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Why Adaptogens need to be a part of your skin care routine.

Adaptogens are a family of superior unique herbs who work to

  • Minimise the physiological effects of stress
  • Bolster and support the immune system
  • And provide antioxidants.

Our skin is our first line of defence and part of our immune system, and the utilisation and application of adaptogenic skin care products, or taking them daily internally, reduces the amount of oxidative stress in our skin, provides protection and support – reducing signs of ageing, dryness and fortifying our moisture barrier (and so much more).

Below are 5 adaptogens and how their addition to your skin care routine, whether internally or topically, can improve your skin and have you literally, GLOWING.

Chaga Mushroom

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is rich in melanin – a protein which determines the colour of our skin, but also acts as protection from UV rays and accelerated ageing that comes from sun exposure. Chaga acts like an internal sunscreen almost. Chaga is rich in SOD – which is superoxide dismutase and catalase, two super potent antioxidants. We want potent antioxidants for our skin because oxidative stress causes senescence (deterioration), premature cell death, ageing, pH and lipid imbalances and slowed wound healing. 

All this means our skin will show signs of ageing faster, can cause breakouts and oil imbalances, and decreased ability to create new cells to replace the damaged dead one that exists after we’ve popped a pimple, or from our acne scars or from sunburn. Chaga also contains beta-glucan which stimulates our skin cells to create collagen – which we know to be the structural component of our skin that keeps our skin plump, tight and hydrated. 

Check out:

Plantoxidants Reparative Serum


Tremella Mushroom

Tremella (Tremella fuciformis) is renowned for being an ancient beauty tonic. It’s a SUPER hydrating compound, holding 1000x it’s weight in water, and is ~5x more hydrating than hyaluoronic acid – who is an amazing ingredient in skin care products for improving hydration. Tremella is a small particle which enables it to really penetrate the epidermal layer of our skin, topically, and is super beneficial for our skin when consumed internally too.

Tremella contains uronic acid – an antioxidant compound that increases SOD, Glutathione peroxidase and catalase – additional antioxidants that protect the skin, reduce lipid barrier dysfunction and protect our moisture barrier – and with our skin being our first line of defence, we can link this into immune function, inflammatory states as well as autoimmune conditions. 

So it’s so much more than just our skin when we think of the role of antioxidants in skin care and our consumption of adaptogens. Tremella is great for hydrating tired, dry, damaged, sun kissed, air-conditioned skin.

Check out:

Moon Juice Plump Jelly 

Moon Juice Milk Cleanse Gentle Foaming Cleanser

OY-L Crystal Eye Serum


Schisandra Berry

Schisandra is first and foremost, a bomb adaptogen for stress. Schisandra has been shown over and over to improve fatigue, physical performance, endurance, reduce cortisol levels in the blood, support the liver and promote calmness throughout the nervous system.

On top of all this awesomeness, Schisandra is also a beauty berry, acting as an antioxidant protecting our skin, anti-inflammatory reducing redness and inflammation within the skin, retaining moisture, elasticity, and builds our immunity. 

One 2018 study which I found to be SUPER interesting, showed that Schisandra protects the skin from global pollution. More specifically it protected keratinocytes – the cells that make us 95% of our epidermis aka what we see in the mirror and touch, and are our first line of defence and work to keep our skin junctions tight, to avoid “leaky skin” which equals inflammation and imbalances. Check HERE for article.

Schisandra additionally blocks inflammatory signals that are caused by exposure to the sun’s UVB rays. HERE for more details. 

Schisandra protects our keratinocytes and skin cells (fibroblasts) from oxidation and damage, and charges up our own antioxidant pathways and collagen production.

Another crazy awesome study showed Schisandra inhibited the growth of P.acnes – the bacteria seen to be dominating the skin mantle in individuals with acne. Click HERE for article. 

Check out:

Moon Juice Holy Yoni Adaptogenic Oil 

May Lindstrom Skin The Blue Cocoon 


Pearl Powder

Pearl powder has been traditionally, utilised by all the great Ancient civilisations as a beauty tonic. Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, was known to use pearls in her beauty regimen, so if it’s good enough for Cleo, it’s good enough for me. Pearl is literal skin food, being rich in calcium, magnesium, silica, a complete protein and signals the body to create new cells.

Pearl is also rich in superoxide dismutase and glutathione – two powerful antioxidants, and is equally beneficial topically and internally, eliciting hydrating and moisturising properties, and can reduce pigmentation due to it’s tyrosinase content who reverses melanin production, which causes dark spots and freckles and all that character. In addition to it’s skin benefits, Pearl is a calming adaptogen, and helps to build up a depleted individual.

Check out:

Agent Nateur (holi) water mist


Holy Basil

Holy basil or Tulsi, is an adaptogen that has so much science and history backing its potency for reducing stress, in all the forms it comes – physical, psychological, mental, emotional etc. Like Ashwagandha, Holy Basil reduces cortisol’s presence in the body and blood stream, therefore reducing the breaking down effects (catabolic) that it has on body systems and energy reserves. And the reason we want to reduce cortisol is so we can be more in our parasympathetic nervous system, our rest and digest state, utilising the nutrients from our food so they can be delivered to and utilised by our skin cells. 

Stress also ramps up the release of oxidative species – like our superoxide anion, hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide – who damage our DNA and skin cells ability to replicate healthily. 

Tulsi’s renowned throughout India and Ayurveda, and for skin is anti-inflammatory, calming and reducing redness, and has slightly astringent properties, assisting with breakouts and blemishes, as well as reducing pigmentation naturally – as do all the adaptogens in this list – due to their tyrosinase components.

Check out:

Evan Healy Tulsi HydroSoul mist

Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream

Youth to the People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate

Other notable adaptogenic skin care brands and products:

Tulura Botanical Facial Oil (Warm Season)

Bioelements Equalizer

Herbivore Botanicals Emerald CBD

Moon Juice Beauty Dust


Eliza is a Holistic Nutritionist and is obsessed with helping millennial’s experience living at a higher level.

Her relaxed new age approach and deep understanding of nutrition and biology sees her empowering and coaching individuals to understand that their health is the ultimate asset and facilitates living an authentic juicy life.

Eliza is also currently studying a Masters of Human Nutrition alongside a Bachelor of Naturopathy.

IG: @the_holistic_sister_

Article and images contributed by Eliza Hedley

Girls Living Well is the advice from a friend that you need to hear. An online sanctuary of information from recipes and health to beauty and fashion, to be your most trusted advisor. Unapologetically living our most authentic lives. We test it out first, then give you the facts.

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