A Medical Aesthetician Declares This Restorative Cream Her Desert-Island Pick
If you could have one skin care product for the rest of your life, what would it be? Not an easy question, but medical aesthetician Isabella Traboscia recently shared her desert-island pick over on TikTok. Spoiler: It comes from flowers.
Her ride-or-die product? Calendula cream. Traboscia has made countless videos explaining why she loves it and how she uses it, which makes us even bigger fans of the skin-soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredient. So let's dive in:
What is calendula?
Calendula is a type of perennial flower characterized by a bright orange blossom that is native to the Mediterranean area. It is a trusted herb that has been used for centuries by many cultures and traditions, including by cultures in its native Mediterranean region, as well as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.
Calendula oil, as you can probably guess, is the oil extracted from the petals, stems, and seeds of the blossoms—that's the ingredient you can find in skin care formulas, like Traboscia's trusty $10 dollar Boiron Calendula Cream or Naturopathica's Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream.
Why this pro loves it & how she uses it.
One great thing about calendula cream is that it has range. Traboscia uses it as an overall moisturizer in her daily routine, which makes sense given how many benefits this botanical ingredient has, including anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties, thanks to the fatty acids in the oil, like linoleic acid.
She also recommends it to her clients who struggle with acne, as she said it has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help combat breakouts. Derms agree: "Its antimicrobial benefits make it useful in addressing issues like dandruff, diaper rash, and even acne," board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., tells mbg about the ingredient:
As a spot treatment for irritation.
Apart from hydration, Traboscia uses calendula cream as a spot treatment for perioral dermatitis flare-ups, which she notes she has dealt with for many years. In one TikTok video, she captures real results from using a calendula spot treatment—in the video, her skin appears less and less irritated after applying the cream.
To recover from leaving makeup on overnight.
Listen, it happens—as much as we implore you to remove your makeup before curling into bed, even skin care pros themselves can slip up from time to time. So in addition to a spot treatment, Traboscia includes calendula cream in her morning skin care routine if she forgets to wash off her makeup the night before. For her, the cream helps restore moisture in the skin and ease any irritation from lingering makeup formulas—yes, even the creamiest, most comfortable concealers can dry out the pores overnight.
In a slugging routine.
While slugging, aka layering an occlusive moisturizer in order to prevent transepidermal water loss, this pro uses calendula cream before her last hydrating layer. Remember: You don't have to use a petroleum-derived balm to reap the benefits of slugging. You can simply use whatever occlusive barrier cream you've got (Traboscia reaches for SkinCeuticals' Epidermal Repair lotion) to lock in moisture and soothe a compromised skin barrier.
Calendula is one hydrating, soothing botanical fit for an array of skin care concerns. Of course, as with any herb or botanical, there is a risk of an allergic reaction—especially if you already know you are allergic to marigolds. And as always, patch-test any new product: This is important for everyone but particularly true if you have sensitive and easily irritated skin.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.