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Regulating oily skin with nettle?

The nettle is a perennial plant native to the temperate zones of Eurasia, commonly used in cosmetics for skin and hair care. It is particularly renowned for its sebum-regulating action, making it a valuable ally for individuals with oily skin. Discover how nettle can help regulate sebum production.

Published February 8, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

What are the characteristics of oily skin?

An oily skin is constantly shiny and glossy due to an overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands, organs of the dermis present all over the skin except for the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Sebum is a complex lipid mixture that is part of the hydrolipidic film present on the surface of the epidermis. This film plays a protective role for the skin and prevents its dehydration. Thus, sebum can be described as an essential element for skin health. However, overproduction has negative consequences.

appearance of blemishes. An excess of sebum can indeed clog the pores of the skin and promote bacterial proliferation - notably that of Cutibacterium acnes , playing a role in acne. Moreover, oily skin is often a source of aesthetic concern due to the greasy appearance it gives to the skin. It's also worth noting that makeup has a harder time staying on oily skin. Overproduction of sebum is generally due to endogenous factors , such as heredity or hormonal fluctuations.

What is the effect of nettle on oily skin?

Thenettle extract (INCI: Urtica Dioica Leaf Extract), derived from the leaves of the dioecious nettle, is a natural ingredient abundantly present in the cosmetics market. Antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory... its properties are numerous. Thenettle extract is particularly considered as an ally for oily skin and possesses sebum-regulating properties.

This natural ingredient is indeed capable ofinhibiting 5-α-reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Testosterone is the main androgen in men, while in women it is Δ-4-androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone. Within the sebocyte, these androgens are transformed by various enzymes into testosterone, before forming dihydrotestosterone under the action of 5-α-reductase. However, DHT stimulates the production of sebum. Indeed, when this androgen binds to a specific cytosolic receptor located in the sebaceous glands, it triggers an increase in the activity of the sebaceous glands, and therefore an intensification of sebum synthesis. By inhibiting this process, nettle thus helps to regulate oily skin.

A recent study evaluated the sebum-regulating properties of oral nettle intake. 20 women suffering from hyperandrogenism, a condition characterized by high levels of androgens, took 300 to 600 mg of nettle extract every day for four months. Their total testosterone levels, taking into account the amount of testosterone and its derivatives, including DHT, were measured before and after the experiment. Researchers observed an average decrease of 35% in the participants' total testosterone levels at the end of the four months. The individuals' perceptions of their skin's oiliness were also collected: 20% of them noticed an improvement. This may seem small, but it's important to remember that the hyperandrogenism the participants were suffering from is a medical condition requiring regular intake of anti-androgens to be controlled. Nettle can only supplement their medical treatment, its sebum-regulating potential being more pronounced in individuals not suffering from severe endocrine disorders.

Discover the purifying mask from Typology.

At Typology, we offer you a purifying mask based on nettle extract, green clay, and pine charcoal, active ingredients that are sebum-regulating and favored by oily skin types. Composed of 99% natural ingredients, this treatment dries out blemishes and tightens pores for healthier skin. Its clay-like texture leaves the skin soft and comfortable. Our mask should be applied once or twice a week on cleansed skin and left on the face for about fifteen minutes before rinsing.


  • ALIASGHARZADEH A. & al. Therapeutic effects of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) in women with Hyperandrogenism. International Journal of Current Research and Academic Review (2014).

  • BENMOUSSA A. & al. Mise en valeur du potentiel nutritionnel et thérapeutique de l’ortie dioïque (Urtica dioïca L.). Hegel (2016).

  • SEMALTY A. & al. A Comprehensive Review on Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Effects of Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica). Current traditional medicine (2017).


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