Uncaria Gambir Extract: What Is It, Skin Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: June 18, 2023
Table of Contents

Navigating the world of cosmetics can sometimes feel like taking a stroll through a dense botanical garden—scientific names galore! Each ingredient sounds more exotic and mysterious than the last, leaving us wondering if we’re still talking about skincare or if we’ve somehow stepped into the pages of a chemistry journal.

One such ingredient that’s sometimes found within cosmetic products is Uncaria Gambir Extract. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? It’s as if early skincare enthusiasts took delight in naming ingredients after tongue twisters just to keep us on our toes!

But fear not, for this article is here to demystify the enigma that is Uncaria Gambir Extract. We’ll dive headfirst into this captivating world of skincare, exploring the ins and outs, the whys and hows of this intriguing ingredient.

What is Uncaria Gambir Extract?

In the ever-evolving world of cosmetics, Uncaria Gambir Extract is a fascinating player. Derived from the Gambir Catechu plant (Uncaria gambier, Rubiaceae), this natural extract might also be known as Gambir Extract or Gambir Plant Extract. Its principal function in skincare and cosmetic products? Acting as an astringent—meaning it has the prowess to tighten and tone the skin, leaving it with a more refined and photogenic appearance.

Uncaria Gambir Extract works its magic by potentially containing resin acids, their esters, terpenes, and the oxidation or polymerization products of those terpenes. These constituents give the extract its sought-after astringent qualities. You may find it as a stand-alone ingredient, but more commonly, it shines as part of a more extensive formulation alongside other skin-loving components. Oh, and as for concentration information, that’s often left to the skilled hands of cosmetic formulators to determine the optimal levels in a given product.

Who Can Use Uncaria Gambir Extract?

Skincare enthusiasts of various types can safely indulge in the wonders of Uncaria Gambir Extract. Its natural origin and gentle astringent characteristics make it suitable for sensitive, dry, and combination skin. Even those with oily skin can benefit from its toning and tightening properties, which could potentially help them keep oiliness at bay.

For the conscious consumers out there, good news: Uncaria Gambir Extract is often derived from plant sources, making it a viable option for both vegans and vegetarians alike. However, it’s always a wise move to double-check the label for any sneaky non-vegan additives that may have slipped in during the formulation process.

As for the beautiful, expectant, and breastfeeding mothers out there: while Uncaria Gambir Extract is generally considered safe, it’s best to check with your healthcare professional before introducing any new ingredient into your skincare regimen. After all, they know you and your skin best, ensuring you can enjoy your glow-up journey without worry.

Uncaria Gambir Extract Skin Benefits

Uncaria Gambir Extract brings an array of delightful benefits to the cosmetic table, each one taking your skincare routine up a notch. Let’s explore these advantages in detail, shall we?

  • Astringent Properties: As an astringent, Uncaria Gambir Extract works to refine and tighten the skin. This ingredient gives your visage a smoother, more even appearance by toning, and, in turn, helping to minimize the appearance of pores.
  • Reduction of Excess Oil: Oily skin, meet your potential new best friend. Thanks to its astringent properties, Uncaria Gambir Extract can help control excess production of oil, leaving the skin with a more balanced and refreshed look. The extract aids in soothing the skin’s oil glands, reducing oiliness, and providing an overall matte finish.
  • Amping Up Skin Firmness: The toning and tightening effect of Uncaria Gambir Extract could give your skin a firmer, more youthful appearance. By strengthening the skin’s elasticity and promoting a toned complexion, this extract provides a subtle lifting effect that keeps the skin looking supple and glowing.

It’s essential to note that while Uncaria Gambir Extract delivers these exceptional skin benefits, these effects are not permanent. To maintain your skin’s radiant, toned, and rejuvenated appearance, incorporating this fantastic ingredient into your daily skincare routine is the key to unlocking its full potential. Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to tackling skincare woes with Uncaria Gambir Extract by your side.

Uncaria Gambir Extract Potential Side Effects

Just like the vastly unique universe of skincare, individual reactions to ingredients can vary greatly from one person to another. Why, you might ask? It comes down to the intricacies of our skin types, genetics, and environmental factors. To better understand your skin’s specific needs, you can refer to this handy article to find your skin type.

That being said, let’s delve into some potential side effects and interactions that could arise from using Uncaria Gambir Extract:

  • Skin Irritation: For some individuals, sensitive skin may react negatively to the extract, causing redness, itching, or inflammation. It’s important to remember that negative responses could stem from other additives in the product you’re using, not solely the Uncaria Gambir Extract itself.
  • Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction to Uncaria Gambir Extract. This may result in hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you suspect an allergy, discontinue use immediately and consult a healthcare professional.

If you experience any of these side effects while using a product containing Uncaria Gambir Extract, the best course of action is to discontinue using the product and confer with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on the appropriate steps for managing the side effect and determine whether the product in question is suitable for your skin or not.

Fortunately, adverse reactions to Uncaria Gambir Extract are few and far between. Generally speaking, the ingredient is considered safe and effective for most individuals when used as directed. As with any cosmetic product, the importance of patch testing cannot be stressed enough. Before committing to any new skincare or cosmetic product, it’s wise to conduct a patch test as per this patch testing guide. Taking this extra step helps ensure a pleasurable and reaction-free experience with Uncaria Gambir Extract’s wonderful benefits.

Comedogenic Rating

Uncaria Gambir Extract earns itself a fairly amiable comedogenic rating of 2. This means it’s relatively low on the comedogenic scale, with 0 being non-comedogenic and 5 being the most comedogenic. The score of 2 indicates that, for most individuals, the extract is unlikely to clog pores or exacerbate acne-prone skin. Keep in mind that, as with any ingredient, individual experiences can vary.

For those wrestling with breakouts or acne, Uncaria Gambir Extract can be deemed a suitable contender, especially considering its astringent and oil-controlling properties. But as always, it’s essential to monitor how your skin responds to the ingredient and adjust your skincare routine accordingly.


The pursuit of skincare and hair care success is akin to an enthralling treasure hunt—it involves a pinch of experimentation, a dash of trial and error, and a whole lot of curiosity. It may take time to discover the perfect ingredients and formulations that mesh flawlessly with your unique skin type, but the end result is well worth the effort.

When it comes to Uncaria Gambir Extract, this lesser-known gem of an ingredient packs a punch with its toning, tightening, and oil-balancing properties. While it might not yet enjoy the limelight as much as other well-established cosmetic darlings, it still holds the potential to elevate your skincare game.

In conclusion, understanding Uncaria Gambir Extract’s potential benefits and side effects, as well as its compatibility with your skin type, plays a vital role in unlocking the key to your best skin yet. From refining your complexion to taming your oiliness, this versatile ingredient could be just the secret weapon your skincare arsenal needed.

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