Known for many health benefits, including the ability to help ward off depression, St. John’s wort is also beneficial for the skin. Full of powerful flavonoids, it helps protect, soothe, and heal skin, while providing anti-acne and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Whether you have oily or dry skin, this herb helps to kill bacteria and calm irritation so your skin looks smoother and healthier. Plus, it helps plump and hydrate skin while restoring elasticity, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, St. John’s wort has good evidence behind it as an herbal remedy for mild-to-moderate depression. In many studies it worked as well as standard medications like Prozac, Celexa, and Zoloft. Meanwhile, it lacks the difficult side effects of these drugs.
St. John’s wort may also help with premenstrual syndrome, symptoms of menopause, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social phobias. Standard doses are 300 mg standardized to 0.3 percent hypericin extract, three times a day.
The herb has also been long used to treat skin conditions, including wounds, eczema, minor burns, and hemorrhoids. It was a folk remedy for nerve pain, as well, has a natural antibacterial property, and also helps fight inflammation.
Benefits to the Skin
Like so many natural plant ingredients, St. John’s wort has a number of benefits when applied topically to the skin. These include:
- Support elasticity: Elastin in your skin gives it “snap,” helping it to retain its original shape even after you make an expression. Over time, the skin produces less elastin, and what we have can become aged and damaged. St. John’s wort helps support healthy elastin production, reducing the appearance of fine lines.
- Hydrating: It has natural essential oils in it that hydrate and plump up the skin, making it appear more fresh and dewy.
- Soothing: If you have skin redness or irritation, this is your herb. It helps tame inflammation and soothe itching and burning, making skin more comfortable. It also contains tannins—similar compounds to those found in tea—that help relieve skin irritations, like those resulting from eczema or minor cuts.
- Anti-acne: The natural antibacterial action in the herb kills off the bugs that like to cause acne. Combined with the anti-inflammatory action, the herb provides a two-step punch against pimples. This antibacterial action also helps keep skin care formulas free of microorganisms without chemical preservatives.
- Wound healing: A balm made from St. John’s wort works well on burns, wounds, insect bites and stings, and other skin irritations and problems.
Note: When taken internally, St. John’s wort can increase photosensitivity in the skin, making it more vulnerable to potential UV damage. Though so far studies show no similar effect when the extract is applied topically, it’s wise to always protect from the sun.
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