In the wilderness, Mother Nature has many such hidden jewels that nourish the skin and bring back its natural glow. Traditionally, impurities in blood were considered to be the reason behind skin concerns and so the focus was to detoxify the blood with the help of naturally occurring herbs.
Sometimes, minor disorders in the body’s metabolism or other physiological processes lead to adverse impacts on the skin, worsening its texture and/or complexion. In such cases, nature comes to the rescue.
However, in the modern era, skin brightening herbal products have shown a surge in demand not only due to psychological and social issues but also to maintain general health.
The cosmetic industry has chosen to target the inhibition of tyrosinase as a mechanism to improve the complexion and, thus, herbs that possess compounds exhibiting tyrosinase inhibition activity are incorporated in cosmetics and complexion-enhancing products.
We have attempted to throw light on some of those herbs, their working mechanism, and which part of the plant is utilized to prepare formulations that bring out the desired results.
Types of Brightening Herbs:
Also known as Licorice or Madhuka, this is a wonderful herbs with hoards of skincare benefits.
Application of liquorice on the darkened areas of skin lightens the dark spots and blemishes.
Its regular use can protect your skin from the harmful UV rays as it contains UV blocking enzymes.
Licorice root decoction can be used as a sun-screen lotion to protect your skin from sun burns and tan.
The methanolic extract of its roots inhibits tyrosinase that is instrumental in melanin production.
Applying it on the face can repair sun damage and restore skin health.
Glycyrrhizetic acid controls the secretion of melanin in the skin and leads to a fairer complexion.
When scars have to be lightened and matched with the surrounding areas, use licorice to block melanin production.
This is helpful even in cases of eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis where licorice is applied to lighten the scaly patches as well as to reduce inflammation, redness, and itching.
It regenerates elastin and collagen production, thereby keeping the skin tight and wrinkle-free. It is a natural anti-microbial agent and keeps skin infections away.
A natural healer, this multi-tasker fights acne by controlling excess oil production and also drives the symptoms of Athlete’s foot away.
The anti-oxidant activity is mainly attributed to its phytochemicals like triterpene, saponins, and flavonoids.
Manjistha or the Indian Madder has been known in the history of Ayurveda as a natural blood purifier. It rejuvenates the skin and makes it brighter.
The dark spots are lightened and the overall complexion is evened out.
Tyrosinase activity is inhibited by the methanolic extract of its roots. It comes as a remedy for several skin disorders.
One can use it in the form of its oil or a decoction. It helps cure skin allergies and speeds up the process of wound healing.
Powered by anti-bacterial activities, topical application of Manjistha oil combats dryness, rashes, itchiness, and skin inflammation. It also lightens scars and marks, flushing toxins out of the body.
Padmaka, popularly known as the Wild Himalayan Cherry is used in the treatment of various skin diseases. Its powder is applied as a paste to improve skin complexion.
The presence of minerals like iron, copper and zinc in the Padmaka extract makes it a booster for skin health.
It retains the moisture in the skin and also helps keep acne away. It is also used in the treatment of herpes.
Nagkesar or Tung is renowned for its anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and anti-oxidant properties in Ayurveda.
It is a blood purifier and is known to improve the skin complexion.
Its regular application leads to soft, glowing skin. The oil obtained from the flower’s stamens has anti-bacterial properties and is used in various skincare rituals.
Studies have shown that the flower extract possesses tyrosinase inhibition activity which protects the skin from harmful UV rays. It heals wounds rapidly by accelerating the blood flow.
Owing to its astringent properties, nagkesar is effective in healing acne and blemishes.
It controls excessive oil production and minimizes the pores, making them less visible. Thus, it leads to clear and radiant skin with a uniform tone all over.
Vetiver or Usheer or Khus is a popular complexion enhancer. Khus oil, derived from its roots is extremely nourishing and moisturizes the dry skin, restoring its moisture levels.
The oil reduces the appearance of blemishes and inhibits skin pigmentation. Thus, the skin tone is evened and made uniform with the application of this herbal oil.
Being a common ingredient in cosmetics and skincare, sandalwood is suitable for all skin types. Sandalwood oil is rich in sesquiterpenoid alcohols which is mainly used in skin fairness enhancing products.
The major constituent of this oil, α-sotalol inhibits tyrosinase, thereby, leading to skin lightening.
The astringent and antiseptic properties of sandalwood clear the skin of excess moisture and acne, keeping it hydrated to the optimum levels.
Saffron has been the favorite amongst skin lovers since time immemorial because of its skin brightening properties.
Packed with 150 carotenoid compounds like safranal, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and various α- and β-carotenes along with a reservoir of riboflavin, the methanolic extract of saffron flowers have manifested increased tyrosinase inhibition activity.
This leads to the blocking of melanin production, thereby lightening the skin spots and improving skin complexion. The cyanidins exhibit anti-oxidant activity and protect the skin from various external damaging agents.
A potent blood purifier, this herb comes as a rescue in various skin problems. It can treat various diseases caused by vitiated blood and the extract of its root inhibits the production of melanin, thereby, leading to skin brightening.
The extract also contains a principal fragrant phenolic compound which to aids in enhancing skin fairness, due to which it is a common ingredient in complexion-improving products.
A household name, turmeric is the primary ingredient in home remedies when it comes to brightening the skin and making it radiant.
It is mixed with various other ingredients and applied as an “ubtan” to exfoliate the skin naturally and its regular application with gentle strokes can bring about a noticeable glow in any type of skin.
The rhizome of these herbs provides photo-protection and possesses anti-oxidant, astringent, anti-irritation as well as moisturizing properties.
Curcuminoids, the main phytochemicals of turmeric are commonly utilized to heal skin ailments as its topical application directly delivers curcumin to the affected tissues.
It suppresses melanogenesis in stimulated melanoma cells by down-regulating tyrosinase and the related proteins, thus leading to skin whitening.