Also known as milk thistle, this extract has a great deal of research showing it has many medical health applications when taken orally, owing to the anti-inflammatory, cell-communicating, and antioxidant effects of its main chemical seed constituent, silymarin. Although the bulk of research for lady’s thistle concerns oral administration, emerging research indicates it has skin-care applications, too.
For example, silymarin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits help prevent sun damage and may help boost the protective qualities of sunscreen actives. Silymarin and its major constituent, silibinin are also showing promise as anti-cancer agents to help prevent skin cancer, among other cancers. It does not contain irritating components and is one of many antioxidants to look for when shopping for skin-care products, particularly sunscreens (Sources: International Journal of Oncology, May 2010, pages 1,053–1,060; Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, March 2010, pages 189–195; Clinics in Dermatology, September-October 2009, pages 479–484; Photochemistry and Photobiology, March-April 2008, pages 266–271; and www.naturaldatabase.com).