What Does Arnica Montana Flower Extract Do for the Skin?
If you have ever seen arnica montana flower extract in a skin care product, you would have probably assumed that this natural ingredient would be beneficial for your skin.
Well, you definitely weren’t wrong, but do you know what this flower extract actually is, as well as exactly how it affects your skin?
You are about to find out…
What Is Arnica Montana Flower Extract?
Arnica montana is a perennial plant that flowers in July and August. Although its flowers look similar to a bright yellow daisy, this plant is actually a member of the sunflower family.
Native to parts of Europe and Siberia, as well as a few areas in northwest USA, this plant is also known by the following names:
- Mountain daisy
- Mountain tobacco
- Mountain arnica
- Leopard’s bane
- Wolf’s bane
The plant’s healing properties were first recognized way back in the 12th century, and arnica is now one of the most popular alternative medicines in the world.
The extract is derived from the flower heads of the plant, and this can then be used in a variety of different skin care formulations.
The Skin Benefits of Arnica Montana Flower Extract
Coming from such a powerful healing plant, arnica montana flower extract contains a number of properties that are beneficial to the skin.
Not only can it treat a variety of different skin conditions, but it can also improve your skin’s overall health.
Heals Acne, Eczema and Psoriasis
Arnica montana contains a few different properties that make it effective at treating acne, as well as eczema and psoriasis.
To begin with, arnica montana has anti-inflammatory properties. Since all of the above skin conditions are related to inflammation, they will all improve when inflammation is reduced.
Not only that, but this extract also boasts antimicrobial properties. Although these may not be as strong as the ingredient’s anti-inflammatory properties, arnica montana’s antimicrobial nature means that it is able to destroy any bacteria and fungi on the surface of the skin.
This helps to prevent acne from forming in the first place, while also protecting the skin against the infections that are so common when it comes to the above conditions.
Prevents Skin Aging
As mentioned above, arnica montana possesses powerful anti-inflammatory qualities, and these can really help to prevent skin aging, meaning wrinkles, fine lines, loose skin and more.
How is skin aging connected to inflammation?
Well, inflammation is actually the leading cause of skin aging. Although the inflammatory process is necessary when the skin or body is actually damaged, chronic inflammation means that your skin is going through this process when it doesn’t need to. The enzymes that this process produces, in order to destroy damaged tissue, end up destroying healthy cells instead, including the ones that make up your skin.
Inflammation leads to the destruction of your skin’s collagen and elastin. These two proteins are responsible for keeping your skin firm and smooth, meaning that a loss of these will quickly lead to fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
Of course, the best way to prevent this from happening is by trying to cut back on the amount of inflammation that your body faces. Unfortunately, with there being so many different internal and external causes of inflammation, this can be difficult, no matter how hard you try.
This is why it always helps to incorporate anti-inflammatory ingredients into your skin care routine, one of which is arnica montana flower extract.
To boost the effects of the arnica, try using it alongside other anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as:
- Vitamins C and E
- Ginseng extract
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Aloe vera
But wait, the anti-inflammatory properties of arnica montana aren’t the only way in which this extract can help to prevent skin aging…
This ingredient also contains powerful antioxidant capabilities.
How do antioxidants help with skin aging?
Well, pretty much every day of your life, your body comes into contact with toxins that lead to the formation of free radicals. These are basically molecules that are missing an electron, meaning that that molecule cannot function properly.
In order to heal itself and replace this missing electron, the free radical attacks nearby cells, attempting to steal an electron from them. This then turns that cell into a free radical, after which it will then move on to attacking the cells that surround it, leading to a domino effect.
This eventually leads to permanent damage in your cells, including your skin cells. Everything from collagen to elastin ends up destroyed, causing premature lines, wrinkles, loose skin, age spots and more.
When it comes to stopping this cycle in its tracks, antioxidants are key. They contain several extra electrons, which they donate to free radicals and therefore neutralize them.
Arnica montana is able to do just that, protecting the skin from all of the damage that free radicals would have otherwise caused.
Nourishes the Skin
Just like the many other flower extracts used in skin care, arnica montana contains a variety of different plant compounds that all work together to nourish the skin.
- Flavonoids – protect the skin from environmental stress and damage, including minimizing UV damage
- Carbonic Acid – unclogs the pores and improves skin texture
- Sesquiterpene Lactones – anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial
No matter what skin issues you may be dealing with, the above-mentioned compounds are likely to be able to help.
Reduces Stress and Depression
Arnica montana has been shown to be effective when it comes to reducing the feelings of depression, while also clearing away stress.
You are probably thinking…
What does this have to do with my skin?
