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If you’re tired of all the chemical-laden skin creams that overpromise and underdeliver, you’re going to love this little plant. It’s known as milk thistle, and while it may not look very pretty, it can leave your skin looking younger longer – without the use of commercial skin irritants.

Read on to see what makes this odd plant one of nature’s easiest ways to “turn back the clock."

What is Milk Thistle?

The milk thistle plant, also known as Silybum marianum, has distinctive purple flowers and white veins, which traditional stories say were caused by a drop of the Virgin Mary’s milk falling onto its leaves.

While originally grown only in Asia and southern parts of Europe, it’s now successfully cultivated around the world.

Some people use the term “silymarin” interchangeably with milk thistle, but silymarin actually refers to a group of plant compounds found within the seeds of the milk thistle plant. Milk Thistle extract has a high amount of silymarin (between 65-80%) that has been concentrated from the milk thistle plant. Silymarin is known to have antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

The Uses and Benefits of Milk Thistle

Traditionally, silymarin extracted from milk thistle has been used to treat liver and gall bladder disorders, promote breast milk production, prevent and treat cancer and even protect the liver from snake bites, alcohol and other environmental poisons.

The uses of milk thistle have certainly multiplied since ancient days. Today, it’s popping up in beauty applications everywhere – and for good reason. It’s known worldwide as a highly effective, anti-aging herb.

Its antioxidants protect the skin from free radicals and from the pollutants that surround us every day. When used topically, it can also protect against UVA and UVB damage. All of these elements lead to premature aging, and UV radiation can even cause oxidative stress – a precursor to some skin cancers.

Research shows that milk thistle can directly slow aging skin because it is antiglycation. Glycation is an aging reaction between the sugar and proteins in your skin. The bridges between protein and sugar are what makes skin supple. These start to break down at age 30 and increase regularly as you get older. It directly inhibits this process on a cellular level.

It has also been found to improve rosacea, itching, and redness because it works as a potent anti-inflammatory.

The linoleic acid in the herb improves cell membranes, making skin cells less permeable to dangerous chemicals and pollutants.

As fantastic as its anti-aging properties are, milk thistle uses for the skin don’t stop there. It’s also a powerful acne- treatment even when taken internally.

When taken orally, it flushes toxins from the liver, helping to clear and purify the skin. As the liver clears up, individuals notice a healthier chemical balance in their skin, which often results in a blemish-free glow.

Of course, milk thistle is still widely used as a liver detoxifier. While it was used in ancient times to treat mushroom poisoning, it is now used to improve liver function, as in the case of alcohol-related liver disease.

As a natural detoxifier, it draws toxins out of the body, clears up gallbladder issues and relieves the ill effects of chemotherapy. In fact, this herb has even been shown to reverse damage to the liver from medications, industrial toxins, heavy metals and pollution.

Other milk thistle benefits include:

  • Decreasing high cholesterol

  • Improving insulin resistance (a key component of type 2 diabetes)

  • Decreasing the risk of cancers

  • Improving the immune system


There are 3 main ways to reap the benefits of this flower. The first is as an oral supplement containing its extract.

Another option is to drink milk thistle tea, which is mainly beneficial for those wanting to purify their livers slowly. The best teas use the leaves and seeds from the plant.

For its skin benefits, you should go for topical creams, lotions and cleansers. Many companies sell milk thistle creams, but search for creams with only organic ingredients to ensure you’re getting the highest quality.

To find premium milk thistle for oral or topical use, you’ll probably have to buy it online, though you might get lucky and find it at your local health food store.


Today, individuals around the world can harness the amazing benefits of milk thistle just as ancient cultures did.

While it remains a powerful liver cleanser, it is growing more and more popular in the skincare industry for its remarkable anti-aging properties. Even those without lines, wrinkles, and age spots can prevent future skin damage with the powerful antioxidants in milk thistle.

Lang and Ivy’s milk cleansing washes contain milk thistle as part of the base formula which helps to clarify, smooth fine lines and wrinkles every time you cleanse your face.

Give our cleansing lotions a try and let us know what changes it makes for you!

Lang & Ivy: Know Who You’re Buying From

At Lang & Ivy, we’re a small, close-knit team that makes natural skin care that's good for you, good for your wallet, and good for the planet.

Our clean skin care products are packed with carefully selected botanical ingredients that are time-tested and proven to work gently. Our collection is 100% vegan and cruelty-free and are free of nasties like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, and artificial fragrances.

We’re also a sustainable skin care brand. Our products are crafted with sustainably sourced ingredients and our packaging is up to 90% recyclable!

If we sound like your kind of clean skincare brand, check out our product lineup! Also, stay tuned to our blog for tips on easy, affordable, good-for-you skin care choices and ways to get your glow on!

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