milk thistle benefits for skin

Milk Thistle Benefits For Skin And How To Apply It For Skin?

Milk thistle (MT) is a flowering herb used for centuries as a natural remedy for various health conditions. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has been traditionally used in Greek, Roman, and Ayurvedic medicine.

In recent years, milk thistle has gained popularity for its potential benefits for skin health. This article will explore the milk thistle benefits for skin and how to apply it for optimum results.


Milk Thistle Benefits For Skin

Milk Thistle’s Antioxidant Properties

antioxidant property of milk thistle

The active complex of MT is an extract derived from the plant's seeds. It consists of three flavonolignan isomers, namely silybin, silydianin, and silychristin, collectively known as silymarin.

Applying a silymarin complex directly to the skin effectively enhances the natural protective system, thereby reducing oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. This approach successfully safeguards the skin against the harmful effects of the sun.[3]

Milk Thistle’s Anti-Aging Properties

The accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in our skin plays a significant role in skin aging.

Silibinin's (Silibinin is a compound extracted from milk thistle seeds) beneficial effects can be harnessed for the prevention and management of pathologies caused by advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), helping to maintain a youthful appearance at the cellular level. [4]

Milk Thistle Helps With Hydration of Skin

milk thistle hydrated women's skin

Milk Thistle, a natural ingredient in skincare products, nourishes your skin with its rich linoleic fatty acid content.

These essential acids work synergistically to create a protective barrier over the epidermis, effectively locking in moisture for long-lasting hydration throughout the day. Milk Thistle leaves your skin hydrated, noticeably supple, and radiant.

Milk Thistle Benefits For Skin Whitening

Many people also wonder “Does milk thistle whiten skin?” and the truth is Milk thistle has skin-whitening properties, effectively reducing skin melanin levels when applied topically. [1]

This natural remedy has been celebrated for restoring the skin's natural glow and even outlining skin tone, making it a popular choice among those seeking a more luminous and flawless appearance.

Benefits Of Milk Thistle For Skin Blemishes

milk thistle benefits for blemishes on skin

Silymarin, a potent compound found in milk thistle, has been found to effectively inhibit tyrosinase, which is the crucial enzyme responsible for facilitating the biosynthesis of melanin.

Melanin is the pigment that imparts coloration in organisms. Silymarin suppresses tyrosinase expression in melanocyte cells and leads to a significant reduction in melanin production.[1]

This reduction in melanin production positively impacts skin health, resulting in a noticeable decrease in blemishes and imperfections on the skin.

The ability of silymarin to regulate melanin production makes it a promising ingredient in skincare products aimed at promoting a more even and radiant complexion.

Improving Inflammatory Skin Issues

Milk thistle contains flavonoids that possess anti-inflammatory properties. [1] The anti-inflammatory properties of milk thistle may help reduce inflammation in the skin contribute to milk thistle benefits for skin.

This could benefit conditions like redness, irritation, or inflammatory skin disorders.

How To Apply Milk Thistle On Skin?

To optimize benefits of milk thistle for the skin, there are many ways and forms of Milk Thistle for you to choose:

Using Functional Foods Containing Milk Thistle

Using functional foods containing milk thistle as an ingredient can incorporate the potential benefits of milk thistle into your routine. Functional foods provide health benefits beyond essential nutrition and can contribute to well-being and optimal health.

Milk Thistle Oil

Experience the benefits of milk thistle on your skin with milk thistle oil. It nourishes your skin with linoleic fatty acids, whether applied directly or blended with other oils.

These acids create a protective barrier on the epidermis, locking in moisture for all-day hydration and a supple complexion.

Milk Thistle Tea

Indulge your skin with the rejuvenating properties of milk thistle tea. Simply brew a cup, let it cool, and delicately apply it to your skin using a cotton ball as a toner.

Packed with antioxidants, milk thistle tea supports skin cell health, shielding them from stressors like UVA and UVB rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, and artificial lighting sources.

Milk Thistle Capsules

Discover the versatility of milk thistle capsules for both oral intake and topical application.

These capsules contain silymarin from milk thistle, a powerful compound that safeguards your skin against glycation, a natural aging process that contributes to the formation of wrinkles.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Milk Thistle On Skin?

Pharmacological studies have recognized silymarin as a safe herbal product, with no toxicity observed at therapeutic doses. While rare, potential adverse effects of milk thistle may include:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dermatological symptoms such as hives, rash, and itching. [2]

Other Surprised Milk Thistle Benefits

Not only does milk thistle provide skin benefits, but it may also offer other unexpected advantages for the body:

  • Hepatoprotection [5]
  • Blood (plasma) lipidomic control [5]
  • Biliary effect [5]
  • Antiviral effect [5]
  • Antitumor and anticarcinogenic effects [5]
  • Immunomodulation [5]


Compounds such as silymarin offer numerous Milk Thistle benefits for skin health. It regulates melanin production, reducing blemishes and promoting a radiant complexion. Its anti-inflammatory properties soothe skin irritation. Milk thistle can be integrated into your routine through functional foods, oil, tea, and capsules. You can follow the guideline about how to apply milk thistle on skin for optimizing its benefits.

While generally safe, rare side effects may occur. Apart from skin benefits, milk thistle has potential hepatoprotective, lipidomic, biliary, antiviral, antitumor, and immunomodulatory effects, providing a holistic approach to well-being.


[1] Assessment of Anti Erythmic and Skin Whitening Effects of Milk Thistle Extract. Islamia University of Bahawalpur, 29 Nov. 2011. Accessed 17 Jan. 2024.
[2] George, Ted, and Raj K Patel. “Milk Thistle.”, StatPearls Publishing, 3 Sept. 2019,
[3] Esposito, Tiziana, et al. “A Water-Soluble Microencapsulated Milk Thistle Extract as Active Ingredient for Dermal Formulations.” Molecules, vol. 24, no. 8, 19 Apr. 2019, p. 1547, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.
[4] Shin, Seoungwoo, et al. “Anti-Glycation Activities of Phenolic Constituents from Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Flower in Vitro and on Human Explants.” Molecules, vol. 20, no. 3, 19 Feb. 2015, pp. 3549–3564, Accessed 20 June 2022.
[5] “Phytotherapeutic Properties of Milk Thistle Seeds: An Overview.” Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research, vol. 1, 2011, pp. 69–79,
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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