When most people think about chamomile, they think of the fragrant tea they might’ve tried at a cozy restaurant or that their grandmother prepared for them when they were sick. There’s a reason chamomile seems to be a ubiquitous herb no matter where you travel – it’s one of the most well-known natural remedies with all kinds of benefits.
But in addition to its soothing effects when consumed as a beverage, chamomile can also provide targeted benefits to the skin. Let’s break down chamomile’s benefits for skin in more detail!
What is Chamomile?
Chamomile is one of the oldest herbal remedies in history. In fact, Hippocrates himself is known to have used the herb for medicinal purposes as far back as 500 BC. The flower itself comes in two varieties – German and Roman, with both being used for slightly different purposes.
The plant is native to Western Asia and Europe, though you can now find it all across North America and even grow it in your own garden.
During their civilizations’ heights, the ancient Egyptians as well as the Greeks and Romans used chamomile to promote healing and to treat certain kinds of wounds. Various phytochemicals present in chamomile flowers were thought to speed up the body’s regeneration and increase its healing abilities, even helping one age gracefully.
That’s right – chamomile was historically used as an anti-aging product! While chamomile can’t turn back the clock all by itself, it does provide a number of health benefits to the skin when applied topically. In aggregate, this can have huge effects on your skin.
If your skin has all the moisture and nutrients it needs to reproduce and repair itself correctly, then it will look a lot better as it ages compared to skin that is mistreated for years on end. This is why many anti-aging creams are packed with helpful vitamins and nutrients--they provide the skin with the fuel it needs to grow healthily and consistently.
Why Do People Take Chamomile Tea and Use Chamomile Balm and Salves?
In prior centuries, people have historically used chamomile for everything from skin conditions to supporting healthy digestion, promoting mental wellness, improving musculoskeletal health, and much more. Most people nowadays drink chamomile tea to promote feelings of relaxation and calmness or to help them sleep.
Chamomile tea is largely enjoyed for its soothing aroma and calming qualities. The reasons for the plant’s positive effects on the human body aren’t fully known, but science has shed some light on why chamomile is so holistically beneficial.
The chamomile flower and the oil you can extract from the plant contains over 120 different chemical constituents. These are distinct ingredients that provide beneficial effects once consumed and absorbed. Here’s just a short list of some of the most important constituents:
- Chamazulene, a soothing agent
- Bisabolol, a type of oil that’s a known soothing agent
- Luteolin, a flavonoid withimmune-boosting properties
- Apigenin, another phytonutrient that’s a particularly strong soothing agent
As you can see, chamomile is packed full of helpful compounds that can improve your body’s holistic health. But, you can also target specific treatments or remedies, particularly for your skin.
Chamomile also does a good job of supporting whole-body health due to the protective properties it offers inside and out!
Chamomile Benefits for the Skin
Chamomile provides a number of benefits for the skin when applied topically. Some of the best herbal creams and serums use chamomile as one of their most powerful ingredients, including many of our own salves.
Reduces Blemishes and Redness
Because chamomile is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and nutrients, it’s really good at soothing and relieving skin irritation. If you or someone else ever gets a rash, a chamomile salve is a perfect solution!
Green Goo’s Baby Balm demonstrates this as soon as it’s applied. In addition to chamomile, it contains other helpful moisturizing ingredients like calendula oil that can relieve skin irritation, which can also help a newborn’s skin with diaper rash and similar irritations. Green Goo’s Baby Balm can also help temporarily relieve the symptoms of longer-lasting skin conditions like eczema, too!
Soothes and Moisturizes
Chamomile’s fantastic moisturizing and nourishing properties mean that it’s ideal for soothing and moisturizing the skin, especially if it has dried out from a cold climate or a hard day’s work. Green Goo’s Dry Skin Salve combines chamomile with plenty of other plant-based ingredients like yarrow flower and calendula oil to excellent effect.
Salves like this are effective for dry skin since they help your skin form a stronger barrier to seal in moisture and prevent the dermis’ moisture from being lost to dry air throughout the day, helping to nourish and hydrate. If you're looking for soft, balanced, young-looking skin, proper skin hydration is key!
Blue Chamomile vs. Regular Chamomile?
German chamomile is sometimes called blue chamomile for the slightly different color of its flowers. The oil, once extracted, is an even deeper blue than you might expect! Regular Roman chamomile is an evergreen perennial plant that has slightly larger flowers than the German variety.
Blue chamomile has many of the same beneficial effects as Roman chamomile, with a few major differences. Blue chamomile can act as a capable astringent when combined with other natural ingredients. An astringent tightens your skin, which can be effective for certain treatments.
Green Goo’s Skin Repair Salve uses blue chamomile’s astringent effects for this reason. Since skin repair often relies on tightening the skin and closing a scratch or other wound, blue chamomile is a perfect addition to the salve’s other healing ingredients like yarrow oil. Green Goo’s Skin Repair Salve uses nourishing ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil, and vitamin E alongside other plant based ingredients to nourish the skin and improve its overall appearance.
But, while blue chamomile is an effective astringent and can help to nourish and soothe the skin, you shouldn’t use it by itself too often. Doing so can lead to dry skin, requiring the use of another moisturizer to balance things out again. This is why you’ll most often find blue chamomile combined with moisturizing ingredients instead of being used as a dedicated oil by itself.
How to Use Chamomile Salves and Creams
If you want to use one of the chamomile salves described above, you’re in luck – it’s super easy! All you have to do is rub the cream or salve into your skin, where it’ll be absorbed to work its magic, so really rub those plant-based ingredients in until they’re absorbed!
Is Drinking Chamomile or Rubbing it Onto the Skin Better?
We’d wholeheartedly recommend both! However, drinking chamomile tea is not likely to provide your skin with the same benefits as it would get if you rubbed a topical salve directly onto your skin.
The fact is that your skin can absorb the nutrients in chamomile much more quickly if it directly contacts and absorbs that oil. Drinking chamomile tea will provide your body with plenty of holistic benefits and many important phytonutrients, and while it’s true that many of those nutrients may eventually make their way to your skin as a result of blood circulation, it’s not nearly as effective for your skin health as rubbing a salve into your skin.
Because of this, we see no reason why you need to limit yourself to just one or the other. Drinking chamomile tea when you’re stressed or need to relax is an excellent idea. Using a chamomile salve or cream when you want to get rid of skin irritation can also help a great deal!
Chamomile, both German and Roman, are some of the best natural herbs you can use as a remedy for promoting skin health and appearance. With astringent properties in German chamomile and soothing and moisturizing properties in Roman chamomile, it’s no wonder either chamomile plays a solid role in skincare salves alongside other powerful plant-based nutrients. Because it can also be used in soothing teas, chamomile serves multiple purposes and deserves a spot in any herbalist’s garden. It’s a good thing that getting your own chamomile is easy – you can grow your own chamomile to drink while you get chamomile infused products from Green Goo for your skin!