Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract: What Is It, Skin Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: November 23, 2023
Table of Contents

Navigating the world of cosmetics often feels like a journey through a labyrinth of scientific and botanical names, each more perplexing than the last. Often rooted in Latin or derived from intricate scientific jargon, these names can be daunting for even the most avid beauty enthusiasts. Amidst this complex landscape, one ingredient that periodically surfaces in cosmetic formulations is Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract.

In this article, we delve into the details of Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, a component as intriguing as its name. We’ll explore its origins, properties, and the reasons behind its incorporation in cosmetic products.

What is Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract?

Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, derived from the berries of the Elder tree (Sambucus nigra L.), stands out in the cosmetic world for its unique properties. Also known as Elderberry Extract, this ingredient is lauded for its astringent qualities. In cosmetics, its primary role is to tighten and tone the skin, offering a more refined complexion. This is achieved through its action on skin proteins, leading to a subtle firming effect.

The concentration of Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract in cosmetic products can vary, typically ranging from 1% to 10%. This variance depends on the product’s intended effect and the formulation’s complexity. While it is not commonly found as a standalone product in mainstream beauty outlets, it is a prevalent component in a wide array of formulations, especially in products targeting skin tightening and toning.

Who Can Use Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract?

Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract is a versatile ingredient suitable for a variety of skin types. Its astringent properties make it particularly beneficial for individuals with oily or combination skin, as it helps manage excess oil and refine pores. However, due to its gentle nature, it is also well-tolerated by those with normal and dry skin types.

For those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract is a fitting choice. Being plant-derived, it aligns well with cruelty-free and plant-based beauty philosophies.

When it comes to its use by pregnant or breastfeeding women, there is no definitive evidence suggesting any adverse effects. However, as with any cosmetic ingredient, it is always recommended to consult a healthcare provider before incorporating new products into a skincare routine during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract Skin Benefits

Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, acclaimed for its astringent properties, offers several benefits to the skin. Here’s a detailed look at each:

  • Pore Tightening and Refinement: As an astringent, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract helps to constrict and tighten skin tissues. This action is particularly beneficial for reducing the appearance of enlarged pores. The extract’s natural compounds interact with the skin’s surface, leading to a temporary tightening effect, which gives the skin a smoother, more refined appearance.
  • Oil Control and Balance: For those struggling with oily skin, this extract can be a boon. Its astringent nature aids in regulating sebum production, the oily substance secreted by the skin’s sebaceous glands. By balancing oil levels, it helps in reducing shine and preventing the buildup that often leads to acne.
  • Enhanced Skin Tone and Texture: The tightening effect of Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract not only refines pores but also contributes to an overall improvement in skin tone and texture. By firming up the skin, it imparts a more youthful and vibrant appearance. This is especially beneficial for aging skin, where loss of tone is a common concern.
  • Soothing Effects: While its primary function is astringent, the extract also possesses soothing properties. This makes it suitable for use in products designed to calm irritated or inflamed skin, providing a dual benefit of soothing while tightening.

It’s important to note that the benefits of Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract are not permanent. The astringent and skin-enhancing effects are maintained only with continued use of the ingredient. Regular application as part of a skincare routine is necessary to sustain these benefits, as the effects diminish once the use of the product is discontinued.

Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract Potential Side Effects

While Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract is generally well-tolerated, side effects and reactions can vary significantly from person to person. This variability is often influenced by individual factors such as skin sensitivity, skin type, and even genetic predispositions, which can affect how one’s skin reacts to certain ingredients.

Potential side effects may include:

  • Skin Irritation and Redness: In some cases, especially in individuals with sensitive skin, the use of products containing Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract can lead to irritation or redness. This reaction is often a result of the skin’s sensitivity to certain compounds within the extract.
  • Allergic Reactions: Although rare, allergic reactions to Elderberry Extract can occur. Symptoms may include itching, rash, or hives. These reactions are typically due to an immune response to a particular component of the extract.
  • Dryness or Flaking: Given its astringent properties, overuse of products with this extract can sometimes lead to dryness or flaking, particularly in those with naturally dry skin.

If you experience any of these side effects while using a product containing Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, it’s advised to discontinue use immediately and consult a dermatologist if symptoms persist or worsen. In most cases, cessation of use will resolve the symptoms.

It’s important to remember that adverse reactions to Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract are rare. Generally, the ingredient is safe and effective for most people when used as directed.

When incorporating new products into your skincare routine, the importance of patch testing cannot be overstated. To ensure safety and avoid potential adverse reactions, our patch testing guide can be a valuable resource. This simple test can help you determine how your skin will react to a new product, including those containing Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, before applying it to larger areas of the skin.

Comedogenic Rating

Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract can be assigned a comedogenic rating of 1/5.

This low rating indicates that while it’s not entirely non-comedogenic, the likelihood of it clogging pores is minimal. The rating is attributed to its astringent properties, which help in tightening and refining the skin rather than clogging the pores. This makes it a suitable ingredient for those who are prone to acne or breakouts. Its ability to regulate sebum production without heavily occluding the skin surface allows it to be used in formulations aimed at managing oily and acne-prone skin types.


Success in skincare often hinges on a delicate balance of experimentation, trial and error, and consistency. Discovering what works for your skin is a personal journey, and once you find those key ingredients that resonate with your skin type, maintaining a consistent routine is crucial.

Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract stands out for its astringent properties, making it a valuable addition to skincare products aimed at refining skin texture, managing oil production, and enhancing overall skin tone. Its effectiveness, coupled with a low risk of irritation, makes it a commendable ingredient for various skin types.

In terms of popularity, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract may not be as widely recognized as some other ingredients, but its efficacy is evident in the products that feature it. It falls into a category of ingredients known for their toning and refining qualities, similar to Witch Hazel or Green Tea Extract. However, it maintains a unique position due to its specific composition and benefits.

The time it takes to see results from using products containing Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract can vary. Typically, some effects, like a refined skin texture or reduced oiliness, might be noticeable within a few weeks of consistent use. However, like many skincare ingredients, it requires prolonged and regular application for more significant and lasting results.

For those concerned about incorporating Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract into their skincare routine, it’s reassuring to know that it is generally well-tolerated and suits a wide range of skin types. Its low comedogenic rating and soothing properties make it a versatile ingredient, well-suited to those seeking a gentle yet effective addition to their skincare regime.

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