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What is "Citral" and what is its utility?

What is "Citral" and what is its utility?

The ingredients used in the formulation of skincare products are often of natural origin, and sometimes synthetic. Citral, an ingredient commonly found in skincare products and perfumes, is one of them. Despite its fragrant and scent-enhancing properties, its use is governed by certain regulations.

What is the origin of citral?

Citral, also known as lemonal, is among the 26 regulated allergens in the field of cosmetology in Europe. It is a fragrance agent present in significant quantities in lemongrass oil, but also in essential oils of orange, lemon, or verbena.

Upon exposure to air and due to the effect of skin cell metabolism, geraniol oxidizes to produce aldehydes, which are geranial or citral A, and neral or citral B. These two trans and cis isomers combine to form citral. In cosmetology, citral is classified among aromas and fragrance agents.

The essential oil derived from verbena leaves is composed of 22% citral and 27% geraniol, while the essential oil from lemongrass contains 16% citral and 19% geraniol.

What is the utility of citral in skincare in cosmetology?

Citral is particularly valued in the field of cosmetology and perfumery for its distinct lemon scent. This ingredient owes its strong lemon aroma reputation to geranial. Neral, on the other hand, is quite mild. Besides providing a lemony note in perfumes or treatments such as creams, masks, and others, citral is also used to enrich lemon oil. Moreover, this ingredient is adopted in the synthesis process of vitamin A, ionone, and methylionone.

It is crucial to distinguish between a fragrance agent and a flavoring agent. The fragrance agent is used during the initial stage of perfume formulation to create a specific scent from the preparation of raw materials. It can also be employed to mask an unpleasant odor.

The flavoring agent, on the other hand, is a substance added to enhance, modify, or improve the natural aroma of the skincare product.

What are the restrictions regarding the use of citral?

As previously announced, citral is among the 26 allergens regulated in Europe. Consequently, its use in the field of cosmetology or otherwise is subject to certain restrictions. Generally, some fragrance or flavoring agents incorporated into formulas are responsible for allergies among users. Therefore, to avoid any risk of accident when using the care product or related to the fragrance, it is imperative to include the allergen in the list of INCI ingredients listed on the label as soon as its quantity exceeds 0.01% in rinse-off products and 0.001% in leave-on products. If the dose does not exceed these thresholds, the fragrance agents are indicated under the terms "fragrance", "perfume", or "aroma", without further detail. A care product containing an allergen doesn't


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