Willow bark extract (or what Petrillo refers to as nature’s aspirin) is derived from various willow bark trees, including white, black, and purple. The ingredient is a natural salicin source, which is where the powerful acne-fighting ingredient that you’re likely more familiar with, salicylic acid, comes from. Petrillo explains that, because of the salicin, willow bark extract has potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (which improves the appearance of pores and fine lines, Levin adds). Not only does it have a rich supply of salicin, but as the skin experts point out, willow bark extract also has high concentrations of tannins, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and other minerals that help calm the skin and aid in cell regeneration. Because all of these ingredients allow for a more refreshed, youthful complexion, it makes sense why you might find willow bark extract included in all kinds of skincare products, like cleansers, moisturizers, toners, masks, and more
Benefits of Willow Bark Extract for Skin
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, willow bark extract offers more than a few skin benefits worth noting:
Gently exfoliates: Petrillo explains that thanks to the salicin, willow bark extract can provide a gentle exfoliation to reveal more radiant, healthy-looking skin.
Calms redness: Because of salicin’s anti-inflammatory properties, Petrillo says it can also help alleviate redness and irritation.
Refines pores: As mentioned, willow bark extract is rich in tannins, which are natural astringents. Petrillo says this helps to keep the skin tight and makes the pores appear smaller.
Reduces oiliness: Petrillo adds that the tannins can also reduce oiliness, reducing acne breakouts. This explains why it’s a prevalent ingredient in toners.
Reduces signs of aging: Thanks to the polyphenols and flavonoids (powerful antioxidants) that help our skin fight against free radical damage, Petrillo says the ingredient can also reduce signs of aging and eliminate wrinkles.
Locks in moisturize: The antioxidants also retain moisture, which allows the skin to stay healthy and hydrated.
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