Natural skincare is all the rage, and for good reason! Right outside our front door is a rich biosphere of plants, herbs, spices, and roots that have been lauded for their healing powers since long before modern medicine.
Today, skincare experts use these plant extracts in conjunction with contemporary science to soothe, treat, rejuvenate, and protect troubled skin, making them invaluable for the cold, dry winds of winter.
Keep an eye for these backyard heroes next time you’re restocking your skincare collection with AST’s dermatologist-approved products:
Chamomile (Maricaria recutita and Anthemis nobilis)
Chamomile has a storied history in skincare, starting with the ancient Greeks, who would crush the flower into a poultice to soothe dry, irritated skin. Its impressive skin prowess is still celebrated to this day, with research showing its soothing, anti-oxidant-rich extracts have the power to aid in skin healing, provide antibacterial properties, reduce inflammation, and tame redness.
It’s an excellent botanical for those who struggle with acne, as it combats the bacteria that cause blemishes while helping clear up existing breakouts. Chamomile is also excellent at helping heal wind chap and can provide relief from the burning, itching, and redness without further irritating sensitive skin.
Our Favorite Chamomile Skincare
Burdock (Arctium lappa)
Burdock doesn’t look like much above ground, where it produces dandelion-like purple flowers. Below the surface, though, burdock root– also known as gobo– is building up an impressive range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can visibly reduce the signs of aging, improve circulation, and even help keep winter eczema flareups under control.
One of its most valuable offerings, though, is inulin. It is a humectant that keeps your skin barrier well-hydrated, providing defense against dry, cold air that can sap your skin of moisture.
Our Favorite Burdock Skincare
Mallow (Malva syvestris)
Ultra-soothing mallow is commonly cited as a DIY remedy for sore throats, but those same pain-relieving properties make it a wunderkind of the skincare world.
Because of its anti-inflammatory, skin-healing properties, it’s a common additive in rosacea treatments, but it really shines when it’s used along with other humectants like hyaluronic acid. The flowers have a gelling factor similar to chia seeds that exponentially improves your skin’s ability to latch on to every precious drop of water, making your skin look plumper and more radiant.
Our Favorite Mallow Skincare
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
The calendula flower is the brains and beauty of the skincare botanicals world, thanks to its impressive healing abilities contained in the lively, colorful petals. It comes from the same family as chamomiles, making them a formidable duo against dehydration, irritation, and skin redness.
Calendula takes things a step further, though, by visibly tightening the skin and battling against oxidative stress. These assets can stave off the signs of aging by decreasing skin laxity, reducing the appearance of fine lines, and rejuvenating your complexion.
Our Favorite Calendula Skincare
Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)
If you’ve lived in a tropical climate, there’s a good chance you’ve snapped off one of the plump leaves of the aloe vera succulent to tame a painful sunburn or invested in a bottle of gel to store in the fridge for an ever-ready dose of cooling relief. While the ability to subdue sun damage is nothing to scoff at, these spiked plants are valuable for so much more.
Aloe is the enemy of dark spots, destroying melanic build-up in the skin by blocking tyrosine production. It also contains natural salicylic acid to manage acne and gently exfoliate, vitamins C and E to fend off free-radical formation, and antimicrobials to aid in wound healing.
Our Favorite Aloe Vera Skincare
Arnica Flower (Arnica)
With slippery ice waiting around every corner once the coldest months come knocking, you may want to stock up on arnica flower topicals to quickly heal bruises, sprains, and muscle aches from stair slips and precarious curbs.
It’s also excellent for joint pain, as it increases circulation, reduces inflammation, and helps diminish fluid buildup in swollen areas. It’s also valuable as an anti-dandruff botanical, as it has antifungal properties.
Our Favorite Arnica Flower Skincare
- Revision Skincare Revox Line Relaxer
- Clinician’s Complex Bruise Cream
- Clinician’s Complex Microdermabrasion Cream
Wax Myrtle Shrub (Myrica cerifera)
Wax myrtle, or bayberry, is a marshland miracle worker with a soothing aroma and hardy nature, making it a sustainable backyard skincare botanical. The bark is astringent, tightening pores similarly witch hazel, while the waxy coating on the berry provides analgesic relief for itchy, painful skin.
The shrub is packed with flavonoids, tannins, phenols, and antimicrobials, while the oil from the leaves makes an excellent natural bug repellent once summertime is back in session.