Once harvested, the fruit is carefully washed and the outer peel is removed. The peel, or zest, is where the coveted essential oil resides. Traditional extraction methods involve cold pressing, where the peel is mechanically squeezed to release the aromatic oils. This method preserves the integrity of the oil and captures the true essence of the bergamot fruit.
Standard bergamot essential oil is characterized by its distinct citrus aroma, with bright and tangy notes. However, it contains a compound called bergaptene, which can cause photosensitivity when applied to the skin. To mitigate this potential risk, bergaptene-free essential oil is also produced. This variety undergoes an additional step called fractional distillation, where the oil is carefully distilled to remove the bergaptene compound while preserving the aromatic profile.
The distinction between standard and bergaptene-free bergamot essential oil allows for versatile applications. The bergaptene-free essential oil provides a safer alternative for skincare and cosmetic formulations. Its removal of the bergaptene compound eliminates the risk of photosensitivity reactions, making it suitable for use in products like lotions, creams, and serums, when you're outside relaxing in the sunlight. Bergaptene-free oil retains the captivating citrus fragrance, allowing for its incorporation in a wide range of beauty and personal care products.
Bonus: If you'd like to read more about the harvesting and extraction of bergamot oil, check out Nez, the Olfactory Magazine, Issue #05. Note: The link is not an "affiliate link." We are not sponsored by nor receive any kickback from Nez, but purchase the magazines ourselves and love reading them.