Essential oils are very safe to use for health and beauty, and, when used correctly, are much safer than Western pharmaceuticals made of concentrated, isolated therapeutic compounds. Yet, as even too much spinach can be detrimental, an appropriate dose is the key to enjoying the many benefits of essential oils while avoiding the few possible negative effects. Although essential oil use often falls under the same general umbrella with other natural supplements and remedies such as herbs and hydrosols, essential oils are chemically different and require their own set of safety recommendations. Source: Herbal Academy of New England
Reactions to sun exposure using some essential oils can be severe, and sometimes irreversible. Some signs are severe sunburn, blistering, edema (swelling), or changes in color to your skin. These reactions can happen up to 48 hours after sun exposure.
Phototoxic essential oils that are child-safe, along with the # of drops allowed per ounce of carrier oil before it will cause a phototoxic reaction:
- Bergamot – 1
- Lime (cold-pressed) – 4
- Orange, Bitter – 8
- Lemon (cold-pressed) – 12
- Grapefruit – 24
Sweet Orange, Tangerine, and Mandarin are not phototoxic. Neither are steam-distilled Lemon or Lime, or furanocoumarin-free Bergamot. For more information, read more here.
NOTE: essential oils applied to areas not exposed to the sun should not present a risk. That said, some summer clothing is very thin and might cause a reaction under intense sunlight. Source: Herbal Academy of New England.