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You’ve been seeing the word bandied around by your favorite beauty brands, but what exactly is an adaptogen? To start, it’s an umbrella term encompassing non-toxic plant extracts that help reduce stress and restore balance to the body. Up until recently, the term has largely been used in the context of herbal supplements — but now it’s quickly gaining traction in the beauty world.
The jump from herbal supplements to skin care might seem like a big one, but think of it this way: like the rest of your body, your skin could definitely use some de-stressing. And as Dr. Craig Kraffert, board-certified dermatologist and president of Amarte Skin Care, explains, employing adaptogens to reduce these stressors “will benefit skin by promoting a calm and normalized appearance and by delaying the changes that occur in skin appearance and function with time.”
Though the term “adaptogen” may be on the newer side, the methods are not. “Many protective, brightening and rejuvenative aspects of skin care are the result of adaptogens,” says Kraffert, who estimates that the actual amount of adaptogens out there is “likely in the hundreds to thousands.” In fact, you’ve probably been using adaptogens in your skin care routine since day one — after all, he counts popular ingredients like witch hazel and sulfur as members of the club (though not a plant extract, Kraffert counts sulfur as “fully adaptogenic,” for the record).
It’s time to get better acquainted with all the adaptogenic products and ingredients currently making their way through the beauty sphere — read on for some of our favorites.[ Next: Serums, Ampoules, Emulsions: Your K-Beauty Cheat Sheet ]
This article originally appeared on TotalBeauty.com