Is citronella oil good for your skin?

When it comes to skin care, natural ingredients have become increasingly popular in recent years. One such ingredient that has gained attention is citronella oil. Derived from a type of grass known as Cymbopogon nardus, citronella oil is commonly used in a variety of products, including perfumes and fragrances. In this article, we will explore whether citronella oil is truly beneficial to the skin and how it can be incorporated into your skin care routine.

The properties of citronella oil

Citronella oil has several properties that make it an interesting ingredient for skin care products. It is known for its antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which can help combat various skin problems. In addition, citronella oil has a refreshing citrus-like aroma, making it a popular choice for perfumes and fragrances.

When applied to the skin, citronella oil can have a cooling sensation and has the potential to act as a natural insect repellent. However, it is important to note that citronella oil should always be diluted before applying to the skin to avoid any potential adverse reactions.

Benefits of Citronella Oil for the Skin

1. Antimicrobial properties:
Citronella oil contains compounds that have antimicrobial properties, which may be beneficial for certain skin conditions. It may help fight bacteria and fungi that can lead to acne breakouts, skin infections, or other inflammatory conditions. However, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of its effectiveness in treating these skin problems.

2. Skin cleansing and toning:

The astringent properties of citronella oil make it suitable for cleansing and toning the skin. It can help remove excess oil, dirt and impurities, leaving the skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Incorporating citronella oil into your skin care routine as a natural toner can help to achieve a clearer complexion.

Precautions and possible side effects

While citronella oil has potential benefits for the skin, it is important to use it with caution and to consider individual sensitivities. Here are some precautions to keep in mind:

1. Skin sensitivity:

Some people may be more sensitive to citronella oil. Before applying it to your skin, perform a patch test by diluting a small amount with a carrier oil and applying it to a small area. If redness, itching, or irritation occurs, discontinue use.

2. Phototoxicity:
Citronella oil may cause photosensitivity in some individuals. This means that when applied to the skin and exposed to sunlight, it may increase the risk of sunburn or skin damage. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid direct sun exposure after applying citronella oil to the skin.

How to incorporate citronella oil into your skin care routine

When using citronella oil in your skin care routine, it is important to dilute it properly. Here are some suggestions:

1. Citronella-infused moisturizer:

Add a few drops of citronella oil to your favorite moisturizer to enjoy its potential benefits without overpowering the scent. This can help moisturize the skin while taking advantage of the antimicrobial properties of citronella oil.

2. Citronella-infused facial toner:

Mix a few drops of citronella oil with witch hazel or distilled water to make a refreshing facial toner. Apply with a cotton pad after cleansing to remove impurities and balance the skin’s pH.

Bottom Line

Citronella oil can be a valuable addition to your skin care routine thanks to its potential antimicrobial and astringent properties. However, it is important to remember that individual sensitivities and precautions should be considered. Before incorporating citronella oil into your routine, conduct a patch test and consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns or existing skin conditions. With proper use and dilution, citronella oil can add a natural and aromatic touch to your skin care regimen.

Remember, it is always advisable to consult with a skin care professional or dermatologist before incorporating any new ingredients into your skin care routine to ensure they are appropriate for your specific skin type and condition.


Is citronella oil good for skin?

Citronella oil is not recommended for direct application on the skin. While it is commonly used as an insect repellent, it can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and sensitization in some individuals. It is best to dilute citronella oil in a carrier oil before applying it to the skin, and it should be used with caution.

What are the potential benefits of using citronella oil on the skin?

Citronella oil is believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which may help in treating certain skin conditions. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using citronella oil for any specific skin concerns.

Can citronella oil be used to treat acne?

There is no substantial evidence to suggest that citronella oil is effective in treating acne. While it may have some antimicrobial properties, there are more proven acne treatments available. It is advisable to consult a dermatologist for appropriate acne treatment options.

Is citronella oil safe to use on sensitive skin?

Citronella oil can be irritating to sensitive skin. It is recommended to perform a patch test before using it on a larger area of skin. Diluting citronella oil in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or almond oil, may help reduce the risk of skin irritation, but it is still important to proceed with caution.

Are there any potential side effects of using citronella oil on the skin?

Yes, using undiluted citronella oil on the skin can cause skin irritation, redness, itching, and allergic reactions in some individuals. It may also increase sensitivity to sunlight, leading to sunburns or other sun-related skin damage. It is important to use citronella oil in moderation and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur.