Commonly associated with Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, adaptogens are a collection of herbs that work with your adrenal system to help the body remain balanced whilst under stress and anxiety. Whilst adaptogens don’t eliminate stress altogether, they have stimulant properties that help to subtly balance your hormones to counter the negative physical effects that stress can have on the body. Acting as a regulator for the body, adaptogens can help promote a calm feeling, give you an energy boost and fight fatigue.
Including herbs such as turmeric, ginseng and aloe vera, the benefits of adaptogens are more commonly associated with beauty ‘from the inside out’ through supplements and powders taken orally. We all know that stress affects our skin, with unwanted breakouts and inflammation being a tell-tale sign of a stressful week, so it’s no wonder that these calming herbs can actually improve our skin when taken as part of a balanced diet, but many of these ingredients also carry numerous benefits when applied directly to the skin. From soothing inflammation to boosting collagen, these are our top adaptogenic ingredients you should look out for in your skincare products.
Starting with an ingredient that is well known for its soothing and healing properties, Aloe Vera is the household adaptogen with a plethora of skincare benefits. The humble Aloe is packed with vitamins A, B, C, D and E, minerals such as potassium, zinc and magnesium, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharide and fatty acids which make it the multi-purpose healing ingredient we know and love. Aloe Vera can be used anywhere on the skin to add hydration and soothe itchiness or irritation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. We love the Dani Kenney Wound Warrior for all over protection; a 100% natural product designed to be used on sore areas of the skin or wounds to aid healing.
Another popular ingredient is ginseng, having been used in Chinese medicine for centuries as an apoptogenic herb. ‘Panax’ ginseng in particular has been known to successfully reduce feelings of stress. In terms of skincare, this ingredient has several anti-ageing benefits due to its phytonutrient content. It tones and brightens skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and locks in moisture for a plump and healthy glow. One of our favourite ginseng-infused products is Sans [Ceuticals] Bio Active Body Exfoliant, blended with Panax ginseng to revitalise and nourish the skin whilst gently lifting dead skin cells for a brighter result.
A great source of Vitamin A, Moringa is another adaptogenic ingredient that has multiple medicinal purposes. The immunity boosting plant is native to sub-Himalayan areas of India as well as the Tropics and contains vital proteins, vitamins and minerals that make it so useful. When applied to the skin, Moringa is extremely nourishing and soothing, with antioxidant properties that help skin cells to renew themselves; limiting breakouts, blemishes, pigmentation and fine lines. It’s a key ingredient in Evolve’s Detox Facial Wash to help promote a clearer skin tone.
A lesser known ingredient that’s also a popular adaptogen is Marshmallow root. Where stress has been shown to expose the skin to water loss and dehydration, Marshmallow root helps to repair the skin barrier and increase hydration. The Marshmallow root is extremely anti-inflammatory and hydrating due to its high mucilage content; which has intensive hydrating, softening and balancing properties. Local skincare expert and Glasshouse favourite Guy Morgan uses powdered organic Marshmallow root in his Himalayan Salt Mask to give skin a moisture boost, plump and smooth out fine lines and help to even out redness or inflamed areas.
Our final herb is not only a mainstay in most people’s spice drawer but is a hot ingredient at the moment found in in everything from supplements to lattes, and there’s no surprises why. With benefits that rival that of Matcha’s, Turmeric is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and immune boosting wonder ingredient. When applied topically, these properties make it perfect for countering spots and soothing skin conditions such as psoriasis. We love it in RMS’s Beauty Oil, an adaptogen rich formula that not only contains Turmeric but also Ashwaganda and Licorice for an intense antioxidant boost.
Whether you’re familiar with taking adaptogens or a newbie to the world of Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, these skincare ingredients make it easy to incorporate a little ancient science into your beauty routine. You can shop our range of products that include adaptogens here.
Featured image: Morgan Hill-Murphy for Glasshouse Journal.
Words: Phoebe Grace Ede