What Are Adaptogens, And How To Pick The Right Ones For Your Skin Type

By Stephanie Montes
December 6, 2020

December 6, 2020 Stephanie Montes

There's a hot new buzzword in wellness, and it runs the gamut from mushroom coffee to ashwagandha face cream: We're, of course, talking about the elusive world of adaptogens. Rooted in ancient tradition (they've been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years), adaptogens are commonly ingested for physical wellbeing. However, most recently, these once-medicinal ingestibles can now be found on the list of star ingredients in your beauty products. And while it's no secret the seemingly new fad has been popping up more and more along the skincare aisle, you might be wondering what exactly it means for your routine.

What Are Adaptogens?

First things first: Adaptogens are essentially a term coined for medicinal herbs and botanical extracts that reduce fatigue and the toxic effects of stress on the body. As we know, stress can manifest itself visually on the skin via breakouts, inflammation, and other surface ailments. If you're feeling stressed (Who isn't?), and your skin is showing it, adaptogens could be your answer.

Aptly named adaptogens adapt to what you need and regulate the body's response to stress, ultimately leaving you with luminous skin. Some common types of adaptogens include ginseng, reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, holy basil, licorice, aloe vera, rosemary, milk thistle, and turmeric. Sound familiar? Right about now, you might be realizing you actually have quite a few of these ingredients sitting in the products on your bathroom counter.

Why Should I Use Adaptogens?

Dr. Ryan Turner of Turner Dermatology tells us that while there is a lot of science behind the individual bioactive compounds that make up adaptogens, "the effect of [them] can be variable on each person's skin." However, he notes some of the most common benefits include slowing the aging process, calming inflammation, and protecting the skin from free radical damage. Additionally, he adds, "many adaptogens contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, E , B and contain trace amounts of the minerals zinc and copper that support the skin," as well as loads of "well-known antioxidants."

What Adaptogens Should I Use?

As you're learning, adaptogens can be found in skincare products from toners to serums, and moisturizers to face masks, but the vast selection can be dizzying. Here, Dr. Turner breaks down some of the most popular ones and their benefits:

For Tired Skin:
"Ginseng may be the most well-known of adaptogens that is used for increased energy, improved thought, and decreasing inflammation." 

Ginseng

For Stressed Skin:
"Reishi mushrooms are believed to improve longevity in Chinese healing traditions. Some support that these mushrooms improve the immune system and increase energy. Reishi mushrooms can improve hydration of the skin and contain powerful antioxidants to protect the skin. Reishi mushrooms naturally contain skin brighteners and powerful antioxidants."  

Reishi Muchrooms

Try: Kat Burki’s Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream
This reishi mushroom and vitamin C-infused cream penetrates deep into the skin to save a lackluster complexion and protect the skin from environmental toxins.

For Inflammation:
"Ashwagandha has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory effects and relax the body in some studies. 

Ashwagandha

For Damaged Skin:
"Turmeric has active compounds called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage as well as reduce inflammation. Turmeric also has protectant antioxidant properties."

tumeric

For Sensitive Skin:
"Aloe can help soothe sensitive skin and contains many important vitamins and minerals."

Dr. Turner also explains, "each adaptogen has a unique bioactive profile, and because of their versatility, they may work for each person differently based on the skin's needs at that time." In other words, it may take some trial and error and some close skin monitoring to place your finger on the specific adaptogens that work best for you. Just remember, "anyone with known allergies or sensitivities to these herbs, mushrooms, or any of the active compounds should avoid their use," he explains. 

Healing

This year has been an emotional rollercoaster for many. Across the world we have seen families torn apart, and we have felt a huge sense of loss resulting from illness of all kinds, not just Covid. This virus has created a loss of income and challenged people in ways we never could have imagined.

Lockdowns have resulted in enforced solitude, which has increasingly led to depression and anxiety. For many there is a pervasive sense of being overwhelmed - trying to be parents, carers, teachers - everyone taking on duties over and above their usual routine and, all the while, coping with the challenges of doing this while confined to their homes.

