If I were to give you a product that could single-handedly beat your stress, take care of your skin and keep you healthy inside-out, wouldn't you want to have a try at it? That is what the cosmetic industry is aiming for. To provide you with a product that can meet all your requirements while being safe. And with that, the industry has brought to you Adaptogens.
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogen in simple terms are herbs with medical benefits. Though most plants have some medicinal benefits, what makes adaptogens unique is their action specific towards relieving stress. These herbs don't have any reported toxicity, and they have been used primarily as traditional medicines. That is, both ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic scriptures have referenced the use of these herbs.
All plants, in general, are rich in biochemical compounds which have medicinal benefits. But adaptogens are rich in particular compounds which specifically can target your problems and relieving them. The compounds target your hormones that regulate stress, which usually is the core of all bodily problems. It is the stress that leads to hair loss, acne breakouts and even an upset stomach. Though research regarding these are still on an early phase, there are a few human studies which have given positive results.
Benefits of adaptogens
- Stress Relief – Adaptogens target your body's stress response system, increasing your body's resistance to stress. In simpler terms, it makes your brain more flexible in tackling stress.
- Hormonal balance – These herbs can tweak hormone production and reduce the release of stress hormones. Adrenals are the glands in your body that are responsible for this hormone release, and adaptogens can inhibit the formation of this hormone.
- Nerve stimulant – The process of stimulating your nerves also achieves stress relief. The herbs speed up your mental and physical processes and make you feel more energetic.
- Anti-fatigue – Another by-product of nerve stimulation is that you feel energetic. Thus, you get rid of any shred of laziness. By elevating your blood pressure, heart rate and even your respiration, the herbs make your body take in more oxygen, which takes part in forming energy.
- Anti-depressive – When your overall body is functioning well, your hormones are flowing correctly in your blood, and you aren't experiencing stress, the overall quality of your life improves. Thus, you beat any depressive thoughts.
- Regulates homeostasis – Another significant effect of using adaptogens that have been observed is that they can regulate your body temperature. Homeostasis is the process by which your body maintains your core temperature. But during stress, it elevates. When stress is taken care of, your core temperature returns to the normal levels.
Types of adaptogens
Scientists have classified adaptogens into two categories – Primary and Secondary.
- Primary adaptogens – These are the ones that directly affect your body's stress response and can regulate homeostasis. They also have a direct effect on your body's energy production system. They also are vital to check your weight.
- Secondary adaptogens – These don't directly affect your body's stress response, but instead they affect your immune system, nervous system and even your endocrine systems that are responsible for hormone synthesis.
Adaptogens and skincareThere is a direct correlation between your stress level with how your skin looks. If you are stressed, your skin is bound to show. Your skin will easily develop acne, hair fall will subsequently increase, your face will look dull, and your skin will look dehydrated, and any pre-existing skin conditions will worsen. But when stress is taken care of, you will surely observe the following benefits –
- Your skin will look clearer as the sebum production will return to its normal levels
- Acne will start subsiding as a result of reduced sebum production
- Due to proper cellular functioning, more collagen formation will occur which will make your skin tighter
- Your skin will begin retaining moisture better
- Adaptogens will assist in flushing out toxins
- These herbs will also improve immunity thus reducing inflammation on your skin
- An overall effect that you'll observe is that you will start looking more youthful
Adaptogenic herbs used in skincareSome adaptogenic herbs that have made their way into the cosmetic industry are mentioned below -
- Aamla – This herb finds its roots in Ayurvedic scriptures as well. It boosts your immunity and acts as a natural anti-oxidant. It also improves your complexion, and natural amla based cleansers can assist in toxin removal and moisturization
- Ashwagandha – A part of our grandma's skincare regime, ashwagandha has made its importance known to the cosmetics industry. It is anti-oxidant in nature and anti-microbial as well. It is suitable for treating acne and makes your skin soft.
- Ginseng – A lesser-known herb that is quickly gaining popularity finds its origin from Russia and Korea. The use of ginseng is age-old in Korean traditions, and that is because of its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. If taken as a dietary supplement, it can restore your skins glow and pH.
- Tulsi – Known as the 'elixir of life', this Indian herb has a plethora of benefits which include neuro-stimulant, stress-reductive, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. It also has skin-conditioning elements which make it an excellent choice for face wash products.
- Turmeric – No skincare list is complete without turmeric. Though not a herb, turmeric is an adaptogen because of its range of benefits. It not only is antiseptic, but it also affects stress release hormone secretion, thus making it adaptogenic. Adding into the known benefits of skin lightening, antiseptic, anti-microbial and even wound healing abilities, this makes an excellent choice for the cosmetic industry.