THE LAB: Cinnamon, Spice and All Things Nice for Winter Skincare Rituals

Today take a look at four spices that you might not normally think about putting on your skin. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Clove. Cayenne.

THE HISTORY:  These spices have been highly sought after for centuries, and not just because they taste good and smell beautiful. They all posses widely recognized health benefits, both internally, and when applied to the skin. While not the latest super-fruit, or the newest plant extract, these spices have a long history throughout the world as both food and medicine. When used fro skin they help create a skincare ritual that is grounding, centering, and restoring, which we could all use a bit more of during the dark winter months.

THE BENEFITS: Coming from  many different parts of the world, these spices have something very important thing in common; they are all highly anti-inflammatory. When applied to the skin, they are stimulating and micro-circulation enhancing. They are antibacterial, anti-septic, anti-fungal, and generally detoxifying. Their aromas are warming and grounding, helping to center and root feelings and moods that float away or distract. When used in a skincare ritual, they help to promote radiance and health in the skin, pulling nutrients to the surface and aiding in repair and healing.

Cinnamon - Crafted from the inner bark of the tree Cinnamomum zeylanicum, cinnamon has warming & stimulating properties, and its aroma is reputed to dispel sadness and irritability. This much prized spice has a long history as both food and medicine. Recorded in use since at least 2700 BC, when Chinese healers documented harnessing this tree bark as a warming tonic for its circulation enhancing properties. Also used as both food and medicine in India, where Ayurvedic medicinal recipes use it for digestive distress. Topically applied in correct proportion, it increases micro-circulation and helps brings blood and nutrients to the surface of the skin, creating radiance and healing blemishes. There is some preliminary research which suggests cinnamon may also help increase collagen type 1 production. *

Nutmeg - The seed of the Myristica fragans tree, this spice is well known for its anti inflammatory properties. It will reduce redness and any puffiness or swelling associated with blemishes when applied to the skin, and promotes healing of the damaged tissue through reduction of inflammation.** Research is being done on an active compound in nutmeg called macelignan, and preliminary results show it may help reduce wrinkles by plumping lipid layers in the skin. In Ayurveda it is though to be an aphrodisiac.  

Clove – The highly aromatic dried flower buds of the tree Syzygium aromaticum give us cloves, a spice long in use as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent. Worth their weight in gold during the 17th and 18th centuries, this spice has a history of use far outside the small islands in Indonesia where it indigenously grows. It has been used in Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and Western Herbalism. In dental and skin preparations it is used to reduce pain and stimulate circulation. In aromatherapy, it is recommended to reduce drowsiness, headaches, and irritability. When applied topically, it is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

Cayenne – In dried, crushed form, this spicy pepper Capsicum annuum  increases blood flow to the application area through a stimulating, warming compound called capsaicin. It is pain reducing, anti-inflammatory, and when mixed in a formula it enhances absorption of other anti-inflammatory ingredients into the skin. As a micro-circulatory stimulant, it helps move blood and lymph, and brings nutrients to the skins surface. Used in Ayurvedic medicine, as well as Western Herbalism, topical application brings warmth and inflammation reduction to any area on which it is placed.

THE PRODUCT: If you would like to incorporate these spices into your own skincare ritual, they can be found in our new range May Lindstrom Skin. These four spices create an atmosphere of exotic relaxation that rivals any spa in the comfort of your own home. We encourage you to take time out this holiday season, and do something  pampering and decadent for yourself.

  • The Clean Dirt Cleansing Clay features warming cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in a mix of purifying clay, healing salts, and water activated Vitamin C. It leaves the skin feeling refined, radiant, and renewed.
  • The Problem Solver Correcting Masque uses all 4 spices in a mix of nutrient rich clay, raw cacao, healing salts and purifying bamboo charcoal to deeply cleanse and renew the complexion, leaving behind skin that is detoxified and awakened.

With such a long history of use, these spices have earned titles as both food and medicine across the world. With the addition of skincare use, they do triple duty in healing the body and soothing the mind. The fragrance may trigger memories of holidays passed, or call up the memory of an exotic locale. What could be better than feeling transported to a happy time or place, while you indulge and take time for yourself?

References

*Takasao N, Tsuji-Naito K, Ishikura S, Tamura A, Akagawa M. Cinnamon extract promotes type I collagen biosynthesis via activation of IGF-I signaling in human dermal fibroblasts. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Feb 8;60(5):1193-200. Epub 2012 Jan 27. PubMed PMID: 22233457.

**Lee KK, Kim JH, Cho JJ, Choi JD. Inhibitory Effects of 150 Plant Extracts on Elastase Activity, and Their Anti-inflammatory Effects. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1999 Apr;21(2):71-82. PubMed PMID: 18505532.


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