Botanical-based ingredients have a long history of use in personal care products to treat a broad variety of skin conditions. Natural products and their derivatives represent over 50% of all drugs currently used. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of people in developing countries rely on traditional medicine for their primary health care, and about 85% of traditional medicine involves the use of plant extracts.
The earliest recorded use of plants to treat inflammation dates back 4,000 years to the Sumerians who used willow extracts. The active in willow extracts is salicin, a glucoside of salicylic acid with activity similar to Aspirin.
Licorice root has been used for centuries to treat inflammation. The active in the root contains glycyrrhizin and is converted to glycyrrehetic acid in the body.
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Chamomile extracts were first cosmetically used 2000 years ago by the Egyptians. Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that chamomile cream is nearly as effective as 0.25-percent hydrocortisone cream. The principle active in chamomile is bisabolol.
Colloidal oatmeal has been used topically for centuries to treat skin rashes, erythema, burns, itch, and inflammation. The key actives in colloidal oatmeal are believed to be potent anti-inflammatory agents called avenanthramides. Colloidal oatmeal has even been recognized by the FDA as an effective category one skin protectant.
A word of caution: Anti-inflammatory claims are considered drug claims in the U.S., where you can only make soothing or irritation-reduction claims.
Examples of anti-inflammatory ingredients with documented clinical efficacy:
I also recommend using a Lecithin derivative with the below actives as penetration aids to improve performance.
- SymCalmin (Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid) by Symrise is sold as a 5% solution of nature-identical avenanthramides A, B, and C. They are compounds in oats that are responsible for its soothing properties.
- CP Oat Avenanthramides (Glycerin, Aqua/water, Oat Extract) by Oat Services Limited is a 1:1 glycerin water mixture containing 110 ppm actives (avenanthramides AF-1, 2, and 6). Significant anti-inflammatory activity has been seen at levels as low as 1 ppm active in formulations.
- Gorgonian extract BG (Butylene Glycol and Sea Whip Extract) by Vantage Specialty Ingredients are pseudopterosins extracted from Sea Whip which have been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory activity at levels as low as .02% active.
- NET STG (Stearyl Glycyrrhetinat) by Maruzen Pharmaceuticals/Barnet Products is an oil soluble derivative more effective form of Glycyrrehetic acid, the key active in Licorice root.
- Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate by Maruzen Pharmaceuticals/Barnet Products
- Bisabolol Rac. (Bisabolol) by BASF is the active ingredient found in chamomile oil. It is synthetically produced and contains the four isomers which all occur in nature.
- SymRelief 100 (Bisabolol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone) by Symrise is a synergistic blend of bisabolol and a ginger extract which claims to target all the major inflammatory mediators.
- Canadian Willowherb (Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extrac) by Lucas Meyer Cosmetics. 3% Canadian Willowherb is claimed to be more effective than 1% hydrocortisone in reducing UV-induced erythema
|Australian Sandalwood Seed Oil (Santalum spicatum) by Down Under Enterprises Pty Ltd – Australian Sandalwood Seed Oil is rich in the triple bond fatty acid Ximenynic Acid, which works to block the Arachidonic Acid pathway (COX and LOX inhibitor)...|
|Australian Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) by Down Under Down Under Enterprises Pty Ltd – Australian Tea Tree Oil - USDA Organic is a clear, colorless to pale yellow mobile liquid that is steam distilled from the leaves and twigs...|
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