Botanically Based Skin Care

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Botanically based skin-care is everywhere these days. A trip to the cosmetics counter can feel like a trip to the grocery or health-food store store. Ingredients like green tea, licorice, lemon, and herbs such as echinacea, rosemary and gotu kola are routinely included in the formulas for more and more skin care products.

Botanicals have been with us for millennia and are among the first “treatments” used by humans to benefit skin, thus giving them a long safety profile. Ancient texts reflect their use, apothecaries were botanical “pharmacies,” and the positive effects of many botanicals on skin are well-documented in both ancient and modern times. Modern technology has increased these beneficial effects by enabling the powerful constituents to work better, faster and deeper.

Just a glance at some of these botanicals and their properties gives a new perspective on this segment of the skin-care market. Echinacea, for example, applied topically, has anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties. The purified and enhanced form prevents formation of hyaluronidase, an enzyme destructive to the skin. Echinacea is known to restore inflamed tissue and an in vitro study demonstrated that typical constituents of echinacea applied topically were effective in the prevention and treatment of photodamage caused by UV light.

Who could have guessed that the humble plant you see growing in the garden or pasture may have powerful beneficial effects on your skin? The ancients only knew that they worked; modern science has proof. Stay tuned for more on “plant power.”

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