Alpha-Bisabolol: Anti-Inflammatory

α-bisabolol, an unsaturated, optically active sesquiterpene alcohol found as a major component of essential oil of chamomile, has been used as a skin conditioning agent where it is integrated in many cosmetic formulations due to its skin soothing effects, well documented dermal absorption and the absence of dermal irritations or photosensitivity following its application. Along with the anti-inflammatory and skin depigmentation effects, α-bisabolol has demonstrated antioxidant effects. 

α-Bisabolol exhibits potent anti-inflammatory properties, as evidenced by its ability to inhibit skin inflammation through the reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, namely TNF-α and IL-6, leading to an improvement in skin appearance.1 The anti-inflammatory potential of α-Bisabolol was further investigated using a model involving human chondrocytes exposed to advanced glycation end products (AGE), known contributors to joint cartilage aging and activators of the receptor for AGE (RAGE). Treatment with α-Bisabolol effectively attenuated the AGE-induced inflammatory response, as indicated by decreased expression levels of iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), nitrite, and IL-6.

Moreover, α-Bisabolol exhibited protective effects on the extracellular matrix (ECM) by upregulating collagen II and aggrecan, while simultaneously downregulating MMP13 and ADAMT-S5 levels. Mechanistic insights revealed that α-Bisabolol hinders the activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and the nuclear translocation of P65. Additionally, it suppressed AGE-induced mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling by reducing the phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38.2 This speaks to α-bisabolol’s additional anti-inflammatory efficacy. 

Depigmentation is another benefit of α-Bisabolol and demonstrates its use in the cosmetic field. α-Bisabolol exerts its depigmenting effect by inhibiting α-MSH-induced melanogenesis, achieved through the prevention of cAMP response element-binding (CREB) protein phosphorylation. This inhibitory mechanism contributes to the development of a more even skin tone, providing a potential therapeutic approach for addressing concerns related to hyperpigmentation.3 

The decrease of hyperpigmentation can also be attributed to another property of α-bisabolol. α-bisabolol’s antioxidant properties which have been shown to suppress melanin synthesis by inhibiting reactive oxygen species. These findings highlight the potential medical applications of bisabolol, suggesting its use for enhancing the antioxidant network and restoring redox balance by counteracting oxidative stress.3 

α-bisabolol has emerged as a versatile compound with multifaceted benefits in cosmetic formulations. Its established role as a skin conditioning agent stems from well-documented attributes, including skin-soothing effects, documented dermal absorption, and the absence of dermal irritations or photosensitivity post-application. Beyond its anti-inflammatory properties and contribution to skin depigmentation, α-bisabolol showcases additional therapeutic effects, including analgesic properties, and wound healing promotion. The comprehensive range of beneficial effects positions α-bisabolol as a valuable ingredient in cosmetic formulations, supporting skin health and overall well-being. 


[1] K Maurya, A., Singh, M., Dubey, V., Srivastava, S., Luqman, S., & U Bawankule, D. (2014). α-(-)-bisabolol reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production and ameliorates skin inflammation. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology, 15(2), 173-181. 

[2] Eddin, L. B., Jha, N. K., Goyal, S. N., Agrawal, Y. O., Subramanya, S. B., Bastaki, S. M. A., & Ojha, S. (2022). Health Benefits, Pharmacological Effects, Molecular Mechanisms, and Therapeutic Potential of α-Bisabolol. Nutrients, 14(7), 1370. 

[3] Tan, L. F., Mogana, R., Chinnappan, S., Venkatalakshmi, R., & Yap, V. L. (2021). Various plants and bioactive constituents for pigmentation control: A review. Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology, 14(11), 6106-6112.