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Onion Is the Latest Unexpected Skin Care Ingredient

August 13, 2020

Skin care enthusiasts, there’s a new trendy and surprising ingredient to take note of! No, we’re not talking about honey or turmeric or clay, but another ingredient that heralds from Mother Nature: onions. That’s right, onions are much more than just a tasty addition to pastas, steaks, and salads. While the thought of putting onion-containing products on your skin might sound (and smell) strange, there are some pretty amazing onion benefits for skin. Here, we’re sharing the research backing up why onion may be the next ingredient you’ll want to add to your skin care routine.


Well, of course, you know what onions are when you toss them into your salad or sauté them up in your stir fry. But allow us to give you a brief background on what, exactly, onions are in relation to other veggies and herbs. Onions are close cousins with garlic, chives, scallion, and leeks, according to the University of Michigan Health Library. While we are going to focus mainly on the skin benefits of onion as an ingredient, onion supplements have also been shown to help with many health conditions, including diabetes, asthma, and hypertension.

Onion has also been used as a health folk remedy for centuries. The nutrition benefits of onions include high vitamin C and quercetin, which is a type of antioxidant called a flavonoid, according to the National Onion Association. Quick refresher: Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells and help ward off damage caused by free radicals.


No, we’re not making this up—there is real research on onion benefits for skin. What can it help with? For starters, onion extract gel has been shown to help significantly reduce the appearance of scars after four weeks of use, according to research published by the National Institutes of Health. For this reason, topical onion extract gel is commonly used in many over the counter scar creams and gels found at the drugstore, according to another body of research published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. That’s right—the active ingredient in many drugstore scar creams comes from onions!

The same research that we mentioned above, from the NIH, notes that a number of studies have shown onion extract to be able to improve the appearance of stretch marks when used consistently.


So, how does onion appear in the skin care products you use? Although the ingredient is just beginning to take off in popularity as a skin care ingredient, it is being utilized in certain moisturizers and gels. Trend-setting K-beauty brands in particular are releasing moisturizers and other skin care products formulated with onion. Keep an eye out for it, and you may see this trendy ingredient popping up more and more.


Beyond the research on onion benefits for skin, there is also some research on the use of onion in helping to restore hair growth. One study, published by the NIH, found that onion juice may be used as a topical treatment for alopecia, which the AAD defines simply as hair loss. Of course, if you’re dealing with hair loss or shedding, we encourage against running out to the grocery store and squeezing onion juice onto your scalp. Instead, you’ll want to consult your dermatologist and seek out expert advice on how best to manage your loss.

Next up: Since we’ve touched on the topic of scars, it’s time to find out what you can do about those stubborn acne scars. Head to our article, Can You Get Rid of Acne Scars?

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