One of the ingredients that we use in our CV Skinlabs products is calendula. You probably know it better as the “marigold,” that cheery orange, red, or yellow flower that seems to just scream summer.
Calendula officinalis is the scientific name for the marigold, and it has been used for centuries for all sorts of health benefits. Like most plants, it contains a number of components that can be good for humans. We especially like those that benefit the skin.
What is Calendula?
The plant itself is native to southwestern Asia, Western Europe, and the Mediterranean. A perennial, it grows to about 30 inches tall with long, hairy leaves and thick, globe-like flowers that may be orange, yellow, red, or a combination of these colors. The petals are actually edible and can be used fresh in salads, or dried to use as a food coloring. The leaves are edible, too, but not as tasty.
The plant was used in traditional medicine to help treat cramps and constipation, but its most popular use both then and now is as a skin-care product.
5 Ways Calendula Benefits Skin
Even thousands of years ago, people used calendula to help reduce inflammation and treat wounds. Modern-day research has shown that traditional herbalists were smart, and has also revealed some other benefits of calendula.
1. Reduces inflammation
This is the main reason we turned to calendula in the first place. Our goal with our skin care products was to make them safe for medically treated and sensitive skin, and these types of skin almost always suffer from excess inflammation. Those with eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis are also victims of inflammation run wild.
Calendula helps to calm that inflammation so that skin can relax and return to a healthier state. In a 2009 study, researchers tested calendula extract and found that it helped inhibit the processes that lead to inflammation. Calendula also contains linoleic acid, which is an anti-inflammatory type of fatty acid.
If you’re trying to heal the skin, you have to make sure bacteria don’t interfere. Calendula has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. In 2012, researchers reported that calendula extracts were more effective against bacteria than alcohol was, and was also just as effective against fungi. An earlier study found similar results, and we have some evidence that calendula may be effective even against antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.
3. May help prevent radiation burns
Though we need more studies on this one, some research has already suggested that calendula may help protect the skin from radiation-induced reactions and burns. In 2015, for example, researchers reviewed the use of calendula for preventing what they called “radiation induced skin toxicity,” and found some studies indicating that calendula, when applied topically, did help reduce skin toxicity in patients receiving breast radiation for cancer.
They also found that calendula helped prevent oxidative stress (free radical damage), which could make it an “ideal treatment for radiodermatitis.” In other research, scientists found that calendula helped ease radiation-induced pain, too.
4. Speeds wound healing
Calendula has been traditionally used to treat skin tumors, lesions, ulcers, burs, rashes, cuts, insect bites, and swellings. Today, you can still find the ingredient in many cosmetic products because of its effectiveness. A 2013 study reported that a calendula ointment helped reduce swelling and pain in burn injuries, and improved rate of healing in surgical wounds.
Other studies have found that calendula helped wounds to close more quickly, and to boost collagen production so the skin heals faster.
5. Helps firm skin
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a natural ingredient that not only reduced inflammation, calmed skin, and helped speed wound healing, but also helped fade fine lines and wrinkles, and firm up skin? Well, calendula can do all that.
In a 2011 study, researchers tested a topical cream with calendula extract on the cheeks of participants, and measured the response. Results showed “significant improvements in hydration and firmness of the skin.”
Researchers wrote, “In this study it was found that the formulation had the ability of inducing skin tightness which prevents the damage of skin and also delays the aging process.”
A different study on animals also showed that calendula gel helped boost the production of collagen, which provides structure and firmness to the skin.
One of Our Best Natural Ingredients
You can see why we like to use calendula in our products. It not only helps soothe medically treated or sensitive skin, but it also helps to hydrate and firm, giving you a more youthful look. You can’t ask for much more than that from a natural ingredient!
Do you use chamomile for skin care?
Akhtar, N., Waqas, M., Ahmed, M., Ali, A., Saeed, T., Murtaza, G., … Bhatti, N. (2010). Effect of cream formulation of fenugreek seed extract on some mechanical parameters of human skin. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 9(4). Retrieved from http://www.ptfarm.pl/download/7,2,43,15,6,12
Arora, D., Rani, A., & Sharma, A. (2013). A review on phytochemistry and ethnopharmacological aspects of genus Calendula. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 7(14), 179. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3841996/
Efstratiou, E., Hussain, A. I., Nigam, P. S., Moore, J. E., Ayub, M. A., & Rao, J. R. (2012). Antimicrobial activity of Calendula officinalis petal extracts against fungi, as well as Gram-negative and Gram-positive clinical pathogens. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 18(3), 173-176. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22789794
Faria, R. L., Cardoso, L. M., Akisue, G., Pereira, C. A., Junqueira, J. C., Jorge, A. O., & Santos Júnior, P. V. (2011). Antimicrobial activity of Calendula officinalis, Camellia sinensis and chlorhexidine against the adherence of microorganisms to sutures after extraction of unerupted third molars. Journal of Applied Oral Science, 19(5), 476-482. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984193/
Kodiyan, J., & Amber, K. (2015). A Review of the Use of Topical Calendula in the Prevention and Treatment of Radiotherapy-Induced Skin Reactions. Antioxidants, 4(4), 293-303. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665477/
Leach, M. (2008). Calendula officinalis and Wound Healing: A Systematic Review. Wounds, 20(8). Retrieved from http://www.woundsresearch.com/article/9064
Preethi, K. C., Kuttan, G., & Kuttan, R. (2009). Anti-inflammatory activity of flower extract of Calendula officinalis Linn. and its possible mechanism of action. Indian J Exp Biol., 47(2), 113-20.. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19374166
Preethi, K., & Kuttan, R. (2009). Wound healing activity of flower extract of Calendula offlcinalis. Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, 20(1). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19601397