What’s bright, fresh, smells like bottled sunlight and heals the driest, most sensitive skin in a flash?
Calendula oil. Calendula cream. Calendula tincture. Calendula salve. Calendula ointment. And basically another 18 versions of calendula extract that are skincare gold.
Yes, calendula’s skin benefits range from soothing sensitive skin to fading dark spots, busting acne and preventing premature aging.
Which is why this ancient botanical remedy is being repurposed into beauty products by everyone from Vintner’s Daughter and Kiehl’s to First Aid Beauty and Supergoop!
What makes this natural ingredient so powerful? And how can you work this medicinal plant into your skincare routine?
Read on for all the deets.
What is calendula?
But first, what is calendula? Where does it come from and where is it going?
Calendula, also known as pot marigold, has been used for its medicinal properties since ancient times.
It’s native to the Mediterranean region but has since spread across the globe, thanks to its beauty and efficacy in treating a variety of ailments.
From the ancient Egyptians to modern-day herbalists, people have been harnessing the power of calendula for skin health, wound healing, and more.
But… calendula is not the same as marigold, and the two cannot be used interchangeably for skincare products. The flowers used in skincare are termed as Calendula officinalis by botanical scientists, so keep that in mind.
How does calendula benefit the skin?
These small, bright yellow blooms are rich in a variety of organic compounds that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, boost collagen production and increase blood flow to the skin cells.
So, let’s explore calendula’s skin benefits in greater detail.
Calms and soothes the skin
Calendula is packed with anti-inflammatory properties that help calm redness, swelling, irritation, and itchiness.
This also makes it a great natural remedy for soothing and healing skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
Gentle for sensitive skin
If you have sensitive skin, you know how tricky it can be to find products that don’t cause irritation.
Calendula is a gentle, natural option that soothes and protects even the most delicate skin, making it a fantastic addition to any skincare routine for reactive skin types.
Deeply hydrates and moisturizes
Flaky, dry skin doesn’t stand a chance against calendula.
Potent in essential fatty acids and flavonoids, this rich emollient helps to lock in moisture, providing deep hydration and nourishment to dry or chapped skin (especially hands, feet and lips), restoring its softness, hydration and elasticity for a lit-from-within glow.
Battles acne and other blemishes
If acne breakouts are your nemesis, calendula’s skin benefits are here to save the day.
Its antimicrobial and antifungal properties help to fight off acne-causing bacteria, while its anti-inflammatory qualities reduce redness and inflammation.
Provides relief from sunburns
We all know how much a sunburn can hurt, but calendula can take the sting out of it.
Its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties help to alleviate redness, swelling, and pain associated with sunburn, giving your skin the TLC it needs after a day in the sun.
Accelerates wound healing
Have a cut, scrape, or burn? Calendula oil is also medicinal, being called upon for minor cuts, burns, bruises, wounds, insect bites, rashes and other skin problems.
The benefits of calendula include its antifungal and antibacterial properties, which help prevent infection, while its ability to stimulate collagen production and cell regeneration speeds up the healing process.
Reduces scars and pigmentation
Calendula’s natural skin-lightening properties can help to reduce the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation.
With consistent use, you’ll notice a more even skin tone and smoother texture, making your complexion truly glow.
Slows down the aging process
Scientific research proves that calendula benefits the skin by slowing down the signs of premature ageing. This is down to its wealth of antioxidants, which protect the skin from free radical damage and oxidative stress.
Plus, by stimulating collagen production and cell turnover, it helps to minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots, leaving you with a youthful, radiant complexion.
The top products to reap calendula’s skin benefits
So, basically calendula is your one-stop product for skin that’s dry, damaged, inflamed, itchy, sensitive or prone to eczema, psoriasis or contact dermatitis.
It’s also the perfect bet for mature skin or one that’s been left out in the sun for too long.
Now it’s time to grab a jar of calendula extract based lotions and potions to experience the magic for yourself. And here are the very best ones to make it easier for you!
A lightweight, hydrating moisturizer that combines concentrated calendula flower extract and micronized calendula petals with a serum-infused water base. This cream provides a burst of hydration and helps to even skin tone and texture, while reducing redness and providing antioxidant protection.
How to make a calendula cream at home
If you can get some calendula flowers (they are fairly easy to find through the year — click on the links below if you want to buy!), you try your hand at making a calendula oil based cream at home.
It’s simple and lasts a long time!
Plus, calendula cream makes for the perfect gift — like a ray of pure sunshine that brightens up the gloomiest of days!
You will need:
1 cup calendula petals (if using fresh blooms, make sure they’re dry)
2 cups extra virgin olive oil or sweet almond oil
1 cup grated beeswax
10 drops essential oil of your choice (I prefer rose or lavender, as the aromas mesh well with calendula)
- Lightly bruise the calendula petals (to release the oils) and pour into a wide mouthed jar. The petals should fill a little over half the jar
- Add enough of your chosen oil to cover the flowers completely
- Secure the lid and leave the jar in a warm place (but out of direct sunlight) for three weeks; shake gently every few days
- Once infused, strain away the flowers; you will be left with a beautifully fragranced calendula-infused oil that’s the base of your salve (if you’re in a hurry, or can’t find calendula flowers, you can also buy calendula oil straightaway)
- Place the oil and beeswax in a double boiler (or pour them into a glass bowl and set it over a pot of boiling water)
- Once the beeswax has melted, remove from heat
- Gently stir in the essential oil of your choice
- As the mixture starts cooling, it will start to thicken into a cream
- Wait till it’s completely cool, then bottle in an airtight jar and use as needed
Does calendula cream have any side effects?
Calendula cream is a popular natural remedy for various skin conditions, and it is generally considered safe for most individuals. However, some people may experience side effects, such as allergic reactions or skin irritation.
People with a history of allergies to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family, such as daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed, may be more likely to develop an allergic reaction to calendula cream.
If you experience any symptoms such as redness, itching, swelling, or rash, discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.
And, as with any ingredient — synthetic or natural (remember, poison ivy is natural!) it’s best to do a patch test!