Plant Extracts in Skin Care - The Dermatology Review

Plant Extracts in Skin Care

ARTICLE

10.11.18 AD DISCLOSURE

Hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract
Myrtus communis, the common myrtle, is a species of flowering plant in the family Myrtaceae native to the Mediterranean region. The myrtle plant has a very long history of medicinal uses, for example, it was prescribed for fever and pain by ancient physicians since at least 2,500 BC. Myrtle’s medicinal effects are due to high levels of salicylic acid, a compound related to aspirin.

In skin care products, hydrolyzed Myrtus communis leaf extract is said to increase cellular longevity and limit glycation. Glycation occurs when sugars enter the circulation and attach themselves to the amino groups of tissue proteins, such as collagen, rearranging their structure into something called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As a result, AGEs cause once healthy collagen fibers to lose their elasticity, thereby becoming rigid, more brittle, and prone to breakage. By limiting glycation, hydrolyzed Myrtus communis leaf extract helps the skin to maintain its strength and elasticity, resulting in a more youthful appearance.

Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract
Acer saccharum, also known as sugar maple, is a species of maple native to the hardwood forests of eastern Canada. Sugar maple is best known for being the primary source of maple syrup. Extracts from the sap of the sugar maple are used in skin care products due to the high concentration of active components, including amino peptides, calcium, and phosphorous.

Additionally, sugar maple extract is said to function as a naturally derived alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Upon topical application, AHAs provide gentle exfoliation, stimulate skin regeneration, and help the skin retain moisture better. Lastly, sugar maple extract has antioxidant properties that can neutralize free radicals, thereby protecting the skin from oxidative damage.

Allium Fistulosum Bulb Extract
Allium fistulosum, also known as the green onion or Welsh onion, is a species of perennial plant that is very similar in taste and odor to the related common onion. Allium fistulosum bulb extract is used in skin care products due to its antioxidant activity provided by flavonoids and volatile sulfur compounds. Antioxidants work by scavenging free radicals, which prevents oxidative damage that can lead to premature skin aging. Furthermore, in vitro testing has determined that Allium fistulosum bulb extract possesses antimicrobial activity against organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Arctostaphylos Uva-URSI Extract
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, also known as the common bearberry, is a dwarf shrub that produces red berries. The foliage of the bearberry plant is most commonly used in skin care products because it has been shown to effectively scavenge free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. In fact, a 2004 study published in the journal Food Chemistry found that bearberry leaf extract had even more powerful antioxidant properties than licorice extract, echinacea extract, and horsetail extract.

Additionally, the leaves of the common bearberry contain arbutin, a compound that has the ability to inactivate tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. Therefore, by inhibiting tyrosinase, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi extract may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.

Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
Avena sativa, also known as oat, is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed. Oats have been used since Roman times to soothe and heal the skin, as well as reduce inflammation and redness. The active components in oat kernel extract include avenanthramides and beta glucans. Avenanthramides are a group of active polyphenol antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory, anti-redness, anti-itch, and anti-histamine effects when applied to the skin. Due to these properties, oat kernel extract can help a variety of inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, and dry, itchy skin.

Beta glucans found in oat kernel extract provide several benefits to the skin as well. For instance, beta glucans have the ability to stimulate collagen production. This can have an anti-wrinkle effect and also help to speed wound healing. Beta glucans also improve skin hydration, another property that makes oat kernel extract useful for anti-aging skin care products.

Dipsacus Sylvestris Extract – plant
Dipsacus sylvestris, also known as wild teasel, is a species of flowering plant native to Eurasia and North Africa. Traditionally, Dipsacus sylvestris extract has been used to treat skin conditions such as warts, fistulae, and cancerous sores. Additionally, Dipsacus sylvestris extracts have been studied against Borrelia afzelii, a bacteria that causes Lyme disease. In skin care products, Dipsacus sylvestris extract is thought to provide anti-inflammatory effects.

Eryngium Maritimum Extract
Eryngium maritimum, also known as sea holly, is a species of flowering plant native to most European coastlines. It produces a metallic blue, burr-shaped flower. According to one manufacturer, Eryngium maritimum extract is a marine plant stem cell culture designed to help boost the regeneration of aging skin. Plant stems cells are undifferentiated cells, which means they can differentiate into all cell types found in the plant and have the ability to self-renew. When applied to the skin, Eryngium maritimum extract is said to increase skin firmness by boosting collagen production and increasing cell proliferation in the epidermis.

