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Does Chlorophyll Benefit Your Skin?

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Summary Article:

  • Find out why chlorophyll is unique among skincare products
  • See 5 amazing benefits of chlorophyll for your skin
  • Discover natural ways you can easily add chlorophyll to your diet
  • Learn ways to get the most out of dietary chlorophyll or favorite chlorophyll supplement

Among skincare products, chlorophyll is unique. You can improve the appearance and health of your skin by eating it. Yes, you can find topical ointments and lotions with chlorophyll, but it delivers benefits both directly to the skin and from the inside out.

In this article, we will answer the question: What is chlorophyll? Then, we will explain the question, “Is chlorophyll good for your skin?” and review natural sources of chlorophyll and how you can get the most out of the chlorophyll you take.

What is chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll may be the most fantastic molecule on earth. Found in green plants, algae, and cyanobacteria, it captures the energy in sunlight and uses it to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars. Chlorophyll gives plants their green color as it produces energy.

For people, chlorophyll offers a remarkable number of health benefits.

You can consume chlorophyll for its antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, in its natural state, chlorophyll is an excellent source of magnesium. The chlorophyll molecule itself shares a lot of similarities with hemoglobin, the molecule in our blood cells that carry oxygen. The difference? Instead of iron at the center, chlorophyll has magnesium.

Many health benefits have been attributed to chlorophyll. You might have seen that chlorophyll supports the immune system, helps to detox the body, and acts as an energy booster. While anyone of these makes it worth adding to your daily routine, the benefit you can see – and enjoy best – may be the way it nourishes, supports, and protects the health and look of your skin.

Skin Benefits of Chlorophyll

When you look at leaves on trees and plants, your first thought probably isn’t, ‘That looks like a great skin conditioner.’ Yet, for nearly 80 years, researchers have explored the benefits of chlorophyll for skin health.

Today, studies indicate chlorophyll offers holistic support for skin health. How does it benefit your skin? Here are 5 ways researchers have found it helps.

Smooths fine lines and wrinkles

Women ages 45+ who took chlorophyll extract for 90 days showed improved skin elasticity and smoother, firmer skin. Researchers noted an increase in collagen production and that the women’s skin appeared to resist the effects of UV damage.

While this might be enough to encourage the use of chlorophyll to protect, strengthen, and promote younger-looking skin, this wasn’t all that the study uncovered. Researchers noted skin appearance and health improved in both the low-dose and high-dose groups. It appears you may not need a lot to see results.

Some researchers have attributed this effect to chlorophyll’s antioxidant properties.

Improves acne

There are a lot of medications for acne, though some have side effects. Chlorophyll appears to offer a natural alternative.

Researchers using a topical application saw cases of mild to moderate acne improve within three weeks of use. In another small study, “significant reductions in acne lesion counts, acne severity levels, and sebum levels” were observed.

Although these studies used topical chlorophyll applications, taking it orally may also help. Studies report many cases of acne are related to inflammation caused by the Western diet high in carbs, milk and dairy, and saturated fats.Chlorophyll’s antioxidant properties could help the body regulate inflammation and lessen the impact of the Western diet on your skin.

Helps control body odor

A few small studies indicate chlorophyll improves body odor. In the researches, people took chlorophyll tablets. As a bonus, the study participants also found it reduced gas and constipation.

Many people today continue to swear by chlorophyll for control and management of body odor.

Promotes wound healing

Scientists in the 1940s and 50s studied chlorophyll as a potential wound healing agent. They also suggested it prevents infection during healing.

More recently, in 2008, a review of studies from 1967 – 2007 noted chlorophyll as part of a skin therapy, supports and promotes wound healing.

Improves the look and tone of your skin

Regular exposure to sunlight, especially with age, weakens the skin’s natural healing properties. In time, skin can discolor with age spots appearing.

Women who used topical chlorophyll have seen improvement in the brightness and tone of their skin in as little as eight weeks.

