Kava-Kava Extract


Plant extracts

No known benefits

Kava-Kava Extract at a glance

  • Plant extract derived from the Piper methysticum plant
  • Applied topically and ingested
  • Can cause skin sensitivity, redness and itchiness
  • Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel hasn’t confirmed its safety

Kava-Kava Extract description

Kava-kava extract is a plant-derived ingredient taken from the roots or stump of the _Piper methysticum_ plant, which is native to islands in the Pacific Ocean. When applied topically, it has some soothing properties, however it can also cause skin sensitivity, redness and itchiness. Kava-kava extract can also be ingested and is a staple in Pacific Islander herbal remedies and ceremonies. Research shows that ingestion of this extract can also cause skin problems such as sensitivity, rough skin, cracked skin, increased skin thickness and dryness. Beyond this, ingested kava-kava extract might also have a negative impact on the liver. However, more research is needed to cement this correlation. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel has examined kava-kava extract and deemed the current data insufficient to support the safety of this ingredient. As such, we advise against using cosmetics that contain it. Kava-kava extract is also referred to as Kawa extract, _Piper methysticum_ root extract and Kava extract.

Kava-Kava Extract references

  • Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology, January 2023, pages 47-56
  • Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association, Nov-Dec 2019, pages 280-282
  • International Journal of Dermatology, July 2014, ePublication
  • Phytotherapy Research, December 2012, pages 1934-1941
  • International Journal of Toxicology, November 2009, pages 175S- 188S
  • Alternative Medicine Review, December 1998, pages 458-460
  • Clinical Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, July 1990, pages 495-507

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.