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Updated: May 4, 2021

Natural cosmetics is becoming increasingly interesting because it contains more active ingredients than the synthetic cosmetics’ products. Market trends are supported by significant progress in the research of bioactive compounds’ activity and safety. The extracts obtained from plants and algae contain a rich set of bioactive ingredients, like essential oils, amino-acids and vitamins, which in combination exhibit superior benefits.

Moringa in cosmetic brands

Moringa has an abundance of bioactive compounds with antioxidative, antiaging and antibacterial properties. Cosmetic brands like Lush , Body shop, SkinSecret, Clarins, Naturinga, Shu Uemura and Nuxe have moringa (mostly Moringa oleifera and M. pterygosperma) ingredients already incorporated in their products (1).

Although most of the moringa plant has beneficial compounds and can be used for the health benefits and even specific skin problems, leaves and seeds are the most interesting parts for cosmetic products. Vitamins (A, B, C and E), unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants from moringa help nourish and soften dry skin (2). In addition, these elements fight against dryness and devitalization, and stimulate hair growth (2).

Anti-ageing effects

Moringa leaves’ extracts proved to be beneficial for the aging skin. Hydroalcoholic extract of M. oleifera leaves used in a cream showed anti-aging activity (3). Water-in-oil cream with the extract also reduced undesirable skin sebum contents and diminished skin transepidermal water loss leading to increased skin hydration (3). Wrinkles and other signs of the reduced skin vitality, like roughness and scaliness, were improved in 3 months (4). The observed anti-aging effects are probably an outcome of a coordinating action of multiple constituents. The compounds responsible for this improvement in skin surface appear to be phenolics (e.g., kaempferol and quercetin) and other antioxidants such as vitamins A, B and C present in the moringa leaves (5).

Sunscreen effects

Due to its high antioxidative activity, leaves extracts were tested also for the sunscreen and photo protective characteristics (1). The phenolic acids and flavonoids seem to be effective against the UVR-induced damage (photo-aging) (5). The skin can be protected from the injurious effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by using formulation loaded with antioxidants which quench ROS and thus offer photo-protection (5).

Oil for skin

Ben oil from the seeds is rich in oleic acid (up to 76%) as well as palmitic (6.5% or more), stearic (6%), behenic (7%), and arachidic (4%) acids. It is used in various cosmetic formulations as emollient and confers nourishing, moisturizing, antioxidant and protective properties. It is also a good skin cleansing product (1). Milled M. oleifera seed shells can be used as a natural exfoliating agent (1).

Perfumes and antibacterial activity

The oil is used in the enfleurage process, allowing the extraction of fragrances and active compounds from difficult sources, such as flower petals (1). Moringa oil is highly acceptable for perfume industry also because of its antimicrobial properties (6). The seeds contain the potent antibiotic and fungicide pterygospermin and are effective against skin-infections caused by bacteria (6).

A series of investigations have been conducted to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of Moringa species. M. oleifera seeds, stem bark, leaves, and root bark were shown to exert antimicrobial potential by several studies (7). The aqueous and ethanolic extracts from the leaves of M. oleifera have strong inhibitory effects on Gram-positive species (Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis) as well as Gram-negative species (Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Aeromonas caviae) (7).

The research reports are promising and new studies are in progress, so even more moringa cosmetic products can be expected in the future.

Did you know?

Kings and queens used moringa to improve their alertness and to maintain healthy skin. Other traditional (skin care) uses of the genus are in healing skin infections, rashes, sign of aging and wounds (8).


Further reading:

  1. Meireles D., Gomes J., Lopes L., Hinzmann M., Machado J. (2020): A review of properties, nutritional and pharmaceutical applications of Moringa oleifera: integrative approach on conventional and traditional Asian medicine. Advances in Traditional Medicine; doi: 10.1007/s13596-020-00468-0; with the references within and more detailed table of cosmetic brands.

  2. Karray A., Krayem N., Saad H.B., Sayari A. (2020): Spirulina platensis, Punica granatum peel, and moringa leaves extracts in cosmetic formulations: an integrated approach of in vitro biological activities and acceptability studies. Environmental Science and Pollution Research; doi: 10.1007/s11356–020–11156–6

  3. Ali A., Akhtar N., Khan M.S., Rasool F., Iqbal F.M., Khan M.T., Din M.U., Elahi E. (2013): Moisturizing effect of cream containing Moringa oleifera (Sohajana) leaf extract by biophysical techniques: in vivo evaluation. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 7(8): 386–391; doi: 10.5897/JMPR012.504

  4. Ali A., Akhtar N., Chowdhary F. (2014): Enhancement of human skin facial revitalization by moringa leaf extract cream. Postepy Dermatologii i Alergologii 31(2): 71–76; doi: 10.5114/pdia.2014.40945

  5. Jadoon S, Karim S, Bin Asad MHH, Akram MR, Khan AK, Malik A, Chen C, Murtaza G (2015) Anti-aging potential of phytoextract loaded-pharmaceutical creams for human skin cell longetivity. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2015(ID709628):1–17. doi: 10.1155/2015/70962 8

  6. Koul B., Chase N. (2015): Moringa oleifera Lam.: Panacea to several maladies. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research 7(6):687 707; ISSN : 0975–7384; and the references within.

  7. Kou X., Li B., Olayanju J.B., Drake J.M. Che N. (2018): Nutraceutical or Pharmacological Potential of Moringa oleifera Lam. Nutrients 10: 343; doi: 10.3390/nu10030343; and the references within.

  8. Abd Rani N.Z., Husain K., Kumolosasi E. (2018): Moringa Genus: A Review of Phytochemistry and Pharmacology. Frontiers in Pharmacology 9: article 108; doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00108

  9. Kumar N., Pratibha, and S. Pareek (2021): Bioactive Compounds of Moringa (Moringa Species). In: Bioactive Compounds in Underutilized Vegetables and Legumes, Murthy H.N., Paek K.J. (eds.), Reference Series in Phytochemistry, Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021; doi: 10.1007/978–3–030–44578–2_28–1

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