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The Best Botanical Extracts for Clear Skin

Caring for blemish-prone skin can be tricky; you want something strong enough to make a difference but not so astringent that it leaves your face feeling dry and tight. Take a more natural and gentle approach with these key botanical extracts for clearer, blemish-free skin.

Willow Bark Extract

If you have oily or problematic skin, it’s likely that you have been recommended products that contain Salicylic Acid, to help clear out the pores and prevent breakouts. Willow Bark Extract is naturally rich in Salicin, which is converted into Salicylic Acid by enzymes in the body when taking orally. Topically, Willow Bark Extract still has some of the aspirin-like qualities found in synthetic Salicylic Acid, so it can help to calm inflammation and treat pimples. Although not exactly the same, Willow Bark Extract is a powerful ingredient when it comes to clearing up breakout-prone skin and can prove a gentler option for those who find traditional Salicylic Acid too strong.

Found in the Tata Harper Purifying Mask.

Grapefruit Extract

Whether it is the peel or the extracted oil that is used, Grapefruit Extract can prove particularly beneficial for congested complexions. Yes, it’s a great source of Vitamin C and has many nutritional benefits, but the main reason it is included in blemish-treatments is for its ability to gently exfoliate the skin. It’s also naturally astringent, meaning it can help to tone and balance oily skin by cutting through excess sebum to help keep the pores clear, and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which can help to keep the surface of the skin blemish-free.

Found in the SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective serum, which uses the ingredient to gently brighten the skin.

Broccoli Extract

You know it’s important to eat your greens, but applying them topically can prove just as beneficial. Extracts of broccoli (namely the seed oil) provide essential fatty acids that can keep the skin supple, but they also provide natural exfoliating and soothing properties which can help to clear up problem skin. New research has also shown that the topical application of products formulated with broccoli and its many extracts can help to protect against UV rays, with scientists explaining that the key chemical found in the vegetable, known as Sulforaphane, helps to minimise inflammation and damage within the skin.

Found in the Cosmedix Clear Deep Cleansing Mask, which pairs the ingredient with Sulphur and Salicylic Acid to purify problem skin.

Aloe Vera

Oily skin still needs hydration, but it needs to be provided by something that strikes the right balance between being both moisturising and lightweight at the same time, so that the pores don’t get blocked and irritation doesn’t occur. Aloe Vera and its many extracts, usually taken from the juice and leaves, provide the right kind of weightless hydration for problem skin as it is essentially 99.5% water itself. It is also incredibly soothing, calming and has anti-inflammatory benefits which can help to make angry-looking skin appear more balanced and less blotchy. This means it is also ideal for topically treating eczema and sun burned skin.

Found in the Paula’s Choice CALM Mineral Moisturiser Normal to Oily SPF30.

Tea Tree Extract

Extracted from the leaves of an Australian plant, Tea Tree has the ability to reduce the number of blemish-causing bacteria on the skin while effectively minimising inflammation and heavy sebum production, which is why it is such a popular ingredient in topical blemish treatments. Potently astringent, Tea Tree Oil can help to reduce the size and severity of pimples while encouraging the skin to remain matte.

Found in the Leegeehaam Grow Tea Tree 70 BHA Toner, which contains a hefty 70% concentration of the stuff.

Image from iStockphoto

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