Scutellaria baicalensis root extract
Scutellaria baicalensis root extract comes from a flowering plant native to China, where it’s been used for years as one of the many herbal preparations within the field of Chinese medicine. In China, the extract is known as Huang-Qin or golden herb, because the root is a golden yellow colour.
It’s primarily used in cosmetics for its promising ability to interrupt the creation and transfer of excess pigment; however, these scientific studies were done in vitro on skin cells, not intact skin on people struggling with dark spots, so what seems exciting in a lab setting may not hold as much promise for topical use. The other issue is the current lack of agreement on how much of this root extract is needed to visibly fade skin discolourations; some say 0.1% is enough, others recommend at least a 1% concentration is necessary, and some blends with this ingredient encourage amounts of 3-10% if the goal is visible improvement of skin colour.
The root is more exciting because it contains baicalin, wogonoside, baicalein, wogonin, and oroxylin A, all of which are flavones, a type of antioxidant that lend colour to various plants and are known to be soothing. Scutellaria baicalensis root can help skin better withstand environmental aggressors that can worsen the look of many common skin concerns, so it certainly has value.
Testing on mouse, rabbit, and guinea pig skin revealed that a standardised extract of this ingredient is not irritating or sensitising, even when the skin was compromised. The conclusion was that Scutellaria baicalensis is a viable option for sensitive skin struggling with signs of uneven skin tone or just in need of soothing.
References for this information:Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, September 2019, pages 1,353-1,369
PLoS One, February 2017, ePublication
Science Bulletin Beijing, July 2016, pages 1,391-1,398
Planta Medica, June 2013, pages 959-962
The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, December 2011, pages 1,613-1,623
See skullcap extract
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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
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