Beta-Carotene (or ß-Carotene) is an excellent skin care ingredient, serving as an antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A, thus is frequently referred to as provitamin A. It’s a wonderful skin conditioning ingredient and is also used as a cosmetic colorant. Let’s breakdown what it is, where it’s found, and how to use it.
What is Beta-Carotene? And Carotenoids?
Beta-Carotene is a member of the compounds referred to as carotenoids, all of which have antioxidant properties and are typically found in richly-colored plants. There are over 600 known carotenoids, but Beta-Carotene and Lycopene are some of the best known and used in cosmetics. (Lycopene is most famous for its starring role in tomatoes and providing various benefits).
Beta-Carotene is often used as a cosmetic colorant, and it’s also used as food coloring. It’s not just the orange in carrots (where it derives its name), but it also helps color oranges, watermelons, peaches, nectarines, mangoes, pumpkins, broccoli, spinach, chanterelle mushrooms, and many more. Humans cannot synthesize carotenoids on its own, so it is through these foods and via topical applications that we acquire them.
Beta-Carotene in its pure, isolated form is a purplish crystal. In this form it is sensitive to light and high temperatures and although it is largely insoluble in water, it can be made water soluble by adding it to propanediol or pentylene glycol. Keep an eye out for more on those ingredients in the future!
Beta-Carotene in Skin Care
We know that Beta-Carotene is a popular ingredient in skin care, and this is largely because of its excellent rejuvenating properties and good antioxidant action. It’s often used in products for maturing skin, and we like to use it for a more refreshed, even look. Our recent Beta-Carotene Eye Serum recipe offers an easy guide for using it, and makes an easy new product for your line.
In hair care, Beta-Carotene reinforces and smooths hair, making it ideal for more fragile hair types and helping with split ends.
How to Use Beta-Carotene for Skin Care
Beta-Carotene is soluble in fat solvents, and we have stabilized it in castor oil for your use in your own formulas. It is at a low percentage in the oil we sell, however, pure 96-100% powder of Beta-Carotene is generally recommended to be used around 0.01-0.02% because it can stain your skin. We supply our powder already stabilized in castor oil to make formulating easier on you. Although you could use this form anywhere from 0-100%, do be cautious about skin staining. In this form you could use it straight, in the oil phase of an emulsion, or in an oil blend.
As previously mentioned, when using the raw crystal form, we aim to use it at around 0.01-0.02%.
Do you have favorite products that use Beta-Carotene? We’d love to know when and how you use it, or other products you’d like to see with it as the star ingredient.