French and Australian researchers found the oil functioned effectively offering protection against environmental stressors such as blue light and cigarette smoke.
The research team found the Indian sandalwood oil recorded a reactive oxygen species reduction 30-40% higher than the recorded reduction from vitamin E.
“The human skin is constantly exposed to external stressors such as solar irradiation, air pollution and – with the rapid rise in technology and digitalisation - digital pollution such as blue light,” explains Dr Dhanushka Hettiarachchi, Product Manager for Quintis Sandalwood, who provided funding for the study.
“Skin cells were also exposed to a source of solar blue light and digital blue light, and those cells produced reactive oxygen species, which begins a cascade of reactions detrimental to a healthy skin.
“However, when the cell cultures were treated with sandalwood oil, production of reactive oxygen species reduced by up to 76%.”
The study used a probe to assess the antioxidant capacity of the oil following exposure to blue light at 412 nanometres (nm) and 450 nm or cigarette smoke.
The anti-aging effect of sandalwood oil was also explored in human skin cells via its effect on the levels of the enzyme collagenase (MMP1), which digest collagen tissue.
Findings revealed that the oil possessed an antioxidant potential that works by scavenging the reactive oxygen species (ROS) in skin cells generated by a free radical generating compound, AAPH.
“When isolated skin tissue was exposed to simulated environmental pollution including cigarette and ozone, the enzyme MMP1 which digests the collagen tissue was increased,” adds Dr Hettiarachchi.
“However, when the skin isolates were treated with sandalwood oil, the enzyme MMP1 was decreased, suggesting the collagen protective effect of Indian sandalwood reduces the appearance of wrinkles.”
Indian sandalwood oil is the essential oil obtained by steam distillation of the aromatic heartwood of Santalum album.
It has been previously reported for its antioxidant, anti-tyrosinase, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and anti-microbial properties.
Despite reports of the pharmacological activity of sandalwood, only a few studies have evaluated its benefits as a cosmetic ingredient.
Activated MMP-1 form
In discussing the research findings, the team, thought the oil likely acted on the activated form of the MMP-1 enzyme adding the next step would be to explore the pathways by which the activity of MMP-1 was disrupted by Indian sandalwood oil.
“Cosmetic ingredients may work by either preventing contact between the skin and pollutants or by triggering biochemical processes that hinder the oxidative primary product.
“To achieve an ideal cosmetic formulation, both characteristics are heavily sought after. These would give rise to cosmetic products that can lower short-term damages such as inflammation and upregulate the signalling pathway to increase metabolic activity and cell differentiation.”
Dr Hettiarachchi adds that sandalwood oil demonstrated other beneficial effects including anti-inflammatory, anti-tyrosinase and antimicrobial activities
“We are excited by these new research findings as they prove the power of Indian sandalwood oil in protecting the skin against environmental damage, and the multipurpose nature of this ingredient in cosmetics.”
Published online: doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics8020053
“Antioxidant and Anti-Aging Potential of Indian Sandalwood Oil against Environmental Stressors In Vitro and Ex Vivo.”
Authors: Véronique Francois-Newton et al