Terpenes are here to spruce things up in the skincare and cosmetics market, both of which are ever-changing industries. Due to their powerful scents and properties, terpenes have been extensively implemented in the cosmetic industry for decades.
As much as their familiar aroma makes them a popular choice for topical cosmetics and beauty products, terpenes’ other uses beyond olfactory enhancement are yet to be fully understood. This article aims to have terpenes explained in terms of their efficacy and potential therapeutic benefits through topical application.
Keep reading to learn more about terpenes as an ingredient for topical products.
What exactly are terpenes?
If you ever wondered what the aromatic components that create natural scents such as lavender, orange, lemon, rosemary, and pine are called, they are terpenes.
Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbon molecules that are found in the essential oils of plants. They belong to a group of chemicals composed of linked isoprene unit chains. Isoprene is a naturally occurring chemical that is abundant in nature. Basically, terpenes are the chemical components that give plants their distinct smell.
People want skincare products that are comfortable to use, effective in improving the appearance of their skin, and pleasant smelling at the same time. Terpenes check all the boxes in achieving all three of these goals. In cosmetics, terpenes are found to be anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and potent in controlling oil or sebum levels in the skin.
Why is skincare important?
As the human body’s largest organ, the skin serves as a protective barrier and also functions as an indicator of internal health. Have you ever wondered why your skin looks dull and drab when you’re running on three hours of sleep? Your skin is literally informing the world that you’re exhausted and badly needed some deep, quality shut-eye to restore its health.
As a matter of fact, your skin’s role is tough. When you don’t take good care of it properly, skin problems arise. These concerns can affect anyone, whether it’s acne, flaky patches, eczema, or excess oil, causing distress and low self-esteem to those who experience them.
What are some of the potential benefits of terpenes?
Several clinical research has shown that terpenes have antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial effects. Many types of terpenes have been identified to have antibacterial characteristics, including thymol, eugenol, carveol, terpineol, and limonene. Eugenol was one of the two terpenes shown to be the most effective at inhibiting bacterial growth.
Other terpenes are also capable of disrupting parasite cell membranes and triggering lysis. Limonene, for example, is effective against parasites because it targets the parasite’s active isoprenoid pathway, causing significant damage to its metabolic activities.
Certain terpenes also demonstrate anti-inflammatory capabilities, particularly reducing the number of signaling chemicals immune cells secrete. These excess amounts of signaling chemicals result in unnecessary inflammation in the body and may even lead to cell death.
How do terpenes work in improving skin health?
Terpenes hold a number of promising potentials in the cosmetics industry. Terpene topical application is an interesting use of the ingredient because of its ease of use and tailored nature.
However, because the skin has high water content, any molecule that does not dissolve in water has a decreased probability of passing the skin barrier and being absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in lower effectivity or bioavailability.
Terpenes that cannot break down in water will have lesser bioavailability, whereas hydrophilic (water-soluble) terpenes will be absorbed faster and at larger concentrations.
By employing complementing carrier solutions, terpene bioavailability can be enhanced. Lipophilic terpenes, for example, should be administered in a topical solution with oil to boost bioavailability.
Terpenes have been used as a topical therapy with desirable results. Skin penetration was demonstrated in terpenes such as linalool, citronellol, and alpha-pinene in a variety of forms (emulsion, oily solution, hydrogel), according to a 2006 study published in Planta Medica.
This demonstrates that terpene topical application is a viable approach and may be an ideal choice for customers looking for convenient access to experience the numerous health benefits of terpenes.
Which terpenes promote skin health?
Are you interested in trying terpene-infused skincare or cosmetics products to reap their benefits? Then, you’ve come to the right place. Now, it’s time for us to identify which terpenes are most potent in addressing specific skin concerns. This section may appear overwhelming at first, but keep in mind that you are looking for the type of terpene with the appropriate fragrance and benefits for the skin.
These are some of the terpenes that may be beneficial to skin health:
One of the two most prominent flower terpenes, myrcene carries the signature earthy aroma found in most flowers. Myrcene is one of the well-known terpenes, but they aren’t any less special. This terpene has been shown to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties, which may help alleviate the symptoms of skin disorders such as eczema, rosacea, and acne.
