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Rosemary, an essential oil for firming the skin?

The essential oil of rosemary is recognised for its virtues and the benefits it brings to our skin. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it is also believed to have firming properties. Is this really the case? Let's discover it together in this article.

Summary
Published February 9, 2024, by Manon, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

What are the causes of skin sagging?

Over time, the contours of the face become less defined and the skin increasingly slackened. One of the reasons for this loss of skin elasticity lies in the slowing down of the cellular renewal process. The fibroblasts located in the dermis become less active and produce less of collagen and elastin, two essential proteins for maintaining the firmness and elasticity of the skin. Over time, the amount of collagen fibres decreases by about 1% each year from the age of thirty, and this significant decrease accelerates during menopause, leading to a significant skin sagging (with a loss of about 30% in the first four years, then an average annual decrease of 2%). This effect can be accelerated by oxidative stress which produces free radicals attacking the collagen and elastin.

Exposure to UV rays can also promote skin sagging by activating metalloproteinases that degrade collagen. The presence of hyaluronic acid, one of the main components of the dermis's extracellular matrix, whose essential role is to maintain tissue hydration, becomes increasingly scarce. This gradual decrease contributes to the loss of tissue volume and, consequently, to skin sagging. Thus, the skin dehydrates, loses its radiance and firmness.

How does rosemary essential oil work to firm the skin?

Theessential oil of rosemary possesses antioxidant properties that can be beneficial for firming mature skin. This power helps to combat the factors that accelerate skin sagging: pollution, sun, and the effects of time. Rosemary essential oil protects against oxidative stress. This property helps to fight against the production of free radicals by the body. Indeed, the 1,8-cineole, α-pinene, and β-pinene are three components of this essential oil that have a free radical scavenging activity.

Research suggests that certain components of rosemary essential oil, such as α-pinene and borneol, may have collagenase inhibitory activity, an enzyme capable of breaking down the peptide bonds of collagen and degrading it. However, studies on this subject are still ongoing and the mechanisms of action are not fully understood.

Rosemary essential oil could potentially aid in preventing skin sagging due to its antioxidant properties. However, to date, there are no conclusive studies that definitively demonstrate the positive effects of rosemary essential oil on skin firming. Further research is required to confirm these potential benefits.

Sources

MOLINER C. & al. Rosemary Flowers as Edible Plant Foods: Phenolic Composition and Antioxidant Properties in Caenorhabditis elegans. Antioxidants (2020).

RAŠKOVIĆ A. & al. Antioxidant activity of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essential oil and its hepatoprotective potential. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2014).

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