Plants, herbs, and their essential oils, all have healing properties for the skin as well as your overall health.
Four herbs that are especially good for toning, healing, detoxifying, hydrating, and keeping skin youthful are rosemary, rosehip oil, sandalwood extract, and lavender.
Use of these herbs in skin care products is becoming more widespread today, as study after study confirms their myriad of benefits for the skin.
Do you know that herbs (plants) and essential oils can give you remarkable skin?
Essential oils are extracted from plants and, therefore, contain a concentrated amount of the nutrients found in them, such as minerals, terpenes, phytonutrients, and phytochemicals. These nutrients heal and rejuvenate skin at the cellular level, protecting and repairing skin from the damage of UV rays, harsh chemicals, and pollutants in the environment, as well as reversing the effects of ageing.
Some of these herbs are so good in healing skin cells that they can actually eliminate scars, and we all know how hard it is to find a cream that even slightly fades a scar. Because these plants have such powerful abilities to heal wounds and burns, they are especially powerful for keeping normal skin youthful.
Essential oils and extracted compounds like the ones listed below will revitalise your skin, giving it a whole new radiance and clarity.
Rosemary: The ultimate herb for glowing, healthy skin
Rosemary is rich in potassium and is loaded with a host of B vitamins such as riboflavin, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid. It’s also rich in vitamin A and phytonutrients, all of which are good for the skin.1 Rosemary, in fact, is one of the best herbs for skin all around.
The benefits of rosemary for the skin
Full of anti-ageing antioxidants
Rosemary is full of powerful antioxidants that are capable of slowing down the ageing process in skin, undoing the damage of harsh pollutants, and effectively neutralising free radicals you absorb from the environment. It is especially beneficial in repairing skin from sun damage and reversing the effects of ageing. As one recent study found, rosemary can “protect the skin from free-radical induced skin damage” and “is capable of inhibiting oxidative alterations to skin surface lipids.”2
It’s scientifically proven to reduce wrinkles and fine lines
Recent studies show that rosemary stimulates biologic activity on facial skin and reduces wrinkles extremely well. In fact, rosemary has even more wrinkle-reducing power when combined with grapefruit oil extract.3. If wrinkles are a problem for you, look for skin products which combine these two powerful extracts.
Rosemary has a unique combination of beneficial other effectsA recent study shows that rosemary has profound beneficial effects on the skin, including:
- Improving appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Giving skin clarity and brightness
- Eliminating visual roughness and tactile roughness
- Enhancing the colour and tone of skin, lightening red spots and dark areas
In fact, this study also proved that these beneficial effects only increased over the weeks used. Using digital photographs to chart skin changes, researchers noted that skin continued to improve after 8 to 12 weeks by using it twice daily, producing a “statistically significant percentage of favourable results.”4
Powerful anti-acne treatment
Rosemary is also great for curing and eliminating acne. As researchers for Acne Einstein note, the herb has powerful disinfectant properties which help to decrease oiliness of the skin, and its antioxidant and healing properties help to reduce dark spots caused by blemishes. It’s also great for getting rid of pimples.5
Beneficial for skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis
Rosemary has strong medicinal qualities, both healing your skin and acting as a strong anti-bacterial agent. Studies show it is powerful in treating not just acne, but dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema as well. It is also extremely effective at healing burns and getting rid of burn scars.6
Sandalwood extract: Numerous benefits for skin
Sandalwood is rich in constituents and fatty acids such as palmitoleic acid and oleic acids. Both of these fatty acids have a myriad of benefits for the skin.
Omega-7 is a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) containing palmitoleic acid. It can be found in foods like sea buckthorn and macadamia nuts. Macadamia oil has strong anti-ageing and antioxidant powers and is a necessary component in any good skincare product. Palmitoleic acid is an acid which is only found in young skin and this is completely depleted as we grow older. Using products rich in palmitoleic acid, then, replaces that acid in our skin, helping us recapture a more youthful skin appearance.
Research shows that palmitoleic acid can produce cell regeneration and rejuvenation that helps heal the skin, making it appear more youthful again.7
Always look for a moisturiser that uses sandalwood extract to keep skin young, taut, and glowing.
Oleic acid is a monosaturated omega-9 fatty acid that occurs naturally in many animal and vegetable sources such as eggs, beef, and avocados. It is an oil which is used in many moisturising oils and creams such as shea butter, coconut oil, and almond oil, among others. Oleic acid helps skin to look radiant, soft, and supple.
The benefits of sandalwood extract for the skin
Because sandalwood possesses these two powerful healthy fatty acids, it has multiple benefits for the skin. But sandalwood extract’s chief asset is that of being the best natural skin moisturiser on earth. Sandalwood is so good for the skin, in fact, it can heal chapped skin from extremely cold weather swiftly and can reduce the appearance of bad scars. 8 It is also effective in curing eczema.
Rosehip oil: the new wonder plant for skin
Everyone from Victoria’s Secret Models to Victoria Beckham loves rosehip oil, claiming it gives their skin a youthful glow. The secret to rosehip oil is that it’s full of antioxidants that heal skin at a cellular level.
Rosehips oil’s chief healing abilities come from its essential fatty acids such as palmitic, linoleic, and gamma linoleic acids.
Rosehip oil is also a rich store of polyunsaturated acids in the form of vitamin F, which convert into a substance called prostaglandins (PGE) when absorbed into the skin. These PGEs aids in tissue and cell membrane regeneration. Rosehip’s powerful anti-ageing combo of a bounty of vitamin C plus these healing fatty acids make it a powerful anti-ageing, skin-rejuvenating agent.
