The Natural Benefits of Beta-Thujaplicin


Beta-thujaplicin is an organic compound found in the oil of the Pacific red cedar tree that has been shown to have natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties.

This ingredient has been intensely studied for decades with more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific articles on its biological effects. Some of these benefits can be put to good use in both cosmetic and and personal care products:

  • Potent antioxidant 
  • Anti-pigmentation and anti-melanogenic effects
  • Natural antibiotic
  • Anti-inflammatory

First and foremost, beta-thujaplicin – or beta-t as we call it in the office – has been found to be a potent antioxidant, quenching free radicals from environmental and inflammatory processes and limiting the skin damage that they can cause. Beta-t also appears to provide natural prevention and repair of pigment defects—one of the chief age-related complaints.

Naturally reduces sunspots and age spots 


Beta-t inhibits the formation of pigment by blocking the enzyme tyrosinase, and acting as a biological lightening agent for dark spots and age spots. This is the same mechanism of action used by the most common chemical lightening agent, hydroquinone. The chief difference between the two is that, naturally occurring beta-thujaplicin achieves its results without the documented side-effects which accompany hydroquinone.

What's more, as hydroquinone is derived from a phenol compound, and there is a concern for potential carcinogenic effects along with the paradoxical effect of skin darkening when this product is used at high concentrations. For these reasons, hydroquinone has been banned for use as a lightening agent in several countries around the world.

Beta-t in your favourite Riversol products

Through his clinical practice and research, Dr. Rivers met countless individuals with sun damage and hyperpigmentation. While there were some options on the market available to help, they weren't without complications or side effects. In his practice, many patients would have an underlying skin sensitivity such as intolerance to other products, rosacea, eczema, etc. For these patients, hydroquinone and similar treatments were not an option.

Dr. Rivers encountered beta-t through his work at the University of British Columbia. At the time, the body of research around this molecule had already been well established. In an interview, Dr. Rivers later reported:

"I've spent many years as a dermatologist working with patients who have severe sun damage and skin cancer. The more research I did, the more impressed I was with this unique ingredient and its ability to reduce the look of sunspots and improve skin clarity and texture."

The downside of beta-t in a topical preparation is that it doesn't stabilize easily. It took years of formulation chemistry to ensure that this ingredient remained stable in Riversol formulations, that’s why you likely won’t find many other cosmetics products with a beta-t formulation.  


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  2.  Cho YM, Hasumura M, Takami S, Imai T, Hirose M, Ogawa K, Nishikawa A.A (2011)13-week subchronic toxicity study of hinokitiol administered in the diet to F344 rats. Food Chem Toxicol. Aug;49(8):1782-6. View Abstract
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