When you say bamboo, I think of cute pandas lazily munching on this green plant up in the Chinese mountains. So cute!
But bamboo isn’t just food for pandas. If you’re into Korean skincare, you’ve noticed it found its way into a truckload of products.
Bamboo water has pretty much replaced boring old water in Korea. Bamboo extract is everywhere. Every part of the plant is used (the Korean don’t waste anything).
But what made bamboo so popular all of a sudden? Is this just a temporary fad or is there a good reason to look for bamboo in our potions and lotions?
Let’s see what the science says:
Bamboo has antioxidant properties
Hardly a surprise there. Pretty much any plant has antioxidant properties, so why should bamboo have been the odd one out?
When you put bamboo on the skin, it goes to find and fight the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles.
Problem is, it doesn’t do this all that well.
Yes, it has antioxidant properties, but they’re not that strong. It doesn’t even compare to green tea in this department.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying bamboo is a crappy antioxidant and you shouldn’t use it. I’m just saying don’t use it alone. When it comes to antioxidants, the more the merrier.
Bamboo has healing properties
If you cut your skin and put bamboo on it, it’ll heal faster.
The Chinese have known it for centuries (they’ve always used it to make infections heal faster), but now science has confirmed it too.
Who said that natural medicine is all bogus? Sometimes, it can help too.
What Else Can Bamboo Do?
Glad you asked.
While I was doing my research, I stumbled on this 2011 study on bamboo extract in skincare. Apparently, bamboo is quite the multitasker:
- It has excellent moisturing properties
- It has some good sun screening abilities (good enough to enhance your sunscreen, not good enough to replace it!)
- It can reduce melanin production, helping dark spots fade away.
Impressive, isn’t it?
Of course, there must be enough bamboo extract in the cream (or whatever) to get the job done. Just a sprinkle won’t do.
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Bamboo?
Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System ($35.00)
This hydrating mist is formulated with bamboo sap, Korean skincare’s new darling. There’s also plenty of ginseng, another antioxidant used in plenty of Korean skincare products (I’ll tell you all about it another time). Basically, it deeply hydrates the skin and has some anti-aging properties too. Available at Sephora.
Eminence Bamboo Firming Fluid ($58.00)
This anti-aging serum is packed with antioxidants, including vitamins A and C, to boost the production of collagen and fight free radicals. It’s also one of the few serums that uses a generous dose of bamboo extract. A great introduction to bamboo. Available at Dermstore.
Paula’s Choice Resist Firming Line Minimizer ($50.00)
This is a serum that targets the fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. You know, those stubbornest areas. It has niacinamide to fight wrinkles and dark spots, sodium hyaluronate to hydrate skin and, of course, bamboo extract to fight free radicals. Bamboo extract is just one of the many antioxidants here. But that’s good. The more antioxidants you use, the better your skin will look. Available at Paula’s Choice.
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it. There are plenty of good reasons why Korean skincare is obsessed with bamboo. It hydrates skin, fights wrinkles and even speeds up healing. Let’s hope the West catches up and starts using it more too (those Korean skincare products are so hard to come by!).
Have you ever tried bamboo in your skincare or is this something you’d rather leave to pandas?