Adaptogens in Beauty Products: Should We Care?


Youth to the People

Ingestible adaptogens have been on the mainstream wellness community's radar for a few years now (though they've been used in Chinese medicine for centuries). These stress-relieving herbs, like maca and (the always-fun-to-pronounce) ashwagandha, are often sprinkled in smoothies and teas to reduce feelings of stress and fatigue by balancing our bodies' cortisol levels. Recently though, adaptogens have begun making their way into topical skincare products, too. "Plenty of research shows the benefits of adaptogens within your whole body, so it should come as little surprise that they are beneficial on one of your biggest organs as well—your skin," explains Josh Wadinski, founder and CEO of Plantioxidants.

What can adaptogens do for your skin? These ingredients (which also include familiar topical products like aloe vera and rosemary) assist with your body's natural defenses to reduce inflammation, promote faster wound recovery, and protect against a variety of other skin stressors, including circulatory, oxidant, and UV aggressors. That means younger, brighter, less-inflamed skin. "Topical applications of [adaptogens] will benefit the skin by promoting a calm and normalized appearance and delaying the changes that occur in skin appearance and function with time," explains Craig Kraffert, MD, board-certified dermatologist and president of Amarte Skin Care.