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Vitamin E

Overview of vitamin E for the face and skin

Vitamin E for the face and skin is derived from both natural and synthetic sources. Tocopherol is the most common form of vitamin E. Pure vitamin E is too sticky and its scent is too unpleasant for practical use, so it is mixed with other ingredients like coconut oil to make it viscous enough for topical application. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. As such, it prevents free radical damage that results in premature aging, wrinkles, fine lines and sagging. When molecules in the skin have a number of electrons in the outer shell that are even in number, the molecules are stable, and the skin is safe from damage. Molecules that have an odd number of electrons are unstable and referred to as free radicals. To attain stability, these unstable molecules will take an electron from the stable molecules in your skin. In turn, this makes the molecules in the skin unstable. In a chain reaction, the process continues throughout the other molecules in the skin. The process is called free-radical damage and it destroys the skin at the cellular level and damages the skin’s DNA causing premature aging, wrinkles, fine lines and sagging. Free radicals occur and accumulate when the skin is subjected to air pollution, ultraviolet rays from the sun and other adverse conditions. The skin is the body’s barrier to these external hazards, and this being the case, takes the brunt of the damage. Vitamin E reacts with free radicals to stabilize them, and by doing so, ends the process of free radical damage. The body does not produce vitamin E on its own, so to get vitamin E to the skin, it must be applied topically. Consuming vitamin E as part of daily diet helps, but the most effective means is topically.  

Snapshot of vitamin E

  • Mixes well with: almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, rice bran oil, soybean oil Benefits to the skin: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, hydrates, moisturizes, and photoprotects.
  • Treats: cold sores, UV damage, sunburn, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, age spots, dark spots, and melasma
  • Used in products: moisturizers, sunscreens, skin creams, lotions, serums and skin brighteners.

Products with vitamin E: Pitta Facial Oil, Amla Skin Brightening Lotion, Ayurvedic Kapha Facial Oil, Ayurvedic Vata Facial Oil, and Jasmin Serum[Information provided by JustDerma]

6 Benefits of vitamin E for the face and skin:

1. Antioxidant

As discussed above, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant especially in its natural (non-synthetic) form. As an antioxidant, vitamin E can offer photoprotection benefits by protecting the skin from free-radical damage caused by exposure to the sun. This would also help to prevent skin cancer. To realize the photoprotection benefits for the skin, vitamin E must be applied topically as research has shown that vitamin E consumed in daily diet confers no photoprotection benefits.  When combined with vitamin C (another antioxidant) the antioxidant capabilities of vitamin E are increased. This is because vitamin C recycles vitamin E molecules that have been oxidized. On its own, when the vitamin E molecule neutralizes a free radical, it gets used up. However, when combined with vitamin C, the vitamin E molecule reactivated so that it can be used again to fight another free radical.  


Vitamin E enables the skin cells to retain water, and in doing so, maintains hydration levels within the skin. Vitamin C is also effective on the lips to prevent dry and chapped lips. Vitamin E relieves flakiness and dryness.  

3. Anti-inflammatory

Studies have shown that vitamin E reduces the inflammation associated with sunburn caused by over exposure to the sun and UV damage. Vitamin E's anti-inflammatory benefits are greatest when applied immediately after sunburn occurs, however substantial benefits are realized even when applied many hours later. Vitamin E also relieves the inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis.  

4. Skin lightener

Vitamin E is effective in treating discoloration related to hyperpigmentation, age spots, dark spots, and melasma. Providing skin its color is melanin which is a pigment. When excessive levels of melanin are produced, dark spots and discoloration occurs. Vitamin E has been shown to depigment the skin and lighten the dark spots. Vitamin E’s ability to depigment the skin is enhanced when it is combined with vitamin C.  

5. Treats cold sores

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and there is no cure for this unsightly and uncomfortable condition that appears on the lips. However, vitamin E relieves the swelling, pain and blisters affecting the area.  

6. Relieves Psoriasis

Vitamin E helps alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis. It heals the affected skin and scaly skin patches that accompanies psoriasis  

What vitamin E oil is NOT good for (according to research)

  • Vitamin E for the face and skin is a well-researched substance and has many proven benefits as described above. However, claims have been made that vitamin E possesses particular benefits, but unfortunately, such claims are not supported by research. Some of these unsubstantiated claims are as follows:
  • Vitamin E prevents and treat stretch marks- vitamin E in topical form was the focus of 6 studies involving a total of 800 female subjects. These studies found vitamin E played no meaning role in the prevention of stretch marks among the subjects studied.
  • Vitamin E removes scars- Australian dermatologist Dr. Philip Artemi, the Honorary Secretary of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, states that it is “a proven scientific fact” that vitamin E will not help remove scars.
  • Vitamin E Oil stimulates collagen production- vitamin E has not been shown to stimulate collagen production, nor the production of elastin as well
  • Topical vitamin E heals wounds- studies suggest the contrary and that vitamin E inhibits the healing process.


