Cheeky is certainly into ‘western’ medicine as we enjoy a good Chinese herb now and then, acupuncture sessions or eating raw cucumber juice, following Ayurvedic medicine’s notion that it helps cool down the skin, thus inhibiting melasma growth. While we get down on all this goodness, we can’t say that we’re experts. So we’re both going to be learning something new today.
My doctor here in Tucson, Dr. Rubbani follows Ayurvedic medicine very closely. Whether it’s a skincare ailment, weight loss practice or just general improved eating habits, Dr. Rubbani is all over it. And every time that I visit her office, I’m met with tons of new Ayurvedic tips that I can’t wait to research when I get home.
#DYK Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old healing tradition from India, linked to the development of yoga that focuses on one’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being
So you’re probably wondering why I’ve mentioned a couple practices that we follow and that’s because adaptogens, the topic of our blog, have been used in that way of life for hundreds of years! And since we all know that natural skincare is gonna be seeing the next big boom, or so we think based on our 2019 skincare predictions, we felt this topic to be quite the timely one. And it’s apparently the new buzzword all over the internet, according to various sources I read, so who doesn’t like to be trending!? We sure do!
What are adaptogens?
Despite it being a fancy, science-y sounding word, it’s really quite easy to understand. Adaptogens are basically herbs that help reduce fatigue and the toxic effects of stress. They’re called adaptogens because they adapt to what the body needs. See, that wasn’t too bad. The goal of adaptogens help regulate the body, regardless of what your body needs. So for example, I read: Some people need ginseng because their energy is down, while others need it because they’re too fired up to go to sleep. So it’s crucial that we understand that adaptogens don’t push you in one way or the other, they just adapt and essentially ‘fix’ what your body needs.
The term really was coined by a Soviet Pharmacist in 1947 who went by the name of N.V. Lazarev. According to Lazarev, an adaptogen must not only regulate the body’s response to stress, but its effects must also be beneficial to the body’s overall well being!
Since the 1940s, tons & thousands of studies have been done on adaptogens, mostly in countries like Russia (Soviet Union, I believe back then), Korea, & China. Though they are not FDA-approved as far as American standards go, there is conclusive evidence that adaptogens work well with our bodies to fix their ailments.
How to adaptogens work
So for me, I’m most familiar with the connection between a skin rash and your digestive system, so we’ll use that as an example. Like if you have eczema, it is said for you to avoid dairy at all costs. That example seems to be the most popular that I can think of. So with that in mind, Adaptogens are said to work by normalizing the adrenal system which are hormones & coritsol levels (your stress hormone). Licorice, for example, calms the digestive system and slows the breakdown of cortisone which is said to ultimately act as an anti-inflammatory which in turn would help with skin irritations and rashes. See how we tied it together?
In addition, adaptogens are thought to slow the appearance of aging. It is said that adaptogens have antioxidant properties that may help delay skin aging by preventing free-radical damage!
How to use adaptogens
I read that taking herbs in a high-quality liquid concentrate with water was the most effective way to get your adaptogens. However, there are several ways to get the goodness:
Consult with a doctor or herbalist who can prescribe the appropriate herbs and dosages for you. Though most adaptogens are perfectly safe when used in skin care, be sure to read the product label and consult with your skin bestie.
Quick guide to some favorite adaptogens for skin health
- Tulsi or Ashwagandha extract – acne, oily skin
Shown to lower oil-spiking cortisol levels
- Gotu Kola – wounds & sores
Considered by some to be one of the miracle elixirs of life the leafy plant’s ability to speed healing
- Moringa, aloe root (favorite), marshmallow root or raw aloe – dry skin
Many of these full of protein and vitamins A, C and E & beta-carotene to help promote skin hydration
- Rhodiola rosea – psorarsis, ezcema rosacea
A flowering herb known to harness its inherent skin calming properties
- Panax ginseng, goji berry or astragalus – aging, maturing
Full of collagen stimulating properties that help delay overall maturing of skin
- Maca – sun protection, tired skin
According to the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, it can act as a protectant against the sun
Favorite Adaptogen skincare products
‘A calming adaptogenic blend of our best-selling Beauty Dust® and Dream Dust®, Night Beauty™ helps balance your body’s stress response – soothing tension for more restful sleep, supporting overnight repair, and combating the signs and effects of stress, like diminished collagen and skin elasticity.’
‘Pamper your skin from the inside out with Dr. Brandt’s Detoxifying Antioxidant Water Booster. Boasting a powerhouse of vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants, this dietary supplement helps ward off free radicals, thus delaying the premature signs of aging. Free of sugar, caffeine and fragrance, this potent formula can be mixed with your favorite hot or cold beverage.’
‘This deeply moisturizing cream is especially good for dry skin types. Adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms calm the skin when faced with daily stressors like UV rays and environmental pollutants. Pentapeptide calms the stress reaction in sensitive and irritated skin.’
‘Elemis Rehydrating Ginseng Toner is formulated to tone, refine and alleviate dryness. Ginseng root extract helps detoxify and boost circulation to enhance the skin’s natural radiance. It also promotes skin cell regeneration to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Spray over face throughout the day to refresh your skin and makeup.’
Some information and brand images provided by their respective brands.