Lime Essential Oil Possible Skin Issues:
Greener Life Diamond – Bio-Healthy Score => 3 – Possible Skin Issues:
Maximum dermal use level: 0.7% to avoid phototoxicity
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) recommends that Lime oil be limited to 0.7% (about 4 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.
Lime is a small evergreen tree that produces a small, sour fruit very similar to Lemon. The fruits themselves are green in color with a fleshy interior. Historically, limes were used to prevent sailors from developing scurvy.
Lime is indigenous to Asia and is now cultivated in numerous countries like America, West Indies and Italy. This evergreen tree bears white flowers and glittering green fruits. India is the largest Lime oil producing country in the world and Lime was introduced into Europe initially by the Moors and was then spread slowly to America. Lime essential oil is extracted by cold press method from the peel of the fruit.
The leaves of the Lime tree were used in the prehistoric period for treating poisonous bites and swellings. Apart from its medicinal uses, Lime has been used in making pickles, sauces, desserts, jams, confections, sorbets, marmalades, beverages, squashes, perfumes, household cleaners, detergents, soaps, cosmetics and other beauty products.
Lime essential oil has a photosensitizing effect that can cause irritation of the skin, allergic reactions, burning sensation, phytophotodermatitis, hyperpigmentation (change of skin color, visible especially in people with white skin complexion) and certain other effects. The photosensitizing effect can last up to 12 hours after application.
The primary chemical constituent responsible for the photo-carcinogenic, skin sensitizing and other topical effects of the essential oil of Lime is Limonene and certain other furanocoumarins.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives reveals about a skin condition called as phytophotodermatitis, induced by Lime, where a 24-year old nurse came up with red demarcated tender patches and crusted vesicles after squeezing fresh limes and going out in sun on a bright day.
Phytophotodermatitis is defined as a nonimmunologic eruption of the skin that occurs after its contact with phototoxic components in certain plant varieties and is then exposed to ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation through visible sunlight.
Few other studies also witness the effects of photosensitization of Lime and Lime-based products containing psoralens, paving the way for burns, blisters, bullae, eruption, erythematous vesicles, rashes, inflammation and hyperpigmentation. It is also been said that in certain severe cases, systemic toxicity come with the rashes, which includes nausea, vomiting and fever.
Lime oil has also been reported to promote tumors, when tested on rats where most of the papillomas were benign and few were malignant.
The safe dilution level of Lime oil is 0.7%, which is 4.2 drops per ounce of any carrier oils as per the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). This safe dilution level applies only for leave-on products like lotions and creams and is not applicable for wash-away products like soaps, shampoos and other bathing products.
IFRA also suggests that Limonene rich essential oils should only be employed, provided the level of peroxides are set aside to the lowest realistic level, for example: by including antioxidants during production.
Lime oil has ‘Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)’status by FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). As per the European regulatory body, essential oils with furanocoumarins must be used in such a way that the level of bergapten should not go beyond 15ppm (parts per million) in ready to use cosmetic products after which the skin is subjected to exposure of direct sunlight and this does not apply for wash-off products. The level of bergapten should be 1 ppm in bronzing and sun protection products.
For your information, Furocoumarins are also used in healing practices on par with long-wave ultraviolet light therapy for treating vitiligo, psoriasis and mycosis fungoides.
Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Lime Oil:
- Lime-induced Phytophotodermatitis by Dr. Andrew Hankinson, Dr. Benjamin Lloyd and Dr. Richard Alweis, published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives and PubMed
- Citrus aurantifolia, American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition by Zoe Gardner, Michael McGuffin
- 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.
- Safety Information on Essential Oils by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
- Lime oil by Mercola.com
- A Topical Skin Eruption by Dr. Christina Greenaway, published in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and PubMed
Thought for the day:
It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us. -John Ruskin
- Citrus Oils: Composition, Advanced Analytical Techniques, Contaminants, and Biological Activity (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) From CRC Press
- Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
- Growing Citrus: The Essential Gardener’s Guide by Martin Page
- Save Your Life with the Phenomenal Lemon (& Lime!) (Save Your Life!) by Blythe Ayne
- The Lemon & Lime Cookbook by Rick Donker
- Essential Oil Safety, Second Edition by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young
- Lime is Beneficial for Skin and Hair by Namini Wijedasa published in Infolanka.com
- Acne by the American Academy of Dermatology
- In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils by Seenivasan Prabuseenivasan, Manickkam Jayakumar, and Savarimuthu Ignacimuthupublished in BMC Complement Altern Med, PubMed
- Health Benefits of Lime Essential Oil by Organic Facts