Safety and warning information

Vitamin E is safe for most individuals whose skin tolerates the vitamin well. However, for a small minority, vitamin E can cause rash and allergic reaction. Before applying widely across the skin, try the vitamin on a small spot of skin to the wrist first. Unscrupulous manufacturers of synthetic vitamin E for the face and skin may adulterate the vitamin with hydroquinone. Hydroquinone can cause blistering, crack, and turn the skin bluish-black (exogenous ochronosis). A whitening compound, it can cause elevated sensitivity to UV rays, and dermatitis. As such, natural vitamin E would be a safer alternative. Tocopheryl acetate is also problematic. The tocopheryl part is vitamin E and is beneficial. The ‘acetate’ part is acetic acid and is a harmful skin irritant for many individuals. It causes rashes, redness, allergic reactions. Manufacturers add acetic acid to enable the vitamin product to have a longer shelf life and lowers production costs.

Almond Oil 

Overview of Almond oil

Originating in Middle Eastern, southwest Asian areas and North Africa, almond oil has been used for hundreds of years to treat the skin, and skin-related maladies such as dryness, eczema and psoriasis. Ancient Greco-Persian and Ayurvedic schools of medicine studied the benefits of almond oil for skin and provided instruction on how to use the oil to treat skin conditions. It wasn’t until the 1800s that almond trees and oil were produced in the United States. California, in particular, is responsible for most almond production in the U.S. Another area that is a successful almond producer is Spain where the popular Marcona almonds are grown. The almond is actually a fruit. It has an outer hull surrounding a shell. This shell contains the almond seed from which almond oil is produced. For use in skincare, the type of almonds used are sweet almonds, as opposed to bitter almonds which have cyanide and are toxic. Applied topically, the texture of almond oil is light, and as such, it is absorbed easily into the skin. Almond oil also mixes will with other essential oils such as jojoba oil. Being a very strong oil, jojoba can irritate sensitive skin. However, diluted with almond oil, jojoba is better tolerated. Scientific name: Prunus dulcis (also known as Amygdalus communis L.) Fragrance: nutty Mixes well with: lavender oil, jojoba oil Treats or prevents: aging skin, eczema, psoriasis, acne and blackheads, dark circles under eyes, rashes, skin and bacterial infections. Benefits of almond oil to the skin: moisturizes, cleans, hydrates, hypoallergenic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, lightens skin, and is effective as a makeup remover. Non-skincare related uses of almond oil include its use as a: biodiesel fuel, plaque-removing ingredient in toothpaste, treatment for canine dermatitis, wood conditioner and antidote for Aluminum phosphide (ALP) poisoning common in third world countries such as Iran and India.  

5 Benefits of almond oil for skin:

1. Anti-aging properties

Collagen is a structural protein that resides as a smooth and even layer underneath the skin. This layer is responsible for the skin’s smooth and youthful look. However, as individuals age, the collagen layer breaks-down because of oxidative stress from years of sun exposure, environmental stress, cigarette smoke, or harsh weather. The layer becomes uneven, and as the skin thins due to aging, fine lines and wrinkles appear. Almond oil can slow this aging process. With its high levels of vitamin E and fatty acids, almond oil is a powerful antioxidant which helps the skin resist the oxidative stress that breaks down the collagen layer. Specifically, antioxidants neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative stress as well as cellular mutations that compromise skin elasticity. Almond oil’s protein content delivers amino acids and phytosterols needed to stimulate collagen formation. and thus repair some of the damage done to the collagen layer. Another way almond oil fights the aging process is by replenishing the skin’s squalene supply. Squalene is a naturally-occurring compound found in the cells of the skin. In younger skin, squalene is abundant. In aging skin, the lack of this compound in the skin triggers wrinkles and sagging skin. Therefore by replacing lost squalene, almond oil thwarts the triggering of wrinkles and sagging in the skin. Additionally, almond oil contains high levels of phytosterols. Phytosterols retard collagen loss and stimulate its production.

2. Deep cleans skin and fights acne

Since almond oil’s texture is light, it can penetrate deep into the skin where it dislodges dirt and grime from pores and follicles. The result is cleaner skin that is less prone to blackheads and acne. Another way almond oil prevents acne is by preventing sebum oil from building up on the skin. Almond oil does this by helping the skin’s sebaceous glands to regulate the production of sebum oil. Less sebum oil on the skin results in fewer clogged pores. Fewer clogged pores result in less acne. Additionally, almond oil’s high levels of vitamin A content works to prevent ongoing flare-ups.

3. Relieves eczema, psoriasis and rosacea

Eczema, psoriasis and rosacea result in inflamed skin that is dry and itchy. Scratching of the skin worsens the conditions. The skin can become crusty and open up. This enables fungal and bacterial infections to set in. To prevent these problems, the skin must be kept hydrated, soft and supple. Almond oil will help achieve these desired results, stimulate the healing process and keep skin conditioned, However, being mild and hypoallergenic, it will do so without irritating the skin further or evoking an allergic response.

4. Treat Skin Rashes

Skin rashes occur often when skin rubs excessively against skin, or poorly fitted clothes. This can be common during physical or sports activities. The skin becomes red, chafed or inflamed. Individuals experience soreness or burning sensations. Zinc-based skin creams are commonly used to treat the rashes. However, almond oil is a natural alternative. It has naturally high levels of zinc but without the chemical ingredients in commercial products.

5. Evens and lightens skin tone

Almond oil has three compounds that enable it to lighten skin as well as treat hyperpigmentation and even-out complexion. They are phytosterols, niacinamide and vitamin E. These compounds make almond oil useful in cases involving bad sunburns, skin coloration disorders, scars or other blemishes.  