Euphrasia Officinalis Extract – plant
Euphrasia officinalis, also known as Eyebright, is a flowering plant from the genus Euphrasia. It is gathered when in bloom to create an extract that typically includes most of the plant from the flowers to the stem.

Euphrasia officinalis extract is typically used in skin care products designed for under-eye puffiness and dark circles. It is thought to help with these conditions because it counteracts inflammation and reduces mucus drainage due to its high levels of iridoid glycosides, flavonoids, and tannins. Additionally, Euphrasia officinalis extract has astringent qualities that help tighten the skin, giving the eye area a fresh, taught appearance. However, there are no scientific studies demonstrating it has any benefit for the skin around the eye area.

Faex (Yeast Extract) – yeast
The term “Faex” is the ingredient designation required by European Union regulations for yeast extract. Yeasts are single-celled microorganisms belonging to the fungus kingdom. Yeast extract is added to skin care products because it contains a mixture of flavonoids, sugars, and amino acids. It is also thought to be a good source of B vitamins and iron.

One type of sugar found in yeast that is especially beneficial is beta glucan. Yeast beta glucan functions as an antioxidant, increases collagen production, and hydrates the skin. Additionally, yeast beta glucan has been shown to stimulate Langerhans cells, immune cells just below the skin’s surface that help protect us from environmental skin damage and reactions. By stimulating Langerhans cells, yeast extract enables the continuous process of repair and renewal of skin tissue. Yeast extract is primarily used in skin care products designed to brighten, firm, and rejuvenate the skin.

Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract
Hamamelis virginiana, also known as witch hazel, is a species of flowering shrub native to eastern North America. The leaves, bark, and twigs of this plant are processed to create a clear liquid that’s sold commercially as witch hazel. Witch hazel is widely known for easing inflammation and soothing sensitive skin. Witch hazel leaf extract is used in skin care products because it is a source of several types of antioxidants, including tannins. The leaf contains 3 to 10% tannin, mainly gallotannins.

Tannins are phenolic compounds rich in hydroxy residues that impart astringent properties, resulting in a constricting and drying effect when applied to the skin. They work by cross-linking with proteins in skin known as keratins, creating an invisible film that can temporarily degrease skin, tighten and tone the skin, and minimize the appearance of enlarged pores. Unfortunately, tannins can cause sensitization reactions with some people. Furthermore, most of the available witch hazel preparations contain between 14% and 15% denatured alcohol, which can be damaging to the skin.

Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D’Orge
Hordeum vulgare, commonly known as barley, is a member of the grass family, grown in temperate climates around the world. Barley is a component of various foods and alcoholic beverages. In skin care products, barley extract functions as an emollient, working to soften and soothe the skin.

Barley extract contains high concentrations of phenols, which are known to provide antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help to combat free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Barley extract also has a large amount of selenium, which helps in maintaining the elasticity of skin, keeping it toned, and preventing free radical damage. Ingredients like barley extract that reduce the amount of oxidative stress in the skin help to maintain overall skin quality.

Houttuynia Cordata Extract – plant
Houttuynia cordata is a flowering plant that grows in moist, shady locations, native to Japan, Korea, southern China, and Southeast Asia. This plant has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of high blood sugar, cholera, dysentery, curing of blood deficiency and purification of blood.

In skin care products, Houttuynia cordata extract exhibits anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial activity. Additionally, research has found that ethanolic extract of Houttuynia cordata demonstrated beneficial therapeutic effects on allergic skin disorders. Lastly, leaf juice from Houttuynia cordata can be used as an astringent, which temporarily tightens and tones the skin while also degreasing oily skin.

Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract
Hydrolyzed yeast extract is a hydrolysate of yeast extract derived by acid, enzyme, or other methods of hydrolysis. It is added to skin care products because it contains a mixture of flavonoids, sugars, vitamins, and amino acids. The essential amino acids and small peptides in hydrolyzed yeast extract are thought to help skin achieve a brighter tone by targeting melanocytes. A melanocyte is a type of cell that produces melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. With age, melanocytes can become erratic and overproduce pigments that lead to dark spots.

