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Flower power

Flowers have some astonishingly powerful properties and make great ingredients for beauty products. Rude Health magazine finds out the best flowers and what they can do for you


“Flowers are one of the most sought-after natural remedies for a variety of ailments across the world,” says Ingrid Hume of beauty company Pravera. “Most are used as essential oils, but they can also be used in beauty products as extracts, oils and flower waters. Flower extracts, oils and waters contain vitamins and antioxidants that help to moisturise, cleanse and smooth the skin as well as fighting signs of free radical damage.”


“Synthetic chemical-based ingredients such as sulfates, parabens and mineral oils in beauty products can harm the skin and cause bad reactions or irritation,” according to Ingrid Hume. “Over a period of time these harsh ingredients can cause damage to the skin. In contrast, naturally-derived plant-based ingredients help to improve the function of the body and the skin, increasing collagen levels and reducing fine lines and wrinkles to keep skin looking its best.”


“Rose is as softening and smoothing on the skin as its petals are to the touch,” says Niamh Larkin, beauty specialist at health store Evergreen in Mainguard St, Galway. “Those with more sensitive skin or skin prone to redness tend to benefit greatly from using a rose-based moisturiser, as well as those with dry or mature skin which it is more commonly associated with.”

“Rose is known for its intense hydrating properties which make it an ideal ingredient to use in products which are suitable for mature and dry skin types,” says Ingrid Hume. “Rose also has cell rejuvenating properties that can help to minimise the appearance of scars, wrinkles and stretch marks.”


“Sunflower is one of the most versatile oils and works wonders for the skin,” according to Ingrid Hume. “It is high in linoleic acid and rich in antioxidants which help to restore and protect damaged skin as well as moisturising, nourishing, hydrating and smoothing the skin.”


“Lavender extract is known for its calming and relaxing effect on the skin,” says Ingrid Hume. “It helps to increase cell renewal as well as clarifying the skin.”

“Traditionally used for treating acne due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, lavender is also great for those with sensitive skin due to its calming nature,” says Niamh Larkin. “These same anti-inflammatory properties make lavender a great go-to for immediate burn relief, as well as relief from insect bites and stings. Not only that, but lavender makes an excellent insect repellent - definitely a great one to take on holidays with you!”


“Used in skincare for its many different benefits, geranium can be part of many skincare regimes,” says Niamh Larkin. “From lifting and tightening ageing skin, to balancing oily-prone skin, geranium not only boasts anti-inflammatory promises, but is a great flower for wound healing. When used in hair products, geranium balances the scalp’s sebum production and promotes hair growth.”


“Calendula has been used for centuries for its amazing healing properties,” says Niamh Larkin. “Often included in skin treatments for conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and prickly heat, calendula is also a very popular ingredient in natural baby skincare for its ability to soothe the skin and promote healing in sensitive areas.”

“As early as the middle ages, calendula is known for its wound healing properties,” says Ingrid Hume. “It soothes irritated and slightly inflamed skin, protects tender lip skin and keeps the sensitive skin of babies and elderly healthy. Calendula oil has a balancing and anti-inflammatory effect and promotes wound healing. It is particularly useful for sensitive skin, which can easily become inflamed, as well as skin that is oily or prone to acne.”


“I see the underrated lemon myrtle plant as Tea Tree’s more attractive cousin,” says Niamh Larkin. “With its sharp citrus smell (not unlike lemon sherbet), this plant uplifts the mood, while also boasting the same anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antiseptic, anti-microbial, and antiviral properties as its fellow Australian mate!”

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