With summer fast approaching we have to become aware of the citrus essential oils that can become photosensitizing in the sunlight or UV rays.

One very important essential oil to become aware of in the summer sun is Bergamot essential oil.

F.C.F. grade bergamot oil is obtained by cooling the crude expressed oil, and separating the furocoumarins and other non-volatile residues.

The expressed oil may be yellow to green depending on the maturity of the fruit. The F.C.F. grades tend to be pale yellow to olive green. The fragrance is characteristically fresh and lemony-fruity with a slight balsamic note.  The F.C.F. grade is fresher with a more flowery top note. I have to admit this is one of my favorite oils especially when I mix this with grapefruit in my shower gel which has an unscented base.

PHOTOSENSITIZATION: This problem applies only to the crude expressed oil. If the skin is exposed to the oil even at relatively low levels of use and then followed by exposure to ultra violet radiation, then damage can occur to the epidermis. There are numerous reports dating back to the turn of the century about the adverse effects to the skin of EXPRESSED Bergamot oil.

A mild blotchy pigmentation can occur to long lasting pigmentary changes and skin burns.

Twelve cases of skin reactions following the use of a bronzing lotion containing bergamot were investigated.

Most reactions were erythema and pigmentation, but one case required admission to a burns unit for 4 days

Research- Meyer J. 1970 Bull.Soc. Fr. Dermatol. Syphiligr.77.6.881-4.

The safest is the F.C.F. grade Bergamot oil.   These initials indicate that the natural photosensitizing agents (furocoumarins) have been reduced to safe levels. When this oil is expressed without reducing the furocoumarins it is a very powerful photosensitizing agent and is inadvisable for use on the skin. The ONLY SAFE BERGAMOT IS THE F.C.F.

10 Drops of this essential oil added to 5ml teaspoons of alcohol  such as vodka, can be added  to help shingles. (Do NOT use the EXPRESSED oil for this).

This essential oil is amazing for emotional instability and can be added to a body butter and massaged over the chest area for better inhalation to obtain the effects as mentioned.



Grapefruit expressed NOT Photosensitizing

Lemon expressed Mild Photosensitizer

Lemon Distilled NOT Photosensitizing

Lime oil expressed STRONGLY Photosensitizing

Lime Oil Distilled is safe up to 15% Concentration

Orange (Citrus sinensis) expressed NO Photosensitization up to 8%.

Orange Bitter (Citrus Sinensis) expressed Photosensitizing


1 Cup steeped lavender flowers in hot water, strain out all flowers after 15 minutes using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove all flowers and residue. Only using the lavender tea add it to 100ml aloe vera juice. Put into a spray bottle and cool in the refrigerator. Spray the sunburnt skin as often as possible

Don’t rub the skin, leave the mixture to dry on the skin.


This toxic ingredient is one of the few FDA approved ingredients that provides effective broad spectrum protection from UV radiation. The food and drug administration has approved oxybenzone in sunscreen for use on children older than 6 months. The Environmental Working Group and other toxicology experts believe that oxybenzone  is linked to hormonal disruption and potentially to cell damage that may lead to  skin cancer.