This is part of our ongoing series helping consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!
Bisabolol (also known as levomenol, alpha bisabolol, and α-bisabolol)
What it is:
Bisabolol is naturally present in German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita), as well as the bark of the Candeia (Vanillosmopsis erythropappa) tree of Brazil, which is the primary global source of this ingredient. Recently, manufacturers have also begun crafting in a lab as a nature-identical ingredient in order to prevent deforestation of the rainforests in Brazil.
What it does:
While the medicinal use of chamomile goes back thousands of years, bisabolol was only recently isolated from the plant in the twentieth century. Since then, studies have proven it to be an incredibly beneficial compound – especially when used in body care products like moisturizer, lotion, sunscreen, anti-aging treatment, eye cream, cosmetics, facial cleanser, and lipstick. Here’s a sampling of its super powers:
- Acts as an anti-irritant, protecting the skin from everyday damage
- Stimulates and promotes the skin's healing process
- Improves the appearance of damaged skin by moisturizing and helping to restore suppleness
- Prevents signs of aging with antioxidant benefits
- Reduces incidence of UV-induced erythema (sunburn)
- Soothes irritation by acting as an analgesic and relaxant
- Helps fight bad bacteria and even some cancer cells
In addition to these amazing soothing and healing qualities, bisabolol also has a subtle floral scent and is sometimes used as a fragrance in personal care products.
Why we use it:
In addition to its extremely multi-functional, healing and protective qualities, it’s a completely natural, renewable resource. We love finding gifts from nature that are not only safe and effective, but are also easy to source and take relatively little effort to process into a raw ingredient for commercial use.
Why we’re featuring it today:
Not only did we want to share with you how amazing this ingredient is, we also wanted to point out two things to be aware of:
- There have been a very small number of cases of contact dermatitis reported after using a product containing bisabolol. This has been shown to be more common in children with atopic dermatitis, so discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider and always be attentive to reactions whenever you use a new product.
- Bisabolol increases the skin penetration of other cosmetic ingredients, which is fantastic in formulas that contain antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients – but bad if it’s in a formula that also contains risky chemicals.
Still have questions about bisabolol? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to find you the answers you’re looking for!
- Andersen, F. A. (1999). Final report on the safety assessment of Bisabolol.International journal of toxicology, 18(3 suppl), 33-40.
- Anter, J., Romero-Jiménez, M., Fernández-Bedmar, Z., Villatoro-Pulido, M., Analla, M., Alonso-Moraga, Á., & Muñoz-Serrano, A. (2011). Antigenotoxicity, cytotoxicity, and apoptosis induction by apigenin, bisabolol, and protocatechuic acid. Journal of medicinal food, 14(3), 276-283.
- Fang, E. F., & Ng, T. B. (2013). Antitumor Potential and Other Emerging Medicinal Properties of Natural Compounds. Springer.
- Jacob, S. E., & Hsu, J. W. (2010). Reactions to Aquaphor®: Is Bisabolol the Culprit?. Pediatric dermatology, 27(1), 103-104.
- Kamatou, G. P., & Viljoen, A. M. (2010). A review of the application and pharmacological properties of α-bisabolol and α-bisabolol-rich oils. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 87(1), 1-7.
- Russell, K., & Jacob, S. E. (2010). Bisabolol. Dermatitis, 21(1), 57-58.
- Stanzl, K., & Vollhardt, J. (2001). The case of alpha-bisabolol. Handbook of cosmetic science and technology. Marcel Dekker, New York, 277-284.