Look no further if you’re seeking a type of terpene to help with acne. Terpineol is a delightful blend of lilac, flowers, limes, and a hint of pine that may be found in tea tree, cageput, and pine. In addition, it has strong antibacterial qualities, making it an excellent supplement to acne treatments.
This terpene is known for its antioxidative capabilities on top of its pleasant fragrance. It protects the skin from the effects of the environment. It also aids in the recovery of injured skin cells when taken as a supplement. As a result, bruises disappear quicker, and cuts heal faster.
Limonene, the terpene responsible for the pleasant aroma of citrus fruits, might be an appealing addition to any skincare product. Limonene has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial in a variety of skincare disorders.
Limonene has also been proven to have anti-anxiety qualities, which may assist in treating many skincare issues that are aggravated by stress, such as psoriasis, eczema, and hives.
A compound found in lavender, jasmine, rose, rosewood, bergamot, and coriander, linalool carries a pleasant floral aroma and is often used in perfumes and soaps. Linalool has the potential to address a number of skin diseases due to its ability to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and function as an antibacterial.
Skincare or cosmetic products that contain ample amount of linalool can help ward off radicals and minimize cellular damage. In addition, linalool is found to have sedative and anticonvulsant properties.
Also known as humulene, this terpene contains anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in alleviating the symptoms of inflammatory skin disorders such as dermatitis, poison ivy and poison oak, and drug rashes.
More research suggests that humulene, when given orally or breathed, can help treat allergies. Humulene has antibacterial and antifungal effects like other terpenes. Also, in small quantities, humulene has been found to kill the S. Aureus bacteria.
Beta-caryophyllene is a predominant terpene found in cannabis. It can also be found in hops, cloves, and rosemary, in addition to cannabis. It has an herbal scent that is associated with these plants.
Because of its ability to inhibit cancer cell growth and proliferation, beta-caryophyllene is a particularly fascinating terpene. It has analgesic qualities, which suggests it could be used to treat painful skin conditions like eczema.
Pinene is one of nature’s most abundantly expressed terpenes. Pinene, which is most commonly found in pine trees and other conifers, is also responsible for the piney aroma of certain cannabis varieties. In addition, it contains anti-inflammatory properties and a lovely pine fragrance, making it a potential skincare ingredient.
Moreover, pinene possesses potent antimicrobial qualities that it even has the ability to fight against certain infections.
Camphor is a pleasant-smelling terpene used in skin lotions and creams and various ayurvedic medicines for oral use as an analgesic, contraceptive, aphrodisiac, antibacterial, and antipruritic. Products that contain this type of terpene can help relieve any itchiness and skin irritation. It has also been shown to minimize the visibility of UV-induced wrinkles and may even aid in wound healing.
Bisabolol has a light floral perfume and is commonly used in fragrances and cosmetics. This fragrant, slightly woody terpene is found in chamomile and candeia shrubs. It has long been regarded to be beneficial to the skin. Bisabolol contains properties that can help soothe skin and reduce inflammation.
Skincare and terpenes work together
All in all, terpenes are essential components of skincare products. As discussed, terpenes are found to be rich in antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, and they can unquestionably help you sport the best skin of your life.
Unlike artificial fragrances that can irritate the skin and compromise skin barriers, terpenes offer a viable solution as they’re all-natural and highly fragrant. Moreover, since they’re available all year round, they serve as a cost-effective fragrance solution that makes cosmetic products smell natural and heavenly!
Whether you prefer products that smell citrusy or flowery, there are tons of available terpenes to choose from. You can be confident that these terpenes are entirely natural and will only serve to improve your cosmetic products!
**”These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration***
Kalki is one of the master flavor chemists at Sauce Terps and Medical Terpenes. He is the director of sales and marketing at Sauce Terps and Medical Terpenes, he is also a major contributor to research and development. Amongst creating new and exciting dank strains, he also manages the quality control of the manufacturing process in an ISO 9001:2015 and GMP compliant lab. He enjoys spice and pungent aromas with a heavy nose.