In today’s frenzied world, we’re up against triggers that irritate and inflame our skin every day. Pollution. Ultraviolet light. Even the food we eat can be a culprit. Over time, inflammation can dull our natural radiance. A normal part of aging? Sure. But by using calendula for skin care, we help stave off some of that damage.
Calendula (calendula officinalis) is a particularly good fit for sensitive or inflamed skin, and can help prevent other issues like acne, fine lines, or hyperpigmentation. In this post, I’ll explore three benefits of calendula for skin: its antioxidant constituents, anti-inflammatory effects, and skin-soothing properties. I’ll also share three products with calendula that I often recommend to my clients, and the reasons they’re effective (as usual, there’s special bundle pricing at the end!).
A few interesting facts about Calendula officinalis
- This cheerful yellow flower is a member of the Asteraceae family (also home to daisies and sunflowers).
- You may know calendula as pot marigold, a sunny flower that’s as useful as it is beautiful — attracting pollinators even as it keeps aphids away from other plants.
- Outside the garden, Calendula officinalis can soothe minor skin irritations and skin disorders, making it a perfect plant to try if you want to improve the overall appearance of your skin.
- The earliest known records of calendula show its traditional use as a medicinal herb. One of these, Andrea Cesalpino’s De plantis libri XVI (1583), says, “it is called Calendula in the vernacular, because it blooms monthly.” But I’m not sure this is to be taken literally, since I harvest the flowers every morning!
Why Use Calendula For Skin Care?
So why would you want to put products made with this flower on your face on a regular basis? Three reasons.
Calendula’s antioxidant constituents neutralize free radicals, protecting the skin from the oxidative damage that breaks down collagen and speeds aging. Oh, and because it contains antioxidants, calendula is also being studied for its potential ability to prevent cancer. (No big deal, right?)
Finally, the same flavonoids that offer antioxidant support play a role in the soothing power of calendula for occasionally irritated skin (more on that later).
I’ve experienced the anti-inflammatory powers of calendula first hand. Years ago, I slathered sunscreen on
my daughter after handling some irritating plant oils in
the garden. She broke out in a rash — but after washing with a calendula cleanser and applying calendula oil, it was gone in 10 minutes.
Studies reinforce my personal experience, suggesting that calendula extracts have anti-inflammatory properties. Because inflammation can contribute to breakouts and inflamed skin conditions, regular use of calendula can be a first line of defense against minor skin concerns.
Calendula preparations can also be used topically to minimize inflammation from acne and to soothe irritated tissue. There is also some evidence that calendula cream or ointment is effective in treating radiation dermatitis.
Personally, I haven’t seen evidence that calendula is skin-firming in itself, but it does have a preventative benefit on fine lines and wrinkles. When we minimize inflammation in the skin, we keep our skin barrier healthy, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.
Calendula has a long history of use in enhancing the body’s natural ability to recover from minor wounds. Although a systematic review found weak evidence of this traditional use, it concluded not that calendula was ineffective but that more research was needed. In one promising clinical trial, calendula significantly sped the body’s natural healing response after C-sections. This ability makes calendula ideal for acne-prone skin.
Botanical Skin Care Featuring Calendula
Below are three products that all take advantage of the benefits of calendula for skin. All are from Eminence Organics, a line of plant-based products that combines biodynamic farming practices with the latest research in skin care.
What’s biodynamic farming? It’s in the same constellation as organic and regenerative farming — but goes a little further. Seeds are planted and crops are harvested according to moon phases. Farmers regenerate soil using crop rotation, composting, and interplanting. They also save seeds. Generally, the farm is considered a living, self-sufficient system within an ever-changing cosmos. Demeter is the official certifying body for biodynamic products, and two of the three products in this collection are certified by the agency.
Eminence Organics never uses parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, propyene glycol, or animal testing. And thanks to these high standards, they consistently produce award-winning results. Each of the products below has won at least one industry award — those are listed when you click through to the product descriptions.
Vitamin-rich sea buckthorn meets carrot juice and
calendula, protecting skin with antioxidants and soothing dry, sensitive skin. Restorative jojoba oil revitalizes the
appearance of the skin, leaving it balanced and hydrated without clogging pores. This is a balancing and
conditioning masque for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
To use, mix a small amount of product in your hand with a few drops of water and apply evenly over the entire face. Include the neck and the décolleté if desired. Allow to dry for 10-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water or a face cloth, and apply your favorite serum and moisturizer. (Keep reading for a moisturizer containing calendula!) Recommended use is 1-2 times per week.
Relieve dehydrated and sensitive skin with apricots, echinacea, and aloe. Apricot replenishes the skin’s moisture barrier. Calendula calms and protects with antioxidants. Yarrow soothes and rejuvenates. This powerful combination will support your skin’s natural healing capacity while flax seeds regenerate and revitalize to produce younger-looking skin.
To use, apply a layer of moisturizer over the entire face and neck area. Leave on. For a lighter application, emulsify a small amount of moisturizer in your hand with a few drops of water, tonique, or serum. For extra hydration, apply a serum underneath, or the Rosehip + Lemongrass Repair Balm on top.
Chamomile gives this gentle cleanser its name, but
calendula oil plays a strong supporting role in calming the skin and providing antioxidant protection. Arnica helps with delicate capillaries, grape leaf extract boosts the
antioxidant content, and rosemary rejuvenates and soothes. This calming cream cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin that is prone to redness.
To use, dispense half a pump onto finger tips of freshly washed hands. Apply directly to dry skin. Add a bit of water to finger tips if desired and massage cleanser onto your
face in a circular motion, covering the face and neck for 1-3 minutes. Completely remove by splashing with water or using a damp face cloth. Finish with an application of toner. (Stone Crop Hydrating Mist is a revitalizing and
healing toner for all skin types, particularly uneven skin.)
Ready to see the benefits of calendula for skin care?