A Tiny Strand of Saffron, a Skin-Full of Benefits!
The easiest way to describe saffron is as the most exotic and expensive spice around the world. Used as a luxury by nobles, the value of saffron has remained exceptionally high through the centuries. And if you’re buying it despite its rareness, wouldn’t you want to make the most out of it? Saffron has more to it than simply adding color and flavor. This spice, known as Kesar in India, has several benefits for the hair and skin. It is a common ingredient in household remedies, and it is not without reason. So read along to find out the different ways you can use saffron for your health.
About the plant: The scientific name of the plant is Crocus sativus and it belongs to the iris family. The Ayurvedic spice is made out of the dried stigmas or stems of a flower. It is said to have originated in Greece, and now grows in several countries such as Iran, Spain, Turkey, France, and Italy. In India, saffron grows in Jammu and Kashmir.
The goodness of Saffron: Saffron is loaded with nutrients that help with its health benefits. It is rich in proteins, dietary fiber, and carotenoids (which have anti-cancer properties). It has Vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals such as iron, manganese, folic acid, potassium, and calcium. Saffron is also free of cholesterol, and the combination of all these essential nutrients improves your health significantly.
General uses: Traditionally, saffron is used in the culinary world to add a sweet, floral flavor, a bright warm color, and for its exotic fragrance. Apart from that, it is also used in herbal remedies to treat problems such as healing wounds, colds and coughs, skin issues, stomach problems, and back pain. In this article, we will focus on the benefits of Saffron for skin and hair.
Saffron Benefits for Skin
1. Fights Acne:
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, saffron is a perfect ingredient to reduce and prevent acne breakouts. It kills acne-causing bacteria, calming down red and sore pimples and reducing the chances of an infection. It gets rid of excess oil on the skin, which is the root cause of acne. Not only that, but it also works wonders on blemishes and acne scars, leaving your skin clean and clear.
2. Heals scars:
One of the lesser-known benefits of saffron is its ability to treat minor scars and scratches. It is a skin recovery agent, making the healing process faster by boosting the cell's recovery rate. It is rich in flavonoids and phenolic compounds which help heal wounds and lighten scars while forming a protective barrier on the skin.
3. Brightens skin:
Saffron is known to lighten the skin’s complexion by reducing its melanin content. A common skin concern is a dull and discolored skin due to damage caused by environmental factors such as dirt, pollution, and unfavorable weather. Saffron has the ability to get rid of all the residue from your skin, bringing it back to life and restoring its natural radiance.
4. Provides sun protection:
Saffron is a common ingredient in sunscreens and lotions. This is because it has a soothing and skin-lightening effect, which effectively fights against suntan. Antioxidants in saffron act as a barrier against UV radiation and reduce the effect of free radicals and oxidative stress. The anti-inflammatory properties reduced rashes, sunburns, and skin irritation, providing relief and protection at the same time.
5. Reduces signs of ageing
Oxidative stress can cause the skin to age faster and become saggy, but saffron prevents this from happening. It is an efficient anti-ageing ingredient that hydrates and nourishes the skin from within, making your skin look refreshed. Using it regularly as a paste can help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, pigmentation, and under-eye circles, giving you a soft, youthful glow.
Saffron Benefits for Scalp and Hair
1. Reduces hair loss:
If you are suffering from excessive hair loss, saffron is a traditional and all-natural remedy to treat this. Regularly massaging saffron oil into your scalp and roots of the hair can stimulate healthy hair growth. It makes your hair follicles stronger, preventing hair fall and making it a great aid in the treatment of alopecia (a condition where there is permanent hair loss or baldness).
2. Cleanses soothes the scalp:
Saffron oil nourishes the scalp, reducing the production of excess sebum. This keeps the scalp clean and moisturized, reducing dry, flaky skin. A healthy scalp and hair follicles mean stronger and shinier hair. Dandruff is usually caused due to an oily scalp. With the help of saffron, you can reduce dandruff and itchiness too, relieving your scalp from irritation.
