Xanthorrhizol: What Is It, Skin Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: June 27, 2023
Table of Contents

Navigating the world of cosmetics can feel like stepping into a complex labyrinth filled with scientific jargon and mysterious ingredients. With an ever-growing number of products on the market, it’s essential to stay informed about the various components that make their way into our skincare and beauty routines.

One such ingredient that may have caught your attention is Xanthorrhizol. It’s safe to say that this name doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as some others, leaving many of us to wonder what exactly it is. In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of Xanthorrhizol, exploring its origins, its role within cosmetic products, and the skin benefits and potential side effects that come along with its use.

What is Xanthorrhizol?

Xanthorrhizol is a naturally occurring organic compound that is found in the roots of the Curcuma xanthorrhiza plant, commonly known as Javanese turmeric or temulawak. Its official function, as per CosIng, is listed as ANTI-SEBUM, which means it helps to regulate the production of sebum and prevent excessive oiliness on the skin. This property makes it particularly valuable in formulations aimed at skincare and cosmetics, with its efficacy in maintaining a healthy balance in our skin.

In the cosmetic industry, Xanthorrhizol can be found as part of a more extensive formulation of ingredients, typically included in products designed to address oily skin or acne-prone conditions. While it is not usually available as a stand-alone product, its presence in specific formulations is a testament to its essential role in maintaining skin health.

Who Can Use Xanthorrhizol?

Xanthorrhizol is a versatile ingredient with properties that can benefit various skin types. It is particularly suitable for those with oily or acne-prone skin, thanks to its ability to regulate sebum production. However, it can also be useful for combination and normal skin types, as it helps maintain balance and overall skin health.

As a naturally derived ingredient, Xanthorrhizol is considered to be safe for use by vegans and vegetarians, making it an excellent option for those seeking plant-based skincare solutions. In terms of pregnancy and breastfeeding, while there are no specific contraindications that would preclude its use, it is always advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating any new ingredients into your personal care routine during these sensitive periods.

Xanthorrhizol Skin Benefits

Xanthorrhizol offers several key benefits for skin health, addressing various concerns that many individuals may experience due to excessive sebum production. Here, we discuss these benefits in greater depth:

  • Regulation of sebum production: As mentioned earlier, Xanthorrhizol’s primary function is ANTI-SEBUM. Excessive sebum production can lead to an oily complexion and contribute to the development of acne. The presence of Xanthorrhizol in a formulation helps to inhibit excessive sebum production, leading to a more balanced and less oily appearance.
  • Prevention of acne: By controlling the production of sebum, Xanthorrhizol indirectly helps to reduce the occurrence of acne breakouts. Sebum buildup can lead to clogged pores and the growth of acne-causing bacteria. By limiting sebum production, Xanthorrhizol can be beneficial for those dealing with acne-prone skin.
  • Promotion of healthier and clearer skin: With its ability to regulate sebum production and prevent acne, Xanthorrhizol contributes to an overall improvement in skin clarity and health. Users may notice a reduction in the appearance of blemishes, a more even skin tone, and a brighter complexion over time.

It’s important to note that the aforementioned benefits of Xanthorrhizol will not be permanent, and the consistent use of products containing this ingredient will be necessary to maintain the positive effects over the long term. Like any other skincare ingredient, a dedication to routine application is crucial for achieving and maintaining healthy, balanced skin.

Xanthorrhizol Potential Side Effects

While Xanthorrhizol is known for its beneficial properties, it’s crucial to acknowledge that individual reactions to skincare ingredients can vary from person to person. Differences in skin types, sensitivities, and specific needs all contribute to diverse experiences when using cosmetic products. To better understand your unique skin’s requirements, you may want to find your skin type before incorporating new ingredients.

Potential side effects of Xanthorrhizol include:

  • Dryness: While Xanthorrhizol is effective in reducing sebum production, it may, in some cases, cause excessive dryness, particularly for those with naturally dry or sensitive skin.
  • Skin irritation: As with any ingredient, Xanthorrhizol has the potential to cause irritation for some individuals, particularly if they have sensitive skin or a pre-existing skin condition. This could result in redness, itching, or discomfort.
  • Allergic reactions: In rare cases, Xanthorrhizol might trigger an allergic reaction for some users. Watch for signs of a potential allergic reaction, such as hives, rashes, or excessive itchiness.

If you experience any of these side effects while using a product containing Xanthorrhizol, it’s advisable to discontinue its use and consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for guidance on alternative skincare options.

It’s essential to note that adverse reactions to Xanthorrhizol are rare, and the ingredient is generally considered safe and effective for most users. However, as a precautionary measure, it’s always a good practice to perform patch tests when trying new products or ingredients. Our patch testing guide can help you understand how to test products safely, ensuring that you can avoid adverse reactions before fully incorporating them into your daily regimen.

Comedogenic Rating

Xanthorrhizol’s comedogenic rating sits at a low 0-1 range, meaning it is non-comedogenic to very minimally comedogenic. This rating is attributed to its primary function as an ANTI-SEBUM ingredient, which specifically targets excessive oil production that can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts. As such, Xanthorrhizol is a suitable choice for individuals with acne-prone skin or those looking for skincare ingredients that would not aggravate breakouts or contribute to pore congestion.


Success in skincare largely involves experimentation and finding the perfect balance of ingredients that cater to your unique skin type and concerns. Xanthorrhizol’s anti-sebum effects offer a compelling reason for those with oily or acne-prone skin to consider incorporating products containing this ingredient into their skincare routine, as it provides targeted benefits that can yield significant improvements in skin health and appearance.

Xanthorrhizol’s popularity in the cosmetics industry is on the rise, though it may still be considered somewhat of an avant-garde ingredient compared to more mainstream options. Nevertheless, its ability to regulate sebum production and tackle acne-related issues makes it a valuable component in specific skincare formulations.

The duration of time before visible results may vary between users, but generally, a consistent application over a few weeks should provide noticeable changes in the skin’s tone, clarity, and oiliness.

Summing up, Xanthorrhizol’s low comedogenic rating and targeted benefits for oily and acne-prone skin make it a compelling choice for those seeking a plant-derived solution.

Tell us how you found this article in just a couple of clicks!
Delivered right to your inbox each week. Zero spam, all goodness, opt-out at anytime.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
How did you find this article?
Tell us how you found this article in just a couple of clicks!
Get all our top headlines in beauty.
Delivered right to your inbox each week. Zero spam, all goodness, opt-out at anytime.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Send good feedback:

All feedback is anonymous and will be used to improve the quality of our articles.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Send bad feedback:

All feedback is anonymous and will be used to improve the quality of our articles.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.