Calendula 101: Why You’re Seeing More of This Pretty Flower in Your Skincare
Apparently, traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines were onto something.
I know sometimes it might feel like every ingredient spotlight lately presents whatever is being featured as a multitasking powerhouse, but it just so happens to be the simple truth. A lot of the actives that beauty brands are choosing to include in their products are all-rounders these days, capable of doing everything from providing hydration and inflammation relief to protecting against free radicals. It’s a natural extension of the simpler, cleaner, more holistic approach that the beauty scene has taken, and our skin is happier for it.
Calendula is one of those ingredients. This golden yellow flower is also known as marigold and has a centuries-old history in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine practices, where it’s used topically as well as internally for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a pretty popular plant, symbolizing different things to a variety of nations and cultures. For instance, in India, the marigold is an auspicious flower, used for decoration at weddings and events and placed on the altars of Hindu gods as an offering. In Mexico, it features prominently in Dia de los Muertos celebrations, where its scent and color are believed to help guide the spirits of the dead towards the memorial altars set up by their loved ones.
In skincare, calendula is valued for its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial attributes. When used topically for wound healing, it promotes the formation of granulation tissue, which is basically new vascular tissue that grows over the surface of a healing wound. Pretty amazing, right? It’s also a popular component in baby skincare products, like diaper rash creams and moisturizing balms, because it’s gentle enough to be used on delicate infant skin. That’s a pretty good indicator of its mildness, but it’s still important to patch test though.
Calendula extract is a hydrating and soothing concentrate that is particularly great for sensitive, dry, or irritated skin. Oily skin types are totally invited to the party as well. The astringent properties of this ingredient makes it excellent for soothing and treating acne, as well as preventing future breakouts. So the next time you need some soothing hydration or breakout relief, reach for a product like the SanDaWha Calendula Mask or Steambase Calendula Deep Moisture Calming Mask and strap yourself in for some TLC. For an even more relaxing sheet mask experience, leave it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes beforehand. After cleansing, toning, and applying your serums, slap that ice-cold baby on, relax with your favorite book or TV series or podcast, and enjoy every minute.
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Calendula is available in a range of other products for every step of your skincare routine, featuring heavily in stuff like cleansing waters by Neogen and Steambase, the Purifying version of the Banila Co Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm, and the Missha All Around Safe Block Daily Sun cream. The Kiehl’s brand has a whole line of skincare solutions dedicated to the stuff. It’s probably hidden somewhere in the ingredient breakdowns of some of your staple products if you look closely.
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The benefits of calendula seem never-ending, with newer uses unearthed the more you look. In addition to being all those wonderful things outlined above, calendula tinctures are also purportedly used to treat conditions such as chicken pox, varicose veins, gastrointestinal ulcers, dandruff, burns, scars, episiotomies, bug bites, and itchy skin. My mind was kind of blown to discover all these uses that I hadn’t thought of, and I’m looking forward to trying a few of them out.
Do you have any favorite calendula-based remedies or go-to natural ingredients that you use for practically ailment? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?