Xanthohumol: What Is It, Skin Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: June 26, 2023
Table of Contents

We’ve all been there – standing in the beauty aisle, carefully examining the ingredients list on the back of a cosmetic product, trying to decipher the complex names and wondering what on earth they all mean. It can feel like you’re attempting to crack the code to a mysterious beauty language, and it’s not always easy to understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of these ingredients.

One such enigmatic component that you might have stumbled across in your cosmetics is Xanthohumol. Sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, doesn’t it? But fear not, because we’re here to explore and unravel the secrets of this fascinating ingredient.

In this article, we will dive deep into the world of Xanthohumol – delving into its scientific background, the reasons it’s used in cosmetic products, and any potential side effects or precautions you should be aware of.

What is Xanthohumol?

Xanthohumol, also known as 1-[(2,4-Dihydroxy-6-methoxy-3-prenyl)phenyl]-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-propen-1-one, is a natural compound derived from the hops plant, mainly found in beer. In the context of cosmetics, Xanthohumol has been recognized for its skin-conditioning properties. As a skin conditioning agent, it serves to maintain the skin’s overall health, appearance, and texture by providing hydration, reducing irritation, and helping the skin to repair and regenerate itself.

Xanthohumol is typically found as a component within more comprehensive formulations in cosmetic products, rather than as a stand-alone ingredient. Its concentration varies depending on the specific formulation and the intended purpose of the product.

Who Can Use Xanthohumol?

The good news is that Xanthohumol is suitable for all skin types, from the most sensitive to oily and acne-prone skin. Whether you’re dealing with dryness, sensitivity, or occasional breakouts, there’s a good chance that Xanthohumol can be a valuable addition to your skincare routine.

As a naturally-derived ingredient, Xanthohumol is generally considered to be vegan and vegetarian friendly, making it an appealing option for those who prefer plant-based cosmetic products.

When it comes to pregnancy and breastfeeding, as always, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider about any specific concerns or restrictions. In general, Xanthohumol is not known to pose significant risks to pregnant or breastfeeding individuals. However, it’s essential to follow any guidance provided by a healthcare professional and exercise caution when trying new cosmetic ingredients during these sensitive periods.

Xanthohumol Skin Benefits

Xanthohumol possesses numerous skin benefits, thanks to its skin-conditioning properties. Below, we’ll explore these advantages in greater detail:

  • Hydration: Xanthohumol helps to retain and balance the skin’s moisture levels, providing essential nourishment to alleviate dryness. By maintaining optimal hydration, the skin appears plumper, healthier, and more radiant. This benefit is particularly valuable for those with dry or mature skin, as it helps counteract the visible signs of aging.
  • Reduction of irritation and inflammation: As a natural compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Xanthohumol can soothe irritated skin and reduce inflammation, making it an excellent choice for sensitive or inflamed skin conditions. This calming effect helps to alleviate redness, itchiness, and discomfort often associated with sensitivity or inflammation.
  • Enhanced repair and regeneration: Xanthohumol promotes skin cell turnover and regeneration, helping the skin to repair itself more efficiently. This process can lead to improved skin texture, as well as reduced appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. By encouraging new cell growth, Xanthohumol can assist in maintaining youthful and healthy-looking skin.
  • Protection from environmental stressors: Xanthohumol’s antioxidant properties neutralize free radicals resulting from environmental stressors, such as pollution and UV exposure. This protective function can contribute to the skin’s overall health and resilience over time, helping to mitigate damage and signs of premature aging.

It’s essential to note that the beneficial effects of Xanthohumol, like most cosmetic ingredients, are not permanent. To maintain these skin improvements, continued and consistent usage of products containing Xanthohumol is necessary.

Xanthohumol Potential Side Effects

It’s important to remember that side effects and reactions to cosmetic ingredients, including Xanthohumol, can vary from person to person. This variability is due to differences in individual skin types, sensitivities, and responses to specific ingredients. To better understand your skin’s unique characteristics, you can find your skin type by checking out a comprehensive guide.

Although Xanthohumol is generally considered safe, it’s still essential to be aware of potential side effects and interactions, which may include:

  • Mild skin irritation: While rare, some users might experience redness, itching, or mild discomfort when using products containing Xanthohumol. These symptoms are typically temporary and subside once the product is discontinued.
  • Allergic reactions: In even rarer cases, some individuals might exhibit a more severe reaction to Xanthohumol, resulting in hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. This type of response is indicative of an allergy to the ingredient and warrants immediate medical attention.

If you experience any of these side effects while using Xanthohumol or a product containing it, it’s crucial to discontinue usage and seek guidance from a healthcare professional or dermatologist. They will be able to advise you on alternative products or ingredients more suitable for your skin type and specific needs.

It’s worth noting that adverse reactions to Xanthohumol are rare, and for most users, the ingredient is both safe and effective. However, it’s always a wise idea to conduct a patch test before incorporating new products into your skincare routine. Our patch testing guide can help you understand the process and ensure that new ingredients are compatible with your skin before committing to regular use. By taking these precautions, you can optimize your skincare regimen and confidently enjoy the benefits of Xanthohumol.

Comedogenic Rating

Xanthohumol has a comedogenic rating of 0, making it non-comedogenic. This rating means that it is unlikely to clog pores or contribute to the development of acne, blackheads, or other pore-related issues. The low comedogenic rating can be attributed to its natural derivation from the hops plant and its skin-soothing and conditioning properties.

As a result, Xanthohumol is a suitable ingredient for those who are prone to acne or breakouts. Its non-comedogenic nature allows it to provide multiple skincare benefits without exacerbating existing concerns or causing new ones.


The journey to achieving your best skin involves experimentation and trial and error, as every individual’s skin is unique in its sensitivities, needs, and responses to various ingredients. When it comes to selecting products for your skincare regimen, you might opt for those containing Xanthohumol due to its natural origin, skin-conditioning properties, and affinity for all skin types – including acne-prone individuals.

While Xanthohumol might not be as popular or widely known as some other cosmetic ingredients, it certainly has its share of benefits and potential uses in the skincare world. It may not be the most avant-garde ingredient out there, but its efficacy, safety, and compatibility with various skin types make it a valuable addition to many formulas.

Seeing results from the use of Xanthohumol, like with most cosmetic ingredients, requires time and patience. Most individuals will notice improvements in their skin’s health and appearance over several weeks of consistent use. It’s crucial to maintain a regular skincare routine and give Xanthohumol ample opportunity to work its magic.

Summing up, Xanthohumol is a versatile, naturally-derived ingredient that offers a range of benefits for maintaining and improving the skin’s health and appearance. While it may not be the most popular or mainstream ingredient, it has undoubtedly earned a worthy place in the world of skincare and cosmetics.

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