Warnings and safety information

Mild and hypoallergenic, almond oil is safely used on sensitive skin as well as infants. However, in spite of all the benefits of almond oil for skin and face, individuals with nut allergies should avoid the use of almond oil.  

Skincare products with almond oil

Almond Cleansing Milk, Jasmine Serum, Ayurvedic Kapha Facial Oil, Ayurvedic Vata Facial Oil, Ayurvedic Pitta Facial Oil, Red Sandalwood & Neem Clarifying Masque[Information provided by JustDerma]

Jojobal oil 

Overview of jojoba oil for face

Jojoba oil is actually a wax that comes from the nut of the jojoba plant. The jojoba plant is a shrub that originates in the arid areas of the American Southwest where it has been used amongst Native Americans for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Commercial cultivation originated in the desert areas of Israel. In raw form, jojoba oil’s fragrance is nutty and its natural color is a golden. However when refined, jojoba oil has no fragrance. Almost half of the jojoba nut is comprised of jojoba oil.  Biologically, jojoba oil is similar to sebum which is the waxy conditioning agent produced by the skin glands. As a skincare ingredient, jojoba oil is a good alternative to animal fats. In the manufacture of skincare products, it has replaced whale oil which has face great opposition since the 1970s due to environment reasons. As mentioned, jojoba oil is actually a wax, and as such, has several advantages. Being a wax, its melting point is very low. This means it stays in liquid form, and so to be applied to the skin, it does not need to be diluted. Also, since it is a wax, jojoba feels relatively less greasy on the skin than oils. Unlike many vegetable oils, jojoba oil takes a while to oxidize, break down, or turn rancid. Therefore, it has a long shelf life. Jojoba oil is well absorbed into the skin. As such, it is used as a carrier oil for other essential oils and a medium to deliver nutrients into the skin. Scientific name: Simmondsia Chinensis   Summary of benefits of jojoba oil for face and skin:

  • Moisturizes skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • High levels of vitamin E and B5
  • Soothes skin
  • Accelerates wound healing
  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Fights the aging process
  • Removes oily buildup
  • Improves the elasticity of skin
  • Antibacterial- fights bacterial growth
  • Removes makeup
  • Prevents razor burn

Treats acne, infection, psoriasis, dandruff, sunburn and chapped skin Products with jojoba oil: Amla Skin Brightening Lotion, Black Tea & Licorice Root Brightening Cleanser.    [Information provided by JustDerma]

Detailed description of benefits of Jojoba oil for face and skin:

1. Moisturizes Skin

Sebaceous glands secrete sebum which is an oily/waxy material that keeps skin moisturized and conditioned. Due to the aging process, sebaceous glands produce less sebum and the skin dries out. On the scalp, the result is dandruff. Jojoba oil is chemically similar to sebum, Applied topically, jojoba oil replaces the sebum that the aging sebaceous glands fail to produce, and thus helps to keep the skin moisturized. Also drying out the skin is cold and dry winter air as well as air-conditioning in the summer. Skin dries out faster than the glands can re-moisturize with replenished oil supply. Again, application of jojoba oil helps make up for the shortfall. Yet another way that jojoba oil moisturizes the skin is that it forms a layer on the skin’s surface thereby preventing moisture from leaving the skin.

2. Prevents acne

Conversely, sebaceous glands can over-produce sebum resulting in oily skin and acne. This can occur during puberty when hormone levels are high. Hair follicles can get blocked by a buildup of sebum as well as keratin and other cell debris. The blockage enables bacteria to grow resulting in acne as well as formation of black and white heads. Further irritating the skin is inflammation. Jojoba oil counteracts the formation of acne. Since jojoba oil is a liquid, it can penetrate deep into the skin where it clears out sebum deposits in the hair follicles and dislodges comedone. The result is removal of the blockage and oily buildup that causes acne. The skin is left balanced and oil free.

3. Rich in antioxidants

Rich in antioxidants, jojoba oil fights free radical damage. Jojoba oil’s antioxidants come from its high levels of vitamin E and B5. Antioxidants slows the aging process and prevents fine lines and wrinkles. It fights the damaging effects of cigarette smoke, UV light and other adverse environmental factors. It also improves the elasticity of skin by strengthening the skin’s capillary walls. Vitamin E is an anti-inflammatory.

4. Treats wounds

According to research by the Department of Environment and Life Sciences in Italy, jojoba oil accelerated the healing and closure of wounds by stimulating cell regeneration. A 2012 study done in Germany found that jojoba oil reduced skin lesions when the oil was applied 2-3 times per week for over 6 weeks. Its vitamin E content enables jojoba oil to penetrate deep layers of the skin where it is effective at treating sunburn. Also enabling jojoba oil to treat wounds is its high levels of vitamin B5 which, like vitamin E, help the skin to speed wound and cut healing. This inflammation can be relieved by applying Jojoba oil over the affected area. The vitamin E and B-complex vitamins in the Jojoba oil helps in damage control and skin repair. Under the protective layer of this waxy substance, the skin can regenerate and normalize.

5. Antibacterial and antifungal

Jojoba oil contains high levels of iodine which fights bacterial growth and acne. With its antifungal properties, jojoba oil effectively treats toenail fungus.

6. Removes makeup safely and naturally

Jojoba oil is an alternative to chemical makeup removers. It can be used to safely and natural remove makeup as well as the dirt and bacteria.

