Legend has it that long ago, at the beginning of days, the mountains of the Dolomites, in the north of Italy, were impressive, but completely bare. The meadows and hills around had beautiful colored flowers while in the Dolomites nothing cheered the rocks and the steep slopes. The mountain then tried to grab some stars of the sky to decorate itself, but the stars were too high. The cry of the sad and lonely mountain was carried by the North Wind to the ear of a fairy, the most beautiful of all fairies, Samblana, the snow queen. Samblana, understanding the desperation of the mountain, wrapped herself in her cloak of crystals and flew to the sky, where she grabbed a star. Gently, Samblana took the star to the highest peak in the Dolomites and placed it among the rocks. She touched it with her magical fingers and transformed it into a star-shaped flower, with velvet petals, white as the moonlight, the edelweiss was born, a flower that still fascinates anyone who sees it. But the magic of the edelweiss also lies in its incredible ability to survive in inaccessible environments, with little water available and subjected to high solar radiation. And these characteristics can become a precious ally of beauty. In fact, the substances developed by the flower to resist in inhospitable conditions are a treasure trove of anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, a real elixir for the skin! But let's understand better.
Edelweiss, beauty properties
Edelweiss, scientific name Leontopodium alpinum, develops a particular substance of the class of polyphenols, called leontopidic acid, which protects the plant from external threats and UV rays (Kostyuc et al, Rejuvenation Res, 2018 ). Leontopodic acid is also considered a powerful anti-aging for the skin, capable of protecting it from the damage of photoaging and therefore wrinkles, dull skin and dark spots (Kostyuc et al, Rejuvenation Res, 2018). Not only that, it has also been observed that leontopodic acid counteracts the action of collagenase, which is an enzyme responsible for the destruction of collagen and therefore for the formation of wrinkles, and of hyaluronidase, another enzyme that degrades hyaluronic acid thus opening the way to dry and dehydrated skin (Trehan et al, Future Sci OA, 2017). Finally, edelweiss extracts have shown an interesting anti-inflammatory action on the skin, improving its elasticity and tone (Daniela et al, Mediators Inflamm, 2012 - Cho et al, Genes, 2020).
Edelweiss and cosmetics
If you come across an edelweiss during a high-altitude hike in the mountains, just close your eyes and imagine the fairy tale we talked about at the beginning of the article. Enter the dream and the magic, but, and this is important, don't pick the flower! The edelweiss is indeed protected. Instead, you can buy edelweiss extracts made from farm-grown plants. If you love DIY you can add these extracts to your creams. These ingredients should be added at the end of the process, when the cream is emulsified and should not be heated further.
Alternatively, you can find creams and lotions based on edelweiss extracts.