Flower Extracts in Skin Care - The Dermatology Review

Flower Extracts in Skin Care

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09.28.18 AD DISCLOSURE

Marigold (Calendula officinalis) Flower Extract
Calendula officinalis, also known as pot marigold, is a perennial with bright orange and yellow flowers. In traditional medicine, Calendula officinalis has been used both orally and topically due to its anti-inflammatory activity. Today, Calendula officinalis is still widely used in skin care formulations. In fact, a report published in Pharmacognosy Review found that more than 200 different commercial and medical formulations now contain concentrated Calendula officinalis flower extract.

Calendula officinalis flower extract is packed with beneficial nutrients, notably triterpene saponins, flavonoids, and carotenoids. Saponin molecules have two parts; a sapogenin attached to a carbohydrate molecule. The sapogenin is hydrophobic (water hating) and the carbohydrate is hydrophilic (water loving). Thus, saponins can be classified as natural surfactants. The flavonoids found in Calendula officinalis flower extract are antioxidants that help the skin combat free radicals. Lastly, the carotenoids in this extract moisturize the skin and brighten the complexion.

Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract
Matricaria recutita is an annual plant in the family Asteraceae, the daisy family, that produces white flowers with yellow inner discs. This plant is the most popular source of the herbal product chamomile, although other species are also used as chamomile. Traditionally, chamomile has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, mild astringent, and healing medicine. You may be familiar with chamomile tea, which is thought to promote sleep.

The flowers of chamomile contain 1 to 2% volatile oils including alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B, and matricin (usually converted to chamazulene and other flavonoids which possess anti-inflammatory activity). According to a publication in Molecular Medicine Reports, a study on humans demonstrated that chamomile flavonoids and essential oils penetrate below the skin surface into the deeper skin layers. Once through the skin, these components can inhibit LPS-induced prostaglandin E2 release, as well as reduce COX-2 enzyme activity. Overall, this means that Matricaria recutita flower extract is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can help to improve a variety of skin conditions.

Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract
Anthemis is a genus of aromatic flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, the daisy family. These herbal plants are natives to Europe, but may also be found in regions of North America and also in Argentina. Common names for Anthemis nobilis include Roman chamomile, Garden chamomile, and Ground Apple. The plant produces white, daisy-like flowers.

In cosmetics and skin care products, Anthemis nobilis flower extract functions as a fragrance ingredient and skin conditioning agent. The extract also provides anti-inflammatory effects, which makes it an ideal ingredient for minor skin irritations and sunburn. Anthemis nobilis flower extract may also help reduce symptoms of acne by decreasing inflammation and calming the skin.

Centaurea Cyanus Flower Extract
Centaurea cyanus, commonly known as cornflower, is an annual flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, the daisy family. Cornflowers have been used historically for their blue pigment and are often used as an ingredient in some tea blends.

In cosmetics and personal care products, Centaurea cyanus flower extract functions as an astringent and skin conditioning agent. When astringents are applied to the skin, they cause mild coagulation of keratins (skin proteins). This results in the temporary cooling and toning effect associated with astringents. Centaurea cyanus flower extract is also rich in polyphenols, specifically flavonoids and anthocyanins. These components function as antioxidants to protect the skin from free radical damage.

Arnica Extract
Arnica is a genus of perennial, herbaceous plants in the Asteraceae family that produce yellow, daisy-like flowers. Traditionally, dried flowers of arnica are used, as tincture or ointment, for topical treatment of skin bruises, contusions, and pain. A publication in Chemistry Central Journal states that Arnica contains high levels of the flavonoids quercetin, rutin, and apigenin. Flavonoids are potent antioxidants that can protect the skin from free radical damage.

Several species of Arnica, such as Arnica montana, contain helenalin, a sesquiterpene lactone that is a major ingredient in anti-inflammatory preparations. Arnica extract is particularly helpful when applied in a timely manner after an injury because it can reduce swelling and diminish the appearance of bruises.

Acacia Decurrens (Mimosa) Flower Extract
Acacia decurrens, also known as mimosa decurrens, is a perennial tree or shrub native to Australia. The tree produces small yellow flowers that are very cottony in appearance and have a pleasant fragrance. In cosmetics and skin care products, Acacia decurrens flower extract is used to impart a light, sweet fragrance.

Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Flower Extract
Rosa centifolia, also known as the cabbage rose, is a hybrid rose developed by Dutch rose breeders in the period between the 17th century and the 19th century. Interestingly, it takes tens of thousands of rose blossoms, picked as they are unfolding in the early hours of dawn, to yield just one ounce of rose flower extract.

