When setting yourself up for a good night's rest, chamomile tea is a surefire way to instill a sense of calm before bedtime. In fact, chamomile tea was also historically used by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to treat wounds and promote healing. Just as chamomile helps calm the mind and body, it has similar effects on the skin. Ahead, Dendy Engelman MD, FACMS, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, Joshua Zeichner, MD, FAAD, a New York City board-certified dermatologist, and cosmetic chemist Ginger King explain the many benefits of this ingredient.
Type of ingredient: Antioxidant, moisturizer, soother.
Main benefit: Calms the skin.
Who should use it: All skin types can use it but sensitive skin types are likely to benefit most since chamomile extract soothes the skin.
How often can you use it: Chamomile can be used every day.
Works well with: Compatible with water-based skincare products such as essences, toners, and serums.
Don't use with: There aren't any ingredients that are known to clash with chamomile.
What Is Chamomile?
Chamomile is an herb that has been used for thousands of years to promote sleep, relieve stress, and alleviate stomach ailments, acting as a natural medicine to ease heartburn and nausea. But the soothing plant has powers beyond improving our insides.
If you pay attention to ingredient lists on beauty products, you've probably noticed chamomile cropping up in a number of skincare products formulated to calm, heal, and soothe skin—and for good reason. "It contains high levels of an antioxidant known as apigenin, which explains its effects on the skin," says Dr. Zeichner.
Benefits of Chamomile for Skin
Dr. Zeichner and Dr. Engelman both tout chamomile for its ability to calm and soothe the skin, in addition to reducing redness, blemishes, and signs of aging.
- Alleviates redness: "Chamomile placates redness because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Redness is a side-effect of underlying inflammation. If an ingredient is anti-inflammatory, [the] skin is soothed, less red, and less irritated," explains Dr. Engelman.
- Soothes sensitive skin: "There is basic science research showing that chamomile helps block signals in the body known as prostaglandins, which are responsible for inflammation. This makes chamomile a great ingredient for people who have sensitive skin, as well as inflammatory conditions like rosacea," says Dr. Zeichner.
- Relieves inflammation: "Because chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to protect against long-term and short-term skin inflammation. [Specifically], in the case of sunburns, it helps reduce DNA damage caused by too much UV exposure. This is why a cold compress of brewed chamomile tea placed on the sunburn can aid in a quicker recovery," adds Dr. Engelman.
- Decreases signs of aging: The polyphenols and phytochemicals in chamomile are known to speed up cell regeneration, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars. As if these weren't enough reasons to get on board with chamomile in our skincare, these polyphenols also fight against harmful free radicals, protecting our skin from environmental damage and slowing signs of aging.
Side Effects of Chamomile
Chamomile has no known side effects.
How to Use It
From cleansers to serums, chamomile is found on the ingredient lists of a variety of different skincare products types. This herb works in tandem with other ingredients to address several skincare concerns, such as redness and fine lines. Those with sensitive skin who are looking to calm irritation would especially benefit from adding a product with chamomile to their routine.
The Best Products With Chamomile
Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Chamomile, and Lavender
For a spa-like refresh in a spritz, treat your face to this chamomile-infused take on Mario Badescu's cult-favorite facial spray. This purple iteration features lavender oil, lavender essential water, and chamomile extract to boost calming properties. The formulation is also fortified by vitamin C to combat free radicals even better, fighting signs of aging and balancing your complexion.
Lather Blue Chamomile Makeup Remover
The eye-catching blue of this new makeup remover is naturally derived from chamomile flowers during the distillation process. The soothing blue chamomile (also known as azulene) helps to calm and refresh the skin and relieve environmental stress while the formula works hard to gently dissolve makeup and take off the day.
Belif The True Tincture Essence - Chamomile
This product features 93 percent organic chamomile tincture extract using a patented extraction technique that purifies toxins from herbs without destroying active ingredients. The extract supports the skin's blood flow and circulation, revitalizing dull skin and boosting the skin's vitality levels for a more balanced complexion and texture.
Sundari Chamomile Eye Oil
Knowing that chamomile can be so beneficial to the eye area, it's no surprise that there's an eye oil derived from the ingredient. The lightweight formula is designed to gently penetrate the delicate eye area—with chamomile oil soothing and reducing inflammation and minimizing puffiness, fine lines, and wrinkles. With regular use, the oil brightens eyes and reveals a more supple tone.
Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen
For a broad-spectrum sunscreen that also evens out the complexion with a touch of tint, this vegan moisturizer is the ultimate multitasker. The product doesn't just cover up by providing light coverage but also works hard to brighten and treat the skin while protecting it from UV rays and free radical damage. Anti-inflammatory chamomile extract heals dry or damaged skin.
Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum
If the packaging isn't enough to brighten up your day, the potent serum is sure to be enough to brighten up your skin. The lightweight serum features pineapple juice (no surprises here) and vitamin C to brighten skin and tackle dullness, uneven texture, and dryness. Chamomile works concurrently to calm and soothe the skin and ensure the serum can also work wonders for those with sensitive skin.
The Organic Pharmacy Rose and Chamomile Cleansing Milk
Perfectly formulated for sensitive skin (thanks to chamomile and aloe vera), this gentle face wash purifies skin, sloughs off dead skin cells, and removes oil and dirt without causing irritation or inflammation. The soothing wash also boasts shea butter and jojoba oil for added nutrients and an extra boost of hydration.
Fresh Crème Ancienne
For a super luxurious power-packed and chamomile-infused product for your skin, look no further than Fresh's Crème Ancienne. Handmade in a monastery with meadowfoam seed oil (an emollient fatty acid that absorbs into the skin for unrivaled nourishment), rosewater, vitamin E, and chamomile wax, this face cream is worth the hefty price tag. The chamomile wax decreases dry spots, softens the skin, and creates a light moisture-preserving veil for long-lasting hydration.
Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895–901. https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2010.377