Plant Extracts in Skin Care Products
Francisca Rodrigues (Ed.)
Beatriz P.P. Oliveira (Ed.)
Currently, in the cosmetic industry, there is an increasing interest in natural extracts, particularly plant extracts. The inclusion of antioxidants in topical formulations may contribute to minimize skin oxidative stress, which has been associated with aging. Many herbal agents used in cosmetics have been selected by a process of ‘trial and error’ and, thus, are used on the basis of experience rather than of experimental investigation. Nevertheless, there is now a growing scientific evidence that plants possess a vast and complex arsenal of active ingredients able not only to calm or smooth but also to actively restore, heal, and protect the human skin. In addition, plant extracts may contain compounds with antimicrobial or other beneficial properties, influencing the formulation of natural and non-chemical cosmetic products. The public trend towards natural and sustainable products is ongoing. Although the term “plant extract” inherently purports their beneficial and benign properties, these products could have adverse reactions in individuals. Therefore, it is essential to ensure quality and safety of these extracts in cosmetic products before embarking on the more arduous task of ensuring efficacy.