The Root of the Matter

A far cry from the sticky-sweet confection that bears its name, marshmallow has long been a secret weapon in the skincare providers’ arsenal, prized for its soothing and moisturizing properties. Today’s product formulators take their cues from history. Over the centuries, the root of the althaea officinalis plant has served as a poultice and lent its anti-inflammatory properties to treating burns and insect bites. “Marshmallow root is known as a skin-conditioning and healing agent—it helps relieve redness and irritation and also possesses emollient properties to soften and moisturize the skin,” says Anna De La Cruz, senior product brand manager for glo. “Marshmallow root extract can be incorporated into a wide variety of formulations, adding anti-inflammatory relief to any skincare product.” Thanks to its gentle, hydrating qualities, it’s beneficial for all clients, but dry, sensitive, or mature skin responds especially well to the ingredient, according to Mandi Vance, director of education and esthetics for Dr. Hauschka Skin Care. As each new facial serum and hand cream takes its place on the shelves, marshmallow gets back in touch with its roots and proves that it’s more than just fluff.