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What-it-does: antioxidant, soothing

Official CosIng Information


Quercetin is a polyphenol flavonoid found in lots of plants, such as red onions, broccoli, and blueberries. The reason it is in cosmetics is that - similar to other polyphenols - it is a strong antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Other than that, a study also showed that adding quercetin to sunscreens helped to stabilize the otherwise not very stable chemical UV filters avobenzone and octinoxate against degradation -- and it did better than traditional stabilizers like octocrylene and vitamin E

There are also some studies into the use of quercetin as a skin whitening agent, but after some conflicting results, the conclusion is that "quercetin is not effective in cosmetic applications as a whitening ingredient". It also shows minor cytotoxicity when compared to some of its polyphenol derivatives (such as rutin), so quercetin is a good example where more is not better.

Show me some proof

  • Bonina, Francesco, Maria Lanza, Lucia Montenegro, Claudio Puglisi, Antonio Tomaino, Domenico Trombetta, Francesco Castelli, and Antonella Saija. 1996. “Flavonoids as Potential Protective Agents against Photo-Oxidative Skin Damage.” International Journal of Pharmaceutics 145 (1): 87–94.
  • Boots, Agnes W., Lonneke C. Wilms, Els L. R. Swennen, Jos C. S. Kleinjans, Aalt Bast, and Guido R. M. M. Haenen. 2008. “In Vitro and Ex Vivo Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Quercetin in Healthy Volunteers.” Nutrition 24 (7): 703–10.
  • Choi, Moon-Hee, and Hyun-Jae Shin. 2016. “Anti-Melanogenesis Effect of Quercetin.” Cosmetics 3 (2): 18.
  • Kitagawa, Shuji, Yuko Tanaka, Manami Tanaka, Kanako Endo, and Akiko Yoshii. 2009. “Enhanced Skin Delivery of Quercetin by Microemulsion.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 61 (7): 855–60.
  • Scalia, Santo, and Matteo Mezzena. 2010. “Photostabilization Effect of Quercetin on the UV Filter Combination, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane–Octyl Methoxycinnamate.” Photochemistry and Photobiology 86 (2): 273–78.

Products with Quercetin

Sesderma C Vit Liposomal Serum Paula's Choice Resist Super-Light Wrinkle Defense Spf 30 Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Serum Triple Correction Eye Serum Paula's Choice Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Blooming Essence Face Oil Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum Sesderma C Vit Moisturising Facial Cream Elta MD Uv Lip Balm Broad-Spectrum Spf 31 Sesderma Factor G Renew Serum Regimen Lab Vitamin X Drunk Elephant F-Balm™ Electrolyte Waterfacial EltaMD Uv Physical Spf 41 Sunscreen Sesderma C-Vit Radiance Ausceuticals Vitamin B Serum (Reformulated) Epionce Purifying Spot Gel Ausceuticals Vitamin B Serum Ho Karan Energizing Serum Cosmedix Elite Pepoxide Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner Dr Dennis Gross Clinical Grade Ipl Dark Spot Correcting Serum EltaMD Uv Physical Tinted Face Sunscreen Spf 41 Lord Jones Acid Mantle Repair Moisturizer With 250Mg Cbd And Ceramides pureclinica Triple Strength Vitamin C, E & Ferulic Acid Serum (W/Retinol & Hyaluronic Acid) Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Pore Perfecting & Refining Serum Skin Actives Uv Repair Cream Skin Actives Ultra Calming Cream Josie Maran Beta-Retinoid Pink Algae Serum Milk Makeup Kush Lip Balm Venn Age-Reversing All-In-One Concentrate Epionce Renewal Body Lotion Epionce Renewal Facial Cream Epionce Renewal Facial Lotion Epionce Renewal Lite Facial Lotion Sesderma Resveraderm Antiox Serum Epionce Renewal Eye Cream Epionce Renewal Facial Cream Epionce Anti-Aging Lip Renewal Epionce Intensive Nourishing Cream Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Blooming Flower Cream