Chili in Cosmetics - How Does That Work?
Pictured above: cosmetics ingredients.
Perhaps, perhaps not. Let's view this as is the beginning of an experiment.
You: Do you realize those are chilis, Lise? CHILIS! Are you nuts? You aren't thinking of using those in an eye cream, are you?
Me: Oooh there's an idea! But, no. Let me set your mind at ease. We're not making eye cream with these.
Chili Infused in OilThe 4 dried chilis above were originally intended for an infused oil with 'a bit of capsicum zing' to add to a product.
But then this happened.
You: And exactly how did that happen, Lise? Did they just jump in there all by themselves?
Me: How did you guess? :)
OK, I'll come clean. I got curious about maximum strength as I was preparing the ingredients. And I had quite a few chilis. So, yeah, they kind of jumped into the jar all by themselves.
Here's an overview of what's in this brew:
- Raw Material: Dried chilis, chopped up
- Chili to oil ratio 1:10
- Oil: apricot kernel
- Infusion time: 6 weeks
What Chili Has to OfferWhile this blend is brewing, let's examine what our star ingredient contains.
Chili (INCI: Capsicum frutesense) is a stimulant and thermogenic substance (read: it causes a feeling of warmth) and helps encourage blood circulation. It also desensitizes neural receptors which makes it useful for pain relief.
Chilis have a history of both internal and external use and have a reputation for
- stopping hair loss (not sure if this has been tested but I could be tempted to give it a try)
- being a muscle relaxant (tested)
- relieving pain in arthritic joints (tested and proven)
Used externally (at a reasonable dose), chili stimulates circulation. The cool part? Patch tests have shown there is no 'meaningful irritation or contact dermatitis' (ref), so, used correctly, it won't bother the skin.
Although this all sounds like non-stop good news, there are some indications that 'more study is needed (ref).
So, contrary to what might have been your first knee-jerk reaction, chili can be quite useful in a cosmetics setting. As a matter of fact, you can purchase chili extract with some cosmetics ingredients suppliers.
Extra Chili FunApart from all the other cool stuff chili has to offer, the plant has both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
I know what you're thinking, because I thought the same thing. If it's antimicrobial, maybe we can we use it as an all-natural preservative.
Without having researched this, I'm hazarding a guess we would be looking at a similar situation to trying to preserve a cosmetic using essential oils. In order for it to work as a preservative, we would in all likelihood have to exceed safe usage levels by several hundred percent.
But I'm just guessing. Please add a comment if you have input on this.
And here's a final fun fact: capsaicin is the main component of pepper spray.
If you're signed up for my newsletter I'll show you how to use a chili-infused oil in a cosmetics product (or maybe even 2).
Do TellHave you evert used chili in your products? How did you use it and what were your experiences?
More About Capsicum with Topical UseTabasco, Cayanne Pepper, Plants For the Future
Topical Effects on Chili on Hand Pain in Patients with Rheumatoid Artthritis, Journal of Traditional Medicine and Clinical Naturopathy
Topical Capsaicin for Pain Management, NCBI
Safety Assessment of Capsicum Anuum Extract, Int Journal of Toxicology
Chiligel for topical use, Int Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Chemical Composition, Science Direct
The Two Faces of Capsaicin, Cancer Research
Chili Pepper, Wikipedia
Capsaicin, Current understanding of its Mechanisms and Therapy of Pain and Other Pre Clinical and Clinical Uses, MDPI