Know Your Ingredients: Frankincense, The Old-World Beauty Miracle

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As people with extraordinarily elaborate skin-care routines, we pride ourselves on using products with the most effective ingredients around. Of course, this involves actually knowing what those ingredients are. And, boy, are there a lot of ingredients out there. In Know Your Ingredients, our ongoing series, we'll be decoding the many oils, acids, extracts, and more that appear in our favorite products.
Our new favorite beauty ingredient is actually really, really old. In fact, frankincense is ancient. Traded in the Middle East and North Africa for the past 5,000 years and used in traditional Chinese medicine for at least 2,500 years, the resin from frankincense trees has long been thought to have anti-aging properties. Today, it's used in an estimated 13% of all fine fragrances as well as a wide range of skin-care products.
So, what is it about this aromatic tree resin that makes it such a truly timeless beauty staple? According to Neal's Yard Remedies Organic, a brand that uses frankincense in its anti-aging line, it has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties, which benefit problematic, dry, and aging skin. That's especially helpful for the latter, which tends to be dry as well.
NYR Organic's products utilize a blend of hand-harvested frankincense from Kenya and Somalia, but it's most notably present in the cult-classic Frankincense Intense. This anti-aging cream uses the oil to target fine lines, while plant stem cells, peptides, and other essential oils hydrate the skin and boost collagen production. The frankincense in the product also gives it that unique, instantly recognizable fragrance — warm, earthy, and incredibly soothing.
According to NYR Organic, frankincense oil from the resin can be used on its own if it's diluted. It's suitable for all skin types, but because of its ability to firm and tone the skin, it's particularly great for those seeking a natural way to turn back the skin clock. To get the maximum benefits, it should be used twice a day. Or, you could do as the ancient Egyptians did and mix it with honey for a quick rejuvenating mask — because the only thing we love more than a good beauty DIY is one that's been used for thousands of years.
Neal's Yard Remedies Organic Frankincense Intense, $90, available at Neal's Yard Remedies Organic.

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