Personal Care

5 Rules for Using Citrus on Skin

5 Rules for Using Citrus on Skin

Citrus Oils are an umbrella category of essential oils that cover the wide range of citrus fruits - lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, and bergamot can all be derived and concentrated into fragrant oils which play an integral role in achieving healthy skin. 

But wait a second! 

Citrus fruits are acidic, and acids are known to make skin more vulnerable to light. Photosensitivity is no laughing matter, so here are five basic rules to using citrus as part of your skincare routine. 

  1. Always Dilute. 

Undiluted citrus oil on skin is a massive no-no. These are highly active oils that can actually cause chemical burns on your skin if applied in concentrated amounts before heading out into the sun. This reaction can cause redness, blistering, or inflammation. Always dilute citrus oils before using them. 

  1. Sunscreen. 

If you plan on being exposed to direct sunlight, even citrus-infused products can be risky. To mitigate the risk of skin irritation, you can layer sunscreen over any citrus-infused products before venturing outdoors. If you have inherently sensitive skin, make citrus a part of your nightly routine, to avoid using it during the day altogether. 

  1. Use Carrier Oils. 

When making DIY citrus oils, it’s essentially to dilute it with carrier oils like argan or almond oil. This will better facilitate the absorption of the oil into your skin and will lessen the risk of sun sensitivity. As long as your essential oil percentage stays under the recommended limit, your DIY products remain safe for daytime usage. 

  1. Research 

Body-care products containing citrus are generally safe for use in the sun, but only if the amounts of essential oil in the formulas meet the standards set by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). This means citrus oil percentage should not be higher than 0.7-4% (the number varies depending on the type of citrus) to avoid skin photosensitivity. As a rule of thumb, if citrus is low on the list of ingredients in a formula, sun sensitivity probably won’t be an issue. But if it’s given anywhere near top billing on the label, you should check the percentages.


  1. Less is more. 

Essential oils are ultra-concentrated and active, so in order to reap the best benefits from them, you must use them in considered moderation. 

With its glow-boosting benefits, it’s always a good thing to make citrus a part of your skincare routine. However, by following the above rules before diving headlong into an essential oil-rich product lineup, you can avoid unnecessary side-effects.