, 2 min reading time
, 2 min reading time
Calendula officinalis, also known as pot marigold, is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region. Its bright, sunny flowers and pleasantly herbaceous aroma make calendula a popular decorative plant in home gardens. It’s also sometimes used in food—particularly as a coloring agent in place of the similarly-colored (but far more expensive) saffron.
Calendula extract is also commonly used in cosmetics and is known for its numerous benefits in addressing skin concerns, including acne and irritation. It is widely considered safe to use and is recognized by the World Health Organization for its properties. As such, you’ll often find it in skincare products formulated for sensitive skin.
It Helps Reduce Sensitivity And Soothe Irritation
A well-known benefit of calendula extract is its ability to help reduce irritation, particularly for those with already sensitive skin. Calendula’s skin-soothing benefits can likely be attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to limit trans-epidermal water loss, which in turn strengthens the skin’s defenses against potential irritants. It has been shown to reduce both the visible symptoms and feel of skin irritation and discomfort.
Calendula Is Rich In Natural Antioxidants
One of calendula’s most notable benefits in terms of skincare is its ability to help protect the skin from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a catch-all term to describe the damage that occurs when the skin is exposed to free radicals, or reactive oxygen species. These damaging compounds form after exposure to a stressor, like UV radiation or pollution, and accumulate on the skin. Without intervention, free radicals can alter cellular DNA, ultimately resulting in damage to necessary structural compounds like collagen and elastin.
That’s where calendula comes in. Calendula flowers are rich in antioxidant compounds, including flavonoids, polyphenols, and carotenoids. These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, limiting the effect they can have on the skin. In practice, this means calendula helps protect the skin from stressors, which keeps it functioning optimally and looking its best.
Calendula Extract May Help Keep Skin Hydrated
In addition to antioxidants, studies show that calendula flower extract is rich in various skin-friendly oils. Though the exact quantities of these compounds vary depending on where the flowers were grown, when they were harvested, and how the extract was made, research indicates that calendula seeds typically include a high concentration of linoleic and calendic acid. Linoleic acid is the most abundant fatty acid in the skin’s natural moisture barrier and is involved in maintaining the skin barrier’s proper functioning. Evidence suggests that using topical skincare products containing linoleic acid—like those made with calendula extract—may help promote a more hydrated, healthy skin moisture barrier.