In today’s skincare world, it can be difficult to decipher which products really work. While new formulas are abounding, the secret to perfect skin may be held in a plant people have used for hundreds of years.  Yes, that’s right. The solution to your skincare needs isn’t necessarily “new” after all. A prime example of a plant that’s been used by Koreans for generations is mugwort.

Mug-what?

Mugwort is a weed that’s been historically used by people all over the world. People in Medieval Europe believed mugwort would protect them from evil spirits. Mugwort users in China used the herb to season foods, as well as pulverize it for therapeutic, acupuncture effects. In Germany, mugwort is specifically used to season goose served for Christmas dinner.

In Korea, mugwort is known as ssuk (쑥). The herb is used in different foods such as soups, tea, rice cakes, and even pancakes. Similar to Chinese medicine, mugwort is also used in traditional Korean medicine called moxibustion. With this technique, heat is applied to the body via a stick of burning mugwort. The stick is then placed over pressure points in the body to stimulate and strengthen the blood. Although there’s limited clinical evidence backing up the moxibustion practice, the history of mugwort in this capacity is fascinating nonetheless.

While mugwort has an array of uses, Koreans have been using the weed for another particular purpose for a very long time: skincare.

More than just a weed

Mugwort has a very high concentration of Vitamin C, making it a great addition to any skincare routine. Vitamin C naturally boosts collagen production in the skin. Increased collagen production makes skin more plump and smooth, and in turn, smooths out fine lines and wrinkles. Mugwort is also rich in Vitamin E, another great compound for the skin. Vitamin E is great at locking in moisture for skin types that are prone to overdrying. In addition, both Vitamin C and Vitamin E contain antioxidant properties that fight free radicals and prevent damage caused by UV radiation. Hello, younger looking skin!

Beyond these helpful vitamins, mugwort also acts as a topical anti-inflammatory. By soothing the skin, mugwort can help relieve those suffering from eczema and psoriasis. Mugwort can also kill bacteria, which is critical in keeping skin acne-free. Because mugwort acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory at the same time, it can be very helpful in reducing redness or swelling in the face, as well as cystic acne.

How to use this healing herb

Now, you’re probably wondering how to use mugwort to look younger, reduce acne, brighten your skin, and more. Here’s how. Mugwort skincare products can be used as part of a daily routine or every once in a while to give your skin a needed pick me up. Mugwort is an active ingredient in cleansers, toners, and daily oils. You can even find facial masks with mugwort on the ingredient list.

The easiest way to slowly incorporate mugwort into your skin routine is by using mugwort sheet masks. In particular, these masks are super budget friendly. With as little of an investment as $10, you can order 5 sheet masks and see how your skin responds to mugwort without making too much of a commitment.

What if you’ve tried mugwort, and you’re ready to go all-in? Give this oil a try. It’s made from 100% pure mugwort, so you won’t have to worry about any fillers in this oil. As a general skincare tip, remember to also utilize a nice exfoliant in your routine to help your skin really absorb all the amazing benefits of the mugwort oil.