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The Skin Care Benefits of Chamomile (And the Best Products That Have It)

Christina Heiser
Writer and expert5 years ago
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chamomile ingredients

One of the most relaxing nighttime rituals is sipping a cup of chamomile tea. In case you didn’t know, chamomile has a long history as an Ayurvedic treatment. A form of holistic medicine, Ayurveda was founded in India thousands of years ago on the principle that health depends on the right balance between the body and mind.

The Health and Skin Care Benefits of Chamomile

Coming from the Anthemis nobilis plant, chamomile is said to be able to treat everything from bloating to insomnia to headaches to PMS symptoms. “Chamomile has anti-inflammatory effects because it blocks the release of a potent chemical responsible for promoting inflammation in your body—called prostaglandin E2—and also decreases the release of histamine,” explains Dr. Donna Hart, M.D., a dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology. Histamine is a chemical your immune system produces to help your body get rid of allergy symptoms, adds Hart.

Along with boasting some major health benefits, did you know that chamomile also provides skin care benefits? Because of chamomile’s ability to inhibit inflammation, it can have some pretty cool effects on your skin. “When used topically in skin care products, it can help soothe, comfort and moisturize the skin,” says cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, of Beauty Stat. “It’s particularly good for those with sensitive skin,” he notes.

Chamomile and Sensitive Skin

According to a study published in Molecular Medicine Reports, one of the main compounds found in chamomile is called apigenin, which other studies have shown to be able to improve skin barrier function. Your skin barrier refers to the outermost layer of your skin. Though it works to keeps irritants out, things like environmental conditions or the use of harsh products can weaken it. When your skin barrier is weakened, irritants can make their way in and lead to irritation and sensitivity.

According to the Molecular Medicine Reports study, chamomile contains other compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds include alpha-bisabolol, alpha-bisabolol oxides A & B and matricin. They’re all flavonoids, which are a class of substances found in plants. One international study found that the flavonoids in chamomile have the ability to penetrate deep into the skin and inhibit the release of chemicals that cause inflammation. It makes sense then that the study highlights the fact that chamomile is used topically to treat diaper rash, chicken pox, poison ivy and the list goes on.

Chamomile and Acne- or Rosacea-Prone Skin

Dr. Hart adds that in addition to calming sensitive skin, chamomile also helps decrease inflammation in those with acne- or rosacea-prone skin. A study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that the most useful herbs for treating the facial redness of rosacea includes chamomile, green tea and lavender, thanks to their ability to block the release of inflammatory chemicals in the body.

As for acne, a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that chamomile essential oil contains compounds called α-pinene and terpinen-4-ol that have antimicrobial effects, meaning they kill or stop the growth of certain germs. This study explains that these antimicrobial compounds help kill Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that causes acne.

Precaution to Note

As great as chamomile can be to sensitive and problematic skin, the one caveat is that chamomile is a relative to ragweed, a common weed that produces pollen and that many people are allergic to. So those with ragweed allergies may want to hold back on this ingredient to avoid a potential reaction to chamomile, notes Dr. Hart. If you're not sure whether you're allergic to this ingredient, always do a patch test before slathering a new product with chamomile on the rest of your skin.

Best Skin Care Products With Chamomile 

Ready to take advantage of all of the beauty benefits chamomile has to offer? Here are some products formulated with chamomile that you can add to your skin care routine.

    Christina Heiser
    Writer and expert
    View Christina Heiser's profile
    By day, Christina Heiser is a senior editor for L’Oréal Paris. By night, she’s a freelance beauty, health, and wellness writer for a variety of online publications like NBC News Better and What’s Good by The Vitamin Shoppe. Outside of the office, you can find Christina hitting up boutique spin and yoga classes in NYC, cheering on her college basketball team (go Red Storm!), and watching as many Broadway plays as she can possibly fit into her schedule. Her biggest beauty obsession: Hot pink lipstick. Follow her on Twitter.