Ask any hardcore skincare fan about active ingredients and they'll likely have a whole list at the ready. Plus, they'll be able to tell you every benefit of each and when to use them in your routine. It's rare for skincare aficionados to come across an ingredient they haven't tried before, let alone one they've barely heard a peep about. For me, that ingredient was edelweiss.
Like the rest of the world, the first thing I think of when I hear 'edelweiss' is the song from the Sound of Music. But edelweiss seems to have snuck into the skincare world.
You might have found edelweiss buried in the ingredient list of the odd serum or haircare product, but now The Body Shop has dedicated an entire skincare range to it. So, let's unpack what it actually is and why it appears to be coming out of the woodwork.
What is edelweiss?
Like the song lyrics suggest, edelweiss is indeed 'small and white'. It's a wildflower that grows in high and rocky altitudes, like the Swiss Alps. So, in other words, this flower can withstand some seriously harsh conditions.
Why haven't I heard of edelweiss before?
As it turns out, there's a reason it seems to have come onto the skincare scene seemingly out of nowhere. For 50 years, edelweiss has been studied for its medical potential rather than its cosmetic benefits.
Research has previously focused on indicative effects of edelweiss on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and chemo-protective properties. Based on these findings, the little flower looked promising for cosmetics — it just hadn't been studied with skincare in mind until the last few years.
What are the skincare benefits of edelweiss?
Now that some research has gone into edelweiss as a skincare ingredient, we can see why it's starting to garner more attention.
Edelweiss contains leontopodic acid, a natural antioxidant that can help enhance your skin's resilience against environmental aggressors and pollutants.
Research has also found that using the ingredient shows improvements in wrinkles, skin elasticity, dermal density and skin thickness. So basically, it targets multiple areas to leave your skin smoother and stronger*.
How should you use edelweiss in your skincare routine?
Like vitamin C and retinoids, edelweiss is also an antioxidant that can be applied topically — usually in the form of a serum, as it allows for a more concentrated dose of ingredients.
To include edelweiss in your skincare routine, wash and dry your face as normal, and while your skin is still a little damp, apply a serum like The Body Shop's Edelweiss Daily Serum Concentrate. The extract in this concentrate is said to contain 43% more antioxidant power than retinol*. Once you've massaged the serum in, follow it up with some moisturiser to seal everything in.
It's still early days for edelweiss, so keep your eyes peeled for more research as it takes off and we start to learn more about how it works and what ingredients pair well with it. But for now, always remember to patch test any new ingredient for sensitivity, and as always, wear SPF during the day. Then you can brag about finding a new skincare ingredient before your friends!
*Skin that looks plump with moisture, with a smooth surface. Skin looks re-energised and refreshed.*Retinol expressed as Trans Retinyl Acetate. The radical protection factor (RPF) was measured in vitro by electron spin resonance.