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Linalool is a component of many essential oils, including orange, lavender, rose, rosewood, and coriander.  The main problem the Cosmetics Database has with linalool is the risk of skin irritation and allergic reactions.  Just like limonene, linalool is not a skin allergen in its pure form.  However, when it's oxidized, it can cause allergic reactions/sensitivity at high concentrations.  (Source

Also, like limonene, pure linalool has anti-cancer effects.  One study found that "...linalool exhibited comparable IC(50) values to the commercial drug vinblastine on the ACHN cell line" in killing liver cancer cells.  (Source)

This study found that linalool "may improve the therapeutic index of anthracyclines in the management of breast cancer, especially in MDR tumors."  In other words, it aided breast cancer drugs in killing breast cancer cells that had grown resistant to the drugs.  (Source)

Linalool also shows promise against leukemia. Among the substances tested "linalool showed the strongest activity against histiocytic lymphoma cells U937 (IC50: 3.51 microg/ml, SI: 592.6) and Burkitt lymphoma cells P3HR1 (IC50: 4.21 microg/ml, SI: 494.1)."  (Source)

So, again, we get back to the point that the Cosmetics Database doesn't give an accurate or full picture of linalool because it doesn't factor in the positive information.  Yes, oxidized linalool can cause skin reactions, but as long as the essential oil or linalool extractive is pure and fresh, it is not just safe, but beneficial.

References (18)

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Reader Comments (14)

So, how can we consumers tell from the Ingredients list on the product label if the Linalool has been oxidized or not? I always thought I should avoid anything with Linalool or Limonene on the ingredients list.

Thu, March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

There's no way to tell from the label if it's been oxidized. The best thing to do is ask the manufacturer about their quality control standards, ask them for the manufacturing date of the product and the linalool, and always use the product before the expiration date, keep it out of direct light, and store the product tightly-capped.

Thu, March 10, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

I'm very allergic to linalool and limonene. It's a real pain because they are in a ton of personal care products like shampoos, moisturizers, etc. I break out in a rash and if it gets in my eyes, they will swell up.

Sun, January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMayrei

This study found that lavender and linalool in particular were cytotoxic to human fibroblats in vitro:

Thu, January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames

@ Mayrei: As what the article has said, you are not allergic to pure linalool. You are allergic to oxidised linalool, as pure linalool is not a skin allergen.

Tue, February 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley

Interesting to see that comment about allergy to Linalool and Limonene. Could be other essential oils that cause the same problem. I'm a formulator and I guess I could formulate a shampoo without any of the essential oils if there was sufficient demand for it. It would logically have to be perfume free also.

Tue, February 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClive

@Clive--yes, there are other essential oils that contain limonene and linalool.

Mon, March 19, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

I am also very allergic to linalool and limonene it causes my skin to redden and my eyes to swell up. Haven't found a product without, making your own is the best bet.

Wed, May 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterann

I think the products I use are free of both of them.

Tue, August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Very interesting considering that the compound is used in Glade Plug In Scented Oil Hawaiian Breeze according to Women's Voices for the Earth. My guess is I'm allergic to it since my bathroom was once flooded with air freshener and I stopped breathing for about a minute.

Fri, June 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebra

I am going to shop at Whole Foods from now on. I am allergic to Linalool and Limonene and Tocopheryl Acetate. I break out in a horrible bumpy, itchy rash. I read every label before buying.

Thu, August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBerni

I am going to shop at Whole Foods from now on. I am allergic to Linalool and Limonene and Tocopheryl Acetate. I break out in a horrible bumpy, itchy rash. I read every label before buying.

Thu, August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBerni

Any oxidized oil will cause irritation.

Tue, January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGabi

So this concerns me. What about essential oil diffusers? They are supposed to be so healthy for us, but of course the process would oxidize the EOs, right? Are they harmful breathed in through the air? Part of why I want to use them, or to mix in coconut oil and put on my skin, is to repel mosquitoes, which are prolific where I live.

What's the info on breathing in essential oils from the air?

Fri, July 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandria

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