Written by Vida Karamooz, Ph.D.

Apples are not the only fruits that keep the doctor away! Delicious and refreshing citrus fruits are among the best sources for antioxidants, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins for the human body.

Having a reputation of fighting the cold and flu, boosting energy, managing weight, reducing sodium in the blood, strengthening the heart, boosting good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol, and preventing cancer, citrus fruits have found a big space in the daily diet. They are consumed as whole fruits, juices, smoothies, ice creams, desserts, sauces, gourmet dishes, and exotic salads. In addition to their dietary benefits, citrus fruits have been popular as a cosmetic ingredient for their skin rejuvenation and detoxification properties for centuries. Today, in the cosmetic industry, citrus plays a major role – not only for their amazing beauty benefits on the skin and hair, but also for their uplifting aromatherapeutic qualities.

The most common cosmetic ingredients derived from citrus fruits are citric acid and L-ascorbic acid. Citric acid is used heavily in cosmetic products as part of a natural, preservative system and pH adjuster. When it comes to vitamin C supplements, there are many discussions and concerns about the stability and efficacy of the ingredient when used in skin care products. Vitamin C, as a supplement, both naturally derived and synthetically made, is known to lose properties when exposed to light, air, and heat, resulting in yellow to brown discoloration in cosmetic products. Therefore, the best form of vitamin C is when it is obtained directly from the fruits themselves, which can only be achieved by using them in their raw, organic, and pure forms. Products that contain natural vitamin C are far more superior than ones engineered in laboratories.

The citrus family of orange, grapefruit, mandarin, tangerine, lemon, lime, and bergamot are the fruits that are mainly used in personal care products. Citrus fruits are most commonly known as a good source of vitamin C, which is highly appreciated by the beauty industry. However, they also contain a notable list of other essential nutrients that some, more than others, benefit the skin topically, such as vitamin B6, fiber, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and a variety of phytochemicals.

The best way to deliver the goodness of citrus is to ensure that the integrity of their nutrient is maintained. There are various alternatives that allow for the incorporation of citrus fruits as additives in cosmetic products.

Citrus Extracts
The best way to take advantage of citrus fruits in skin and hair care products is to incorporate them into formulas in extract form, especially if the extracts are made with raw, organic, and fresh fruits in natural and organic solvents and are processed cold with no heat. In this way, the true essence of the whole fruit can be harnessed. The dry peel of the citrus fruits can also be used for extraction. The best natural solvents for extraction methods are organic oils such, as olive, sunflower, jojoba, organic vegetable glycerin, and natural organic ethyl alcohol such as grain or grape. Depending on the desired results, water can be added to vegetable glycerin or alcohol extraction methods.
Nourishing, natural, and organic citrus extracts can be added to skin cleansers, toners, serums, creams, masks, exfoliants, hair cleansers, and conditioners.

Citrus Essential Oils
Citrus essential oils are mostly extracted from the rind or skin of the fruit through the cold-pressed method rather than steamed-distilled. The cold-pressed method of extraction is also referred to as the expression method. The expression method of extraction is recommended for aromatherapy uses as it offers a more stable aroma. The wonderful and refreshing aroma of citrus essential oils gives a very desirable, natural aroma to any skin care product and is known to uplift the mood and combat depression. Moreover, citrus essential oils provide astringent, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and revitalizing properties to any cosmetic product.
The key component in citrus essential oils is an antioxidant known as limonene (or D-limonene) and can be added to skin and hair care products when natural fragrance is preferred. Generally speaking, the use of organic essential oils from trusted sources is highly recommended to ensure the purity and efficacy of the oils without the use of harmful chemical solvents, such as petroleum ether, and hexane.
Selecting skin care products that contain certain citrus essential oils should be done with caution when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight. This is due to the fact that some of the essential oils are known to cause photosensitivity or phototoxicity. These include expressed or steam-distilled bergamot, grapefruit essential oils, and expressed lemon, lime, and bitter orange essential oils. Sweet orange, mandarin, and tangerine are known as non-toxic citrus essential oils. Some cosmetic products contain phototoxic essential oils, so exercise additional care when using these products on clients.
The citrus essential oils can be added to skin cleansers, toners, serums, creams, masks, exfoliants, as well as hair cleansers and conditioners.

Citrus Hydrosols
The word ‘hydrosol’ originates from the Latin language, with ‘hydro’ meaning water and ‘sol’ meaning solution. Hydrosols are water produced during the plant steam-distillation process for aromatherapy purposes. Depending on the desired output, this process can produce either essential oils, hydrosols, or both. Hydrosols contain all the nutritional values of the plant and are considered as plant holograms. This means that every drop of hydrosols contains the entirety of the plant. Just like essential oils, it is advisable to use hydrosols that are from organic plants and trusted purveyors to ensure that they are not adulterated. Citrus fruit hydrosols have a beautiful and energizing citrus aroma and will benefit the skin and hair.
Hydrosols can be added to skin cleansers, toners, serums, creams, masks, and exfoliants, hair cleansers,
and conditioners.

Raw Citrus Peel Powder
The organic dry powder of citrus fruit peels can be added raw in a variety of skin masks and exfoliants. The citrus fruit peel is the outer layer of the fruit, also referred to as the rind or skin. The peel of citrus fruits contains various types of flavonoids and phytonutrients, in addition to being rich in pectins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Citrus peels are known for containing important citrus essential oils of limonene, citral, flavonoids, a variety of flavone glycosides (compounds made primarily of bound sugars), citric, and other plant acids. They offer potent detoxifying, astringent, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. Exfoliants that contain citrus peels can help remove suntans, tone skin, and cleanse pores.
The citrus peel powder can be added to dry and wet masks, exfoliants, and soaps.

Offering strong vitamin C and phytonutrients, citrus plays a key role in the health and vitality of skin and hair. The fruits themselves are the best and most sustainable source of vitamin C, more effective than their semi-synthetic or synthetic, laboratory-made forms. Professionals can take advantage of the stunning properties of citrus fruits by selecting products that contain fresh and organic extracts, hydrosols, essential oils, and peels.

Vida-Karamooz-2016Vida Karamooz, Ph.D. is a co-founder of Blue Beautifly LLC, a plant-based, certified organic, non-GMO, and cruelty-free skin and body care product company in California. As an expert in botanical formulation, Karamooz has conducted years of research and trials in combining plants known for their skin and hair vitality in ancient sciences of India (Ayurveda), China, Middle East, Africa and South/Central America with recent discoveries. In doing so, she has gained invaluable insight in creating innovative and effective, but simple, products that meet today’s consumer demands for wholesome, natural, and genuine products that promote health of the body without harming the planet.

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