You may recognize the word "elderberry" from fancy cocktail menus, but in addition to tasting delicious when mixed with gin and simple syrup, it also happens to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties—which means its A-plus for certain skin conditions when applied topically. "It is a powerhouse for fighting free-radical damage and aging pollutants caused by environmental exposure," says dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian of NYC's Schweiger Dermatology. "It’s also high in vitamins (such as C and E), which will help decrease signs of aging such as sunspots and fine lines."
While the hype on elderberry is relatively new, the evidence supporting its skin-saving benefits is not. One study, for instance, found that it can help fight off the effects of aging by improving microcirculation (AKA blood circulation in teeny, tiny "micro" blood vessels), and it has been used in holistic skin care dating back to ancient times.
Because it's a natural anti-inflammatory, Dr. Nazarian notes that elderberry is typically good for people with sensitive skin, and it may have potential for fighting acne due to its anti-bacterial properties (though Dr. Nazarian admits that the evidence here is still lacking). "I wouldn’t necessarily use it to replace something, but as in addition to, since it works via its own pathways," she explains. To stack your own arsenal with one of 2019's buzziest ingredients before the rest of the Internet catches on, scroll through for our elderberry-infused picks.
Shop elderberry skin care
Another skin care buzzword worth putting on your radar (and into your routine) this year? Bakuchiol, a plant-based retinol alternative with all of the glow-inducing benefits and none of the irritation.
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