At Alder New York we always formulate our products with a combination of scientifically innovative ingredients, combined with herbalist beloved extracts. While skincare technology is always advancing, there is something special about natural extracts. There's a reason they've been used to cure skin ailments for thousands of years- they work. In quite a few of our formulations, willow bark extract is one of those special extracts. So today we wanted to spotlight what makes willow bark uniquely suited to skincare.
Truly Natural Pain Relief
Willow bark is the bark from the willow tree, of which there are a few varieties: white or European willow, black or pussy willow, crack willow, purple willow, and more. Willow bark is an ancient source of pain relief - Hippocrates recommended willow bark to women to help with pain during childbirth. Ancient Greek, Chinese, and Mesopotamian records show that all these cultures chewed the bark or drank a tea from willow bark to relieve pains of all kinds- headaches, stomach pains, arthritis, etc. Likewise, they also used willow bark topically to treat various skin ailments, like calluses and inflammation.
Sign Up for Salacin
Though no one knew it at the time, one of the keys to willow bark's effectiveness for both pain relief and skin issues is that is is naturally high in something called salicin. Salicin is a precursor to salicylic acid- it converts once it is metabolized by our bodies.
When ingested, salacin relieves pain - in fact, salicin is responsible for modern day aspirin. After years of research on willow bark, in the late 1800s scientists figured out a way to create a synthetic version of salicin called acetylsalicylic acid aka aspirin, which is how we're able to pop a pill for a headache so easily today.
I Can't Believe It's Not Synthetic
When applied topically, salicin is a potent anti inflammatory. This makes salicin rich willow bark super effective for both acne and rosacea prone skin.
In addition to its anti inflammatory benefits, when applied topically, salicin also has some pretty incredible anti aging properties. In a clinical trial, subjects using a serum with 0.5% salicin concentration showed statistically significant improvement in their skins' appearance of wrinkles, pore size, skin radiance, and softness after just 12 weeks of use. Another study concluded that salicin is responsible for actually encouraging what the scientists termed "youth gene clusters," or the genes responsible for keeping our skin looking and feeling young. The study showed that applying salicin topically positively influenced the genes responsible for skin hydration, pigmentation, and structure.
Magical Mystery Willow Bark
Of course, part of what makes natural botanical extracts so special is that there is something a little bit mysterious about them versus chemicals produced in a lab. While studies have proven the positive effects of salicin specifically, there are also a host of other less researched components in willow bark extract that point to why this botanical is so healing. A recent study indicated it's the combination of salacin, other salicylates, polyphenols, and flavonoids in the botanical that make it so effective. Another study concluded that 2,3-trans procyanidins - a compound highly specific to plant life- could play a huge role in its healing and anti inflammatory effects.
While scientist continue to study why it works, we'll continue to use it because it does work. If you want to try this magical plant extract in action, you can use willow bark in Alder New York's Clarifying Face Mask, and Everyday Face Serum. We can't wait for you to see the anti inflammatory, age reversing, skin soothing results for yourself.