avoid direct sunlight or UV rays for the amount of time specified on the product label.

 Photosensitive essential oils


Photosensitive Single Oils

  • Angelica
  • Bergamot*
  • Dill
  • Grapefruit
  • Jade Lemon
  • Ledum
  • Lemon*
  • Lime*
  • Orange*
  • Tangerine

Please Note:  (*) Noted above and in the following sentence is for extreme photosensitive oils.  Some reference books also lists Cumin* and Ginger as possible photosensitive oils.

Photosensitive Oil Blends

  • Abundance
  • AromaSleep
  • Build Your Dream*
  • Christmas Spirit
  • Citrus Fresh*
  • Clarity*
  • Common Sense*
  • Dream Catcher
  • GeneYus*
  • Gentle Baby
  • GLF
  • Harmony
  • Inner Child
  • Inner Harmony
  • Into the Future
  • InTouch
  • Joy*
  • JuvaCleanse
  • Lady Sclareol
  • Live with Passion
  • Longevity
  • Oola Balance*
  • Oola Grow*
  • Peace & Calming
  • Raven
  • Reconnect*
  • SleepyIze*
  • Slique Essence
  • Stress Away
  • Surrender
  • Thieves
  • Transformation
  • TummyGize
  • White Angelica*

Please Note:  (*) Noted above and in the following sentence is for extreme photosensitive blends.  Some reference guides also list Animal Scents T-Away*, RutaVala*, Shutran*, T.R. Care*, as possible extreme photosensitive oil blends.

Photosensitive Massage Oils

  • Cel-Lite Magic
  • Relaxation

Other possible photosensitive oils

I wanted to also list out a few other oils that neither Young Living nor reference materials have listed as photosensitive.  I wanted to list them out because they DO HAVE at least one photosensitive oil in them.  I would probably just be aware and use with caution, if you use them on areas that would be exposed to the sun.

  • Awaken
  • Deep Relief
  • Envision
  • Grounding
  • Progessence Plus
  • SARA

Products with essential oils

The other Young Living products that contain essential oils do not typically have photosensitive concerns due to the lower concentrations of essential oils in the products.

I hope having this information helps empower you to use your essential oils with confidence.  Get out there and get your daily dose of Vitamin D this spring and summer…while still enjoying your oils! 🙂





Information Sources:  The primary lists were obtain from Young Living and then additional noted information from reference materials on essential oils.


Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Products and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Read the full disclaimer here.