If you are wondering – what is limonene – it is possibly because you have had skincare or patch tests and been told that you are allergic to it or react to it. This is very common. It’s also common for people to believe it is a synthetic ingredient that is added to skincare products. Wrong. It’s all natural.
Limonene is the oil extracted from the peels of citrus fruits, the chemical found in the rind of fruits, such as lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges. It is often used as a natural treatment for a variety of health issues and is a popular ingredient in many household items such as cleaners, laundry liquids, air fresheners and candles. It is a very popular additive in foods, cosmetics, cleaning products, and natural insect repellents; it’s used in foods like fizzy drinks, sweets and puddings to provide a lemony flavour.
It regularly goes hand in hand with linalool in essential oils; you can read my blog all about linalool here.
It’s often referred to as d-limonene, which is its main chemical form. This is how you might see it listed on ingredient labels. Limonene belongs to a group of compounds known as ‘terpenes’, whose strong aromas protect plants by deterring predators.
Limonene is one of the most common terpenes found in nature and may offer several health benefits. It has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-stress, and possibly disease-preventing properties. Due to its strong aroma, limonene is used as a botanical insecticide. It’s an active ingredient in lots of pesticide products, such as eco-friendly insect repellents.
Limonene is available in concentrated supplements in capsule and liquid form which are often marketed for their supposed health benefits.
Limonene has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and heart-disease-fighting properties. It has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers that relate to osteoarthritis, a condition characterised by chronic inflammation. According to various studies, it might also be antioxidant, reduce free radical accumulation and oxidative stress, boost heart health, reduce appetite; the scent has been shown to significantly reduce appetite, decrease stress and anxiety and support healthy digestion.
Be careful: you should never use essential oils directly on the skin without diluting them in a base oil. And even when diluted, essential oils that contain limonene may cause irritation in some people, so caution should be used when handling those oils. Essential oils should not be ingested either; companies who tell you it’s ok to do this are unethical and often have untrained people working for them.
It is very common in essential oils and it’s pretty hard to find a list of oils that don’t contain it, however, here’s a brief summary of a few that you might like the smell of:
angelica seed, benzoin, cedarwood, clove, myrrh, patchouli, sandalwood amyris, spikenard and vetiver
products that do not contain limonene
Here’s a list of my products that do not contain limonene or linalool:
All these are available to purchase on my website, just click on them and see more on the shop page. These are perfect for people with lots of skincare allergies because they are so gentle and pure, as are all LJ products, but these are extra-careful.
Hope you found this helpful. I am running one-to-one workshops on limonene and linalool free skincare products where I teach you about the essential oils you can use and how to make simple products without. The cost is around £40-£50 depending on how many products you’d like to make, and take place at my home in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Do get in touch if you’d like to book in.