What are Extracts in Skin Care?
If you’ve read the label of almost any natural skincare product, you’ve probably noticed that it contains at least one type of plant-based extract.
Extracts, as you may already know, are concentrated substances that capture the true essence of whatever they came from. Extracts can be made out of everything from flowers, fruit, and seeds to bark, roots, and leaves.
Below, we delve into the world of extracts, explaining how they are made and what purpose they serve in natural skincare products, like those at Dope Skin Co.
What are extracts and what do they do?
Extracts are essentially concentrated forms of plant-based ingredients, and they're used in skin care products for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, extracts can be more potent than the whole plant; some plants have such powerful healing properties that it's hard to get them into enough solution to use without causing side effects. Secondly, extracts are much more concentrated than the whole plant—you would need to eat an entire apple just to get enough vitamin C to do anything for your skin! That's obviously not efficient.
Finally, extracts are also often easier for your body (or indeed your skin) to absorb than their raw form would be. This is because they've had their molecules broken down by enzymes so that they're easier for the cells in your body or on your face to take up!
What is the Role of Extracts?
In our opinion, extracts are the most underrated ingredients in natural skincare products. Extracts play a huge role in not only the scent of a skincare product, but also the effect that said product has on your skin. Since extracts are so highly concentrated, they are chock full of vitamins and minerals, so even a couple drops of an extract in a moisturiser or serum can reap some serious benefits.
It’s worth noting that extracts and essential oils are not one and the same. Though they both offer benefits to the body and skin, not every plant can produce a usable essential oil, however, most plants can produce a usable extract. That is why you’ll find such a wide range of extracts in all types of skincare products, including ours.
What are the best extracts for your skin?
While we love a good plant-based extract of any kind, there are a few that we feel stand out from the rest owing to the incredible benefits they deliver for the skin.
Hemp Seed Extract
This extract has so many benefits we don’t even know where to start. As it comes directly from the hemp plant, it’s not surprising that it would contain antioxidants.
These antioxidants allow hemp extract to counteract damage caused by free radicals and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dull skin, making it a powerful anti-aging agent. Hemp seed extract is also great for people with sensitive skin due to its calming, soothing anti-inflammatory properties.
Acai has been nicknamed the “beauty berry” and we can totally see why given all of the amazing skin benefits acai extract has. Thanks to the high concentration of antioxidants (fun fact: acai berries have more antioxidants than strawberries or blueberries), it can help fight off free radicals, which can reduce and prevent signs of aging.
Products with acai extract are also effective at combating acne and other skin conditions as acai berries are a natural anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce redness and control breakouts. Acai extract is also an expert hydrator owing to the antioxidants and fatty acids present in the superfood, which work to repair skin damage and replenish moisture.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea has long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Owing to its high catechins content, green tea extract is able to soothe and calm the skin. It is also chock full of antioxidants, each of which offer their own benefit to the skin.
First there’s vitamin B, which promotes collagen production, keeping skin youthful and firm. Next, there’s vitamin E, which hydrates and nourishes the skin. Finally, green tea extract contains another unique antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. Research has shown that EGCG stimulates the production of skin cells and even has the power to rejuvenate dying skin cells.
Ginger root is a common ingredient in skin care products because it's anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce the redness associated with acne, eczema and psoriasis by targeting underlying causes like bacteria growth on your face.
What are the different types of extracts?
There are many different types of extracts, but they can all be categorised into two general groups. The first type is called hydroxy acid, which is extracted from plants. Plant extracts include:
Fruit extract - This type of extract comes from fruit and contains vitamins A, B and C. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Leaf extract - This type of extract is used for its anti-aging benefits as well as its ability to help treat acne and reduce inflammation on the skin.
Stem extract - This type of stem/root/root peel does not contain as much essential oil as other kinds of plant material; however it still has some antibacterial properties that make it useful in skin care products (especially those designed for sensitive skin).
Also important to note here: there's another category called natural oils (also known as nut oils or fruit oils) which come directly from nuts/seeds/fruits themselves—and usually carry a higher price tag because they're harder to get than actual flower petals or leaves!
Extracts in skin care are a great way to get more out of your ingredients. They're easy to use, and they can help you create complex formulas that have multiple benefits for the skin. Now that you know what extracts are and how they work, it's time to take action! Take a look at our blog post on DIY facial masks or read more on how to add an extract into your current facial routine.