One type of sugar found in yeast that is especially beneficial is beta glucan. Yeast beta glucan functions as an antioxidant, stimulates collagen production, and hydrates the skin. Additionally, yeast beta glucan has been shown to stimulate Langerhans cells, immune cells just below the skin’s surface that help protect us from environmental skin damage and reactions. Hydrolyzed yeast extract is primarily used in skin care products designed to brighten and firm the skin.

Hypericum Erectum (St. John’s Wort) Extract – plant
Hypericum erectum is a species of flowering plant from the genus Hypericum, which has a nearly worldwide distribution. All members of the genus may be referred to as St. John’s wort.

Topical St. John’s wort preparations such as oils or tinctures are used for the treatment of minor wounds and burns, sunburns, abrasions, bruises, ulcers, and many others. The main biologically active constituents in St. John’s wort extract include naphthodianthrones (i.e., hypericin) and phloroglucinols (i.e., hyperforin), which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antimicrobial activities.

St. John’s wort extract is used in skin care products because it has the ability to activate the skin’s natural repair process. For instance, hyperforin stimulates growth and differentiation of keratinocytes (skin cells), which promotes a healthy complexion. Additionally, St. John’s wort extract has astringent qualities, which helps to degrease oily skin, as well as temporarily tone and tighten the skin.

Kalanchoe Pinnata Leaf Extract
Kalanchoe pinnata is a succulent plant native to Madagascar. It has tall hollow stems and fleshy dark green leaves with red, bell-like flowers. This plant has several common names, including “air plant” and “leaf of life”. Kalanchoe pinnata is used medicinally in many regions of the world, both externally and internally to treat various types of pains and inflammation. It also possesses antioxidant activity and was found to protect normal human keratinocyte cells against reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Kalanchoe pinnata leaf extract is known for its high water retention capacity. In skin care products, Kalanchoe pinnata leaf extract is thought to boost the skin’s natural hydration mechanisms. In fact, it has been found to increase the production of hyaluronic acid by 3.6 times. Hyaluronic acid is a key molecule involved in skin moisture and it helps skin retain its turgor, resilience, and pliability. Unfortunately, hyaluronic acid cannot penetrate the skin after topical application due to its high molecular weight. Therefore, by using ingredients that stimulate hyaluronic acid production, like Kalanchoe pinnata leaf extract, the skin is better hydrated, resulting in a more smooth, plump complexion.

Lemongrass Extract – plant
Cymbopogon is the scientific name for lemongrass, a genus of about 55 species of tropical island plants in the grass family. Lemongrass is used as a medicinal herb in India and it is common in Asian cuisine. It is a rich source of essential vitamins, such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate and vitamin C. In skin care products, lemongrass extract provides several benefits, such as anti-inflammatory activity, antioxidant effects, and healing properties. It is also a natural astringent that can help tighten and tone the skin, as well as degrease oily skin.

Leontopodium Alpinum Extract
Leontopodium nivale, commonly called edelweiss, is a well-known mountain flower that belongs to the family Asteraceae, the daisy family. It has been used in traditional folk medicine to treat abdominal and respiratory disorders. According to Dermatology News, Leontopodium alpinum extract has been scientifically proven to benefit the skin through several mechanisms. For instance, researchers have found that this plant contains fatty acids that impart an anti-edema effect. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory activity of the root extract could be attributed to compounds such as bisabolane sesquiterpenes, tricyclic sesquiterpenes, coumarins, and lignans.

Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract
Malva sylvestris, also known as mallow, is a spreading herb that is an annual in North Africa, biennial in the Mediterranean, and a perennial elsewhere. It has showy purple flowers with dark veins, and usually stands about 3 to 4 feet high.

Mallow contains a high concentration of mucilage, a polysaccharide substance extracted as a viscous solution from plant roots, seeds, etc. Upon topical application, mallow extract forms a protective gel that moisturizes skin. Thus, mallow extract is very soothing and is used particularly in treating inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and atopic dermatitis. Overall, mallow extract is very mild and is ideal for the care of sensitive skin.