7. Prevents Razor Burn

Jojoba oil can be used as an alternative to shaving cream. Jojoba oil’s waxy texture protects the skin while shaving, and so prevents razor burn, nicks and cuts. Unlike many shaving creams, jojoba oil is non-comedogenic (does not clog pores).

Safety information

Applied topically to the skin, jojoba oil is safe for most individuals. This would include pregnant women or women who are breast feeding. Jojoba oil must not be consumed because its erucic acid may damage the heart. Side effects are uncommon but include a rash and allergic reactions.

Jasmine Essential Oil 

Background of jasmine essential oil

Originating from the Persian word “yasmin,”, jasmine’s English translation is “fragrance flower”. Considered strong, sweet, and flowery, the fragrance of jasmine essential oil makes it a popular ingredient in skincare products as well as shampoos, soaps, alcoholic beverages, and perfumes. It’s used Eau de Sauvage and Chanel No. 5 perfumes. As with sandalwood, jasmine is highly regarded in the Hindu religion where it’s considered holy. In Pakistan, jasmine is the national flower due to the very strong and pleasant fragrance it emits. Jasmine absolute oil is derived from the flowers of the jasmine plant. Jasmine is grown specifically for the flowers. It is made by soaking the flowers within an alcohol solvent. To produce just one gram of jasmine absolute, over 8,000 hand-picked blossoms are required. To ensure the resulting jasmine oil is of the highest quality and fragrance, only flowers that are blossomed fully are picked, and handling must be done with great care to avoid bruising the flowers. The plant is grown in warm and tropical araea of Africa, Asia, and Australia although some species are grown in cooler climates. There are over two hundred different species of jasmine, and jasmine absolute oil can be produced from many of them. Jasminum Grandiflorum and Spanish jasmine (Jasminum Officinale) are two examples. The plant blossoms in the evening from six to eight when the air begins to cool down. It grows from summer to fall and can grow up to fifteen feet.

Benefits of Jasmine Absolute Oil

  1. Antiseptic- Jasmine is rich in a variety of active chemical components that are beneficial to the skin. These include benzaldehyde, benzoic acid and benzyl benzoate which have antiviral and germicidal properties that work to prevent infections. As jasmine oil is absorption into the skin, growth of bacteria is inhibited.
  2. Anti-aging- antioxidants in jasmine protect the skin from free radical damage and environmental stressors. Of particular benefit for individuals with mature skin, antioxidants deeply penetrate into the skin’s dermis layer where they nourish the skin cells there.
  3. Evens skin tone- jasmine oil reduces the visibility of age spots, and skin blemishes such as acne scars, uneven tans, dark marks, and other skin discolorations.
  4. Moisturizing- with moisturizing properties jasmine oil is effective at treating redness and dryness associated with dermatitis and eczema.
  5. Non-comedogenic- won’t clog pores.
  6. Anti-inflammatory- as an anti-inflammatory, the oil is used to inflammation originating from gout and rheumatism. A 2007 study tested the wound healing abilities of jasmine essential oil and found that would closing and collagen formation was accellerated with the use of jasmine oil.
  7. Cicatrisant- as a cicatrisant, jasmine oil fades scars, pock and stretch marks.

Non-skincare related benefits include it's ability to perform as an aphrodisiac, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, analgesic, as well as alleviate spasms and stomach cramps. Jasmine essential oil clears congestion which alleviates discomfort related to colds and coughs. For relaxtion and promotion of sounder sleep, the oil has sedative and regulating qualities. Products with jasmine oil: Jasmine Serum and Pitta Facial Oil[Information provided by JustDerma]

Jasmine oil at a glance

  • Ideal for concerns: dry and red skin, dermatitis and eczema, skin infections, inflammation, scars, pock and stretch marks
  • Ideal for skin types: all
  • Application areas: face and neck
  • Used in skin care products: lotions, soaps, shampoo
  • Fragrance: sweet and flowery
  • Strength of Aroma: strong
  • Botanical Name: Jasminum
  • Blends well with: bergamot, citruses, geranium, neroli, palmarosa, petitgrain, rose, rosewood, sandalwood
  • Composition: benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate, cis-jasmone, geraniol, indole, linalool, methyl anthranilate

Ways to use pure jasmine essential oil

  • Applied directly and massaged into the skin, two to four drops of jasmine oil
  • Added to neutral skin cream or lotion, two drops
  • To nourish hair and scalp, add a few drops to conditioner
  • Add 5–10 drops to evening bath water

Safety information and warnings

Nontoxic, non-sensitizing, and a non-irritant, jasmine oil is generally safe. However, jasmine’s very strong aroma can cause headaches and nausea. As with Anokha® Skin Care’s Jasmine Serum, jasmine oil can be blended with other essential oils such as almond and sandalwood to tone-down jasmine’s strength. Do not apply jasmine essential oil to open wounds because it may cause allergic reaction and skin irritation. For individuals with skin sensitivities, jasmine oil should be tested to a small area of skin before full use. In a 2002 multi-center study conducted in Europe among 6 dermatology locations, 1.2% of the 1,606 subjects had an allergic reaction to jasmine absolute oil applied as a fragrance patch to the subjects' skin.

