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Chebula: should you be adding it to your skincare regime?

Said to be more potent than vitamin C, the latest skincare antioxidant should be worthy of your attention, and here's why

Loved by celebrities such as Laura Dern and Olivia Wilde, chebula might sound like the sexy new skincare ingredient, but it has actually been used for centuries in ancient Ayurvedic medicine.
Known as the ‘King of Herbs,’ it boasts an array of skincare benefits, so should you be adding it to your daily regime and is it doing anything your existing skincare actives aren’t?

What is chebula?

Chebula goes by various other names including chebulic myrobalan, terminalis chebula, harada, birhara, and haritaki so you may well have already come across it. It comes from the fruit of the myrobalan plum tree which grows in India, Tibet and Nepal. Highly nutritious, it’s often eaten to cure a number of ailments and has been used historically for digestion and detoxification, as well as for skin issues such as wound cleaning, infections and gum disease.

What are the benefits of chebula?

A powerhouse skin ingredient, chebula is heralded as being able to correct five signs of ageing–evening out skin tone, tackling fine lines and wrinkles, firming, brightening and soothing. Its effectiveness is due to the following:


Chebula is packed with vitamin C and K, both of which have a rejuvenating and regenerative effect on the skin, helping protect it from environmental damage.

Antioxidant protection

Antioxidants neutralise free radicals that damage our skin by clinging to collagen and weakening the skin’s elasticity. Chebula is a cascading antioxidant, which means once it’s done fighting a free radical, it reacts by taking a new form that can fight the next free radical, and so on. This is why it is believed to tackle free radical damage for a longer period of time than other antioxidants–in fact it’s said to be more potent than vitamins C and E.


Chebula helps increase the moisture content of the skin, especially when paired with other moisturising skincare products and ingredients.

Skin barrier protection

It’s no secret that the sun’s ultraviolet rays have accumulating and long-term damaging effects on the skin. Too much sun exposure damages the melanin in the outer layer of the skin, reducing its overall elasticity. This reduced elasticity causes premature ageing. Chebula’s antioxidative properties help protect damage caused by UV rays, which ultimately leads to brighter, more youthful skin. Used topically, chebula improves the skin's barrier function, helping shield it from the sun’s harmful rays.

How should it be used?

Chebula is a great ingredient to include in your daily skincare routine. Its high antioxidant effect makes it a great choice for those living in cities where air pollution, cigarette smoke and therefore free radicals are ever present.

The ingredient can be found in serums and masks, and due to its protective effect is best used in the morning followed by your daily SPF. If your skin responds well, it can also be included in your evening routine .

Anything to be aware of?

As a main skincare ingredient, chebula is quite new to the beauty world. Nothing has been noted as far as issues or side effects but it’s still early days, so it’s best to apply it once to see how your skin responds and build up from there. As with all products, what works for some may not work for others.

Products to try

Skin Bureaux Super Defence Day Serum,

Modern science meets Ayurveda in this powerful serum as chebula is combined with CBD, along with vitamins C, E and B5 and ferulic acid, to help protect against pollution and reduce the signs of ageing skin and redness.

Paula’s Choice Super Hydrate Overnight Mask

Antioxidants such as arctic cloudberry which help to soothe skin and reduce redness, are combined with chebula in this luxurious overnight mask.

True Botanicals Chebula Active Serum,

This is the serum loved by Laura Dern, who claims it transformed her skin to the point of not needing foundation.

Avene Hyaluron Activ B3 Serum

Formulated to target both the cause and visible signs of ageing, this serum combines youth-boosting chebula, along with niacinamide and retinaldehyde.

Derma MD SPF Chebula Moisturiser,

A moisturising SPF with cranberry seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil and red raspberry seed oil that hydrates and softens, while chebula fights free radicals and zinc oxide provides broad spectrum sun protection.

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