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All About Grapefruit Essential Oils

Grapefruit (citrus x paradisi) is an absolute superfruit, known for its tangy, tart, citrusy taste and numerous health benefits. And it’s not only excellent for eating. There are plenty more reasons to love this fruit embedded in the advantages of using its essential oils.

Closeup of bottle of grapefruit essential oil with grapefruit in the background.
If you think essential oils are just for aromatherapy, you’ll be surprised to learn how many uses there are for grapefruit essential oil!

Containing the same intense aroma and orangey tint as the fruit from which it is extracted, grapefruit essential oil is valued for its medicinal, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.

In this article, we’ll look at what exactly grapefruit essential oils are, how to use them, and seven of the most significant benefits of incorporating them into your lifestyle.

What Are Grapefruit Essential Oils?

Grapefruit essential oils are extracted from the bitter, tough outer rind of the fruit. This oil has an uplifting aroma that is sweet, fruity, and tangy, making it popular among aromatherapy enthusiasts.

In terms of process, grapefruit peel is full of tiny glands, and oil can be withdrawn from these glands via one of two methods: cold pressing or steam distilling.

Cold pressing is an extraction method most often used for citrus fruits, as the rind of each fruit needs to be pierced and pressed to access its oils successfully.

Steam distilling is a method of condensation and collection that requires the use of a still. Essential oils are vaporized as a means to extract them from the peel of the grapefruit, and then they condense and collect in a separate chamber before coming to rest on top of a small pool of water where they can be siphoned off.

The main chemical constituent of grapefruit oil is D-Limonene, which is known for its antibacterial activity and energizing aroma.

How to Use Grapefruit Essential Oils

Closeup of woman applying a drop of essential oil to fingertip.

Grapefruit essential oils can be used in a wide range of ways. You can apply this oil directly to your skin or add a few drops to an ounce of carrier oil for a lighter grapefruit oil solution.

Alternatively, you can diffuse it using a humidifier or diffuser.

Some essential oil enthusiasts also believe that adding a couple of drops of grapefruit oil to your glass of water or even to your breakfast smoothie can benefit your health over time.

Seven Grapefruit Essential Oil Benefits

While the nutritional properties of grapefruit are relatively well-known, the benefits of grapefruit oils are not as prevalent. And there are so many of them!

From relieving anxiety to clearing up oily skin, grapefruit essential oils have lots to offer in terms of stimulating effects. Let’s take a more in-depth look at grapefruit oil as a natural remedy.

Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce Stress

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a universal problem affecting millions of people and is often caused by heightened stress levels.

While plenty of blood pressure medication is available on the mass market, aromatherapy is an excellent addition to prescription medication regimes.

Indeed, studies have shown that inhaling citrus oils like grapefruit oil can help to alleviate stress and lower blood pressure, paving the way to a healthier lifestyle.

It is speculated that exposure to essential oil aromas can reduce the release of the hormone cortisol, which tends to fire off when we feel anxious.

Grapefruit oil is also rich in antioxidants, which help alleviate and fight off various other medical conditions, like heart disease and cancer.

Treat Skin Disorders

Woman in white bathrobe holding dropper and bottle of essential oil -- skincare is one use you may not immediately have thought of for grapefruit essential oil.

Adding a bit of grapefruit oil to your skin care routine may be just what you need to clear up acne prone skin or the appearance of blemishes.

One reason for this is the presence of D-Limonene in grapefruit oil. This chemical component fights off bacteria, keeping your skin clean and healthy while simultaneously allowing it time to heal.

After all, essential oils have been used in skin products since the days of Ancient Egypt.

And what’s more, they smell great and feel invigorating when applied

Antimicrobial and Antibacterial Properties

Once again, the star of the show, D-Limonene, is a critical factor in grapefruit essential oils’ exceptional antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. This fiery little chemical is proven to assist in warding off potentially harmful bacteria and fungi.

In fact, one study has even shown its powerful effects against an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria known as MRSA.

If you’re not planning to use this oil topically, you can certainly use it as part of your kitchen and house cleaning regime, as an assistant to keeping harmful bacteria at bay.

Metabolism Booster

Grapefruit is lauded for its weight loss properties, making it a popular diet food the world over. Anecdotally, it is considered a fat cell blaster, and studies have started to show that there may well be scientific merit to this idea.

Topically applied grapefruit oil may reduce the generation of fat cells and the appearance of cellulite, and overall is good for your skin. You can rub it on your body daily or enjoy it as part of a relaxing massage.

Furthermore, some natural remedy practitioners also believe that adding a drop or two of grapefruit essential oil to your water as a dietary supplement can help promote your metabolism and assist with weight loss.

With that being said, it is not generally advisable to drink essential oils, so before doing so, contact your health practitioner for help and guidance in this regard.

Appetite Suppressant

Grapefruit essential oil aromatherapy is believed to assist in reducing overactive appetites and suppressing binge cravings.

While laboratory studies in this field have only taken place on rats, evidence suggests that the aroma of grapefruit essential oils, which smells like Limonene, reduces appetite while simultaneously serving to relax and calm.

Mood Balancer

In today’s world, mental health is more topical than ever, and the importance of looking after our mental wellness is finally receiving the attention it deserves.

For many people, however, this means taking medication to help curb anxiety and depression and help us stay focused. Often, with medication comes adverse side effects.

For this reason, more and more people are turning to essential oils and aromatherapy as a means to still anxiety and cope with complex moods.

Assorted studies have linked citrus oils to anti-anxiety and calming effects.

