5 Benefits Of Moringa For Skin + How To Make A DIY Mask At Home For Glowing Skin
Move over, matcha—there's a new(ish) green powder in town. Moringa powder has become a popular addition to drinks and foods, thanks to its rich nutrient profile. It has also found its way into the skin care world, where both the powder and oil are revered for their skin-friendly properties. Even the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks used moringa for skin1 issues and maintenance.
Below, you'll find five ways moringa can benefit your complexion, along with a face mask recipe:
It boosts your skin's natural collagen formation.
Moringa is remarkably high in vitamin C—having about seven times more than oranges2, in fact. This is great news for your skin, which needs the vitamin to naturally produce collagen. "[Vitamin C] helps boost collagen production and cell turnover," shares Nicole Simpson, aesthetician, biochemist, and founder of Amethyst Skincare. This supports the skin's ability to self-repair and maintain its healthy youth, she notes.
Vitamin C is essential for stabilizing collagen, too. It's a cofactor for the main enzymes that secure and cross-link collagen fibers. The nutrient also protects against enzymes that degrade collagen3 as we age, which supports the firmness of our skin. Basically, vitamin C has one heck of an important job.
The collagen-related perks of moringa were observed in a small human study, where cream with moringa extract was applied to people's faces. After three months, collagen formation increased3 and skin elasticity improved; the researchers attributed these effects to the plant's natural compounds.
It can pump the brakes on early signs of aging.
"Every day, our skin is exposed to stressors such as pollution and UV radiation," says Simpson. Our body reacts by making cell-damaging free radicals, "which attack important parts of our skin cells, like the cell membrane and DNA," she adds. The result? Premature wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging.
But thanks to moringa's high level of antioxidants—including vitamin C, A, and B3—the remedy might be just what you need to get that youthful glow. According to Jessie Cheung, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, antioxidants like the ones in moringa neutralize those free radicals that damage our skin cells. Essentially, these compounds "help to 'put out the fires' in our skin that would otherwise lead to skin aging," she says.
It's ideal for both oily and dry skin.
Do you have greasy, oily skin? Moringa might be your new BFF. Its high-antioxidant content "allows our skin to switch from protection mode to repair mode," explains Cheung. "[This] decreases the stress and inflammation that also triggers oil production."
Simpson adds that moringa's antioxidant properties could also manage hormonal imbalances (at the skin's molecular level) caused by oxidative stress. These imbalances can influence the skin4—particular oil and inflammation—but the antioxidants in moringa help quell this effect.
However, if your skin is on the drier side, you can still benefit from moringa. It contains vitamin B3, a natural humectant. This means it attracts water to the skin's outermost layer. "Even for those with dry skin, [moringa] oil seeps into the skin tissues to restore moisture," says Holly Cutler, medical esthetician and founder of FACE Skincare Medical Wellness.
It might help manage acne.
As moringa takes the reins on your sebaceous glands, it may also control breakouts. After all, excess sebum has a knack for mixing with dead skin cells and blocking the pores, resulting in pimples. To top it off, "oil is a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause acne," says Cheung.
Additionally, moringa's antioxidative properties can ease the biological processes behind breakouts and other skin conditions. "When skin is under oxidative stress—from lack of sleep, poor diet, stress, or living in a polluted city—it causes inflammation," says Simpson. This can prompt those hormonal imbalances mentioned above, causing "many different conditions to manifest, such as acne, redness, psoriasis, and eczema," she notes.
It could support wound healing (maybe).
From popped pimples to minor cuts, open wounds are like one-way tickets for infection-causing bacteria. And without proper healing, even the smallest wounds can increase the risk of infections, scarring, and other complications. There's some evidence, however, that moringa may aid the process.
Though scientists have yet to study moringa's wound-healing potential in humans, the existing research shows promise. In a lab study, components from moringa leaf extract sped up wound closure5 in human dermal fibroblast cells. A more recent animal study found that a topical moringa gel improved wound healing and collagen formation6.
Try it at home:
Moringa powder is easy to use in a homemade mask. You can find the bright green powder at health stores and vitamin shops. Just be sure to check the expiration date, and always purchase high-quality powder.
Here's how to make a DIY moringa face mask.
- ½ tablespoon moringa powder
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 to 2 teaspoons witch hazel (for oilier skin) or rose water (for drier skin)
- Essential oils (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the moringa powder and honey. Slowly add witch hazel or rose water until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. Add 3 to 5 drops of skin-friendly essential oils, like rosehip or tea tree. Mix well and apply to clean skin. After 10 to 15 minutes, rinse off with lukewarm water and pat dry. Moisturize as usual.
Like many natural beauty remedies, there are countless ways to make a moringa face mask. You can mix the powder with your favorite base ingredients, like mashed avocado or banana. As for moringa oil? Use it by itself or mixed in with other moisturizers, depending on the unique needs of your skin.
Moringa powder makes for a a great addition to your skin care routine, drinks, and foods, thanks to its rich nutrient profile. For skin, you'll likely see the glowing results: It can promote collagen production, help acne, improve wound healing, and so on.
Kirsten Nunez is a health and lifestyle journalist based in Beacon, New York. She has a Master of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman's University and Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta. Kirsten specializes in nutrition, fitness, food, and DIY; her work has been featured in a variety of publications, including eHow, SparkPeople, and international editions of Cosmopolitan. She also creates recipes for food product packaging.