Saffron: The precious spice for your skin.

Saffron: The precious spice for your skin.

25 February 2022
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Saffron is magical...


Rare, extremely precious and efficacious. In Ayurveda, saffron is revered for its healing properties. And Western medicine lauds the spice for its suggested ability to treat memory issues, stomach disorders, inflammation, and even depression. The spice is also an amazing ingredient for brightening, clearing, and repairing skin.


Yet even with these incredible attributes, saffron is still one of the most elusive spice. Allow us to reveal its nuance and brilliance. Out of the many, many skincare ingredients that constantly flood our inboxes and social media feeds, saffron is one that we've noticed popping up more often. This somewhat sweet and nutty-tasting spice also happens to be the most expensive in the world, and it's been lauded for its medicinal properties for centuries.


Saffron is a very rare ayurvedic spice, which is precisely what makes it so costly. Saffron is actually the tiny stigmas, or stems, from the crocus sativus, a flower in the iris family. The flowers, which blossom in the fall, are extremely delicate and only produce three stigmas per flower. Another reason for its high price tag? The plant can only be harvested for two weeks out of the year, and each saffron flower has to be handpicked.


Typically, saffron is used in cooking, wherein it gives food a bright yellow-orange tint, but it's also used around the world in fabric dyes and perfumes. When eaten, saffron's health benefits are impressive and wide-ranging. The same goes for your skin. This tiny red flower has so many beneficial properties that it's challenging to list them all. In other words, saffron is an all-around healing powerhouse, both internally and externally.


​Benefits for Skin

  • A powerful antioxidant: Saffron is chock-full of antioxidants, including vitamin C, and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can protect against UV damage and pollutants that produce free radicals.
  • Brightens skin: As an antioxidant ingredient, saffron brightens the skin without harsh side effects. It's a calming ingredient and provides great brightening properties.
  • Helps skin recover from environmental stressors: Saffron is rich in minerals and contains two types of powerful carotenoids: crocin and crocetin. They are believed to be effective in damage repair and ensuring overall cellular health, so they'll help skin recover from daily environmental, oxidative, sun damage, healing everything from photo damage to loss of suppleness.
  • Heals cuts, scrapes, and other wounds: Saffron has the ability to increase cell turnover and production, which can potentially help wounds heal faster.
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation: When used topically, saffron not only brightens skin tone but also improves and reduces pesky hyperpigmentation, thanks to its high vitamin content.
  • Great for sensitive skin: Anti-inflammatory ingredients like saffron are perfect for those with sensitive skin.
  • Calms inflammation: Saffron's healing powers might help tame redness, inflamed skin, and even acne.
  • Anti-aging: Speaking of that carotenoid called crocin, according to studies, crocin is potentially helpful against aging, thanks to its rich antioxidant power.

Saffron boasts beneficial properties for all skin types, but certain types may benefit just a bit more. Like most Ayurvedic ingredients, I like saffron for sensitive skin and those who need more calming products. The phytochemical compounds in saffron have shown to have myriad of health and wellness benefits. A mineral-rich spice, it is a good source of copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. 

It's a multifaceted powerhouse spice that brightens the overall complexion, which is why it's a star ingredient in our cosmetic products. The exotic plant also has exfoliating properties that help to keep skin clear, glowing, and smooth.




Saffron's origin has been a source of question for a long time. Many historical sources point its first cultivation to have happened in Greece thousands upon thousands of years ago. (Greek mythology states that Zeus slept on a bed of saffron.) However, Saffron Production and Processing suggest it originated in Iran likely in the Zagross and Alvand Mountains. The spice is mostly grown and cultivated in Iran, India, Morocco, and Greece.




The Crocus Sativus bloom in for about six weeks, starting in late September. Because the flowers and stigmas are so delicate, saffron needs to be collected by hand and in the early morning. Cultivators pull the delicate red threads from the purple flowers. They later dry them to be used in cooking, perfumes, dyes, medicinal solutions, or beauty elixirs. Approximately 170,000 flowers yields about one pound of saffron.

Side Effects


In general, saffron doesn't pose any significant issues or side effects for the skin. As with any new skincare product or ingredient though, make sure you patch test it first to make sure you don't have any adverse reactions.