The fragrant and sweet cinnamon can work wonders for your skin. It fights acne, fine lines, and wrinkles. It also helps to reduce pigmentation and lighten uneven skin. It can also help you deal with skin infections and eczema and may even fight the damaging effects of pollution.
If the thought of cinnamon has you drooling over delicious warm buns and cakes, you are not alone. But beyond its oomph factor, this fragrant spice has medicinal benefits to offer up – its positive impact on blood sugar and blood pressure levels, for instance, is making waves. But if cinnamon’s beneficial effect on skin health is what’s caught your attention, we have the lowdown. Here’s how sweet cinnamon can work wonders for your skin.
1. Gets Rid Of Acne
Acne is a common problem that leaves many of us feeling self-conscious. Overproduction of sebum which makes your skin excessively oily and the proliferation of bacteria are known to play a significant role in the formation of pimples. But cinnamon counters both these factors. Research shows that it acts against acne-causing bacteria like Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes. It might also be beneficial for excessively oily skin as it has been found to inhibit an enzyme known as 5α-reductase which modulates hormones that stimulate sebum production. A cinnamon face pack is just the ticket if acne is bothering you. Moreover, one study found that a combination of cinnamon and honey worked better against acne-causing bacteria than cinnamon alone so you might want to apply a paste of these two to tackle acne.
2. Fights Fine Lines And Wrinkles
Wrinkles and fine lines inevitably start showing up as we age. But cinnamon may help you fight these, even arresting premature aging of the skin. Research shows that it can facilitate the biosynthesis of collagen, which is a protein that gives your skin structure and strength. Unfortunately, as we age we naturally lose collagen, and this contributes to the development of fine lines. A compound known as cinnamaldehyde is thought to be responsible for cinnamon’s anti-aging effect on the skin.
Add cinnamon to your diet to experience its anti-aging effects. Simply spice up your daily cooking with some cinnamon. Or how about a cup of warm cinnamon tea? To make cinnamon tea, steep a cinnamon stick or a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon powder in a cup of hot water for a few minutes.
3. Lightens Hyperpigmented Skin
A pigment known as melanin is mainly responsible for our skin color. But sometimes its production goes out of whack and it can make your complexion darker or uneven – think freckles, sun spots, or a stubborn tan. If hyperpigmented skin is a problem you are facing, cinnamon may help. One study found that cinnamon oil reduced melanin formation by acting against an enzyme known as tyrosinase which is involved in melanin production. The bioactive compounds eugenol and cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon were found to be responsible for this effect.
Simply apply cinnamon oil which has been diluted with a carrier oil in the ratio of 1:20 to fade dark spots or a tan. Coconut oil works particularly well as a carrier oil since it has moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Remember to do a patch test before you use the remedy to ensure your skin isn’t allergic to it.
4. Fights Skin Infections
Cinnamon has strong antimicrobial properties that make it useful for tackling skin infections. Research indicates that it acts against candida fungus which causes yeast infections or thrush, as well as dermatophytes like Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes which cause fungal skin infections such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. Bioactive compounds like cinnamaldehyde and eugenol found in cinnamon are thought to be responsible for its antimicrobial effects.
To use the power of cinnamon to tackle skin infections, you can apply diluted cinnamon oil to affected parts or wash the area with cinnamon-infused water. To prepare cinnamon-infused water, break 8–10 cinnamon sticks and boil them in about 4 cups of water. Allow the sticks to steep for about 45 minutes and soak affected areas in this water. For instance, if you have athlete’s foot, use this solution as a foot bath.
5. May Protect Skin From Pollution
Environmental pollutants can wreak havoc on your skin. Common pollutants such as dioxin can have harmful effects and cause skin problems like lesions that resemble acne, skin reddening, swelling, increased pigmentation, and dryness. But research shows that cinnamon may help counter these effects. One lab study found that cinnamaldehyde can inhibit the activation of a receptor that binds to environmental pollutants in skin cells as well as exert a beneficial antioxidant effect.
Since the study was a lab study, it is not definitively clear how cinnamon should be used for this purpose. But other research does indicate that both consumption and topical application of antioxidants can benefit your skin.
6. May Help Tackle Eczema
Eczema is a common inflammatory skin condition that affects around 30% of Americans. It is a long-lasting disorder characterized by itchy, dry skin which can ooze clear fluid when you scratch it. Traditionally, cinnamon powder is combined with honey in equal parts and used to treat eczema in some South Asian communities.
Research indicates that the anti-inflammatory property of cinnamon might make it a useful ally where this skin condition is concerned. In fact, one study found that cinnamaldehyde was able to inhibit the pro-inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB which has been found to be associated with eczema. Some experts suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon might help tackle other inflammatory skin disorders too.
Use Cinnamon Safely
Cinnamon oil as well as powder tends to be strong and can cause a burning sensation in some people, especially if your skin is sensitive. It is also known to trigger contact dermatitis in some. So do a patch test first to see how your skin reacts to it. Keep these things in mind too:
- Use no more than half to one teaspoon of cinnamon powder at a time. This should be no more than 2–3 drops if you are using cinnamon oil.
- Always mix the oil with a carrier oil like coconut. The powder, too, should be combined with milder ingredients like milk or honey. If you feel any discomfort after applying a paste or oil, wipe it off the skin with some coconut or olive oil.