Our Complete Guide to Bergamot Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses and Cautions
Bergamot essential oil is a puzzle to historians. Some insist it has its roots in the Far East. Others are sure it has Italian origins. And there’s a third group that thinks it may have emerged from the Canary Islands. But everyone agrees that it has been used for hundreds of years now, and it has a long list of mental and physical benefits.
You might already be somewhat familiar with the scent of bergamot if you drink Earl Grey tea since bergamot oil is used to flavor it!
Bergamot’s unique citrus scent has a floral hint and a woody backdrop. The sweet top note is a wonderful option for aromatherapy and does much to relieve tension when you’re feeling stressed. Many people also swear by bergamot oil for skin care, as a sleep aid, and it’s a popular treatment for skin, too.
Find out about the different ways to use bergamot oil to enrich your life. In this guide, we also include safety guidelines for using this essential oil so that you can enjoy its benefits to the full.
- What is bergamot essential oil?
- Bergamot essential oil - quick facts
- How is bergamot essential oil made?
- Benefits of bergamot essential oil
- Bergamot oil for sleep and relaxation
- Bergamot oil for pain relief
- Bergamot oil for skin
- Bergamot oil for hair
- How to use bergamot essential oil
- Inhaling bergamot oil
- Aromatherapy massage with bergamot oil
- Bathe with bergamot oil
- Topical use of bergamot oil
- Bergamot essential oil research
- Bergamot and relaxation - 2015
- Bergamot oil for sleep - 2019
- Bergamot essential oil and depression - 2013, 2022
- Bergamot essential oil and anxiety - 2017
- Bergamot oil for skin and hair - 2003
- Bergamot oil for acne - 2020
- Bergamot oil for pain and inflammation - 2020
- Side effects of bergamot oil
- Contraindications of bergamot essential oil
- Where to buy bergamot essential oil
- Bergamot essential oil FAQs
- Can I use bergamot oil for skin conditions?
- Does bergamot essential oil have any health risks?
- Is bergamot essential oil safe to use around pets?
- Do essential oils expire?
- In summary
What is bergamot essential oil?
Bergamot oranges are shaped like oranges but coloured like limes. They’re thought to be a hybrid of bitter orange and lemon. Their scent profile is earthy, sharp and sweet. They contain beneficial constituents like β-pinene, limonene, linalool, myrcene and ocimene.
Bergamot essential oil is made up of compounds extracted from the peel of the fruit. Its oil is said to embody the plant’s essence, flavor and scent.
Bergamot essential oil - quick facts
💚 Latin name: Citrus bergamia
💚 Also known as: Bergamot orange
💚 Country of origin: 🇮🇹 Italy
💚 Scent note: Top
💚 Annual production: 100 tons
💚 Popular uses: Acne, skin care, sleep aid
How is bergamot essential oil made?
Traditionally, Bergamot essential oil was produced by soaking the fruit’s rind in water. The rind was then pressed and whatever oil was excreted when separated from the water was collected.
However, these days we use more efficient processes. Bergamot essential oil can be extracted from the rind by cold pressing, steam distillation, organic solvent extraction or supercritical CO2 extraction. Cold pressing retains the greatest proportion of the oil’s active compounds and is the most favorable method. Steam distillation, on the other hand, might render the oil no longer phototoxic.
Benefits of bergamot essential oil
This delicate citrus fruit has a range of benefits. The Italians have used bergamot to reduce stress. The Greeks enjoy it as a dessert with coffee. And the medical industry draws on it to minimize high cholesterol and other fats in our blood. This oil is also cleansing and purifying, making it perfect for topical use in facials and massages.
Some of bergamot oil’s main benefits include:
- 💚 Improving sleep and relaxation
- 💚 Pain relief
- 💚 Skin care
- 💚 Hair care
Bergamot oil for sleep and relaxation
Citrus-based oils are typically known for their invigorating and energizing properties. However, bergamot essential oil is unique in its ability to induce the physiological changes required for sleep. This includes reducing heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
Anxiety and stress are two of the leading causes of sleep problems. The calming, uplifting scent of bergamot essential oil helps clear your mind in preparation for a restful night of sleep. It also reduces your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, leaving your mind peaceful and relaxed. This makes bergamot oil for sleep disorders a great choice.
Bergamot oil for pain relief
Bergamot essential oil is also known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. This is due to the linalool and carvacrol compounds which are found within the oil.
Bergamot oil for skin
Many people use bergamot oil for acne because it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can improve psoriasis. It also provides antioxidant effects and boosts collagen production in the skin, making it a great anti-aging ingredient. However, avoid using bergamot oil topically if you have sensitive skin or if you plan to go outside directly after applying it due to its phototoxicity, and always perform a patch test beforehand.
