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It may be pungent and oddly shaped but ginger has a long-standing reputation as a healing plant. For centuries, it’s been a go-to home remedy for everything from an upset stomach to cold and flu symptoms. And it's incredibly easy to incorporate. Add a few slices of fresh ginger to your tea to help soothe nausea, or crush it up and mix it with other natural ingredients if you're feeling the DIY itch. If you're more of a Chrissy Teigen-type and consider yourself a maestro in the kitchen, you know adding ginger to your favorite dish can add a kick—and amp up the health benefits. Suffice to say, it's the kind of spice that keeps on giving. But what if we told you it had a whole slew of beauty benefits as well? Yes, ginger can heal inflammation, but it also may give you healthier hair and better skin, and might even be able to tackle cellulite. To learn more, we reached out to Audrey Kunin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dermadoctor, and Ava Shamban cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Skin Five in LA.
Type of Ingredient: Rejuvenator
Main Benefits: Restores and rejuvenates skin, fade scars.
Who should use it: It is recommended for people of all ages and skin types and is especially beneficial for those with lack-luster skin.
How often can you use it: Daily, morning and night.
Works well with: Moisturizers and serums.
Don't use with: Generally, ginger is safe to use with most, if not all, ingredients.
What is Ginger?
Ginger is a root superfood that has wonderful skin rejuvenation properties. Both ingesting ginger and applying it topically have major anti-aging benefits. It contains numerous antioxidant properties that prevent free radical damage and protect against aging.
Benefits of Ginger for the Skin
- Fades scars: Because of its toning and antioxidant properties, ginger can reduce the appearance of scars: "Ginger possesses both antioxidant properties and has a toning effect, making it able to normalize hypopigmented scars (scars lighter than your natural skin tone)," says Kunin.
- Rejuvenates skin: "There is some actual data suggesting that it has a damping influence on the enzymes that break down collagen, the MMPs AKA collagenase," Shamban adds. Since your collagen contributes to a youthful appearance, this powerhouse ingredient is a great anti-aging tool. It also evens skin tone.
- Promotes hair growth: Ginger, possibly surprisingly, may increase circulation to your scalp, which can help stimulate hair growth. The plethora of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids inside ginger may also strengthen strands.
- Combats dandruff: Ginger is also an excellent remedy for dandruff: "It’s antiseptic nature helps keep levels of natural yeast and bacteria, which trigger dandruff, low," says Kunin.
- Reduces cellulite: In addition to its detoxifying and invigorating qualities, ginger is also known to reduce cellulite: "Ginger has de-puffing properties which help minimize the appearance of dimpling," says Kunin.
"In terms of DIY skincare, adding ginger to yogurt and honey as a powder can reduce inflammation and be used for acne support or some anti-aging," says Shamban.
There are no known side effects of ginger; however, it is always recommended to patch test when trying a new skincare ingredient.
How to Use it
For skin that is dealing with scarring, just dab a slice of fresh ginger onto the areas of your skin that are lacking color, and let the juice dry. Do this once or twice a day, every day, and you should start to see an improvement in a couple of weeks. Within a few months, your scars will be nearly undetectable.
You can also whip up a biweekly mask of equal parts grated or powdered ginger, honey, and fresh lemon juice. Leave it on for up to 30 minutes, and rinse to reveal radiant skin. You can also boil the same three ingredients to make yourself a stomach-healing tea.
In need of a hair mask? DIY it by making a hair mask of equal parts grated ginger and jojoba oil, and massage it into your hair, concentrating on the scalp. After 30 minutes, rinse and shampoo your hair as usual.
For cellulite, stimulate circulation and tone your skin with a cellulite-busting lemon-ginger body scrub. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger, and the zest of one lemon. You can store your leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.
Best Products with Ginger
This salt scrub is a great option for anyone looking for exfoliation and cellulite busting properties. The antioxidants in the ginger promote smooth and glowing skin. Rub all over skin (in the shower to avoid any mess) and you'll glow for days!
"DERMAdoctor’s Lucky Bamboo Quench & Set Essence Spray is a refreshing wellness mist replete with antioxidants like ginger, electrolytes, and minerals," says Kunin. This rejuvenating mist is the perfect way to easily add ginger to your daily routine.
This volumizing conditioner featuring ginger is great for anyone wanting to strengthen hair with vitamins and nutrients while also keeping their scalp happy and healthy.
Rejuvenate and refresh skin daily with this face wash featuring ginger. Recommended by Shamban, Origins has a full collection of products featuring this magical ingredient.
This clarifying concentrate works to clarify and soothe blemish prone skin with BHAs and ginger leaf plant cells. The ginger leaf works to hydrate the skin while also promoting a matte finish. Needless to say, this product works wonders for anyone dealing with breakouts.
This serum revives dull skin with a shot of antioxidants and hydration from ginger and vitamin C. Not only is it cruelty free and paraben free... but it's also affordable. What's better than that?
This ginger scalp serum soothes and refreshes a dry itchy scalp. The ginger essential oil is meant to rebalance the scalp while white willow bark prevents any buildup. Use this serum anytime your scalp feels a bit off to completely refresh.
Mao QQ, Xu XY, Cao SY, et al. Bioactive compounds and bioactivities of ginger ( zingiber officinale roscoe). Foods. 2019;8(6):185. doi:10.3390/foods8060185
Binic I, Lazarevic V, Ljubenovic M, Mojsa J, Sokolovic D. Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:827248. doi:10.1155/2013/827248
Koyama T, Kobayashi K, Hama T, Murakami K, Ogawa R. Standardized scalp massage results in increased hair thickness by inducing stretching forces to dermal papilla cells in the subcutaneous tissue. Eplasty. 2016;16:e8.