Top 12 Healing herbs for skin
What are the best healing herbs for skin?
There are so many reasons that your skin may become damaged. Burns or sun burn, medications or medical treatment, cuts and bruises are just a few. When treating damaged skin stick to gentle rinses, salves, and creams that protect and encourage skin regeneration.
Go to any beauty counter and you’ll find rows of skincare products featuring plant-based extracts. Regenerative creams with pomegranate seed oil, anti-wrinkle serums made with ginseng root, and face masks blended with kelp extract. There are two messages at play in the world of high-end beauty and the first is that plants can heal us from the outside. The other more veiled message is the mystique created around botanical extracts.
There’s a misconception floating around that the only way to achieve great hair and skin is by using products from our favorite brands and stores. However, that idea isn’t true. In fact, steps toward healthier skin and hair can be found in the common plants and spices found in your garden, kitchen and even at the beach.
There are scores of plants you can use to form your handmade beauty arsenal. Some are great at soothing irritated skin, others moisturize, and yet others treat acne. There are many healing herbs for skin that have multiple skincare properties and can be used for a range of skin conditions.
Ahead check out these Top 14 healing herbs for skin.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe vera is either freshly squeezed from the leaves or dried powder form to use in DIY creams or salves. It soothes the skin and treats burns, insect bites, rough skin, rashes and wounds. It’s also an incredible moisturizer that can tone and correct the skin. Aloe vera is ideal for normal-to-dry and oily skin types.
- Chamomile – Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory, with the power to reduce redness, itchiness, and swelling, and it’s a great alternative to cortisone. Steep a chamomile tea bag in boiling water for two to three minutes to release the anti-inflammatory enzymes, then place the tea bag in a small container in your fridge. Once the tea bag is cold, apply it directly to red, irritated patches on your face for instant relief.
- Calendula – Calendula repairs dry skin, reduces acne scars or wounds, and cures fungal infections that may cause acne or blackheads. Use as a face wash or make a herbal cream or salve.
- Oat Straw – Oat straw is generated from the stems of the oat plants. The stem releases a sap that’s milky in texture. This sap contains properties such as calcium and silica. Oat straw makes a perfect organic face wash and can be combined with essential oils or used alone as an herbal oil for skin. Oat straw can be used to combat most skin conditions and to balance your blood sugar levels. You can add this herb to tea or mash it into extracts and add it to food.
- Rose Petals – The natural oils found in roses help retain moisture in the skin. This results in your skin feeling smooth and soft. The sugars in rose petals especially benefit those with sensitive skin. A rich source of vitamin C, rose petal paste makes for a beautiful, shiny glowing skin. Rose-infused products are popular for skin care, as the ingredient locks in moisture, on top of that provides a sweet scent. It also soothes irritated skin, so it’s a great refreshing spray. Put petals in your bath, incorporate it into a DIY cream or make a hydrosol.
- Witch Hazel – Witch hazel has many benefits for skin, including relieving inflammation, tightening pores, and helping with razor bumps. It may also help reduce acne, since it can cleanse your skin of excess oil. However, witch hazel should not be used by people with dry or extremely sensitive skin since it can cause irritation.
- Cannabis. CBD and THC contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds, such as fatty acids, antioxidants that may help reduce symptoms associated with inflammatory skin conditions, such as skin dryness, itchiness, and pain. Incorporate into your diet or use it to make a DIY cream, oil or make bath salts and add it to your bath.
- Red Clover – Medicinal herbalists have long used red clover to help soothe the red, scaly, and maddeningly itchy patches of skin that plague eczema sufferers. Traditionally, red clover ointments have also been applied to the skin to treat psoriasis and other rashes.
- Lavender – Lavender is a multi-use tool that can fix a number of skin concerns, including acne and eczema; use it as a facial toner. In addition to soothing skin, lavender heals inflammation and burning associated with insect bites and mild burns. Add it to creams, face washes and bath water.
- Kelp. It’s mineral and antioxidant rich, and is known to help soften and hydrate dry skin. Not only that, but it also helps your skin retain moisturize, keeping it hydrated for longer. It is known to reduce the appearance of breakouts. Sea Kelp contains minerals that penetrate the skin and remove toxins. Get a seaweed license from your local Post office (It the mussel license that also allows you to forage seaweed – up to 20kgs per day) and go and collect some fresh kelp and use the gel as a face toner or put into your bath water. You can also use powdered kelp powder and incorporate it into DIY creams and bath salts.
- Comfrey – Comfrey leaves and flowers have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which make it a good option for treating inflamed skin. Infusions can be made from these parts for use as a toner or in creams and lotions. It’s especially good for promoting skin healing and treating eczema, psoriasis, acne and other skin eruptions. Infusions of the root are best for spot-treating pimples. Please note that comfrey should not be taken internally.
- Rose Hips – Rose hips are little known in the health and wellness industry but it’s gaining popularity. It contains vitamin C, which makes it the perfect health tonic since it has immune-boosting properties. Rose hips can also be consumed in capsules or hot tea. When it comes to skincare, rose hips can be used as part of a facial or mask.
