Calendula flowers, more commonly referred to as marigolds, are an unassuming and cheery little flower with a seriously impressive set of benefits for skin health, beauty, and herbal healing. The edible petals have been used for centuries, either fresh or dried, to add a beautiful pop of yellow to salads and vibrant color to natural cosmetics.
Calendula flowers are celebrated by a number of cultures for their internal healing properties, including for popular use as a tea to treat upset stomachs and ulcers. A number of plant pharmacological studies have been conducted with calendula flowers over the years, and have revealed substantial evidence about the various healing powers of the plant.
For skin specifically, this floral has a number of benefits — which is why you’ll see it pop up in a number of natural and organic skin care formulas. Get the scoop below on why this delicate bloom is so popular for skin!
The Benefits of Calendula Flower in Skin Care
For skin specifically, this floral has a number of benefits. Calendula extract is a botanical that can be derived from the plant’s leaves and flowers. The extract contains high levels of carotenoids, an organic component responsible for the flowers’ yellow-orange pigment, which is full of antioxidants that key for protecting your skin from environmental stressors. Moreover, carotenoids are naturally present in our outer layers of skin, so calendula-rich formulas can enhance and even skin tone.
In terms of anti-aging benefits, calendula is preventative in two major ways: it increases your skin’s tightness (through encouraging collagen production), and also amps up its ability to retain H2O (meaning fewer fine lines and crow’s feet). In other words, its an anti-aging skin conditioner which stimulates collagen and reduces dry or flaking skin.
It also can be helpful in protecting your skin against UV rays, through its powerful skin cell regenerating properties (or vulnerary properties), meaning that on a chemical level, calendula inhibits tissue degeneration. Because of this, calendula-based formulas are great for daytime wear: used in conjunction with sunscreen, they’ll maximize your cream’s sun-protective qualities.
The petals, pollen and stems are rich in triterpenoid esters, a chemical compound with serious anti-inflammatory benefits which are essential for protecting the body against a variety of external conditions. Our environment (think weather, sun, extreme temperature) combined with chemicals that absorb into our skin from everyday exposure to pollution mean that our skin is in a near constant state of low level inflammation.
Over time, low level inflammation results in reduced skin density, increased sensitivity, and a breakdown of elastin protein structures. To avoid this inflammation (and the damaging side effects), topical application of calendula flower is extremely effective. Calendula reduces inflammatory reactions and protects against stress related breakdown of collagen and elastin, meaning it’s an ultra effective floral for both aging skin, and those battling dullness and skin roughness.
For skin types dealing with acne and blemishes, calendula benefits can also be called upon. Its powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties mean that its helpful for treating wounds, open blemishes, or any skin irritation that you need to keep clean and bacteria-free. By increasing the rate of skin cell turnover, calendula can speed up the recovery process for blemishes, and fade scarring and post-acne hyperpigmentation. And unlike some spot treatments with harsh acids or ultra-drying alcohol, calendula is super gentle, and can soothe and keep skin soft while simultaneously targeting blemishes.