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Ginseng Is the Ingredient You Need to Add to Your Skincare Routine This Winter

It has a lot of healing properties.

<p>Getty Images/ InStyle</p>

Getty Images/ InStyle

As the cold weather steps in, so do a handful of uncomfortable skin conditions. Think dryness, inflammation, flakes, rashes, and more.

Since many of us face cold weather at some point during the year, it’s important to know what products work best for your individual skin concerns. Using the correct ingredients to properly treat and nourish your skin will save you from a world of discomfort and irritation.

When looking at skincare products (specifically ones catered towards sensitive and acne-prone skin) you’re bound to see “ginseng” listed as one of the ingredients. Known for its healing properties, ginseng can be ingested when you’re sick and used topically for impressive skincare benefits — especially during the cold winter months.

We spoke with a few skin experts to help us understand how ginseng can help our skin this winter.

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What is ginseng?

Ginseng is a root that is typically harvested after growing for six years and has reached peak potency, making it one of the most powerful herbal ingredients around. It offers rich antioxidant benefits that can help reduce the look of wrinkles, puffiness, and inflammation on skin while promoting elasticity and collagen production. It’s often sold in powder forms, so when looking to reap skincare benefits, it’s best to use a product that offers an extract, therefore your skin can absorb all the incredible anti-aging benefits with a higher concentration.

We're fans of Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum, as well as Kiehl's Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum, which contains red ginseng root.

What are the benefits of using ginseng?

Ginseng helps with a variety of skin concerns, explains Dr. Zion Ko, MD. “It promotes elasticity and is a great natural way for us to rebuild, rejuvenate, and regenerate our skin barrier,” she explains. It treats the skin from the root and gives it a healthy canvas, compared to ingredients like retinol or BHA to improve skin radiance and texture. Additionally, it is known for its anti-aging properties, as it repairs damaged skin by filling the skin gaps and boosting moisture for an overall healthier complexion.

Ginseng can be used topically to relieve inflammation, dryness, redness, and puffiness. It also supports circulation and acts as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radicals and reducing signs of aging. “This can be important for relief of redness and irritation that occurs in winter, as it will help reduce redness and irritation and assist with blood circulation in the skin, which in turn supports collagen formation,” Jessica Sepel, clinical nutritionist and founder of JSHealth Vitamins explains.

Should I apply ginseng topically, or ingest it?

What’s so special about ginseng is you can do both — you can reap the benefits of ginseng internally as well as externally. Sepel says that it’s great to combine it with other herbal medicines to give additional support, and it's also popular to be taken as a drink mixed with coffee. “However, it can work great on its own too,” she shares.

Applying ginseng topically is usually how many people use it. Sepel recommends looking for products that have other age-defying and antioxidant ingredients in the formula. “Some top botanical and nutrient actives that may be complementary to ginseng in your skincare routine are hyaluronic acid, bakuchiol and vitamin C,” she explains.

Who would benefit the most from using ginseng?

Ginseng is perfect for anyone looking to relieve inflammation in acne-prone skin. It is also suitable for preventing premature aging caused by environmental aggressors through its antioxidant ability to reduce free radical damage to cells. “This is especially helpful during winter months when weather conditions and heating may dry out the skin and make it more prone to sensitivities,” explains Sepel.

It’s a pretty gentle ingredient, and can be compared to soothing ingredients such as aloe or green tea. It’s an antioxidant that’s gentle on the skin and all skin types – especially those with sensitive or acne-prone skin can benefit from using ginseng. So if you’re experiencing dry, flaky, and simply uncomfortable skin this winter, finding a product with ginseng in it may help you out.

However, if you are unsure if this ingredient is right for you, it’s always recommended to check with health professionals before taking the plunge.

From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space. Find out what's really in your products — and what's being left out.

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