Ginseng Is the Next Buzzy Beauty Ingredient. Here’s How It Works

It can be hard to keep up with so many trending skin-care ingredients (collagenretinolmushrooms!). Allow us to add another one with to the list: ginseng. Maybe you’ve tried ginseng tea, or you've heard that ginseng extract will help your sniffles. But it turns out the ancient ingredient has some skin benefits, too. Here’s what you should know about ginseng for your skin.

What is ginseng? The knobby ingredient (it looks a lot like a pale carrot) is actually a root, and it’s been a popular energizer, anti-inflammatory and immune-booster in Asian traditional medicine for centuries. It takes a whopping six years to grow and harvest at peak potency. And because it’s rich in phytochemicals, it’s sometimes called “the original superfood.” 

And it’s good for my skin? The first beauty company to tap into ginseng’s skin benefits was Korean brand Sulwhasoo, and that was in the ’60s. Flash-forward to today and beauty brands (especially Korean ones) are still touting ginseng’s brightening, de-puffing and balancing properties (thanks to vitamins B1, B2, B5 and B12). If you’re concerned about fine lines, its antioxidant qualities help to protect skin from free radical damage. Because it’s energizing (like caffeine), it can combat dark circles, puffiness and dullness; its anti-inflammatory properties are also suitable for redness and sensitivity. And science backs it up: Recent studies have supported ginseng’s anti-aging and moisture-retaining properties.

Where can I find it? Luckily, the buzz around ginseng is only getting bigger, so it’s not hard to find in the skin-care aisle or add to your routine. Try the Naturopathica Beech Tree and Ginseng Daily Moisturizer for improved elasticity; the Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream for puffy under-eyes; or the the über-popular Pixi Glow Tonic, which features ginseng for brightening and improved circulation.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...