Mangifera Indica (Mango) Leaf Extract
Mangifera indica, also known as mango, is a species of flowering fruit tree that is native to India. It is part of the same family as sumac and poison ivy (Anacardiaceae). Extracts of the bark, leaves, stems, and unripe fruits have demonstrated antibiotic properties in vitro, and have been used in the Ayurvedic and indigenous medical systems for over 4,000 years.

One active component of mango leaf extract is mangiferin, a polyphenol that has strong antioxidant and wound healing properties. Animal studies have revealed that mango leaf extract has a protective effect on UVB-induced skin aging and can inhibit wrinkle formation.

Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract
Medicago sativa, also known as alfalfa, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. The term “alfalfa” in Arabic means “father of all foods”, a name that accurately describes this plant’s superior nutritional composition. The alfalfa plant has unique taproots that reach deep into the earth’s soil where it extracts high levels of nutrients not common in poor quality top soil. The leaf has a rich composition of amino acids, chlorophyll, vitamins A, B, D, E, and K, iron, biotin, niacin, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium.

Alfalfa extract is used in skin care products due to its clinically proven anti-aging benefits. For example, one study found that anti-aging serums containing alfalfa extract produced significant improvement in facial wrinkles. The mechanism was determined to be increased fibrillin-1 deposition, which is necessary for the formation of elastic fibers in the connective tissue. Another study found that the flavonoids in alfalfa extract possess free radical scavenging activity, which protects the skin from oxidative stress.

Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder
Medicago sativa, also known as alfalfa, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. The term “alfalfa” in Arabic means “father of all foods”, a name that accurately describes this plant’s superior nutritional composition. The alfalfa plant has unique taproots that reach deep into the earth’s soil where it extracts high levels of nutrients not common in poor quality top soil. The plant also has clusters of small purple flowers followed by fruits spiralled in 2 to 3 turns containing 10 to 20 seeds.

Alfalfa seed powder is a powder derived from crushed alfalfa seeds. In skin care, alfalfa seed powder is often used in anti-aging products because of its antioxidant activity. The flavonoids in alfalfa seed powder possess free radical scavenging activity, which protects the skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.

Myrothamnus Flabellifolius Leaf/Stem Extract
Myrothamnus flabellifolius is a small resinous shrub native to South Africa. It can be found in either single bundles or in colonies with extensive root systems. Myrothamnus flabellifolius is commonly called the “resurrection plant” because while its leaves shrink and appear to be dead in the dry season, they turn green within a few minutes after exposure to water. The resurrection properties of Myrothamnus flabellifolia are based on physical stabilization and metabolic adaptation. For example, water loss increases the production of protective constituents such as galloylquinic acids.

It is thought that these same resurrection properties can be applied in skin care products to hydrate and protect the skin. According to an article published by Cosmetic Science Technology, Myrothamnus flabellifolius leaf/stem extract is thought to impart skin protection by improving cell membrane plasticity, defending skin lipids against oxidative damage, and shielding functional components from drought stress.

Narcissus Tazetta Bulb Extract
Narcissus tazetta, also known as bunch-flowered daffodil, is a perennial ornamental plant that grows from a bulb. It has thin, flat leaves and white flowers. In skin care products, Narcissus tazetta bulb extract provides antioxidant and skin-soothing effects. Research has also found that this extract can especially benefit oily, acne-prone skin.

In a randomized, double-blind, parallel treatment, placebo-controlled trial conducted by IBR Ltd., Narcissus tazetta bulb extract was evaluated for its safety and efficacy in the reduction of skin oiliness. Subjects from the study reported a reduction in oiliness and shine, as well as an improvement in overall skin appearance. IBR concluded that the proliferation of sebocytes, the cells that produce sebum, is slowed with Narcissus tazetta bulb extract.

Orthosiphon Stamineus Leaf Extract
Orthosiphon stamineus is an herb that produces white or purple flowers that resemble cat whiskers. It is grown in tropical areas and is commonly used in the form of herbal tea, known as Java tea, in Asia. Orthosiphon stamineus leaf extract is used in skin care products due to its ability to reduce the oily appearance of skin. An oily, shiny complexion is caused by an overproduction of sebum, the skin’s natural oil. Sebum secretion is under the control of the enzyme 5-α reductase.

A study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that Orthosiphon stamineus leaf extract has the ability to reduce 5-α reductase type 1 expression in normal human epidermal keratinocytes in vitro. Furthermore, two separate clinical studies confirmed that Orthosiphon stamineus leaf extract could visibly reduce the oily appearance of skin as well as the size of pores. The overall result was a significant improvement of complexion evenness and radiance.