Adulteration of Jasmine Oil

A pound of pure jasmine absolute costs over $1,000. This compares to as little as $6 for a pound of synthetic jasmine. As a result, and to lower production costs, some manufactures of jasmine absolute will adulterate the oil with synthetics as well as unwanted chemicals such as ethanol and phthalate (a plastic softener). Also used are oil fractions, fillers, by-products and other cheaper alternatives. This practice continues because identification of unwanted ingredients is difficult to detect.


Overview of licorice for skin

Licorice is popularly known as a very dark if not black-colored candy, or dark after-dinner liqueur. Sometimes referred to as anise, licorice is found side-by-side in the kitchen next to other extracts such as peppermint or vanilla. Less known is licorice’s role as a key ingredient in skincare products. Licorice for skin is used to brighten skin and regulates sebum production to prevent acne. Licorice is used worldwide to treat skin maladies. For example, in Chinese medicine, licorice is used as an anti-inflammatory. According to surveys, Western medical herbalists consider licorice among the ten most important herbs used in clinical practice. In Ayurvedic medicine, licorice has been used lighten dark spots for hundreds of years. Licorice originates from the Mediterranean and European areas, the Middle East, Asia, Russia and Iran. Licorice comes from the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant which is a legume related to peas. A perennial, the plant grows to three to seven feet in height. Harvesting occurs up to 3 years after initial planting. The health and skincare benefits originate in the root. The root is boiled to produce the licorice extract which is used in skincare products. Glycyrrhizin is licorice’s principal constituent, and its concentrations in licorice range from 5 to 25 percent. Used in skincare products: toners, cleansers, skin creams, serums, moisturizers and spot treatments. Used to treat: hyper- pigmentation, sun damage, acne, dry skin, redness, dull complexion, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. Benefits of licorice for skin: brightens, smooths, moisturizes, blocks melanin production, and blocks UVA/UVB rays. It is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial. Effective on skin types: normal, oily, or combination. Non-skincare related applications of licorice include its use as a flavor ingredient in confections, treatment of common colds (i.e. expectorant to remove phlegm and mucus), treatment of respiratory problems (allergies, asthma and bronchitis) and treatment of gastrointestinal issues (acid reflux, heartburn and inflammation in the digestive tracts). Scientific name: Glycyrrhiza glabra Skincare products with licorice: Amla Skin Brightening Lotion, Black Tea & Licorice Root Brightening Cleanser, Mango Butter Eye Treatment. These products are developed by Dr. Nina S. Naidu, Chair of the Women Surgeons Committee in the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and Fellow, American College of Surgeons.    [Information provided by JustDerma]

Benefits of licorice for skin

1. Natural skin lightener

Especially when used consistently over time, licorice fades dark spots, resolves blemishes, lightens skin and minimizes appearance of scars. Dark spots occur as a result of hazards including sun damage, excessive sugar consumption, pollutants, and the aging process. Licorice lightens skin and treats hyperpigmentation safely and naturally. It is a natural alternative to hydroquinone which, according to the National Toxicology Program, is a possible carcinogenic and has genotoxic effects. As a skin whitener, research shows licorice is more effective than kojic and ascorbic acids. Licorice contains a number of compounds that enable it to lighten skin. It has liquirtin which treats melasma, and glabridin which inhibits melanin synthesis (i.e. reduces the volume of melanin in skin cells). In particular, glabridin inhibits tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is an enzyme that sends signals to create pigmentation when the skin is exposed to the sun. This is an important process by which the body protects the skin from sun damage. However, dark spots occur when pigmentation occurs unevenly over the skin. When glabridin inhibits tyrosinase production, melanin production is slowed. The result is fewer dark spots. Additionally, glabridin contains flavonoids that depigment and lighten the skin. Another way that licorice lightens skin is by controlling levels of endothelin-1 (a peptide), and Phospholipase A2 (an enzyme). These elements are responsible for dark spots and uneven skin tone. Licorice’s effectiveness as a lightener is heightened when combined with retinoic acid and betamethasone.

2. Anti-inflammatory

Skin becomes inflamed in its attempt to repel irritants and infection from the body. Symptoms include unpleasant itching, redness, rash and swelling. With several of its anti-inflammatory properties, licorice is used to relieve these undesirable symptoms. Licorice contains stearyl glycyrrhetinate which is an anti-inflammatory property that mimics cortisol. In other words, it behaves like corticosteroids which are naturally produced by the body and that work to reduce inflammation. Other anti-inflammatory properties include saponins, glycyrrizinic, and glycyrrhizing acids. Glycyrrhizin acid increases steroid hormones that occur naturally in skin. Glycyrrhizin also works to reduce tissue inflammation by reducing the production of ROS, or reactive oxygen species. The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology reports licorice’s role in treatment of atopic dermatitis, rosacea, and psoriasis.

3. Regulates sebum production and fights acne

Licorice contains licochalcone which is natural compound that helps the skin to regulate sebum production and it inhibits bacterial infection. Less sebum oil on the skin results in fewer clogged pores. Fewer clogged pores result in less acne. This makes it effective in the treatment of acne. It also helps resolve combination skin.

4. Antioxidant

Licorice contains seven constituents that have antioxidant properties. They are hispaglabridin A, Hispaglabridin B, Glabridin, 4'-O-Methylglabridin, Isoprenylchalcone, Isoliquiritigenin and Formononetin. The antioxidant properties in these constituents enable the skin resist oxidative stress responsible for breaking down the collagen layer and aging skin. Specifically, antioxidants neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative stress as well as cellular mutations that compromise skin elasticity. The result is a slowing down of the aging process that create wrinkles and fine lines.

