Camphor Induces Proliferative and Anti-senescence Activities in Human Primary Dermal Fibroblasts and Inhibits UV-Induced Wrinkle Formation in Mouse Skin

Phytother Res. 2015 Dec;29(12):1917-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5484. Epub 2015 Oct 13.


Camphor ((1R)-1,7,7-trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-one), a bicyclic monoterpene, is one of the major constituents of essential oils from various herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and sage. In this study, we investigated the beneficial effects of camphor as a botanical ingredient in cosmetics. Camphor induced the proliferation of human primary dermal fibroblasts in a dose-dependent manner via the PI3K/AKT and ERK signaling pathways. Camphor attenuated the elevation of senescence associated with β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) activity. Elastase activity decreased, while the total amount of collagen increased, in a dose- and time-dependent manner in human primary dermal fibroblasts treated with camphor. Camphor induced the expression of collagen IA, collagen IIIA, collagen IVA, and elastin in human primary dermal fibroblasts. In addition, posttreatment with 26 and 52 mM camphor for 2 weeks led to a significant reduction in the expression of MMP1 but increases in the expression of collagen IA, IIIA, and elastin in mouse skin exposed to UV for 4 weeks. These posttreatments also reduced the depths of the epidermis and subcutaneous fat layer in UV-exposed mouse skin. Taken together, these findings suggest camphor to be a potent wound healing and antiwrinkle agent with considerable potential for use in cosmeceuticals.

Keywords: ERK; ROS; antiaging; camphor; dermal fibroblast; proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Camphor / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Elastin / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matricaria / chemistry
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 13 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Camphor
  • Collagen
  • Elastin
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 13
  • Mmp13 protein, mouse