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Safe Use Guidelines and Alternatives
Citrus Essential Oils are some of the most popular fragrances in natural skin, bath, and body care products where they add an uplifting and refreshing quality that is pleasant to almost everyone, making them an easy solution to natural fragrance.
Citrus Essential Oils are, traditionally, pressed from the peel of the fruit rather than being steam distilled like other essential oils. What this means, in terms of fragrance, is that a Citrus Essential Oil smells exactly like the fruit does in the grocery store, only stronger. The range of Citrus Essential Oils is impressive, allowing the formulator to create sweet citrus scents to tart citrus scents and anything in between with the added benefit of the scent creations having a clean, fresh, uplifting impact.
Citrus Essential Oils have many things in common:
All Citrus Essential Oils will have a diffusive effect where their scent is immediately perceptible.
All Citrus Essential Oils function as top notes, though some of them will bridge to the middle note, with slightly more staying power. Many blenders, and perfumers, will say that because they are top notes they have no staying power. This is not true as anyone who has worked with Citrus Essential Oils knows, this is evident in the fact that you can use a blend of only Citrus Essential Oils and you can still smell the fragrance after the initial lift of the citrus fragrance, though it is true that they do give the initial impression of a blend they do also continue to contribute to the fragrance of a product. When used in combination with other essential oils they do become a permanent part of the blend and will continue to impact the fragrance, with the key being in the ratio of top, middle, and base notes. A good rule of thumb is 1 base note, to 3 middle notes, to 2 top notes though this is not a hard, and fast, rule it can be very helpful in creating essential oil blends that lift off, and wear, smoothly.
All Citrus Essential Oils should be sourced carefully because anything that is on the peel of the fruit will end up being a part of the oil since it is pressed from the peel and any contaminants, such as herbicides and pesticides, will be pressed off the peel along with the essential oils. It is crucial that any Citrus Essential Oils be from non-sprayed material.
All Citrus Essential Oils should be used with some caution as they do contain chemical components that may be problematic to the safe use of your products. Below we've offered a highly simplified explanation of the problematic nature of Citrus Essential Oils in an attempt to help you understand the nature of the problem in order to help you make informed decisions with regard to the safe use of Citrus Essential Oils in your products.
The first being fuoro coumarins. This is a class of components that will impart photo sensitizing properties, meaning that when they are on the skin they will magnify the suns rays on the skin making it more sensitive to sunlight and increasing the risk of sun damage. The level of photo sensitivity varies from essential oil to essential oil with some being highly damaging and others not so much. To better understand this problem it is helpful to look at the biology. Fruits need the sunlight to ripen so the fuoro coumarins are created to attract, and magnify, the suns rays in order to speed the ripening process. A fully ripened fruit will have much less of the coumarins than one that is under ripe so an easy way to gauge this is through the color of the fruit. All fruit ripens from green to red, with green being the most under ripe and red being the most ripe. Oils that are pressed from fruits that are green / yellow is fully loaded with fuoro coumarins are highly photo sensitizing such as bergamot, lime and lemon, while fruit that is pressed from fruits that are orange / red tend to be much lower in fuoro coumarins and are, as a result, much less photo sensitizing such as mandarin and grapefruit, especially the reds.
The other compound that is highly problematic is citral. These compounds are highly irritating to the skin and when not 'quenched' can result in severe blistering. This activity is increased when Citrus Essential Oils become oxidized. Simply putting Orange Essential into bath water has resulted in severe blistering of the skin, in some cases. This is because when you put essential oils into bath water, as straight oils, they will collect on top of the water, coming into direct contact with unprotected skin as one enters the water. Citrus Essential Oils should always be diluted into some medium / carrier so that they dissolve into the water rather than floating on top, and they should always include anti-oxidants to help reduce the irritation potential. Martin Watts, one of the leading aroma chemists, also advises the use of the essential oil containing high levels of monoterpene alcohols to 'quench' the Citrus Essential Oils to reduce the irritation potential. We believe that it's best to utilize both methods when using Citrus Essential Oils so that we can use these wonderfully scented oils without the irritation and sensitization problems.
