Citrus essential oils feature prominently in a number of Puristry products, thanks to their wide range of healing properties and skin-loving benefits. Cold pressed citrus oils contain an impressively high content of Vitamin C, which is known for its antioxidant benefits and capacity to promote skin regeneration at the cellular level. When it comes to aromatherapeutic benefits, citrus oils are put to work for their energizing and uplifting scent profiles, which can be used to promote wakefulness and motivation, and ward off depression and “winter blues”. We’ve rounded up a quick and easy guide to our top six favorite citrus essential oils, along with their many benefits and uses!
6 Citrus Essential Oils for Skin
Bergamot is derived from the bergamot fruit, a small citrus sometimes referred to as a “sweet lemon” due to its hybrid characteristics, which fall somewhere between a lemon and an orange. Bergamot is a natural cleanser that works to remove dirt and impurities from the epidermis. It exfoliates dead cells with a high alpha hydroxy acid content. It’s also an excellent treatment for overactive oil production; its skin-brightening and anti-acneic properties make it an excellent remedy for both active blemishes and post-acne scarring. It’s important to opt for bergapten-free Bergamot, because bergapten (a chemical component present in the fruit) has photosensitive properties that can generate irritation and sensitive the skin when applied topically. To use bergamot, add a few drops of oil to your facial cleanser to amp up its clarifying properties.
Pink Grapefruit is another wonderful essential oil with a similarly beneficial resume, both for skin and aromatherapy. When diffused for scent therapy, it has positive benefits for the lymphatic system, which plays a role in removing excess fluids from the body. When inhaled, it’s vapors are known to curb hangovers and headaches. It can also increase circulation to areas when it’s applied topically (meaning that as a body treatment, it’s effective at battling the appearance of cellulite). For skin, grapefruit oil is known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial effects, making it a smart treatment for acne and minor blemishes, and it’s also chock full of Vitamin A, which encourages healthy skin cell reproduction for a bright and clear dermis.
Blood orange has a unique scent and a beautiful deep rose-color, making it one of the prettiest and also most beneficial of the citrus fruits. Its oil is incredibly high in antioxidants due high levels of anthocyanins, the red flavonoid pigments that give blood oranges their vibrant hue. Anthocyanins have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and help defend against oxidative damage, which degrades skin cells and produces signs of aging. Because of this, blood orange essential oil is a key component of an anti-aging skincare routine – regular application can prevent further oxidative damage and treat existing signs of aging. Add a few drops to a basic moisturizer, or look for products that contain organic cold pressed blood orange oil or extracts.
Lemon is an essential oil with lots of zing, plus high levels of vitamin C and citric acid which make it an excellent skin brightening tonic. In addition to free radical-fighting Vitamin C, lemon essential oil is a wonderful source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are essential for healthy skin elasticity and density. Lemon essential oil is also great to ingest internally – add a few drops to a pitcher of water to benefit from its natural alkalizing properties, which mean that it helps establish a balanced PH level in the body. Diffuse lemon essential oil for a healing aromatherapeutic treatment, that clears nasal passages and boosts energy levels. It’s a basic multi-use essential oil with a well tested set of ultra beneficial qualities.
Lime essential oil is perhaps less well known, but no less healing. Lime is an excellent essential oil to add to your at-home steam room (aka your bathroom). Fill a large ceramic bowl with boiling water, add a few drops of lime essential oil, and steam your pores – you’ll be left with clarified and cleansed skin and enhanced absorption when you apply other products. Lime oil has impressive antiseptic and antibacterial properties, making it an excellent remedy for small abrasions and active acne. It also acts as a natural astringent, meaning it cuts through excess lipids – so it can be helpful for overactive oil production on the face. Add it to a flower water based skin product for an ultra clarifying and balancing toner.
Orange essential oil is an ideal ingredient for a variety of hair and skin routines. It has been shown to increase: ability to absorb Vitamin C, collagen production, and blood flow. This makes it a stellar ingredient for dealing with puffy under-eye circles and general facial swelling. Because orange oil is so light, it’s a safe bet for those with sensitive skin (whereas other more acidic oils can sometimes cause slight irritation). It’s also highly effective when it comes to skin brightening and lightening around old scars - dilute it with a carrier like coconut oil before applying it to your skin.
All of these oils are excellent skin tonics, and many are luxurious aromatherapies when diffused or vaporized. A word to the wise? Make sure you choose an oil with your application in mind. Some oils that are sold to be diffused to add aromatherapy to a room are too concentrated or photo-toxic to be applied directly to the skin. As a rule of thumb, essential oils that will be applied topically should be diluted with some sort of carrier oil or liquid, at no greater a concentration than 3-5%. If you’re using water as a carrier, be sure to mix your solution thoroughly before applying it! Want to learn more about citrus? Check out our recent blog on how citrus oils are made, with a highlight on bergaptene-free bergamot!