The skin is our bodies largest organ when including the epidermal structures of the hair and nails. Together these aspects are called the integumentary system.
While we might not give our skin much consideration aside from how it's looking, it serves many important functions for us. To name a few, it is the body's first line of defence in terms of the immune system, protecting the body from disease as well as general injury. The skin also helps us to regulate our temperature, and our body fluids. It is also needed for the synthesis of vitamin D (from the sun), absorption of external substances (ie. medicines, lotion, sunscreen etc), and sensory reception (feeling). In general the skin plays a large part in maintaining homeostasis - that is balance within the body.
There are many skin conditions that can occur, such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis, acne, rosacea, and many more.However these specific conditions usually have underlying causes that need to be looked at - for example diet, lifestyle factors, external toxins, hormonal factors and more! For this reason if you have any skin conditions, it is best to go and see your health care practitioner.
In this post I'll be discussing some of my favourite skin herbs, to use both internally and externally, for creating beautiful, healthy, glowing skin.
Avena sativa (Oats):
Oats are amazing for skin health, with a high silica and starch content when added to water they have emollient, demulcent and vulnerary effects. The word emollient means the skin is covered with a protective film to trap in moisture, helping to prevent your skin from dryness. Demulcent in this sense means it can relieve inflammation and irritation (think eczema). Vulnerary means that this herb is used for wound healing, so oats are helpful when there is damage to the skin. The easiest way to add oats to your skincare routine is to pop them in a muslin cloth or cotton drawstring bag, and add them to your bath. By using a bag you simply prevent a big clean up of oats after your bath. You could also take the bag into the shower and use it like a moisturiser after washing. There are also products that contain oats as the primary ingredient, just be careful to read what else is in the product and ensure it's low tox.
Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender):
Used externally in the form of an essential oil lavender has many skin benefits. It's good for clearing acne by killing bacteria, soothes dry skin and eczema due to it's anti inflammatory effects. These anti ifnlammatory effects also help with skin discolouration or hyperpigmentation. It is also a free radical scavenger (due to the antioxidants present in lavender) so can be useful when it comes to wrinkle prevention and general ageing as well. To use lavender essential oil, you can dilute it yourself in a carrier oil (think grapseed, coconut, almond, jojoba etc) or look for a product that contains it.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Hibiscus):
Contains high amounts of Vitamin C and β-carotene, so when taken internally it helps with processes like collagen production, cell differentiation, growth and development of the epithelium and keratin development. Beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A which is an essential nutrient for skin health. More about specific nutrients and foods they're found in will be in another blog post. Hibiscus is also high in antioxidants, which means it's able to 'fight' free radicals in the body, reducing inflammation and nourishing your cells from within. This all makes it the perfect herb to take internally for glowing, healthy skin.
Trifolium pratense (Red Clover)
For internal use, red clover is great for maintaining healthy skin by promoting liver detoxification. It is known as an 'alterative' which helps the body to naturally restore balance, proper function and general wellness. Research has shown that red clover contains high levels of isoflavones, which are useful in reducing the effects of skin ageing related to eostrogen loss (ie. menopause). Eostrogen increases collagen, skin thickness and moisture.
If you're wanting a simple way to include some of these skin loving herbs in your daily wellness routines - try our Glow tea. This is a blend of Hibiscus, Calendula, Red Clover and Cinnamon, helping to promote beautiful, youthful skin from the inside out.
I hope you liked this blog post discussing some of my go - to herbs for beautiful skin. If you did, be sure to leave a comment below !