One of the leading causes of some of the more common skin issues is, unsurprisingly, inflammation. From those pesky monthly breakouts that appear like clockwork on your face to the unexplained red flush across your cheeks, all of these can be traced back to systemic or local inflammation in your body.
However, trying to figure out exactly what is causing this inflammation can be tricky. After all, it can come from the foods you eat, the amount of sleep you get, the air and water quality, and even the environment that you live in (stress equals inflammation). While managing this inflammation by avoiding possible triggers is always a smart idea, it’s also wise to try to fight it off at the source.
That’s where anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients step in. Whether you’re trying to combat unwanted blemishes or you’re simply wanting to enjoy a more even skin tone, anti-inflammatory products can make all the difference in giving you that smooth, even complexion that you’ve always wanted.
What Does Anti-Inflammatory Mean?
So, what exactly is an anti-inflammatory skincare ingredient, and why do they matter so much in skin health? To put it into the most basic of terms, they’re literally what they sound like. That is, they’re active ingredients that can help reduce inflammation in your body.
This means that if there’s any underlying redness, irritation, edema (fluid retention), swelling, itching, or pain, it can likely be traced back to inflammation. Anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients work by targeting those specific receptors in your body that release the chemicals that can lead to irritation. (1)
By actively suppressing these receptor sites you can start to notice a reduction in irritation in your skin. Curiously enough, though, not all anti-inflammatory ingredients are the same – and in fact, some are actually better for you than others. (2)
When in doubt, you’re going to want to reach for natural, time-tested anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients. Not only are they clinically proven to be effective, but they can also speed up the healing process while also banishing any of that lingering irritation that could otherwise occur in the process.
Curious to learn more about these all-natural anti-inflammatory ingredients for your skin? We were hoping you’d say so, as we seriously love discussing this topic and sharing all of our favorite insider tips and tricks on the subject. Let’s go ahead and break it down together, shall we, friends?
Natural Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients for the Skin
When it comes to the best natural anti-inflammatory for skin health and beauty out there, you have your choice of options. Feel free to mix and match, as well, as combining these ingredients can lend a double-whammy of benefits to your skin. (Just be sure to check with your derm or esthetician if you have very sensitive skin or other skin concerns like eczema or dermatitis)
While aloe vera has the reputation of being that goopy sunburn gel that we associate with beach vacations, there’s actually a good reason for this. Chock full of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, it’s been clinically proven to help reduce inflammation and increase moisture levels in the skin. (You can find it in our HYDRABERRY Moisture Mask!) (3)
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in holistic healthcare, and in this case, the science actually meets the hype. Research has shown that the active ingredient in it (namely, curcumin) can help reduce systemic inflammation. (4)
Numerous studies have espoused the benefits of using saw palmetto for inflammation. It can be taken either orally or used topically to help reduce those biomarkers for inflammation. (We love how it works so well with collagen, which is why you can find it in our CELLRENEW Collagen Stem Cell Serum, just FYI.) (5)
Is there anything more soothing than a steaming hot cup of matcha on a chilly day? Not only can consuming green tea products provide antioxidants but it can also help reduce systemic inflammation in your body. You can find green tea it in our cooling, anti-aging eye gel, BRIGHTEYESl. (6)
Goldilocks was apparently onto something when she tried to steal Momma Bear’s porridge. While colloidal oatmeal is a bit finer grade of oats compared to the ones on the grocery store shelves, it has been proven to reduce inflammation when applied to your skin. (7)
As a derivative of vitamin B3, niacinamide is a great tool to have in your beauty and skincare arsenal. It can help reduce inflammation, even out redness, and restore that dewy glow to your skin. (8 & 9)
While black licorice may not be the most popular flavor profile out there (either you love it or you hate it, there’s no in-between!), it does win points for being a powerful anti-inflammatory. And no, eating black jellybeans doesn’t count as a serving of this extract. (10)
Another delicious type of tea, chamomile comes from the Matricaria chamomilla flower. A mug of this can give you a bounty of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, allowing you to fully enjoy everything it has to offer. (11)
