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Effets secondaires du safran en application topique.

Saffron: Are there side effects for topical use?

Saffron extract is an ingredient used in the formulation of various cosmetic products. But can it pose a risk to the skin? And what precautions should be taken before using it? Here, we provide some answers to these questions.

Saffron: The Essential Knowledge.

Thesaffron extract (INCI: Crocus Sativus Flower Extract) is obtained by extraction from the stigmas of the flower Crocus sativus. It presents itself in the form of a yellow-orange coloured powder. Thesaffron extract is included in the composition of several cosmetic treatments due to its numerous benefits that come from the active ingredients it contains. Notably, crocetin and crocins give saffron anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This botanical extract can thus be used to alleviate certain redness or itching and prevent the appearance of wrinkles.

Saffron extract also functions by promoting cellular proliferation, which accelerates the skin's healing process, including for lesions caused by acne. Furthermore, this natural ingredient helps to maintain the skin hydrated. Lastly, saffron extract has photoprotective properties, allowing it to contribute to the skin's protection from UV rays, and a chronobiological activity. Indeed, this ingredient protects the skin cells' genes from the circadian cycle deregulation caused by UV rays. In doing so, saffron extract contributes to the proper functioning of biological processes regulated by the circadian cycle.

Please note : the photoprotective properties of saffron are not sufficient for it to be considered a true sun filter. Therefore, a cream based on saffron extract cannot replace a broad-spectrum sun protection.

Are there any contraindications to the topical application of saffron?

When applied topically, saffron extract poses minimal risks. It is even suitable for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children. However, individuals suffering from food allergies to saffron are advised to exercise caution when using a skincare product containing this ingredient. Although a food allergy does not automatically guarantee an allergic reaction to cosmetic products, it is best to adopt a preventive approach. Therefore, it is recommended to consult your general practitioner or a dermatologist before using a product containing saffron if you are allergic to this spice.

Precautions to take before using saffron extract.

Except for individuals allergic to saffron, the topical application of a skincare product containing this ingredient is safe. However, if it's the first time you're applying a saffron-based product to your skin, it's advisable to conduct a tolerance test. Indeed, although this extract is usually very well tolerated, some people may react to its contact and develop redness.

To do this, apply a small amount of the product to a small area of your skin, preferably on the inside of your wrist or behind the ear. Then, observe the reactions for 24 hours. If you notice any redness, itching or irritation, refrain from using this product in the future. On the other hand, if no reaction occurs, you can continue to use the product safely.


  • NAVEED A. & al. Moisturizing effect of stable cream containing Crocus sativus extracts. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences (2014).

  • SHOJAOSADATI S. & al. Evaluation of antioxidant activities of bioactive compounds and various extracts obtained from saffron (Crocus sativus L.): a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology (2015).

  • HOSSEINZADEH H. & al. Immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of Crocus sativus (Saffron) and its main active constituents: A review. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences (2019).


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