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Herbs for Dry Skin Damage

Herbs for Dry Skin Damage Herbs for Dry Skin Damage Herbs for Dry Skin Damage

Your skin is more than a shell to protect your frame; it’s a reflection of your state of health. Dry, damaged skin may be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, inflammatory disorder, environmental stress or poor lifestyle changes. Adhere to a healthy diet, limit exposure to the sun, and try the topical application of certain herbs and botanical essential oils to help heal damaged, dry skin.


Calendula officinalis, commonly known as marigold, is traditionally used to treat a wide range of skin irritations ranging from sunburn to psoriasis and eczema. According to an evidence-based monograph prepared by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration and published online by the National Institutes of Health, animal-based studies have shown that topical application of calendula extracts may reduce inflammation. The “Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicine” says the anti-inflammatory properties of calendula are due to the presence of several faradiol esters in the flowers--namely, faradiol laurate, faradiol myristate and faradiol palmitate. In fact, the editors cited a study in which wound-induced rats were treated with a 5 percent calendula ointment in combination with allantoin, a chemical compound isolated from comfrey. The results showed a significant improvement in healing due to increased metabolism of collagen proteins.

The Natural Standard monograph also references a study showing that breast cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment experienced relief from redness and irritation with the application of a calendula ointment twice a day. In 2010, researchers at the Liverpool Cancer Therapy Center in Sydney, Australia conducted a systematic review of the medical literature on topical agents to counter the effects of radiation therapy. Of 29 articles published between 1980 and 2008, only seven showed statistically significant results for consideration. The six topical agents found to be most effective included calendula preparations.

Oregon Grape

According to an evidence-based review published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in 2010, Mahonia aquifolium, or Oregon grape, is one of the botanicals accepted as standard treatment for acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, UV-damaged skin and irradiation-induced cancer. The University of Maryland Medical Center cites one particular study that found the efficacy of a 10 percent Oregon grape cream was comparable to the drug calcipotriene in some psoriasis patients.

Aloe Vera

The University of Maryland Medical Center says several studies have shown that psoriasis patients respond well to a 0.5 percent aloe vera cream. According to the “Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicine,” chemical compounds in aloe block the activity of certain enzymes responsible for promoting inflammation in skin.

German Chamomile

The “Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicine” says German chamomile exerts anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of apigenin, coumarin, farnesene, quercetin, levomenol and chamazulene. Collectively, these agents inhibit the production of leukotriene B4, a substance that produces inflammation in skin cells and instigates the adhesion of other pro-inflammatory leukotrienes.

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