Cananga Odorata Flower Oil
Sweet, exotic and floral, it’ no surprise that Ylang Ylang is a popular essential oil. It is coming from the yellow, fragrant flowers of the Cananga tree native to tropical Asia and, similar to other essential oils, it is a chemically complex mixture with several pros and cons.
Unfortunately, these are a bit tricky to pin down as the composition varies largely depending on where it is sourced, how the oil is extracted and the grade of it that is used in the product, but we’ll do our best!
Let’s start with the easy stuff. The main components are fragrant molecules, including super common linalool (1-19%), benzyl benzoate (2-10%) and several others adding up to a max amount of 37.6% of EU sensitizers. The most expensive Extra grade is the most fragrant (has more benzyl acetate and cresyl methyl ether) and is used in high-end perfumes, while the First and Second grades are less fragrant, and used mainly in cosmetics.
Other than smelling nice and making cosmetic formulas also smell nice, Ylang Ylang might have some antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits and also works as an insect repellent. Its nice smell is also commonly known as being relaxing and calming (also backed up by a few recent studies), but it is an aromatherapy use case (when inhaled) so this probably does not count much skincare-wise.
On the other hand, the nice smell also means allergen fragrant components and 37.6% of EU sensitizers counts as quite high and the oil is considered to have high skin sensitization potential. It is a good idea to avoid if your skin is sensitive.
Show me some proof
- Lis-Balchin, Maria. Aromatherapy science: a guide for healthcare professionals. Pharmaceutical press, 2006., p 341-343
- Contact Dermatitis, Nov 1, 2010, Contact allergy to essential oils: current patch test results (2000–2008) from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK)
- Flavour and Fragrance Journal, Jul 1, 1998, Antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of some commercial essential oils
- Zhang, Nan, et al. "Cananga odorata essential oil reverses the anxiety induced by 1-(3-chlorophenyl) piperazine through regulating the MAPK pathway and serotonin system in mice." Journal of ethnopharmacology 219 (2018): 23-30.
- Tan, Loh Teng Hern, et al. "Traditional uses, phytochemistry, and bioactivities of Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang)." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).
- Song, Eun Jeong, and Mi Young Lee. "Effects of Aromatherapy on Stress Responses, Autonomic Nervous System Activity and Blood Pressure in the Patients Undergoing Coronary Angiography: A Non-Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing 48.1 (2018): 1-11.