Mugwort in Kbeauty
강화도 약쑥 - GANGHWA ISLAND YAKSSUK
While there may not be much scientific research on Mugwort, it has long been used in Korea throughout history for its healing and soothing properites. In this blog we are happy to introduce AXIS-Y’s favorite type of Mugwort: 강화도 약쑥 (gang-hwa-do yak-sukk)
Before we dive in to learn about Korean Mugwort, specifically 강화도 약쑥, you need to know that there is not only one type of Mugwort, but many species of Mugwort including:
Artemisia argyi – Chinese Mugwort
Artemisia douglasiana – Douglas Mugwort or California Mugwort
Artemisia glacialis – Alpine Mugwort
Artemisia indica – Oriental Mugwort
Artemisia japonica – Japanese Mugwort
Artemisia norvegica – Norwegian Mugwort
Artemisia princeps – Japanese Mugwort (“yomogi”)
Artemisia stelleriana – Hoary Mugwort
Artemisia verlotiorum – Chinese Mugwort
Artemisia vulgaris – Common Mugwort
And of course 강화도 약쑥 - Ganghwa Island Yakssuk
Yes, the full name of Mugwort is Artemisisa Vulgaris; the most popular and common of all. It has been used for centuries to kill parasites, fight bacteria, reduce pain, and enhance the wound healing process.
It has been widely used in traditional and oriental medicine not only in Asia but all around the world for centuries. And only recently, Mugwort has become the leading skincare ingredient that everyone talks about. So what is so special about it for the skin?
Let’s begin by naming the most well-known benefits that Mugwort has to offer.
Four well known skin benefits that Mugwort is famous for are:
Calming/Soothing (from irritation, redness, acne pain)
Anti-fungal (paralyzing bacteria residing on our skin, especially the ones that occur on acne prone, psoriasis, and/or dermatitis skin)
Antioxidant rich (fights ROA by deoxidation with several antioxidant driven compounds like chamazulene)
Anti inflammatory (responsible compound: artemisinin)
There is truly no other ingredient like Mugwort, and there are so many species of Mugwort that each region claims. But usually, Mugwort grows in dry and sunny areas. You can find fresh Mugwort between spring to the end of August, so the best time to collect and use Mugwort for the best results is from June to July. Depending on the region, the species of Mugwort are different. Different species result in different Mugwort compounds, elements and even vitamins, resulting in various skin and health benefits.
The Mugwort that we use at AXIS-Y is only found in a very unusual for habitat for Mugwort in 강화 island next to Incheon in an area surrounded by sea and winds to help spread minerals from sea droplets to the plantation of Mugwort. This Mugwort is called Yakssuk (known as a Korean Mugwort or Wormwood). The difference between Yakssuk and other Mugwort species is that not only does it grow in completely different habitats, but the composition of the plant/herb itself is completely different. In this blog, we will break down all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and skincare benefits that Yakssuk has.
The Diverse and Unique Nutritional Composition is the Foundation of What Makes Korean Mugwort, Yakssuk, So Special
Yakssuk has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antioxidant effects. It improves dry skin symptoms that are associated with reduced skin barrier protection proteins. Yakssuk significantly upregulates antioxidant enzymes to fight free radicals that hugely damage our skin from deep within. The nutritional composition of Yakssuk improves desquamation, dryness, itching, dehydration, redness, and inflammation.
Stay tuned because we will break down the most important compounds of Yakssuk down below.
All you need to know for now is that Yakssuk is rich in vitamins A, B, C, D, protein, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, and even more.
Below, we will explain how each of these minerals and vitamins contribute to the famous claims of Yakssuk one by one.
Vitamin A in Yakssuk - This is the most important vitamins of the core development of the skin itself. It enhances skin cell functioning, balances out oil production to help with acne, controls the production of melanin to reduce the appearance of pigmentation, stimulates production of fibroblasts that produces healthy collagen and elastin fibers to keep the skin plump with youthful radiance, speeds up the healing process of scars and wounds, supports skin’s immune system, and prevents from breakouts and promotes (stimulates) the production of Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) of the skin. All of these Vitamin A functions in Yakssuk help to keep the top 2 layers of the skin, the epidermis and dermis, healthy and strong.
