Chamomile is one of the most common herbs used for medicinal purposes. You have certainly heard of those bright beautiful flowers and their medicinal applications. Chamomile is my favourite herbal tea whenever I need a relaxing and calming drink. But here we want to dig into the absolute benefits of chamomile for the skin. What are the benefits of chamomile for skin? Do we have to drink it as a tea? Or applying topically on skin is sufficient to get the full benefits of this lovely flower. Stay with me please and read to the end.
What is chamomile?
There are two different types of chamomile, German chamomile and Roman chamomile. Many studies suggest both work wonderfully on skin. The chamomile flowers consisted of about fifteen white ray florets with a yellow gold center are from the daisy family. They are used traditionally to make herbal infusions. The flower extract is applied topically for some skin-related benefits. But how? And what are the benefits?
The traditional application of chamomile
We all have a memory of our mom or grandma making tea from a mixture of herbs and leaves. No doubt, those teas work like magic to feel better and get better. Chamomile is one of those herbs. People have used chamomile for centuries as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and mildly astringent. Because of those properties, chamomile has been used to treat wounds, ulcers, eczema, skin irritations, bruises, burns, canker sores and diaper rash.
Chamomile in the form of herbal tea has been used as a mild sedative to reduce anxiety, to treat stress and sleep problems. People have also used chamomile to treat digestion problems such as flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, anorexia, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting.
Chamomile benefits for eczema treatment
There is a research study that compared chamomile with hydrocortisone cream. It concluded that the topical application of chamomile is as effective as 0.25% hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid cream that you can buy over the counter in a concentration of 0.5 % or 1%. Hydrocortisone reduces minor inflammation and redness of the skin.
Another study compared the topical application of chamomile with 0.5% hydrocortisone. This study showed chamomile works better than 0.5% hydrocortisone in treating eczema.
The bottom line is, if you have inflamed sensitive skin, chamomile is your herb.
Chamomile benefits for wound healing
The topical application of chamomile-containing products can speed up wound healing. It may lower serum histamine levels and reduce scratching. It can also help with drying the wound and accelerate healing. Besides, chamomile has shown some antimicrobial activity that accelerates the process of healing minor injuries. I have already talked about another herb with wound healing properties. You can read it here.
Applying chamomile ointment may improve hemorrhoids. The application of chamomile for the treatment of hemorrhoids can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory effect.
Now we know chamomile is so beneficial, it has different properties and particularly helpful for our sensitive skin. But how can we apply it topically?
There are many commercial products that contain chamomile. Of course, you can always try those. However, many people prefer to make their own products. Making your own product is like baking your own cake or cooking your soup. Sometimes we like to get them ready, and many times we prefer to be certain of using the best ingredients. For skincare products, you may prefer to have a product as simple as possible with less ingredient, particularly that applies to people with sensitive skin.
Homemade chamomile skincare products
For making any skincare product with herbs we need to extract the essential oil.
Making chamomile infused oil
This step is time-consuming, so you need to plan ahead of time. To extract the oil or to make chamomile infused oil you need an oil base. You may use olive oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil or grapeseed oil.
Here is a recipe extracted from https://lovelygreens.com/homemade-chamomile-lotion-recipe/
- 1 cup dried Chamomile flowers
- 1.5 cups Sweet almond oil 355 ml
The quantity is approximate, not exact, you can change it a bit more or less. Choose a jar that is suitable for your quantity.
Recipe for chamomile oil:
- Use dried chamomile flower, any humidity may spoil your oil and the final product.
- Fill a glass jar with dried chamomile (almost 1.5 cups)
- Fill up the jar with almond oil (or any oil of your choice)
- Shake it and leave it in your cupboard out of direct sunlight.
- After 2-4 weeks your oil is ready, you can strain the flowers out. Keep your oil in a dark jar until you use it in your recipes.
Homemade chamomile lotion
- 90 ml Distilled water
- 11 g Emulsifying wax NF
- 25 g or 2 TbSp Chamomile-infused sweet almond oil
- 2 g Geogard Ultra (Geogard ultra is a preservative. It is added to prevent the growth of microorganisms that would otherwise contaminate the product.)
- Use thoroughly washed and clean equipment. You do not want to introduce any dirt or bacteria in your product.
- The recipe that I found on lovelygreen website recommends adding water in one jar and oily phase (chamomile infused oil and emulsifying wax) in another glass jar and heat them up. The heating has to be in a water bath. You put these two glass jars in a pot of boiling water. You continue to heat up the pot with the glass jars inside to a simmer for about 20 minutes. The contents of the jars are about 75°C.
- Pour the heated water into the oil jar. Stir with a spoon.
- At this point, you can add a preservative, Geogard ultra. You can make your product without preservatives and it lasts about a week in the fridge. It’s up to you if you want to try other preservatives.
This recipe recommends testing the pH of your lotion. You can do that by using pH papers. You need to dilute half a teaspoon of your product in 1 tsp of water and test it with the pH paper. The ideal pH is around 4.5-5.5. To lower the pH you need to add a very small quantity like a drop of acid citric or lactic. Or you can increase the pH by adding sodium bicarbonate.
Your homemade lotion is ready. Enjoy using it.
Safety issues with Chamomile containing products
Some people may develop an allergic reaction to chamomile. People allergic to ragweed and chrysanthemum are more prone to develop an allergic reaction to chamomile. If you are allergic to these plants, avoid using chamomile-containing products.
If you are not sure about your allergic reaction always try a new product in a very small region of your body such as your arm, or your wrist, cover it with a bandage and wait for 24 hours, if no reaction appears you are safe to use the product.
Please share your experiences about using chamomile, or any other herbal products. Are you a fan of homemade product or you prefer commercial ones?
I can’t wait to hear from you
So much love,