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The Best Adaptogens To Save Our Skin From Stress

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As we enter a new year (and a new decade) we are inevitably inundated with information about new diets, new products, new practices and new treatments that all promise to work miracles in our search for a healthier mind and body. But what if the key to all of this is something that’s not new? What if the key to sustained wellbeing is, in fact, something ancient — something that has been known about, used and practised in the Eastern world for thousands of years. Welcome to the world of adaptogens

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What Are Adaptogens?

An adaptogen is essentially a botanical that adapts to your body’s needs by reducing the effects of stress on the body – like fatigue, jitters, and inflammation. These adaptogenic ingredients have been used for centuries in eastern modalities like Chinese Traditional Medicine and Ayurveda. Today’s wellness trend has made people much more aware of the wisdom of these ancient practices

Adaptogens come in various forms of plants and herbs, which, when eaten, rebalance the body’s stress responses. They effectively help the body adapt to stress, be it work stress, the changing of the seasons [which can affect the immune system] or emotional stress. They have been shown to be nourishing for the adrenal glands, can stabilize blood sugar, and aid with immune system regulation, as well as helping to restore blood pressure to a healthy level and even rebalance hormones. But how do these stressors affect our largest organ — the skin?

How Stress Impacts The Skin

The growing field of psychodermatology is all about the mind-skin connection. It addresses the apparent link between our emotional state, the body’s physiological response to our emotional state, and the outcome of this response on our skin, body, health, and well-being.

Stress hormones can wreak havoc on skin. As a result, stress can lead to breakouts, dark circles, irritation, redness, wrinkles and fine lines — and one study in mice even demonstrated how a stress-triggered hormone called glucocorticoid can lead to, or worsen, psoriasis and eczema.

Other research links chronic bursts of cortisol in the system to elevated blood sugar. Unfortunately, these spikes damage the collagen and elastin that keep skin smooth, firm, and supple. Cortisol also increases oil production in the skin, creating an environment prone to breakouts. 

Here are a few of our favourite clinically researched adaptogens that support your mind, body and ultimately your skin health.

Clinically Researched Adaptogens

1. / Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola has been found to support collagen and elastin production in the skin, which are the building blocks of young, plump skin. The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California Irvine reported promising anti-ageing benefits when they investigated the effects of Rhodiola on the life span of fruit flies. It has been proposed that Rhodiola could extend longevity and improve healthspan by alleviating oxidative stress. 

2. / Triphala

In Ayurveda, triphala is known as “three fruits” and is made from the combination of three myrobalans, fruit-bearing trees: amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki. The benefits of this adaptogen are hugely amplified when the three are combined. Dr. Michael Tierra, LAc, OMD, researched triphala and reported that it improves the digestive and liver function. Amalaki is said to contain 20 times the vitamin C of an orange, which is essential for collagen synthesis. Triphala can also be applied topically to the skin to speed the healing of bruises and sunburns.

3. / Maca

Native to Peru, Maca is one of the more popular adaptogens on the market, largely thanks to its energy-enhancing effects, however, studies have also shown how Maca can benefit skin health, too. According to the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, Maca can act as a protectant against the sun and has also been shown to increase collagen synthesis in the skin.

3. / Schisandra

A type of medicinal berry, Schisandra has multiple healing properties. It is a powerful natural skin tonic that can protect the skin from sun, wind, other environmental toxins, allergies and prevent dermatitis. In 2015, the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health published studies that determine the anti-inflammatory effects of Schisandra. The study observed the effect on ear swelling by lowering skin dermatitis, immune cell filtration and cytokine production, which are all markers of inflammatory skin disorders in humans.

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In an era where 24-hour digital connectivity and overpacked workloads can easily result in burned-out adrenals and stressed-out complexions, the Eastern approach to ancient powerhouse adaptogens offers one way to help restore balance to mind and body.  

At The Wild Together, we believe in the power of adaptogens, which is why we include the powerful botanicals in every product in our range, for their role in helping to regulate the skin. And if you’re new to our range, you can try the full range at home in through our set of minis, The Experience Collection. 

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The Sanitiser
Active + Botanical Benefits
Actives

Ethanol
Ethanol is a proven aid to preventing transmission of infectious agents and widely accepted as one of the most important infection control measures to prevent infectious disease transmission. The antimicrobial activity of ethanol can be attributed to its ability to denature and coagulate proteins. The microorganism’s cells are then lysed, and their cellular metabolism is disrupted. The activity is broad and immediate. Ethanol [the most common alcohol sanitising ingredient], appears to be the most effective against viruses.

D-Panthenol
D-Panthenol is the provitamin—a precursor, or substance that the body can convert into a specific vitamin—for B5. When panthenol is applied topically, it’s quickly converted into vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid. B5 binds to and holds water effectively, moisturising the skin and helping it maintain softness and elasticity. Panthenol has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect and to boost skin barrier function.

Botanicals

Vegetable Glyerin
Glycerin is hygroscopic — meaning it can draw moisture from the air around us and help keep that moisture in skin, thus minimising trans epidermal water loss [due to evaporation]. Research has shown that glycerin mimics what’s known as skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which is why it’s compatible with all skin types, of all ages. Replenishing skin’s NMF is important because it becomes depleted as we age, are subject to environmental exposure, and use irritating ingredients.

Sandalwood
Sandalwood is very mild but still has a powerful effect on the skin. Due to its antiseptic properties it prevents rashes, heals itching and inflammation, cools and soothes skin and moisturises and tones the skin with mild astringent action. In aromatherapy, inhaling the aroma of sandalwood oil or absorbing it through the skin is thought to transmit messages to parts of the brain involved in controlling emotions, known as the limbic system. These messages are believed to affect both an emotional and physiological response.

Carrot Seed
The benefits of carrot seed oil include antifungal and antibacterial qualities, due to the bioflavonoids it contains. Rich in vitamins A, C, B1, B2 and various essential fatty acids, carrot seed is incredibly skin-repairing to dry and damaged skin. It also contains a large amount of vitamin E, which is great for adding and retaining moisture in the skin.

 

Patchouli Oil
Patchouli oil, which contains several mono- and sesquiterpenoids, alkaloids, and flavonoids, is thought to possess significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.In fact, it is reputed to impart antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects, and is also known to protect the skin barrier function. Studies have found that patchouli oil exerts significant antibacterial activity against staphylococcus bacteria. Patchouli is commonly used in aromatherapy for its ability to calm depression. It encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine; two hormones which ease feelings of anger and anxiety.

Lavender
Along with the other benefits commonly found in botanical ingredients [anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial], lavender is unique in its proven ability to boost blood circulation. This enables more brightening oxygen and nutrients to reach the skin’s surface. It can also protect and promote the skin’s natural barrier, plus balance its pH levels. Aromatically, this oil, rich in esters and alcohols, is useful for when fighting depression as well as anxiety and stress, helping to relax the mind, proving to be interesting in its application at a time of increased tension.

Clove Bud
Clove owes its medicinal benefits to its antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiviral and stimulating properties, and is one of the richest sources of antioxidants. Clove oil contains a chemical called eugenol that acts as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent. With the help of these properties it can treat cuts and wounds and fight against fungal infections. Clove bud essential oil is used in aromatherapy to stimulate circulation and arousal of the mind and body allowing you to achieve mental clarity.

Bergamot
Thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, bergamot is a natural cleanser. It can help to tone the skin, soothe skin irritation, and heal cuts and scars. Bergamot is also rich in polyphenols that have strong antioxidant effects to help protect the skin from free radical damage. Aromatically, bergamot is one of the best oils to support the central nervous system — it’s known to be calming to the spirit.

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