garlic skin benefits

The Surprising Skin Care Benefits of Garlic

Garlic might not be your first choice when it comes to skincare, especially with that funky smell that comes with it. But before you dismiss it completely, did you know that garlic is one element that has been valued for over 5,000 years for its ability to provide skin benefits?

Related: Oily Skin: The Best Skin Care Routines

Why Garlic Works for Skin Care

Many skin problems, especially acne, are related to inflammation. Acne occurs when excess skin debris and oil accumulate inside your skin’s hair follicles and traps bacteria underneath the surface. Some of that bacteria can produce chemicals that encourage inflammation and acne lesions.

Here’s why garlic is beneficial for skincare.

It has antimicrobial effects.

According to this 2014 study, garlic has compounds that inhibit the growth of different fungi and bacteria, showing that it may be helpful in treating certain skin conditions. The study attributes garlic’s antimicrobial properties to a chemical named allicin.

Another study, performed in 2015, looked into garlic’s effect against a bacteria called Streptococcus epidermidis. S. epidermidis, which is one of the most prominent bacteria that contribute to acne. It found that the allicin in garlic helped stop that bacteria from growing, and the other compounds found in garlic also contributed, boosting the antimicrobial effects.

It has anti-inflammatory effects.

Cytokines are molecules that can promote inflammation, and many experts believe that they play a role in skin conditions and acne development. 

This study from 2013 showed that allicin helps reduce the production of those pro-inflammatory cytokines. It also showed that heating up garlic reduces the amount of allicin it contains, reducing the anti-inflammatory effects. They concluded that allicin might help treat a number of inflammatory issues like acne.

It has other beneficial effects, too.

This review from 2011 studied various dermatological uses of garlic, consisting of laboratory studies, clinical trials, and animal studies. It found that applying garlic extract to your skin provides both wound-healing and antimicrobial effects. The study noted that garlic might help a variety of skin conditions, including:

  • Alopecia areata
  • Wars
  • Fungal skin infections
  • Psoriasis
  • Keloid scars
  • Corns
  • Leishmaniasis 

Because garlic has wound-healing properties, it may also help heal acne breakouts while preventing scarring too. 

Garlic also contains vitamins and minerals that can help combat skin problems, like selenium, zinc, copper, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6.

The Best Skin Care Benefits of Garlic

Garlic has a large amount of allicin present in it, and allicin has antifungal, anti-aging, and skin smoothing benefits. It is also known to increase antioxidant levels of the skin and body.

Sulfur present in garlic prevents infections and helps in reducing inflammation. It also enhances blood flow, thus giving the skin a natural glow.

1. Acne, pimples, and spot treatment

Allicin has antifungal properties which can be used to get rid of that stubborn acne that has been giving you sleepless nights.

Just cut a fresh piece of garlic and apply some pressure on it to release its juice, and then rub it onto the affected area. Leave it for 5 minutes and wash it off with cold water. You’ll see a reduction in redness and swelling within the day. Also, this helps prevent acne, leaving behind marks on your skin.

Another simple technique to get rid of acne using garlic is mixing juice from 2-3 pods of garlic with equal quantities of white vinegar and applying it to the affected area. The vinegar helps maintain the skin’s pH levels while garlic fights infection.

2. Blackhead and whitehead removal

A most common skin problem is blackheads. They occur more often when you have oily skin.

Take two or three cloves of garlic and crush them. Then, add 1 tbsp. of oatmeal, a couple of drops of tea tree oil, and about half of a tsp. of lemon juice. Mix those ingredients with honey to form a paste. Spread a thin layer onto your skin. After letting it sit for two or three minutes, gently exfoliate your face and rinse with warm water. You can use this mixture up to two or three times a week to see a visible reduction in blackheads.

3. Anti-aging and pore minimizing

Garlic health benefits also work for anti-aging. The strong antioxidants present in garlic help in reducing the free radical build-up in the skin, thus keeping it firm and youthful. It also contains sulfur, which helps the body produce collagen and helps fight wrinkles. Garlic also contains many skin-protective polyphenols. You can crush some garlic cloves and add the juice into your regular face masks for added goodness and preventing premature aging.