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract
Oryza sativa is the plant species most commonly referred to in English as rice. Bran is the hard outer layer of the grain, often produced as a by-product of milling in the production of refined grains (i.e. white flour, white rice, etc.) Oil can be extracted from the bran, resulting in rice bran extract.

Rice bran extract is used in skin care products due to its high concentration of fatty acids, primarily oleic acid (38.4%), linoleic acid (34.4%), and palmitic acid (21.5%). Fatty acids are beneficial to the skin because they help to restore the skin’s barrier. The skin’s barrier is composed of flattened dead skin cells held together by a mixture of lipids. Without these essential lipids, the barrier is weakened. A weak or damaged barrier causes the skin to lose water and may allow harmful things like irritants or bacteria to enter the skin. Therefore, by replenishing the barrier with ingredients like rice bran extract, skin will be moisturized and protected.

Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract – plant
Pisum sativum is a pod fruit that produces a small spherical seed known as a pea. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. In skin care products, Pisum sativum extract functions as an antioxidant to protect the skin from free radicals.

The extract also provides anti-aging effects through its action as an anti-protease. Proteases are enzymes which can degrade proteins by hydrolysis into peptides and constitutive amino acids. Skin proteases include collagenase and elastase, which break down collagen and elastin, respectively. These skin proteases are activated as part of the normal aging process, as well as during aggressions such as UV radiation, chemicals, pollution, etc. Since collagen and elastin are responsible for the strength and elasticity of skin, preventing the degradation of these proteins is important for maintaining a youthful complexion. Pisum sativum extract can effectively protect collagen and elastin against the damaging effects of proteases activated during aging and after skin aggressions.

Pollen Extract
Pollen is a fine powdery substance, typically yellow, consisting of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower. Flower pollen grains have a tough, outer wall that protects the inner genetic material from physical injury, desiccation, and radiation. In the 1950s, when pollen extract first entered the cosmetic industry, researchers felt that ‘biostimulants’ found in pollen could be useful additions to anti-wrinkle, nourishing and moisturising skin creams.

However, if pollen grains were used in their raw state the exterior coat of the pollen could trigger an allergic reaction. Thus, a cosmetic industrial process was developed that reportedly retains all the nutritive elements contained in the pollen without the use of solvent, creating a non allergenic product. Consequently, the extract contains active components such as enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and co-factors. These natural building blocks have the ability to energize the skin and protect against harmful environmental factors, such as UV radiation, pollution, etc.

Polyporus Umbellatus (Mushroom) Extract
Polyporus umbellatus is a rare, edible species of mushroom, found growing on roots of old beeches or oak in the temperate regions of Asia, Europe, and North America. It is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat urination disturbance, liver conditions, and more. Polyporus umbellatus extract demonstrates anti-bacterial activity against several strains of bacteria, including the bacteria that causes acne (Propionibacterium acnes). Thus, Polyporus umbellatus extract is a useful ingredient for acne prevention and treatment.

Polyporus umbellatus extract has also been studied for its anti-aging activity. Research has found that Polyporus umbellatus functions as an antioxidant with strong free radical scavenging activity due to the high protein content in the polysaccharide extract in its fruiting body. Furthermore, this extract contains beta glucans, which are polysaccharides that can stimulate collagen production and improve skin hydration. This can have an anti-wrinkle effect and also help to speed wound healing.

Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract
Rubus fructicosus is the scientific name of a European blackberry species. European blackberry plants are used for herbal medicinal purpose such as antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-dysentery, antidiabetic, and anti-diarrheal. It is also a potent antioxidant, with free radical scavenging activity comparable to that of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Blackberry leaf extract contains several biologically active components, such as fruits acid, flavonoids, and tannins.

Research has also found that blackberry leaf extract has potential as an anti-aging active ingredient due to its ability to suppress matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs are a group of enzymes that are responsible for the degradation of most extracellular matrix proteins and play a major role in wrinkle formation. Therefore, by suppressing MMPs, blackberry leaf extract is thought to be a highly efficient multifunctional anti-aging active.

Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract
Originating in New Guinea, Saccharum officinarum, also known as sugar cane, is a large species of grass that is grown for the production of sugar, ethanol, and other industrial uses. In skin care, sugar cane extract is typically used in moisturizing products due to its ability to condition the skin. It is also a natural exfoliant that can brighten, smooth, and polish the skin’s surface.

There are claims that sugar cane extract has the ability to exfoliate the skin like an AHA since glycolic acid can be derived from sugar cane. However, sugar cane extract does not have the same beneficial effect on skin as glycolic acid. Skin care expert Paula Begoun explains it best by saying, “if you assume that sugarcane will net you the same result as glycolic acid, that would be like assuming you could write on a tree the way you can write on paper.”

Salicornia Herbacea Extract
Salicornia herbacea, also known as glasswort, is classified as a halophyte, a plant that grows in waters of high salinity. In skin care products, Salicornia herbacea extract is known to have antioxidant activity and skin-whitening effects.

These properties were evaluated in a 2009 study on human dermal fibroblasts. The study confirmed that Salicornia herbacea extract has potent antioxidative capacity and was able to protect cells from oxidative stress in a dose dependent manner. Furthermore, the study discovered that Salicornia herbacea extract functions as a potent tyrosinase inhibitor. Tyrosinase is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. Therefore, by inhibiting tyrosinase, Salicornia herbacea extract may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.

Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract -plant
Salvia sclarea, also known as clary or clary sage, is a short-lived herbaceous perennial that has traditionally been used as a medicinal herb. Currently, the distilled essential oil from Salvia sclarea is used widely in perfumes and cosmetics. Additionally, extracts from the seeds of this herb are used in skin care products due to their antioxidant properties.

The main antioxidants in Salvia sclarea extract include vitamin E, lutein, and various carotenoids. These antioxidants help to protect the skin from free radical damage, one of the main causes of premature skin aging.

Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Wood Extract
Santalum album, also known as sandalwood, is a small, very slow-growing tropical tree native to India, Indonesia, and the Malay Archipelago. Certain cultures place great significance on its fragrant and medicinal qualities, and it is also considered sacred in some religions. In skin care products sandalwood extract is primarily used for its sweet, pleasant fragrance.

Research has also determined that sandalwood extract has biological activity as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-proliferative agent. The extract was also found to be an inhibitor of tyrosinase, a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. By inhibiting tyrosinase, sandalwood extract may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light. A 2017 article published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology reports that sandalwood extract has also shown promise in clinical trials for treatment of acne, psoriasis, eczema, and common warts.

Saxifraga Sarmentosa Extract – plant
Saxifraga sarmentosa is a perennial flowering plant that is native to China, Japan and Korea. It is a popular garden flower with attractive white blossoms, distinctive pointed petals, and bright yellow ovary. In skin care products, Saxifraga sarmentosa extract functions as an antioxidant to protect the skin from environmental free radicals. The extract also has astringent qualities, which temporarily tones and tightens the skin, as well as degreases oily skin. Lastly, Saxifraga sarmentosa is thought to provides skin-whitening effects.

Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract
Sigesbeckia orientalis, also known as St. Paul’s wort, is a species of plant from the family Asteraceae. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat syphilis, leprosy, and other skin-related illnesses. In skin care products, St. Paul’s wort extract is thought to function as a skin-conditioning agent. Unfortunately, there is no research showing that St. Paul’s wort extract has any benefit for skin.

Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit/Leaf/Stem Extract
Native to South America, Solanum lycopersicum is a nightshade that produces an edible, red berry known as a tomato. Tomatoes are known for their high concentration of lycopene, beta carotene, and other carotenoids, which are responsible for giving tomatoes their bright red color. Carotenoids also offer benefits to the skin when applied topically, which is why tomato extract is used in skin care products.

For instance, research on lycopene has demonstrated it has powerful antioxidant activity, which can help defend the skin against UV-induced damage. A study conducted by the Department of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that lycopene protects the skin through its ability to decrease inflammation, promote cell renewal, and inhibit DNA damage following UVB injury. Due to its high concentration of lycopene, tomato extract is an excellent ingredient for anti-aging skin care products.

Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract
Theobroma cacao, also known as the cacao tree and the cocoa tree, is a small evergreen tree that is native to the deep tropical regions of the Americas. The tree produces seeds called cocoa beans, which are used to make things like cocoa powder and chocolate.

