HARNESS THE POWER OF PLANTS: FIVE HERBS AND PLANTS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR SKIN GLOW
More and more of us are becoming interested in living sustainably, and skincare is no exception. Here, the natural skincare experts at The Organic Pharmacy have picked out the plants that can help get you that glowing complexion.
Recent research by E.ON has shown that sustainability is very much on the agenda for consumers this year, with 89% of Brits putting ‘being more environmentally friendly’ on their list of priorities for 2021. Added to this, the organisation behind National Allotments Week says they have records of 100 allotments registered across the UK as people grow their own herbs, plants, vegetables and fruit.
Natural skincare has always been a popular way to utilise plants, and this renewed interest in sustainability has seen more people become interested in what plants can do for their skin. What’s more, Pinterest recently conducted some research and predicted that Skinimalism, the skincare version of minimalism, is set to rise. So, which plants can bring skincare benefits? Below, I’ll take you through five of the best.
You might know chamomile from the relaxing herbal tea you have before bedtime, but it’s also a great plant for your skin. It contains high amounts of the compound alpha-bisabolol, which can help reduce inflammation, as noted by a recent scientific review in Molecular Medicine Report. The review also found that the beneficial components of chamomile are able to penetrate into the skin’s deeper layers. This means that it’s able to make more of an impact on your skin, and can help with eczema, allergic reactions and even acne by soothing your complexion.
Plenty of soothing products now contain chamomile, so you should be able to find lots of choices to include this soothing plant in your regimen. You can even try using the herbal tea you make from it, by brewing it very strong, letting it cool, then using it as you would a toner, letting it sink into your skin.
You’ve probably heard of how beneficial aloe vera can be for various skin complaints — moisturising and calming, it’s been a cornerstone of many skincare products for years. But, you might not realise how it works, or how much it can really make your skin glow.
Aloe vera is home to more than 75 active compounds (Indian Journal of Dermatology), including minerals, vitamins, enzymes and sugars that can all help your skin look and feel great. One study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment also found that it can be beneficial for inflammatory acne when used in combination with tretinoin cream, which is a widely used acne treatment. As with chamomile, there are many choices on the market if you want to add this great ingredient to your skincare routine. As a bonus, it adds a fresh, clean scent to your regimen.
The benefits of calendula have been known for many years — it’s been a staple of British herb gardens for years and was known in the wild as early as 1872 (Biological Records Centre). This means it grows well in the UK, and is therefore easy to add to your garden or allotment if you want to try making your own skincare products at home as a fun activity.
Calendula has high levels of carotenoids and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants. This means it can help prevent inflammation (Indian Journal of Experimental Biology), contributing to that glowing, calm complexion you’ve always wanted. A relaxing way to experience the benefits of this herb is to pick some of the flowers, and let them soak with you in a hot bath, letting your skin enjoy all the nutrients.
You might have heard of the acne treatment salicylic acid — but you might not know that mint actually contains pretty high amounts of it, as noted in Food & Function. Salicylic acid is able to help control oil production in the skin, and mint is also anti-pruritic, also known as anti-itch. Anti-pruritic products are usually used to help treat the irritation that comes with sunburns, eczema, or infections, making mint a very useful plant to have growing in your garden.
You could try making a paste out of mint leaves, or putting mint leaves in hot water and soaking your feet or hands to help with sunburn or heat irritation after long walks. There are also lots of homemade face mask recipes that include mint, so there’s plenty of potential for you to make your own spa evening at home.
Not only is lavender excellent at relaxing you with its amazing scent, it also has anti-microbial properties (Mind Body Green), that can help calm irritated skin when used topically. The relaxing properties of the lavender scent can also be beneficial for conditions like psoriasis, where flare ups are often caused or exacerbated by anxiety.
As with calendula, you can create a relaxing, spa-like skin treatment for yourself by picking of some lavender flowers and letting them infuse in a hot bath. This way, you’ll get both the aromatherapy benefits and the skincare qualities.
Plants present a new opportunity to be kind to the natural world, and to our skin. You might also find that growing and utilising your own herbs brings you a lot of fulfilment, as it can be an extremely relaxing activity.
To really get the benefits of these plants though, it’s always best to buy professionally made products, as these will contain the highest concentrations of the botanical compounds that make them good for skin. So, enjoy the relaxing, glowing effects at home, and then invest in some quality treatments using your favourite ingredients.