The Amazing Skin Benefits of Ginseng

Written by Steven Wang, M.D.

Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement widely used in Asia to treat various health ailments and for general well-being. It can improve energy levels and boost memory. Because of those health benefits, ginseng is found and marketed in a wide range of consumable healthcare products, including supplements, teas, candies, and energy drinks, in various concentrations and forms.


There are many species of ginseng but two, in particular, panax ginseng and panax quinquefolius, are considered to provide the most health benefits. Panax ginseng is generally found in northern China, Korea, and Russia. Panax quinquefolius, on the other hand, typically grows in various regions within North America.

Panax ginseng is referred to as Asian ginseng or, occasionally, Korean or red ginseng. This type of ginseng has the highest percentage of overall ginsenosides – the compounds in ginseng that are believed to contribute to its medicinal and health properties. Ginsenosides have been shown to have multiple medical effects, such as antioxidative, antiaging, and anti-cancer properties. It is widely believed that Asian ginseng is more powerful and reliable in providing desired health outcomes. Most medical and scientific research is conducted on Asian ginseng.


The majority of studies looking at the health benefits of ginseng are focused on its positive improvement in mental function, sports performance, and general well-being, but there are some novel studies looking at possible dermatological applications, including melasma and atopic dermatitis.

Melasma is a common skin condition that affects women. Clinically, melasma presents as patches of dark pigmentation around the cheeks, lower eyelids, and nose regions. It is worsened by ultraviolet light, hormones, and even heat. One study showed that people taking Korean red ginseng powder for a period of 24 weeks had significant improvement in the level of dark pigmentation and redness.

Additional studies looked at the effect of ginsenosides on the production of melanin or pigmentation in the skin. It is thought that ginsenosides were effective in shutting down the pigment-producing mechanism in the skin cells.

Aside from melasma, multiple studies have looked at whether or not Korean red ginseng may be helpful to treat atopic dermatitis or eczema. One study looked at 30 eczema patients who ingested Korean red ginseng. Their serum Ig E levels and severity scoring of atopic dermatitis (SCORAO) index were assessed. It was found that transepidermal water loss and skin hydration showed significant improvement after 16 weeks in the patients ingesting ginseng. In addition, there was a significant decrease in the SCORAD index, as well as in serum lgE levels after 16 weeks.

Another study looked at whether ginseng had the ability to influence scratching behavior in an atopic dermatitis (eczema) animal model. Red ginseng was found to significantly inhibit scratching behavior in the animal model. The exact mechanism is unknown, but it is believed that ginseng attenuated both nerve growth factor expression and nerve fiber extension in this model.

Lastly, another study showed that Korean red ginseng has an immunosuppressive response on skin cells, possibly through reduction of TNF-alpha and IL-8 expression on human keratinocytes.


Ginseng has a wide range of health benefits. As the scientific and medical community continue to research this perennial herb, it will be certain that ginseng will be used for helping to relieve symptoms of many health conditions, including eczema.


steven wangDr. Steven Q. Wang is the director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Aside from caring for patients, he is actively involved in clinical research, with a focus on photoprotection, antioxidants, nanotechnology, antiaging, and natural skin care formulation. He is the author of more than 80 publications in peer-reviewed, scientific journals and academic textbooks. He has authored five books and lectured extensively in the United States and around the world. In recognition of his expertise, he has appeared on several television and radio programs and has been interviewed by media such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Oprah Magazine. In 2016, he cofounded the Dr Wang Herbal Skincare company with his father, Gui Wang, who is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist in New York City, New York. Their philosophy is to combine the best of herbal Eastern tradition with Western science to help consumers and patients to attain healthier and more beautiful skin. Their simple and effective antiaging skin care products are manufactured without the use of heat, thereby protecting the integrity of actives and nutrients in the products.

Login to post comments

Skin Care Connection

Latest Discussions

New This Month!

Desiree Loya and 10 others are attending Oxygen Peeling for Acne and Aging. 20 minutes ago


Elvia Valenzuela Exacto, apreder mas es la clave del exito en esta y todas las profesiones, suerte Elizabeth Cabrera Velasquez 2 days ago
AIA added a new event 5 days ago

Holistic Healing: Understanding and Treating Mature Skin

Holistic Healing: Understanding and Treating Mature Skin March 23, 2020 9:30 A.M. CST Mature skin, without a doubt is what brings clients into spas....

  • Monday, 23 March 2020 09:30 AM
  • Garland, Texas

Browse-worthy Blogs

  • The Reinvigorating Essence of Coconut Oil
    The Reinvigorating Essence of Coconut Oil It could certainly be argued that the coconut is the most versatile fruit on the planet, not only for material purposes, like using its husk as a piña colada container or to help Tom Hanks hammer a shelter together in Castaway, but also the extremely healthy and naturally beneficial ingredients of which it is comprised. The ingredients in coconuts can be utilized in numerous forms but, when it comes to beauty the most effective use is coconut oil. Coconut oil…
  • Decollete Skin Care
    Decollete Skin Care Do you take care of your Decollete? Do you know what it is? Decollete is a French term given to the upper chest, neck, cleavage and shoulder areas. It is one of the first places on a woman to show age and so should be cared for in a similar way as we care for our faces. If you spend much time outside, this area is often exposed to sun too but we tend to not pay so much attention…
  • Skin Analysis Procedures for a Laser Treatment
    Before addressing any problem, it’s advisable to understand its root cause. The same applies to skin therapy. Skin analysis procedures are the steps taken in preparing the patient before the actual medication is administered. For example, laser treatment can react differently on an individual depending on skin type, type of laser used, or cosmetic products used before the laser treatment. Irrespective of how urgent a patient might be in need of laser skin treatment, it’s always advisable to have a…