In skin care products, Theobroma cacao extract functions as an emollient with occlusive properties. Upon application, it forms a water-repellant film that prevents evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture and increases skin hydration. Theobroma cacao extract is also a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants, such as flavanols. Antioxidants strengthen the skin’s defenses against environmental free radicals. Lastly, Theobroma cacao extract is believed to improve the appearance of cellulite by firming the skin and breaking down adipose tissue.

Trametes Versicolor Extract
Trametes versicolor, also known as turkey tail, is a common polypore mushroom found throughout the world. It is a medicinal mushroom that can be used to treat dermal wounds, stimulate the immune system, and provide antimicrobial effects. The mycelium and fruiting body of this mushroom have been studied at great lengths because of its various health benefits, including anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.

In skin care products, Trametes versicolor extract is thought to provide anti-inflammatory effects that are particularly beneficial for those with overly reactive skin. Research has found that Trametes versicolor extract aids in reducing redness and flakiness induced by UV exposure, as well as decrease skin reactivity to irritants.

Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Bran Extract / Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract
Triticum vulgare, also known as common wheat or bread wheat, is a cultivated wheat species that makes up about 95% of all produced wheat. In skin care products, there are two different parts of the wheat seed that are used: the bran and the germ. The germ is the part of the seed that will sprout and grow, whereas the bran is the outer layer of the seed.

Wheat germ extract is a concentrated source of several essential nutrients, such as vitamin E, folic acid, phosphorous, thiamin, zinc, and magnesium, as well as essential fatty acids and fatty alcohols. In skin care products, wheat germ extract functions as a skin-softening agent.

Wheat bran extract is particularly rich in dietary fiber and essential fatty acids, as well as starch, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. In skin care products, wheat bran extract is used to smooth, polish and physically exfoliate skin.

Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract
Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. Green tea extract comes from the steaming and drying of the Camellia sinensis leaves. One of the most important components in green tea extract is the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This polyphenol has been extensively studied due to its potential health benefits.

When applied to the skin, the EGCG in green tea extract has been shown to provide significant preventive effects against photocarcinogenesis and phototoxicity in mouse studies. Furthermore, a 2001 study in the journal Carcinogenesis found that topical application of EGCG to human skin resulted in decreased oxidative stress and an increase in antioxidant enzymes after UV irradiation. Overall, green tea extract is an excellent ingredient to provide preventative anti-aging benefits in skin care products.

Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract
Camellia oleifera is a type of green tea plant that originated in China. It is most commonly known for the edible oil that can be extracted from its seeds, which is known as tea oil or camellia oil. The leaves of the Camellia oleifera plant have similar properties to the related species of green tea plant known as Camellia sinensis.

In skin care, Camellia oleifera leaf extract provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe and protect the skin. One of the most important components in Camellia oleifera leaf extract is the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). After topical application, EGCG has been shown to provide significant preventive effects against photocarcinogenesis and phototoxicity in mouse studies. In human research, topical application of EGCG results in decreased oxidative stress and an increase in antioxidant enzymes after UV irradiation, according to a 2001 study in the journal Carcinogenesis. Even though Camellia oleifera leaf extract is less popular than Camellia sinensis leaf extract, it is still a beneficial skin care ingredient that can provide preventative anti-aging benefits.

Crithmum Maritimum Extract
Crithmum maritimum, also known as sea fennel, is an edible wild plant that is found throughout Europe and North Africa. In skin care, Crithmum maritimum extract is thought to provide skin-healing and moisturizing effects.

A study published in the Journal of Cosmetics Dermatology found that Crithmum maritimum extract improves damaged skin by reducing transepidermal water loss. The researchers concluded that Crithmum maritimum extract may be a promising ingredient for use in skin repair and anti-aging products. Crithmum maritimum extract also contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are all antioxidants. Antioxidants are useful ingredients in anti-aging skin care products because they protect the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.

Laminaria Saccharina Extract
Laminaria saccharina, also known as sugar kelp, is a species of brown algae that can be found in several oceans throughout the world. In skin care, Laminaria saccharina extract is used as a moisturizing and anti-inflammation additive because of its hydrating and soothing characteristics.

