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?

As mentioned above, extracts are substances made by extracting part of a raw material, such as a plant. The extraction method used is extremely important as if done properly, the substance will be concentrated enough to provide major benefits, either in a beauty product or even as herbal medicine. In order for any skincare ingredient to be effective, it must contain active ingredients. The only way to ensure an extract retains the active ingredients of its source is by utilizing a gentle processing method, one that uses water or a plant-based solvent like vegetable glycerin. Using a natural solvent ensures the integrity of the plant (meaning all of its beneficial antioxidants, among other things) is maintained and all the good stuff makes its way into the finished extract. If you’re curious as to what the extraction process actually looks like, it’s a lot like brewing a cup of tea. Whatever you’re extracting - a plant, flower, or fruit - steeps in a solution made out of water or another type of solvent until you have an extract.

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 moisturizer 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.

Our Favourite Extracts

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. Check out our top three favourite extracts below.

  • 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 Extract: 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. 
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