Bergamot In Skin Care

I love bergamot essential oil in skin care. The problem is, of course, its phototoxicity. So we do have to be a bit savvy about how we use it. 

The first thing to say is it has three important actions. 1) It adds brightness and clarity to the complexion 2) It has a pleasing effect on wrinkles 3) It is uber astringent. 

So, let’s begin with point three. Bergamot dries your skin. That’s great if you are on the side of greasiness, or you can swing that way when you’re hormonal. If you are post menopausal though, really consider the state of your skin before you use it. If the estrogen has gone - wrinkles or no wrinkles - and it’s no erring on the dry side, bergamot is a bad choice. Neroli, vetiver, rose, geranium and frankincense would all be better. 

It works brilliantly in cleansers and particularly facial steams and masques. 

At this point then, we need to decide what time of day we’re going to use it. 

Evenings? Great. We can add a couple of drops and feel perfectly happy - as long as we have no plans to go on a sunbed. 

Morning? Gorgeous…what a great way to start the day. Bright, upbeat and positive, with the skin feeling really fresh. But...

Now you need to watch your dilutions because of potential threats of phototoxicity. You could choose an FCF version, or you could do as I do, and go really low on the dilution. Remember less than 0.4%. The best way around that, is to mix it into a larger volume of cleanser. 

Of course, if you do go this small, it then becomes safe to use it in a moisturizer, serum or nourishing cream too. These low dilutions are going to cancel out the phototoxicity issues. 

The International Fragrance Regulations Association recommends you use an antioxidant in any preparation that has high levels of limonene (or linalool) if you don’t intend to use it right away. Typically, the chemistry of Bergamot essential oil comprises between a third to a half of limonene. The issue, of course, is how fast limonene deteriorates and can cause skin sensitization. The bergamot essential oil that Vinevida sell at the time of writing is 30% limonene and 5% linalool. 

The addition of 0.1% BHT or alpha-tocopherol, for example, works well. This site has a great calculator that shows you how much to use. 

So, all that said, if you are super lazy like I am…I’d recommend adding a couple of drops into your facial once a week. Do it in the evening. Use a blank cleanser and add a drop to that. Use it straight away. Add it to your facial steam to clear the pores, brighten the skin and the mood. Another drop into your facial massage treatment and one in your night cream. 

Remember though…only if your skin feels oily!

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