8 Herbs for Healthy Skin

If you spend any time on social media, you know the struggles of constantly being bombarded with influencers and ads touting the value of the latest beauty trends to add to your skincare routine. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get wrapped up in “miracle solutions” and promises of “instant results,” only to feel disappointed when those skin care products don’t work out.

Beautiful skin starts with healthy skin, so today, we’re introducing you to 8 herbs with natural benefits for all skin types. So, we’ve got you covered whether your skin needs deeply nourishing hydration, anti-inflammatory natural ingredients that won’t irritate sensitive skin, or increased cell turnover to even out your skin tone!

For Smooth Skin: Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), or “Indian ginseng,” is a shrub from the arid regions of India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. It’s an integral part of traditional Ayurvedic medicine, which, like Indigenous herbalism, turns to nature’s bounty for its potent healing properties.

Ashwagandha’s Active Compounds

  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory withanolides are the most abundant active compounds in ashwagandha. Their ability to fight free radical damage and oxidative stress can help slow the signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Alkaloids can reduce irritation and ease inflammatory skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
  • Applied topically, saponins offer deep pore cleansing and act as an emollient to hydrate the skin and reduce flaking.
  • With age, collagen production slows down. Ashwagandha’s amino acids are part of the group that forms collagen proteins to improve skin laxity.

How to Use Ashwagandha for Skin Care

  • For skin prone to inflammation and irritation, brew a tea of ashwagandha powder, let it cool, and use a cotton ball to apply it as a toner.
  • Mix a small amount of ashwagandha powder into your favorite moisturizer just before applying it.
  • Combine ashaghanda powder, aloe vera gel, honey, and yogurt for an intensive moisturizing mask. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Pat your skin dry.
  • Try ashwagandha as a liquid extract simple or in Miss Anne’s Stress Less Nerve Restoration Blend.

For Itchy, Irritated Skin: Oat Straw

cereal, summer, harvest

Oat straw (Avena sativa) is the leaves and stems of the same oat plant you eat for breakfast or bake into a delicious batch of cookies. It’s harvested while still immature and green when the plant has the most potent, natural healing benefits.

Oat Straw’s Active Compounds

  • Oat straw’s avenanthramides, a polyphenolic antioxidant that helps ease irritated, itchy skin, make it a wonderful addition to your bath time routine if you have eczema, contact dermatitis, insect bites, or for the little ones, chicken pox.
  • Beta-glucan (a soluble fiber) and essential fatty acids maintain the integrity of your skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier means better wound healing and moisture retention.
  • Not only does the silica in oat straw help maintain your skin’s elasticity, but it also makes your skin and nails stronger!
  • Oatstraw is a vitamin-packed herb, rich in vitamins A, B (not B12), C, E, and K, as well as calcium, selenium, manganese, iron, and zinc.

How to Use Oat Straw for Skin Care

For Acne-Prone Skin: Rosemary

rosemary, spices, herbs

The spriggy stalks and characteristic scent of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) are familiar to most people in kitchen applications, but it also has medicinal purposes that make it a popular addition to personal care products, from muscle salve to sinus steam. Like its cousins in the mint family, rosemary is an eager grower that thrives under full sun.

Rosemary’s Active Compounds

  • For those with acne-prone skin, rosemary’s high concentration of rosmarinic gives the plant oils antifungal and antibacterial properties that are fantastic for helping keep breakouts at bay. It can also increase the shelf life of your DIY skin care treatments if you want to make several small batches at once.
  • Rosemary oil’s ability to work with our nerve cells’ alpha(2) adrenergic receptors makes the herb excellent at stimulating circulation and expanding blood vessels, which is why it’s often used in salves for sore muscles and hair growth regimens. When used in skincare, that improved circulation also brings more oxygen and nutrients to your skin, giving you a healthier, more luminous complexion.
  • This aromatic herb contains antioxidant compounds, including carsonic and other phenolic acids. Carsonic acid, in particular, can help prevent sun damage caused by UV-induced oxidative stress even better than vitamin E.

How to Use Rosemary for Skin Care

  • For a relaxing, pore-cleansing steam session, add fresh rosemary sprigs or a few drops of rosemary oil to a bowl of hot water, then drape a towel over your head and the bowl.
  • Get your daily dose of rosemary in Miss Anne’s Fire Cider and Elderberry Elixir, or make your own rosemary-enriched Elderberry Syrup at home.