In cosmetics and personal care products, rosa centifolia flower extract is used as a fragrance ingredient, skin conditioning agent, and astringent. It has a light, clean and sweet scent. The extract contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to moisturize the skin, as well as calm redness and inflammation. Rosa centifolia flower extract also acts as an astringent, which provides a temporary cooling and toning effect. Lastly, Rosa centifolia flower extract contains up to 63% phenylethanol, a preservative compound that possesses antimicrobial activity.

Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract
Nymphaea alba, also known as the white water lily, is an aquatic flowering plant of the family Nymphaeaceae. The plant grows in ponds and lakes, producing white flowers that have many small stamens inside. Nymphaea alba flower extract contains many beneficial substances, such as tannins, alkaloids, saponins, and polysaccharides, which provide a strong nourishing, moisturizing, and regenerating effect on the skin.

Helichrysum Arenarium (Everlasting) Flower Extract
Helichrysum arenarium, commonly known as the everlasting flower, is a perennial flowering plant that is part of the family Asteraceae, otherwise known as the daisy family. The flowers are rich in phenolic compounds including flavonoids, chalcones, phenolic acids, coumarins, and pyrones. In addition to the polyphenols, other compounds such as sterols, lignans, and glycosides of aromatic compounds have been also isolated from Helichrysum arenarium.

In skin care products, Helichrysum arenarium flower extract is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It functions similar to a corticosteroid, inhibiting action in different pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism. The flavonoids in Helichrysum arenarium flower extract function as antioxidants to protect the skin from free radical damage.

Passiflora Incarnata Extract
Passiflora, also known as passionflower, is a genus of about 550 species of flowering plants, including Passiflora incarnata. Passiflora incarnata is a fast-growing perennial vine with climbing or trailing stems. It is a common wildflower in the southern United States that has bluish-white petals. Passiflora incarnata extract can be taken orally as a natural treatment for anxiety and insomnia due to its significant CNS depressant properties.

Passiflora incarnata extract is full of nutrients that are good for the skin, including vitamins A and C, and essential fatty acids. In cosmetics and skin care products, passiflora incarnata extract hydrates and moisturizes the skin without clogging pores. It is also soothing and calming for dry, itchy, and irritated skin.

Tripleurospermum Maritimum Extract
Tripleurospermum maritimum, also known as false mayweed or sea mayweed, is a species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is found in many coastal areas of Northern Europe, including Scandinavia and Iceland, often growing in sand or amongst beach pebbles. After topical application, Tripleurospermum maritimum extract has the ability to hydrate, calm, and soften the skin. It is a rich source of amino acids and fructose.

Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract
Lavandula angustifolia, also known as lavender, is a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae), native to the Mediterranean. It is a strongly aromatic shrub with purple flowers. In cosmetics and skin care products, lavender flower extract is primarily used as a fragrance ingredient. Lavandula species have also been proven in literature to have the potential to treat bacterial infections commonly associated with resistance to conventional antimicrobial agents.

Unfortunately, lavender flower extract can be problematic for some people as it causes sensitization. Research has determined that components of lavender oil, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can have damaging effects on skin in as low a concentration as 0.25%. When exposed to air, these components oxidize, which means their potential for causing an allergic reaction increases.

Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract
Humulus lupulus, also known as hops, is a species of flowering plant in the hemp family (Cannabaceae), native to Europe, western Asia and North America. The green cone shaped fruits from Humulus lupulus are used by breweries to preserve and flavor beer, particularly IPA (India Pale Ale). They impart a bitter flavor, and also have aromatic and preservative qualities. When used in skin care products, hops extract has the ability to calm and soothe the skin due to its high composition of tannins. Tannins are a class of astringent, polyphenolic biomolecules that decrease inflammation and remove excess oil from pores. These properties make hops extract an excellent ingredient for those suffering from acne.

Another beneficial component found in hops extract is xanthohumol, a flavonoid with anti-microbial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. A 2010 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that xanthohumol can inhibit an enzyme called elastase that is responsible for causing cross-linking in collagen. When collagen is cross-linked, it breaks down, and the signs of aging gradually emerge. Therefore, hops extract is an ideal ingredient for anti-aging skin care products.

Opuntia coccinellifera flower extract
Opuntia, commonly called prickly pear, is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae, that has about a dozen species, including Opuntia coccinellifera. All species have flat, fleshy pads that look like large leaves. The pads are actually modified branches or stems that serve several functions, including water storage and flower production. The flowers can be red, yellow, or purple.

In skin care products, Opuntia coccinellifera flower extract exerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Some of the antioxidants that can be found in this extract include ascorbic acid, carotenoids, reduced glutathione, cysteine, taurine, and flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. These antioxidants help to soothe the skin, reduce inflammation, and protect the skin from free radicals.

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