There is a growing interest in using natural ingredients to improve skin health.
But it’s important to note that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe and effective.
Some things that are good to eat aren’t so good when applied to the skin, and vice versa.
One common kitchen ingredient getting a lot of attention lately for its potential for skincare is cinnamon.
Benefits of Eating Cinnamon
In addition to being a tasty spice, cinnamon has long been used for its medicinal properties.
Cinnamon has been demonstrated to have antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetic effects.
In other words, cinnamon can reduce inflammation, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, help fight off infection, and may even be a helpful aid in treating cancers and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
For skin health, antioxidants play an essential role in protecting your skin from damage caused by UV radiation, pollution, inflammation, and metabolic stress. Like other plant-based foods, cinnamon is high in polyphenol antioxidants, so eating it has some benefits for skin health.
Risks and Warnings When Applying to Skin
Cinnamon is rarely found in cosmetics and commercial skincare products, but some people may experiment with using it in their DIY skincare recipes.
If you are curious about using cinnamon in your skincare routine, start by doing a small patch test on a small area of skin to see if you have an adverse reaction.
This is a crucial step to take before spreading a cinnamon oil or cream all over your skin, as cinnamon hypersensitivities are relatively common.
Topical applications of cinnamon often lead to skin rashes, irritation, burning sensations, redness, and discoloration, and in a few rare cases, there are reports of second-degree chemical burns.
If you experience these symptoms, discontinue use immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.
Possible Benefits of Topical Applications
Applying cinnamon to your skin might potentially have a few benefits, but the evidence is limited, and it is probably not worth the risk.
In test-tube and animal studies, extracts of Ceylon cinnamon (significantly less common and more expensive than the familiar Cassia cinnamon powder you’ll find in your local grocery store) appear to promote collagen production. As we age, collagen (the main structural protein in the skin) deteriorates, leading to wrinkles and sagging.
If cinnamon can indeed stimulate collagen production, this could lead to improved skin elasticity and a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles.
But when it comes to treating aging, acne, and skin discoloration, there are no human clinical trials to support these claims.
Cinnamon can be a healthy and delicious addition to your diet, but it’s probably best to avoid using it on your skin.