Bergamot oil for hair
Many people swear by bergamot oil for healthy, soft and shiny hair. If you’re looking to tame your curls or achieve red carpet locks, it could be worth trying bergamot oil on your hair.
Bergamot oil is thought to improve circulation through your scalp (although a scalp massage alone does this too), ensuring the proper delivery of both nutrients and oxygen to your hair follicles to encourage healthy growth.
How to use bergamot essential oil
- 💚 Inhalation
- 💚 Aromatherapy massage
- 💚 Bath
- 💚 Topical use
Let’s take a look at these uses of bergamot essential oil in a little more detail.
Inhaling bergamot oil
Many people enjoy inhaling the soothing scent of bergamot oil. Try adding a few drops of this oil to a diffuser to fill your living room with its uplifting and calming aroma while you’re relaxing or in your bedroom to help you prepare for a good night’s sleep.
You can also add a couple of drops of bergamot oil to the hot wax of a lit candle to create your own personal scented candle.
If you want to target specific areas of your home with bergamot essential oil, you can add a few drops of the oil into a clean spray bottle and top it up with warm water. The solution can then be sprayed onto your furniture, carpets or around areas you want to brighten up. This is also a great way to set the tone and freshen up your home quickly if you have guests arriving.
Aromatherapy massage with bergamot oil
Bergamot oil is ideal for use during an aromatherapy massage if you’re looking for a calming and uplifting scent. It’s also great for your skin, thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. If you have aches or pains, try mixing a few drops of bergamot essential oil with a carrier oil and massaging into the affected area.
However, you should never apply bergamot oil directly to your skin (neat or undiluted) as it can cause irritation. Mix a few drops of this essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil such as jojoba oil. The mixture can then be massaged into your skin while you enjoy the soothing and uplifting aroma of bergamot essential oil.
Bathe with bergamot oil
Adding bergamot oil to your bath is a great way to enjoy the many benefits of this versatile essential oil such as stress relief, relaxation, pain relief and skin health. Before adding bergamot oil to your bath, you’ll need to mix it with a carrier oil such as jojoba, sweet almond oil, grapeseed or fractionated coconut oil. If you don’t have any carrier oil on hand, you can also mix it with full-fat cow’s milk to enable the essential oil to disperse effectively throughout the water.
This is a great way to harness the effects of bergamot oil for sleep, too. Having a hot bath with a few drops of bergamot oil before bedtime can make it much easier for you to get the rest you need.
Topical use of bergamot oil
Using bergamot oil for skin care is perhaps the main reason many people purchase it. You can apply bergamot oil mixed with a carrier oil directly to spots, cysts, pimples, and blackheads. Leave the treatment on overnight and rinse it off in the morning. Don’t leave the treatment on during the day, however, as this oil can increase photosensitivity when exposed to sunlight.
If you’re mixing bergamot with a carrier oil to use on your face, be sure to use a non-comedogenic (non-clogging) oil such as jojoba oil, or try rosehip oil, blueberry seed oil or plum oil which also have anti-aging benefits for your skin.
You can also easily make a bergamot face mask. Mix ¼ cup of natural yogurt with 2-3 drops of bergamot oil. Apply the mixture to your face and relax for around 20 minutes. When you rinse off your face mask with warm water, you’ll find that using bergamot oil for skin leaves it feeling hydrated and refreshed.
To use bergamot oil in your hair to promote hair growth, simply add a few drops of bergamot essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner and massage it into your scalp to boost circulation and stimulate the hair follicles.
Bergamot and relaxation - 2015
Bergamot oil has been used for centuries for relaxation. A 2015 study found that bergamot essential oil helps improve mental wellbeing, lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increases parasympathetic activity in the body, a marker of relaxation. Participants in this study also reported reduced negative emotions and fatigue.
Bergamot oil for sleep - 2019
In cardiac rehabilitation patients who experience difficulty falling asleep and frequent sleep disturbances, aromatherapy with bergamot essential oil for 5 nights was found to improve sleep quality compared with a placebo, experiencing fewer episodes of their sleep being interrupted due to things like being too cold or getting up to go to the bathroom.
Bergamot essential oil and depression - 2013, 2022
A 2013 review noted that bergamot essential oil has been shown to help with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. Inhalation of bergamot oil is thought to influence the production of both dopamine and serotonin, which results in mood regulation.
A recent study found that bergamot aromatherapy for 15 minutes a day over 4 weeks improved depressive mood in postpartum women compared to the control group. This shows that bergamot can be inhaled by nursing mothers.
