Trends, Wellness / Self-Care

Milk thistle is trending for Acne-prone Skin

More powerful than Vitamin E.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jul 16, 2022

If you deal with acne-prone or oily skin, there’s a chance you have probably heard about retinol and prescription retinoids that will fight breakouts. Most likely, you’ve also heard about salicylic acid, which de-clogs pores and decreases oil production. But if you are looking to bump up your skin’s protection layer against free radicals (which clogs pores and creates breakouts) and stop greasiness, milk thistle is the ingredient you need to know about.


What is milk thistle?

Known in the medical world as silybum marianuum, milk thistle has been used for centuries in plant medicine for liver diseases and hangovers. The seed extract from the flowering herb has numerous complexion benefits when moisturized into the skin. Milk thistle is packed with silymarian, a flavonoid found in the seeds of milk thistle that have a mixture of pharmacologically active components that are soluble in water.


Cool, what are the benefits?

Silymarian makes milk thistle a powerful antioxidant that is even more potent than Vitamin E. As an antioxidant, it protects against collagen and elastin breaking down (the proteins responsible for tight skin) and improves circulation in the skin at the cellular level. Not only is it an antioxidant, but it also helps with inflammation by calming breakouts and controlling oil production. It directly impacts the oil glands ability to drive sebum production (a major win).


The ingredient acts as a barrier in protecting the skin from free radicals and pollutants. It can help protect against UV rays, which are responsible for sun damage on the skin. In addition, it has been shown to have anti-aging properties too. Lastly, milk thistle is non-comedogenic (without scent) and won’t clog your pores — a main reason for breakouts and cystic acne.


It’s especially great for those looking to rid themselves of sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles, and dull texture. And of course, because of its oil-controlling power, it’s even more ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.


How do I use milk thistle?

Most experts recommend using milk thistle up to 2 times a day, in the morning and evening, for maximum results.


When applied in the morning, the product will mitigate the damages it encounters throughout the day. At night, it takes care of additional damage. You can find milk thistle in face masks, moisturizers and serums. Additionally, you can find them in capsules. But since silymarian has large molecules, it doesn’t easily penetrate the skin.


If you’re still having trouble with acne, give safflower oil a try as well.


Photo via Shutterstock