With summertime comes blooming flowers, lazy days, and sun-kissed glows, but it also brings erythema and dry skin. In addition to daily — and frequently reapplied — sunscreen, a good moisturizer can be a real life-saver. Nature’s Gate Hand Cream Rose ($13.98 for two, amazon.com) uses its vegan-friendly, paraben-free herbal lotion to deliver fast-acting and long-lasting moisture. This cream uses luscious rose hips, vivacious sunflower seed oil, cheery marigold, and many other herbal extract that studies have found can be beneficial for you skin. Nature’s Gate sent a sample over for me to test out, and I found it really made my skin feel soft and moisturized.
Rose Hips: Full of Vitamin C
Rose hips — the pseudo fruit of certain rose bushes — have a very luxurious, but are understudied for topical use. But a literature review from Phytotherapy Research spotlights a study by Shabykin and Godorazhi, that found that rose hips oil treated skin diseases such as eczema, trophic ulcers (large, painful ulcers on skin) and atopic dermatitis. I wasn’t able to find the original study, so I don’t know whether researchers used the same species, rose canina, as Nature’s Gate.
Though rose hips aren’t well studied, some of the compounds in them, such as vitamin C, have more research behind them. Studies have found that vitamin C (in the form of L-ascorbic acid) stimulates fibroblasts to increase collagen production, improving skin texture and firmness (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).
Vitamin C also protects against photodamage. In the form of L-absorbic acid, it can protect against both UVA and UVB rays by neutralizing instead of absorbing the reactive oxygen species (free radicals) that come from the sun’s rays, as well as soothing inflammation (Aesthetic Surgery Journal). When combined with vitamin E, which this cream has, Vitamin C ( L-abscorbic acid) was able to increase patients’ photoprotection by 400% (Journal of American Academy of Dermatology). Due to excessive sun exposure and inflammation, the skin can reach dangerously low levels of Vitamin C in the skin, which can lead to photoaging, collagen denegration, and a whole host of other problems. Fortunately, topical vitamin C is able to compensate for Vitamin C loss during sun exposure, ensuring healthy and happy skin (Journal of British Dermatology).
But aside from scavenging free radicals that can cause inflammation, DNA damage, cancer formation and photoaging, Vitamin C has one more important role: it inhibits UVB-induced eicosapentaeonic acid peroxidation (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid that humans typically get from foods in their diet like fish (Radiation Research Society). It’s been linked to reduced inflammation, inhibited keratinocyte proliferation, and treatment of psoriasis, along with several psychological and internal disorders (Archives of Dermatological Research).
Topical EPA has been shown to improve collagen and elastin proliferation and expression, which play a part in skin’s supple, firm appearance. It’s also been shown to reduce the effects of UV-induced matrix metalloproteinase 1 and 9, which degrade the skin’s natural lipids (Journal of Lipid Research). Essentially, vitamin C helps to keep the skin firm and smooth, protecting against oxidative damage and collagen degredation.
Clary Sage: It Might Smell like Flowers, But it Keeps Pests Away
Clary sage is a small lilac-colored plant that vaguely resembles lupins or snapdragon flowers. It isn’t renowned for its efficacy as a topical treatment, but it does have a few benefits. One in particular is especially handy for the summer months: It repels mosquitos.
In one study, clary sage was able to repel mosquitos for anywhere between 36-64.2 minutes, depending on the dosages and species of mosquito (Parasitology Research). When used in 20% concentration clary sage was 45.9% effective against A. aegypti mosquitoes, when used for 120 minutes; 100% effective for 480 minutes when used against C. quinquefasciatus; and 19%for 300 minutes against A. stephensi mosquitoes (Amer and Mehlhorn – Parasitology Research). So while you may smell like a bouquet of flowers, Nature’s Gate Rose Lotion might help keep the bugs at bay.
Marigold: Would Healing Properties + Antibacterial Capabilities is Good for Healing
The marigold flower has a very pungent scent to it, and its use as a topical agent packs a very beneficial punch. One study reported that marigold significantly boosted collagen production and levels in the skin after just three weeks of topical application. However, these effects were at their best when using a 7% marigold gel – extracts in lower or higher concentration did not yield as many positive benefits (Comparative Clinical Pathology).
An in vitro study of marigold extract found that it had an SPF 14.86 against UVB rays, though this SPF does not apply to the more harmful UVA rays. Moreover, this study analyzed skin in vitro (away from living organisms), so its efficacy on actual skin still needs better research (Journal of Young Pharmacists).
While marigold extract isn’t a likely pick for combatting bacteria, it has been proven to be an effective antibacterial agent, especially against diseases like staphylococcus aureus and e.coli. The American Academy of Dermatology postulates that marigold and other antibacterial extracts may be useful in treating, or at least improving, conditions like psoriasis, though bacteria’s role in psoarisis is still not well understood (International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products).
For large skin wounds and lesions, marigold promotes healing and general health inducing angiogenesis, or blood vessel proliferation. Increased blood vessels means more blood flows throughout the body, and more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the skin (Acta Cirurgica Brasilera). Topically applying marigold extract also significantly relieved infants of diaper dermatitis, which entails inflammation, erythema, pustules and, oftentimes, bacterial infection (Scientific World Journal), though this benefit can likely be extended to mild cases of rash and inflammation in adults
Sunflower Seed Oil: A Bright Ingredient that Helps Improve Barrier Function
Sunflowers just embody the spirit of summer — vivacious, bold, and whimsical — so it only makes sense to have sunflower seed oil in your summertime beauty routine. For example, sunflower seed oil forms a barrier over the skin, which is able to protect and moisturize the skin, as well as fortify our skin’s natural defenses (Pediatric Journal of Infectious Diseases).
Even better, when used on exceptionally delicate skin (such as sickly infant skin), sunflower helps improve barrier function. This thin, viscous layer also is good for keeping bacteria from entering the skin, especially on delicate infant skin (Pediatric Journal of Infectious Diseases). Sunflower seed oil also is good for healing scaly, dry patches on the skin, such as that in eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis (Journal of Investigative Dermatology). It has also been show to promote fibroblast proliferation and reduce inflammation for wound healing (Acta Cirurgica Brasilera).
Personal Use and Opinion
Nature’s Gate Hand Cream Rose is a great lotion for the summer for three reasons: it is lightweight, has a warm summery scent, and its exceptionally hydrating. This cream is just the right consistency, not too thick but not too thin, so you won’t find yourself with an annoying oily residue on your hands. After using it for just one day, I found that it already seemed to improve my skin without constant reapplication. And it was so great that I decided to use it on my legs and upper arms for moisture.
Finally, the scent was strong enough that you tell that you were wearing a rose lotion, but not so over powerful that it could cover any perfumes or scented products that you might wear. But if you wear this, the scent is pretty long-lasting.
Nature’s Gate Hand Cream Rose is a vegan-friendly, as well as paraben and animal testing-free cosmetic companies that mixes awesome herbal ingredients for super moisturizing lotions. Specifically, this lotion’s rose hip extract is full of vitamin C, that helps protect skin from UV damage and collagen degradation; sunflower seed oil moisturizes the skin while forming a protective, semipermeable layer that nourishes and fortifies the skin barrier; clary can repel mosquitoes and some acne-causing bacteria; and marigold treats a plethora of issues, such as wound healing and bacterial infection. Nature’s Gate Hand Cream Rose was very lightweight but ultra-moisturizing, and is definitely a great product for a summer moisturizing cream.