Chlorophyll at a glance

  • Natural green pigment found in plants and some bacteria
  • Assists with the process of photosynthesis
  • Has antioxidant properties for skin
  • May be taken in liquid or capsule form as a supplement
  • Health benefits when used as a supplement remain uncertain

Chlorophyll description

Chlorophyll is a natural green pigment present in all green-hued plants as well as some types of bacteria. It assists in the process of photosynthesis, turning sunlight into helpful energy plants need to thrive. Its name comes from being found in the chloroplasts (membrane portion) of cells, with the “phyll” portion of the name referring to the plant’s leaves. What does chlorophyll have to do with skin? As with most plant-derived compounds, it has antioxidant properties that help interrupt the cascade of damage on and within skin due to environmental exposure. It also possesses soothing action on skin, as evidenced by animal studies. Some research has shown that oral consumption of chlorophyll improves signs of sun damage, such as wrinkles and elasticity; however, more studies are needed to confirm these benefits plus account for other factors that may have contributed to the perceived results. Chlorophyll is also taken in supplement form to address various health concerns such as fatigue, seasonal allergies or as part of a dietary detox; however, there’s little research connecting this practice with proven benefits, and taking high doses of chlorophyll (3,000 milligrams) may cause gastrointestinal distress. Chlorophyll supplement tablets typically contain the synthetic derivative chlorophyllin, which is more stable. This green pigment is also used as a coloring agent in cosmetics; however, stability issues can occur since the amount of chlorophyll necessary to achieve an attractive green color may create textural and application issues for the formula. Usage levels for chlorophyll in cosmetics have not been established; however, it is not known to pose a risk to skin even when used in high amounts.

Chlorophyll references

  • Molecules, June 2022, pages 1–26
  • Antioxidants, June 2020, pages 1–34
  • Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, July 2014, pages 8–16
  • Journal of Dietary Supplements, June 2014, pages 198–239
  • Inflammation, June 2012, pages 959–966

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.