Sorry to tell you, but lavender may not be the magic cure for acne after all.

In the beauty industry, you will find lavender all over the place. It is mixed with bath salts to help relieve our sore muscles, mixed with soothing facial mists to soothe our skin, used as a aromatherapy oil to potentially keep stress at bay, and added to perfumes to help bring back memories from our grandmother’s garden. Although the plant has been used for thousands of years, more recently it has received a lot of attention for its apparent abilities to help reduce rashes. But with lavender being the magical “cure” for a rash-free complexion, it sounds too good to be true, and unfortunately, that’s because as far as we know it is. While lavender in skin care has its uses, it may not be the panacea for acne or rashes that some had hoped for.

a close-up of a bottle on a wooden table: Sorry to tell you, but lavender may not be the magic cure for acne after all

© Getty / Anna-Ok
Sorry to tell you, but lavender may not be the magic cure for acne after all.

Is lavender a good ingredient to use for acne?

As with many subjects and in-depth ingredient dives in the skin care industryThe answer to the question of whether lavender is good for acne isn’t that simple. “Some laboratory studies and animal models suggest that lavender oils may possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially targeting some of the mechanisms that lead to acne,” the dermatologist explained. Dr Zena Willsmore. “However, it has not been directly evaluated in the treatment of acne in patients, so clinical evidence is lacking,” she added, noting that we cannot simply take the results of an Petri dish or mouse model as a fact when it comes to real acne patients.

In fact, for some people, lavender can have the opposite effect of treating their acne and instead causing allergic reactions or rashes – especially if you have sensitive skin. “It’s rare in the form of lavender water, but lavender essential oil itself can cause some irritation in some people,” said cosmetic chemist Ginger King.

That said, everyone’s skin is different, and you may find that you don’t have any adverse reactions to lavender, especially if you don’t have sensitive skin. “Lavender is used to balance and tone the skin and could help acne due to its astringent effect,” King said. “It’s like witch hazel with an added benefit in aromatherapy,” she added.

Why is lavender so widely believed to cure acne?

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But Why is it so popular, we asked ourselves. Dr Willsmore made an excellent point that one of the reasons for the popular resurgence of lavender has to do with a broader thought process among consumers. “Our instincts as humans lead us to trust plant materials of natural origin rather than those developed in a sterile laboratory environment, but this logic is flawed,” said Dr Willsmore. “Whether a product is natural or synthetic, it tells us nothing about its safety or effectiveness.”

As King briefly mentioned, in recent years – and accelerated during the pandemic – many people have turned to sensory beauty as a way to de-stress and relax, especially if someone has a particularly clinical feeling (or smelling) routine. “Lavender provides a calming scent for relaxation,” King said. Dr Willsmore echoed this: “A lot of people enjoy the aroma of lavender, and it can be an important part of the sensory skin care experience.” This could be part of the reason why people seem so keen to incorporate lavender into their routines. My two cents is that it also has something to do with the famous and always popular Mario Badescu facial spray with aloe, chamomile and lavender.

What other ingredients and products can someone use to help reduce or calm rashes?

As with all skin care products, if you are currently using some form of lavender in your routine and it is working well for you, then keep using it. But if you are struggling to spend a lot of money on lavender products in the hopes that it will be the only cure for your rashes, you might want to consider alternative treatments. The good news is that there are plenty of other products that can help. It’s always helpful to get a diagnosis from a general practitioner or dermatologist before embarking on an extensive (and quick) skin care routine.

“The basics of a good acne skin care routine begin with gentle cleansing twice a day and the use of a non-comedogenic moisturizer,” said Dr. Willsmore. Active ingredients which are effective in reducing acne and rashes include: benzoyl peroxide in the form of Acnecide Face Wash Spot treatment Benzoyl peroxide 5% (available in higher concentrations by prescription); salicylic acid (Dr Willsmore recommends Smoothing Cleanser CeraVe SA); azelaic acid (Dr Willsmore likes Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster – available in higher concentrations by prescription); and niacinamide, although this ingredient is found in many other skin care products, Dr Willsmore said you don’t necessarily need it as a separate step. While there are many options, she warned that “throwing everything at it is likely to lead to irritation, a compromised skin barrier and worsening acne.”

“Beyond simple skin care measures, there is a whole host of effective prescription options available which should be tailored to the individual,” said Dr. Willsmore. These include prescription retinoids, topical antibiotics, prescription azelaic acid, and oral medications.

Solar cream is an absolute must for all patients and is essential to prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation for those with acne – I recommend the Heliocare 360 ​​Oil Free Gel formula for acne-prone skin, ”added Dr. Willsmore.

When it comes to incorporating lavender into an acne-prone skin care routine, the bottom line is: “It is important not to rule out alternative therapies such as lavender in skincare routines. of the skin, and we should consider them in future studies, ”says Dr. Willsmore. “However, at this time, there is not enough evidence to recommend lavender as an acne treatment.”

About Sally Dominguez

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