Vitamin B in Yakssuk - A deficiency in Vitamin B causes most of the natural problems in the skin like acne, wrinkles, dryness, sensitivity to sun, rushes, and dry skin. Including Vitamin B, there are eight of them in total, and they are considered a must in your skincare. Luckily, Yakssuk is filled with Vitamin Bs, with not one but two Vitamin Bs: Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) in Yakssuk - This vitamin was the first of the “Bs” to be found which is how it got its name: Vitamin B1. Specifically, Vitamin B1 is Thiamine and it is also called “anti-stress vitamin”, which is how Yakssuk has its anti inflammatory function. Since it helps to reduce stress that can lead to chronic inflammation (AKA acne). You can learn everything about stress acne on our previous blog post here. The funny part is that it is indeed an anti-stress vitamin for us (for people), but it is a toxic bomb for bacteria in our skin that get paralyzed by Vitamin B1 in Yakssuk which is how Yakssuk kills bacteria and parasites.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) - Another plant that has Vitamin B2 is seaweed. Can you guess why Yagssuk has specifically Vitamin B2? It is not a scientifically proven answer, but it leads us to think that seaweed and Yakssuk have “sea relationship” (read above to find out where Yakssuk grows). Vitamin B in general helps to renew the skin cells and release stress. And Vitamin B2 aids cell turnover and controls the production of collagen, thus improving and accelerating wound healing. Compared with Vitamin A that regulates NMF to keep the hydration level of the skin, Vitamin B2 also helps with skin moisturization by promoting the production of skin mucus which prevents skin dryness, reducing the occurrence of acne. In addition, it helps with better absorption of zinc which helps with reduction of acne inflammation.
Vitamin C in Yakssuk - If you have tried our Mugwort Pore Clarifying Wash Off Pack, you have seen for yourself instant skin brightening after 15 minutes of application. This is because Yakssuk is packed with Vitamin C. And if you forgot what Vitamin C does for your skin, here is the main benefit that you need to remember about Vitamin C besides its brightening effect. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights those angry free radicals flying around everywhere. It inhibits the production of melanin, to prevent hyperpigmentation to result in even skin tone and radiance. That is why we have also included Yakssuk in our Complete No-Stress Physical Sunscreen to protect and prevent from sun damage and UVA/UVB radiation.
Vitamin D in Yakssuk - The ironic thing about Vitamin D, also known as “sunshine” vitamin, is that it is not a vitamin at all. Vitamins are considered supplements but Vitamin D is produced by our own body to regulate the formation and development of our physical body. And the most well known source of Vitamin D is the sun. But this doesn’t mean that the sun has vitamins in it. Sun lights help our own body to produce Vitamin D. There are not a lot of sources of Vitamin D, but lucky for us, Yaksukk is abundant in Vitamin D. And what Vitamin D does for our skin is that it helps with differentiation and proliferation of the skin which Vitamin D is the key to development (skin cell growth, repair, and protection) of the skin.
Calcium in Yakssuk - This is a micronutrient-mineral that aids to preserve a healthy skin glow. It regulates sebum production to keep skin hydrated which is good for dry and eczema prone skin. Sufficient amounts of calcium in the epidermis protects the skin from UV rays, the main cause of skin cancer. One more amazing benefit of calcium is that it helps in regulating self-exfoliation of the skin, meaning it regulates dead skin cells to detach so that new skin cells can regenerate.
Magnesium in Yakssuk - If you have read our previous blog post on Stress-Acne, then you know that one of the reasons for breakouts is stress and that cortisol plays the main role. But did you know that one of the benefits of Magnesium is that it helps to regulate cortisol secretion. No joke, go and check out our previous post to understand how stress-acne works. In addition to cortisol regulation, magnesium prevents hormonal acne as well.
Iron in Yakssuk - If you have noticed that your skin looks more pale and dull than usual, then there are chances that your body is suffering from iron deficiency. Low levels of iron mess with your blood health. Without proper blood circulation, our skin is loose and makes us look exhausted. That is why having iron as one of the nutrients in Yakssuk is a big deal as it helps the skin to look more radiant and healthy.
Potassium in Yakssuk - Did you notice that after using our wash off pack your skin feels more moisturized and hydrated? The reason might be the potassium in Yakssuk. Potassium is known for balancing skin pH and enhancing the moisture level of the skin.
Even though this herb has been used by people for centuries, there is not enough scientific research done on its skincare benefits. This blog covers all the Mugwort and skin related research. We hope scientists conduct more research on Yakssuk, the most mysterious but yet the most valuable and famous herb of this decade.
To wrap up:
In Korea, it is called “Korean tea tree” as it has excellent skin soothing and cleansing effects. Because of the many benefits that the ingredient has, we have incorporated it into many of our products in our product lines.
It contains a lot of minerals, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and is rich in vitamins
- Vitamin A aids the differentiation of epithelial cells and has antioxidant effects.
Moreover, it contains plenty of Vitamin C, so it is excellent in preventing aging and promoting skin regeneration from sun damage and oxidative stress.
- Vitamin C is an essential ingredient for the synthesis of protein collagen that makes up the connective tissue and helps to make skin healthy.
Yakssuk contains minerals and proteins that have excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect skin cells and remove inflammation.