Limes are delicious fruits that are known for their vitamin-C goodness. It is added to dishes for a tangy flavor and squeezed into a juice for a refreshing drink. Eaten on its own, it makes a great, light but a highly nutritious snack. Consuming lime can prevent many common illnesses such as colds, cough, scurvy and skin diseases.
Aside from the fruit, its essential oil also delivers many health benefits, especially when used in skin care. It can give you a brighter complexion, and clear, blemish-free skin. Lime essential oil is even recommended by dermatologists to zap away skin disorders such as acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. Used in aromatherapy, its clean, citrusy smell can uplift the mood and rejuvenate the senses.
Lime oil comes from the fruit of the lime tree (Citrus aurantifolia) of the family Rutaceae. It is also commonly known as sour lime, Mexican lime and West Indian lime. The evergreen tree is native to Southeast Asia and has been naturalized in Africa and Egypt.
The short, bushy tree grows to about 6 to 15 feet in height, has sharp spines, dark green leaves, beautiful white flowers, and green oval-shaped fruits. During the 1200s, the fruits were brought to Spain by traveling Moors, and that was how it spread throughout Europe. Eventually, the fruit was introduced into US markets as well. At present, lime is commercially produced by Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, and India, the latter being the biggest producer.
The fruit has a variety of uses: food additive, flavoring agent, cosmetics and perfume ingredient, and herbal medicine.
Lime oil is packed with beneficial compounds which gives the oil the following therapeutic properties: antiviral, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, hemostatic, aperitif, febrifuge, disinfectant, restorative and tonic.
These active chemical compounds are beta pinene, alpha-pinene, borneol, limonene, linalool, cineole, myrcene, citral, fenchol, neral acetate, geranyl acetate, and terpinolene. It also contains germacrene b, which gives the oil its woody-spicy, citrusy aroma.
The extraction method used to derive lime essential oil depends on the source. Cold press method is used when extracting from fresh lime peels, while steam distillation is done if the source is dried peels. Whatever method is used, it does not affect the beneficial compounds found in lime. The color of the oil ranges from a pale yellow to light olive, depending on the extraction process.
Lime essential oil has the power to improve the overall appearance and condition of the skin. Among its many skin benefits are the following:
- Lightens Skin. Vitamin C is known to lighten skin tone and brighten the complexion. Lime essential oil is packed with this skin-boosting vitamin. When applied to the skin, it will not only improve skin tone but will also lighten spots and freckles for clearer skin.
- Anti-aging. The vitamin C in the oil is a potent antioxidant that will protect the skin against oxidation and damages due to free radical attacks. It will also keep the skin resistant from toxins and harmful substances in the environment. These actions will prevent premature aging and delay the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Skin Firming. When you apply lime essential oil to the skin, its astringent and tonic properties will tighten loose muscles and firm the skin. This will keep the skin from sagging and maintain its youthful appearance. This makes the oil an ideal skin therapy for people who are in their 40s or 50s when the skin starts to lose its firmness.
- Improve Overall Skin Health. Applying the oil to the skin will boost its overall health. It will hydrate and nourish the skin, and reduce the risk of common skin problems such as acne, whiteheads, blackheads, and pigmentation. It is also very helpful in the prevention of eczema and psoriasis.
There is not enough scientific study that could determine the appropriate dosage of lime essential oil. Just like any essential oil, it is highly concentrated so it must be diluted in a base oil before use. The oil blends well with the essential oils of neroli, lavender, ylang-ylang and clary sage.
The oil is considered generally safe for use, however, it may cause photo-sensitivity if your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays. You are advised to use a sunscreen or reduce sun exposure to avoid skin irritation or the development of pigmentation.
Lime essential oil has so many beauty-enhancing substances that you should take advantage of. Obtaining the oil is very easy and convenient as it is available online from trusted and reliable manufacturers. Adding lime essential oil to your daily skin regiment will give your skin a youthful glow.