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Herbs For Skin

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Herbs For Skin
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Herbs background pic © Elena Moiseeva -

The skin is not just the largest organ in your body but the most visible one as well. As it surrounds your entire physique, it makes perfect sense that one strives to maintain its health, youthfulness and clarity. With herbs like the above being gentle on the skin yet tough on skin conditions, they certainly have earned their rightful place as effective skin remedies and even in skin care and cosmetic products.

Scrapes, cuts, burns, acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin cancer- just some of the most common skin conditions - which explains why several billion dollars are spent annually on cosmetic and skin care products. [1] Globally, sales exceed over $300 billion every year and in the U.S. alone, expenditures can reach $8 billion yearly. [2]

Not only is healthy skin beautiful on the outside, it is also an indication of good health inside. On the other hand, skin disorders may be symptoms of a deeper illness. [1]

However, you need not spend so much on commercial skin products when there are natural plant extracts and herbs available that trace their origin and use since ancient times. Many of these herbal remedies have potent ability to fight free radicals, inhibit enzymatic degradation, promote collagen synthesis [3] and possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are some that have been indicated by various studies to have a beneficial effect on skin:

10 Beneficial Herbs for the Skin


Also known as pot marigold, calendula has been shown to heal and regenerate skin tissue. Research shows that calendula may be applied where cell regeneration is required like when experiencing sunburn or sore and irritated skin. [4] There is also some evidence that suggest calendula oil-based cream may be effective against Ultraviolet B radiation-induced alterations in the level of antioxidants in skin tissue. [5]


The gel of aloe vera is well known for its ability to repair damaged skin and heal wounds, making it a common ingredient in skin care products. One study has found aloe vera cream to be slightly more effective than topical steroid in reducing inflammation and skin itching. Other studies indicate the value of aloe in relieving dermatitis, frostbite, burns and psoriasis. [1]

St. John's Wort

Externally applied as a cream, ointment or macerated oil, St. John's Wort is found to have calming effects to soothe skin irritation. [4] An investigative study has shown that oleum hyperici, an oil extract of St. John's Wort may be used for topical treatment of wounds, burns, bruises, nerve injury, cuts, hemorrhoids and may even serve as antiseptic. Because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial characteristics, St. John's Wort oil extracts exhibit antimicrobial activities against common microorganisms. [6]


In a 2011 experiment, scientists ascertained that when peppermint oil was liberally applied and penetrated into the skin, a sensation of freshness was experienced. [7] Its cooling and refreshing qualities allow peppermint to stimulate and revitalize the skin, restore skin elasticity, close pores, reduce swelling and unpleasant odour, and decrease redness and irritation. [4]

Green tea

Green tea is not just for drinking; its extracts can also be applied to the skin. One study has found that a 2% green lotion works as an acne solution. Aside from alleviating acne, green tea contains antioxidant flavonoids that protect against the dangers of ultraviolet light like sunburn, skin ageing and skin cancer. [1]


Undeniably, chamomile is one of the most common ingredients of many skin care products today. This herb is an excellent source of potent compound alpha bisabolol that is thought to be effective in accelerating the healing process of the skin as well as in reducing the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines. [8]

More than its wonderful aroma, chamomile is also known for its anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that are beneficial to the skin. When applied into the skin, chamomile is useful in relieving allergies, eczema, minor burns, sunburn and skin rashes. [9]


More than its relaxing and calming effects, lavender also makes a wonderful herb to the skin. The herb contains compound linalool that soothes the skin, prevent tissue degeneration, and keep the skin firm and taut. Lavender also acts as an excellent anti-aging agent because of its cytophylactic properties that promote regeneration of new cells. It promotes faster healing of wounds, cuts, scar tissues, inflammation, irritation, psoriasis, sunburn, eczema, acne and other skin disorders. Lavender also contains antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-toxic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. [10]


Just like chamomile, comfrey is also one of the most popular ingredients of many skin lotions today. What makes this herb effective and in-demand is its allantoin content that plays a vital role in protecting the skin as well as in promoting skin cell regeneration. When applied into the skin as poultice, comfrey is effective in relieving abrasion and laceration. [11]

Also referred to as knitbone, comfrey is used to treat a wide range of skin ailments. Allantoin also works by promoting skin repair and shrinking skin inflammation. Despite its effectiveness, the US Food and Drug Administration banned the use of comfrey internally as it may incur adverse damages to the essential organs of the body such as the liver. [12]


Known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, licorice is a wonderful herb that promotes skin health. It is beneficial for people suffering from rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. [13] When applied into the skin as gel, licorice helps in relieving symptoms like itching, redness and swelling. [14]

Tea tree

Abundantly found in Australia, tea tree oil is known for its antiviral, antiseptic, antbacterial and antifungal properties. Results of recent studies revealed that tea tree oil is beneficial in treating various skin conditions and ailments which include skin blemishes, acne, and scabies. [15]

To people with acne, tea tree oil helps by acting as a natural exfoliant that destroys bacteria which cause flare-ups. Furthermore, it is useful in eliminating symptoms of skin ailments like irritation, itching and scaling. [16]

Herbs For Skin - References:



[3] Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies.


[5] Effects of Calendula Essential Oil-Based Cream on Biochemical Parameters of Skin of Albino Rats against Ultraviolet B Radiation.

[6] Estimation of dermatological application of creams with St. John's Wort oil extracts.

[7] Freshness evaluation of refreshing creams: influence of two types of peppermint oil and emulsion formulation.










Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking and Elfe Cabanas, © 2013

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