Lemon Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:
Greener Life Diamond – Bio-Healthy Score => 3 Possible Skin Issues:
Maximum dermal use level: 2% to avoid phototoxicity
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) recommends that Lemon oil be limited to 2% (about 10 drops per ounce of any other carrier oils) for leave-on products like ointments, creams, and lotions used on skin exposed to sunlight. There is no restriction for body washes, shampoos, soaps, and other wash-off products because the oil does not remain on the skin.
Lemon essential oil is among the photosensitizing citrus oils that may cause burning sensation, irritation, hyperpigmentation (discoloration of the skin surface) and other changes due to its effect of stimulating the photosensitivity of the skin, when exposed to visible light from the sun within 12 hours of use. The primary reason is the reaction of the photoactive chemical components that absorbs light and leads to toxicity via molecular alterations in the skin.
The chief chemical component accountable for the skin sensitizing and other dermal effects of Lemon oil is Limonene and few other furanocoumarins.
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Certain studies (like the 1994 study on the ‘Occupation Contact Dermatitis from Citrus fruits’ and a 2006 study on ‘Skin Diseases in Workers at a Perfume factory’) on the adverse skin reactions of using the essential oil of Citrus limon reports few cases, including the incidence of allergic contact dermatitis with the use of Lemon rind oil in the workers of the perfume industry. Patch testing also witnessed certain allergic effects on using Lemon rind oil.
Research reveals that Lemon oil has furocoumarin derivatives like oxypeucedanin and bergapten; however the phototoxic effect of oxypeucedanin was just 1 quarter of that of bergapten. It is also stated that these components are the major cause of concern behind the phototoxicity of Lemon essential oil. This study also states that oxypeucedanin educes photo pigmentation on the skin of colored-guinea-pig prior to visible erythema.
It is also stated that the quantity of these 2 phototoxic components in Lemon oils from various countries differed by about a factor greater than 20 (bergapten, 4-87 ppm; oxypeucedanin, 26-728 ppm (parts per million), with a wavering ratio.
The safe dilution use level of Lemon oil, a potential phototoxic essential oil is 2%, which is about 12 drops per ounce of any carrier oils, according to the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). This applies only for products employed for dermal use to prevent phototoxicity and is not valid for wash-off items like shampoos, soaps and other bath products.
Lemon oil has ‘Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)’authorization by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). As per the European decree, essential oils containing furanocoumarins can be used provided the aggregate level of bergapten does not exceed 15 ppm in cosmetic products that are ready-to-use on the skin, which is prone to be exposed to direct sunlight sans wash-away items and 1 ppm in bronzing and sunscreen products.
On a lighter note, Furocoumarins are also used in remedial practices along with long-wave ultraviolet light therapy for treating psoriasis, mycosis fungoides and vitiligo.
Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Lemon Oil:
- A study of the phototoxicity of lemon oil by Naganuma M, Hirose S and Nakayama Y, Nakajima K and Someya T, published in the Archives of Dermatological Research and PubMed
- Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
- Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed.
- Citrus limon, American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition by Zoe Gardner, Michael McGuffin
- Lemon oil side effects by WebMD
- Safety Information on Essential Oils by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
Thought for the day:
When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.
– Dale Carnegie
- HEALING POWERS OF LEMON OIL (The Aromatherapy Professional: Healing with Essential Oils) by KG Stiles
- Lemon: 50 Plus Recipes for Skin Care, Hair Care, Home and Laundry Cleaning along with Lemonade, Vegan, Curd, Chicken, Cookies, Cakes and Desserts by Pamesh Y
- How to Use Lemon Essential Oil (Aromatherapy) by Miriam Kinai
- Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
- Essential Oil Safety, Second Edition by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young
- 35 Health Benefits of Lemon – Ayurveda Details by Dr JV Hebbar MD (Ayu) in Easy Ayurveda
- Lemon by Wikipedia
- Health Benefits of Lemon Essential Oil by Alternative Medicine, About.Com
- The Benefits of Lemon Oil on Skin by Livestrong.Com