The One Superherb to Try for a Seriously Big Beauty Boost

Photo: Stocksy/Briana Morrison

Adaptogens are a busy girl's best friend—you can add ginseng to your a.m. smoothie for energy, drink reishi tea to enhance your creativity at work, and pop ashwagandha to help manage stress.

But did you know some of these powerful, body-balancing superfoods can also act as fuss-free shortcuts to awesome skin and hair?

Maca, in particular, has all sorts of beauty benefits. The Incan root—which helps calm the mind, boost stamina, and rev up sex drive—is also capable of reducing monthly breakouts, strengthening your mane, and fast-tracking collagen production. (And you thought your multi-tasking skills were on point.)

Keep reading for more on maca's beauty benefits—plus tips on how to incorporate it into your diet.

maca skin benefits
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Hormonal helper

One of maca's most marketable skills is that it can keep hormones in check—a bonus for those who experience acne flare-ups around that time of the month.

"Maca contains both iron and iodine, which are essential for your thyroid," says Nigma Talib, ND, a naturopathic practitioner who works in London and Los Angeles. "When your thyroid is working properly, it helps with your sex hormones and skin. Many people lose hair due to hormonal and thyroid issues, so it's good to take maca for that."

The superroot is also rich in manganese and zinc, the pro adds—two nutrients that "help with healing and your immune system." Clearly, that's a good quality to have when you're dealing with the kind of painful, cystic, PMS pimples that take forever to subside.

maca beauty benefits
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A real glow-getter

Don't have acne issues? There are still plenty of reasons why maca's worth adding to your beauty routine.

"It's incredibly nutrient-dense," notes Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN and founder of Nutritious Life. For example, maca's a solid source of protein—key for getting shiny hair and strong nails. Then there's the fact that it's rich in vitamins that help keep skin looking plump and glowy. "Maca has a lot of vitamin C, and that increases your collagen and fights free radicals that can cause everything from skin damage to inflammation," she adds. "It's also got vitamins D and E, which regulate collagen production as well."

And if you have hyperpigmentation, you might want to try stirring a little maca into your next DIY face mask. "A study in rats found maca was helpful in preventing sun damage when applied topically," says Glassman.

maca beauty benefits
Photo: Stocksy/Vera Lair

How to take maca for better skin and hair

When it comes to actually consuming maca, there's no right or wrong way—it's really a question of personal preference. "Adding maca powder to your smoothies is a great idea," says Glassman. Talib agrees—she likes blending it with hemp milk, peanut butter, and flax seeds to compliment the root's nutty flavor.

Maca supplements are another (arguably simpler) option. "Pill form is more consistent [than powder], since it's easier to get as much as you need," says Talib. "Take roughly 1.5 to 3 grams per day."

After incorporating it on the reg, your glow game could rival that of Moon Juice's maca-sipping Amanda Chantal Bacon—in other words, out of this world.

You can also use the power of plants topically with these 9 killer superfood beauty products, or look for these (magical) herbs with skin-clearing powers

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