Historically used as a medicinal ingredient, willow bark is making a come back in modern beauty. Willow bark extract (salix alba) comes from the bark of white willow trees and has many health and beauty benefits. From offering pain relief to reducing inflammation, this natural ingredient has ability to help us immensely.
In the beauty world, willow bark extract has made its way into all kinds of serums, cleansers, and oil-controlling creams. While this ingredient can be very drying, it can still be used with most skin types. Read on to learn more about the benefits and uses of calming willow bark.
Willow Bark Benefits
The most common way to derive willow bark extract is by making a tincture with alcohol and the natural tree bark. Again, it’s the white willow bark that is used to obtain this calming extract. It’s essential to make that distinction as there are many types of willow out there. The white willow tree bark has four main properties which make it so beneficial.
- Salicin – This is what gives willow bark extract its anti-inflammatory properties. Willow bark’s salicin levels earned it the nickname of “Nature’s Aspirin.” This component has also been shown to reduce redness and wrinkles. Not to mention, salicin is a natural exfoliant that gently removes dead skin.
- Tannins – Tannins come from any plant or food that possesses a kind of bark. This natural substance is very astringent, which means it tightens the skin. It also helps minimize pores and reduce the size of any active acne. Furthermore, tannins can help naturally reduce the oil on your skin, which can help prevent acne in the long run.
- Polyphenols – These nutrients are full of antioxidants and therefore help our bodies and skin combat free radicals and the signs of ageing. Polyphenols also facilitate moisture retention and allow for a healthier and more hydrated appearance. Additionally, polyphenols have antibacterial properties which help cleanse your skin naturally and reduce eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and acne.
- Flavonoids – Flavonoids are a type of polyphenols. They also help prevent the signs of ageing due to their high levels of antioxidants. Flavonoids work as a natural barrier against UV rays to protect your skin from the sun. This works equally well before or after sun exposure; however, it’s always a good idea to protect your skin before it comes in contact with the sun.
Willow Bark and Your Skin
Willow bark extract can help reduce redness, prevent acne, and diminish the signs of ageing. Although different skin types will benefit from this natural ingredient in different ways.
Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, willow bark works wonders for blemish-prone skin. The natural pain relief that it offers also helps with painful acne. For a super drying effect, combining this extract with witch hazel can help significantly reduce oil on the skin. It also works well with the powerful and antifungal tea tree oil to kill any lingering bacteria. However, if you are looking to treat your acne, you’ll have to make sure that you are using a non-comedogenic product with willow bark.
Those with sensitive skin can also benefit from the calming effects of willow bark. This natural ingredient helps reduce redness and even prevent it from happening altogether. Anyone suffering from rosacea might find this particularly useful. Although it’s important to avoid using willow bark in harsh formulas as it’s quite astringent. If you have sensitive skin, you should opt for compositions that include calming ingredients like aloe vera or calendula.
As this extract is a powerful natural astringent, it is ideal for people with oily skin and larger pores. The high levels of tannins present in this extract help tighten the skin and minimize the size of pores. People with oily skin are often prone to breakouts, which means they can also benefit from the calming effects of this natural ingredient. It would be ideal to use willow bark in a toner or mask form to clear up and mattify your skin naturally.
Normal and Dry Skin
In general, those with normal to dry skin don’t struggle with excessive oils and larger pores. Nonetheless, there are still some benefits that willow bark can offer them. For instance, if you are experiencing any sensitivity with your skin, you can look to this natural ingredient to help you calm your skin down. Also, you can take advantage of its anti-ageing properties and use it as preventative skin care. As it’s very drying, be sure to look for products with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid.
Whether you’re suffering from acne and breakouts or you’re simply trying to fight off Father Time, willow bark extract can help, regardless of your skin type. We hope that you’ll give it a try and let us know if it helped you naturally improve your skin. To learn more about this series, check out our articles on Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar and Healing Licorice Root. For more hands-on learning, consider signing up for WapoBeauty’s Complete Facial Skincare Workshop online.
ABOUT OUR BLOGGER
Ashuni Pérez is an American writer based in Valencia, Spain. She has a passion for natural beauty and the environment. Ashuni loves to cycle and drink smoothies in the sun. Follow her on Instagram at @ashuuuuni