Ingredient Spotlight: Cotton Thistle

You are probably wearing something made with cotton thistle right now, and it might not just be pieces of clothing. You may be using skincare or cosmetic products that contain the fibers of cotton thistle without knowing it. We know cotton is an excellent fabric and that cotton is gentle enough to remove even our toughest makeup (waterproof mascara, anyone?) but studies indicate that cotton may be beneficial beyond sweeping cotton saturated with other products on your skin. While most consider cotton thistle to be a weed, cosmetics companies are taking notice of the potential skincare benefits and putting this weed to good use.

Cotton thistle

What is Cotton Thistle?
As previously stated, many consider cotton thistle to be a weed that is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. The plant was introduced to North America during the the early 19th century. So how is this fiber used in skincare and beauty products? You won’t see bits of cotton floating around in your products because it is components of cotton thistle that are used for cosmetic purposes. Most commonly you can find cotton thistle, cottonseed oil, cottonseed protein or cotton milk as ingredients in your skin care.

Why Cotton Thistle?
Cotton thistle has been the subject of research studies for years regarding performance in skincare. Studies indicate that cotton thistle promotes cell regeneration within the epidermis, particularly in those who have dry or dehydrated skin. When cell regeneration is stimulated, cotton thistle also increases cells ability to repair themselves, which helps keep moisture levels in the skin steady. Research from the University of North Texas states that cotton fibers contain fatty acids, and that cottonseed oil has a large amount of vitamin E. Other studies show that cotton thistle helps not only to repair the epidermis, but also to prevent your skin from losing water.

Will Cotton Thistle Take Over Skincare?
It’s a bit early to tell whether cotton thistle is going to be a staple in skincare, or is just having its moment in the spotlight. Part of the reason that it may not be as prevalent as other ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, is that there just isn’t a lot of research on cotton thistle’s effect on skin repair or regeneration. However, the ingredient has been approved for use in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.

While there isn’t an overwhelming amount of research proving one way or the other that cotton thistle is a revolutionary skincare ingredient, research is leaning in that direction. Cotton thistle, and other cotton derivatives, are being used in many skincare products today including, but not limited to, face masks, facial cleansers, serums, eye creams and moisturizers. Trying cotton thistle to determine whether or not it helps calm, soothe and repair your skin may be incredibly beneficial to you, particularly if you have dry or dehydrated skin.

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