For Oily Skin: Witch Hazel

witch hazel, hamamelis, winterblueher

One of the most well-known plants used in skincare is witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), a tree native to North America. While it is renowned for its ability to deeply cleanse and tighten pores, some brands use alcohol in the distillation process, which is a nightmare for folks with dry skin. Instead, use it in its purest form for all the healing benefits without the downsides.

Witch Hazel’s Active Compounds

  • Witch hazel’s astringent properties are thanks to tannins, which cause skin tissue to contract by binding to the sebum in your pores. Doing so helps minimize the appearance of your pores and keeps oil production in check. Tannins also have antibacterial properties that can help with skin problems like frequent breakouts and folliculitis.
  • When applied topically, the flavonoids combat free radical damage to the collagen in your skin.

How to Use Witch Hazel for Skin Care

  • You can use pure witch hazel extract as a toner by applying it with a cotton ball.
  • Get the benefits of the plant’s astringent properties on the go with a refreshing facial mist of rose water and witch hazel. Make it in small batches and pour it into a travel atomizer or spray bottle.
  • For sunburns and insect bites, apply a mixture of witch hazel and the juice from aloe vera plants, which also have anti-inflammatory properties.

For Radiant Skin: Rosehips

rosehip, nature, herb

While roses are best known for their gorgeous, velvety-petaled blossoms, dog roses (Rosa canina) are celebrated for their accessory fruits– rosehips– rather than what they add to a floral arrangement. You’ll often see them in herbal tea blends, but they’re also a nourishing and protective addition to your daily skin care routine.

Rosehip’s Active Compounds

  • Look no further than rosehips for your skin’s daily dose of essential fatty acids! It packs a triple threat of linolenic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid, all contributing to healthy skin function and skin cell regeneration. These potent compounds help the healing process and, when used topically, help reduce the appearance of scars.
  • Rosehips contain lycopene and beta carotene antioxidants, which fight free radicals and lighten dark spots from sun damage for a more even skin tone. It’s also high in vitamin C, which gives your skin a natural glow.
  • Polyphenols and anthocyanin can reduce inflammation associated with skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
  • While you can’t prevent wrinkles, you can slow down their progress. Collagen is a protein that forms the structure of our skin, so it’s firm but elastic. However, age and UV damage break down our skin’s collagen, leading to sagging and wrinkles. Rosehips are packed with one of the most essential ingredients in collagen production– vitamin A, also known as retinol. Retinol is also an excellent exfoliant because it encourages the shedding of old skin cells and helps build new ones,

How to Use Rosehips for Skin Care

  • For scars, apply a moisturizing body cream with rosehip oil. The hydrating ingredients keep the scar tissue soft and supple, while the rosehips help with cell turnover and inflammation. We love Mimosa Dream Cream by Super Salve!
  • If you have a mortar and pestle handy, you can grind up dried rosehips into a coarse powder and add it to your favorite carrier oil for a gentle but effective exfoliating scrub that will leave your skin feeling soft and looking gorgeous.
  • Keep things simple by applying rosehip seed oil directly to your face in the morning and before bedtime to quench your skin in hydration and nourishment. It soaks immediately into dry skin, so you won’t have to deal with annoying stickiness.

For Inflammatory Skin Conditions: Lavender

lavender, flowers, field

Is there anything that lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can’t do? While it’s most well-known for its ability to alleviate stress and help you get a good night’s sleep, you can also enjoy the soothing scent of this medicinal herb as part of your skincare routine.

While all skin types can benefit from lavender, it’s particularly beneficial for those who experience frequent breakouts. This aromatic herb has natural antiseptic properties that kill acne-causing bacteria, anti-inflammatory properties to relieve painful blemishes, and wound-healing compounds to prevent acne scarring.

