The Science Behind Our Ingredients: Birch Bark
Birch bark has been used by traditional healers since at least pagan times. In Poland, for example, herbalists have long turned to the bark of the white birch (or peeling birch) tree to promote beautiful, bright, healthy skin and strong, abundant hair. More recently, modern cosmetic scientists have begun researching the origins of these traditional medicinal claims, and have begun to unlock the secrets of birch bark’s dramatic healing effects.
Birch bark contains a high concentration of betulinic acid, which has been shown to effectively stimulate collagen synthesis1 as well as to aid in wound healing and skin regeneragtion2. Betulinic acid has also been studied for its elastase-inhibiting properties3. Elastase is the enzyme capable of degrading the skin’s elastin, so inhibiting elastase is thought to be one of the best methods of protecting against skin aging. Birch bark is also high in tannins, which have astringent as well as antioxidant properties4. The collagen-stimulating and elastase-inhibiting properties make this ingredient a great choice for mature skin concerns, as it can help to firm, smooth, and tone the appearance of skin with signs of aging, and its legendary healing properties make it a wonderfully restorative ingredient for all skin types.
For our Imhotep’s Balsam Face Mask, we use only fresh, food-grade birch bark that has been organically cultivated or sustainably harvested in the wild, then carefully shade- and low-heat dried, tested for purity, and milled to a fine powder. Unlike many other cosmetics formulators, we never choose ingredients that have been processed to remove their natural scent or color. Our birch bark comes straight to us from the grower for the purest, freshest possible final product.