Oil Of The Week: Bergamot
Bergamot, Citrus bergamia, is the most delicate of the citrus plants and is primarily cultivated in Italy (it is named after Bergamo, in Italy). The oil is cold expressed from the rind of the fruit and has been used around the Mediterranean and Middle East for centuries as a flavouring, perfume and in skin products.
The bergamot orange is too bitter to eat raw, but the oil is used in cooking and to scent the skin and hair, as well as in skincare products.
Bergamot has a gentle scent reminiscent of Earl Grey Tea, but with strong citrus notes. It is a calming and uplifting oil that is wonderfully destressing when diffused into the air. But it also has many other uses - let’s find out more.
Bergamot is a common ingredient in many skincare products due its many beneficial properties.
Bergamot is anti inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial and is well documented as a treatment for acne and pimples. It may also help reduce the appearance of blemishes such as scars and acne.
Bergamot, like many of its citrus cousins, is purifying and cleansing for the skin. It helps to balance oily skin too and acts as a toner. Add a few drops of bergamot to your facial cleanser to get a really good clean but remember to rinse off well.
Bergamot is commonly used in hair care products for its lovely scent as well as its ability to add shine and promote growth.
Bergamot cleanses the scalp of any buildup. Like many citrus oils, it is an excellent natural cleaner, and is also antimicrobial so will help clear up any scalp issues.
It may also promote hair growth by stimulating circulation, and adds shine and condition to your hair.
Bergamot is great for high stress levels and anxiety. Diffuse it into the air to invite calm into the classroom, boost positivity at work or enhance moods and brighten the home.
Bergamot has been found to uplift the mood and reduce negative feelings. It lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and promotes relaxation and calm. It is an antidepressant and mild sedative.
Bergamot is great in a deodorant! Like grapefruit, it helps deodorise and kill odour producing bacteria. We’ll share an easy and effective deo recipe in the recipe section below.
Combine a few drops of bergamot with some fractionated coconut oil to make a gentle, calming massage oil. Apply to the bottom of feet before bed or massage into muscles.
Add a few drops of bergamot to your favourite shampoos, creams, cleansers or night time serums and moisturisers for a touch of luxury.
Bergamot is a common ingredient in perfumes because of its lovely scent. You can make up your own non-toxic perfume by trying out this recipe:
Top note - bergamot
Middle note - jasmine or geranium
Base note - cedarwood, patchouli or frankincense
Combine a few drops of each note into a bottle and leave it to meld together for a week or so. Then apply to wrists and neck.
We also have more recipes for natural perfumes in The Art Of Natural Perfumery.
Bergamot should never be used neat on the skin but should be diluted in a carrier oil for topical application.
One of constituents of bergamot is called bergapten, which is being studied as a potential antitumor agent in cancer research due to its photochemical properties. When combined with UV light, bergapten has also been used to treat various other skin diseases such as vitiligo, psoriasis and carcinoma cellular proliferation. It can cause photosensitivity and is the reason why one should avoid going into the sun after applying bergamot to the skin. Fortunately the SOil organic bergamot essential oil is bergapten free so it is completely safe to use on skin when diluted and is not phototoxic.
Caution: bergamot may have photosensitizing properties so avoid going into the sun after applying bergamot essential oil to your skin. The one brand that is non-phototoxic is SOil organic bergamot essential oil.
Anti-Blemish Skin Oil Blend
3 drops bergamot
2 drops tea tree
2 drops lavender
2 drops frankincense
30ml carrier oil of choice - jojoba would be a lovely choice
Aromatherapy Massage Blends
Make up your own massage blends and store them in a cute pipette bottle for ease of use.
2 drops bergamot
2 drops black pepper
2 drops cypress
15ml carrier oil
Healing & Balancing
2 drops bergamot
2 drops patchouli
10ml carrier oil
Diffuser blends bring an instantly different atmosphere to any room. Try these blends for stress relief and mood enhancement.
4 drops bergamot
4 drops orange
2 drops grapefruit
4 drops bergamot
2 drops patchouli
2 drops geranium
½ c coconut oil
¼ c bicarbonate of soda
¼ c arrowroot powder
10 drops grapefruit essential oil
10 drops bergamot essential oil
Melt the coconut oil, then mix in all the ingredients. Store in a glass jar. To use, simply scoop out a little on your finger tip and rub into your underarm. It will melt into your skin.
Bergamot blends well with any other citrus oils, chamomile, lavender, patchouli and spicy scents such as black pepper.