Warnings and safety information

Applied topically, licorice for skin is safe on all skin types including mature, oily and uneven skin. Licorice is natural and extremely gentle. It is appropriate for sensitive skin, and as a skin lightener, suitable for skin of all shades. Avoid use of licorice in the eye area where it can get into the eyes. Note that licorice may be listed as dipotassium glycyrrhizate on product labels.

Ylang Ylang essential oil 

Background of ylang ylang essential oil

Ylang ylang essential oil is produced from the ylang ylang tree which is grown in tropical areas including the Polynesian islands, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia and other southeast Asian areas. The English translation of ylang ylang is “flower of flowers” due to its strong floral fragrance. In particular, ylang ylang essential oil is derived from the flower petals of the ylang ylang tree. It is used as a principal fragrance in cosmetics and perfumes such as Chanel No. 5. Its fragrance is a result of the flower’s organic compounds which are very volatile. The quality of ylang ylang oil is a function of how its cultivated, and in particular, the time of day the flowers are cultivated. The ylang ylang flowers should be picked during morning hours after the night months have pollinated the flowers. In addition, the chemical structure of the ylang ylang oil benefits from the evening’s lowered temperatures. To produce ylang ylang oil, the ylang ylang flowers are run through a distillation process which can take up to 14 hours. Steam distillation yields the highest quality oil because steam is best at preserving the oil’s compounds. The first batches of oils to be extracted from the distillation process are “ylang ylang complete” and “ylang ylang extra”. These first batches are the highest quality oils to be extracted from the flowers and contain the highest percentage of terpenoids which are antioxidants that fight against the aging process. These antioxidant properties mitigate oxidative stress and DNA damage that can result in the formation of cancer in skins cells. “Ylang ylang oil” and “cananga oil” are generated next in the process and are of lesser quality. These oils are used in soaps and cleaning products. Anokha® Skin Care produces Pitta Facial Oil with ylang ylang oil as a key ingredient. Pitta Facial Oil is also made with other essential oils including sandalwood and jasmine oil.   [Information provided by JustDerma]

9 key benefits of ylang ylang essential oil

Ylang ylang’s phytochemicals enable the oil to possess antifungal, antibacterial, and cytotoxic features and benefits:

  1. Anti-inflammatory: ylang ylang is an anti-inflammatory which makes it good for individuals with eczema, rashes, dry and irritated skin and bug bites. Eczema is a disease resulting from dysfunctional sebaceous glands. Epidermal cells become infected. The skin can become stricken with redness and take on an uneven and harsh appearance. The condition affects the face, scalp and other areas. Ylang ylang regulates the production of sebum, and in doing so, controls the redness and inflammation associated with eczema.
  2. Anti-aging: ylang ylang’s antioxidant properties fight against the aging process and its resulting fine lines and wrinkles
  3. Antiseptic: as an antiseptic, ylang ylang is good for treating acne, rashes, boils, and ingrown hairs. By disinfecting open wounds, ylang ylang oil controls the spread of tetanus, sepsis or other infections as well as promote the healing of wounds. It is effective at treating cuts, burns, abrasions, or anything that might have a opportunity to become septic.
  4. Antimicrobial: ylang ylang oil also has antimicrobial properties that can help reduce skin irritation and redness. It fights bacteria Propionibacterium acnes and the Klebsiella species. As an anti-fungal, it fights against Candida albicans.
  5. Treats acne- ylang ylang’s ability to regulate sebum levels makes it an effective ingredient to treat acne. Sebum is an oily substance that is produced by the sebaceous glands. Overproduction of sebum can result in acne. Ylang ylang’s antiseptic properties aids in the care and treatment of acne-related wounds.
  6. Treats boils- ylang ylang’s antiseptic properties make the oil effective at treating boils.
  7. Balances the skin- for individuals with either very dry or very oily skin, ylang ylang oil regulates the skin’s sebum levels to resolve either condition
  8. Treats the scalp- by treating scalp dryness, balancing sebum levels in the scalp, and is used to mitigate head lice.
  9. Maintains skin moisture and it is also effective as an insect repellant.

Other non-skincare related uses of ylang ylang oil include the treatment of insomnia, stress, anxiety, and depression. It is also used as an aphrodisiac.

Ylang ylang essential oil at a glance

  • Ideal for concerns: acne, aging skin, boils, ingrown hairs, free radical damage, eczema, redness, rashes, insect bites, uneven skintone
  • Ideal for skin types: mature or young skin, oily or dry skin
  • Application areas: face
  • Used in skin care products: moisturizers, serums, facial oils
  • Fragrance: sweet, slightly fruity, tropical floral but similar to lilac
  • Strength of Aroma: medium to strong
  • Botanical Name: Cananga odorata (Cananga odorants flower essential oil)
  • Pronounced: EE-lang EE-lang
  • Maximum skin use level: 0.8%

Composition of Ylang Ylang Oil is a complex mix of active constituents including: Alpha-Farnesene, Benzyl Benzoate, Beta-Caryophyllene, Geranyl Acetate, Germacrene D, Linalool

Warnings and allergy information

Ylang ylang is safe and non-toxic to the skin and scalp particularly when used in small amounts and if the oil is of high quality. Ylang ylang oil is safe for children and pregnant women likewise when used in small amounts and if the oil is of high quality. Ylang ylang may cause skin reactions amongst individuals with sensitive skin so testing the oil on a small patch of skin prior to full use is recommended. Avoid use if skin is hypersensitive, damages or diseased. Its strong aroma may cause headaches so should be avoided amongst those prone to migraine headaches. Ylang ylang oil is safe for children but should not be used on very young children aged younger than two years.

