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What-it-does: perfuming, solvent, deodorant

Official CosIng Information


A super common and cheap fragrance ingredient. It's in many plants, e.g. rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and it's the main component (about 50-90%) of the peel oil of citrus fruits.

It does smell nice but the problem is that it oxidizes on air exposure and the resulting stuff is not good for the skin. Oxidized limonene can cause allergic contact dermatitis and counts as a frequent skin sensitizer

Limonene's nr1 function is definitely being a fragrance component, but there are several studies showing that it's also a penetration enhancer, mainly for oil-loving components.

All in all, limonene has some pros and cons, but - especially if your skin is sensitive - the cons probably outweigh the pros.  

Show me some proof

  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Volume 9 (3)–Sep 1, 2010, Original Contribution: Top 10 botanical ingredients in 2010 anti‐aging creams
  • Matura, Mihály, et al. "Oxidized citrus oil (R-limonene): a frequent skin sensitizer in Europe." Journal of the American academy of dermatology 47.5 (2002): 709-714.
  • Ahmad, Muhammad Mushtaq, et al. "Genetic variability to essential oil composition in four citrus fruit species." Pakistan Journal of Botany 38.2 (2006): 319.
  • Takayama, Kozo, and Tsuneji Nagai. "Limonene and related compounds as potential skin penetration promoters." Drug Development and industrial pharmacy 20.4 (1994): 677-684.
  • Koyama, Yasuo, et al. "Comparative analysis of percutaneous absorption enhancement by d-limonene and oleic acid based on a skin diffusion model." Pharmaceutical research 11.3 (1994): 377-383.

Products with Limonene

Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser Electric Ink Defining Tattoo Body Oil Giorgio Armani Face Fabric Foundation Monu Refining Capri Facial Oil Botanics Nourishing Facial Oil With Rosehip ESPA Pink Pomelo Lip Balm Lush Tea Tree Water Toner Bakel Mint Body Scrub Bybi Lip Plumper Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil Blend Elemis Musclease Active Body Oil Kruidvat Behandelingsolie Tea Tree La Prairie Cellular Energizing Mist Lovely Day Botanicals Skin Rescue - Problem Skin Oil The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Weleda Lavender Relaxing Body Oil Aromatica Orange Cleansing Sherbet Dominique Cosmetics Lemonade Lip Gloss Dr Organic Aloe Vera Soap ESPA Balancing Foam Cleanser Elemis Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil Neal's Yard Remedies Organic Baby Barrier Cream Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil Revolution Skincare Rosehip Seed Oil - Gold Elixir Sanctuary Spa 1 Minute Daily Glow Mask Biotherm Lait Corporel Anti-Drying Milk EVA NYC Mane Magic 10-In-1 Primer Isana Professional Haaröl Arganöl & Pflege Lancôme Tonique Radiance NOAH Natural Shampoo For Fine And Oily Hair So...? Fresh Floral Body Mist Weleda Refining Toner alverde Face Oil Gesichts-Öl Bio Wildrose Barry M Nymph Radiance Serum Beauty Elixir Blue Beautifly Organic Rosehip Oil Serum Clarins Blue Orchid Facial Treatment Oil Cosmedix Restore Moisture-Rich Mask Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Replenishing Cleansing Oil Emma Hardie Brilliance Facial Oil Environ Sebuprep Hema Cucumber Peel-Off Face Mask Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate L'Oreal Professionnel Serioxyl Fuller & Stronger Tonic MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel Revolution Skincare Rosehip Seed Oil Essence Spray Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Face Wash Foam Votary Cleansing Oil – Rose Geranium And Apricot Weleda One Step Cleanser & Toner