Use This Herb to Help Soothe Dry Skin

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Use This Herb to Help Soothe Dry SkinNow that colder, drier weather has settled in, skin problems can flare up. To avoid some of the common skin complaints associated with winter, follow this health advice: try applying an extract made from rose.

Researchers at the School of Life Sciences, University of Kingston, in the U.K. have recently studied the effects of rose extract on human skin cells. In fact, they assessed the effectiveness of three plant extracts for their potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in human skin “fibroblasts” — as well as their ability to prevent free radical damage.

A fibroblast is a cell made of connective tissue that produces and secretes fibers. These fibers could be collagen, reticular and/or elastic. Why do you need fibroblasts for healthy skin? The fibers fibroblasts produce help to maintain your skin health — specifically when it comes to wound healing and tissue repair. Fibroblasts also provide a structural framework for many other tissues in your body.

The researchers tested extracts of white tea, witch hazel (follow this link to learn more about witch hazel: Witch Hazel for Soothing Irritated Skin), and rose by studying their effects on skin fibroblast cells. The cells were subjected to damage by a solution of hydrogen peroxide. The research team found that the extracts exerted considerable anti-collagenase activity. Collagenase is an enzyme that decomposes collagen and gelatin in your skin cells, making it much harder for your skin to remain healthy.

The research team also found that the rose extract exerted “antielastase” activity. Antielastase is an agent that counteracts a poison and neutralizes its effects — in this case the hydrogen peroxide used in the study. All of the extracts were also found to cause a significant decrease in the amount of “IL-8” produced by fibroblast cells compared to the control samples. IL-8, or interleukin-8, is a group of peptides that activate and recruit white blood cells in the inflammatory process.

The researchers concluded that rose extract, witch hazel and white tea extract all exert a protective effect on fibroblast cells against hydrogen-peroxide-induced damage.

There are many alternative skin products that contain rose extract. Look for soaps and moisturizing creams in particular. To get a liquid rose extract that you can apply topically, head to your local natural pharmacy.