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22 July 2023 / Laura Garvin Gomez

A Guide to Citrus Essential Oils: Uses and Benefits

Discover the endless possibilities of Citrus Essential Oils, and harness their uplifting aromas and powerful benefits for a healthier and happier you.

Assortment of slices of citrus fruits including limes, grapefruit, orange and lemon

There are few things better than the invigorating scent of citrus essential oils.

From giving you a pick-me-up and helping you to relax to cleaning your home and creating an insect-free zone, these magical little fruits are packed with a wealth of benefits.

So, we decided to take a closer look at citrus essential oils to highlight some of the best ways to use them, what they have to offer and why they are a must-have for your home.

What are citrus essential oils?

Citrus essential oils are essential oils that are derived from the citrus family. The likes of lemon, sweet orange and bergamot are some of the most commonly used citrus essential oils in aromatherapy. This is because citrus fruits contain a host of natural health benefits due to their high concentration of flavonoids and limonoids. They are also packed with antibacterial and antioxidant properties, as well as being high in vitamin C, allowing citrus oils to be put to use in several ways.

How are citrus essential oils created?

There are two ways in which a citrus essential oil is extracted from a fruit and made into oil:

  • Cold-pressed: The peel of citrus fruits is ground to extract the essential oil, with the pressure rupturing the tiny oil glands that contain the aromatic compounds. The essential oils are released and still retain the natural aroma of the fruit.
  • Steam distillation: This is mostly used to extract lime oil, with the process requiring steam to pass through lime peels, which encourages the natural oils to be released from the fruit. The resulting blend is then condensed, allowing the oil to be separated from the water.

Once the essential oils are extracted, they are then stored to preserve their quality and potency before being bottled and sent out to suppliers and customers.

Many overlapping orange slices

What are some citrus essential oil benefits?

There are several citrus oil benefits you can enjoy, depending on the type of oil you are using and how it is being applied. This includes:

  1. Being used for aromatherapeutic purposes: Citrus essential oils such as orange oil, grapefruit oil and lemon oil are used by many people as a natural way of boosting their mood and relieving stress. They can provide powerful little bursts of energy to refresh and invigorate the senses, putting people at ease to help them relax. Whether inhaled via a diffuser or applied topically, they can be used to create a more positive atmosphere.
  2. Keeping your house fresh and clean: Lemon oil and lime oil are common ingredients used in natural cleaning products, as their antibacterial properties are effective in killing off bacteria and other microbes. Lemon oil is often combined with white vinegar to create a natural and powerful cleaner that can be used to remove stains, grease, odours and other messes around the home, whilst leaving behind a cleaner scent.
  3. Improving the condition of your skin: The cleansing properties offered by citrus essential oils are why they are often used in skincare products. They can prove beneficial for anyone with oily or acne-prone skin, as they may be able to regulate sebum production, and promote a healthy-looking glow by brightening the complexion. Diluting with a carrier oil and applying topically can go a long way to rejuvenating your skin.
  4. Helping to ward off insects: Instead of using chemical-based insect repellents, you may find that citrus oils offer a natural alternative. Eucalyptus oil and citronella oil can be highly effective due to the strong scents they emit, warding off bugs and unwanted pests on hot days. You can also combine citrus oils with some natural repellents, so you can stay insect free without being smothered in chemicals.
  5. Easing digestive issues: Although studies in this area continue, it is believed that some citrus oils can also help to digestive issues. Their high concentration levels mean they should only be used in moderation, and you should only consume food grade essential oils as these are the only types that are safe to eat (please note that (Nikura do not sell food grade essential oils).

Orange tree with loads of oranges growing

How to use citrus essential oils safely

Like all essential oils, there are safety guidelines that should be followed when using citrus oils. The first thing to do is to carry out a patch test, which will give you a better indication of how suitable the oil is for your skin.

Simply add a small amount of diluted oil to the upper inside area of your forearm and cover with a plaster for 24 hours. If you experience any irritation, redness or discomfort, do not use the oil any further as these are the signs of an allergic reaction.

You should ensure that citrus essential oils are properly stored to help maintain their safety and effectiveness. Keep them in dark, airtight containers in a cool, dry location in your home. Avoid using citrus oils (or any essential oil) that has surpassed their shelf life, as it could cause skin irritation.

There are also some safety guidelines regarding the use of citrus oils and exposure to UV rays and sunlight that we explain in the section below.

Are there any risks to using citrus essential oils?

If the guidelines for using citrus oils are followed closely, especially in relation to how they are diluted and applied, then they should not pose any risk to your health.

One element to be aware of is possible phototoxic reactions that can occur if usage guidelines are exceeded. When too much is applied you should avoid direct exposure to sunlight or UV rays, which includes prolonged outdoor activities, sunbathing and using tanning beds for at least 24 hours after application.

black and white illustration of a bergamot fruit with a cut section

Whether you’re a fan of lemon, orange, or lime essential oils, you’ll find each one has something to offer. Their zesty, evocative fragrances are a true delight and there are lots of practical ways you can incorporate them into your everyday routine. You can easily add them to cleaning products, candles or soaps, or add them to a diffuser to create a relaxing atmosphere that can also improve your all-round wellness.

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