What is it?

Hydoxycitronellal is a fragrance used in personal care products, repellents, and household products.

How can I avoid it?

You should avoid contact with this substance. Avoidance requires reading labels, package inserts, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and on occasion, direct communication with the manufacturer. To prevent allergic contact dermatitis, avoidance of fragranced products, especially those with a sweet floral odor, is necessary.


Avoidance requires reading the product labels, package inserts, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and on occasion, direct communication with the manufacturer.

The avoidance of fragrances and flavoring agents such as Hydroxycitronellal can be difficult, since so many everyday products contain these substances. One should use only fragrance-free cosmetic and household products. “Unscented” products may contain low levels of a fragrance to cover up an undesirable odor and also should be avoided. Products labeled as “hypoallergenic” do not assure that the product is truly free of fragrance.

Since fragrances are complex mixtures of many ingredients, an individual may tolerate one fragrance but not another. A trial-and-error method of avoiding a fragrance allergen in a product can be performed by applying the product to the forearm in the same small area twice a day for a week. If no dermatitis develops, the product may likely be used safely.

Since some fragrances are also flavors, foods can, rarely, cause flare-ups of dermatitis in fragrance-sensitive individuals. Particularly if you have oral or lip allergies as discussed with your health care provider, you should avoid foods prepared with Hydroxycitronellal.

  • Citronella candles

  • Perfumes / Colognes / After-shaves / Toilet water

  • Skin Care Products / Cosmetics

    m Antiperspirants / Deodorants
    m Hair sprays, gels, tonics and lotions
    m Hair Colorants / “Permanents-Relaxers” 

    m Soaps / Cleansers
    m Shampoos / Conditioners
    m Moisturizers
    m Make-ups
    m Nail Polish / Nail Polish Remover
    m Powders / Sprays
    m Sunscreens

  • Medications, topical, prescription and over the counter such as 

    m Anesthetics

    m Antiseptics
    m Creams, Ointments, Solutions
    m Foot And Other Powders
    m Nasal Decongestants
    m Herbal remedies, including Traditional Chinese Medications 

    m Wound Dressings

  • Household products
    m Air Fresheners / Aromatherapy / Potpourri
    m Cleaning Products / Soaps / Detergents (A preferred household cleaner is dilute white vinegar.) 

    m Furniture polish
    m Laundry care (detergent, softeners)

  • Foods, candies, gums, beverages, various, as a flavoring or spice

  • Oral and Dental Care Products as a flavoring

    m Cough mixtures
    m Toothpaste / Mouthwash
    m Throat tablets and lozenges

  • Repellents
    m Insect repellent for cats and dogs 

    m Mosquito and gnat repellent
    m Repellent wipes for veterinary use

  • Saddle soap

    Other Names for Hydroxycitronellal:

    7-Hydroxy-3, 7-DimethyLoctanol Citronella
    Citronellal Hydrate
    Citronellal, hydroxy-
    Lily aldehyde
    Octanol, 7-Hydrox-3, 7-Dimethyl- Oil of Citronella

    Potential cross-reaction/co-reacting substances:


How safe is it?

Hang tight. We're thinking.