Laminaria saccharina extract is an excellent moisturizer because it contains alginates, which are hydrophilic (water-loving) polysaccharides that bind water and create a protective film on the surface of skin. Laminarin is another polysaccharide found in Laminaria saccharina extract that is thought to benefit the skin by clearing pores and balancing oil production. It also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. These characteristics make Laminaria saccharina extract ideal for those with acne prone skin.

Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract
Rosmarinus officinalis, also known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It produces white, pink, purple, or blue flowers. Extracts from the leaves of this plant have a woody, evergreen-like scent that is invigorating and purifying.

In skin care products, rosemary leaf extract is used for balancing oil production. It can help to clear excess oil and dirt from pores without causing dryness. Rosemary leaf extract is also rich in antioxidants like carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid. These antioxidants protect the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.

Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract
The olive, known by the botanical name Olea europaea, meaning “European olive”, is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae. The tree produces silvery green leaves that are oblong, measuring 4 to 10 centimeters long and 1 to 3 centimeters wide. The primary active compounds in olive leaf extract are oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, as well as polyphenols and flavonoids, including luteolin, rutin, caffeic acid, catechin and apigenin. Olive polyphenols are much more concentrated in the leaves compared with olive fruit or olive oil.

Olive leaf extract is used in skin care products because the phenolic compounds found in the olive leaf have strong free-radical scavenging capacity. In fact, the compounds rutin, luteolin, and catechin exert antioxidant effects almost 2.5 times higher than those of vitamins C and E. Antioxidants help to protect the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Lastly, the oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol found in olive leaf extract demonstrate anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract
Zingiber officinale is the botanical name for ginger, a flowering plant that originated in tropical rainforests from the Indian subcontinent to Southern Asia. The rhizome of this plant, known as ginger root, is widely used as a spice and for its health benefits.

In skin care, ginger root extract provides excellent anti-aging benefits due to its ability to inhibit collagenase. Collagenase is the enzyme responsible for the degradation of collagen. Since collagen is necessary in order to maintain firm, youthful skin, ginger root extract would be a great addition to anti-aging skin care products. Ginger root extract also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Achillea Millefolium Extract
Achillea millefolium, also known as yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae that is native to temperate regions in Asia, Europe, and North America. Historically, Achillea millefolium was used in traditional medicine due to its astringent properties and also to stop the flow of blood from wounds.

In skin care, Achillea millefolium extract is used for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties. It is found as a key ingredient in many healing ointments due to its ability to help with the cessation of bleeding, as well as prevent wounds from getting infected. Achillea millefolium extract can be found in topical products for conditions like eczema because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a natural astringent that can help tighten and tone the skin, as well as degrease oily skin. Lastly, research has been done regarding the anti-aging benefits of Achillea millefolium extract. A French study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that a two month treatment with a cosmetic formulation containing 2% Achillea millefolium extract improved the appearance of crow’s feet wrinkles and pores, as well as increased skin softness. Overall, Achillea millefolium extract is a multi-functional ingredient that can be found in a variety of skin care products.

Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Powder
Sesamum indicum is a flowering plant that is cultivated for its edible sesame seeds, which grow in pods or “buns”. Sesame seed powder is a powder derived from crushed sesame seeds. Sesame seeds have one of the highest oil contents of any seed.

The beneficial fatty acids in sesame seeds, such as linoleic acid and oleic acid, replenish the skin’s lipid barrier. In turn, this helps to prevent water loss and keeps harmful environmental irritants out of the skin. The result is smooth, moisturized, healthy skin. Sesame seed powder also provides antioxidant activity and protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal
Translated from Latin, Prunus amygdalus dulcis means “sweet almond”. While typically grouped with other tree nuts, an almond is actually a drupe, a fruit with an outer hull encasing a shell with the seed inside. Sweet almond seed meal is a yellow to light-tan loose powder made from ground sweet almond seeds.

In skin care, sweet almond seed meal functions as a gentle abrasive that has natural cleansing and exfoliating properties. Products that contain sweet almond seed meal as an abrasive will help to exfoliate the top layers of skin, removing makeup, excess oil, dirt, and other impurities that may have accumulated during the day. Due to these properties, sweet almond seed meal can often be found in cleansing products, as well as anti-aging and acne treatments.

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