What Is It?

Hydroxycitronellal is a pale yellow liquid with a sweet floral aroma. In cosmetics and personal care products, Hydroxycitronellal is used in the formulation of colognes, hair sprays, perfumes and skin care products.

Why Is It Used?

Hydroxycitronellal functions as a fragrance ingredient.

Scientific Facts

Hydroxycitronellal occurs naturally in some plants such as lavender.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Hydroxycitronellal as a flavoring agent for direct addition to food. The safety of Hydroxycitronellal has been evaluated by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials Expert Panel (REXPAN). Based on this evaluation, an International Fragrance Association (IFRA) Standard has been established. The IFRA Standard restricts the use of Hydroxycitronellal in fragrances because of potential sensitization.

Link to the IFRA Standards: http://www.ifraorg.org/en-us/standards_1

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) defers review of individual fragrance ingredients to the IFRA program unless the ingredient has significant uses other than as a fragrance. In this case, the ingredient may be assessed by both the CIR Expert Panel and REXPAN.

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Hydroxycitronellal: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr…

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) concluded that Hydroxycitronellal does not present a safety concern at current levels of intake when used as a flavoring agent.

Link to the JECFA safety evaluation of Hydroxycitronellal: http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jeceval/jec_1076.htm

The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association Expert Panel has reviewed the safety of Hydroxycitronellal and determined that it was Generally Recognized as Safe for use as a flavoring substance. In Europe, Hydroxycitronellal is included on the list of “allergenic” substances. The European Cosmetics Regulation requires manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products to indicate the presence of certain “allergenic” substances in the list of ingredients if they are present above certain levels in the product (see Annex III). The presence of Hydroxycitronellal must be indicated in the list of ingredients when its concentration exceeds: 0.001% in leave-on the skin products 0.01% in products that are rinsed off the skin.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/product_labelling_and_packaging/co0013_en.htm

More information about the safety of fragrances.

More Scientific Information

Hydroxycitronellal, also known as 3,7-dimethyl-7-hydroxy-octanal, is an aldehyde.


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration

Food Ingredients and Packaging: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/default.htm

Food Contact Substances: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/PackagingFCS/default.htm

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS): http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/default.htm

Link to the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials http://www.rifm.org

Search the FDA Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm

EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/