5 adaptogens to help your skin deal with pandemic anxiety and stress
-Jan 25, Dr Sara Palmer Hussey, Health -
The world has been in pandemic fighting mode for almost a year now. If your skin is showing the signs of the stress that arise from pandemic anxiety, why not try these 5 potent adaptogens (natural substances that help the body adapt to stress).
1. Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract
Centella asiatica, a mild adaptogen also known as gotu kola, contains vitamins A, B, C and D, together with a range of minerals, including zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, silica and selenium. It also contains flavonoids, amino acids, fatty acids and chemicals known as triterpenoids that stimulate the production of collagen.
In Chinese medicine, centella asiatica is sometimes referred to as the “fountain of youth”. Centella asiatica is able to heal wounds and burns because of its ability to increase the blood supply to the affected area, elevate the level of antioxidants in the wound and encourage the production of fibroblasts, the cells that synthesise collagen. Centella asiatica has a toning and tightening effect on the skin when applied topically.
2. Ginkgo biloba Leaf Extract
Ginkgo biloba is an adaptogen in that it helps counteract the effects of stress. Skin is exposed to environmental stressors and ginkgo biloba is abundant in antioxidant compounds that protect the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals and accelerated ageing. Research has shown that gingko biloba can also help improve blood flow and circulation and enhance the skin’s ability to produce fibroblasts, which are responsible for collagen production. In other words, the extract could help preserve skin firmness and elasticity, as well as aiding in healing wounds.
3. Echinacea purpurea Extract
Echinacea extract provides a triple effect: it protects skin from premature ageing, promotes an even complexion and provides antioxidant properties to defend the skin from environmental aggressors. Echinacea can help to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, due to it high content of tannins. Tannins act like an astringent, which will tighten and firm up the skin, shrink open pores and improve skin surface texture.
4. Panax ginseng Root Extract
Research has found that ginseng extract has a protective effect against skin photo-ageing caused by chronic sun exposure, potentially due to its ability to increase collagen synthesis. Supporting collagen synthesis is important because as we age, collagen becomes stiffer and weaker, and turnover takes longer than when we were younger. Improving collagen production helps retain skin’s elasticity and strength. Ginseng helps improve blood circulation, which can help the skin receive more of the nutrients it needs to be healthy. It also protects the skin from damaging free radicals, helping it resist age-related changes caused by pollution and sun damage.
Not strictly speaking an adaptogen, but extremely potent at helping the body deal with stress, in particular environmental stressors on the skin:
5. Coffea arabica (Green Coffee) Seed Oil
The extract of the fruits of the coffee plant exhibit potent antioxidant activity mediated by anti-inflammatory polyphenols, especially chlorogenic acid, condensed proanthocyanidins, quinic acid and ferulic acid. As well as being a potent antioxidant in its own right, ferulic acid has been shown to extend the stability of vitamins C and E, thus doubling their photo-protective capacity on the skin.
Coffee berries are believed to be exceptionally rich in antioxidants because the plants grow near the equator and at high altitudes, where the sun’s oxidising rays are strongest. To protect itself from these high doses of ultraviolet radiation, the coffee plants synthesise these powerful antioxidants. Coffee berries are considered to be one of the richest sources of antioxidants known and are prized for their remarkable skin-rejuvenating properties.
Coffee berry extract offers UV protection, collagen and elastin stimulation and defence (these two proteins are essential for smoothing wrinkles and preserving the firmness and flexibility of the skin), MMP inhibition, free radical neutralisation and glycosaminoglycan synthesis, which helps repair skin, contributes to a healthy barrier function and leads to greater moisture retention.
These five adaptogens are included in the blend of 32 botanicals in Lumity’s Skin Nutrients Facial Oil. If you’re interested in adaptogens you can add to your diet we’ve taken a look.