Citronella Essential Oil

Citronella Essential Oil is an extract from certain species of Lemongrass (Cymbopogon spp.). 

Citronella Essential Oil is also occasionally used as a topical Naturopathic treatment for some types of skin infections, including acne. Citronella Essential Oil is often diluted and added to face washes and scrubs. Several research studies have reported that Citronella is moderately toxic to acne-causing Propionibacterium acnes bacteria.

The primary components of Citronella Essential Oil are Geraniol and Citral. Both of these molecules have been reported to have some antibacterial properties against the P. acnes bacteria.

Citronella Essential Oil is commonly used in aromatherapy and as a natural mosquito repellant. There are two different kinds of Citronella Essential Oil that are widely available – Java and Ceylon. Citronella Essential Oil and Lemongrass Essential Oil are both produced from species of Lemongrass and can be used interchangeably.


Chemical composition and antifungal activity of essential oil from Cymbopogon nardus (citronella grass). Nakahara, et al. 2013.
The effect of lemongrass oil and its major components on clinical isolate mastitis pathogens and their mechanisms of action on Staphylococcus aureus DMST 4745. Aiemsaard, et al. 2011.
Antimicrobial activity of essential oils against five strains of Propionibacterium acnes. Luangnarumitchai, et al. 2007.
The Encyclopedia of essential oils: the complete guide to the use of aromatic oils in aromatherapy, herbalism, health, and well being. Lawless, et al. 2013.
Antibacterial activity of citronella oil solid lipid particles in oleogel against Propionibacterium acnes and its chemical stability. Lertsatitthanakorn, et al. 2008.
Effect of citronella oil on time kill profile, leakage and morphological changes of Propionibacterium acnes. Lertsatitthanakorn, et al. 2010.
In vitro antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects of herbs against Propionibacterium acnes. Tsai, et al. 2010.