Bergamot essential oil and anxiety - 2017
A study in 2017 measured the impact of exposing women to the aroma of bergamot oil for 15 minutes each week as they visited a mental health clinic. After eight weekly visits, the women who inhaled bergamot oil achieved 17% higher positivity scores on a Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PNAS) than the women who inhaled a placebo vapor. This demonstrates the positive impact of bergamot essential oil on mood and anxiety.
Bergamot oil for skin and hair - 2003
In mice, a mixture of bergamot oil and boxthorn applied topically for 42 days was found to increase antioxidant activity in the skin, increase collagen production and improve hair growth.
Bergamot oil for acne - 2020
Bergamot oil was compared against several other treatments for acne in hamsters. Bergamot oil proved to be one of the most effective treatments to improve acne, reducing sebaceous gland growth and decreasing inflammatory cytokines among other beneficial effects.
Bergamot oil for pain and inflammation - 2020
A recent study set out to understand bergamot oil’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Bergamot oil treatment reduced interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, nitrite/nitrate levels and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), all related to inflammation and pain pathways in the body. Bergamot oil also exerts supra-spinal analgesic effects and has antioxidant properties.
Side effects of bergamot oil
Although bergamot oil has countless benefits, there are also some safety guidelines that you should be aware of.
You should always mix bergamot oil with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin. When using bergamot oil for skin, never apply it undiluted or neat because this can cause severe irritation.
Some people may find bergamot essential oil irritating to the skin, even when mixed with a carrier oil. That’s why it’s important to perform a patch test using your chosen mixture before applying it more liberally to your skin.
Avoid applying bergamot oil topically before going outside as it can increase your skin’s photosensitivity. Rather, apply it in the evening or before indoor activities.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction or sensitivity to bergamot oil include redness, a burning sensation, hives or blisters. Some people can also experience dizziness and muscle cramps. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately rinse the oil from your skin or cease use and contact your medical provider for advice.
Contraindications of bergamot essential oil
It’s not recommended that you ingest bergamot essential oil under any circumstances. It is, however, recommended that you consult your medical practitioner before starting to use this oil for therapeutic purposes, especially if you’re pregnant or nursing, as little is known about its effects on fetuses or infants.
Be sure to store your bergamot essential oil in an area inaccessible to children, particularly those under seven years old.
It’s best to avoid bergamot if you have a potassium deficiency as it can deplete this essential mineral and you could experience twitching and muscle cramps if this occurs.
Where to buy bergamot essential oil
There are many options available when you want to buy bergamot oil and start enjoying its many benefits:
Volant is a global brand that has built its reputation on the seamless blend of sustainability, functionality and classic design. We know that essential oils can do powerful things for people. Along with addressing certain physical ailments, they can relax or uplift us and help us sleep well or focus better. Volant Organic Bergamot Essential Oil is sourced in Italy and created by cold pressing the rind. It’s organic, pure, vegan friendly and contains no artificial ingredients or harmful additives. It also features in several of our essential oil blends including Date Night, Energy, Ocean, Spa and Unwind.
Your local pharmacy may stock bergamot essential oil since it’s fairly popular. Check the product carefully before you buy it to ensure it’s organic and pure, however, and not an extract.
Bergamot essential oil FAQs
Can I use bergamot oil for skin conditions?
Yes, it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects and has been found helpful for acne and psoriasis, boosts collagen and helps improve hair growth. Just bear in mind that its chemical compound bergapten can be toxic to the skin if applied topically and then exposed to UV sunlight.
Does bergamot essential oil have any health risks?
Although rare, some people experience certain side effects when using bergamot oil. These include dizziness and muscle cramps. We do not advise ingesting bergamot or any other essential oil due to the increased risk of adverse effects.
Is bergamot essential oil safe to use around pets?
Although bergamot oil is fine if you’re a dog owner, it’s toxic to cats.
Do essential oils expire?
While they don’t spoil the way food does, essential oils do change over time. Because it’s difficult to determine exactly what these changes are, it’s also nearly impossible to determine their safety. It’s advised that you don’t inhale expired essential oils or use them on your skin past their due date.
Whether you’re using bergamot oil for acne, to give your hair a healthy glow or for muscle pain, you’ll feel its many other benefits as well. This includes the boost offered by bergamot oil for skin in general and its ability to soothe anxiety and irritation. Bergamot oil for sleep and relaxation also makes it the perfect end to unwind from your day. If you have any questions about using bergamot essential oil, or for tips on aromatherapy, contact an aroma expert at: firstname.lastname@example.org.