Botanical-Powered Skincare: Best Natural Facial Cleanser
Arnica Montana, a natural plant extract, has anti-inflammation, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-ageing properties. In this ingredient spotlight series, we will go through the benefits of ingredients you can find in your skincare formulations – starting with the benefits of Arnica Montana for the skin and its presence in the best natural facial cleanser.
What is Arnica Montana?
Noted for its large yellow flower head, Arnica Montana or known as wolf’s bane, is part of the sunflower family. It has traditionally been used to treat inflammation by increasing circulation via stimulation of white blood cell activity. Therefore, it reduces the time needed to heal. Interestingly, its first documented medicinal use dates back to the 1500s. Folklore suggests that humans realized that Arnica Montana could be useful for healing bruises and injuries when they observed mountain goats and sheep seeking out the plant after stumbling and falling on hillsides.
“The key thing to note is that when we are extracting this botanical, it has to be done under strictly controlled laboratory conditions. It is well known to have anti-inflammation, anti-bruising and analgesic properties when applied on the skin,” accredited dermatologist, Dr Teo Wan Lin of TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre.
How does Arnica Montana work?
Arnica Montana’s anti-inflammatory properties are due to two chemicals, namely helenalin and dihydrohelenalin. These chemicals modify the action of immune cells, kill bacteria, reduce the activity of chemicals and blood cells that cause inflammation and kill cancer cells.
Benefits of Arnica Montana for the skin
Arnica Montana can treat bruising and reduce inflammation. Bruising occurs when an impact ruptures the blood vessels in a particular area. Arnica Montana is able to increase blood flow, clearing the area of residuals including blood cells, minerals and other elements. Anti-inflammation contributes to the depuffing of skin, and the soothing of acne and wounds.
Furthermore, in a 2020 study conducted on the therapeutic effect of topical application of Arnica montana on UVB-induced cutaneous injuries in mice, the study showed that topical treatment with Arnica montana reduced the UVB-induced inflammatory response. In addition, Arnica montana ameliorated oxidative damage mediated by UVB radiation. UVB is one of the main components present in sunlight that causes skin injuries.
Naturally antibacterial and antifungal
Arnica montana extracts also exhibit antimicrobial activity against several strains of bacteria. Thymol derivatives present in the roots of A. Montana present with bactericidal and fungicidal properties whereas the essential oil extracted from the roots of the plant shows antiphlogistic action. Therefore, being anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and containing several compounds beneficial to overall skin health, Arnica montana can be found in many ointments and lotions for skin irritations such as itching, infection and eczema.
Treatment of Dandruff
Having both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, this helps to create a strong defense against scalp irritation and Malassezia, a fungus that triggers dandruff. Hence, hair products can include Arnica Montana to promote scalp health.
Side Effects of Arnica Montana
Arnica is a plant derivative, and like with all other substances, there is always a risk of contact allergy. One should apply the product to a small discrete area first and discontinue use if there is any redness, itching or irritation. One should also avoid applying the extract to broken skin and open wounds unless a doctor has been consulted.
Best Natural Facial Cleanser
Taken by one of our users Ros Leon, on a trip to Lombok, Indonesia. The Miel Honey™ Cleanser contains a blend of natural ingredients such as medical-grade honey and Arnica Montana flower extract. It helps to stabilize inflamed skin, reduce skin flaking, deeply cleanse and moisturize. This is especially beneficial for acne, eczema and wounds.
Dr. Teo Wan Lin, recommends looking for a cleanser that respects the skin barrier and maintains the natural production of skin oils that keeps your skin moisturised. Traditional cleansers usually contain sodium laureth sulfate, which tend to strip moisture from the skin.
da Silva Prade J, Bálsamo EC, Machado FR, et al. Anti-inflammatory effect of Arnica montana in a UVB radiation-induced skin-burn model in mice. Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2020;39(2):126-133. doi:10.1080/15569527.2020.1743998
Skincare: Best Natural