Citronellol, also known as beta-citronellol, DL citronellol, dihydro geraniol, and 3,7-Dimethyloct-6-en-1-ol, is a natural acyclic monoterpenoid that is found in various essential oils, including citronella, rose, and geranium oils.
In the world of cosmetics, citronellol is primarily used for its fragrance properties. It is a common ingredient in perfumes and also imparts a pleasing aroma to cleaning products. Additionally, it is a component of citronella oil, which is well-known for its insect-repelling abilities. Citronellol also serves as a raw material for the production of rose oxide and is a precursor to many commercial and potential fragrances such as citronellol acetate, citronellyl oxyacetaldehyde, citronellyl methyl acetal, and ethyl citronellyl oxalate.
Regarding safety, the United States FDA recognizes citronellol as generally safe for use in food, and it has also been evaluated for dermal safety as an insect repellent1. However, some people may become sensitized to citronellol, meaning that they could develop an allergic reaction to it. The degree to which citronellol can cause an allergic reaction in humans is disputed, but due to its potential to cause skin sensitivities, it is subject to restrictions on its use in perfumery.
Citronellol is part of the EU's list of 26 allergens that must be specifically declared in the list of ingredients on cosmetic products when certain concentration thresholds are exceeded. These restrictions aim to provide consumers with more information about the presence of potential allergens, allowing them to make informed choices about the products they use. The threshold for allergens in leave-on products like body lotion is 0.001%, and for rinse-off products like shower gel, it's 0.01%.