The benefits of mugwort made this ingredient incredibly popular in Korean skin care products, together with other greats of the K-beauty world – snail mucin, propolis, fermented rice water and centella asiatica. If you haven’t heard of it yet (which, I admit, is unlikely) then let me be the one to introduce you.
Skincare enthusiast – meet mugwort, also sometimes referred to as artemisia.
The use of mugwort dates back all the way to ancient Korea, where it was used in traditional Korean medicine. Some even believe that the healing herb has the power to ward off evil spirits and protect the home!
Whether you believe that or not, there’s no denying the numerous skin benefits that mugwort can provide.
In more recent years, mugwort has rapidly gained popularity as an exceptionally useful skincare ingredient, especially for sensitive skin types.
Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it effective at calming and soothing irritated skin, treating acne, and improving overall skin health.
But what exactly is mugwort, and how do you use it? Carry on reading to find out more!
What Is Mugwort?
Mugwort is a flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, although it can be found all over the world these days.
It has been used as a healing herb in many different cultures for centuries, and for good reason.
Mugwort is incredibly versatile and has been shown to be able to help treat digestive issues, insomnia, menstrual cramps, and allergies, that’s why it is such a popular ingredient in not only skincare products, but also traditional medicines.
Did you know that Korean women drink mugwort tea to relieve severe menstrual cramps?
Mugwort is also used in a variety of different forms, including as an essential oil, dried leaves, or as an extract, which is what we most commonly find in skincare formulations.
It is particularly beneficial for those with sensitive skin or acne-prone skin.
The use of mugwort in skincare continues to be influenced by the plant’s rich history and ancient traditions in Korea.
That’s why it is particularly popular in the K-beauty skincare, where the ingredient is often used in toners, serums, and masks.
How Does Mugwort Work?
While more research is needed to fully understand all of what mugwort can and can’t do, we still have a pretty good idea of how it works, and what effects it has on the skin.
Rich in a high concentration of antioxidants like vitamin E, mugwort can help to protect the skin barrier from damage caused by free radicals, which contribute to premature aging and other skin problems.
Its healing properties are also said to make the skin soft, smooth, and radiant.
Mugwort contains compounds such as chamazulene and artemisinin (don’t worry, I have a hard time pronouncing them as well), which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
These compounds help decrease inflammation and redness in the skin, making mugwort perfect for sensitive skin and a useful ingredient in treating inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and acne, which is confirmed by studies1.
Mugwort also contains a host of essential oils that have been shown to have some pretty cool antibacterial properties2.
This theoretically means that mugwort naturally kills bacteria, including the acne-causing bacteria!
Although unlikely, it is important to note that mugwort may cause skin irritation in some people.
It is always good practice to patch-test any new product or ingredient on a small area of skin first, before applying it to your entire face.
What Are The Skincare Benefits Of Mugwort?
Even if you don’t have sensitive or acne-prone skin, mugwort is an ingredient worth adding to your beauty regimen.
Here are some of the most note-worthy mugwort benefits3:
Mugwort is full of antioxidants and flavonoids. These compounds help to protect the skin from the free radical damage that is caused by UV rays, pollution, and other environmental stressors.
By incorporating mugwort into your skincare routine, you can help to fight the signs of aging by protecting your skin from these stressors, and keeping it looking healthy and radiant.
This mean mugwort is a great choice for mature skin.
Mugwort has natural antibacterial properties that may help to fight acne-causing bacteria and prevent breakouts.
Whether you struggle with occasional breakouts or chronic acne, using skincare products that contain mugwort may help to keep your skin clear and healthy.
This benefit is especially helpful for those with oily or acne-prone skin, as mugwort can help regulate sebum production and prevent clogged pores in the skin.
How, you may be asking, is mugwort different from tea tree oil?
While mugwort is unique, it does have many similarities to tea tree oil, another fantastic antibacterial ingredient4.
Mugwort also kills bacteria and fights acne in a highly effective but gentle way, but has a much more pleasant scent.
And last, but most certainly not least, is mugwort’s unparalleled ability to calm and soothe the skin.
Using skincare products that contain mugwort can help to soothe redness, itching, and other forms of skin irritation, so if you’ve compromised your skin barrier and your skin is feeling inflamed and sensitive, then mugwort is the ingredient to turn to.
Its natural calming and anti-inflammatory properties also make it especially helpful for those with delicate or irritated skin, or those suffering from conditions like acne, rosacea, or eczema5.
