Limonene for Skin

What is Limonene?

Limonene has benefits for your skin

Essential Oils for Skin

Limonene is a Terpene

Limonene is found naturally in the skin of citrus fruits 

Essential Oils for Skin


Limonene is a terpene and is found naturally in the skin of citrus fruits, including orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit.  

Limonene is a colorless, liquid hydrocarbon, and is classified as a cyclic monoterpene with the molecular formula C10H16.

Limonene has 3 isomers:

1. D-limonene, also known as (R)-limonene, (+)-limonene, is found abundantly in citrus fruits.

2. L-limonene, also known as (S)-limonene, (−)-limonene, is found in pine needles and cones.

3. DL-limonene, also called dipentene, is a mixture of D-limonene and L-limonene.

These limonene isomers are found in different amounts and ratios in various plants. The predominant form of limonene is D-limonene, which is present in nearly 98% of all citrus oils.

What is Limonene?

Essential Oils for Skin

Is Limonene Safe?

Pure limonene is safe for most people to use, when it is properly diluted. Oxidized limonene may cause irritation in people with dermatitis or other skin issues. Always choose fresh products and avoid the use of old or expired products that contain limonene.

Essential Oils for Skin

Is Limonene Safe for Your Skin? Yes

Limonene is a terpene found naturally in citrus peel.

Limonene is considered to have low toxicity and is recognized as a safe ingredient for skincare under the current regulatory guidelines for cosmetics.

In the USA, the FDA considers limonene as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) when used as a fragrance additive.

In Europe, limonene is classified as a potential skin sensitizer. This means that it has the potential to cause a temporary skin reaction (such as red, bumpy, or itchy skin) in some individuals. 

The pure compound limonene can also be broken down to oxidized limonene, e.g. limonene hydroperoxides, which are potential allergens in sensitive individuals

Pure limonene is safe for most people to use, when it is properly diluted.

However, oxidized limonene (old limonene) may cause irritation in some people with dermatitis.

Is Limonene Safe for Skin?

Limonene for Skin

Limonene References

Anandakumar et al. D-limonene: A multifunctional compound with potent therapeutic effects. J Food Biochem. 2021 Jan;45(1):e13566. 

Karlberg et al. Air oxidation of D-limonene (the citrus solvent) creates potent allergens. Contact Dermatitis 1992;26:332–340.

Kim et al. Safety evaluation and risk assessment of d-Limonene. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2013;16(1):17-38. 

Ravichandran et al. Review of toxicological assessment of d-limonene, a food and cosmetics additive. Food Chem. Toxicol. 2018;120:668–680.

Sun J. D-Limonene: safety and clinical applications. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):259-64.