Lemon Oil



No known benefits

Lemon Oil at a glance

  • Fragrant volatile oil derived from lemon
  • Can be extracted from lemon stem, leaf, fruit, peel and seed
  • Contains fragrant, skin sensitizing compounds like limonene
  • Can cause photosensitivity

Lemon Oil description

Lemon oil is a commonly used citrus-based volatile oil that can be a skin sensitizer, especially on abraded skin. It can come from the peel, leaf, stem, seed and fruit of the _Citrus limon_ or _Citrus medica limonum_ plant. Lemon oil has limited research proving any benefits for skin. As with many volatile fragrant oils, lemon oil has antioxidant components that can be beneficial, but there’s no valid reason to tolerate the bad to get the good; there are plenty of plant ingredients chockful of antioxidants but void of irritants. Lemon oil contains numerous fragrance chemicals that can cause a reaction when on skin that’s subsequently exposed to sunlight. Examples of the fragrance chemicals in lemon oil include limonene, bergapten and oxypeucedanin. The amount of lemon oil in cosmetics varies but based on published studies. We don’t consider any amount of this citrus oil to be safe for use on skin. For more information, please see the entry for _Citrus medica limonum_.

Lemon Oil references

  • Antioxidants, December 2022, pages 1–45
  • Food Science and Human Wellness, July 2022, pages 753-764
  • International Journal of Toxicology, December 2021, pages 5S-38S
  • European Journal of Medicinal Plants, 2013, pages 1-9
  • Toxicology In Vitro, 2010, issue 8, 2084-2089
  • Acta Dermato Venereological, 2007, issue 4, pages 312-316
  • Archives of Dermatological Research, 1985, issue 1, pages 31-36

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.