Lavender’s Active Compounds

  • Similar to witch hazel, lavender is an astringent herb rich in tannins that tighten pores and control how quickly your skin produces sebum.
  • Linalool is the terpene that gives the herb its signature scent, but it’s also a natural solution to inflammation and irritation for folks with sensitive skin.
  • If you have eczema, the phenolic compounds in lavender have antimicrobial properties that can prevent skin infections from candida overgrowth during flare-ups.
  • Lavender oil contains beta-caryophyllene, which speeds up the skin’s healing process by increasing the amount of transforming growth factor-β, which helps the wound close faster and increases collagen production to help your body build new skin cells.

How to Use Lavender for Skin Care

  • Prone to stress-induced breakouts? Let lavender’s soothing scent help you find peace by soaking in Chill Out Bath Blend.
  • Keep a bottle of lavender essential oil spray in your fridge during the summer to help soothe a painful sunburn. To make your own, combine the herb oil with aloe vera and distilled water, then spritz as needed for refreshing relief.
  • If you struggle with particularly oily skin, combine lavender oil with witch hazel and apply it as a daily toner.
  • Toss a tin of Super Salve in your bag to address winter-related skin conditions like chapped lips and windburn. The formulation, which includes lavender essential oil, helps heal skin damage, ease pain, reduce redness, and moisturize dehydrated skin.
  • Take advantage of lavender’s natural antiseptic properties by using lavender hydrosol or a drop of lavender essential oil mixed with your cleanser or toner as a spot treatment for blemishes.

For Whole-Body Skin Care: Calendula

marigold, flower, flower background

When it comes to natural ingredients you want to see in your skincare products, it doesn’t get much better than calendula (Calendula officinalis), sometimes called pot marigolds. They’ve been highly valued for their medicinal compounds since the 12th century when they were thought to ease digestive issues. Now, calendula is usually used topically in skin care products because of its healing properties and ability to reduce inflammation.

Calendula’s Active Compounds

  • Calendula is an herb abundant in anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing flavonoids, saponins, and triterpenoids that can offer relief from reactionary skin conditions like rosacea.
  • Because it’s such an effective medicinal antimicrobial, calendula can help with skin issues related to fungal overgrowth, like diaper rash and dandruff.
  • Linoleic acid and other fatty acids bolster the moisture barrier to keep out environmental stressors like UV damage and air pollution. A strong barrier also keeps your skin hydrated by preventing moisture loss.
  • Similarly to rosemary, calendula has an ethanolic extract that can speed up wound healing and cell turnover in scars by supplying the area with extra oxygen and lymphatic fluids.

How to Use Calendula for Skin Care

  • Get relief from dry skin by using salves, body butter, creams, and lotions with calendula oil in the ingredient list, like Belly Butter by Asc3nsion Art, Miss Anne’s Tattoo Polish, and Miss Anne’s Arnica Salve.
  • Are you tired of dealing with an itchy scalp due to dandruff? Sprinkle calendula powder into your shampoo or conditioner and let it sit on your scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.
  • After ensuring that your little one isn’t allergic to the herb by doing a spot test, mix a few drops of calendula oil with aloe vera for a soothing diaper rash treatment.

For an Immunity Boost: Reishi Mushroom

mushroom, mushrooms, reishi

Often called the “mushroom of immortality,” reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) may not be an herb in the traditional sense. Still, it’s certainly earned its spot amongst the best of the best natural ingredients to support skin health. Whether consumed as a tea or used in powder form in topical applications, reishi mushroom has impressive immune-boosting properties that work inside and out to give you happy, healthy skin.

Reishi Mushroom’s Active Compounds

  • The beta 1,3–1,6 glucan and peptidoglycans in reishi mushrooms improve overall immune health, which also has a positive effect on your skin.
  • Reishi is loaded with amino acids and leucine, which are necessary to our body’s protein synthesis process for skin and muscle repair.
  • The polysaccharides in reishi can give your complexion a healthy, hydrated glow by fortifying your skin barrier so it can better retain moisture. They are also a natural anti-inflammatory.
  • If you’re looking for ways to help your skin maintain its elasticity and suppleness, lysine aids your body with collagen production.

How to Use Reishi Mushroom for Skin Care

  • Add reishi powder or Immunity Boost Mushroom Honey to your morning coffee for an easy way to get your daily dose of skin-supporting compounds.
  • Your skin is an important piece of your body’s immune system, so show love with our Deep Immune Tonic Tea, which combines reishi with shitake, calendula, astragalus, and burdock root. 

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