In todays advanced market there is an easy alternative to pressed Citrus Essential Oils, which are the steam distilled versions. Unfortunately these are still fairly new to the market and as such the main stream producers haven't seen the value in producing them so, for now, they are only available from a handful of small producers, resulting in a higher price point. We have used these steam distilled alternatives extensively in our own blends. These oils have been so popular that we have worked hard to secure sustainable stock so that we could make them available to our customers. For now we are only offering alternatives to those that are highly problematic: Lime, Lemon, and Orange. Bergamot is the other highly problematic Citrus Essential Oil but, it is already available in a fuoro coumarin free alternative, Bergamot Bergaptene Free so we couldn't justify the higher price of a steam distilled Bergamot. These steam distilled alternatives contain only insignificant levels of fuoro coumarins, greatly reducing their photo sensitizing activity, making them a great choice for skin care and even bath and body care. Their fragrance is still fresh and beautiful but, they are slightly different from the pressed Citrus Essential Oils. Mostly you will find them to be more subtle, but well rounded in their fragrance, and slightly sweeter, with the exception of Lime Steam Distilled Essential Oil which is much sweeter, and candy like, than the pressed Lime Essential Oil. The one benefit to the difference in fragrance is that they blend more smoothly with other oils making it easier to create well rounded blends that lift off evenly and consistently.
The Steam Distilled Citrus Essential Oils are not the only alternatives to pressed Citrus Essential Oils when your concern is photo sensitivity. The other alternative is the folded Citrus Essential Oils. You will need to check with your supplier to determine the processing, used to concentrate the citrus oils but, if they are processing through vacuum distillation then the process will reduce the fouro coumarins and photo sensitizing activity. As most suppliers of Essential Oils are well aware of the sensitizing / irritating nature of pressed Citrus Essential Oils they will have confirmed this through the producer or through their own testing if it wasn't available from the producer. If they can't tell you then you should not assume anything. The fragrance of the folded Citrus Essential Oils is very different from traditional pressed Citrus Essential in that they are concentrated and much stronger in fragrance, and are much sweeter.
Steam Distilled Citrus Essential Oils from Ingredients To Die For
Lime Steam Distilled Essential Oil • a crisp, fresh, very sweet, scented oil steam distilled from the peel of Citrus aurantifolia. The difference in fragrance, from the pressed oil, is significant. Lime Steam Distilled Essential oil is very sweet and more candy like, while the pressed oil is tart, with a hint of sweetness.
Lemon Steam Distilled Essential Oil • a soft, sweet, scented oil steam distilled from the fruit of Citrus limonum. The difference in fragrance, from the pressed oil, is significant. Lemon Steam Distilled Essential Oil is sweet and delicate with a hint of tartness while the pressed oil is more tart than sweet. When comparing to the traditional pressed oil it will help to think of the steam distilled essential oil as being the same fresh clean scent but, with a smooth well rounded, sweeter, fragrance.
Orange Sweet Steam Distilled Essential Oil • a soft, sweet, scented oil steam distilled from the peel of Citrus sinensis. The difference in fragrance, from the pressed oil, is significant. Orange Sweet Steam Distilled Essential Oil is sweet and subtle, while the pressed oil is more tart. Of the three orange essential oils, it may help to think of the sweet orange as being sweet and only slightly tart, with the blood variety being much sweeter and the sweet distilled oil as being even sweeter with almost no tartness.
Folded Citrus Essential Oils from Ingredients To Die For
Orange Sweet 5X Essential Oil • a sweet concentrated essential oil cold pressed from the peel of Citrus sinensis var.Dulcis and then vacuum distilled to concentrate the aromatic compounds. The difference in fragrance, from the standard oil, is significant. Orange Sweet 5X Essential Oil is much sweeter than the traditional pressed orange essential oil which is sweet and sightly tart. This 5X essential oil is, essentially, five times stronger in the Orange fragrance so a little goes a long way.
Lemon 5X Essential Oil • a sweet, slightly tart oil cold pressed from the peel of Citrus limonum and then vacuum distilled to concentrate the aromatic compounds, resulting in a oil that is stronger, more well rounded, and much sweeter, than the traditional pressed Lemon essential oil.
Tangerine 5X Essential Oil • a clean fresh scented oil cold pressed from the peel of Citrus reticulata and then vacuum distilled to concentrate the aromatic compounds, resulting in a oil that is much stronger, and more well rounded, than the traditional pressed Tangerine Essential Oil.
As always, when working with essential oils, the first step is to know what compounds are in your chosen essential oils in order to make sure that you are using them within established safety guidelines. The chemistry of essential oils is very complex and your blends will contain the therapeutic activity of your combined oils, whether you want them or not, as well as their fragrance.
All Citrus Essential Oils will have astringent, clarifying, activity on the skin and when not intended for oily skin types it is important to combine them with moisturizing essential oils to balance them out.
The Ingredients To Die For staff
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