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The Best Plant Extracts For Skin

Usually, when we think of the plights of ancient civilization, acne does not top our list. However, that does not mean skincare was not a problem for our forebears. After all, if there was a sun, was there not sun damage and, if there were pregnancies, were there not stretch marks? While we can pretty much assume our forefathers and mothers all battled with skin issues, there is a noticeable absence of the mention of benzoyl peroxide and hyaluronic acid in the history books. So what did our ancestors use to ensure skin health before the advent of “science-based skincare?” Plant extracts. And if they worked back then, shouldn’t they work now?

Let’s take a moment to investigate the best plant-based extracts for your skin that are still available.

Aloe vera

Aloe Vera
This extract has been around since time immemorial. Best known as a remedy for irritation and minor burns, this desert plant is known for its ability to fight bacteria, protect skin cells from damage, soften skin, and rebuild new tissue. Aloe is an ideal ingredient for mature skin and improves collagen levels when ingested or applied topically.

Tea Tree Oil
Ideal for moisturizing and cleansing, tea tree oils reduces sebum production in the sebaceous glands and reduces the amount of bacteria that cause blemishes to form. Its antiseptic properties make it an effective healer, it is known for its ability to safely remove dead cells from the skin and decrease the appearance of wrinkles.

Shea
Shea butter evens skin tone and protects and moisturizes the skin and scalp without clogging pores. Extracted from the nut of the West African karate tree, shea butter is naturally rich in vitamins A and E and helps restore elasticity to the skin and soothe irritation.

Shea butter

Olive Oil
Hailed as a skin care remedy by the ancient Egyptians, olive oil is still regarded as one of the most effective natural oils for skin care. It has been associated with everything from aiding in digestion to acne prevention and anti-aging. The words “Extra virgin” or “cold pressed” on the label should indicate that the olive oil contained within is the purest of all extract and have more nutritional components to improve skin appearance, but beware falsely labelled products!

Avocado
One of the finest extracts found in nature, the oil from the avocado is an extract long found in face masks, bath oils, and cleansing cream. Avocados are rich in vitamin A, which is effective at removing dead skin cells and contain amino acids which protect skin against environmental damage.

Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is known for the ability to reduce scars and is often recommended by surgeons to patients to reduce evidence of surgery incisions. It is credited with boosting collagen in the skin and reducing stretch marks and the appearance of wrinkles and frown lines. Cocoa butter is an active ingredient in most moisturizers and is useful in combatting rough skin where dryness is common.
Cocoa butter

Coconut Oil
Great for both hair and skin care, coconut oil is an effective moisturizer for dry skin and scalp. It can also delay the appearance of wrinkles and has been proven to be effective in the treatments of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. The antioxidant properties of the coconut prevent premature aging and degenerative disease and it is available in a variety of skin care products, such as lotions, soaps, and creams.

Do you know of any plant extracts we haven’t mentioned that do wonders for your skin? Let us know your favorites. We’re all ears!

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT: Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract

Chamomile flower extract in small bottle with dripper Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts are derived from the flower heads of Chamomile plants. Chamomile is actually used to define various daisy-like plants which are members of the Asteraceae family. German Chamomile (Marticaria recutita) is the most common Chamomile plant used in skin care products and formulations. The use of Chamomile in the world of beauty and skin care is nothing new. It has been used by people for its calming properties sice ages.

Chamomile is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs of the Greek, Roman and Ancient Egyptian empires. The herb’s popularity grew through the Middle Ages, when people turned to natural remedies for issues like skin inflammation, fever, asthma, skin diseases, nausea, etc. Hippocrates has also advocated the use of Chamomile in the treatment of dysmenorrhea and congestion. Chamomile can easily be termed as the European equivalent of the Chinese wonder tonic Ginseng.

Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts contain numerous active components such as phytosterol, azulene and bisabolol. Each component is famous for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, thereby making Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts an ideal solution for people suffering from all sorts of skin issues. This ingredient is also rich in Vitamin B-Complex. This makes Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts very useful as a soothing and moisturizing ingredient as well.

A study conducted in the Hanagal Shri Kumareshwar College of Pharmacy, India mentioned about the anti-allergic activities that Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts have to offer. This study proved that the ingredient can provide anti-allergic properties to your skin by preventing the release of histamine from your mast cells. Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts were also shown to be powerful wound healing ingredients in another study published in the Phytotherapy Research Journal in the year 2009.

Chamomile also has moderate antioxidant properties which indicates that it could be useful in protecting the skin from the signs of aging. However, one of the biggest issues is that barring a few benefits, human studies and trials surrounding Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts are virtually absent.

The use of Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts is completely safe for your body when applied topically, but some people might suffer from allergies that are usually associated with plants of the daisy family. Always test products that contain Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts on a small patch of your skin to ensure that it doesn’t affect your skin adversely.

Now that you’re aware about the complexities surrounding Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts, let’s learn about the various skin care benefits that this ingredient has to offer.

Soothing the skin – Studies have already proved that Chamomile can be used to soothe your skin and calm down your inflammations or sun burns. Additionally, adding Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts to your bath products can help you relax tired muscles and feet. The anti-inflammatory actions of Chamomile have been recognized by humans for generations because of the fact that Chamomile is extremely rich in bisabolol and chamazulene.

Reducing the effects of eczema – Topical applications of Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts have shown to be moderately effective in treating eczema. This property was also proved by a double-blind study which compared Chamomile based creams to hydrocortisone creams. It was found that after a 2 week treatment, Chamomile based creams offered a superior difference when compared to hydrocortisone creams and a minor difference when compared to placebo.

Soothing skin wounds – Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extracts are known to soothe your skin wounds because of their anti-inflammatory and calming properties. This was also proved in a study conducted by researchers affiliated with the Islamic Azad University, Iran. The study compared the effectiveness of Chamomilla to Zinc Oxide on skin wounds of rats and it found that Chamomile, when used in 10% doses, had significant healing properties when compared to Zinc Oxide.