What are some natural sources of chlorophyll?

Based on the research so far as well as popular use, chlorophyll ingested or applied topically supports the health and appearance of your skin.

Fortunately, you can easily add chlorophyll to your diet.

The best natural sources of chlorophyll are green leafy plants. The ones with the greatest amount of chlorophyll include:

  • Wheatgrass
  • Parsley
  • Alfalfa
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
  • Mustard and collard greens
  • Blue-green algae like Spirulina and AFA
  • Green algae including Chlorella

Other natural foods you can eat are broccoli, green beans, and asparagus. These, however, don’t have as much as the leafy greens, which you can tell by the lighter color interiors. 

Eating these as raw, fresh foods provides the best nature can provide.

How to get the most out of chlorophyll

The best way to get chlorophyll is freshly picked spinach, parsley, wheatgrass, or any of its other natural sources right from your garden. As chlorophyll is fat-soluble, you may want to add a little olive oil to aid digestion.

You can also find chlorophyll supplements available in powders, capsules, tablets, or juices. Liquid chlorophyll is also popular, especially for skin health. The only downside some people have with liquid chlorophyll is the taste.

High-quality, organic algae supplements like Algae Infused also offer a way to get chlorophyll naturally.

For the skin, you can also find chlorophyll as ointments, sprays, and even in the form of algae face “masks” you apply to moisturize and nourish your skin. 

If you do plan to supplement with chlorophyll, the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University says the average dose is anywhere from 100mg to 300 mg taken daily.[i]

With chlorophyll supplements and powders, you should look closely at the label. You may see the ingredient is chlorophyllin. This form used in supplements replaces the magnesium in the center with copper. This makes it a more stable form of chlorophyll for use in supplements. 

As a rule, natural sources are better. Chlorophyll isolates lose their potency fast. Whole food sources – the natural sources – provide the highest value and nutrition; the reason you’re adding chlorophyll to your diet in the first place, right?

This is why many people turn to wholefood ingredients like blue-green or green algae like Spirulina, AFA, and Chlorella, or natural sources such as seaweed, wheatgrass, alfalfa, and spinach. Natural sources are an excellent source of chlorophyll and, like whole foods, they are safe.

Now, the majority of studies report few or no side effects from taking chlorophyll to keep your skin healthy and looking good. But, as is always the case, you should consult with your doctor if you have questions about taking chlorophyll, especially if you take medications, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

[1] http://www.eksid.com/online/pdf/13-4-111.pdf

[1] Cho S. The Role of Functional Foods in Cutaneous Anti-aging. J Lifestyle Med. 2014;4(1):8–16. doi:10.15280/jlm.2014.4.1.8

[1] Thomas J. Stephens PhD, John P. McCook BS, and James H. Herndon Jr. MD. Pilot Study of Topical Copper Chlorophyllin Complex in Subjects With Facial Acne and Large Pores. June 2015, Volume 14, Issue 6, June 2015.

[1] Song, Byong Han et al. Photodynamic therapy using chlorophyll-a in the treatment of acne vulgaris: A randomized, single-blind, split-face study. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 71, Issue 4, 764 – 771.

[1] Melnik BC. Linking diet to acne metabolomics, inflammation, and comedogenesis: an update. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015;8:371–388. Published 2015 Jul 15. doi:10.2147/CCID.S69135

[1] Young RW, Beregi JS Jr. Use of chlorophyllin in the care of geriatric patients. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1980 Jan;28(1):46-7.

[1] Smith RG1. Enzymatic debriding agents: an evaluation of the medical literature. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2008 Aug;54(8):16-34.

[1] Sigler ML, Stephens TJ. Assessment of the safety and efficacy of topical copper chlorophyllin in women with photodamaged facial skin. J Drugs Dermatol. 2015 Apr;14(4):401-4.

[1] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/chlorophyll-chlorophyllin#supplements

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