Enlarged pores are a common problem in aging skin. To minimize pores, make a paste by mashing together half a tomato and 3-4 pods of garlic. Spread a thin layer of the paste onto your face. After 20 minutes, wash your face with lukewarm water and seal your pores with a final splash of cold water. Tomato and garlic both have antiseptic qualities that help in unclogging the skin, minimizing pores, and tightening the skin.

Consuming pill-sized pieces of garlic every day also works great to protect the skin from damages caused by free radicals, oxidation, and environmental stressors that eventually result in wrinkles.

Related: Help Your Skin During the Pandemic

How to Safely Use Garlic for Skin Care

There are many ways to use garlic to treat skin conditions and acne. But first, let’s talk about some precautions. Some people experience adverse reactions to garlic, including:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis—A localized skin rash or redness that develops from irritation
  • Contact urticaria—Localized swelling or redness of the skin that develops from an irritating substance
  • Pemphigus —An immune system response that causes sores or blisters

Now, here’s how to use garlic safely for skin care.

Using garlic topically

Applying garlic to the skin can sometimes cause reactions, as we listed above, and adding garlic to a carrier oil can help prevent those reactions. Examples of carrier oils that work well include:

Ideally, you should test the garlic on a small part of your skin first to ensure that you don’t have a reaction.

To use garlic topically for skin care:

  1. Puree a few cloves of garlic
  2. Mix with a carrier oil, if necessary
  3. Apply it directly to the problem area
  4. Leave it on for 3-4 minutes
  5. Rinse with water
  6. Dry your skin gently

Taking garlic supplements

You can also use garlic supplements, and while they provide many of the compound’s health benefits, they aren’t as effective for preventing or treating acne.

Garlic Routines for Better Skin Care

Finally, let’s talk about some garlic “recipes” you can add to your skincare routine to reap the health benefits. You can use any of these routines to help get rid of acne, reduce the appearance of pores, and even help reduce stretch marks!

Garlic and water

If your skin is sensitive at all, you can dilute your garlic with water before applying it.

  1. Mince two garlic cloves
  2. Mix with a tablespoon of water
  3. Place the mixture on your problem areas
  4. Leave it for a few minutes
  5. Rinse with water
  6. Dry gently

Raw garlic juice

  1. Mash approximately five garlic cloves
  2. Let them sit for ten minutes
  3. Using a thin cloth, squeeze the juice from the cloves
  4. Apply the juice to your affected areas
  5. Let it sit for approximately ten minutes
  6. Rinse with water

Yogurt and garlic (topical)

This topical treatment can help remove dead skin cells that block your pores and exfoliate your skin.

  1. Mix four pureed garlic cloves with a tablespoon of yogurt
  2. Apply the mixture to your skin
  3. Massage it into your skin and let it sit for a few minutes
  4. Rinse with water

Yogurt and garlic (topical or edible)

  1. Mix four pureed garlic gloves with ½ teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of yogurt
  2. Eat the mixture or apply it like a mask to your affected areas
  3. If you’re using it as a mask, leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off

Garlic and honey

  1. Using three or four garlic cloves, make a garlic juice
  2. Mix it with one teaspoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric
  3. Apply it to any problem areas, and let it sit for 20 minutes
  4. Gently rinse it off with water

Garlic and aloe vera

  1. Mix two or three crushed garlic cloves with ½ cup of water
  2. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes
  3. Add a teaspoon of aloe vera gel
  4. Apply the mixture and let it sit until it dries
  5. Gently rinse the mixture off your skin

Garlic and apple cider vinegar (for pimples)

  1. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water
  2. Mash approximately five garlic cloves, and let them sit for ten minutes
  3. Using a thin cloth, squeeze the juice from the cloves
  4. Add the garlic juice into the apple cider vinegar and water mixture
  5. Dab the mixture directly onto your pimples
  6. Let it sit for around ten minutes
  7. Rinse the garlic mixture off

Sound like a lot of work? Check out our peels, cleansers, moisturizers, facials, and more to get all of the skin care benefits without all of the hard work!

Related: What’s Your Skin Trying to Tell You?

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