Emerging skin care science: Growing evidence to support formulations containing thyme, ginseng and wheat grass

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Skin Cosmetics Skin care

New research suggests that herbal formulations containing thyme, wheat grass and ginseng, along with ferulic and gallic acid, are the most promising natural products for new cosmetics with skin anti-ageing properties.

Writing in the journal Molecules​, researchers noted that the development of new dermocosmetics has rapidly increased due to consumer demand for non-invasive products with low adverse effects.

Furthermore, natural compounds of plant origin and herbal-derived formulations have been popularised due to their safety credentials and  actives.

Based on this, researchers this month published a new review to identify the recent advances in herbal-derived product research, including formulations and isolated compounds with emerging skin anti-ageing properties.

“It is important to note that relevant compounds of plant origin, such as resveratrol, curcumin, quercetin, silymarin, and bakuchiol, as well as several herbal formulations containing rosehip (Rosa moschata) oil, bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) extract, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root extract, or pomegranate (Punica granatum) seed oil, were not discussed in this review, since these compounds or plant extracts have already been incorporated in a lot of market products claiming skin anti-ageing properties,”​ they wrote.

Instead, they highlighted the emerging potential of Thymus vulgaris, Panax ginseng​, Triticum aestivum​ and Andrographis paniculate​, along with ferulic and gallic acid.

Ferulic acid

Although ferulic acid is already used in some cosmetic formulations due to its skin photoprotection, skin lightening, and anti-acne effects, researchers say that it may have even greater potential.

“Recent pharmacological data provides new scientific evidence supporting this compound as a natural active ingredient for the development of new dermocosmetical products to prevent skin ageing, as well as to reduce or treat hyperpigmentation and atopic dermatitis,”​ they wrote.

Gallic acid

A recent clinical trial of a gel containing gallic acid and other phenol compounds from Terminalia chebula​ produced skin anti-ageing activity in human volunteers, as evidenced by several changes in elasticity and a decrease in roughness, the paper states.

It adds: “Recently, it was reported that gallic acid glycoside produced by transglycosylation demonstrated a potent antioxidant and anti-tyrosinase product useful as a cosmetic ingredient with skin-whitening and anti-ageing properties. When associated with other compounds in a multifunctional skincare formulation, it produced protective effects on the skin, including skin brightening, anti-ageing, and anti-inflammatory properties via the modulation of several skin disease markers.”

Thymus vulgaris (Thyme)

This was recently evaluated in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial to control the skin ageing process, where a standardised phytocosmetic preparation significantly reduced facial wrinkles and expression lines, as well as promoting face oval remodelling in women volunteers after topical application.

Recent studies on mice have also shown wound healing benefits and a reduction in psoriasis-like inflammation.

Panax ginseng (Ginseng)

The researchers state that ginseng, ginsenosides, and their derivatives have been found to treat several skin disorders, inhibiting in vivo and in vitro melanogenesis, protecting the skin from UV radiation, promoting skin wound healing, anti-wrinkle formation, and skin hydration, along with an anti-atopic dermatitis effects, all of which are potentially useful for the development of new skin anti-aging products.

“Extensive reviews containing the pharmacological and chemical characterisation of herbal formulations and isolated compounds from Panax ginseng as well as its main mechanisms of action related to its anti-skin ageing properties (anti-wrinkle formation, increase in skin elasticity, inhibition of melanogenesis, skin hydration, anti-acne, anti-atopic dermatitis, and anti-hair loss) support this medicinal plant as a potential raw material and source of chemical compounds useful for the development of new skin anti-aging products,”​ they wrote.

Triticum aestivum (Wheat grass)

Recently, a polar lipid extract oil obtained from the endosperm of Triticum aestivum​ was evaluated orally in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial with 64 healthy women volunteers for 12 weeks as well as in ex vivo human skin explants.

In the clinical trial, the wheat grain oil treatment promoted an improvement in the women’s crow’s feet wrinkles and skin hydration, whereas, in the ex vivo experiments, Triticum aestivum​ oil promoted a significant increase in collagen in UV-irradiated skin explants.

Andrographis paniculate

Andrographis paniculata​ extract, after topical treatments over four and eight weeks in volunteers, significantly decreased skin wrinkles and skin sagging as well as increased the dermal density of facial skin, the paper reports.

“Recently, Andrographis paniculata extract was reported as a photoprotective product against UV-A and UV-B radiation by sun protection factor determination related to the presence of flavonoid derivatives.”​ It states.

The researchers concluded: "In the last 10 years, an extensive number of plant species, including foods and medicinal and aromatic plants, were pharmacologically evaluated in in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo biological assays, including clinical assays focusing on the determination of the potential use of these plants as skin anti-ageing products.

“Based on this, this review identified and selected some compounds (ferulic acid, gallic acid, thymol, carvacrol, ginsenosides, and others) and herbal formulations (Thymus vulgaris, Panax ginseng, Triticum aestivum, and Andrographis paniculata) as the most promising products and raw materials for use in the development of new dermocosmetics with skin anti-ageing properties.”

Source: Molecules


'Recent Advances in Herbal-Derived Products with Skin Anti-Aging Properties and Cosmetic Applications'

Authors: Erika F Costa, et al

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