The use of preparations based on Calendula officinalis, for topical application, is widespread, both in dermatology and cosmetics, particularly for its anti-inflammatory activity. Although the effectiveness of calendula has been demonstrated by some scientific studies, what about its safety? Does calendula present a risk of toxicity after skin application? Let's explore together the safety of using calendula oil extract.
Are there any contraindications to using calendula?
- Calendula: what are the functions of this plant material in cosmetics?
- Are there risks associated with the topical use of calendula?
Calendula: what are the functions of this plant material in cosmetics?
The calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a small plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. Its yellow/orange flowers are used in the formulation of certain cosmetic products. Considered a universal natural remedy for the skin, it is particularly suitable for people suffering from dry, delicate skin or who blush easily. Although there are not many scientific studies on the benefits of calendula, there are, however, many anecdotal and potential benefits.
Reducing skin inflammation: Applying calendula oil to the skin could help to soothe redness and inflammation, as well as alleviate feelings of skin discomfort. This is why calendula is a popular treatment and potentially beneficial for people suffering from inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema and nappy rash.
Treating minor injuries: Recent studies have shown that the use of a calendula ointment can speed up the healing of wounds in animals. It has even been used in another study among women who have undergone a caesarean section. Thus, calendula would promote healing and prevent wound infection, attributed to an antimicrobial effect. Other topical uses also include the treatment of first-degree burns, insect bites, small cuts, skin ulcers, etc.
Slowing down the appearance of skin ageing signs: Studies also show that calendula could potentially increase collagen production, but it has not been extensively studied in humans. Incorporating this oil into your skincare routine would also enhance skin hydration, making it more supple and preventing premature ageing.
Protecting the skin from harmful free radicals: Calendula oil contains a high content of antioxidants (flavonoids, carotenoids, etc.) that can help neutralise free radicals, thereby protecting cells from damage and inflammation. Consequently, calendula may help to reduce the dull appearance of the skin, fine lines and wrinkles.
Are there risks associated with the topical use of calendula?
Although calendula is a natural ingredient, this does not mean it is entirely free from side effects on the skin. A suitable option for all skin types, calendula oil extract is generally considered safe for most people for topical use, even in baby care products. However, some individuals may experience some irritation. If you notice redness, swelling, or itching after using products containing calendula, stop using them and wash the affected area with water and soap.
Subject to no regulation, there is no fixed dosage for calendula as therapeutic claims regarding calendula have not been approved. Furthermore, there are not enough studies to guarantee the safety of calendula during pregnancy and breastfeeding. As a precaution, it is advisable to seek your doctor's opinion before starting topical use of calendula.
However, calendula could cause contact dermatitis in people allergic to plants from the Asteraceae family, just like ragweed, chrysanthemums, daisies, sunflowers and other related plants. Therefore, if you suffer from allergies, we advise you to consult your doctor before considering the topical use of calendula.
To ensure that you are not allergic to calendula oil, make sure to carry out a skin test. To do this, apply a small amount of the product to a small area of skin, such as the inside of the wrist, behind the ear or the inside of the elbow, and wait between 24 to 48 hours. If you notice or feel irritation in this area after this period of time, stop using the product.
NOHYNEK G. & al. Application of the threshold of toxicological concern approach for the safety evaluation of calendula flower (Calendula officinalis) petals and extracts used in cosmetic and personal care products. Food and Chemical Toxicology (2009).
SNYDER P. W. & al. Final report of the cosmetic ingredient review expert panel amended safety assessment of Calendula officinalis-derived cosmetic ingredients. International Journal of Toxicology (2010).
European Medicines Agency: Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Final assessment report on Calendula officinalis L., flos. (2018).