Rose essential oil 

Background of rose essential oil

Rose essential oil (rose oil) originates from countries including Bulgaria, France, Morocco and has many skincare benefits. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammitory, and has natural fragrance. Rose oil is a key ingredient in many types of skincare products including serums, creams, moisturizers, haircare, sunscreens and more. It is used to moisturize the skin, even skin tone, treat acne, fades scars and refine skin texture. To produce rose essential oil, two types of roses are used most often: rosa damascena from Bulgaria and rosa centifola from Morocco (the rose oil production process was featured in the film “The Rose of Morocco”). Bulgaria is responsible for over 70% of rose oil used in skincare products. The Bulgarians have the greatest depth experience cultivating rose flowers. For example, one location in Bulgaria, Kazanlak (Stara Zagora Province) has been producing rose oil for over 300 years. The Bulgarian’s skills and knowledge result in rose flowers that yield the highest quality rose oil in the industry. The Bulgarian Rose Damascena is amongst the rarest flowers in the world and is very labor-intensive to produce. Harvesting of roses can only be in May and labor must be recruited from afar. Additionally, harvesting must be done in the morning only and the flowers must be distilled by the end of the same day. These factors contribute to the high cost of rose oil. Products with rose oil: Lotus Flower & Rosewater Toner, Red Sandalwood and Neem Clarifying Masque, Pitta Facial Oil. [Information provided by JustDerma]

7 Benefits of rose essential oil

Containing nourishing vitamins and minerals, rose oil is used to:

    1. Treat acne- contrary to common belief, effective treatment of acne involves hydrating the skin as opposed to drying it out. Dryness in the skin prompts the skin to produce more sebum which exacerbates acne. Rose oil not only hydrates the skin but its astringent qualities reduce acne. Inflammation is addressed by rose oil’s anti-inflammatory attributes. Its geraniol and citronellol compounds prevent breakouts. It is also used as an astringent, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory. In particular, rose oil contains a compound, farnesol, which is an anti-bacterial that helps fight acne.
    2. Moisturize the skin- vitamin E and fatty acids contained in rose essential oil enhance its effectiveness as a moisturizer.
    3. Reduce signs of aging- rose oil’s antioxidants and amino acids fight the aging process. Antioxidants penetrate deeply into the skin’s dermis layer and this is of particular benefit for mature skin.
    4. Reduce inflammation- mineral content in rose oil is effective against rosacea, eczema and other inflammation-related maladies.
    5. Refine skin texture- this helps to control skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
    6. Even skin tone
    7. Fade stretch marks and scars

Perhaps the greatest benefit of rose oil is its fragrance. Rose oil is effectively absorbed into the skin due to the vitamin E and fatty acids contained in rose oil. Over 90% of rose oil’s fragrance is a result of three of its componds: beta-damascenone, beta-damascone, beta-ionone, and rose oxide. In particular, higher quality rose oils are characterized by higher quantities of Beta-damascenone. Rose oil is gentle and can be used on all skin types usually without allergic reactions. However, pure rose oil can cause redness and allergic reactions if applied directly to the skin. A safe and effective way to use and apply rose oil to the skin is to add a few drops to other products such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, creams, coconut oil, acne medicines and more.  

Production of rose essential oil

Over 10,000 roses are needed to produce only 5ml’s of rose oil. The ratio of rose oil to rose petals is about 1 to 3000. This makes rose oil one of the most expensive essential oils used in skincare. To reduce production cost (and quality), some manufacturers will dilute their rose oils with geranium or palmarosa. Resulting mixtures can reduce the rose oil content down to 10%. This being the case, consumers must purchase rose oils and skincare products containing rose oils from credible manufacturers such as the ones that are featured on JustDerma. Anokha® Skin Care produces facial oil, Pitta Facial Oil, that is manufactured with quality rose oil as well as other effective ingredients such as ylang ylang, sandalwood and jasmine essential oils. Anokha also manufactures products with rose hydrosol. Rose hydrosol is a key ingredient in Lotus Flower & Rosewater Toner, Red Sandalwood & Neem Clarifying Masque, and Ayurvedic Pitta Facial Oil.  

Ingredients related to rose essential oil

In additional to rose oil, both rose hips and rose water are produced from the rosa damascena and rosa centifola roses grown in Bulgaria, Morocco and other areas. Rose hips- Rose oil is not the same as rosehips (rose canina) which is produced from small fruits situated behind the rose flower. Rich in vitamin C, and certain oils and proteins, rosehips moisturize the skin and treat fine lines and wrinkles. Rosehip oil is used to treat age sun and age spots, and so is an ingredient in various skincare products including sunscreens, lighteners, and anti-aging skincare products. Rose oil is also differentiated from rose water (hydrosol, rose floral water, or rose distillate). To produce rose water, the rose buds are steam distilled. Rose oil is separated from the rose water resulting in two differentiated substances. Due to its fragrance, numerous products utilize rosewater including cosmetics and perfumes, and in terms of skincare, rose water is a key ingredient in many types of skin products such as serums, creams, moisturizers, eye treatments and facial masks. Rose water can be sprayed directly onto the face as a moisturizer especially during colder months.

