Have you ever thought that using herbal treatments instead of man-made ingredients gives you less powerful results? You're not alone if you have.
Today I want to go over using herbal alternatives to allopathic medicines, specific to your skin care so I can show you scientific proof that plants can have just as much power as synthetic ingredients.
The first one I want to talk about is a retinol alternative. Retinol is one of the big ingredients in skin care. And while I don't hate retinol, it has a lot of side effects that cause problems. Many people are sensitive to it, and it can cause redness, irritation, and flakiness.
When you experience these inflammatory reactions in your skin, you're actually creating the opposite of what you want to do with the retinol, which is to have more youthful looking and vibrant skin. Consistent use of products that irritate your skin will cause chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation will cause skin to age prematurely. Anti-aging is actually just skin being able to properly heal itself continually. And chronic inflammation is a breakdown in the healing process.
So, retinol sensitivity does the exact opposite of what we want to do.
However, there is an alternative that isn't very well know. A secret plant if you will. Babchi (the fond nickname of Bakuchi) is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for a long, long time that studies have shown are just as effective as retinol at smoothing out the skin and increasing skin cell turnover.
And, bonus! It has none of the side effects that caused that inflammation. So, no redness, no itchiness, no flakiness. This is an herb that you can use as an ingredient in skin care products that will give the same effectiveness as retinol but have none of the side effects or cause the premature aging that a chronic inflammatory response will in skin.
The next one I want to go over is an alternative to hydroquinone. Hydroquinone in the United States has actually recently, within the last few years, been changed from an over-the-counter ingredient to requiring a prescription in any dose because it is shown to have a lot of side effects in skin that are unwanted.
Hydroquinone is actually banned in Europe in concentrations over 1% because of its links to being a possible carcinogen. However, it's still used as a pigmentation suppressant in the United States in concentrations of up to 4%.
Beyond the fact that it can cause irritation, redness, and flakiness, one of the major side effects is that it makes you more sensitive to UV rays.
This is a big problem in a product that is trying to reduce the effects of UV rays. So, we're using a product to treat a condition that the product can actually make more sensitive to the cause of. This alone makes me stay far away from synthetic hydroquinone.
But fret not, because nature has an answer. Licorice root has actually been shown to be as effective, if not more effective than hydroquinone. Licorice root has none of the side effects that hydroquinone does, from the irritation to the sensitivity to UV rays.
Arnica is a little flower that is native to the Americas, and it has been shown to be as effective at pain management and reducing inflammation as ibuprofen is. It's not only good for the skin for anti-inflammatory reasons, but you can also use it infused in your oils or take it as a supplement for hurt muscles or pain on your body.
It doesn't have any of the side effects of ibuprofen like the stomach issues that ibuprofen can cause. This is definitely one to look into for inflammation and helping bring it down in your skin.
We're all aware of chamomile tea or know what it is and use things with chamomile in it. It's a pretty common herb used in all kinds of skin care. But chamomile is a really strong anti-inflammatory and wound healer and it's been shown to be just as effective as an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream for conditions like eczema.
Hydrocortisone is a steroid cream that is often given for symptoms of eczema. But we know that with long term steroid use, the skin becomes thinner, it becomes more sensitive, and it can even become addicted to steroids. Detox from steroids can be absolute hell for skin if it's become addicted; burning, swelling, hair loss, even insomnia and depression are symptoms of topical steroid withdrawals.
But chamomile has none of these side effects. You can use it in poultices, creams, and salves, and they have the same effects as the hydrocortisone creams that you pick up at the store.
I hope this opens the world for herbals and botanicals for you and really helps you understand when you're choosing to use an herbal or botanical supplement, you're not choosing to let go of the effectiveness of synthetic ingredients.
Herbs and plants really do have just as much potency as some of the medicines that we take, but without the side effects.