Definition: Citral is a naturally occurring component of the oil of several plants, including lemongrass, lemon myrtle, lemon, and orange trees. It is also known as Lemarome and can be produced synthetically. Citral is a mixture of two isomers, geranial, and neral, with geranial having a strong lemon odor and neral having a less intense, sweeter lemon odor​.

Use in Cosmetics: Citral is used in the formulation of many types of products, including aftershave lotions, bath products, moisturizers, perfumes and colognes, skin care products, and suntan products. It functions primarily as a fragrance ingredient and a flavoring agent, contributing a lemony scent to the products.

Other Names: Lemarome

Sensitivities: Citral is recognized as a potential sensitizer, meaning it could cause an allergic reaction in some people. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) restricts the use of Citral in fragrances because of this potential for sensitization​.

Risks: Although the FDA includes Citral in its list of substances considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), it is included in the European list of “allergenic” substances. Manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products are required to indicate the presence of Citral in the list of ingredients if it is present above certain levels: 0.001% in leave-on-the-skin products and 0.01% in products that are rinsed off the skin​.

EU 26 List: Citral is included in the EU 26 list of potential cosmetic allergens. The EU Cosmetic Regulation requires that the presence of any of the 26 allergens, including Citral, should be listed in the ingredient list if their concentration exceeds 0.001% in leave-on products or 0.01% in rinse-off products. This is to ensure that consumers are adequately informed of their presence, as these allergens may cause skin sensitivities in certain individuals​.

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