Saw Palmetto for Skin
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Saw palmetto has gained noticeable popularity over recent years due to a range of varying health and beauty benefits. The use of saw palmetto for skin has also been increasingly popular for a couple of years. But does it really work? Does it suit everyone? Let’s explore together.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the benefits of saw palmetto for skin according to scientific studies. But before we get into how saw palmetto can benefit the skin and its related conditions, it’s worth knowing exactly what it is and what it actually does in the body. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is saw palmetto?
- What does saw palmetto do in the body?
- The link between testosterone levels and skin health
- Benefits of saw palmetto for skin
- How to use saw palmetto
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is saw palmetto?
Saw palmetto or otherwise scientifically known as Serenoa repens is a small shrub-like palm plant that has thorn-shaped sharp leaves and grows in the sandy soil of the subtropical regions of Southeast America usually as undergrowth of hardwood hammocks and pinewoods along the Gulf and South Atlantic coastal plains.
It has dark berries which have long been used in medicine and nutritional purposes by Native Americans. Still today, these berries are used to make saw palmetto extract which is widely used in dietary supplements for various health and beauty purposes.
What does saw palmetto do in the body?
Saw palmetto contains liposterols, a type of fatty acid, which has been shown to have the capacity to inhibit the action of 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that plays a key role in converting testosterone into its more potent form dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
High DHT levels have been linked to various health conditions such as symptoms of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), hirsutism (excess hair in the body), various skin conditions like oily skin and acne breakouts, as well as male and female pattern hair loss.
(Also read - Saw Palmetto for Hair Loss)
The link between testosterone levels and skin health
Though we cannot directly connect testosterone levels to skin health, they are indeed closely linked to each other. The levels of testosterone may hugely affect the overall condition of the skin and its appearance in both men as well as women.
A number of skin factors are impacted by testosterone levels, including the following:
- Production of sebum or skin oil
- Pore size
- Skin lesions and blemishes
- Skin thickness
- Skin texture
- Skin cell turnover
- Skin barrier function
- Skin sensitivity
- Skin inflammation
Benefits of saw palmetto for skin
Testosterone and its many times more potent form DHT may contribute to several skin conditions ranging from excess sebum production to acne breakouts to skin inflammation. Saw palmetto has been shown to have beneficial effects on the skin in many different ways.
Here are some of the most common ways how saw palmetto can benefit the skin and its appearance:
Saw palmetto helps regulate sebum production and reduces acne and its symptoms
Excess testosterone and DHT levels have been found to stimulate sebum production in the skin, which may lead to too oily skin, clog up pores, and in turn, acne breakouts. Saw palmetto can help keep testosterone and DHT levels in check and reduce acne and associated symptoms.
A 2017 review in the Indian Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that saw palmetto extract can lower DHT levels as well as the production of sebum and it might be used in acne therapy.
Saw palmetto helps nourish the skin
Saw palmetto contains a number of essential fatty acids such as linoleate, laurate, palmitate, and stearate, all of which are supposed to be essential for keeping the skin nourished and protected against various signs of aging including sun damage.
Saw palmetto may help lower skin inflammation
Saw palmetto has been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory effects which is why it is widely used to treat various inflammatory conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This anti-inflammatory action of saw palmetto can hugely help with preventing and treating inflamed skin symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pain.
Saw palmetto may support natural skin cell growth
Saw palmetto contains various antioxidants such as hydroxybenzoic acid, methyl gallate, and epicatechin, all of which play a vital part in protecting against oxidative stress and maintaining natural skin health and appearance.
How to use saw palmetto
Saw palmetto can be used topically directly on the skin as creams, lotions, and gels containing saw palmetto extract or can be taken orally as dietary supplements in various forms such as capsules, tablets, teas, or liquid extracts. Most clinicians recommend oral use along with external uses to get the benefits of saw palmetto for skin from the inside out.
In general, a dose of 320 mg per day is often recommended. But it's always best to ask a qualified natural medicine healthcare provider or nutritionist to determine the exact doses.
Precautions and side effects
Saw palmetto is generally considered safe and well-tolerated in most people when taken as prescribed. Some people may experience mild side effects such as headache, constipation, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, but these are not common.
Besides, since saw palmetto affects the hormone system and its entire function throughout the body, special precaution is required when you are on hormonal changes such as pregnancy and breastfeeding or hormone-based medications like contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.
Furthermore, it can also affect the ways other medications work such as blood thinners. Therefore, before using saw palmetto for skin and its related conditions, it’s important to consult with a licensed naturopathic doctor or healthcare provider, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or on medications.
Saw palmetto plays an essential role in regulating testosterone levels and inhibiting them from being converted to DHT, and therefore, can hugely help in preventing and managing skin symptoms associated with high testosterone and DHT levels, such as acne breakouts, inflammation, and oily skin.
Though the use of saw palmetto for skin is considered easily tolerable for most people, it’s always best to consider asking a licensed naturopathic doctor since it affects the hormone system and entire bodily functions.
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