Herbals show promise in tackling UV-induced skin disorders: Review

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Several herbal extracts are documented as offering protective or healing properties around UV exposure, including rosemary, lemon balm and grapefruit [Getty Images]
Several herbal extracts are documented as offering protective or healing properties around UV exposure, including rosemary, lemon balm and grapefruit [Getty Images]

Related tags Sunscreen Uv Uv exposure Protection protective beauty Skin care herbal extracts

Herbal ingredients show promise in the treatment of skin disorders induced by UV exposure, offering opportunity for sunscreen formulators to integrate ingredients from a preventative viewpoint, finds a review.

Writing in Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine​, researchers from India investigated existing literature and studies on the beneficial skin effects of herbals when used against UV radiation-induced skin disorders.

Findings showed several herbal ingredients had long been used to treat skin ailments, including aloe vera, papaya, turmeric, and sandalwood, and many had been internationally studied specifically for novel therapeutic potential around the prevention and treatment of UV-induced skin disorders. The review published a list of 100 herbal ingredients with in vivo​ and in vitro​ studies proving protection in some way against UV-induced skin disorders, including Korean mint, jackfruit, sweet chestnut, grapefruit, strawberry, Arabian coffee, soybean, liquorice, lemon balm, rosemary and fragrance rosewood.

“The listed herbal products in this paper have shown skin beneficial effects against UVR-induced skin disorders in various experimental models which recapitulate the same in humans. It is requisite for the development of such herbal skin care products possessing strong therapeutic potential for the treatment of UVB-induced skin disorders and a better quality of life,”​ the researchers wrote in the review.

Importantly, the promise offered by these herbal ingredients aligned well with consumer sentiment today, they said.

‘Increased demand for herbal skin care products’ 

“The increase in consciousness about the carcinogenic and photoaging effects of UVR and socio-economic improvement of the society has resulted in the increased demand for herbal skin care products, especially sunscreen products,”​ the researchers wrote.

And research on herbal products, long used to traditionally treat skin ailments, they said, was “steadily increasing to overcome the occurrence of harmful effects associated with sunscreen products using inorganic filters”.

Despite this, application of herbals in the sunscreen category remained limited, the researchers said, and so there was a need to develop new herbal formulations that were “safe and efficient” ​to take decades worth of research further forward.

“…Future long-term studies and new approaches are required in this area.”

There were only “scanty reports”​ thus far on the beneficial effects of herbal products on skin photodamage, photoaging and photo-carcinogenesis, for example.

‘Tremendous need’ to study herbals for skin benefits

However, the researchers said these review findings should help industry understand the “tremendous need”​ to study herbals for skin benefits.

“There is a need for the development of herbal formulation based on scientifically validated herbal products for therapeutic as well as beautification purposes,” ​the researchers wrote.


Source: Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2021.07.016
Title: “Herbal products as skin care therapeutic agents against ultraviolet radiation-induced skin disorders”
Authors: RR. Sharma, A. Deep, and ST. Abdullah

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