Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic ingredients that are claimed to have biological activities that benefit the appearance or feel of the skin. There are many natural ingredients, mostly plant based “botanicals,” some of which have been used by different cultures for years. Recently, cosmetic chemists have been searching for new botanicals, often from exotic plants, to try to discover new active natural cosmeceuticals. Also, new scientific and clinical studies are being performed to validate the claims of many botanicals.

We will give you the scientific basis for the natural cosmeceuticals so you can make intelligent decisions to see what you can use to achieve your objectives for beauty. To help you navigate through the hundreds of natural skincare products with many combinations of active natural ingredients, it would make sense to first group the natural cosmeceuticals according to the major effect for each natural cosmeceutical that you are looking for – some natural cosmeceuticals have multiple effects – and then subgroup them into classes under the major functional heading. There will be natural cosmeceuticals listed in multiple categories, due to their multiple effects. Examples of products in the market using the specific natural cosmeceutical as the main active ingredient will be displayed for you to further explore.


The major functional categories are as follows:

  • Clearing uneven skin color and dark spots
  • Moisturizing and hydration for texture and volume

Anti-aging Repair for Sun and Environmental Damages

These natural cosmeceuticals have anti-oxidant effects to counteract the oxidative damages to the skin tissue by sunlight, pollution, and other negative environmental factors. Some of these natural cosmeceuticals have multiple effects to help with the anti-aging treatment for skin color, tone, or texture. Most of these natural cosmeceuticals are botanicals.

Green Tea

Topical application of green tea polyphenols has anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-carcinogenic activities to protect against sun damage.*
*Ahmad N, et al. Cutaneous photochemoprotection by green tea. Skin Pharm Appl Skin Physiol 2001; 14:69-76.

Examples of natural skincare products containing green tea compounds as a main ingredient are:

[product_category category=”anti-aging-green-tea” per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”]



Gingko Biloba contains unique flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. It has shown some effect in promoting collagen synthesis. The studies were mostly on nonhuman tissue models.*
*Kim SJ, et al. Effects of flavonoids of Gingko biloba on proliferation of human skin fibroblast. Skin Pharmacol 1997; 10:200-5.

Examples of natural skincare products containing Gingko compounds as a main ingredient are:

[product_category category=”anti-aging-gingko” per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”]



Pycnogenol is extracted from a marine pine bark from only the southwest coast of France, an example of natural cosmeceuticals discovered in exotic plants. It has been reported as an anti-oxidant and a potent free radical scavenger.*
*Kim YJ, et al. The anti-melanogenic effect of pycnogenol by its anti-oxidative actions. Food Chem Toxicol 2008; 46(7):2466-71.

Examples of natural skincare products containing pycnogenol as a main ingredient are:

[product_category category=”anti-aging-pycnogenol” per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”]



Isoflavones genisten and daidzein are derived from soybean. They are plant estrogens and potentially exert topical estrogenic effects in increasing skin thickness in post-menopausal women. Genistein has been reported as a potent anti-oxidant in protection from UV light.*
*Chen N, et al. Nondenatured soy extracts reduce UVB-induced skin damage via multiple mechanisms. Photochem Photobio 2008;84(6):1551-9.

Examples of natural skincare products containing soy compounds as a main ingredient are:

[product_category category=”anti-aging-soy” per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”]



These natural cosmeceuticals help to improve the collagen and fibroblasts activities of the skin, therefore, firming the skin tone and decreasing the appearance of wrinkles.


Noni Fruit

Noni fruit extracts, specifically anthraquinone, promote collagen and fibroblasts activities and can be an anti-wrinkle agent.*
*Kim, SW, et al. Induction of extracellular matrix synthesis in normal human fibroblasts by anthraquinone isolated from Morinda citrofolia (Noniu) fruit . J Med Food 2005; 8:552-5.

Examples of natural skincare products containing Noni extract as a main ingredient are:

[product_category category=”anti-wrinkles-noni-fruit” per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”]



The inner shell of the chestnut has been used to firm the skin and remove wrinkles, especially in Asia. Its extract has shown beneficial effects in skin fibroblasts.*
*Chi, YS, et al. Effects of the chestnut inner shell extract on the expression of adhesive molecules, fibronectin and vitronectin, of skin fibroblast in culture. Arch Pharm Res 2002; 25:469-74.

Examples of natural skincare products containing chestnut inner shell extract as a main ingredient are:

[product_category category=”anti-wrinkles-chestnut” per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”]

Clearing Uneven Skin Color and Age Spots

These natural cosmeceuticals can affect the production and distribution of melanin, the dark pigment in the skin contributing to the skin color, thus improving the problems of uneven skin color or dark spots.


Licorice Extract

The licorice extract, containg liquiritin and isoliquertin, is reported to induce skin lightening by dispersing melanin.*
*Amer M, et al. Topical liquiritin improves melisma. Int J Dermatol 2000; 39(4):299-301.

Examples of natural skincare products containing licorice extract as a main ingredient for skin color problems are:

[product_category category=”anti-wrinkles-licorice-extract” per_page=”12″ columns=”4″ orderby=”date” order=”desc”]