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Mulberry Leaf Extract: A Proven Natural Remedy For Skin Lightening

Mulberry Leaf Extract

Are you looking for a natural, effective and safe cosmetic ingredient with a skin whitening effect? In that case, mulberry leaf extract could be an option worth considering. 

With the benefit of its skin-lightening properties and antioxidant activity, mulberry leaf extract can help fade away dark spots, improve uneven skin tone and protect the skin from damaging effects of free radicals, giving you clear and radiant skin. 

Convinced? Not yet? Scroll down to find out why mulberry leaf extract is worth giving a try. 

What is Mulberry?

Mulberry is a common name for several species in the Moraceae plant family, including white mulberry (Morus alba). Native to China, mulberry trees now grow worldwide, including in the United States, Australia, Argentina, Turkey, and India. 

Loaded with antioxidants (1), vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium (2), its leaves offer multiple therapeutic uses. When ingested, they may help reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. 

In topical application, the mulberry leaf extract made from the dried white mulberry tree leaves helps lighten dark spots caused by melasma (3). 

What is Melasma?

Dark melasma spots

Melasma is a hyperpigmentation disorder that causes dark, discoloured spots on the skin to appear over the cheeks, forehead, chin, forearms and neck. Also called the “mask of pregnancy”, melasma usually occurs in pregnant women. However, it’s not only pregnant women who develop melasma. 

Suppose you have a darker complexion and are of Latin/Hispanic, North African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, or Mediterranean descent. In that case, you are more likely to get melasma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology

Even though it isn’t clear what causes melasma, it likely happens when pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) produce too much pigment. Sun exposure, pregnancy, or even some skincare products can trigger melasma. 

Although not life-threatening, melasma is stubborn and can be hard to get rid of. Dark, discoloured spots can make the skin look dull and older. 

Mulberry leaf extract is a natural ingredient that has shown promise in treating melasma (4). Too good to be true? Let’s take a look.

How Does Mulberry Leaf Extract Work? 

Mulberry leaf extract contains bioactive particles, such as Mulberroside F, betulinic acid, oxyresveratrol and flavonoids, that help lighten dark spots, brighten the complexion and reduce signs of environmental damage. How do they work?

  • Mulberroside F (one of the main bioactive constituents in the white mulberry tree) slows down melanin production by inhibiting tyrosinase activity (an active enzyme responsible for melanin production). 
  • Betulinic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-tyrosinase agent (5).
  • Oxyresveratrol is a skin-toning antioxidant and anti-tyrosinase agent. 
  • Flavonoids are potent antioxidants that help protect the skin from oxidative stress by binding to free radicals and preventing them from damaging healthy cells—acting as reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavengers. Flavonoids in mulberry leaf extract also exhibit tyrosinase inhibitor activity, which is again helpful for skin-whitening (6).

Mulberry Leaf Extract Skin Benefits

Due to its broad spectrum of activity, mulberry leaf extract can benefit the skin in various ways.  

1. Fades dark spots and discolourations

Mulberry leaf extract slows down melanin production by hindering tyrosinase activity and preventing dark spots from appearing on the skin. 

2. May help improve uneven skin tone

Pigment-producing cells or melanocytes produce pigment in deeper layers of the skin (melanin). Melanin causes the skin to darken when it absorbs UV light. When skin’s pigment production runs out of control, it causes uneven skin tone. The anti-tyrosinase effect of the mulberry leaf extract helps to diminish uneven skin tone.

3. Protect the skin from environmental factors

Antioxidants are indispensable in protecting the skin from free radicals found in the environment, such as UV radiation. Since mulberry leaf extract is abundant in antioxidants, it can help protect the skin from their damaging effect.

4. Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles 

As we age, our skin’s collagen and elastin break down, causing fine lines and wrinkles. On top of that, continues exposure to the sun further degrades the skin’s ability to retain moisture, which can cause wrinkles to become deeper. 

Active compounds in mulberry leaf extract help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by protecting the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals, a major cause of premature ageing.

5. Brightens skin 

Skin exposed to sun, hormonal changes, and even some skincare products can trigger excessive melanin production. Mulberry leaf extract brightens the skin tone by slowing down melanin (pigment) production.

How To Use Mulberry Leaf Extract for Skin Whitening?

One of the ways to incorporate mulberry leaf extract into skincare is by adding it into skin lightening products such as face creams, moisturisers, serums, masks or even makeup. Its ability to lighten dark spots, calm irritated skin, improve the appearance of uneven skin tone and reduce the signs of ageing makes it an excellent solution for melasma treatment.

Although some people do find it effective on its own, you can boost its efficacy in combination with liquorice extract or kojic acid. 

The suggested dose for skin whitening products containing mulberry leaf extract is 3 to 5% when added to the water phase of the formula, according to makingcosmetics.com.

It is vital to understand that it requires some time before you will see improvement. It takes at least 4-6 weeks before you can see improvement with consistent use of cosmetic products containing mulberry leaf extract.

Mulberry Beauty Products to Try at Home

Mulberry extract is relatively new to the beauty market. Still, you will find it in beauty supply shops and online retailers. Here are some popular choices:

Is Mulberry Leaf Extract Safe?

Mulberry leaf extract is comparatively safe for topical application. However, when combined with other ingredients, there is always a risk of some allergic reactions. Therefore, if you are using the extract or any product for the first time, it is good to do a patch test to eliminate the chance of allergic reactions. 

To do this:

  1. Apply a small amount into the inside of your arm, and watch the area for up to 48 hours for any sign of a reaction.
  2. Do not try to fight it alone if you get any strange rashes, redness, or other symptoms while using any skincare products.
  3. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Summary

Melasma is a hyperpigmentation disorder that causes dark, discoloured spots to form on the outer layer of the skin. Mulberry leaf extract is a natural remedy that can eliminate dark spots and discolouration. It can also calm irritated skin, reduce signs of premature ageing, and brighten up your skin tone, giving you radiant-looking skin. 

FAQs

What is a mulberry extract?

Mulberry leaf extract comes from dried leaves of Morus alba (white mulberry tree). It is used in beauty skincare products to lighten dark spots and uneven skin tone, prevent premature ageing and brighten the skin. 

Who is mulberry leaf extract for?

Mulberry leaf extract is suitable for women and men of all ages dealing with stubborn dark spots, uneven skin tone and premature ageing. Due to its skin brightening and antioxidant action, you’ll find it in skin lightening products such as face creams, moisturisers, serums, masks or even makeup.

Resources

  1. Phytochemistry, pharmacology, and clinical trials of Morus alba
  2. Nutritional quality of leaves of some genotypes of mulberry (Morus alba)
  3. Are Natural Ingredients Effective in the Management of Hyperpigmentation? A Systematic Review
  4. A comparative study of the safety and efficacy of 75% mulberry (Morus alba) extract oil versus placebo as a topical treatment for melasma: a randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
  5. A new source of a whitening agent from a Thai Mulberry plant and its betulinic acid quantitation
  6. Whitening and Antierythemic effect of a cream containing Morus alba extract.

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