Adaptogenic Skincare: The Secret to Ageless Skin?
Everyone's talking about adaptogenic skincare.
If you’re dealing with stress-induced lines, blemishes, or irritation, adaptogenic skincare may just be the secret to restoring your healthiest complexion.
Adaptogens are a hot new buzzword in wellness. While they’ve been used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years, adaptogens are having a moment in the wellness industry. But from what we’ve heard, they’re deserving of much more than a moment.
Research shows that these stress-relieving herbs really can come to the rescue both for your mind and skin. Here’s everything you should know about adaptogens in skincare.
What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt to stressors, and regulate the body’s responses. They are believed to be especially effective when it comes to controlling the stress hormone–aka, cortisol.
Coined in 1947 by N.V. Lazarev, a Soviet pharmacologist, an ‘adaptogen’ not only regulates the body’s response to stress but reduces fatigue and the toxic effects of stress, promoting overall wellbeing.
Even though adaptogens are plant-based, not all plants are adaptogens. Plants need to be able to aid the body in resisting physical and chemical stress without causing any damage. Some of the most common adaptogens include reishi, ginseng, ashwagandha, maca, acai berry, and sea buckthorn.
Do Adaptogens Really Work?
According to research, adaptogens help your body manage stress, reduce inflammation, and support your hormones. They may also increase quality of life, protect neurological health, and even enhance longevity.
Adaptogens help your body handle stress better by boosting its overall resilience and reducing its sensitivity to stressors. This leads to protection against stress and extends the period of resilience. Rather than reaching a state of exhaustion, adaptogens help maintain a higher level of balance, known as homeostasis, which is like a stable equilibrium for your body.
In addition to reducing stress and improving sleep, adaptogens protect skin against environmental stressors, increase the skin’s ability to defend itself, and ultimately prevent signs of aging.
What is Adaptogenic Skincare?
Nowadays, you’ll find adaptogens in skincare products such as face masks, serums, body lotions, and oils. While research is still premature, early studies show the many benefits of adaptogens for skin.
For starters, because they’re rich in antioxidants, adaptogens help to shield skin against environmental aggressors like UV rays and pollution. Thanks to their stress-balancing properties, adaptogens can be extremely effective when it comes to treating acne flare ups and irritation triggered by stress.
Since so many skin concerns are caused by stress (fine lines, acne, redness, and even skin conditions like eczema), adaptogenic skincare can be helpful at combating these concerns by getting to the core of the issue.
Benefits of Adaptogens in Skincare
Delays Skin Aging
Adaptogens are said to slow the appearance of aging. There are a few reasons for this. First, most adaptogenic herbs contain antioxidants that prevent free radical damage to the skin–and as a result, premature signs of aging. Second, adaptogens help to ease stress and improve sleep, which prevents fine line formation. And finally, some adaptogens boast estrogen-like effects on skin, keeping it supple and youthful.
Soothes Irritation and Rashes
Powerful anti-inflammatory activity in adaptogenic herbs both ease and prevent redness, irritation, and rashes. Some research shows that adaptogens may even be helpful at quelling symptoms for various skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea.
Alleviates Acne Flare Ups
Stress is a known trigger of acne–as are hormone imbalances. Topical adaptogens help to regulate stress hormones like cortisol, potentially reducing acne breakouts. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which prove useful in soothing angry blemishes.
The Best Adaptogens for Skin
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Ashwagandha, also known as "Indian ginseng" or "Indian winter cherry," is a medicinal herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 3000 years. It originates from dry climates in India, the Middle East, and Africa.
According to the European Commission Health and Consumers Directorate, ashwagandha offers a wide range of benefits. With its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and softening properties, ashwagandha can help treat and prevent fine lines, acne, discoloration, and dry patches.
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Also known as Asian or red ginseng, panax ginseng is often considered the true ginseng. Enriched with nutrients such as ginsenosides, beta-glucans, and oligosaccharides, studies show panax ginseng demonstrated a significant increase in collagen production, validating it as an exceptional anti-aging ingredient.
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Packed with anthocyanins, flavonoids, and vitamin C, acai berry is an excellent adaptogenic skincare ingredient for protecting skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This antioxidant activity also aids in reducing signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness.
These tiny but mighty berries also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to the skin’s barrier function and retain moisture, keeping skin smooth and supple.
The reishi mushroom has been used for years in traditional Japanese and Korean medicine for promoting mind and body balance. In recent years, it has become a popular skincare ingredient known for its ability to detoxify, protect, and soothe the skin.
The mushroom exhibits anti allergic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant potential, which all have positive effects on the skin.
Who Should Use Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are beneficial for a wide range of individuals, particularly those who lead fast-paced lives in urban environments. However, they can be specifically advantageous for individuals whose skin is prone to react negatively to stress triggers. Incorporating adaptogens into your skincare routine can positively influence the body's stress-response system, as noted by experts.
Stress has been known to contribute to various skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. By using adaptogenic skincare products, you can help mitigate the impact of stress on your skin.
Finally, early studies show that adaptogens can prevent and reduce visible signs of aging by protecting against free radical damage and combating stress. Is adaptogenic skincare the secret to youthful skin? It very much seems so.