Plant extracts

Fig description

Fig may seem like a simple fruit often associated with the soft-textured cookies sold in grocery stores; however, it is proving to be a rather fascinating ingredient for skin. [br] [br] It’s a rich source of a class of antioxidants known as phenolic compounds, including gallic acid, various epicatechins, and anthocyanins which contribute to the rich, often dark colour of fig skin and the fruit inside. [br] [br] Along with being an antioxidant, fig has been shown to enhance skin’s hydration by preventing water loss from skin’s uppermost layers. It can also visibly improve skin colour by addressing an enzyme in skin (tyrosinase) whose overproduction can lead to dark spots. [br] [br] Those benefits are intriguing, but there’s more: fig extract has also been to help reduce uncomfortably dry, tight skin, including compromised, redness-prone skin. [br] [br] One caution: Fig contains a group of naturally-occurring compounds known as psoralens. These can make skin more sensitive to sun exposure, but you can get around this by using a broad spectrum sunscreen every day. The leaves, root and sap from the fig plant contain the highest concentration of psoralens, which is why the fruit portion, which contains appreciably low levels, is typically used in skin care.

Fig references

  • Indian Journal of Dermatology, January 2019, pages 71-73
  • Complementary Therapies in Medicine, December 2017, pages 85-91
  • Frontiers in Plant Science, November 2017,ePublication
  • Annals of Dermatology, February 2017, pages 86-90
  • Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, November-December 2014, pages 560-664
  • Pharmaceutical Biology, November 2014, pages 1,487-1,503

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.