What Is It?

Limonene is a colorless liquid with a light, fresh, and sweet citrus odor used to make fragrances and flavors. It is naturally occurring substance found in many citrus fruits. In cosmetics and personal care products, Limonene is used in the formulation of aftershave lotions, bath products, bubble baths, cleansing products, eye shadows, hair products, lipsticks, mascara, moisturizers, perfumes and colognes, shampoos, skin care products and suntan products.

Why Is It Used?

Limonene functions as a fragrance ingredient and as a solvent.

Scientific Facts

Limonene is a naturally occurring fragrance compound found in the rind of citrus fruits. It can also be produced synthetically.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Limonene on its list of substances considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) as a flavoring substance. The safety of Limonene 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 establised. The IFRA Standard restricts the use of Limonene in fragrances because of potential sensitization.

Link to the IFRA Standards:

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 Limonene:…

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

Link to the JECFA safety evaluation of d-Limonene:

The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association Expert Panel has reviewed the safety of Limonene and determined that it is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use as a flavoring agent. In Europe, Limonene is included on the list of “allergenic” substances. The European Cosmetics Directive 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 Limonene 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:

More information about the safety of fragrances.

More Scientific Information

Limonene, which is also called dipentene, is a terpene that contains one or more of the following stereoisomers: d-limonene, l-limonene, or (racemic) dl-limonene.


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

Food Ingredients and Packaging:

Food Contact Substances:

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS):

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory