Sunday, August 14, 2011

Skin Lightening Ingredients - Plants

Welcome to the second installment in this mini-series about skin lightening ingredients. Today we're going to look at the cocktail of herbal extracts in the product that started this series (Lighten Up Herbal Skin Lightener).

The Backing Group
The following herbs have been blended to function as supportive ingredients to the main active skin lightening ingredient - Vitamin C.

  • Common Speedwell
  • Cowslip
  • Ladys Mantle
  • Lemon Balm
  • Mallow
  • Peppermint
  • Yarrow

Looking at this list, one might be rather tempted to make a tea, but this mix actually does have multiple functions. And although each of these plants are worthy of starring in their own separate post, we're going to stick to 'just the headlines' on each one today.

Common Speedwell (INCI: Veronica officinalis)
Rich in vitamins, tannins and aucuboside (a glycoside that is found in many other plants of this species), common speedwell has a history of medicinal use – mostly for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Cowslip (INCI: Primula veris) 
Cowslip contains a saponin called primula acid as well as glycosides (which can help eliminate toxins) and has diuretic, antispasmodic and expectorant properties. It has been used by herbalists for all kinds of conditions (none of which include lightening of the skin), and it can be an irritant to those who are allergic to it.

Ladys Mantle (INCI: Alchemilla vulgaris)
Known popularly as 'the womans healing herb', Ladys Mantle contains traces of salicylic acid, (an anti-irritant) and beta hydroxy acid (an exfoliant) and is an ideal partner for tackling blemishes. It is a natural astringent and is anti-inflammatory.

Lemon Balm (INCI: Melissa officinalis) 
A staple in my stock, lemon balm offers antioxidant and astringent properties and has a calming and sedative effect. It is claimed to have both antibacterial and antiviral properties, and has a rich history of use among herbalists.

Mallow (INCI: Malva sylvestris)
With its delicate scent, mallow contains a mucilage that functions as an emollient and helps soothe inflammation. Mallow has a history of medicinal use both internally and externally – depending on which part of the herb is used. 

Peppermint  (INCI: Mentha piperita) 
A cross between watermint and spearmint, peppermint has a very long history of medicinal use (archealogical evidence suggests over 5000 years). Peppermint even has promising effects for patients undergoing radiological treatment for cancer.

Yarrow (INCI: Achillea millefolium)
Also known as 'little feather' due to the shape of the leaves, yarrow offers astringent effects and is claimed to be helpful towards eczema when used externally. Yarrow is also said to intensify the medicinal action of other herbs taken with it. Its content of salicylic acid derivatives may be why it has been a popular herb for reducing fever and pain.

Do They Work Together?
This mix of herbal extracts, along with vitamin C, has not only helped give the Lighten Up Herbal Skin Lightener reasonable results in the skin-lightening department (with positive feedback from both participants), but it has also helped smooth wrinkles and give the skin tone a fresher look on both ladies. I plan on continuing working with this same cocktail in other products (without C-vitamin) to see how it fares 'on its own'.

About The Development of The Product
If you'd like to read about the development of the Herbal Skin Lightener, please see the links below

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