The Pros and Cons of Botanical Skincare.

Did you know that the global herbal medicine market was valued at 151.91 USD billion in 2021, and that the market is projected to grow from 151.91 billion in 202022 to 347.50 USD in 2029 (MarketWatch, 2023)? But even though this is an up and coming market trend, the majority of herbal medicine on the market came from longstanding traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic practices. And although skincare isn’t considered by most to be “herbal medicine,” botanical extracts and herbs have indeed become increasingly popular in skincare for treating skin concerns. You’ll see brands name their products starting with words such as “tumeric, green tea, or algae.”

Some skincare line have even built their whole brand around fruit or plants! So, is skincare abundant in plant extracts truly better than synthesized skincare (created in a lab)? Well, the truth is that once everything came from a plant and lab-synthesized skincare is much of the time more sustainable. Also, plant extracts and herbs within skincare can be less stable and more sensitizing. 

However, if you’re truly fond of plant extracts and herbal components in your skincare, the most important thing is to look for whether the ingredient contains actives. An active is an ingredient that’s been proven by science to treat a certain condition or provide benefits. Secondly, does the formula have a high enough quantity of the ingredient to truly have an effect?

For example, turmeric contains curcumin, and curcumin is proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, tumeric works differently when applied topically versus ingested. Plus,studies show that ingested turmeric could be beneficial in doses ranging from 500–2,000 milligrams (mg) per day (Healthline, 2023). But, does that apply to skincare, especially when it comes to things like acne and hyperpigmentation?Quantity and the effectiveness of topical application are very important to research when looking for effective botanical skincare. We are not discrediting it, but when you go for actives such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, these are things proven to work topically for acne in convenient doses. 

However, there are plant extracts that have been proven to work topically, and if botanical skin care is something that catches your eye, here are 3 ingredients to look for.

Green tea


There are many research studies showing that both drinking green tea and applying it topically can have benefits for your skin (Healthline, 2023). Research states that“topical application of green tea polyphenols to human skin inhibited the UVB-induced erythema response and decreased formation of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers in the skin, both in the epidermis and dermis.” More simply, green tea has been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects that go as deeply as the dermis. They contain compounds called polyphenols that help with redness and decrease DNA damage, making it a powerful antioxidant for skin. Moreover,green tea polyphenols protect DNA and prevent other damaging effects of UV light such as the sunburn response, immunosuppression, and photoaging of the skinwhen applied topically. 


Photocred: The Spruce

Next, calendula has been shown to dramatically increase wound angiogenesis and collagen metabolism which results in the softening of scars and the smoothing of skin. Research reveals thatherbal ointment containing CO could inhibit the activation of macrophages(anti-inflammatory effects) and speed up the migration and proliferation of keratinocytes and fibroblasts which are responsible for wound healing(smooth skin and skin barrier restoration)

Centella asiatica 


Medical studies have also shown that centella asiatica (Gotu kola) is effective in treatment of wounds also and even hypertrophic scars (scars that stick out). It contains active compounds such as pentacyclic triterpenes and madecassoside. Centella asiatica has been shown to promote fibroblast proliferation and increase collagen synthesis (supple skin). 


So, if your looking for botanical extracts in skincare, these are three great choices!