Plant-based essential oils are widely used in per- fumery, food and flavor components, preservatives, household and laundry deodorizing, and medicinal
treatments such as aromatherapy, topical pain relief, arthritis, and acne. An essential oil is a liquid containing volatile
aroma compounds obtained from plants. It is “essential” as
it contains the “essence of” the plant’s olfactory attributes.
This property renders them “essential” in the composition
of many fragrance additives used in cosmetics formulations,
aromatherapy, massage oils, and medicinal agents.
Essential oils can penetrate skin and enhance topical delivery of active agents from topical formulations via a variety of mechanisms, which include disintegration of intercellular lipid structure in stratum corneum, interaction with
intercellular proteins, and increasing the distribution of an
active agent through the cellular membrane barrier. After
skin penetration, essential oils are rapidly metabolized and
excreted, suggesting their use as safe skin permeation enhancers. However, an unintended enhancement of an active
agent into skin can also cause efficacy and safety concerns.
By Shyam Gupta, PhD
Prudent selection of ingredients for topical formulations must consider
consumer acceptance, skin safety, and sensory attributes.
Natural Essential Oils in Skin
Care & Formula Preservation