These past few years have led to a sharp rise in the number of natural, herbal and organic skincare products on the market. This is partially down to consumers becoming more aware of sustainability in the cosmetics world, as well as increased research into the benefits of natural skincare solutions. But do these herbal remedies actually work? Or are you better off spending your time and money elsewhere?
The answer is: it depends
Most herbal remedies have little or no medical research to reinforce the claims made. Most of these benefits are therefore simply anecdotal and professional dermatologist formulations are likely to provide better and more immediate results.
Having said that, you don’t have to necessarily rule these out entirely. There are serums and creams that include natural/herbal ingredients which work hand-in-hand with medically backed ingredients to deliver fantastic results. An example of this would be turmeric + vitamin c, both outstanding skin brightening agents which work to clear and brighten your complexion.
Things you should try
Certain natural skincare remedies are more well researched than others, below are just a few;
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has some limited medical evidence displaying it’s effectiveness in treating acne prone skin; itchy skin; dry and eczema prone skin as well as oily skin. Tea tree oil can easily be mixed with a carrier oil to make an easy to apply serum or ointment which can potentially help with your skin ailments.
Numerous studies have been undertaken on aloe vera to evaluate it’s anti-inflammatory and skin soothing properties. Aloe vera has been used for it’s medicinal properties for multiple centuries, applications of the plant have been traced to ancient cultures of India and China. These studies show that aloe vera has healing properties which can accelerate wound healing; can ease psoriasis; soothe sunburn and help with inflammatory acne. Applying aloe vera gel directly to the skin provides maximum benefits when compared with aloe extracts.
Turmeric has been used for many centuries in India as a herbal treatment for various skin and health problems. It’s no surprise then that early studies have shown it’s effectiveness in fading acne scars; brightening the skin; accelerating wound healing; and helping those suffering from eczema, psoriasis and other similar skin conditions. An easy to use turmeric mask can be made with honey, turmeric powder and yogurt. Apply this mask to the whole face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with cold water for an immediately brightened complexion.
While the research is still very limited, coconut oil has been seen to exhibit good anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties. Coconut oil might work to improve the skin’s natural barrier function, and reduce redness and irritation caused by common skin conditions such as eczema and acne. You should be wary though, coconut oil is very high on the comedogenic scale; this means that it is more than likely that regular use of coconut oil can both cause and worsen blocked pores and breakouts.
To sum it up
Do natural and herbal skincare remedies work? Potentially. The research is too limited at the moment to be certain that natural skincare solutions are as effective as medically-backed formulations at treating various skin conditions. If you’re looking for immediate, definite results, stick to dermatologist-approved formulations.