Cosmetical Uses of Saffron
Saffron has long been used in cooking, medicine, and different industries. Saffron Express team is pleased to invite you to stay with us with today’s article about another amazing use of this plant. Beside its countless properties, crocus sativus also presents multiple interests for cosmetic applications.
Mankind has always cared about beauty, almost as much as they cared about the taste. No wonder people discovered cosmetical benefits of this plant from long ago, and they still use it to this day in fashion industry.
The most promising activities are listed here.
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Prolonged exposure to the sun is extremely harmful because it puts the skin in contact with UV rays, known to cause serious lesions. Saffron is known to have anti-sun effects that can protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Studies show that saffron lotion may be a better sunscreen than homosalate (an organic compound used in some sunscreens). Thus, crocus sativus can be used as a natural UV absorbing agent. In addition to the antisolar and moisturizing properties of saffron, the prevention of skin cancers by crocus sativus because of its antioxidant properties is important as well.
Redness of Dark Spots
Saffron is known to reduce the pigment called melanin. Thus, it is very effective as a lightening agent for the skin. The formulation containing C. sativus extract caused significant depigmentation and anti-rhythmic effect on human skin. Melanocytes produce melanin in skin as a mixture of two pigments eumelanin and phaeomelanin, which are (brown black) and (red yellow) respectively. Melanogenesis is accomplished by a series of oxidative reactions controlled by various enzymes. Tyrosinase is the main catalyst for this phenomenon. Antioxidant activity is mainly exhibited by monoterpenoids, crocin, quercetin, kaempferol, and by other phenolic components of C. sativus. The mode of action of these compounds to reduce skin melanin is by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase.
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Anti-Aging Effect and Diseases of the Skin
In traditional herbal cosmetics uses, saffron can be soaked with a few basil leaves to treat blemishes such as acne. A mixture of soaked saffron strands and virgin coconut oil, or olive oil, and a bit of raw milk is an effective way to exfoliate and improve blood circulation face skin. crocus sativus is known to reduce a skin condition called erythema, characterized by inflammation, redness or rash. Saffron is rich in antioxidants expected to inhibit the expression of markers of inflammation such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin. An application of the formulation containing 3% C. sativus extract to human skin may be useful in the management of melanoma. Similar effects have been reported by Moshiri et al. who found that clinical trials on the anti-pruritic and skin-promoting effects on saffron’s effects on skin care both confirmed that crocus sativus was more effective than placebo.
Once dried, the spice releases a pleasant aroma described by Aristophanes as a “sensual smell” admired by the Greeks. It is from safranal, which is the main odoriferous compound of saffron that we obtain the note “saffron”. In ancient Greece (around 2000 to 146 BC), saffron was a royal dye and was used as a perfume in salons, courts, theaters and bathrooms. Later, its use spread among ordinary people. Additionally, during the Parthian Dynasty, they used saffron among the ingredients of a royal scent, which included a refreshing oil facial for kings and ritual leaders. Today, we find this woody, sweet note and harmonious in the composition of different perfumes both feminine and masculine, with an original and exotic potential.
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Saffron as Natural Pigments in Cosmetics
Historically, plant pigments such as curcumin, beet anthocyanins, carotenoids from peppers, chlorophyll from green leaves and crocus sativus, have been used to color food and cosmetics, for centuries. Nowadays, many commercially used cosmetics are made with the synthetic colorants, which can cause side effects due to prolonged use. However, the current trend matches towards healthy natural ingredients incorporated within these cosmetic products. In cosmetics, saffron has been used at low levels due to its high cost. It has been used as a substitute for turmeric where light exposure would cause fading of turmeric. It also used as a substitute for tartrazine.
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What you read, was a part of “Traditional and Modern Uses of Saffron (Crocus Sativus)”, written and published by Ibtissam Mzabri, Mohamed Addi, and Sbdelbasset Berrichi, Laboratory of Biology of Plants and Microorganisms, Faculty of Sciences, B.P. 717.