Natural cosmetics are becoming increasingly interesting because they contain more active ingredients than synthetic cosmetic products. Market trends are supported by significant progress in the research of bioactive compounds’ activity and safety. The extracts obtained from plants and algae contain a rich set of bioactive ingredients, like essential oils, amino-acids, and vitamins, which in combination exhibit superior benefits.

Moringa in cosmetic brands

Moringa has an abundance of bioactive compounds with antioxidative, antiaging, and antibacterial properties. Cosmetic brands like Lush , Body shopSkinSecretClarinsNaturingaShu Uemura, and Nuxe have moringa (mostly Moringa oleifera and M. pterygosperma) ingredients already incorporated in their products (1).

Moringa has been incorporated into several natural products of major cosmetic brands due to the wealth of bioactive compounds.

Although most of the moringa plant has beneficial compounds and can be used for health benefits and even specific skin problems, leaves and seeds are the most interesting parts of cosmetic products. Vitamins (A, B, C, and E), unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants from moringa help nourish and soften dry skin (2). In addition, these elements fight against dryness and devitalization and stimulate hair growth (2).

Anti-aging effects

Moringa leaves extracts proved to be beneficial for aging skin. Hydroalcoholic extract of M. oleifera leaves used in a cream showed anti-aging activity (3). Water-in-oil cream with the extract also reduced undesirable skin sebum contents and diminished skin transepidermal water loss leading to increased skin hydration (3). Wrinkles and other signs of reduced skin vitality, like roughness and scaliness, were improved in 3 months (4). The observed anti-aging effects are probably an outcome of a coordinating action of multiple constituents. The compounds responsible for this improvement in skin surface appear to be phenolics (e.g., kaempferol and quercetin) and other antioxidants such as vitamins A, B, and C present in the moringa leaves (5).

Sunscreen effects

Due to its high antioxidative activity, leaves extracts were tested also for the sunscreen and photoprotective characteristics (1). The phenolic acids and flavonoids seem to be effective against UVR-induced damage (photo-aging) (5). The skin can be protected from the injurious effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by using a formulation loaded with antioxidants that quench ROS and thus offer photo-protection (5).

Oil for skin

Ben oil from the seeds is rich in oleic acid (up to 76%) as well as palmitic (6.5% or more), stearic (6%), behenic (7%), and arachidic (4%) acids. It is used in various cosmetic formulations as emollient and confers nourishing, moisturizing, antioxidant, and protective properties. It is also a good skin cleansing product (1). Milled M. oleifera seed shells can be used as a natural exfoliating agent (1).

Perfumes and antibacterial activity

The oil is used in the enfleurage process, allowing the extraction of fragrances and active compounds from difficult sources, such as flower petals (1). Moringa oil is highly acceptable for the perfume industry also because of its antimicrobial properties (6). The seeds contain the potent antibiotic and fungicide pterygospermin and are effective against skin infections caused by bacteria (6).

A series of investigations have been conducted to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of Moringa species. M. oleifera seeds, stem bark, leaves, and root bark were shown to exert antimicrobial potential by several studies (7). The aqueous and ethanolic extracts from the leaves of M. oleifera have strong inhibitory effects on Gram-positive species (Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis) as well as Gram-negative species (Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Aeromonas caviae) (7).

The research reports are promising and new studies are in progress, so, even more, moringa cosmetic products can be expected in the future.

Did you know?

Kings and queens used moringa to improve their alertness and to maintain healthy skin. Other traditional (skincare) uses of the genus are in healing skin infections, rashes, signs of aging, and wounds (8).

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