Fragrance Synthetic and Natural

No known benefits

Hydroxycitronellal at a glance

  • Skin-sensitizing fragrance used for its floral scent
  • Derived from the volatile fragrant compound citronellol
  • EU-identified as a “fragrance allergen”
  • Also used in other personal hygiene and care products

Hydroxycitronellal description

Hydroxycitronellal is a skin care ingredient that primarily serves as a perfuming agent. This synthetic fragrance is derived from the volatile fragrant compound citronellol and has a floral scent with undertones of citrus. Hydroxycitronellal prompts skin sensitization in certain individuals, which can lead to bumps, redness and itchiness. Due to the reactions it can incur, hydroxycitronellal been identified as one of the European Union’s “26 fragrance allergens.” These fragrances must be listed by name on products that they’re included in and cannot simply be labelled as “parfum” or “fragrance.” Beyond skin care, hydroxycitronellal is also used in the hair and body care industries at a maximum concentration of 3.6%.

Hydroxycitronellal references

  • European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, Accessed January 2023, Webpage
  • International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, June 2020, ePublication
  • Allergo Journal International, July 2018, pages 173-183
  • International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, March 2018, pages 239-245
  • Contact Dermatitis, April 2011, pages 212-219

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.