What is the benefit of Saffron on Skin?
Saffron is a costly spice that is obtained from the pollen of the Crocus sativus flower, commonly known as the autumn crocus flower. Once dried, it becomes a component of utmost importance, from being used to flavour foods, as a dye for purposes of food colouring and in cases of skincare as well. It is a major component in the cosmetics industry at present, with proven benefits to heal the skin from within. Initially originated in the hinterlands of Greece, this plant is instrumental in curing back pain and wounds.
Following are some of the proven health benefits of Saffron usage on the skin:
- Protecting against the harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun
Prolonged exposure to heat and direct sun enables the skin to absorb the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. This absorption promotes the release of free radicals causing oxidative stress. This damages the skin from within and accelerates the process of ageing. It is then that the active component in Saffron, crocin comes in handy. Lab research in the year 2018 proved that crocin has real antioxidant properties that neutralize the secretion of free radicals, hence reducing the level of oxidative stress. The study further proved how crocin can revert the ageing process of the skin.
- Prevents inflammation
Inflammation is the root cause of a majority of problems, which is also caused by oxidative stress. The antioxidant properties of crocin help in fighting inflammation and oxidative stress. Crocin is also proven to suppress the proteins causing inflammatory diseases.
- Heals wound
Healing of wounds on the surface of the skin is an absolute necessity, as it guarantees the health factor of the skin. Crocin is known to heal wounds at a rapid rate, which enables the re-growth of new skin cells and promotes skin multiplication. Thus, the wound is ultimately healed.
- Reduces Hyper Pigmentation
Increased exposure to the sun or hormonal changes lead to an abnormality called hyper pigmentation. Such a case occurs when a particular area of the skin becomes darker than the immediate surrounding areas. Crocin is known to reduce the content of melanin in the skin. This becomes a cure for hyper pigmentation. Crocin works in suppressing tyrosinase, the enzyme that promotes melanin production.
Benefits of using Saffron Oil
Crocin is an active component that reverses the process of ageing of the skin. This is present in Saffron oil as well. This crocin has proven skin benefits. Saffron oil is also derived from the dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower; similarly, the dried form of saffron is obtained. This oil comes from the extraction of oil from the stigmas of the same flower.
Though Saffron has proven health benefits, some issues can be debunked:
- Saffron does not hydrate skin.
There is a common myth of Saffron hydrating the skin from within. But, a lab study in 2010 proved otherwise. A group of people was made to apply only a type of moisturizer and another group of people was made to apply the same moisturizer along with saffron. After a considerable period, the scientists noticed no difference in skin conditions of both groups of people. Hence, it is proved that Saffron does not hydrate the skin.
- Saffron does not fight Acne.
Another common myth is that Saffron helps in the treatment of acne. Saffron is known to cure anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. This might ultimately help in the treatment of acne. A lab study in 2016 proved that saffron has antibacterial properties. But, the fact that Saffron can cure and fight acne is still a question. In order to answer this question, this area needs research and enlightenment.
Skincare processes by Saffron With the proven benefits of Saffron on the skin, there are several ways to use saffron on the skin
- Saffron face mask.
In order to make the skin glow from within, it is advised to crush three strands of saffron and make a paste with honey. This paste is to be applied on facial skin, and then to be rinsed off after keeping it for at most ten minutes.
- Saffron Gel for a face.
Any form of application of gel-based cream on the face produces a cooling effect. Similarly, a saffron gel is the best for curing inflammation on skin surfaces. This can also be prepared at home. Experts advise that three to four strands of saffron are to be crushed and a maximum of two tablespoons of aloe vera gel or rose water is to be added to the paste. This paste is fit to be applied to the skin.
- Saffron face toner.
Dermatologists and skin experts often ask to use witch hazel and rose water, as they have the reputation of having excellent skincare properties. Any person can easily put rose water in a spray bottle and add a few strands of saffron to it. It results in becoming a handy DIY toner to be used with cotton and a spray bottle.
- Saffron Oil Moisturizer.
Saffron oil, when added to any form of base oil like almond oil or grapeseed oil, becomes an excellent agent of skincare and skin-healing agent.
Probable side effects of usage of Saffron
Though Saffron has excellent skincare properties, yet, it has some adverse effects too. The plant can cause some allergic reactions also. A lab study in 2015 revealed that saffron workers in India developed a certain form of dermatitis, due to prolonged exposure to the Saffron plant in the plantations. Besides, a lab study of 2007 proved that the pollen of saffron can cause allergic reactions in areas of the respiratory tract or the skin surface.
The probable side effects of this plant are:
- Allergic reactions leading to sneezing and coughing.
- Runny nose caused by pollen of the plant.
- Redness and irritation in the eyes.
- Patchy and flaky skin.
- Redness and skin inflammation.
Availability of Saffron enriched products
Saffron enriched products are readily available in the markets on several sites, namely:
- Grocery stores
- Ayurvedic or herbal medical shops
- Spice houses
The Bottom Line
After the detailed discussion, it is pretty convincing regarding the health benefits of Saffron. It has good antioxidant properties that are extremely beneficial for the skin. Crocin is its active component that fights against the harmful effects of Ultraviolet rays, or hyper pigmentation and premature ageing of the skin. In addition to such beneficial aspects, the usage of saffron might also lead to the development of some allergic reactions. But, saffron can be a wonderful ingredient for making homemade moisturizers that are truly beneficial for the skin to bring the glow from within.