Root Extracts in Skin Care - The Dermatology Review

Root Extracts in Skin Care

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10.11.18 AD DISCLOSURE

Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract
Althaea officinalis, also known as the common marshmallow, is a perennial species native to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. Its leaves, flowers, and roots have been used in traditional herbal medicine. This use in reflected in the name of the genus, Althaea, which derives from the Greek word althein, meaning “to heal”.

Marshmallow root extract is used in skin care products for its soothing, moisture-promoting, and calming properties on the skin.The roots of the marshmallow plant produce mucilage, a polysaccharide substance extracted as a viscous solution from plant roots, seeds, etc. Upon topical application, marshmallow 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, marshmallow extract is very mild and is ideal for the care of sensitive skin.

Belamcanda Chinensis Root Extract
Belamcanda chinensis was the scientific name for a species of ornamental plant commonly known as blackberry lily or leopard lily. In 2005, based on molecular DNA sequence evidence, Belamcanda chinensis, the sole species in the genus Belamcanda, was transferred to the genus Iris and renamed Iris domestica. However, the name Belamcanda chinensis may still be used to describe extracts from this plant used in cosmetics and skin care products.

Belamcanda chinensis root extract is primarily used in anti-aging skin care products due to its high concentration of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are nonsteroidal plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity. Since one reason for the loss of skin elasticity with age may be low levels of natural estrogen, the topical application of phytoestrogens is thought to restore proper skin tone and elasticity. Belamcanda chinensis root extract also has antioxidant properties, which help to protect the skin from free radical damage.

Ruscus aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Root Extract
Ruscus aculeatus, also known as butcher’s broom, is a low evergreen shrub that is very similar to the asparagus plant. Butcher’s broom root extract has several folk uses, for example, as a laxative, diuretic, and circulation booster. Current medical research suggests that this extract may be able to improve health conditions such as chronic venous insufficiency and orthostatic hypotension due to its pro-circulation benefits.

Since butcher’s broom root extract is believed to improve blood circulation, it is added to skin care formulations that are intended for dark under eye circles. The formation of dark circles begins when red blood cells become trapped in the tiny blood vessels right under the surface of skin and leak into the surrounding area. Enzymes are produced to “clean up” the red blood cells that have leaked, a process that causes them to appear black and blue. The reason why this is so visible is that the skin around the eyes is very thin. By improving blood circulation, butcher’s broom root extract prevents the leakage of red blood cells that can lead to the formation of dark under eye circles.

Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract
Curcuma long is the scientific name for turmeric, a flowering plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The roots are widely used in cooking. When not used fresh, the roots are boiled in water and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep-orange-yellow powder commonly used as a coloring and flavoring agent in many Asian cuisines, especially for curries. Turmeric powder has a warm, bitter, black pepper-like flavor and earthy, mustard-like aroma.

Turmeric root extract can be found in a variety of skin care products due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcuminoids, primarily curcumin, and essential oils, mostly monoterpenes, are the major bioactive constituents of turmeric. Furthermore, turmeric root extract contains a high concentration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant that is known to protect the skin from free radicals, stimulate collagen production, and reduce hyperpigmentation.

Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract
Daucus carota sativa, also known as the carrot, is a root vegetable that is usually orange in color. The most commonly eaten part of the carrot is the taproot, the large, central, and dominant root from which other roots sprout laterally. The roots contain high quantities of alpha- and beta-carotene, and are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6.

Carrot root extract is used in skin care products because the carotenes promote repair and maintenance of the skin. Specifically, beta carotene has the ability to increase cell turnover and regeneration in the outer layers of the skin. This can help even out skin tone and add a “glow” to the skin. Carotenes also provide potent antioxidant protection. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.

Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract
Licorice is the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, an herbaceous perennial legume native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. A sweet flavor can be extracted from licorice root to be used in foods and candies. Furthermore, in traditional Chinese medicine, liquorice is believed to “harmonize” the ingredients in a formula. It has also been used to treat a variety of ailments in Ayurvedic medicine.

In skin care products, licorice root extract is a multi-functional ingredient that provides several benefits. The extract’s primary active components include the glycosides glycyrrhizin and glycyrrizinic acid, triterpene saponins, and flavonoids. Research demonstrates that licorice root extract has great potential as a soothing ingredient for the relief of atopic dermatitis (eczema). Other studies have found that licorice root extract has potential skin-lightening effects. These effects are thanks to the compounds liquiritin and isoliquertin, flavonoid containing glycosides which promote skin lightening by decreasing melanin production.

Hedychium Coronarium Root Extract
Hedychium coronarium, also known as the white ginger lily, is a perennial flowering plant in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The plant produces rhizomes, a type of root system that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. The rhizomes are the reserve of vital metabolites for the plant, primarily sugars that provide an energy source.

Hedychium coronarium root extract is obtained from the rhizomes of this plant and is claimed to act as a multi-protector in skin care products. It is said to protect skin from external stress that can accelerate signs of aging, including pollution, blue light, smoke, or hydrocarbons. By protecting the skin from these stressors, Hedychium coronarium root extract helps to promote a brighter complexion.

Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract
Imperata cylindrica is a species of grass in the family Poaceae that produces rhizomes, a type of root system that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Extracts of these roots function as excellent moisturizers when used in skin care products. One component that helps moisturize the skin is 3-dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), an osmoprotectant. DMSP increases intracellular osmosis, drawing water into the cells to effectively hydrate the skin.

