Chamomile has a long history as one of the world's oldest and most widely used medicinal plants. In addition to its many health benefits, it also provides significant benefits for the skin. Whether you're looking to soothe irritated skin or combat acne, adding chamomile to your skincare regimen might just be the solution you need.
Chamomile offers numerous skin benefits, including soothing inflammation, promoting healing, reducing acne, calming sensitive skin, and combatting signs of aging.
The skincare benefits of chamomile come from natural compounds in the plant, such as apigenin, chamazulene, and α-bisabolol.
When it comes to skincare, chamomile can be found in a range of products such as lotions, serums, cleansers, oils, and chemical peels.
Even though chamomile is generally safe, it's important to be aware of potential allergic reactions and always conduct a patch test.
What is chamomile?
Chamomile, a member of the Asteraceae or Compositae family, is more than just a daisy-like plant — it's recognized as a medicinal powerhouse. Known as one of the world's oldest and most widely used medicinal plants, it has seen use across centuries and civilizations, from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians to today's modern societies.
Nowadays, this versatile herb takes many forms, including herbal tea for internal benefits, essential oils for aromatherapy, and herbal extracts used in skincare products.
While many know chamomile for its calming effects on both the mind and body, did you know these soothing properties also extend to the skin? And the skin benefits don't stop there.
Recent scientific research reveals even more benefits of this herb. Evidence shows that several natural compounds in chamomile possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, allergy-reducing, and soothing and healing properties for the skin.
How chamomile can benefit the skin
Even though more clinical studies involving human participants are needed, chamomile is showing promising research results.
You can use chamomile in skincare to help:
Soothe irritated and inflamed skin
With its naturally soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile is an effective remedy for calming irritated, inflamed, and red skin. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans turned to chamomile for irritated skin relief. Whether you're dealing with a bug bite, rash, eczema, dermatitis, shingles, or rosacea, chamomile can help reduce irritation and swelling. One study found that a topical chamomile cream was even more effective than hydrocortisone cream when treating atopic eczema.
Promote faster healing
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that promote quicker healing of wounds, including burns and sunburns. It not only keeps the wound clean by fighting off infection-causing microorganisms, but it also helps to reduce swelling and speeds up the wound repair process, helping your body recover faster. A study on rats demonstrated that using a chamomile extract ointment led to a shorter wound healing time than an antibiotic ointment.
Chamomile is an excellent addition to your skincare routine to combat acne and acne-prone skin, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Chamomile's anti-inflammatory properties help soothe the redness and inflammation commonly seen with acne breakouts, while its anti-bacterial properties help fight acne-causing bacteria, resulting in clearer, blemish-free skin.
Calm sensitive skin
With its natural calming effects, chamomile is an ideal ingredient for individuals with sensitive skin. Its anti-inflammatory and allergy-reducing properties effectively soothe the skin, reducing irritation and sensitivity.
Reduce signs of aging
Chamomile is rich in antioxidants, which play a vital role in combatting the signs of aging. By protecting the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals (molecules that can harm your skin and are a major contributor to aging skin), such as radiation from the sun and pollution, antioxidants can help keep the skin looking youthful and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Chamomile's benefits explained
Do you wonder how chamomile provides such wonderful benefits for the skin? The answer can be found in the natural compounds within this medicinal flower.
Chamomile holds more than 120 different compound, with apigenin, chamazulene, and α-bisabolol standing out as the main contributors to its skin benefits. These naturally occurring chemical substances are responsible for the therapeutic and healing properties of chamomile.
- Apigenin. Apigenin is a type of flavonoid and the main active compound found in chamomile. It provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to reduce inflammation and shield the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Apigenin also plays a role in blocking the histamine pathways that cause itching and allergic skin responses.
- Chamazulene. Chamazulene is a terpenoid compound responsible for the characteristic blue color of chamomile essential oil. It exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and contributes to the skin-calming effects of chamomile.
- α-bisabolol. α-bisabolol, a soothing compound, has anti-inflammatory properties that help calm and protect sensitive or irritated skin. It also exhibits antibacterial properties to help fight infection-causing microorganisms.
It’s worth noting that these compounds aren't acting alone. The synergy between these and other compounds found in chamomile leads to increased effectiveness in skin care.
What form should I use?
Health benefits are derived from two main types of chamomile: German chamomile and Roman chamomile. German chamomile, which has a higher concentration of beneficial compounds, is generally considered more effective and is sought out in skincare products.
Chamomile comes in various forms, each with different concentrations and purposes. These forms include herbal tea, essential oil, and chamomile extract. Both the essential oil and chamomile extract are generally more potent than the tea, making them an ideal ingredient for skincare products.
Chamomile in skincare products
When it comes to skincare, chamomile can be found in a range of products, such as lotions, serums, cleansers, oils, and even chemical peels. The type of product you choose depends on what you aim to treat. For instance, a chamomile-infused lotion or cream could be ideal for general skin hydration and calming irritated skin. On the other hand, a serum with chamomile extract might be better suited for targeting specific skin concerns, like redness or inflammation, due to its more concentrated formula.
Ultimately, the form of chamomile you choose to use depends on your specific skin concerns and preferences. Everyone's skin is unique, and while chamomile has many benefits, it's always best to consult with a healthcare provider or dermatologist for specific skin concerns. It is also always a good idea to do a patch test before trying new skincare products, even natural ones like chamomile.
Chamomile side effects and precautions
While chamomile is generally considered safe and well-tolerated for topical use, there are some precautions to be aware of.
- Allergic reactions. Chamomile is part of the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family, which also includes ragweed, marigolds, daisies, and chrysanthemums. If you have allergies to these types of plants, you may also react to chamomile. Signs of an allergic reaction could include skin rash, itchiness, redness, and swelling.
- Eye irritation. If applied too close to the eyes, chamomile products could cause irritation. Always avoid the eye area when using these products.
- Skin irritation. If you are using pure chamomile essential oil, due to its potency, it's recommended to dilute it with a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil before applying it to your skin to avoid potential irritation.
Always remember that even natural products can cause adverse reactions in some people. If you notice any unusual symptoms while using a chamomile-containing product, stop using it immediately and consult a healthcare professional.
While chamomile shows promising results in research, it is important to acknowledge that more clinical studies involving human participants are needed to fully understand its potential. However, the benefits of chamomile in skincare are hard to ignore. From soothing irritated skin and improving wound healing to reducing acne, calming sensitive skin, and combating the signs of aging, chamomile proves to be a versatile and valuable ingredient.
- Pharmaceuticals. A Comprehensive Study of Therapeutic Applications of Chamomile.
- Molecular Medicine Reports. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.
- European Journal of Medical Research. Proof of efficacy of Kamillosan(R) cream in atopic eczema.
- Infectious Disorders. In vivo Antibacterial and Wound Healing Activities of Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).