Extract for which there is 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 (also known as milk 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).