Why is citral a pure perfume different?

What is citral?

Citral is a natural ingredient that is added as a fragrance to cosmetics and skin care products due to its pleasant citrus scent. It also has the added benefit of mild antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Citral, also known as lemons, is either a pair or a mixture of terpenoids. Terpenoids are a large and diverse class of naturally occurring ingredients derived from terpenes. Terpenes are the naturally occurring aromatic compounds in plants and are responsible for the smell of the plants they come from. While the term “terpenoid” is often used interchangeably with “terpene”, they actually differ slightly. Terpenes are hydrocarbons, meaning they are made entirely of carbon and hydrogen, while terpenoids contain additional functional groups.

Citral is found in the oils of several plants, including the following:

  • Lemon myrtle (90 to 98%)
  • Lemongrass (65 to 85%)
  • Lemon verbena (30 to 35%)
  • Lime (6 to 9%)
  • Lemon (2 to 5%)

Citral can be colorless or a pale, yellow liquid. It is used to formulate a variety of cosmetics and skin care products, including aftershave lotions, bath products, moisturizers, perfumes, and colognes, and other skin and hair care products.

the breakdown


the good:Helps improve the fragrance of formulations and can be both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

not that good:May be sensitizing for some skin types.

For whom is that?All skin types except those identified as having an allergy.

Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on:Sensitive skin types may want to avoid products with higher concentrations of citral.

What are the benefits of citral?

Citral is a flavoring compound used in cosmetics, perfumes, and skin care products for its citrus scent.

In addition to acting as a fragrance, citral has been shown to have powerful antimicrobial properties. A study published in Letters in Applied Microbiology found that citral exhibited marked antimicrobial activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, as well as against fungi. In addition, the study found that the antimicrobial activity of citral was optimized at an alkaline pH. Thus, citral can be used as a preservative in the formulation of cosmetics and personal care products.

Citral can also have anti-inflammatory properties. A 2017 study in mice found that citral showed a significant decrease in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) levels in tests that showed anti-inflammatory activity. TNF-α is a key regulator of the inflammatory response. Vascular endothelial cells respond to TNF-α by undergoing a series of proinflammatory changes. By decreasing the TNF- & agr; Levels, citral can act as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is important to note that a study does not reveal a new causal link, but it is an interesting potential property.

Insect repellants
Citral is one of the active ingredients in citronella oil, a common ingredient in insect repellants and citronella candles. In fact, citronella has been registered in the US as a gentle plant-based insect repellent since 1948. Some evidence suggests that citral, as well as the other active ingredients in citronella, interfere with mosquito’s odor receptors. Citronella insect repellants have even been shown to repel dangerous Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can spread dengue and the Zika virus.

Is Citral Safe?

The United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA includes citral in its list of substances that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as synthetic flavorings. The safety of citral has been assessed by the expert panel of the Research Institute for Fragrances (REXPAN). Based on this assessment, a standard of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) was established. The IFRA standard limits the use of citral in fragrances due to possible sensitization and recommends that citral only be used in conjunction with substances that prevent a sensitizing effect.

Although citral is a natural ingredient that comes from plant sources, it can still cause potentially serious allergic reactions. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to citral can include rashes, blisters, itchy skin, and puffy eyes and lips. It is important to know that because something is natural, it is not completely safe or without side effects. Often the opposite is the case.

Because of the possibility of an allergic reaction, people with sensitive skin should try to avoid citral or do a patch test with a product that contains this ingredient.

References:Martins, H, et al., 2017. ‘Anti-inflammatory effects of the essential oil citral in experimental infection with Staphylococcus aureus in a model air bag’, evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine.

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