Ingredient Spotlight: Chamomile
Many of us drink chamomile tea for its soothing and calming effects or even use it in aromatherapy for the same purpose. But what can this fragrant perennial do for the skin?
It may not come as a surprise that its aesthetic benefits actually closely mirror that of herbal teas or aromatherapy formulas – it delivers soothing, anti-inflammatory, healing, and antioxidant benefits to the skin.
What It Is
The word chamomile (earth apple) originates from the Greek words chamai (on the ground) and melon (apple). Its fragrance is sweet, crisp, fruity and herbaceous – much like an apple – and it is part of the Asteraceae family of vascular plants, of which there are several different species. The two most commonly used are the Matricaria recutita (German chamomile) and Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile).
Chamomile, native to Europe, parts of Asia and Africa, is the national flower of Russia. It is also one of the most widely used botanicals. More specifically, it is the daisy-like, white flower portion of the herbaceous plant that is used medicinally and in herbal teas to relax, treat stomach problems and improve sleep. Medicinal uses of chamomile are said to have originated with the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks.
Chamomile has also been referred to as "the plant doctor," because it is believed to help neighboring plants grow and maintain health, especially those that produce essential oils, as it increases the production of the oils.
How It Works
Chamomile offers one of the most versatile essential oils, which lends the ingredient to many cosmeceuticals uses. This powerful plant heals and soothes, and works as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It has also been noted for its age-reversal properties, and the treatment of various skin challenges.
The essential oil in chamomile contains flavonoids, lipophilic and phenolic compounds, and bisabolo, making it effective in treating a range of issues including rashes, acne, hypersensitivity, inflammation, allergic reactions, and eczema, among others. These properties also give chamomile its healing powers and the ability to enhance percutaneous absorption of other ingredients.
The phenolic compounds in chamomile have also shown to reduce oxidative damage by acting as a free-radical scavenger. These derivatives also deliver antiseptic and emollient properties, which soften and assist in decongesting the skin. The flavonoids along with the lipophilic (ability to attach to lipids) compounds help enhance microcirculation and capillary function, which strengthens skin cells, and thus supports a youthful appearance.
Where to Find It
We use two types of chamomile – Chamomilla Recutita (*) and Anthemis Nobilis – in several of our formulas from masks to peptide serums to moisturizers. Depending on the formula it is blended into, this ingredient can serve as a healer, soother, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and a free-radical scavenger, among other properties.
A few include:
- Rosemary Basil Mask
- Honey Paprika Mask
- Chocolate Antioxidant Mask
- Kojic Clay TCA
- Peptide 3-N-1 Eye Cream
- Brightening Cream Enhanced
- Amino Peptide Serum
- Moisture Au Lait
- Amino Peptide Moisturizer
- Peel Cream
- Nurture Balm
Look for various ways to incorporate chamomile into your treatment room – perhaps with a therapeutic mist over fresh linens, in your skin care regimens and products you use, or with a cup of soothing tea following a treatment. Your clients are sure to leave relaxed and stress free. An interesting side note – did you know chamomile is used in place of grass on the lawns of Buckingham Palace in London.
Question: Do you have a favorite herb in the treatment room? If so, how do you use it?