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The Benefits of 4-Terpineol in Skincare

What is 4-terpineol for skin?

4-terpineol is a type of natural terpene alcohol. Terpenes are a large class of organic compounds produced by plants and often have a strong aroma to them. As such, terpenes are often important when it comes to bringing natural fragrance to flavoured drinks and skincare products. 4-terpineol is a colourless, clear liquid with a floral and piney scent, similar to that of tea tree oil. This comes as no surprise as 4-terpineol is the most active ingredient of the 15 major components in tea tree oil and this skincare ingredient is usually extracted from steam distillation or solvent extraction.


What are the benefits of 4-terpineol in skincare?

Now that we’ve talked about the characteristics of 4-terpineol, let’s dive into the world of 4-terpineol and discover all the benefits and what makes it such a popular skincare ingredient in the world of skincare.


Anti-inflammatory benefits of 4-terpineol

4-terpineol prevents inflammatory reactions in the skin by regulating the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that are released by the immune cells in response to infection or injury that can cause inflammation in the skin. This is evident in a study published through the National Library of Medicine where researchers evaluated each individual component of tea tree oil for its anti-inflammatory properties, and it was found that only terpinen-4-ol was able to suppress the inflammatory markers activated by white blood cells in the human body up to 40 hours from time of exposure.


Antioxidant benefits of 4-terpineol

4-terpineol has shown potential antioxidant benefits by preventing inflammation through the reduction of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, leading to damage in cells and tissues. IIn a study done on the antioxidant properties of N.sativa, also known as black cumin, it was found that compounds like 4-terpineol play an important role in binding and neutralizing free radicals. In addition, there was another discovery on the potential benefit of 4-terpineol in reducing the number of tumor cells when used in combination with melanoma therapies.


4-terpineol for acne

So, how can 4-terpineol help treat acne? 4-terpineol has antimicrobial properties that help fight the bacteria that contributes to acne. A study published in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, it was found that the components of tea tree oil, specifically terpinen-4-ol, terpinolene, terpinen-4-ol, terpinolene, α-terpinene, and α-terpineol had strong microbial inhibitory effects against Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus aureus. These two bacteria are commonly found on human skin and do not usually cause an issue. However, when there is an imbalance in the skin microbiome, these bacteria can over-produce and induce acne formation and cause a cascade of inflammatory response.


What are the side effects of using 4-terpineol?

Unlike the use of pure tea tree oil on the skin which can be irritating to the skin when used in high concentration or when it is not diluted appropriately, 4-terpineol has a low irritancy potential and is less toxic in comparison. It is a gentle alternative for those with oily and sensitive skin who are seeking a treatment to control sebum production and reduce redness and inflamed skin. In fact, it is also a promising ingredient to enhance the penetration of topical skincare ingredients in the outermost layer of the skin


The RNW Der. Concentrate 4-Terpineol Plus Serum that aims to fight stubborn acne breakouts, control sebum production and to restore the skin barrier. The combination of 4-terpineol and hydrating ingredients such as beta glucan and hyaluronic acid helps ensure that these beneficial ingredients are able to penetrate deep into the skin layers to hydrate and soothe the skin from inside out.



Tighe, S., Gao, Y., Tseng, SCG. Terpinen-4-ol is the Most Active Ingredient of Tea Tree Oil to Kill Demodex Mites. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2013 Nov; 2(7): 2. doi:10.1167/tvst.2.7.2


Lee, CJ., Chen, LW., Chen, LG., Chang, TL., Huang, CW., Huang, MC., Wang, CC. Correlations of the components of tea tree oil with its antibacterial effects and skin irritation. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. Volume 21, Issue 2: June 2013. 169-176. doi:10.1016/j.jfda.2013.05.007


Hart, PH., Brand, C., Carson, CF., Riley, TV., Prager, RH., Finlay-Jones, JJ. Terpinen-4-ol, the main component of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil), suppresses inflammatory mediator production by activated human monocytes. Inflamm Res. 2000 Nov;49(11):619-26. doi:10.1007/s000110050639.


Khalee, C., Tabanca, N., Buchbauer, G. α-Terpineol, a natural monoterpene: A review of its biological properties. Journal of Open Chemistry. 2018. doi:10.1515/chem-2018-0040


Martile, MD., Garzoli, S., Sabatino, M., Valentini, E., D’Aguanno, S., Rgano, R., Del Bufalo, D. Antitumor effect of Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil and its main component terpinen-4-ol in combination with target therapy in melanoma models. Cell Death Discovery volume 7, Article number: 127 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41420-021-00510-3


Tarvakkoli, A., Hosseinzadeh, H. Chapter 21 - Nigella sativa L. and thymoquinone as neuroprotective antioxidants. Oxidative Stress and Dietary Antioxidants in Neurological Diseases 2020. 325-341. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-817780-8.00021-9

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