Even prior to Covid, anxiety was particularly prevalent amongst our teens and young adults, and now we see an epidemic of depression and a constant struggle in all areas of mental health.

How did we get here and, more importantly, what can we do next? What can we do to heal our own pain? And how can we best improve the quality of our lives, to ensure that we stay with our heads above water and don’t drown.

Nourish has been looking at various different healing modalities that we thought could help our readers, and over the coming months, we will bring you ideas in all these areas of healing.

We talked with Marion Stone, who lives in Ibiza and offers virtual retreats and course work dealing with the issues of anxiety, pain, trauma, sense of loss and depression. We discussed with her the outline of this healing work, and her passion to inspire her clients to reconnect to their inner power, so we could better understand what she offers.  

The Healing Journey

AshwagandhaThere's a hot new buzzword in wellness, and it runs the gamut from mushroom coffee to ashwagandha face cream: We're, of course, talking about the elusive world of adaptogens. Rooted in ancient tradition (they've been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years), adaptogens are commonly ingested for physical wellbeing. However, most recently, these once-medicinal ingestibles can now be found on the list of star ingredients in your beauty products. And while it's no secret the seemingly new fad has been popping up more and more along the skincare aisle, you might be wondering what exactly it means for your routine.

What Are Adaptogens?

First things first: Adaptogens are essentially a term coined for medicinal herbs and botanical extracts that reduce fatigue and the toxic effects of stress on the body. As we know, stress can manifest itself visually on the skin via breakouts, inflammation, and other surface ailments. If you're feeling stressed (Who isn't?), and your skin is showing it, adaptogens could be your answer.

Aptly named adaptogens adapt to what you need and regulate the body's response to stress, ultimately leaving you with luminous skin. Some common types of adaptogens include ginseng, reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, holy basil, licorice, aloe vera, rosemary, milk thistle, and turmeric. Sound familiar? Right about now, you might be realizing you actually have quite a few of these ingredients sitting in the products on your bathroom counter.

Why Should I Use Adaptogens?

Dr. Ryan Turner of Turner Dermatology tells us that while there is a lot of science behind the individual bioactive compounds that make up adaptogens, "the effect of [them] can be variable on each person's skin." However, he notes some of the most common benefits include slowing the aging process, calming inflammation, and protecting the skin from free radical damage. Additionally, he adds, "many adaptogens contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, E , B and contain trace amounts of the minerals zinc and copper that support the skin," as well as loads of "well-known antioxidants."

What Adaptogens Should I Use?

As you're learning, adaptogens can be found in skincare products from toners to serums, and moisturizers to face masks, but the vast selection can be dizzying. Here, Dr. Turner breaks down some of the most popular ones and their benefits:
Ginseng
For Tired Skin:
"Ginseng may be the most well-known of adaptogens that is used for increased energy, improved thought, and decreasing inflammation."
Reishi Mushrooms
For Stressed Skin:
"Reishi mushrooms are believed to improve longevity in Chinese healing traditions. Some support that these mushrooms improve the immune system and increase energy. Reishi mushrooms can improve hydration of the skin and contain powerful antioxidants to protect the skin. Reishi mushrooms naturally contain skin brighteners and powerful antioxidants."

Try: Kat Burki’s Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream
This reishi mushroom and vitamin C-infused cream penetrates deep into the skin to save a lackluster complexion and protect the skin from environmental toxins.

AshwagandhaFor Inflammation:
"Ashwagandha has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory effects and relax the body in some studies.

TumericFor Damaged Skin:
"Turmeric has active compounds called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage as well as reduce inflammation. Turmeric also has protectant antioxidant properties."

For Sensitive Skin:
"Aloe can help soothe sensitive skin and contains many important vitamins and minerals."

Dr. Turner also explains, "each adaptogen has a unique bioactive profile, and because of their versatility, they may work for each person differently based on the skin's needs at that time." In other words, it may take some trial and error and some close skin monitoring to place your finger on the specific adaptogens that work best for you. Just remember, "anyone with known allergies or sensitivities to these herbs, mushrooms, or any of the active compounds should avoid their use," he explains.

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