Photosensitisation

Expressed C. sinensis essential oil is not normally phototoxic (Tisserand & Balacs 1995), whereas C. amara oil is moderately phototoxic due to its furanocoumarin content, although the risk is considered low unless higher than recommended concentrations are used or more than one potentially phototoxic oil is combined in a blend. The risk may be increased in fair-skinned individuals. Other phototoxic essential Citrus aurantium 274

oils include Citrus bergamia (bergamot) and Citrus iimon (lemon). Sensitivity to

sunlight or UVB light after topical application increases in the first hour after application and declines over the following 8 hours. A general caution is to avoid UV exposure for at least 12 hours after topical application and use a sunscreen during this period. An early study (Zaynoun 1977) (n = 63) showed no significant differences in phototoxic reactions to bergamot oil for eye colour, age, gender or tanning, but smaller amounts of oil produced an effect in light-skinned people. It is not clear whether this also applies to orange essential oil.

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