Cultivating Radiance: Milk Thistle's Remarkable Impact on Skin
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a traditional herbal medicine that has been used for over 2,000 years for its skincare and detoxifying effects. Grown primarily in the Mediterranean, the plant contains active ingredients that help it protect the skin, increase moisture, and soothe irritation.
The main active constituents of milk thistle are a group of compounds called flavonolignans, which include silymarin, silybin, silychristin, and silydianin. Studies show that silymarin helps protect the skin from oxidative damage, increase moisture, and soothe irritation and inflammation.
Unlock the benefits of milk thistle for your skin
Nature provides us with some of the best ingredients for skin and milk thistle is a powerful plant that supports skin health during aging in a number of ways.
Silymarin is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells, leading to premature aging, wrinkles, and other signs of skin damage. Studies show that milk thistle is a more potent antioxidant than vitamin C and when used topically, it can protect against UVA and UVB damage, and pollution.
What are the signs of skin damage?
- Uneven pigmentation such as dark spots or patches on the skin.
- Skin that appears excessively dry, flaky, or rough.
- Wrinkles and fine lines are a natural part of aging; but excessive or premature wrinkling is a sign of skin damage.
- Redness, irritation, and inflammation.
- Changes in texture, such as roughness, coarseness, or a bumpy appearance.
- Sensitive skin prone to irritation can be a result of compromised skin barrier function.
The science of youthful skin with milk thistle
The skin goes through so many changes as it ages. It begins to slow down the process of cellular rejuvenation; collagen and elastin production and repair also slow down.
The cell turnover rate is about 28-30 days as a young adult. As you enter your 30s and 40s, the rate increases to 40-50 days. The longer it takes your cells to turnover, the more signs of skin aging you’ll notice.
Studies show that silymarin, one of the active ingredients in milk thistle, protects cells against glycation. Glycation is a process that occurs when sugar molecules attach to proteins. This can damage cells and tissues, and it is thought to play a role in a number of diseases. Silymarin inhibits glycation by preventing sugar molecules from attaching to proteins. This can help to protect cells and tissues from damage.
What are the signs of aging?
- Fine lines and wrinkles: These are usually the first signs of aging and typically appear on areas of the face where the skin is thinner, such as around the eyes and mouth.
- Sagging skin: As we age, the skin loses its elasticity, this can be particularly noticeable in areas like the cheeks, jowls, and neck.
- Age spots and uneven pigmentation: Also known as hyperpigmentation, age spots are flat, dark spots that commonly appear on areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, and shoulders.
- Dryness and rough texture: Aging skin tends to become drier and rougher due to a decrease in oil production and slower cell turnover. This can make the skin appear dull and lackluster.
- Thinning and transparency: With age, the skin becomes thinner and more transparent, making blood vessels and underlying structures more visible.
- Loss of volume: As we age, the skin gradually loses fat and collagen, leading to a loss of volume and fullness. This can contribute to a hollowed-out or sunken appearance, particularly in the cheeks and temples.
- Puffy eyes and dark circles: Aging can cause fluid to accumulate under the eyes, resulting in puffiness. Dark circles may also appear due to thinning skin and increased visibility of blood vessels.
- Enlarged pores: The size of the skin's pores can increase with age due to a loss of collagen and decreased skin elasticity.
Inflammation is a common factor in many skin conditions, including acne, rosacea, and eczema. These can all leave skin feeling red, itchy, and uncomfortable. Milk thistle has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation and allow the skin to heal. By calming inflammation, milk thistle helps to alleviate the symptoms and enable healing of the skin.
We can’t talk about the skin without talking about the body’s major organ of detoxification, the liver. The liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying the body, including eliminating toxins and waste products that can impact skin health.
Milk thistle has long been used to support liver function and protect it from damage and silymarin in particular has been shown to increase the production of new liver cells and to help repair damaged liver cells. By promoting liver health, milk thistle indirectly contributes to skin health by aiding the body's detoxification processes.