If you do a quick search in Google for the term limonene, you’re going to see a number of different results populate. Hundreds of people are searching for this ingredient on a regular basis. They’re searching to determine what limonene is used for, whether or not it’s toxic, the benefits of using it, and if there are any hazards associated with this. If you’re curious to learn about the ingredient, then fantastic! You’re actually more proactive than most people today so it seems. If you’re using any skin care products, then you need to read this to better understand what it means and what it can do for you or what harm it may cause you.


Facts About Limonene

Before I get into limonene, I want to cover some of the basics. As you may or may not know, many personal care products, cosmetics, cleaning products, and pharmaceutical products have a fresh, pleasant citrusy smell. This citrusy scent is commonly achieved by adding limonene to the blend and/or formula. Limonene is a natural ingredient usually found in lots of citrus fruits. If you keep reading you will quickly understand the origin, use, and effects of limonene in skin care products today.

The Origin Of Limonene

Here’s what you need to know about this ingredient and where it comes from. Limonene is found in all citrus fruits, mainly the oils of the citrus fruit peels like lemon, orange, mandarin, lime, and grapefruit. If you guessed that the name is derived from the peel of a citrus lemon, then you’d be spot on. This ingredient/compound is found in many other plants and is one of the most common terpenes found in nature to date.

In fact, it comes in two forms, but the d-limonene is the form that has the citrusy scent and is used most frequently in various applications. D-limonene is a colorless liquid and it’s classified as a cyclic monoterpene. This ingredient has in fact been a very beneficial ingredient for many given the effects it has on one’s skin and health.

Today, limonene used in products manufactured and sold throughout the cosmetics industry. This is either produced via centrifugal separation or steam distillation of citrus fruit peels.

Using The Ingredient

The main use of the limonene in the personal care products and the cosmetics products is to simply provide a nice, fresh, light, and citrus-like fragrance. I’d also like to add that this ingredient is also commonly used because of its enhancing abilities and subtle anti-inflammatory effects on the skin.

Limonene’s use as a fragrance ingredient is self-explanatory. The fresh scent is good for the senses, awakening calming feelings and other calm thoughts. Limonene can enhance the penetrating abilities of other ingredients as well. This also acts as a carrier ingredient that helps the delivery of other beneficial ingredients past what’s known as the epithelial barrier. Some ingredients that can’t pass through the skin on their own can penetrate with the help of limonene. Let that settle in for a second.

The Effects Of Using This

The addition of limonene in skin care products may increase the anti-inflammatory effects of the products which they’ve been added. Inflammation is accompanied by angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels). Limonene has inhibiting effects on angiogenesis, effectively reducing inflammation and promoting the healing of wounds. This makes for increased comfort based on what I’ve learned during my research.

You’ll also want to know that this is found in many essential oils, especially in orange peel oil and lemon oil. Both of these essential oils mentioned are known for their nourishing and anti-inflammatory effects on skin and even their use as tumor blocking agents. While I cannot state what the effectiveness is exactly it seems like it might be a good ingredient for those dealing with inflammation issues.

Another effect that limonene has is for certain connected to antioxidants and having antioxidant properties. The ingredient can neutralize all those free radicals that build up in the skin. Fighting/neutralizing those free radicals prevent damage before they affect the skin. Oxidation damage shows up on the skin as dark spots, uneven skin tone, wrinkles, lines and tired, dull-looking skin. By eating foods rich in antioxidants and using the appropriate products, one can reverse the damage and prolong the aging process.


Limonene is listed as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe), which means that there are precisely measured quantities that should be used as additives in foods and cosmetics.

The d-limonene can cause contact dermatitis, redness, and irritation of the skin in people prone to skin allergies. In most of the other applications, limonene is safe to use and does not cause any adverse effects. It actually has beneficial effects when it comes to wound healing and may even have chemotherapeutic properties. You’ll need to do further research to confirm that statement.


Limonene, or more precisely d-limonene is a very common natural terpene found primarily in citrus fruits. Its primary role is playing a fragrance ingredient in cosmetics products, as well as an antioxidant role. It’s also frequently added to foods, and used as a flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals to mask the bitter tasting ingredients. It’s also used as a fragrance in perfumes, bath products, soaps, and other products. D-limonene has anti-inflammatory properties and is used in cleaning solutions and as an insecticide.

The compound/ingredient, in general, is rated as being safe to use and needs to be used moderately in skin care products. People prone to skin allergies and contact dermatitis should avoid using products that contain lots of limonene. For everyone else, limonene is safe and can be used without any concerns.

Before using any products, you should simply check the labels and see if you come across this ingredient. If so, smell it and see what it smells like. Does it have a citrus like smell to it? Does it contain essential oils? Just be aware of what you’re applying to your skin and remember that even topical products are ingested.

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