Basil or Ocimum basilicum is a plant native to Southeast Asia and Central Africa but now cultivated throughout the world. This aromatic plant is used in skin care products in the form of hydrolate, essential oil and extract. Discover the benefits of this plant when applied to the skin.
What Are the Benefits of Basil for the Skin?
- Basil, a Sacred Plant
- The Hydrolate and Essential Oil of Basil, Their Benefits for the Skin
- Basil Extract and Its Benefits for the Skin
Basil, a Sacred Plant.
Etymologically, the word basil comes from the Greek "basilikos", which means "royal". This is because of its smell, which was appreciated by the greatest kings. In India, basil is a sacred plant dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna. It is believed to provide physical and spiritual protection.
Today, more than 150 varieties of basil are identified. Among them, a basil with linalol also known under the names of French basil, basil of the gardens or Roman basil. It is the species mainly used in the care of the skin. It is incorporated into cosmetic formulas as a hydrolate (Ocimum Basilicum Leaf Water), essential oil (Ocimum Basilicum Oil) or extract (Ocimum Basilicum Leaf Extract).
The Hydrolate and Essential Oil of Basil, Their Benefits for the Skin.
These substances are derived from steam distillation of the leaves and stems of the plant. To do this, the plant extracts of basil are heated in a still filled with water for several hours. The water vapor is then cooled in a condenser and returned in liquid form. On the surface floats the essential oil, less dense than the water used for extraction, which is nothing else than the hydrosol. Coming from the same plant, the two components have similar properties, but the hydrosol is less concentrated in active ingredients because the aromatic essences are present in smaller quantities. It could normally therefore be used without contraindications by children and pregnant women, unlike the essential oil.
The essential oil and the hydrolate of sweet basil with linalol are substances particularly recommended for mature and stressed skin. Indeed, they contain mainly three compounds which are linalool, eugenol and 1,8-cineole. Thanks to this biochemical composition, they have toning and regenerating virtues but also antioxidants. They thus make it possible to fight against the formation of free radicals at the origin of cellular aging.
Basil Extract and Its Benefits for the Skin.
Basil extract has purifying properties and helps to fight against inflammation and micro-organisms such as Propionibacterium acnes, which are responsible for acne. It thus attenuates the aspect of the imperfections present on the surface of the skin. This purifying property is also relevant for oily skin in order to rebalance sebum production. As a reminder, although necessary for skin hydration, excess sebum clogs the pores, leading to an accumulation of dead cells. This phenomenon is also the cause of a dull complexion.
Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties of the extract of basil were also shown. This active ingredient exerts its effect by modulating the secretion of cytokines (in particular TNF-alpha which stimulates angiogenesis). Thus, it is recommended to the sensitive skins even weakened by various aggressions like the sun and shaving.
VIYOCH J. & al. Evaluation of in vitro antimicrobial activity of thai basil oils and their micro-emulsion formulas against Propionibacterinum acnes. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2006).
KAZEROUNI O. & al. Evidence for basil usage in skin care, dermatology and general medicine (As an antidiabetic herb) (2014).