We find ourselves falling down the social media rabbit hole of beauty routines quite often. From genius makeup hacks for flawless foundations to haircare routines for a stubborn mane, beauty solutions online are a hashtag search away. But the viral content may not always be backed by research, especially when dealing with controversial ingredients that not many know about. Case in point Chlorophyll – the green pigment found in most plants and vegetables.
Chloro-believers cannot say enough about the ingredient but is it legit or just another fad? Used both topically and as a supplement, chlorophyll is having a moment in skincare. But before you start getting your own chloro-fills, hear out what the experts have to say about it.
The Role Of Chlorophyll In Skincare
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Chlorophyll boasts significant antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which have led people to believe that it could elevate skincare products. The ingredient is also used as an antioxidant, touting wound healing properties that are of potential interest. Topical chlorophyll may also have potential as an acne treatment. It has shown benefits in reducing signs of ageing due to sun exposure. But, does it do so in reality? There’s not much research to confirm it. Very few Indian skincare and pharmaceutical-grade brands seem to use it, given little to no proof of its efficacy or stability.
The Viral Status Of Chlorophyll
So how exactly did chlorophyll get so famous? “Blame it on TikTok!” said Dr Mikki Singh, Head dermatologist at Bodycraft Skin Clinic, Bangalore. “I think consuming chlorophyll was all the rage on social media a few months ago. But as a topical ingredient is yet to gain popularity here in India, or at least I haven’t heard too much about it,” she elaborated.
For Dr Noopur Jain, MD Dermatology at SkinZest Gurgaon, the ingredient’s popularity isn’t convincing and needs further research. “TikTok and Instagram beauty trends run their course, and influencers move on to the next big thing. Chlorophyll always had benefits, so did Niacinamide, and so did vitamin C. But people only take notice and start using these products more prominently when they go viral. Having said that, chlorophyll has a variety of potential health benefits which are now being researched.”
Should You Be Drinking Chlorophyll?
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But what about the green drinks that are accompanying glowy skin posts; should you be drinking chlorophyll?
Dr Mikki suggests, “I wouldn’t recommend it. Anything that trends on social media isn’t necessarily good for you. Chlorophyll is a photo-sensitising agent, and consuming it could damage your skin by causing burning, stinging and redness. I’d instead recommend adding tons of green leafy veggies like spinach or broccoli to your diet. That way, you can truly reap chlorophyll’s benefits without risking any kind of skin damage.”
Dr Noopur further cautioned against the trend of drinking chlorophyll, “It is not safe to drink chlorophyll beyond a specific quantity. So always speak with your doctor before deciding to start intake of any oral supplements. Even though natural chlorophyll and chlorophyllin aren’t known to be toxic, there are some possible side effects like:
- Digestive problems
- Green, yellow, or black stool, which can be mistaken for gastrointestinal bleeding
Can Chlorophyll Elevate Your Skincare Routine?
So no green drinks! But what about creams and masks? Topical use of chlorophyll can lead to itching or stinging in some, so make sure you are consulting a dermatologist and doing a patch test before using any product. Dr Noopur revealed, “Since chlorophyll contains antioxidants, it can help minimise wrinkles and your skin look healthier. It can also improve acne and visible pores. If you have any noticeable wounds on your face, it can help the healing process.”
Dr Mikki recommended an alternative use of chlorophyll in skincare, “During Photodynamic Therapy, a treatment practised by dermatologists, chlorophyll topically applied to the skin and later exposed to blue or red light. This is intended to help fight against acne-forming bacteria. This might be a better option if you’re looking to try this ingredient, as it is carried out in a controlled clinic environment.”
What NOT To Believe About Chlorophyll in Skincare
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We can conclude that chlorophyll can be a good topical ingredient but is it worth the hype? For Dr Mikki, it isn’t. “It is being touted as a magical ingredient that can help get rid of pigmentation and acne. The clickbait around this is rather scary. I’d suggest you do your own research before falling prey to social media trends and challenges, especially when it’s to do with your skin.” She also added, “If you’re looking for acne treatment, there’s benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, and so on — these are far more stable and reliable. While most of these ingredients are available Over-The-Counter (OTC), I’d suggest consulting a dermatologist to figure out what’s right for your skin type and concern.”
Dr Noopur also seconded that sentiment, “There are other ingredients as well that can make your skin look glowy and smooth. Chlorophyll is not an exclusive product for healthy skin. Some popular ingredients like tretinoin, vitamin C and Niacinamide can uplift your regular skincare regime. All of these ingredients are easily available in India, unlike chlorophyll.”