With the “notox” trend taking off on social media, there are so many new ingredients, serums and creams that influencers claim to be better than Botox. The latest? Flaxseed masks. When eaten, the plant-based food is know for its healthy fat, antioxidants and fiber. But the social media buzz is about their remarkable ability to tighten and firm up the skin when applied topically as a mask, mixed with water in a gel-like paste. But that’s not all! Read on to learn more about the benefits of flaxseed for skin and to see if it really lives up to the hype.
What are flaxseeds?
So what exactly are flaxseeds, and what about them is so beneficial? Flaxseeds, also called Linseed, come from the Flax plant. Flaxseeds are tiny, oily seeds chock-full of healthy fats, antioxidants and fiber. “These small but mighty seeds are considered a superfood as they have many health-promoting benefits, are nutrient-rich and have several bioactive components,” says Esteffany Erskine, lead esthetician at Virgin Hotels NYC exhale spa.
When ingested, flaxseed oils have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune and neurological disorders. Researchers soon discovered that their benefits were more than skin-deep. One study published in the Journal Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry showed that when applied topically, flaxseed oil reduced fine wrinkles and provided a soft and smooth surface while keeping the skin hydrated for 8-10 hours after application.
Can a flaxseed mask work as well as Botox?
“When applied to the skin topically, flaxseeds may potentially hydrate and soothe the skin and reduce redness and inflammation, which can temporarily improve and plump the skin’s appearance, reducing the appearance of wrinkles,” says Lyle Leipziger, MD, chief of plastic surgery at North Shore University Hospital and LIJ Medical Center.
Does that mean it’s as good as Botox? “Well-hydrated skin, in general, appears smoother because the skin is plumped up, much like a grape versus a raisin,” explains facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD. Also, dry skin tends to form wrinkles faster than well-hydrated skin, so “consistently using moisturizing ingredients like flaxseed can postpone the need or desire for Botox because the formation of the wrinkles is significantly slowed down,” says Dr. Vasyukevich.
But does it live up to the hype? “Social media users may have exaggerated the potential effects of flaxseeds in skincare. These results are certainly not comparable to the results obtained with actual Botox, which is a medical procedure involving the injections of neurotoxins to paralyze facial muscles, reducing the appearance of wrinkles for several months. Often, patients may be influenced by what they see on social media, and people may look for a quick fix rather than seeking appropriate medical intervention,” explains Dr. Leipziger.
More flaxseed benefits for skin topical and ingested
1. Flaxseed benefits for skin: Its *omega-3 fatty acids* maintain moisture in skin’s barrier
Specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). “Omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain the skin’s moisture barrier, reducing dryness and promoting a healthy complexion,” says Tejada.
2. Its *lignans* reduce skin inflammation and redness
These are phytoestrogens that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “This may help reduce skin inflammation, redness and irritation, leading to a calmer and more even-toned complexion,” he says. The lignans present in flaxseeds have also been shown to have estrogenic effects, which may help regulate hormonal imbalances that can contribute to skin issues like acne and hormonal breakouts.
3. Flaxseed benefits for skin: Its antioxidants protect skin from free radical damage
We know how important antioxidants are and ones such as vitamin E are naturally contained in flaxseeds. “They help protect the skin from damage caused by environmental factors like UV radiation and pollution. This can help prevent premature aging signs like wrinkles, fine lines and age spots,” explains Tejada.
4. Its fiber helps clear up skin
Fiber aids in digestion and helps remove toxins from the body. “By promoting a healthy digestive system, flax seeds indirectly contribute to clearer and healthier skin,” he attests.
How to use flaxseed for the skin
Make a flaxseed mask
The most common way flaxseed is applied is via a DIY mask you can make at home in minutes. @Brooke.therat said her skin felt more hydrated after using a slimy mixture of flaxseeds and water in a video that’s garnered more than four million views on TikTok.
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
- Once it’s boiling, add ½ cup of flaxseeds and stir.
- Turn off the heat and put the mix into a separate bowl, letting it cool.
- Apply it to your skin, layering it until the skin is mostly covered.
- Leave on for about 30 minutes and then rinse.
Try these flaxseed-infused products
Nakery Beauty SkinInfusion Serum+Oil (Buy from Nakery Beauty, $42), for one, contains flaxseed along with six serum-actives of vitamin C, hyaluronic, peptides, vitamin E, allantoin and glycerin as well as 17 botanical oils that work together to firm, lift, tone, plump, brighten, tighten, protect and hydrate skin!
You can also buy cold-pressed flaxseed oil (Buy from Amazon, $35.99) and apply a tablespoon directly to your face to reap all its hydrating benefits, or break open a capsule (found at your local drugstore) and use its contents for a moisturizing boost.
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