Sandalwood essential oil 

Background of Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood essential oil is a commonly used as a source of fragrance in skincare products and perfumes. However, this essential oil provides numerous benefits to the skin. It is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, astringent, moisturizer, and emollient amonst other benefits. Used in Hindu and Buddhist religious activities in Eastern nations for centuries, sandalwood oil is produced in India (Santalum album) as well as Australia and Hawaii (Santalum spicatum and Santalum ellipticum, respectively). In the Hindu religion, sandalwood oil is used in family-related ceremonies from cradle to grave. As a perfume, it has been used for over 4,000 years. The highest quality and most expensive sandalwood oil is made in India where the dry and arid climate is best for growing sandalwood trees. However, high demand for Indian sandalwood has created an environmental issue. Sandalwood trees have been harvested to near extinction there. They are cut down prior to full maturity. Ironically, to yield oil with the greatest fragrance and oil reserve, sandalwood trees should be grown to full maturity which can take up to 80 years. A good environmental alternative is Australian sandalwood which is of commercial-grade quality but produced via methods that are more environmentally friendly. If fragrance is the purpose, synthetic sandalwood (Sandalore or Brahmanol) is also a good environmental option. Synthetic oils are used as environmentally-friendly fragrances in skin cleansers, emollients, and perfumes. To produce sandalwood oil, mature roots and the heartwood core of the sandalwood trees are run through a steam distillation process. The heartwood is the oldest, darkest and hardest part of the tree and where the more fragrant essential oil is found. Products with sandalwood: Jasmine Serum, Red Sandalwood & Neem Clarifying Masque facial oil, and Pitta Facial Oil[Information provided by JustDerma]


Sandalwood essential oil at a glance

  • Skincare benefits: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and astringent
  • Main constituents: alpha and beta santalol, santyl acetate, and santalenes
  • Botanical name: Santalum album
  • Used in products: skincare lotions, skin creams, perfumes, soaps, deodorants, medicines, mouth fresheners, edibles, incense sticks, food flavorings, room fresheners, and perfumes
  • Blends well with: Jasmine, Lavender, Bergamot, Geranium, Grapefruit, and Frankincense. In terms of fragrance, sandalwood oil blends well with other fragrances such as rose, violet, and clove

Sandalwood oil’s fragrance is woodsy and sweet. Its distinctive and strong fragrance is produced by two of its constituents: alpha- and beta-santalol. Alpha-santalol also give sandalwood oil its anti-inflammatory attributes. Sandalwood oil mixes well with other essential oils and is commonly used as a base ingredient in skincare products as well as cosmetics and perfumes.

Key Benefits of sandalwood essential oil

Benefits of sandalwood essential oil to the skin are due to its properties as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, disinfectant, emollient and soothing agent. Numerous types of skincare products containing sandalwood oil deliver these benefits and include lotions, serums, masks, and creams. Seven key benefits of sandalwood essential oil for the skin are:

  1. Anti-inflammatory As an anti-inflammatory, sandalwood treats inflammation in the skin and scalp caused by insect bites, skin irritations, infections, wounds, and other conditions. Sandalwood is good at relieving the redness and itching associated with psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. Santalol is an active ingredient in sandalwood and provides the oil with its anti-inflammatory properties. Santalol reduces inflammation in a manner similar to NSAIDS and does so with a pleasant cooling effect. They decrease cytokines which are inflammation markers in the body.
  2. Antiseptic Sandalwood is an antiseptic and anti-viral agent that protects the skin from wounds, boils, warts and scars from infections.
  3. Astringent Sandalwood is used as an astringent to soothe, tighten and cleanse the skin. As such, it is used in many facial toners and other skincare products.
  4. Treats acne Acne is characterized by redness, inflammation and infection all of which are treated by sandalwood oil. The oil has a soothing effect on existing acne and if used regularly, can prevent the formation of acne.
  5. Treats skin discoloration Sandalwood oil’s skin lightening properties is used to treat skin blemishes including acne scars, dark marks, uneven tans and other discolorations. Sandalwood oil lightens and evens skin tone by breaking down the pigmentation that has found its way to the visible surface layer of the skin.
  6. Treats oily skin Sandalwood oil addresses oily skin by tightening large pore, and as an astringent, regulating sebum secretion.
  7. Moisturizes dry skin With its emollient properties, sandalwood oil is an excellent skin moisturizer. It enables the skin to retain moisture.

Sandalwood essential oil also delivers numerous non-skincare related benefits which include: antiphlogistic, diuretic, carminative, sedative, treats coughs, lowers blood pressure, memory booster, expectorant, hypotensive. Due to its pleasant and distinctive fragrance, sandalwood oil is used in room fresheners, mouth fresheners, edibles, and incense.


Warnings and allergy information

Sandalwood oil is safe especially when mixed in carrier oils such as jojoba oil, almond oil, or grapeseed oil as well as skin lotions or soaps. In pure form, the oil may cause skin irritations, so it should not be used by individuals with hyper-sensitive skin or have adverse reactions to fragrance. The oil should be tested on a small area of skin prior to initial use. Avoid contact with eyes and ears.


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