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Fighting Adult Acne With Organic Compounds

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

For adults who suffer from acne caused by bacteria, organic compounds extracted from plants is the solution many have been searching for.

After reading about our Science, check out our product link at the bottom of the page.

The bacteria that causes acne

The bacteria that causes acne is called Propionibacterium acnes, for short P. acnes. While P. acnes has strains that cause acne, it also has strains that are very beneficial to your skin [1], which you want to protect. Strong acne treatments can do more harm than good because they kill ALL bacteria. Ideally, the bad cells need to be killed, but not the good ones. This article will discuss how plant based extracts are used to selectively eliminate bacteria and give you the results you're looking for.

The benefits of plant based organic compounds

Plants have developed organic compounds over time to protect them from diseases and predators. This includes bacterial infections and microbial pathogens [2]. The extraction of essential oils from plants has provided an easy way for humans to benefit from the same protective properties that plants use.

Research into the medical and therapeutic effects of essential oils and the organic compounds found within them has dramatically increased. Organic compounds such as terpenes and phenylpropenes show a remarkable ability to control the rapid cell growth of bacteria and cancer [2].

Research shows that acne causing bacteria have a higher disease score than healthy strains of P. acnes [1]. The study calculated disease scores from various factors such as sensitivity to sun related DNA damage and dead tissue levels [1].

This is where the use and benefits of specific organic compounds come in. Products containing Terpenes and phenylpropenes may aid in your skins ability to protect and regenerate itself.

Kill the bad cells with terpenes

Two terpenes of high interest are monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. These terpenes target cells that show signs of disease and kill them. Two ways this occurs is through necrosis and apoptosis, both meaning cellular death. Necrosis is when the terpene penetrates through the cell membrane of the 'bad' cell causing enough damage that the cell dies [2]. Apoptosis- is when the terpene programs the cell to die naturally. This is an instruction that completes the cells life-cycle [2].

Protect the good cells with phenylpropenes

Phenylpropenes are great for your skin cells. They are high in antioxidant properties which remove free radicals from your body. Free radicals are caused by radiation from the sun, pollution, and even normal exposure to air. Antioxidants are important because they stop the oxidation process that free radicals cause. Free radicals will attack other molecules to gain an electron in order to become stable. This is called oxidation and you want to avoid this because it can cause DNA and cell membrane damage [3].

The solution

Noctua Soap Co. formulated a proprietary blend of essential oils called Rejuvenation.

Rejuvenation contains organic compounds with specific ratios of sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes, and phenylpropenes. Below highlights three of the essential oils contained in Rejuvenation which will leave you feeling fresh, healthy & clean.

Sweet basil essential oil

Sweet basil is a great antioxidant rich in phenlypropenes [2]. The antibacterial properties of sweet basil have been shown to significantly reduce P. acnes strains [4].

Grapefruit essential oil

Grapefruit has the highest levels of a monoterpene called d-limonene. Grapefruit essential oil has very strong antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer qualities [2].

Tangerine essential oil

Tangerine essential oil is also known for its strong antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It contains a compound γ-Terpinene which has been shown to scavenge free radicals to protect DNA [6].

Rejuvenation is in both our soap and night cream. Although it was formulated for acne, the organic compounds discussed above can improve various types of problematic skin. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe below in the footer of our website!


[1] Stacey L. Kolar, Chih-Ming Tsai, Juan Torres, Xuemo Fan, Huiying Li, George Y. Liu. Propionibacterium acnes–induced immunopathology correlates with health and disease association. JCI Insight, 2019; 4 (5) DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.124687

[2] Sharifi-Rad, J.; Sureda, A.; Tenore, G.C.; Daglia, M.; Sharifi-Rad, M.; Valussi, M.; Tundis, R.; Sharifi-Rad, M.; Loizzo, M.R.; Ademiluyi, A.O.; et al. Biological Activities of Essential Oils: From Plant Chemoecology to Traditional Healing Systems. Molecules 2017, 22, 70.

[3] Poljšak, Borut, and Raja Dahmane. “Free radicals and extrinsic skin aging.” Dermatology research and practice vol. 2012 (2012): 135206. doi:10.1155/2012/135206

[4] Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils Against Five Strains of Propionibacterium acnes JCI Insight. 2019;4(5):e124687.

[5] Dosoky, Noura S, and William N Setzer. “Biological Activities and Safety of Citrus spp. Essential Oils.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19,7 1966. 5 Jul. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijms19071966

[6] Unusual Antioxidant Behavior of α- and γ-Terpinene in Protecting Methyl Linoleate, DNA, and Erythrocyte. Guo-Xiang Li and Zai-Qun LiuJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2009 57 (9), 3943-3948DOI: 10.1021/jf803358g

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