WHAT IS CHAMOMILE?
Before we come onto the uses of chamomile for skin, let’s first fully understand this amazing plant and why it’s been used not just by our great-grandparents but by their ancestors too.
Chamomile actually comes from the happy daisy family and has been used for generations for its medicinal and beauty properties. It grows natively across Europe, but also in North America, Asia and Australia. Its golden blossoms are seen early in the summer and, when tasted, it has a slightly fruity flavour.
Usually used in its dried form, it is rich in terpenoids and flavonoids. It’s particularly known for its anti-inflammatory properties from the chamazulene present. As such, it’s often used for a range of issues – from muscle pain and menstrual cramps through to insomnia and gastrointestinal problems.
Often dried and then made into a tea, that’s not the only way to use chamomile. In its dried form it can also be made into tinctures and essential oils, or even cooling compresses.
CHAMOMILE BENEFITS FOR SKIN
The same anti-inflammatory properties, which make chamomile useful for various bodily and psychological ailments, bring about many of the chamomile skin care benefits. It’s also a valuable antioxidant whilst also being very mildly astringent. This makes it an excellent choice for skincare.
There really are a wide range of benefits of using chamomile for skin. However, before we come onto these, we wanted to mention the benefit that chamomile is perhaps best known for: aiding sleep. This, in turn, is an enormous skincare benefit. Good quality and balanced sleep is perhaps the most important aspect of your beauty regimen. Its soothing soporific effects help ease you gently into the Land of Nod, ensuring you get your beauty sleep.
Additionally, chamomile is psychologically calming. If it’s anxiety that is keeping you awake at night then a soothing cup of chamomile tea will also help you drift off, without the awakening effects of caffeinated black tea.
Other benefits for the skin include:
Reducing redness and irritation: Redness and irritation, or dull and inflamed skin can be an indication that there’s underlying inflammation. Chamomile, applied as a toner for example, will help to reduce skin inflammation. It feels good but it also helps tackle the cause of the redness.
Acne: Chamomile can help to treat an active acne breakout, reducing bacteria and cleansing the skin, whilst also preventing future breakouts. Its antibacterial properties make it a particularly important natural ingredient in acne-fighting skincare products. Those with acne always want to be careful when choosing skincare products and a calming toner is a good safe choice.
Treating eczema, psoriasis and rosacea: The flavonoids in chamomile can get deep into the skin to work as a topical anti-inflammatory. Indeed, it’s so powerful that studies have shown it to be about 60% as effective as 0.25% hydrocortisone cream.
Soothing sunburn and scalds: Chamomile is soothing. It will effectively calm the soreness caused by sunburn and mild scalds without using any artificial ingredients. What’s more, it brings comfort too.
Treating wounds: The mild antiseptic qualities of chamomile, combined with its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, make it ideal for treating facial wounds. If you’ve got open scratches or sores from outbreaks, then a chamomile toner will help to ensure infection doesn’t take root. In fact, chamomile has been shown to result in complete wound healing more speedily than corticosteroids.
Treating other skin irritations: Chamomile has long been used for treating a wide range of skin concerns such as nappy rash and chicken pox irritation. Its use for wound healing goes back as far as the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.
But it’s more than these ‘medicinal’ skin benefits. Chamomile’s benefits for skin extend to straightforward beauty benefits too.
Say goodbye to under eye circles:Not only will the sleep benefits of chamomile help to prevent dark circles betraying that you burned the midnight oil, chamomile in your skincare routine will help to lighten this under eye area whilst also reducing the tell-tale puffiness.
Fights against free-radicals: The polyphenols in chamomile help to tackle free radicals, helping to arm our skin against environmental damage, such as from pollution. It’s free radicals that speed up the ageing process. Using chamomile on the skin brings along powerful antioxidants which help the skin to regenerate, tighten pores and slow down ageing effects in the skin.
Skin lightening: Blemishes and redness can be lightened by chamomile which is sometimes referred to as ‘natural skin bleach’. This is because chamomile acts as a vasodilator, improving blood flow and helping the skin to appear brighter and more refreshed. So you can enjoy a healthy glow rather than a blotchy indication that your skin is under stress.