- Rooibos. Rooibos is rich in alpha hydroxy and zinc – both important nutrients for healthy skin. -Alpha hydroxy not only reduces the signs of ageing but also revitalizes the skin. Zinc heals wounds, protects against UV rays and has anti-inflammatory properties, which could alleviate acne, pimples and sunburn.
- Olive leaf. Olive leaves are incredibly beneficial to skin because they contain many protective antioxidant phenols, skin-worthy nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. Use dried leaf powder and make a DIY cream, lotion or salve, and it to you bath salt recipe or simply sprinkle some leaves or powder in the bath.
Treating Dry Skin
Dry skin is often caused by skin disorders, environmental factors, dehydration, medications, or using certain products. Even over-using some herbs for skincare can cause over-drying, as in the case with aloe vera. Moisturizing the skin should begin with drinking enough water and enabling your skin to hold moisture in. Avoid using very hot water, especially on your face, and moisturize with gentle creams and lotions. These plants contain extracts that can help.
Healing herbs for skin: plants that moisturize skin
Plantain (Plantago major or Plantago lanceolata). Another ‘weed’ that you’ll find happily growing in most gardens, plantain leaves contain moisturizing mucilage. It’s also an effective skin healer that you can use to help heal wounds and bruises. Prepare the leaves by water or oil infusion for use in salves, creams, lotions, balms, and massage oils.
Roses (Rosa). Rose water or an infusion of rose petals refreshes and hydrate the skin. Roses are an excellent extract for all skin types but especially for those with sensitive and mature skin. Try some of these rose skincare recipes.
Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis). The roots, leaves, and flowers of marsh mallow contain rich sources of mucilage, pectin, and sugars that soften and moisturize the skin. The roots contain the highest amounts though. Soak the root in cold water overnight and use the liquid to make silky lotions and creams.
Treating inflamed skin
Skin can feel inflamed for a number of reasons — allergic reactions, menstrual cycle, poor health, or the consequences of a night out on the dance floor. Use these herbs for skincare to create simple herbal rinses or as one of the suggested skin products. Each will help to relieve redness, puffiness, and inflammation.
Plants for red, puffy, and inflamed skin
Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys). An anti-inflammatory flower used to relieve the redness and itch caused by eczema and other skin conditions. It grows wild in some places but makes a lovely addition to any garden. Use a water infusion of the leaves and flowers as a toner or in creams and lotions.
German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). A gentle herb, it’s used to soothe dry and irritated skin such as caused by dermatitis and eczema. You can use it for all skin types though. Use oil or water infusions in balms, creams, lotions, toners, or massage oil. If you have an allergy to ragweed (ragwort) avoid using chamomile.
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus). A common garden vegetable, the moist flesh of cucumbers reduces puffiness, sooths irritation, and tightens the skin. Use a water infusion of cucumber in creams and lotions, puree the flesh and use it as a facial mask, or use the well-known treatment of slices of cucumber over the eyes to soothe, tighten, and brighten dark circles.
Chickweed (Stellaria media). A very common weed in many gardens, chickweed is an effective anti-inflammatory. Infuse the leaves in water or oil and use it to make balms, salves, creams, lotions, and other beauty products. You can also use it to reduce redness, irritation, and to soothe chronic itching.
Gradual color change
Some herbs for skincare can help gradually lighten or darken hair, blemishes, and nails. Although their effects aren’t as immediate as chemical options, you can use them with the assurance that they’re natural and completely safe.
Plants that naturally lighten & darken
Elderflower (Sambucus). Elderflower water or oil infusions can be used to help fade freckles, age spots, and scars. The extract is also anti-inflammatory and can help condition mature skin.
Sage (Salvia officinalis). Although this herb helps to cleanse oily skin, you can also use it as a rinse for dark hair. Infuse the fresh or dried leaves in water and apply to hair daily. Though it won’t permanently tint your hair, it can gradually darken hair. Grey or coarse hair may be resistant to picking up color though. You could also use it in combination with rosemary, crushed black walnut hulls, nettles, and coffee for increased darkening effects.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary can be used similarly to sage in helping to darken hair. Use as a water infusion as a rinse for the hair.
German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Chamomile is a natural hair lightener. Use a water infusion of the flowers as a hair rinse or in leave in conditioners. If you want to increase the lightening power of chamomile, use it together with lemon juice.
Remember that beauty blooms from within. This well-known proverb is true on many levels but I’d like to highlight the one pertaining to skin. Many healing herbs for skin including thyme, rosemary, sage, and calendula, are edible and even common in food dishes. Not only does that make them safe to use in homemade beauty recipes but their use inside as well as out is important for healthy skin.
A poor diet reflects itself in mood, energy levels, and how our skin looks, feels, and functions.
So to sum up, eat healthy, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly, avoid too much sun exposure and you’ll have glowing beautiful skin that people will envy.
Be sure to share these tips with your friends and family.