Natural, local ingredients provide us with the tools to achieve a
brighter, smoother complexion.
A common skin care ailment that many people struggle with is skin discoloration. Whether the discoloration is from sun spots, age spots, acne scars or an uneven skin tone–we’ve all been hit with it at one point or another. Even if your sun damage isn’t showing itself on the surface just yet, it’s usually creeping underneath, and is readily visible with UV photography.
In any case, who doesn’t want brighter, clearer skin?! It’s kind of a no brainer. So, what can we do to achieve it?
Enter nature’s hero: Uva Ursi Extract.
Uva Ursi in Central Oregon
I’ve learned over the years that plants can be such amazing healers and allies for our bodies and minds, and I'm going to share with you how even just one of these plants can be so powerful in keeping your skin healthy and beautiful.
Uva-Ursi is also commonly referred to as bearberry, kinnikinnick, and beargrape, among many other names. While this evergreen shrub is native to both Europe and Asia, is is also native to North America, and grows very commonly all along the west coast. It flourishes right here in Central Oregon.
It's classified in the Manzanita family under the genus Arctostaphylos, and while one of it's common names is uva-ursi, this is actually the Latin name of the plant's species, which translates to "beargrape".
This shrub can be identified by its teardrop shaped, thick, leathery leaves. They can look waxy or shiny and appear a lighter green color in spring, darker green in summer, and a deep red mixed with green in fall and winter. The bark is a beautiful reddish-brown and the tiny bell-shaped flowers, pale pink in hue and hanging in clusters are very reminiscent of manzanita. In late summer, you’ll find most of the flowers have dropped, leaving in their places little glossy red berries.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES & USES
Uva-Ursi has been used medicinally for about 2,000 years, most popularly to treat bladder and urinary tract infections (UTIs). It contains chemicals called glycosides, and those are transformed inside the body into hydroquinone which possesses antibacterial properties and works against UTIs to reduce bacteria in the urine.
Several of the plant's natural chemicals also lend aid to UTIs with their infection fighting properties, including a derivative of hydroquinone called arbutin, and it also contains tannins that help reduce inflammation, helping to fight the infection. There is a wide range of uses for uva-ursi based on these properties and Native Americans even used to use it as a remedy for headaches.
We aren’t doctors and you shouldn’t consider this information medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional before taking Uva-Ursi or any herbs internally.
UVA URSI IN SKIN CARE
We talked about the hydroquinone also works on the skin to inhibit melanin (skin pigment) production. It can help lighten and brighten the appearance of age spots, dark spots from sun damage, and acne scarring. This is why we use uva-ursi in many of our products in our Brighten Up collection.
Not only is this helpful herb been shown to effectively brighten the skin, it also contains powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and can help reverse the signs of aging. Uva-ursi also has astringent properties htat minimizes the appearance of pores and keeps the skin looking tight and firm. This sweet little plant offers amazing benefits for our skin to keep us looking young, bright and healthy.
Everyone can benefit from skin brightening–whether you have freckles, acne scars, scar-scars, or dark spots/sun damage on your face, hands, decollete, or legs. We can all benefit from a little more brightness in our lives! This, my friends, is only one of the many amazing herbs we use in our products here at aos.