Can essential oils cause photo-sensitivity?

Friday, 25 October 2013

I am a qualified health and skincare therapist. One of the main things we were taught in skincare was that essential oils have many benefits, but should not be applied to the facial skin as most of them cause photo-sensitivity. Most medical products do not use an excessive amount of essential oils, but many smaller brands focus most of their product ingredients on essential oils. What is your opinion on this?

Essential Oils

Oh what a great question… and yet quite a controversial one! A lot of essential oils can cause photo-sensitivity, and I feel should therefore not be applied during the day (to the face). But you are quite right, there are quite a few brands that load their products with essential oils and that puts at risk any patients who are prone to pigmentation and skin sensitivity.  I don’t see any issue with using essential oils at night, provided you cleanse your skin in the morning and wear a very good facial SPF every single day. To be perfectly honest with you, it also very much depends on the technology behind the product. If you are buying a product off a supermarket or pharmacy shelf that is loaded with essential oils for use on your face, I would be very cautious of that product. If you are using a cosmeceutical that has to be purchased from a medical aesthetic clinic, then there is a good reason why there is a specific oil is in that product and it has almost certainly been formulated accordingly to protect the patient’s skin. For example, the Lamelle Clarity Range has a bit of tea tree in the product, but it has been very safely formulated and the amount that is in the product is not going to give you any issues at all.

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Written by

Dr Maureen Allem is a GP with a special interest in Aesthetic procedures and Integrative Anti-Ageing Medicine. She is also the founder and Medical Director of national group Skin, Body and Health Renewal and Oasis Spas, with 17 centres and four Oasis spas across South Africa's major cities in Johannesburg, Pretoria, the Western Cape and KZN. Anti-ageing treatments include non-surgical, anti-aging procedures, cellulite and weight loss programmes as well as body sculpting procedures. The ultimate aim of all consultations is to provide optimal health and to restore aesthetic beauty. Health Renewal appointments involves an hour long extensive medical consultation which includes hormonal balancing, nutraceutical supplements, intravenous support and detoxification treatments. Dr Maureen has seventeen Doctors working with her using the same techniques she has spent years honing. Dr Maureen frequently travels overseas to World Anti-Ageing Congresses and Laser Forums to stay abreast of the most up-to-date non-surgical procedures.

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  1. Sammy

    I also heard applying at night is better so your skin looks great the next day.

    6 years ago •

  1. NaturalDiva

    Everyone that has ever sold me anything with essential oils has told me it’s best to use the product at night rather than during the day.

    6 years ago •

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