Other factors that make rosehip a great choice for beautiful skin is that it’s packed with powerful nutrients that help protect the skin and increases cell turnover, such as vitamins A, C, D, and B-carotene. All of these vitamins have antioxidant powers that fight free radicals and reduce oxidative damage from the environment.
The Benefits of Rosehips for the Skin
Rosehips have been used for medicinal properties since the time of Pliny the Elder (23–79 BC).
Rosehip oil does come from roses. In fact, rosehip comes from a specific variety of rose, Rosa aff. rubiginosa or Rosa moschata. These are actually what is left behind on the stamen after a rose has dropped its petals. This variety of rose is typically harvested from rose bushes grown in Chile.
Let’s take a closer look at what rosehip oil can do for the skin.
Rosehip oil is especially good at stimulating collagen production on the surface layer of the skin. That’s because rosehip oil is one of the only herbs rich in all three of the most researched and proven components for spurring new collagen production: fatty acids, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Carotenoids, for example, are highly beneficial in the fight against ageing because they are such tiny, atomic-sized molecules that deeply penetrate far beneath the skin’s outer layer, nourishing the derma from within.
In fact, rosehip oil has proven especially effective at getting rid of deep crow’s feet wrinkles.9
Reverses sun damage
The fatty acids, carotenoids, and antioxidants in rosehip also make it a strong ally for helping skin to heal from sun damage and to prevent and diminish age spots upon the skin. Fatty acids moisturise the skin from within so that the carotenoids and antioxidants can go to work, regenerating skin cells. The high content of vitamin C in rosehip oil also helps to reverse collagen damage and damage from UV rays. These qualities also make it perfect for relieving redness caused by both mild and severe cases of rosacea.10
Help get rid of scars
The soothing constituents in rosehip oil also help to improve the appearance of scars, even those from severe burns. Such strong healing powers as these make rosehip wonderfully beneficial for rejuvenating cells on normal skin.11
Lavender: An anti-bacterial, anti-ageing herb for the skin
Lavender has recently been rediscovered for its abilities for improving healing skin and giving it wonderful clarity and tone. Lavender has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties that make it great for everything from getting rid of acne to reversing the ageing process in the skin. It heals and rejuvenates skin at a cellular level.
Lavender and wound healing
Lavender has long been revered by naturopaths for its powers of healing burns and wounds, and now science is catching up. A recent 2016 study reveals that what makes lavender so effective at healing the skin is that it contains something called transforming growth factor-ß (TGF-ß), a constituent that works at a molecular level to regenerate skin cells and, thus, heal burns, wounds, and speeds up the generation of new, healthy skin cells.12
Lavender can reverse the effects of agents and detoxify skin
Lavender contains powerful antioxidants for the skin as well, helping to neutralise free radicals and reversing the damage of pollutants and toxins in our air. Lavender also possesses anti-bacterial agents which protect our skin from infections of all kinds, making it a powerful treatment for even pernicious acne.13,14
Lavender’s super power: healing burns
One good trick when looking for a powerful herb for improving the appearance of the skin is to look to herbs that heal burns or scars. If they can heal burns, after all, then they have powerful constituents within them that can work wonders on your skin as well, helping to reverse the ageing process.15 Lavender’s powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties help it to both heal burns and the scars caused by them.
References and Sources
- SELF Nutrition Data. Rosemary: Fresh nutrition facts and calories. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/224/2
- Calabrese, V., et. al. (2000). Biochemical studies of a natural antioxidant isolated from rosemary and its application in cosmetic dermatology. International Journal of Tissue Reactions. 22(1):5-13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog?term=”Int+J+Tissue+React”[Title+Abbreviation]
- Vincenzo, N. et. al. (2016). Skin photoprotective and antiaging effects of a combination of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) polyphenols. Food and Nutrition Research. 60:31871. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27374032
- Herndon, J. H. (2015). An Open Label Clinical Trial of a Multi-Ingredient Anti-Aging Moisturizer Designed to Improve the Appearance of Facial Skin. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 14(7):699-704. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog?term=”J+Drugs+Dermatol”[Title+Abbreviation]
- Acne Einstein. Study: Rosemary extract may reduce acne. http://www.acneeinstein.com/study-rosemary-extract-may-reduce-acne/
- Nahida, T. and M. Hamdani. (2014). Plants used to treat skin diseases. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 8(15): 52–60. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931201/
- Kim, E. (2010). Skin aging and photoaging alter fatty acids composition, including 11,14,17-eicosatrienoic acid, in the epidermis of human skin. Journal of Korean Medical Science. 25(6): 980–983. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2877242/
- Busse, D. et. al. (2014). A synthetic sandalwood odorant induces wound-healing processes in human keratinocytes via the olfactory receptor OR2AT4. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 134(11): 2823-32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24999593
- Johnson, J. and E. Johnson. (2010). The role of phytonutrients in skin health. Nutrients. 2(8): 903–928. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257702/
- Phetcharat, L., et. al. (2015). Ibid.
- Hiroko-Miyuki, M. et. al. (2016). Wound healing potential of lavender oil by acceleration of granulation and wound contraction through induction of TGF-ß in a rat model. BMC Complementary Alternative Medicine. 16: 144. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880962/
- Hancianu, M. (2013). Neuroprotective effects of inhaled lavender oil on scopolamine-induced dementia via anti-oxidative activities in rats. Phytomedicine 20(5): 446–452. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711312005120
- Kassim, A. (2008). The inhibitory effect of various essential oils on the in vitro growth of four bacterial species of skin flora. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 58(2): AB27. http://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(07)01716-1/abstract
- Koulivand, P. et. al. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine. 2013: 681304. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/