Saffron is a spice obtained from the stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower that belongs to the Iridaceae family. We know saffron as a culinary ingredient but this spice, as taught by Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine, can also be a precious beauty ingredient. The proof is in fact the kumkumadi tailam oil, which we talked about in a previous post and whose basic ingredient is saffron. Well, we can also prepare, at home, a lotion able to capture the incredible beneficial effects of saffron as a natural cosmetic by producing saffron infused oil. Let us now look at its properties and preparation.
Saffron infused oil exploits the fact that one of the most important active substances of saffron, safranal, is fat soluble, meaning that it dissolves in fats, in this case in an oil (Mokhtari-Zaer et al, Avicenna J Phytomed, Sep- Oct 2015). The safranal, in addition to giving the characteristic scent to the spice, which will then pass to the infused oil, shows antibacterial and antioxidant properties and is able to protect the skin from damages caused by UV rays (Khameneh et al, Iran J Basic Med Sci, Jan 2015 - Mason Liu et al, Int J Biol Macromol, Feb 2017). Moreover, other antioxidant substances found in saffron such as lycopene, alpha and beta carotene and zeaxanthin are also soluble in oil (Mokhtari-Zaer et al, Avicenna J Phytomed, Sep-Oct 2015). Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid that has shown to improve the hydration and elasticity of the skin when applied topically. This substance also helps counteract the damages caused by UV rays and fights wrinkles (Schwartz et al, J Cosmet Dermatol, Dec 2016), just like lycopene. Lycopene, in fact, when applied externally, shows the ability to fight the skin damages caused by free radicals induced by exposure to UV rays (Andreassi et al, J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol, Jan 2004). The same anti aging action is performed by carotene that results also helpful to treat skin blemishes and dark skin spots (Kar HK, Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, Nov 2002). Therefore, given these characteristics, saffron oil may be applied in case of skin with scars, caused for example by acne, dark spots, wrinkles, sun irritation. Saffron infused oil will help reduce the signs of aging and lesions, will help make the skin brighter and softer.
Pour 100 ml of a plant based oil in a glass jar, you can choose argan in case of mature skin otherwise jojoba for a younger and acne-prone skin, add 10-12 saffron filaments. Close the jar and let it rest for two weeks near a heat source, taking care to cover the jar with an aluminum foil to protect it from light sources. Shake the jar every day. Finally, the oil is filtered and ready to be applied in the evening as a serum on damp facial skin.