Where does feverfew come from?
Feverfew – also known as Tanacetum parthenium – is a plant related to sunflowers and chrysanthemums. It grows in Europe, North America and Australia, blooming from July through October. The plant has greenish yellow leaves and tiny yellow flowers resembling daisies.
Feverfew leaves contain compounds known as parthenolides. When applied topically, these compounds can irritate and sensitize the skin. In skincare formulas, however, feverfew is purified, and the parthenolides are removed. This is called Feverfew PFE, or parthenolide-free extract.
How can feverfew help your skin?
Dermatologists praise this plant for its multiple soothing qualities. Below is a list of feverfew’s benefits. It:
- Reduces inflammation. Feverfew calms and soothes inflammation and redness associated with acne and rosacea. It acts on chemicals that cause inflammation, dermatologist Jessica Wu, M.D., writes in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.
- Minimizes sunburn-induced redness. In one study, reports Dr. Wu, skin that was treated with feverfew lotion before being exposed to UVB rays showed much less redness than skin with a placebo lotion. Specifically, participants received either Feverfew PFE lotion or a placebo lotion on their backs. Then, participants were exposed to small amounts of UVB rays to induce sunburn. Researchers measured redness after 24 and 48 hours.
- Protects against free radicals. From cigarette smoke to car exhaust and other chemicals, our air isn’t exactly healthy. These environmental threats produce harmful molecules known as free radicals, which are linked to skin damage, aging and cancer. Antioxidants are substances that protect skin from free radicals. Feverfew PFE falls into this category.
One study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, showed that “Feverfew PFE proved to be the most effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant among 2,000 other botanicals ranging from aloe vera to white tea,” writes Ning Chao in Elle. Feverfew PFE outperformed other antioxidants by a long shot, faring 35 times better than the closest runner-up. Because of its protective antioxidant effects, feverfew may have useful applications in preventing skin cancer.
- Lowers shaving irritation. Shaving often causes sensitivity, irritation and razor burn. One study examined feverfew’s effects on shaving irritation. For two weeks, participants used Feverfew PFE on one leg twice a day and a placebo lotion on the other leg. They shaved two or three times weekly. The result? Feverfew PFE worked much better than placebo lotion at reducing irritation.
Who should look for feverfew?
Feverfew can be a great addition to your skincare regimen if you have any of the following skin problems:
- Sensitive skin that’s often irritated
- Skin that burns easily
Who should avoid feverfew?
Not sure if feverfew is right for you? Check with your dermatologist. But the following people might want to skip it:
- Women who are pregnant or nursing
- Children under two years old
- Anyone allergic to chamomile, yarrow or ragweed, because feverfew is similar to these plants and will probably result in an allergic reaction, too.
- Individuals prone to canker sores, mouth, tongue or lip problems. If you experience these concerns, don’t apply topical feverfew products near your lips or mouth. Especially in its raw leaf form, feverfew can just make matters worse.
Many products allow you to enjoy feverfew’s soothing, protective effects.
- Cleanser. Want a foaming cleanser that removes dirt and impurities, but won’t irritate your sensitive or dry skin? Put off by harsh perfumes or dyes? Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser is noncomedogenic, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. It also helps to minimize redness.
- Moisturizer. After cleansing, apply a moisturizer with sunscreen. Neutrogena Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse Day Lotion SPF 20 protects skin from UVA and UVB rays, plus evens out skin tone.
Plagued with skin sensitivity and redness? Have a condition like acne or rosacea? Then feverfew may just be the ticket to soothe and calm your complexion!
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