Sometimes, the best way to sniff out a great natural ingredient in skincare is to take a look back in history. Many botanical ingredients used today, trace their roots (literally and figuratively) back to early medicine. This is the case with one of the favorites in skincare today, calendula. What is calendula? In short, calendula is a flowering plant first found in the Mediterranean that sometimes goes by the common name pot marigold. Calendula is both a visual stunner and a homeopathic wonder. It really is the total package in flora.
Before you go out and buy flats upon flats of marigolds from your local nursery, understand that not all marigolds are created equally. You are probably most familiar with the French Marigold, ironically native to North America. These line gardens everywhere with bright orange and yellow boundaries, but have very little benefit outside of a pleasing esthetic. Calendula Officinalis is the real hero. While not as popular, it can be used to address a variety of health concerns.
How is Calendula used in Health?
Calendula has a wide range of applications. It is most commonly applied topically but can also be ingested. Think about that next time you are mixing the greens for your next salad. Any way it is consumed, this wonder flower has many health benefits. Calendula has been found to relieve muscle spasms and cramps (1). It has excellent anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and wound healing activity. When steeped in a tea and gargled, Calendula has shown to have positive effects on oral health (2). The most familiar use for Calendula is to support skin health.
How is Calendula used in Skincare?
Your skin health can be improved by Calendula. When applied to a wound, Calendula can help speed up recovery time and closure rate (3). It also supports overall skin health by increasing hydration and blood flow to the layers of the skin. As an anti-inflammatory agent, Calendula is very valuable in skincare. It can be applied topically to irritated skin, burns, extremely dry skin, psoriasis and eczema with positive effects. Most significantly, Calendula has shown to reduce the rate of dermatitis occurring in patients treated with radiotherapy (4). Calendula is used in our Revive® Skin Recovery Cream to help provide radiation relief. These same properties make it useful as an after-sun cream to relieve pain from severe sunburn. Some studies even show that it used proactively in sun care, Calendula can help provide protection from harmful UV rays (5).
It is important to note, that if you are allergic to marigolds use of Calendula can cause irritation itself. If you note that using a product with Calendula has caused a rash or redness, you should discontinue using the product and refer to your physician or dermatologist. For the most part, no matter your concern, calendula proves to be a good ingredient to look for. In addition to all of the above, Calendula has also been found useful in treating acne (6), scar management, stretch marks and anti-aging (7). Calendula’s positive effects can be found in every corner of the skincare world.
Next time you look at the ingredient list of your favorite product or in your attempt to find the next member of your skincare regimen check to see if this powerful herb is mentioned in the label.