Ginger Is the Brightening Skincare Ingredient You May Have Never Thought To Use

Plus, it can improve elasticity and fade scars.

CLEAN SLATE: Is Ginger Beneficial For Skin?
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

Ginger might be fundamental in the teas, juices, and smoothies you drink, but as it turns out, it deserves a spot in your skincare routine, too. The ingredient, which has been used in product formulations for decades (and in traditional medicine for centuries), is becoming more and more popular among skincare enthusiasts these days.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Mullans, a board-certified dermatologist at Uptown Dermatology in Houston, Texas, ginger can benefit your skin — no matter your skin type or concern.

"Ginger has many benefits for the skin and is a rejuvenator that helps reduce signs of aging, flushes out toxins, evens out skin tones, promotes hair growth, and leads to more blood circulation," she says. "It also contains antioxidants that can reduce scars and protects the skin from UV rays."

New York-based board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of MDCS Dermatology, Dr. Snehal Amin, also highlights ginger's ability to minimize visible scarring. "[It] has been used in traditional medicine for millennia, and extensive research has shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidative benefits for a range of conditions," he says. As such, he explains that it improves the appearance of scars as it boosts the skin's melanin production by activating melanocytes. "It also leverages antioxidant properties to enhance blood flow, which helps scar tissue blend better into the skin," he explains, and suggests applying a slice of ginger to the treatment area if you have a light scar.

Aside from scarring, ginger can offer other visible skin benefits, such as improving elasticity and tone. What's more, it can mitigate unwanted symptoms of different skin types. Take it from Dr. Mullans who says that if you have dry and/or aging skin, incorporating ginger into your skincare routine can make it look "bright and glowing." On the flip side, if you have oily or acne-prone skin, ginger can "tighten and smooth" the appearance of your skin.

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And that's not all. According to Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Science Dermatology, this ingredient has antiseptic properties that can kill bacteria, including those that cause breakouts. "Components of ginger also show the ability to improve hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the production of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for triggering melanin production," she says

It also offers the skin potent antioxidant benefits, which translate to less damage and fewer signs of aging). "Ginger is an impressive superfood — [the antioxidants] help stave off free radical damage caused by environmental factors like pollution, UVA/UVB rays, and smoke, which can cause premature aging," Dr. Yadav says.

While it may sound too good to be true, ginger really is a multitasking skincare ingredient that can benefit all skin types. Still, our experts recommend proceeding with caution, just as you would with any new product or ingredient you haven't used before. "I always recommend patch testing before regular use of a new product," Dr. Yadav cautions.

Additionally, Dr. Yadav warns that if the ginger in your formula comes from essential oils, it may cause irritation or allergic forms of eczema in more sensitive skin types. To stay on the safe side, look for skincare products that highlight ginger as a main ingredient, such as the Sweet Chef Ginger + Vitamin C Serum, which she recommends for brightening and protecting the skin from free radical damage.

From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space.

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