Quite a bit actually…
When you are feeling stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This is a natural reaction, with the cortisol helping you to decide between fight or flight, enabling you to better deal with the stressful situation.
As you can imagine, this can be quite helpful at times.
So, what’s the problem?
The problem occurs when this happens excessively, which is extremely common these days due to the high amount of chronic stress that people face in the modern day lifestyle. This means that your body is constantly releasing cortisol, meaning that there is too much of this hormone racing around your bloodstream.
What happens then?
The excess cortisol can cause a number of skin issues, such as:
- Acne – cortisol triggers your skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. All of this extra oil ends up settling within the pores, blocking them up and leading to inflammation and breakouts
- Accelerated Aging – cortisol damages the collagen and elastin in your skin, the two proteins that are responsible for keeping your skin firm and smooth. As these are broken down, the results are fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin
- Dryness – although your skin may be producing extra oil because of the stress, the cortisol also causes it to lose its ability to properly retain moisture. This then results in dry skin, which makes wrinkles and dark spots appear even more visible
- Exacerbation of Skin Conditions – if you suffer from a chronic skin condition, such as eczema or rosacea, then you will likely notice your symptoms flaring up quite a bit during times of stress
So, how can arnica montana flower extract be used to reduce stress?
The best way would be to massage it into your skin, because this way your skin also benefits from the act of the massage itself.
Another reason why arnica montana is so effective when it comes to healing is due to the way in which it stimulates the white blood cells in your body, therefore increasing your circulation.
This means that the damaged area of your body is able to receive more oxygen and nutrients, enabling it to heal much faster than it otherwise would have.
However, even if you don’t have an injury, this increase in circulation is still extremely beneficial for your skin.
Because it means that all parts of your skin will be able to enjoy the extra oxygen and nutrients, allowing your skin cells to really thrive. Many of its functions, such as the way in which it produces collagen and elastin, will be improved, which can help to prevent wrinkles and loose skin.
Your blood will also be able to carry away any waste or toxins from your cells much more efficiently, leading to a clearer and brighter complexion.
Ever noticed dark circles around your eyes, or bags underneath them?
While there are a number of factors that can contribute to this, poor circulation is one of them. It means that the blood reaching the skin around your eyes doesn’t contain quite as much oxygen as it should, causing it to appear darker in color. Since the skin around your eyes is up to ten times thinner than the skin on the rest of your face, this is the area of your face where the darker colored blood becomes visible.
Eye bags can also be down to water retention underneath the eyes, which can, again, be treated by improving circulation.
Incorporating Arnica Montana Into Your Skincare Routine
Thanks to more and more people recognizing its benefits, arnica montana flower extract can now be found in quite a wide variety of different skin care products.
Serums tend to be especially effective, as their lightweight texture means that the skin can quickly and easily absorb them, allowing the arnica montana to work at a much deeper level. Masks work in a similar way since they remain on the surface of the skin for an extended period of time, allowing the arnica to properly soak in.
Creams can also be helpful, as they protect the surface of the skin, and do this to an even greater extent when they contain arnica montana flower extract.
As mentioned above, massaging arnica montana onto your skin is a great way to relieve stress and depression. If this is your aim, you may be best off purchasing an arnica montana massage oil, which can also be used as the final step in your facial skin care routine.
Can Arnica Be Consumed Orally Too?
Many topical plant extracts are also available as oral supplements too, meaning that you can nourish your skin with them from both the inside as well as the outside.
Unfortunately, arnica montana isn’t one of these…
Being such a powerful extract, arnica montana can be quite toxic when consumed orally. For this reason, you are best off only using it topically for whichever conditions you are trying to treat.
Are There Any Side Effects to Using Arnica Topically?
Arnica montana is an extremely powerful extract, and will bring about changes in your skin quite quickly.
However, being so potent, it should not be used for an extended period of time. You would be best off taking breaks in your arnica usage, using it intermittently instead.
Because when used in the long term, arnica montana can cause a few adverse reactions, such as:
- Skin irritations and sensitivities
- Skin peeling
Of course, this does all depend on the concentration of arnica montana flower extract that you are using…
If you opt for a pure and potent oil, then the above guidelines should definitely be followed. However, if you are using a cream that only contains a very small amount of the extract, you will be able to use the ingredient for longer.
If you are worried about the side effects of the extract, or about using a dosage that is too high, speak to a dermatologist or a doctor before proceeding.
Plant extracts can do so much for the skin, and this is seen very clearly when it comes to the arnica montana flower extract. From its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to its anti-aging and stress-busting effects, this is an ingredient well worth considering adding into your skin care routine.