Ingredient Spotlight: Limonene


See these lovely skincare products? Each has received their fair share of star reviews online. Although I’ve had them for some time, they are all full to the brim! Regretfully, I can’t use any of them as I’m allergic to an ingredient known as ‘limonene’ that is present in all three.

Skincare posts pop up occasionally here. I’m aware that different people suffer from or are sensitive to all sorts of different chemicals and compounds. What products might work fine on my skin may be troublesome for yours, and vice versa. However, as someone who has been through the mill with all sorts of skin ailments, I like to share my wonder products and of course skincare discoveries in the possibility that it may help others in some little way.

These days, my skin has never been better. I started using Shiseido products back in September on a whim, and wrote about it here. The quality of my skin improved in a way I never experienced before, and has stayed that way too!
It was only when I came across more raving reviews of the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate that I thought it only fair to give them another shot. My skin wasn’t great when I used them initially (at the start of the summer) so maybe at that time it was something in my diet.

Firstly I gave Emma Hardie Cleaning Balm a go again, making sure I washed off every last inch of the product ensuring no residue was left behind. The next day, my skin was raised, red and irritated around my hairline to my ears, and my cheeks were itchy. A reaction which would only subside with the use of hydrocortisone, a topical steroid. Seeing again that Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery was a big hit, I put a dab on my forehead before bed, only to wake up to a red mark and irritation.
It was only when I did some cleaning recently and found an almost full Yonka toner (which I used that night and broke out in another rash!) did I research the ingredients of all three. Each one had the same subtle citrus smell, which turned out to be limonene.


Limonene is a terpene liquid (essential oils deriving from citrus trees) which can cause allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis to those with sensitive skin or skin prone to eczema. This ingredient can cause swelling, irritation, redness and itchiness. Other chemicals known to cause the same effect are citronellol and linalool.

Although it’s frustrating to have spent so much on skincare I can’t use, it was an important discovery. I’m now more conscious when reading ingredients and I’m sticking to Shiseido which works perfectly for me, and it’s limonene free.

Although I have only mentioned three products, it turns out limonene is present in a huge number of skincare brands. Imperial Leather foam washes, Soap & Glory Hand Food and Bio Oil were just three I picked up randomly that contain both limonene and linalool.
Although I mention it’s present in a lot of products by skincare brands, I have to clarify that not all products contain these ingredients. I’m a die-hard Kiehl’s fan, FOREVER! I use their cucumber toner and creamy avocado eye treatment every single day, as well as their Ultra Facial Cream and Skin Rescuer when I’ve got extra dollaz. All those products are limonene and linalool free. I’m just part of a minority that can’t ooh and ahh over the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. My best friend is delighted though, I gave her the bottle and her skin adores it.

But seriously, if any of the reactions I stated above sound familiar, or if you have eczema or sensitive skin, perhaps keep limonene allergies in mind. Consider checking ingredients on skincare products whether they are for yourself or possibly Christmas gifts for family members with sensitive skin. I’ll save you a whole lot of time, money and skin issues.

For more information on the effects of limonene, click here.

Keep skin clear, healthy and happy this Christmas!

♥ ♥ ♥