Our skin is our body’s largest organ, our first line of defense, and the mediator between our inner and outer worlds. It has a big job - protecting the entire body - and external stressors can have a huge impact on the health of our skin, especially if our skin is undernourished and dehydrated. Our environment contributes to whether our skin is dry and cracked, oily and damp, soft and supple, or a combination of any of these.

In the summer - depending on where you live of course - we’re more likely to experience sunburn or bug bites. In the winter, the dry, cold weather might make our skin crack, itch, and even bleed.

Our skin is also a window into the health of our inner bodily systems and organs. Skin can tell us a lot about how we respond to our physical world, its quality reflecting the health of our digestive, respiratory, lymphatic, nerve, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.

Why is Hydrated Skin Important?

Well-hydrated skin means your body’s largest organ has the water it needs to maintain a strong barrier, eliminate waste, and help nutrients flow to where they need to go. Proper skin hydration also means your skin is better prepared to defend itself from infection and irritation, plus it can recover more quickly from stressful events like sun exposure, bug-bites, or mysterious rashes.

How can herbs help hydrate your skin naturally?

Herbs can help support proper skin hydration, especially during times of year when temperatures are more extreme like in summer and winter. Some herbs help your body hold onto moisture from the inside, while others help your internal organs use water wisely to complete their functions, and when some herbs are applied topically they help to restore soft suppleness to skin that’s been sucked dry by the sun, wind, or cold.

So let’s get into herbs that work inside and outside to help support your skin and activate your clearest, most gleaming glow.

1. Gotu Kola leaf works inside and outside to support your skin. Taken internally, this traditional Rasayana - a rejuvenative, gentle Ayurvedic remedy that is safe to work with overtime - helps tissue conditions that are red, hot, and inflamed. Applied externally - as a compress or a tea - it supports wound-healing and assists the skin in sun exposure recovery. Gotu Kola springs into action to nourish and strengthen, promoting the production of collagen to keep skin and tissues soft and supple. You can find Gotu Kola and other skin-friendly herbs in The Light Ray, a skin-centered blend of nervines, adaptogens, and nourishing plants.

2. Rose Petals are cooling and calming to the entire body. A rose tea can be soothing to irritated skin and minor rashes when applied topically. Rose is also a nervine that relaxes your nervous system after or during a stressful event. Physical changes can be brought on by stress and cause stress. A minor sunburn or a mysterious rash can be unsettling, uncomfortable, and more than inconvenient. So while you soothe your skin woes with a rose tea compress, a dose of Rose-Colored-Glasses can ease your mind while you and your skin rest and recover from too much sun or a hike that leaves you itchy. We also love it blended with aloe vera and applied to the skin directly. Tinctures work twice as hard sometimes!

3. Calendula is one of our go to herbs to help your body manage wound-healing. You can use it as a wash to soothe minor cuts and scratches, sunburns, acne outbreaks, and rashes. Calendula is most popularly extracted in oil, and when you apply it regularly you are helping to keep your skin hydrated. Soft and supple means your skin is flexible and better prepared to recover from wounds and other environmental stress. Calendula is in our Breast Oil along with other skin soothing herbs like yarrow and violet leaf. If it’s gentle enough for that part of the body it’s gentle enough for every part of you, head to toe.

4. Marshmallow Root is the ultimate in plant-based hydration, and cousin of hibiscus, marshmallow is great to have at least once a week. Hot, dry, inflamed mucous membranes through the entire body benefit from regular consumption of marshmallow infusion. Put a few tablespoons in a quart jar of water, stick it in the fridge overnight, and enjoy throughout the day. Kick it up a notch with a dash of Elderberry Elixir and a dropper of Mushroom Magic - incredibly refreshing and hydrating, we must say. It can also be used as a poultice - when you strain your overnight infusion, save the hydrated plant material and apply it directly to your skin - to soothe sores and swellings from mild burns, insect bites and stings, or other hot rashes.  

5. Chamomile is common, sure. But that’s because it's such a powerhouse. Beneficial to your nervous, digestive, reproductive, and integumentary system (that’s your skin). Plus it’s incredibly tasty and pretty easy to come by. Chamomile is incredibly soothing to the soft tissues in the body, it has mildly bitter compounds and demulcent qualities - plant constituents that make water thicker and more hydrating - that improve the functioning of many of our most important internal organs. Applied topically, a chamomile compress or tea soothes hot skin rashes, swelling, and dryness. You can find chamomile in our Country Women Soak, because one of the best ways to take care of our skin is to let it soak in healing herbs. You can use Country Women Soak in a full bath of water, or in smaller amounts dissolved and steeped in a bowl and then use a towel to apply the solution to specific areas.

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