What Is Quercetin?

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We all have high expectations for our skin care. We want natural, gentle ingredients that are good for our skin, but we also want results. When it comes to anti-aging products, skin care formulators are always on the lookout for effective compounds that will fight wrinkles and signs of aging without damaging or dehydrating the skin. Enter quercetin (pronounced KWUR-SUH-tin).

As we welcomed Korres Natural Products to Beautylish Boutiques, we noticed the brand’s Quercetin & Oak line extended to both skin care and makeup, and decided to investigate and find out more about the ingredient.

What is Quercetin, exactly?

Quercetin is a flavonoid (or plant pigment) found in many plants and foods like green tea, apples, berries, grapes, and oak trees. It’s the compound that gives many fruits and vegetables their vibrant color. Historically, doctors have prescribed quercetin as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, as well as to treat heart conditions: studies suggest that quercetin and other flavonoids may reduce the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks or strokes. 

Quercetin in Skin Care

As an anti-inflammatory, quercetin has soothing, redness-reducing properties. But there’s more to it than that! Flavonoids like quercetin are antioxidants, so they help neutralize free radicals, one of the leading causes of aging. How does that work, exactly? A 2010 study showed that when applied topically, quercetin was a potent proteasome activator. In other words, it helped to rejuvenate middle-aged or dying cells and even stimulated the growth of new cells. In addition to helping skin cells function better, quercetin can diminish fine lines and wrinkles and improve the skin’s texture and elasticity.

Who Should Try it?

Quercetin is thought to be a gentler alternative to the common wrinkle-fighter retinol, which can irritate sensitive skin. But the ingredient has benefits beyond anti-aging, too. “As an anti-inflammatory, the ingredient would be ideal for sensitive and acneic skin that is usually very reactive to skin products,” says Jenny Frankel, beauty engineer and consultant at Frankly Beauty and a former cosmetics formulator. Korres’ category headlined by the ingredient has everything from serum and night cream (the latter won Elle Magazine’s 2010 World’s Best Beauty Products Award) to a face primer and a concealer that comes in four shades. If you’re in search of non-irritating makeup basics, this range might be worth a try!

What natural-based anti-agers have worked for you? Let us know in the comments!