Another component of Imperata cylindrica root extract that helps with moisture retention is potassium. Potassium is a critical component in skin hydration. Along with calcium, potassium promotes a strong skin barrier, increases cell regeneration, and improves the fatty acid content of the skin. All of the properties contribute to maintaining homeostasis and preventing transepidermal water loss. Overall, Imperata cylindrica root extract is an ideal ingredient to add to products intended for dry skin.

Iris Florentina Root Extract
Iris florentina is the white flowered variant of Iris germanica that is cultivated as an ornamental plant in temperate regions around the world. It has been used in western herbal medicine as an expectorant (clearance of mucus from the airways) and decongestant. Today, it is grown to produce orris-root, a violet-scented substance that is used in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products, such as perfumes, soaps, teeth cleansers, and as a base for dry shampoos.

Iris florentina root extract is often used in anti-aging skin care products. The extract has a rich composition of natural isoflavones, which are said to stimulate the skin and help to limit the breakdown of structural proteins. However, research on the use of Iris florentina root extract in skin care is limited. Furthermore, many believe that this ingredient can cause irritation and sensitized skin reactions.

Morus Bombycis (Mulberry) Root Extract
Morus bombycis is a species from the genus Morus, which comprises 10 to 16 species of deciduous trees commonly known as mulberries. Extracts from the mulberry root are known to contain high concentrations of antioxidants. In skin care products, antioxidants strengthen the skin’s defenses against environmental free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Thus, Morus bombycis root extract is an excellent anti-aging ingredient.

Morus bombycis root extract also provides skin lightening effects due to the presence of arbutin. Arbutin is a glycosylated hydroquinone 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, Morus bombycis root extract may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.

Morus Nigra (Black Mulberry) Root Extract
Morus nigra is a species from the genus Morus, which comprises 10 to 16 species of deciduous trees commonly known as mulberries. Morus nigra produces an edible fruit known as the black mulberry. In fact, Morus nigra is considered to be the best flavored species of mulberry, with large, juicy fruits that provide a blend of sweetness and tartness.

In skin care products, Morus nigra root extract provides skin lightening effects due to the presence of arbutin. Arbutin is a glycosylated hydroquinone 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, Morus nigra root extract may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.

Panax Ginseng Root Extract
Ginseng is the root of plants in the genus Panax, including the species Korean ginseng (P. ginseng), South China ginseng (P. notoginseng), and American ginseng (P. quinquefolius). Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a tonic for patients with chronic illnesses. Many of the benefits of ginseng come from the presence of ginsenosides, a class of natural steroid glycosides and triterpene saponins. Ginseng also has immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, antioxidative, and antitumor properties.

In skin care products, ginseng can be used as a skin-whitening agent due to its ability to inhibit melanogenesis, the production of melanin pigments that creates undesirable dark spots on skin. Additionally, research has demonstrated that topical application of ginseng can help improve atopic dermatitis (eczema), wounds, and skin inflammation. A study on mice published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology found that topical application of ginsenoside Rb1 improved burn-wound healing due to the promotion of angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels). Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacological Sciences found that red ginseng extract could improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis by inhibiting enzymes associated with skin inflammation.

Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract
Polygonum cuspidatum, also known as Japanese knotweed, is a large, herbaceous perennial plant of the knotweed and buckwheat family Polygonaceae. It is native to East Asia in Japan, China, and Korea. Polygonum cuspidatum root extract is used in traditional medicine to treat various disorders through the actions of resveratrol, a type of natural phenol with antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activity.

The skin benefits provided by Polygonum cuspidatum root extract are also due to its high concentration of resveratrol. After topical application, resveratrol forms soluble molecules with certain metal ions, thereby inactivating them so they cannot produce free radicals. This action combined with its potent antioxidant capability makes resveratrol highly effective in preventing the harmful effects of free radicals that can lead to premature skin aging. Furthermore, resveratrol has been found to increase healthy cell proliferation and also stimulate collagen synthesis. Overall, the resveratrol content of Polygonum cuspidatum root extract makes this ingredient an excellent addition to any anti-aging skin care product.

Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract
Scutellaria baicalensis, also known as Baikal skullcap, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae). Extracts from its roots have been widely used as a medicinal plant in China for thousands of years. The major bioactive compounds extracted from the root include flavonoids, terpenes, and volatile oils. These components provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and various other pharmacological functions.

The three most important antioxidants found in Scutellaria baicalensis root extract are the flavonoids baicalein, oroxylin A, and wogonin. These antioxidants help to combat free radical damage that can lead to premature signs of skin aging. Scutellaria baicalensis root extract is also a very potent tyrosinase inhibitor. Tyrosinase is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. By inhibiting tyrosinase, Scutellaria baicalensis root extract may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.

Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract
Sophora angustifolia is a small shrub in the pea family (Fabaceae). The root known as “Ku Shen” which means “bitter root” in Chinese, has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It has been used to treat a variety of conditions, such as diarrhea, jaundice, skin rashes, and more.

In skin care products, Sophora angustifolia root extract provides skin-whitening effects due to its ability to inhibit tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. By inhibiting tyrosinase, Sophora angustifolia root extract may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.

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