OBJECTIVE EVALUATION OF THE TOPICAL USE OF ESSENTIAL OILS AS ACTIVE INGREDIENTS IN SKIN CARE PRODUCTS.
Whether applied externally on the skin surface or received internally as a medicinal product, the use of plant extracts is dated very early, even before recorded history. Continuously since the earliest records from the ancient civilizations till today, they are found to be used in folk medicine, in perfumery and pharmaceutical industry, as spices, flavour and fragrance additives or natural conservatives in food and drinks industry.2,3
Botanical products are used in the dermato cosmetic field since many years, due to a variety of biological activities that have been ascribed to them such as:
anti-irritation, antimicrobial, skin protection, soothing, wound healing and hydration.3 The use of herbal extracts in cosmetic preparations is believed to work slowly but very effectively over a period of weeks or months.4
In spite the endless data from ethnobotanical sources, there is a lack of scientifically based information concerning the activity of essential oils on the human skin.
Essential oils which are involved in this study belong mostly to Lamiaceae Mediterranean species and their selection was based on the references available, concerning their dermatological properties.4,5
It is known that essential oils are produced in the so-called aromatic plants and characterised by strong and concentrated odour. Although in the past their role into cosmetic preparations was limited only to the use as fragrances, nowadays other properties seem to be also considered for this area of application.