Polyphenols sound like a very scientific thing. How do they relate to the ingredients and making of homemade cosmetics? Are there any polyphenols used or added in natural cosmetics? I included polyphenols in this blog for two very good reasons.
First of all, anyone who has prepared homemade cosmetics has added polyphenols to their products, with or without the knowledge of them. Another reason is the effective ability of polyphenols to affect the outer layers of the skin. Polyphenols do indeed produce positive effects in skin care. What are polyphenols and how can we use them in cosmetics? Let’s take a closer look.
What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are mainly natural chemical compounds found in plants. The purpose of polyphenols is to protect the plant from getting spoiled, insects, ultraviolet radiation and microbes. Polyphenols are antioxidants.
There are plenty of polyphenols in almost all plants
Vegetables, fruits and berries classified as healthy contain significant amounts of polyphenols. A cup of coffee or tea contains up to 100mg of polyphenols. Evidence suggests that eating polyphenol-rich foods reduces the risk of getting chronic diseases. Polyphenols can also affect the skin externally.
Polyphenols in cosmetics
We can hardly find the word polyphenols on the packages of cosmetic products. Still, almost all cosmetic products contain polyphenols, especially natural ones. All cosmetics containing genuine, plant-derived extracts will certainly also contain polyphenols.
Polyphenols have antioxidant effects
You must have come across cosmetics that are said to contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are a large group of substances that inhibit oxidation. In addition to polyphenols, vitamins do belong to the antioxidant group. Now we are only talking about polyphenols, because they have a very unique effect on the skin.
How do polyphenols affect your skin?
Polyphenols, when applied to the skin, act on the outer layers of the skin. Polyphenols in cosmetics can affect many skin problems that are right on the surface of the skin. Products containing polyphenols do not affect the deeper layers of the skin.
Polyphenols are potent antioxidants
They protect your skin from external stimulus such as sunlight. However, they cannot be used as actual protective sunscreen against ultraviolet radiation. You need to get a functional, tested sunscreen from the shop. However, products containing polyphenols have been found to boost sunscreen’s effect on the skin.
The dark spots caused by strong sunlight on the skin can fade and even disappear when using effective polyphenols in skin care.
Polyphenols work well also in after-sun products
They inhibit the UV-exposed skin damage. Polyphenols control possible inflammation and cool down the skin after sunbathing.
Polyphenols are able to repair small signs of aging on our skin, such as fine wrinkles. The anti-aging effect of polyphenols is based on antioxidants as well as sunscreen ability. The antioxidants in polyphenols prevent oxidation on skin. You can read more about this here on NCBI article.
Polyphenols is a large group of plant chemicals.
There are more than 8000 different types of polyphenols. The best-known polyphenols are flavonoids.
Different polyphenols have different specific properties. I will now list a few polyphenols and plants containing them. There are always several different polyphenols in the same plant.
Flavonoids are the largest single group of polyphenols
Flavonoids are polyphenols that affect plant’s taste and what colour it is. About 60% of all polyphenols are flavonoids. They are therefore the main group of active ingredients extracted from herbs used in skin care products. Next, I will list some very useful flavonoids for you.
Tannins are astringent and bitter flavonoids.
Green tea and coffee contain plenty of tannins. They are also found in smaller quantities in rose plants. The astringent effect of tannins is based on their ability to precipitate proteins. You can use astringent, tannin-rich extracts, for example, in facial toners. Tannins reduce pores and make skin look firm. The use of coffee grounds in facial masks is a good idea. You can also make feet and hands scrubs from coffee containing tannins.
Blueberry and red cabbage are famous for their anthocyanin pigment
Anthocyanin is the most famous flavonoid. It is the pigment in blueberry and red cabbage. Dark grapes are also rich in anthocyanins. Anthocyanin is a particularly powerful antioxidant.
Raspberry and olive are rich in rutin
The rutin also belongs to the group of flavonoids. The rutin improves blood circulation. Rutin-containing extracts should be used when the purpose is to revitalize the skin’s blood circulation. The rutin also inhibits infections. Raspberries, buckwheat and fresh olives contain plenty of rutin.
Why use green tea in cosmetics?
EGCG is a flavonoid that is found especially in green tea. It is the most important active ingredient in green tea. Even a study of anticancer effect of EGCG is currently going on. EGCG protects the skin from the sun’s UV radiation.
EGCG has a particularly moisturizing effect on the skin
It is also a very effective antioxidant. You will get all these incredible effects to your cosmetic product when you use green tea. Green tea also contains other polyphenols which make it one of the best ingredients for skin care.
Polyphenolic amides are special types of polyphenols
Polyphenolic amides include burning capsaicinoids found in both paprika and chili, which are not commonly used in skin care. They suit better to herbal medicine to eliminate pain and aches. But oat avenanthramides, on the other hand, are particularly useful in skin care. I have previously written an article about oat, which can be found here.
How can I add polyphenols to homemade cosmetics?
Adding polyphenols to homemade cosmetics is really simple. Polyphenols are soluble in hot water and vinegar. All you have to do is make an infusion using your favourite herb. If you’ve ever prepared homemade cosmetics, you presumably should know how to do it. If you do not know how to do it, please take a look here.
You can add polyphenols easily to the lotion using the herbal infusion as a water phase. An herbal infusion made from camomile or nettle, is a good base for an emulsion lotion. You will get a lot of valuable polyphenols in your lotion. Chamomile is rich in polyphenol called apigenin. Apigenin rejects the signs of aging and protects the skin against harmful UV radiation.
Polyphenols help your skin in many ways
There is plenty of talk about the effect of antioxidants in our diet. We should eat berries, fruits, and vegetables to get these valuable substances to prevent our cells from oxidizing. On our skin, polyphenols are able to function about the same way.
Cosmetics containing polyphenols protect our skin from oxidation. Next time you prepare homemade cosmetics, please remember skin protecting polyphenols. The easiest way to get them to your products is to use different herbal infusions. So, look at the herbs you dried in the summer and extract valuable polyphenols out from them to protect your skin.
Have you used herbal infusions in cosmetics?