Even the Angriest Skin Is No Match for Anti-Inflammatory Elderberry Serums

Photo: Getty Images/ ASIFE
Now that the buzziest natural ingredients of 2018 have become a part of the permanent skin-care conversation (I am personally proud to admit that I have committed for life to witch hazel toner and a rosehip oil serum), it's time to start looking ahead to the skin saviors we're going to be talking about through 2019 and beyond. One week into the year, and we're already calling it: Get ready to get excited about "elderberry," an ingredient that you're about to see a whole lot more of in the beauty aisle.

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.

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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