Amla for Clear, Youthful Skin and Strong, Shiny Hair
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Beyond Health Benefits: Indian Gooseberry for Skin Care and Hair Care
The health benefits of amla (Emblica Oficinalis) are not really new. In fact, the amazing benefits of this natural superfood have been a fundamental part of Ayurvedic medicine in India for thousands of years.
However, modern researchers have only recently begun to delve deeper into the biological and nutritional science behind amla, and discovered that this powerful fruit’s reputation as an ancient cure-all may be well founded.
Amla has the second highest vitamin C content of any plant. It has the highest value of antioxidants of any fruit on the planet (helping scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress). And it is rich in key nutrients that have an incredibly wide variety of health benefits.
In this article, we’ll delve into one of the claims about amla’s benefits — how amla can improve the wellness and beauty of your hair and skin — and how this home-style remedy may actually be effective.
Table of Contents
Beauty Benefits of Amla Powder
The beauty and cosmetic industries, at least in the US, are not heavily regulated, so there’s less formal and clinical standards for what defines a ‘proven’ cosmetic care product.
Instead, we’ll look at some of the key nutrients found in amla, and the potential for how amla helps your skin and hair if applied on a regular basis.
Anti-aging can mean many things, but one of the most powerful ways to avoid the signs of aged skin (dark spots, heavy pigmentation, fine lines) and keep your skin’s natural glow is by ensuring that it's healthy.
Avoiding smoking, drink and drugs, and eating healthy (including amla) can all contribute to this process, but topical amla adds another layer of protection due to its incredible amount of antioxidants.
Your skin is a protective layer that is subject to the most stress of any organ. Applying a mask of amla that’s high in antioxidants helps the cells in your skin scavenge free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and stay healthy (and looking good) for longer.
Fights Blemishes and Promotes Glowing Skin
Amla is often touted as a natural blood purifier, one which can help prevent blemishes and pimples, clean out affected areas, and add a “glow” to your skin tone.
Though the term ‘natural blood purifier’ doesn’t have a specific scientific basis, three of amla’s evidence-based benefits may offer an explanation to the frequent colloquial reports of amla’s success.
As we mentioned above, amla is incredibly high in antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which help promote your body’s ability to cleanse and regenerate itself.
Combined with amla’s well-documented ability to reduce high blood glucose and blood pressure, it's very possible that amla could help “purify” your skin.
Promotes Collagen Production
This is one area where the research is more strong supporting amla’s benefits for your skin. Collagen is a compound that helps give your skin its softness and elasticity, and its production helps prevent sagging and drooping.
In addition to the fact that topical vitamin C has been proven to improve collagen production, clinical trials also support amla here, serving not only to prevent the signs of aging skin, but also serve as a promising treatment for fibrosis.
In addition to the many benefits of amla on your skin, it is mildly acidic. Amla juice itself has a pH of 3.5 to 4.6, which can be made more gentle by diluting it with water.
Together, this gentle acidic exposure serves as a cleanser, helping remove dead skin cells.
Amla Face Mask
The simplest form of a DIY amla face mask is simple amla powder mixed with lukewarm water until it is a thick, spreadable consistency. Simply apply this mask, let sit for 30 minutes, and then wash off thoroughly.
There are a number of alternative remedies for this mixture, like adding coconut oil or green tea extracts to add additional benefits, but the essential process is the same.
Benefits of Amla Powder for Hair
Your skin isn’t the only place where amla has shown consistent benefits. Much like with skin care, the key nutrients and vitamins that are found in amla have also been clearly proven to promote hair health.
In addition, amla hair oil has also begun to show promise in preventing hair loss and restoring hair growth, especially in patients with alopecia.
The preparation here is essentially the same as with an amla face mask. Simply mix with water until you have a spreadable mixture, scrub thoroughly into your scalp and hair, let sit, and then rinse out!
Dandruff is the buildup of dry (dead) skin on your scalp, often caused by a lack of key vitamins and nutrients.
Diluted amla juice or an amla powder shampoo can help fix this in two ways. First, it has an exfoliating effect (like that on the skin), that helps wash away and clean your scalp.
And second, it promotes healthy skin on your head (just like on your face), and can reduce the rate at which dandruff is produced.
Sometimes, greying hair is simply a byproduct of age, and can correspond with hair that is still healthy and being produced naturally.
However, premature signs of greying are often caused by stressors to your overall health, which can actually be combated in many ways by adding amla to your diet (alongside other healthy dietary and lifestyle choices).
This is an area where amla is less effective topically, since grey hair cells are already dead by the time they are outside the body, but taken as a part of your diet amla can make a real difference to many signs of premature aging.
Is a Good Conditioner for Full, Healthy Hair
Just like with your skin, amla juice and other products have a high value of vitamin C that can significantly improve collagen production. In addition to helping your skin look fresh and healthy, collagen is a key component to longer and fuller hair.
Many people will also combine amla conditioner with products like henna, which is a natural hair dye, to add a richness of color to their hair as well as more volume and length.
Supports Hair Growth
Amla’s skin and hair benefits above naturally improve the health of your hair follicles, which are a crucial area of your hair health. When these follicles are unhealthy, it can be a distinct risk that can make your hair fall out.
One study explored how amla helps hair follicles by testing 1% and 5% mixtures of these Indian gooseberries as a hair tonic.
The paper found that the 5% treatment significantly improved hair density, hair shaft diameter, and the hair growth rate between 8-16 weeks of treatment in patients with alopecia.
Researchers are still trying to isolate exactly how amla helps promote hair growth, but the effect was clear: amla is a promising treatment for hair loss.
Try it For Yourself
Amla’s benefits as a medicine, addition to your diet, and cosmetic health product are pretty astounding, which makes it easy to wonder why amla isn’t more widely available.
This is for two reasons. First, it’s very hard to source organic, high-quality amla in many parts of the world, including the United States. And second, for those looking to try amla as part of their diet, the fruit has a tremendously bitter and sour taste.
We’ve tackled both with Amla Green, which combines the health benefits of 20x concentrated organic amla with green and herbal teas. As a medicine, as a refreshing drink or tasty treat, and even as a face mask or shampoo, this amla mix has potent benefits.
And we’d like to share it with you! You can try your first batch of Amla Green entirely risk free, and if you don’t like it we’ll send you your money back. But we think you’ll enjoy it.
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
“Emblica Cascading Antioxidant: A Novel Natural Skin Care Ingredient - PubMed.” ”https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12239434/"
“Fujii, Takashi, Masanori Wakaizumi, Takao Ikami, and Morio Saito. “Amla (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.) Extract Promotes Procollagen Production and Inhibits Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 in Human Skin Fibroblasts.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 119, no. 1 (September 2, 2008): 53–57.” ”https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2008.05.039"
“Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications.” ”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605218/"
“Yu, Jae Young, Biki Gupta, Hyoung Geun Park, Miwon Son, Joon-Ho Jun, Chul Soon Yong, Jeong Ah Kim, and Jong Oh Kim. “Preclinical and Clinical Studies Demonstrate That the Proprietary Herbal Extract DA-5512 Effectively Stimulates Hair Growth and Promotes Hair Health.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM 2017 (2017).” ”https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4395638"
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta