If you ever feel in need of some “sunshine in a bottle”, look no further than sweet orange essential oil.
This beloved citrus oil has a bright, uplifting fragrance that is an instant mood booster and stress calmer. It also shines when it comes to skincare, providing a natural anti-aging boost while it refreshes skin and restores your natural radiance.
Here’s more on what makes this citrus oil so special and the top benefits of orange oil for your skin.
Orange Essential Oil: A Powerful Ingredient
Orange essential oil is extracted from the peels of oranges. The reason for this is that most of the volatile oils found within the fruit are concentrated in the peel rather than the pulp.
While many other essential oils are produced via steam distillation, citrus oils are typically cold-pressed. This is the ideal method for keeping as many of the powerful plant compounds intact as possible. No heat is used and the end product retains its original color and scent.
Cold-pressing can take a few different forms.
One method is to first separate the orange rinds from the rest of the fruit. They then go through a grinding, chopping, or puncturing process to rupture the essential oil sacs before being pressed.
In a slightly different method, the whole fruit is pressed to release juice and oil all at once. The juice and essential oils are then separated (sometimes using centrifugal force) and the orange oil is bottled up.
Either way, the end result is a rich and fragrant oil that is full of potent compounds like D-limonene, β- Myrcene, and α-Pinene.
Note: Orange essential oil can be produced from several types of oranges— most notably sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis), bitter oranges (C. aurantium), and blood oranges (C. x sinensis). Sweet orange oil is usually considered the superstar for skincare, but each of them do have their own benefits.
A Sweet & Impressive History
Using orange oil for beautiful skin isn’t a new concept. It has a long history of use (much like lemon peel oil) in soaps, creams, and lotions for its natural rejuvenating properties as well as in deodorants and perfumes for its fragrance.
Of course, skincare isn’t the only reason orange essential oil has been valued for thousands of years.
Both sweet and bitter oranges have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, particularly for indigestion and to restore hydration. The peels were used to balance QI, and the peel oil was used for ailments like poor appetite, pain, coughs, colds, and skin conditions.
Sweet orange oil also used to star as a flavoring in candy, chocolate, soft drinks, and other sweet treats. Unfortunately, it’s now usually replaced with artificial flavoring.
Artificial ingredients made their way into skincare products as well, pushing natural ingredients like orange oil into the background. However, there are numerous reasons to get this powerful oil back into your routine— as you’re about to find out.
Top Benefits of Orange Oil for Skin
Tones & Brightens Dull Skin
Orange oil contains compounds like limonene and terpenes that give it rejuvenating and astringent properties. What this means for your skin is that it helps to brighten and clarify your complexion while also toning skin.
Basically, astringents work by tightening the tissues they come into contact with (like your skin). This has the effect of smoothing out lines and imperfections. Astringents also have the added benefit of minimizing pores, which further helps your skin to look fresh, youthful, and plump.
Now, overusing astringents can lead to dry skin because they do restrict oil secretion. But the goods news is that just a small amount of orange essential oil will help tone your complexion effectively without dehydrating your skin.
Keep it mind, though, that you’ll see the greatest effects by using orange oil consistently (i.e., daily).
May Fade the Appearance of Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is a common sign of skin aging, although it can appear for other reasons as well. It occurs due to an excessive amount of melanin that collects in certain areas of your skin, making them look darker than the surrounding skin.
You’ve probably heard hyperpigmentation called by other names like “age spots,” “dark spots,” or even “sun spots.” Whatever the name, this can be one frustrating skin issue to deal with.
While orange oil hasn’t yet been clinically tested for hyperpigmentation, it does have benefits for brightening your skin tone, which can minimize the appearance of dark spots. Even more promising is the fact that it contains a rich amount of limonene, which is a plant compound that has shown potential skin-lightening effects.
For the best results, you can combine orange oil with vitamin C ingredients (known to diminish dark spots) like mango seed butter or rosehip seed oil. These moisturizing ingredients will also effectively dilute the orange essential oil so that it doesn’t irritate your skin.
Balances Oil Production & May Fight Acne
The natural astringent properties orange oil possesses makes it especially helpful for acne-prone skin. Not only do astringents help to shrink and unclog pores, they also reduce excess oil production that contributes to breakouts.
To add to this, orange essential oil has antimicrobial properties that may combat the bacteria responsible for certain kinds of acne. It hasn’t been specifically tested against this strain yet but has been shown to inhibit several other types of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus— another pathogen that causes skin issues.
To fight breakouts, you can add a drop of orange oil to a face mask or use it in an acne-safe facial product. It will also have the added effect of helping to brighten and refresh your skin after breakouts fade.
Antioxidant Power to Slow Skin Aging
If you want to slow or diminish the appearance of skin aging (wrinkles, dark spots, etc.), it’s incredibly important to include antioxidant ingredients in your skincare regimen.
Antioxidants are essential for neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals. These unstable molecules can “attack” skin cells and tissues, causing them to break down and accelerating the aging process. However, as long as your skin has a strong antioxidant defense system, the damage is minimized and aging slows back down.
The good news is that research has uncovered powerful antioxidant activity in orange essential oil— potentially enough to fight cancer!
This means that there are significant benefits of orange oil for defending your skin against free radicals, keeping it looking younger for longer.
Studies have also found that limonene, a key compound in orange oil, has significant photoprotective properties. More specifically, it may be able to protect your skin against UVB-induced photodamage, which is one of the biggest causes of premature skin aging.
Calms & Smooths Skin
If you struggle with red-looking skin or uneven skin tone, orange essential oil may be able to help.
We’ve already discussed how it can brighten and rejuvenate skin, which goes a long way towards restoring your natural glow. To take it up a notch, orange oil also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that largely come from its antioxidant content.
This combination of rejuvenating and calming effects allows it to diminish the appearance of redness and potentially soothe minor irritations.
For skin on the sensitive side, try using the essential oil in a cream or a lotion to maximize its soothing ability.
May Boost Blood Flow to Your Skin
Traditionally, orange oil has been used as a circulation booster and works exceptionally well for massages. It’s thought to boost
blood flow to the skin specifically as well as other areas of the body.
So why is circulation important when it comes to skincare?
Though we may not often think about it, blood is essential for life and health. It carries oxygen to every cell in your body (including skin cells!) as well as nutrients that cells and tissues need to thrive. Without good blood flow, your skin cells won’t be getting the steady supply of oxygen and nutrients they need to renew and regenerate.
Interestingly, research has shown that skin blood flow typically decreases as you age. This could be one of the reasons skin cells regenerate more slowly in mature skin.
If you’ve started to notice signs of aging, this is yet another reason to consider adding orange essential oil to your arsenal. You can gently massage it into your skin (via lotion, oil, etc.) to improve circulation and boost skin cell turnover.
Uplifting, Natural Scent
Yet another reason to use orange oil for your skin is the natural fragrance it adds to skincare products.
If you pay attention to skincare labels at all, it won’t be long before you notice the word “fragrance” appearing on almost every product. This is problematic for your skin (and your health) because synthetic fragrances are often some of the worst skincare toxins.
The short version of the story is that “fragrance” is a blanket term for any number of chemicals that give scent to a product. Many of these chemicals are known to cause problems like hormone disruption, increased cancer risk, and (ironically) skin irritation.
On the flip side, ingredients like orange essential oil add a beautiful and 100% natural fragrance to skincare while also benefiting your complexion. It’s really a win-win for you and your skin.
Other Notable Benefits of Orange Oil
Orange essential oil is truly a skincare superstar. But if you’re curious about what else it can do, here’s a quick look at some of its other impressive benefits:
- Major Mood Booster— Aromatherapy is one of the best ways to naturally lift your mood, and orange has proven to be one of the best essential oils for the job. Studies have found that it can lower stress hormone levels during a dental procedure, reduce anxiety for women in labor, AND potentially relieve symptoms of depression.
- Pain Relief— Orange essential oil has shown potential as a pain reliever, possibly due to its anti-inflammatory effects. You can use it diluted as a massage oil for achy joints or sore muscles, but one study found that simply inhaling it can relieve pain as well. Pretty incredible!
- May Promote Sleep— The stress-relieving effects of orange oil can be extremely helpful if you have trouble falling asleep due to stress or tension. It’s listed as a top aromatherapy oil to help with insomnia and is easy to diffuse in your room before bedtime.
- Brain Boosting— Using aromatherapy to boost brainpower is an ancient practice that is gaining a lot of attention in modern times. Orange oil is specifically connected with relaxation, cheerfulness, and enhanced creativity— a trio many of us could benefit from! One study even found that a rotation of aromatherapy oils, including orange, improved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.
How to Use Orange Oil for Skin Care + Are There Precautions?
When it comes to adding orange essential oil to your skincare routine, there are a few ways to go about it.
If you want to simply use pure orange oil, remember that it needs to be diluted first. The easiest way to do this is by using a plant-based carrier oil. You can also add a drop or two to a face mask, face scrub, bath salts, etc.— always making sure it’s properly diluted before applying to your skin.
Another option is to look for quality skincare products that contain orange oil. In this case, the essential oil will already be diluted for you, so you can get the benefits without worrying about applying too much to your skin.
Now, as far as precautions go…
Some people are sensitive to the limonene present in orange oil. When first using the oil, apply it to a small area of skin first to make sure you don’t have a reaction (especially if you have sensitive skin) before applying to a larger area.
Certain citrus oils can make your skin photosensitive, which means it will burn more easily when exposed to sunlight. Orange essential oil has a low risk of phototoxicity, but it’s still a good idea to not expose your skin to the sun right after applying the oil.
Finally, look for and use organic orange oil whenever possible. Citrus fruits are commonly sprayed with chemical pesticides, and you do not want pesticide residue absorbing into your skin.
Rejuvenate Dry Hands Naturally
If your skin is in need of deep hydration and rejuvenation, look into the Dry Skin Rejuvenator+ from Purity Woods.
This 100% organic hand balm is designed to deeply nourish and repair skin using nature’s most effective ingredients. The stars of the show are moisturizers like rosehip seed oil, shea butter, and cocoa oil that are enhanced by the presence of sweet orange and white grapefruit essential oils.
Not only do the essential oils bring many of their own skin benefits— like antioxidant and anti-aging power— they also give a lovely and completely natural fragrance to the hand balm (which, by the way, contains zero questionable or toxic ingredients).
Learn more about the Dry Skin Rejuvenator+ here. And don’t forget to consider whether your skin could benefit from the addition of orange oil in other ways!