Mugwort’s soothing benefits are undoubtedly the reason why it is found in so many Korean skincare products formulated for sensitive skin.
How Can I Add Mugwort To My Skincare Routine?
Here are a few ways you can make mugwort a part of your daily routine6:
Mugwort Essences/ Mugwort Serums
They are massively popular in the K-beauty products right now, since they are a simple yet effective way to benefit from this powerful ingredient, with little fuss.
Apply essence/serum after toner, before your moisturizer. It has a detoxifying and calming effect on sensitive skin.
It also provide extra cleansing and can be used basically for all skin types.
However, essence or serum is not the only way you can incorporate mugwort to your beauty routine.
Similar to a mugwort essence, but generally thinner in consistency, a mugwort toner is a good option for those with oily and acne-prone skin, since it soothes and calms without being too heavy on the skin.
It’s also a good choice for sensitive skin as it doesn’t make it red or tight like many other toners.
After cleansing, apply it to your face with your fingers or using a cotton pad.
This is not only a good option for those with exceptionally sensitive and inflamed skin, since it can reduce redness and inflammation while not staying on the skin for a long, but also for those looking to promote their overall skin health.
You can find K-beauty sheet masks that are soaked up in mugwort. Keep the mask for 20 minutes and then remove the sheet and tab the rest of the essence into your skin. You’ll notice that you face is more hydrated and rejuvenated.
If you prefer wash-off masks, keep it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water, and follow up with a soothing and hydrating moisturizer.
If you have dehydrated or dry skin, then facial oil is a good option for you.
Look for a facial oil that contains mugwort for some extra calming and soothing benefits, or add a few drops of mugwort essential oil to a carrier oil and apply it to your face like a moisturizer.
This will help to nourish and hydrate your skin while also reducing inflammation and redness.
A good option for those with dry and irritated skin, a moisturizer that contains mugwort extract can help to calm your skin while also providing it with some intense hydration.
Apply it after your toner or serum for optimum moisturizing benefits.
A mugwort bath is perfect for anyone with sensitive skin or inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis looking to promote overall skin health and reduce inflammation.
Add a few dried mugwort leaves to a warm bath and prepare to feel your skin sigh in relief!
More Questions About Mugwort
As more and more people turn to mugwort with their skin care needs, it’s natural to have some questions about its safety, effectiveness, and usage.
In this section, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this healing herb and its uses in skincare.
Can Mugwort Help With Acne?
Acne is typically caused by inflammation and bacteria on the skin, and mugwort has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that may help to reduce the redness and swelling associated with clogged pores and breakouts.
It is also able to kill the acne-causing bacteria on the skin.
It is however important to note that there is limited scientific research on the ingredient’s ability to treat breakouts.
More studies are needed to determine the true effectiveness of this ingredient when treating the pesky inflammatory skin condition.
Does Mugwort Lighten The Skin?
Mugwort is not typically used for skin-lightening purposes, since there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it is able to lighten the skin.
Skin lightening involves the use of ingredients that inhibit the production of melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color, which is a benefit that mugwort is not known to have.
Vitamin C, kojic acid, alpha-arbutin, or niacinamide will be a better option for those with skin tone concerns.
What Not to Mix With Mugwort In A Skincare Routine?
While mugwort is generally considered to be a very safe ingredient in skincare products, there are a few other ingredients in your routine that may not be compatible with it.
Although more research is needed, here are some of the “strong” ingredients that you should avoid mixing with mugwort, or at least be very careful when using both.
- Vitamin C: Mugwort is slightly acidic in nature, and when combined with vitamin C, the combination may increase the acidity levels of your skin, leading to irritation and sensitivity.
- Retinol: Retinol is a very powerful anti-aging ingredient, so combining it with any other ingredient that may cause skin sensitivity, such as mugwort, is a risky move.
- Strong Chemical Exfoliants: Mixing mugwort with strong acids such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid may lead to over-exfoliation and cause irritation, dryness, or redness.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is a strong anti-bacterial ingredient commonly used to treat acne, and, when combined with mugwort, the combination may lead to dryness and irritation.
Wrap-Up: Is Mugwort Good For Your Skin?
So, is mugwort overhyped? Are its benefits for sensitive skin just a legend carried through over the years?
In short, no. This ingredient is effectiveness in treating skin conditions and improving skin health. The best part? It’s suitable for different skin types!
Mugwort is a versatile ingredient with a rich history, and I’m sure its popularity in skincare is going to continue for years.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.
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