Massage Enhancer

Masseuse pouring oil into hand over the back of person receiving massage treatment.

Who doesn’t love a good massage? Grapefruit oil is an excellent addition to massage oils, leaving an invigorating fragrance and a refreshing feeling on your skin.

The aroma of grapefruit oil is terrific for relieving tension and for promoting feelings of vitality and renewal.

Further Uses for Grapefruit Essential Oils

The above list aside, grapefruit oil is also recommended for combatting jetlag, fighting hangovers, alleviating fatigue, or battling migraine headaches.

In each case, diffusing the oil, sniffing it, applying it topically, or adding a few drops to your water may reinvigorate your body and leave you feeling less ill or distressed. (For fun, check out this link of essential oil diffuser recipes that all contain grapefruit as one of the essential oils — you’re sure to find one you love!)

For the same reason, we often find body scrubs and washes infused with grapefruit essential oil.

Woman smelling bottle of essential oil.

Health Risks Associated with Grapefruit Essential Oils

Essential oils are a natural product safe for use in diffusers or topically. However, there is always a small risk of allergic reactions, skin sensitivity, or other adverse effects, so let’s take a look at one or two possible issues to be aware of.

May Cause Photosensitivity

Any citrus oils applied directly to the skin may cause light sensitivity resulting in sunburn. For safety’s sake, stay out of direct sun exposure for 12 hours following application.

Consumption by Children

Before using essential oils on children, check with your doctor or a health care practitioner that there are no risks involved. As children are still developing, they may have underlying conditions that can be triggered or set off by applying or consuming essential oils.

Consumption by Pets

Unlike humans, pets cannot tolerate consuming most essential oils, and especially citrus oils. Therefore, you must keep this oil away from your furry friends and consult a vet immediately if you notice illness or distress.

Generally speaking, they’re unlikely to try and drink it or lick it given its strong citrus smell, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and keep an eye on your pets until you’re sure it’s safe.

Use During Pregnancy and Nursing

Most essential oils are perfectly safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding but consult your doctor first if you’re planning to incorporate grapefruit essential oils into your lifestyle.

Avoiding Contact With Eyes, Ears, and Sensitive Areas

As healthy as essential oils are, they are still comprised of natural chemicals that can harm sensitive areas of your body. For this reason, avoid getting grapefruit essential oils in your eyes, ears, open wounds, or other sensitive parts of your body.

Complementary Essential Oils

Bottle of essential oil with

Half the fun of experimenting with essential oils is creating your own blends. Grapefruit essential oil is a perfect addition to a carrier oil like jojoba oil or coconut oil, which can be used for skin care or a massage.

Other complementary essential oils that blend well with grapefruit are rosemary, peppermint, lavender, geranium, frankincense, and bergamot oil.

You can create your own mixture for aromatherapy or diffusion upfront and store them in small glass bottles for when you need a mood lift or body benefit.

What Is the Difference Between Grapefruit Essential Oils and Grapefruit Seed Extracts?

Bottle of grapefruit seed extract, grapefruit seeds, and slices of cut grapefruit.
Just as the name suggests, grapefruit seed extract comes primarily from the seeds, whereas grapefruit essential oil come from the rind.

The critical differences between grapefruit essential oils and grapefruit seed extracts lie in where they come from and how they are used.

Where grapefruit essential oils are derived from the glands embedded in the rinds of grapefruit, grapefruit seed extract is made from its seed and pulp.

Moreover, grapefruit seed extract is usually produced either in tablet form or in liquid form, whereas grapefruit essential oil is, as the name suggests, an oil.

The potential benefits of grapefruit seed extract are just as mind-blowing as the rest of this fruit. It is commonly recommended for its antimicrobial properties, as an immune booster, to aid digestive health and help protect the body’s cells from harm or free radical damage.

Both the oil and the extract of grapefruits can be used to treat skin conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are essential oils safe for internal use?

A: Many essential oils comprise complex chemical compositions in very concentrated forms that can wreak havoc on the human body. However, certain essential oils are safe for human consumption, but before imbibing, always do your research. Among these is grapefruit essential oil, but before adding it to your diet, check to ensure it is a validated brand and concentrate.

Q: Can grapefruit essential oils expire?

A: While essential oils don’t perish like food items, they do change and get old over time. For your own safety, stay away from essential oils that have passed their expiration date. It is unclear what the side effects of aged essential oils might be, but it is better to err on the side of caution.

Q: How do essential oils affect the brain?

A: When inhaled, essential oils impact our olfactory systems, which are connected to our limbic systems, which control functions such as our heart rates, our blood pressure, our stress levels, and our hormones. Therefore, aromatherapy is the concept that essential oils stimulate and positively aid in promoting our overall well-being.

Closing Thoughts

Bottles of grapefruit essential oil and pieces of cut grapefruit.

Wonders never cease when it comes to the humble grapefruit. While it might not be everyone’s favorite to eat or drink, it’s clear that the benefits of incorporating this fruit into your lifestyle far outweigh the negatives.

As a natural remedy, there is so much to say about how this essential oil can positively improve your day-to-day.

Are you an essential oil enthusiast, or do you have experience with grapefruit oil? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear your insights.

Want to learn more about grapefruits? Next, visit our grapefruit trees page to discover information on planting, growing, caring, cooking, and more!


Friday 31st of March 2023

I had used grapefruit essential oil in my ear and experienced pain. Any suggestions on how to help ease through this ?


Tuesday 11th of April 2023

No. See your doctor.