What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are plant based ingredients that help the body manage – or adapt – its response to stress. In Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, apoptogenic roots, herbs and mushrooms have been used for centuries. Common adaptogens include ashwagandha, Holy Basil, reishi mushroom and lion’s mane mushroom.
Where are we seeing them?
Through brands such as Moon Juice, Dirtea, and Kin Euphorics, we’ve seen a growth in attention and popularity of adaptogens in the wellness space in both supplements and non-alcoholic drink alternatives. The trend has been particularly prevalent in the US, with +136% YOY searches for adaptogen drinks in 2022 vs 2021 (Spate, 2023).
With more open discussions surrounding anxiety and stress, particularly amongst gen z and millennials, consumers are receptive to understanding new ways of easing their daily stresses, particularly ones that harness (rather than harm) nature.
What could this mean for skincare?
We are starting to see the appearance of adaptogens in the skincare space; the ingredients are typically high in antioxidants and can arm the skin with additional protection against environmental stressors.
“If you tend to break out due to stress, it’s worth incorporating adaptogens in your diet and skincare. When used topically, adaptogens are known to help the skin adapt better to stress while keeping redness and flare-ups at bay” says Dr. David Jones to Harpers Bazaar.
There is opportunity with adaptogens to educate and communicate through storytelling, which can help brands to build and engage with their communities. Brands looking to enter the space should ensure they are mindful of the centuries of history surrounding the ingredients.
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