When it comes to skincare, Mother Nature knows her stuff. From hydrating coconut oil to acne-fighting hemp seed oil, the most powerful skin-transforming ingredients come straight from the plant world.
The one that's really set to shake up the skincare sphere? The Desert Rose, also known as the Rose of Jericho, Selaginella lepidophylla or siempre viva (that's Spanish for 'immortal').
But it's this clever botanical's other name – 'the resurrection plant' – that perhaps describes it best of all. The Latin American native boasts the miraculous ability to spring 'back to life' even after suffering extreme dehydration, lasting months or even years.
What're more: scientists have discovered its incredible powers of repair and restoration work on the skin, too.
Here's all you need to know about the buzz ingredient for glowing skin and why I selected it to be the star of our truly innovative new By Sarah London Reviver Hydrating Mist.
What is the Desert Rose Moisture Retention Complex?
Found in the Chihuahua desert in Mexico, the Desert Rose can lie dormant for extensive periods – curled up into a ball of seemingly dry brown moss. It's carried across the sands as tumbleweed, blown around by the harsh dry Mexican winds. But within hours of re-exposure to moisture? The Desert Rose magically unfurls itself, transforming back into a luscious green leafy wonder – even after years spent in the most extreme, barren conditions.
While most plants can survive a few weeks of drought, at the most, this powerhouse can withstand almost total desiccation – losing up to 95 per cent of its water content, to be precise.
So how does it do it? Scientists believe it's all down to the Desert Rose's special Moisture Retention Complex. In short, the plant accumulates certain sugars and amino acids that allow its cell walls to stay flexible (instead of falling apart) while it's in a dormant state. You could say, it creates its own survival food. Genius, right?
The Desert Rose's remarkable ability to revive itself prompted skin scientists to explore the plant further. Incredibly, they found it boasts the same moisture-boosting super-powers when used on skin, too.
What are the benefits of the Desert Rose plant for skin?
In studies, the Desert Rose was found to offer a triple whammy of benefits – moisturising the skin, protecting the skin's barrier and repairing the skin. Here's the juicy science part...
The first study was conducted to measure the plant's moisturising ability on the skin. Results showed moisture levels increased by 71% after 24 hours. At the end of three weeks, moisture levels increased by 95%.
The second study looked at the plant's impact on the skin's protective outer barrier. This works like a wall, locking moisture into the skin. By measuring transepidermal water loss (TEWL), they could assess how much moisture escaped from that wall and therefore how effectively it was working. The lower the TEWL values, the better the skin’s barrier function. After one week, water loss decreased by 12%. After three weeks, water loss decreased by 19%.
The third study measured the Desert Rose's ability to repair the skin by looking at skin density. The higher the skin density, the greater the reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promoting a youthful appearance. After one week, skin density improved by 6% and after three weeks, it improved by 14%.
In short? Our skin really loves the stuff.
It was these incredible skin benefits that prompted me to make Desert Rose the star of our brand new By Sarah London Reviver Hydrating Mist. More than just a mist, this prebiotic blend works on so many levels. In an instant, it cools and comforts skin while the formula gets to work replenishing a healthy biome and strengthening that natural protective barrier.
Blended with aloe vera, natural kiwi fruit water and grape fruit water, the light spritz can be veiled over the face after cleansing or misted on top of makeup throughout the day for a speedy refresher. Free from essential oils and fragrance, you can expect happy, healthy skin that's truly radiant.
Is Desert Rose as hydrating as hyaluronic acid?
Some hydrating skincare ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, work as a humectant (drawing moisture into the skin like a magnet) while others act as an emollient (locking the moisture in and preventing it from escaping). But as the scientific studies found, Desert Rose is more powerful than this, boasting the ability to do both roles. It's this dual-action effect that makes the ingredient seriously exciting and such an outstanding asset in a skincare formula.
Can Desert Rose be used for all skin types?
Yes, absolutely! Dry or dehydrated skins, in particular, will be wowed by the Desert Rose's superb moisturising powers. But its benefits go beyond that. Remember I mentioned the plant's ability to reinforce our skin's outer barrier wall? That wall is so important for all skin types. It's what shields it from irritation and a weakened wall can show up as rough, dull, sensitive skin or in the form of blemishes or eczema. Strengthening your barrier wall will lead to a brighter, calmer, smoother complexion. And we all want that, right?
Can Desert Rose help with acne?
Yes, despite what they may think, many acne sufferers are actually lacking in moisture. Their skin can be stripped following excessive cleansing or the over-use of harsh spot treatments like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Some experts also believe a weakened skin barrier allows acne-causing bacteria to penetrate more easily.
Desert Rose is able to rebuild our barrier but crucially, it doesn't have a heavy pore-blocking texture or leave a greasy residue so oily, acne-prone skin types will get on brilliantly with it. Blemish-prone skins will love using it as part of our Reviver Hydrating Mist. Since acne-prone skins can also suffer from issues with their microbiome, the prebiotic mist will help promote a clearer, calmer complexion. And there's no need to worry about the mist interfering with your foundation, when applied over makeup, even if you're partial to a full-coverage base.
Now, that's what I call plant power...
Written by: Sarah, Co-Founder, By Sarah London
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