3. Repairs damaged hair:
Our hair is often subject to various types of harmful environments every day. From chlorine in swimming pools to harsh and harmful cosmetic products- constant exposure makes our hair dry, rough, and brittle. Saffron can help undo all this damage by protecting and reviving the hair. It encourages cell regeneration and prevents breakage and split ends, giving you healthy and bouncy hair.
4. Suitable for all hair types:
One of the main advantages of using saffron oil is that it works wonders, regardless of your hair type. Frizzy, curly, straight, oily, dry, or brittle- you name it and saffron works on it. It helps the scalp as well as the hair, leaving you with shiny and luscious tresses.
Benefits of Saffron During pregnancy
- Regular massages using saffron oil can help by balancing blood pressure levels and improving blood circulation, which is especially important in pregnant women.
- Saffron oil massages also soothe the muscles and provide relief from soreness and swelling.
- It helps in fighting signs of ageing by reducing dark spots, fine lines, pigmentation, and wrinkles, giving your skin a radiant glow.
- Saffron can protect the skin from harsh and harmful external factors. It significantly reduces the damage caused by the sun, pollution, and chemical products.
Side Effects of Saffron
The topical use of saffron doesn’t have any significant side effects. However, there may be some cases of allergic reactions. It is best to do a patch test and wait 24 hours before applying it all over the skin. In case you experience any of the following reactions, discontinue use immediately.
- Redness and inflammation
During pregnancy and breastfeeding: The topical use of saffron is safe even for new and expectant mothers when used in moderate quantities.
How to Use Saffron
Saffron can be mixed with several other ingredients such as milk, turmeric, water, coconut oil, or sandalwood and applied topically. It can also be used as an ingredient in formulated products.
Saffron face mask: Mix saffron strands with milk or honey and apply it all over your face. Let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse with cold water. This, followed by a moisturizer, can help make skin lighter and brighter.
Saffron gel: Mix a few crushed strands of saffron with some rose water and aloe vera gel. Massage a small amount of this gel into your skin for a cooling treatment
Saffron oil: Saffron can be mixed with any kind of carrier oil such as almond oil to make a homemade skin and hair treatment. It can be used as a moisturizer and for massages.
Saffron skin toner: Crush a few strands of saffron and mix it in with rose water. Let it soak and infuse for 1-2 days before pouring it into a spray bottle to use as a skin toner.
1. Why is saffron so expensive?
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world because of how rare the flower is and because of its harvesting process. This spice is a labor-intensive crop that needs to be handpicked. With a tiny amount of saffron that comes from each flower, it takes approximately 75,000 flowers to get one pound of saffron.
2. How long can saffron be stored?
Saffron has a shelf life of approximately 4 years if stored properly. Once opened, it should be kept in a pantry, refrigerator, or a cool and dry place. It is best to use it as soon as possible for the highest quality.
3. How do you differentiate between pure and artificial saffron?
There are 3 aspects through which you can differentiate between real and fake saffron-
- Taste- Real saffron has a floral and earthy taste whereas fake saffron tastes bitter and metallic
- Scent- Pure saffron has a pleasant and rich aroma that replicates that of honey
- Colour- Face saffron uses artificial coloring to imitate the golden-red color of pure saffron. If the color immediately spreads in water, it is not pure saffron
Our ancestors were on the right track when they used saffron as a part of homemade remedies. It is known for its skin lightening properties, restoring your skin’s bright and radiant glow using all-natural ingredients. It reduces the appearance of acne and blemishes, giving you the clear skin that we all wish for.
Just like your skin, saffron can soothe your scalp too. By gently cleansing your scalp, saffron nourishes and hydrates your hair follicles and encourages the healthy growth of hair. With the hundreds of chemicals and pollutants that your hair fights against every day, repairing that damage is an important role of saffron oil.
For all the new moms out there, saffron fights against all the common skin concerns that you experience during pregnancy. To ensure the safety of you and your baby, there is nothing better than an all-natural gentle ingredient like saffron. So even though it is extremely rare and expensive, saffron lives up to its worth with its multiple health benefits. To give your skin and hair the love and care that they deserve, make sure to add saffron to your daily routine!