You might not have heard of it yet, but thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, spilanthol is set to be skincare’s next big thing. This is what you need to know.
Trying to keep up with the ever-changing world of skincare can be tough. From retinol and bakuchiol to ceramides and polyglutamic acid, skincare products seem to be full of ingredients that are tricky to understand.
The latest addition to crew? Spilanthol, an up-and-coming, plant-derived ingredient that promises great things. And while it’s often hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to skincare, spilanthol is an ingredient that’s well worth having on your radar.
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Still largely untapped by skincare brands, experts suggest that spilanthol could prove very popular, very soon, especially among those who are looking for plant-based alternatives to some of skincare’s big players. In fact, not only is it thought to possess impressive anti-inflammatory properties, there is even suggestion it could even boost the efficacy of other powerhouse skincare ingredients when applied together.
To help get to the bottom of what makes spilanthol so great, we spoke to some of skincare’s most in-the-know experts who explain what it is, what it does and how it should be used.
What is spilanthol?
Without sounding too science-y and technical, spilanthol is a compound that is extracted from the paracress plant, otherwise known as acmella oleracea or spilanthes. “It is a bioactive plant-based ingredient which can be used in skincare. It is already well-known in the culinary field as its leaves and flowers have sensory properties which can be used as a spice in cooking,” explains consultant dermatologist at 55 Harley Street, Dr Anjali Mahto. Recently, spilanthol has started to find its way into skincare products too.
Who and what is spilanthol good for?
“Spilanthol has been used in traditional remedies across the world and has many interesting effects. The plant containing spilanthol is often called a ‘toothache plant’, as it has an analgesic, numbing effect,” says Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic.
When it comes to skincare, however, spilanthol works in a different way. “It is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects,” Dr Borysiewicz adds. Although thought to be relatively mild, the antioxidant effects can give skin a boost in helping it protect itself against the damage caused by harmful and dulling environmental aggressors, such as pollution and UV rays.
“Some studies have suggested it might also enhance the penetration of other agents through the skin,” she adds, meaning there is reason to believe it can boost absorption of your other skincare products for better results. And as for who can use it? At the levels you are likely to find it in skincare products, experts say that all skin types can benefit from the effects of spilanthol.
Are there any warnings linked to using spilanthol?
While there doesn’t seem to be any irritation warnings linked to spilanthol, experts say it is worth taking any major claims with a pinch of salt. “Popular press has been known to refer to this ingredient as a ‘natural’ alternative to Botox in terms of smoothing out line and wrinkles, but there is little data to back up this claim,” says Dr Mahto.
Where does spilanthol fit into your skincare routine?
Already being incorporated into a handful of available skincare products, spilanthol can be used anywhere in your existing routine, but you might be best off using it in the morning. “Oils, serums and moisturisers containing spilanthol can incorporated into a morning routine under sunscreen to maximise its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” advises Dr Mahto.
Best spilanthol products
L’Occitane Overnight Reset Serum
To be applied before bed, this soothing serum is rich in oils to soothe, hydrate and deliver antioxidant benefits.
Oskia Restoration Oil
To help soothe, calm and restore skin, apply a couple of drops of this rich oil as the last step in your nightly skincare routine.
Tata Harper Elixir Vitae Eye Serum 2.0
No one needs to spend this much money on an eye cream, we know, but if you’re looking for a seriously luxurious splurge, this multi-tasker really does soothe, depuff and brighten the eye area.
Malin + Goetz Advanced Renewal Cream
Use this deeply nourishing cream in the morning and evening for plumping, soothing results.
Jane Scrivner Bioluronic Buzz
This hydrating gel moisturiser contains both spilanthol and hyaluronic acid and is the perfect way to soothe and refresh tired skin first thing in the morning.
Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm
If you have particularly dry skin, this oily gel moisturiser gives skin a big slurp of moisture before bed, so that you wake up rejuvenated and nourished.
Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy
While not a skincare product for the face, this lip treatment is seriously soothing and leaves lips feeling soft and smooth.
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Images: Courtesy of brands