Bergamot essential oil, derived from the aromatic peel of the Citrus bergamia fruit, is celebrated for its numerous health benefits and versatile applications. From promoting relaxation to supporting skin health, bergamot oil is a popular choice in aromatherapy and natural skincare. However, like any potent essential oil, bergamot oil can have side effects and precautions that should be taken into consideration. Let's explore the potential side effects of bergamot essential oil and how to use it safely.


One of the most well-known side effects of bergamot essential oil is its photosensitizing properties. Bergamot oil contains compounds called furocoumarins, which can increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight. When applied topically and exposed to UV rays, bergamot oil can cause phototoxic reactions, including sunburn, blistering, and skin discoloration. To avoid photosensitivity, it is essential to dilute bergamot oil properly and avoid sun exposure for at least 12 hours after application.

Skin Irritation

Undiluted bergamot essential oil may cause skin irritation, especially in individuals with sensitive or allergic skin. Direct contact with the skin can lead to redness, itching, and inflammation, particularly if applied in high concentrations or to broken or damaged skin. To minimize the risk of skin irritation, always dilute bergamot oil with a carrier oil before applying it to the skin and perform a patch test on a small area before widespread use.

Allergic Reactions

While bergamot essential oil is generally well-tolerated by most individuals, allergic reactions can occur in some people, particularly those with citrus allergies or sensitivities. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to bergamot oil may include itching, swelling, hives, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any signs of an allergic reaction after using bergamot oil, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.

Interaction with Medications

Bergamot essential oil contains compounds known as furanocoumarins, which can inhibit certain enzymes in the body involved in drug metabolism. As a result, bergamot oil may interact with medications metabolized by these enzymes, leading to potential side effects or reduced effectiveness of the medication. If you are taking any medications, particularly those metabolized by the liver, consult with a healthcare professional before using bergamot oil.

Pregnancy and Nursing

Pregnant and nursing women should exercise caution when using bergamot essential oil, as its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been well-studied. While bergamot oil is generally considered safe for use in aromatherapy and diluted topical applications, it is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before using any essential oils during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.