Sunday, January 31, 2010

Polyphenols: Caffeic acid and its derivatives

So we know polyphenols are good things to have in our extracts and oils, so let's begin - in no particular order - with the derivatives of caffeic acid. I'm putting these in separate posts every day to make it easier to link back as we discuss extracts!

We discussed cinnamic acid, the precursor to caffeic acid, the other day. So let's take a look at caffeic acid and its derivatives today!

Caffeic acid is a powerful anti-oxidant, out-performing almost every other anti-oxidant when tested. It is a possible fungicide, good anti-inflammatory, and may protect skin if applied after sun exposure. It also has anti-mitogenic properties, which is why scientists are studying it as a possible cancer fighter. (A mitogen is a chemical substance that encourages a cell to divide. An anti-mitogenic chemical will discourage a cell from dividing.)

A derivative of chlorogenic acid (composed of esters of caffeic acid and quinic acid), it acts as a low level anti-viral and anti-fungal addition to our creations. It offers anti-bacterial properties, which is one of the reasons it is suggested for acne related products. It's a good anti-inflammatory. And, of course, it is a great anti-oxidant. It is found in blueberry, honeysuckle, and green coffee beans.

Another derivative of chlorogenic acid, it is found in great quantities in sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and peppermint. It has been considered a tannin, so oils and extracts containing rosmarinic acid tend to feel drier on the skin.

It is a great anti-inflammatory ingredient, and can behave like AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) on our skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (Although it can lead to thinning of the skin and a slight increase in transepidermal water loss, if we compensate with lots of good moisturizing ingredients, we're fine!) A glycolic extract of rosemarinic acid at about 5% in hair and skin products can help reduce sebum production, and it is considered a fantastic anti-oxidant.

1 comment:

Lissa said...

susan - you've inspired me to tweak my lotion/cream recipes... my head is exploding with ideas.
Once again thank you for the inpiration.