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Practical Uses of Botanicals in Skin Care

Cosmeceuticals are the fastest growing sector of the cosmetic industry, and the future of antiaging cosmeceuticals in particular is very promising. Botanical pesticide that support the health, texture, and integrity of the skin, hair, and nails are widely used in cosmetic formulations. They form the largest category of cosmeceutical additives found in the marketplace today due to the rising consumer interest and demand for natural products. Various plant extracts that formed the basis of medical treatments in ancient civilizations and many traditional cultures are still used today in cleansers, moisturizers, astringents, and many other skin care products. New botanical skin care treatments are emerging, presenting dermatologists and their patients the challenge of understanding the science behind these cosmeceuticals. Thus, dermatologists must have a working knowledge of these botanicals and keep up with how they evolve to provide optimal medical care and answer patient questions. The most popular botanicals commonly incorporated into skin care protocols are discussed.

The cosmeceutical market is one of constant fluctuation depending upon consumer demand. Skin care companies are continuously pressured to release new, innovative products that promise to transform the appearance of aging skin overnight. Over the past decade, there has been fervent interest in products found in nature because of their perceived safety. Skin care products are often developed from plants. Many believe that if a product can be safely ingested, it will also be safe for topical application. In general, plant-derived, botanical feed additives, cosmeceutical products tend to be antioxidant in action since these organisms must thrive in constant direct ultraviolet (UV) light, the Earth's most prolific manufacturer of free radicals. In this article, the authors review the most popular ingredients in this class and comment on their possible usefulness in skin care protocols.

Soy extract has positive research support for its antioxidant, antiproliferative, and anticarcinogenic activities. Topical application of soy has been used to reduce hyperpigmentation, enhance skin elasticity, control oil production, moisturize the skin, and delay hair regrowth.1 Soy also has the potential to decrease photoaging of the skin and prevent skin cancers through the estrogen-type and antioxidant effects of its metabolites.1

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