6 Benefits Willow Bark Extract Can Have On Your Skin

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One of the best compliments we can imagine is an enthusiastic, "What's your skincare routine?" Receiving praise and appreciation for your glowing, blemish-free skin is a serious confidence booster, especially when you spend nearly an hour in front of the mirror each morning tackling your 15-step routine. Skincare regimens are as unique as snowflake patterns – everyone's routine is different because of the wide range of potential needs your skin may have.

Most commonly, people on the hunt for their perfect routine are looking to tackle their acne flare ups, reduce signs of aging, and combat dryness or excess oils. While not every skincare routine works for every person, there are a few crucial steps that most everyone should implement in their morning and nighttime routine. Skincare experts have found that the most basic three steps to achieving clean and clear skin are cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. But if you're looking to balance out the redness in your skin or lighten dark circles that may have emerged over time, adding serums and extracts can provide some serious relief.

Before you start searching the web and scrolling your FYP for recommended extracts to add to your skincare routine, consider products containing willow bark extract: Found in the bark of a willow tree, this gentle extract does wonders for your skin and is a natural alternative to the viral salicylic acid trend used for toning and brightening skin.

This fancy extract will keep your skin feeling clean and calm

Lately, people have been singing the praises of willow bark extract for its ability to exfoliate without irritation and reduce redness in the skin. But the many wonders of willow bark are not a new discovery — according to a report published by Mount-Sinai, people have been using willow bark to treat ailments since 400 B.C. Early civilizations found that chewing on the bark of a willow tree "reduce[d] fever and inflammation." Luckily, science has come a long way, and you no longer need to chew on a tree trunk to enjoy the benefits of willow bark.

The chemical salicin found in willow bark extract has been compared to aspirin in its effectiveness at treating headaches and muscle aches; it has also been found to reduce topical inflammation and redness thanks to those same anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The similarities in these chemical compounds may be what lead to the viral "aspirin facial" trend for treating acne that emerged earlier this year (spoiler alert: aspirin and skincare definitely do not mix).

If you're looking to gently exfoliate and reduce your skin's redness with willow bark extract, we recommend cleansing and toning products with the extract present on the front of the label, such as Andalou Naturals Willow Bark Pure Pore Toner.

With willow bark, say goodbye to excess shine

For those with oily skin, investing in new skincare products can be a dangerous game. All too often, products that promise to combat excess oils and shine end up merely adding another layer of shine to the surface of our skin, or achieving the complete opposite effect and drying skin out. Finding a product that can handle your skin's oils without drying you out in the process is no easy task – luckily, willow bark extract does just that.

Cosmetic chemist David Petrillo shared his skincare secrets with Byrdie, revealing that willow bark extract reduces oils and minimizes pores, preventing massive breakouts and heavy shine. Willow bark is full of tannins, a compound commonly found in bark and wood. When applied to the skin, tannins create a tightening effect that shrinks your pores and helps combat oiliness. Funnily enough, you may have heard the word "tannins" thrown around before if you are a wine enthusiast. Tannins are responsible for the bitterness in wine and contribute to what some would call the "mouth feel" when you drink it. But back to skincare! To utilize those tannins when combating oily skin and blemishes, consider a deep pore treatment with willow bark extract, like the peach and willow bark scrub from Burt's Bees.

Use willow bark extract to prevent those dreaded frown lines

While we can all agree that feeling the effects of aging is merely a sign of becoming older and wiser, there are certain things you can do to prevent your age from showing on your skin too early. If you feel like you're constantly noticing a new frown line on your skin each time you brave a look into that magnifying mirror, try reaching for products with the wondrous effects of willow bark extract.

From getting older to spending a little too much time in the sun without proper protection, wrinkles can emerge fairly easily on your skin. Luckily, willow bark extract is high in antioxidants that tackle damage done to the skin. Per Byrdie, skincare expert David Petrillo shared that willow bark extract can help to diminish signs of wrinkles and age. While products with willow bark extract may not completely remove the decades of smiles and fun in the sun you've experienced, it will definitely provide anti-aging benefits that will keep you feeling clear and confident. The extract's ability to retain moisture on the skin is another added benefit that will further contribute to smooth and bright skin. For those who are prone to skin irritants such as eczema and psoriasis, moisturizing products with willow bark extract can provide much needed relief when combating flare ups.

Willow bark extract is a great natural alternative to salicylic acid

When it comes to skincare, the more natural the product, the better. Willow bark extract is a gentle alternative to the popular skincare ingredient salicylic acid. Dermatologist Naissan O. Wesley, M.D. told Allure that this popular skincare step has been known to "[dissolve] skin debris that clogs pores, [act] as an anti-inflammatory, and also [help] red, inflamed pimples and pustules go away." While salicylic acid does actually derive from willow bark, it can be harsh and damaging on certain skin types in acid form. For those with dry skin who are prone to irritation, salicylic acid can leave skin feeling flaky, itchy, or cause further breakouts. 

If you find yourself experiencing irritated skin while using products with salicylic acid, try switching to willow bark extract. According to TikTok creator and dermatologist Dr. Claire Wolinsky, skincare products with willow bark are also a much safer alternative to salicylic acid for pregnant people looking to minimize pores and treat all that hormonal acne that can sprout while you are growing your little one.

To avoid further irritation to the skin, some experts warn against combining products with willow bark extract and retinols or other extracts such as vitamin C. This is where the practice of skin cycling or a varied daytime and nighttime routine would be beneficial, to ensure that you do not layer opposing acids and ingredients.

Find willow bark extract in these TikTok-approved products

You're bound to find your next skin goals while scrolling through social media. Behind the many filters and fillers, there are still plenty of beauty influencers who use their platform to inform and encourage people who are searching for their ultimate skincare routine. It has become commonplace to find a "drop your skincare routine" in the comments of a creator with glowing skin. Willow bark extract is a favorite amongst creators and experts alike, all of whom have taken to TikTok to share their favorite products containing this gentle and natural ingredient.

The TikTok-verified creator and dermatologist @dermdoctor shared his favorite products that feature willow bark extract. He claims that his love for salicylic acid runs deep, but admits that the tree extract is a "gentler alternative" for those looking for clear, bright skin. He recommends the Smooth Booster Willow Bark Exfoliating Serum from Beekman 1802. You can use the serum alone on clean, dry skin, or combine it with a moisturizer for even more hydrating benefits.

Another creator on the clock app, @madieslife_, showed off her clear, acne-free skin thanks to the Versed Just Breathe clarifying serum. The product features willow bark extract and zinc to tackle breakouts with ease without irritating your skin barrier. The TikToker highly recommends it for day and night use. In her words, "I think it's just really great!" We couldn't have said it better ourselves!