If you’re looking for brighter, more even skin, then you’ll definitely want to reach for vitamin C. This antioxidant won’t leave a sour taste in your mouth when you use it! (Pro tip: Our CLEARITY Blackhead Dissolving Serum contains this ingredient, as well as mandelic acid and turmeric, to help brighten and tighten up your face!) (12)
Thanks to the rich tannin profile found in this pungent, astringent flowering plant, witch hazel just might be your new go-to when looking to reduce inflammation. It can also help improve the tone, texture, and structure of your skin, too. (13)
A Mediterranean flowering plant, calendula (also known as Calendula officinalis or the common marigold) is also a powerhouse when it comes to anti-inflammatory skincare properties. Not only does it reduce inflammation, but it can also accelerate wound healing. (14)
Squalane and Ceramides
Finally, we’ve got hydrating, barrier restoring ingredients like squalane and ceramides.. A type of fatty, waxy lipid, these two ingredients are found in a variety of foods, such as olive oil and sweet potatoes. When applied directly to the face, not only do they impart impressive moisturizing properties, but they can also reduce inflammation. For acne-prone skin we recommend sticking with squalane as it thinner and less likely to clog pores versus some thicker ceramide products. (15)
How to Incorporate These into Your Routine
If you’re interested in trying to include these anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients into your routine, don’t fret. It’s actually super duper easy, and in most cases, you can easily integrate them into your currently existing routine without issue.
The only caveat, though, is that you’ll want to be sure to patch test them. While all of these ingredients are natural, that doesn’t mean that you won’t necessarily have an (ironically) inflammatory response to them if you have an underlying allergy. Because of this, you want to be sure to introduce them slowly, and only one at a time.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all ingredients are going to play nice together. For example, retinol doesn’t play nicely with AHA’s (acids). If you want to reach for your favorite CLEARITY Blackhead Dissolver tonight, then you’ll want to skip retinol products.
In many cases, taking a natural approach to health and beauty is always going to be the best idea. That’s not to speak down on lab-made ingredients and treatments, though, as there’s always a time and place for them. However, we’re strong advocates of going the natural route whenever possible.
By using these natural anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients, you can start to notice a myriad of awesome benefits for your skin. We’re talking a smoother, brighter complexion with less redness and irritation here… but without any of those questionable, iffy ingredients that you can find in other mass-produced treatments.
At the end of the day, it’s your skin and your body, and it’s the only one you’ve got. If you can nourish it, pamper it, and show it a little bit of love with natural products, why wouldn’t you? And in doing so, you can feel confident that you’re giving it the very best in care – because you’re absolutely worth it!
Source 1: Definition of anti-inflammatory agent - NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/anti-inflammatory-agent
Source 2: Signaling in Innate Immunity and Inflammation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3282411/
Source 3: Pharmacological Update Properties of Aloe Vera and its Major Active Constituents https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7144722/
Source 4: Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/
Source 5: Effect of Serenoa Repens on Oxidative Stress, Inflammatory and Growth Factors in Obese Wistar Rats with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26104840/
Source 6: Anti-inflammatory Action of Green Tea https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27634207/
Source 7: Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25607907/
Source 8: Niacinamide - mechanisms of action and its topical use in dermatology https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24993939/
Source 9: The anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects of nicotinamide, a vitamin B(3) derivative, are elicited by FoxO3 in human gestational tissues: implications for preterm birth https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21414766/
Source 10: The anti-inflammatory activity of licorice, a widely used Chinese herb https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27650551/
Source 11: Chamomile, an anti-inflammatory agent inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by blocking RelA/p65 activity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2982259
Source 12: Effect of vitamin C on inflammation and metabolic markers in hypertensive and/or diabetic obese adults: a randomized controlled trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4492638/
Source 13: Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3214789/
Source 14: Wound Healing and Anti-Inflammatory Effect in Animal Models of Calendula officinalis L. Growing in Brazil https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270572/
Source 15: Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/