Say the word "lemon," and there's a good chance you immediately get a puckering sensation in your mouth. This tart citrus fruit is a favorite around the world not only for its tangy taste but also for its refreshing fragrance and countless uses. From cooking and cosmetics to household cleaning products and medicinal tinctures, lemon is one of those versatile go-to ingredients that seems to work in just about anything.
So, what about lemon oil? While you may drink lemon juice and enjoy this yellow fruit in some of your favorite recipes, you might wonder if lemon oil should be part of your self-care routine.
In this guide, you'll get to know more about lemon oil and discover some of the top lemon oil benefits for your oral hygiene, skin health, and more.
What Is Lemon Oil?
As you might have guessed, lemon oil is extracted from lemons (scientifically known as Citrus limon). The lemons undergo a cold-pressing process that extracts oil from the rind (i.e., lemon peel). The end result is lemon essential oil, which is loaded with limonene. This powerful compound gives its fresh, energizing scent and numerous antibacterial, antifungal, detoxifying, cancer-fighting, and antitumor properties.
Lemon is also well-known for its high levels of vitamin C, which is a great immune system booster. But even before modern science revealed the many health benefits of lemon, it was used for centuries in traditional herbal medicine to treat everything from the common cold and sore throats to scurvy and insect bites.
How to Use Lemon Oil
Whether you use it as a disinfectant to clean your countertops or a detoxifying ingredient in your facial cleanser, lemon essential oil is among nature's most multi-tasking gifts. But because there are so many lemon oil benefits, it can be difficult to know how to properly use it in your skincare and oral care routine.
Bear in mind that like other essential oils such as peppermint oil and tea tree oil, lemon oil is highly concentrated. Because of this potency, always dilute lemon oil before applying it topically.
Also, contrary to what you might read elsewhere, do not swallow lemon essential oil. While some essential oils may be labeled as food-grade, these terms are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As such, exercise extreme caution and talk to your doctor when considering ingesting any essential oil and talk to your doctor before doing so. Instead, drink lemon juice mixed with water. You'll get the same health benefits without the added risks.
Here are some other guidelines to follow when using lemon oil:
- Dilute lemon oil with a carrier oil like almond oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil before applying it to your skin. Use 2-3 drops of lemon oil for every 10-12 drops of carrier oil.
- For a purifying DIY upgrade, add a couple of drops of lemon essential oil to your natural moisturizer, face mask, or other body care product.
- Avoid applying lemon essential oil close to your eyes, as it can irritate that sensitive skin area.
6 Lemon Oil Benefits for Oral Hygiene, Skincare, and Beyond
The health benefits of lemon essential oil are well established. Here are six of the top reasons to consider adding lemon oil to your self-care regimen.
1. Fights Oral Infections
Thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, lemon essential oil has long been used as a natural remedy for various oral health issues. Lemon oil benefits include its ability to fight oral yeast infections, bad breath, and overall poor dental hygiene. A report in 2017 found lemon oil had a more powerful antimicrobial and antifungal effect to treat oral disorders than green pepper and tea tree oil.
Another bonus: Even though direct contact with lemon juice can wear away tooth enamel over time due to the acidity, research shows citrus oils do not cause the same erosion.
Try: Primal Life Organics gum serum, a potent blend of oils (including olive oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and lemon oil) that support healthy gums and fresh breath.
2. May Help Whiten Teeth
The astringent properties of lemon oil make it a popular option for maintaining clean gums and a fresh, white smile. While more scientific research is needed, plenty of anecdotal evidence links lemon essential oil to teeth whitening.
This is especially the case when used with coconut oil, baking soda, or bentonite clay. While you could create a DIY mix of these ingredients, it may be best to find a product from a reputable brand that doesn't use synthetic ingredients.
Try: Primal Life Organics light-activated teeth whitening system made with olive oil, bentonite clay, lemon oil, and other organic ingredients. The product offers a powerful, non-toxic, and peroxide-free way to brighten your smile.
3. Combats Acne
Because of its antiseptic qualities, lemon oil is an excellent treatment for numerous skin issues including oily skin and acne. It works as an astringent that kills bacteria that clogs pores and leads to breakouts. Lemon oil also helps remove dead skin cells that can also clog pores and cause a flare-up.
Since lemon oil is rich in vitamin C (a natural antioxidant), it can also speed the healing process. While more studies are needed on its effects on acne scars specifically, animal studies show it improved wound recovery when diluted and applied topically.
Try: Banished Face Mask, which is loaded with potent plants and botanicals that clear congested skin. Use it as a face mask or a spot treatment with just a couple drops of lemon oil to help tame oily and breakout-prone skin.
4. Fends off Signs of Aging
There's a reason you see vitamin C as an active ingredient in many anti-aging products — it's a natural antioxidant that fights off free radicals, which cause skin damage and loss of elasticity. And guess which essential oil has plenty of vitamin C? Lemon oil.
Try: Primal Life Organics Lickity Split Elixir, a morning serum made with red raspberry seed oil that protects your skin from the sun and lemon oils that rejuvenate the skin.
5. Non-Toxic Bug Repellent
Studies show lemon oil is a viable option to fend off mosquitos and a promising alternative to chemical-laden DEET. Since there are concerns about the risks synthetic repellents pose to both humans and the environment, researchers suggest using essential oils (such as lemon oil) could be a better solution.
Try: Boot-a-Pest bug spray made with witch hazel, lemon eucalyptus oil, and other effective, non-toxic ingredients.
One of the best benefits of lemon essential oil is its aromatherapeutic effects. Thanks to its uplifting and invigorating aroma, lemon oil can boost your mood and promote emotional health.
Aside from making your place smell good when used in a diffuser or room freshener, at least one study shows the stimulating scent of lemon oil can make you feel more alert and energized, lift mood, boost mental clarity, and even provoke positive memories and emotions.
What's more, the study found lemon oil had a greater positive effect on mood than lavender oil, which is commonly used in aromatherapy.
Try: Primal Life Organics hand protector balm to moisturize and protect your hands with aromatic, organic ingredients like coconut oil and lemon eucalyptus oil.
Potential Side Effects of Lemon Oil
Lemon oil is a wonderfully versatile ingredient for your body, mind, and home. But in addition to lemon oil benefits, there are some potential side effects to keep in mind:
- Sensitivity to sunlight when applied topically — avoid direct sunlight after putting lemon oil on your skin.
- Skin irritations such as itchy, dry, or peeling patches — use carrier oils to diffuse lemon oil.
- Wheezing when inhaled — only a couple drops when adding it to a diffuser or spray bottle.
- Lemon oil is possibly toxic to pets — consult your vet and keep it away from Fido.
Don't Miss Out on the Power of Lemon Oil
It's easy to see lemon oil is one of the most essential oils. This precious oil may come from a sour fruit, but it doesn't get much sweeter than the many uses and health benefits it provides.
Aside from being a kitchen and household staple, lemon oil can improve and maintain your oral health, fight acne breakouts, heal skin, improve anti-aging effects, and boost your mood.
For more ways to improve your complexion and oral health without the use of toxic ingredients and synthetic chemicals, check out the Primal Life Organics blog.