Tea tree oil gets all the attention when it comes to botanically derived blemish-fighters. And for a good reason. Derived from the leaves of an Australian tree called, well, the “tea tree” (aka the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant), tea tree oil has the necessary properties – namely, strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects – needed to ward off breakouts1. But tea tree oil isn’t the only natural, good-for-skin ingredient you could get from the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant. Hint: it’s an extract from something fluffy, snow-white, and downright stunning.
If you thought, “Flowers?" you’re on the mark. That’s right: the Australian tea tree is a flowering species – with its flowers known as the “Native Snowflower”. Find everything you need to know about the Native Snowflower and its myriad of skincare benefits, plus tips on how you could incorporate it into your regimen below.
What is Native Snowflower?
As mentioned earlier, the term “Native Snowflower” refers to the flowers found on the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant. It’s a small, evergreen tree native to New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. The tree flowers only for a short period in the spring and early summer. But when it does, the sight is hard-to-miss: the Native Snowflower blossoms in fluffy white masses of spikes that measure anywhere between 1 to 2 inches long (2).
That said, the Native Snowflower doesn’t simply ooze aesthetic appeal. Like its “sibling”, the tea tree oil (derived from the leaves of the plant), its usage dates by centuries, usually applying it for skin healing (3).
Benefits of Native Snowflower for Skin
But why? What about the Native Snowflower – exactly – makes it a skincare ingredient worthy of a spot in your beauty routine? Let’s explore.
#1: Fights free radical damage
In line with what you’d expect of the tea tree’s flowers, the Native Snowflower brims with potent antioxidants, including bioactive compounds such as α-terpinene, α-terpinolene, and γ-terpinene (4, 5). Due to these compounds' impressive free radical scavenging capacity, research consistently suggests that the Native Snowflower may effectively combat oxidative damage in the skin.
Okay, so now might be a good time to hit pause. Free radicals? Oxidative damage? Let’s first unpack all these terms, along with what they mean for your skin. Having said knowledge is crucial to fully understand why the Native Snowflower is such an excellent pick for you – especially if you’re looking to take years (and years) off your face.
So. Here’s what you need to know about free radicals. They're created when a molecule either gains or loses an electron, and, unfortunately, that's terrible news because electrons hate being alone. Meaning? Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules that go around the body desperately trying to steal an electron from anything it meets (typically from one of its healthy neighbors).
When a free radical succeeds in robbing an electron, it becomes stable again. But the “victim” of the exchange is now a free radical on the hunt for an electron to steal – creating a chain reaction that wreaks havoc on your skin. This is especially so when you overwhelm your skin with free radicals via excessive sunray, pollution, and artificial blue light exposure.
In the long run, the accumulation of free radicals can cause premature skin aging (a process known as “oxidative damage”) that visibly shows up as hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of skin elasticity (6).
Ready for the good news? You can count on antioxidants – friendly reminder: present in Native Snowflower – to snuff out free radicals before they can chew up collagen-producing fibroblasts or cripple the DNA of healthy skin cells (7). Unlike other molecules that become free radicals when they “give up” their electrons, antioxidants don’t become free radicals themselves. Essentially, halting oxidative stress in its tracks.
In short: by exerting potent antioxidant properties, Native Snowflower could counter signs of premature skin aging – smoothing out fine lines, brightening the complexion, and breathing “new life” into the skin overall.
#2: Encourages collagen production in the skin
Collagen is the major protein in the human body, responsible for providing the structural support for connective tissues, including the bone, joints, and, yep, you guessed it – skin. It acts as a “scaffolding structure” that gives your skin firmness and elasticity. The only issue? Nearly everything your skin encounters daily, from UV rays to chemical pollutants, triggers collagen breakdown. In turn, contributing to an aged appearance.
Thankfully, though, the Native Snowflower has something up its sleeves that’ll help you fight the aging process. And it’s none other than flavonoids, a class of secondary plant metabolites having a polyphenolic structure (8). As numerous studies would tell you, flavonoids may help stimulate collagen synthesis in the skin (9, 10). Which gives you? You got it: firmer, plumper skin.
#3: Exerts antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
Struggling with blemishes? Don’t worry; the Native Snowflower's got you covered. Found to have antibacterial and antimicrobial effects, the potent flower extract could help fight off Cutibacterium acnes, a type of bacteria involved in the formation of acne (11). At the same time, Native Snowflower could decrease the inflammatory cascades that stimulate inflammation and redness – which helps calm down the appearance of those pesky big, red, angry pimples (12).
Better still: there have also been studies to suggest that the Native Snowflower may be beneficial in clearing up non-inflammatory blackheads and whiteheads. Ultimately, driving home the point that the Native Snowflower is a good choice for anyone with blemish-prone skin.
Side Effects of Native Snowflower
The Native Snowflower is a primarily safe topical product that seldom causes irritation. That said, some people are known to develop an allergic reaction to tea tree oil – which means there’s always the possibility of Native Snowflower causing allergic contact dermatitis (otherwise known as an itchy rash), too (13).
So, as with any new skincare ingredient, make sure you patch test Native Snowflower. Apply a tiny amount of the product to a discrete area of your body (e.g., side of your neck or on the inside of your elbows). There should be no other products on the skin so you can ascertain that the reactions – if any – are indeed due to Native Snowflower. Only proceed with applying the product to your face if you don’t notice any redness, stinging, or itchiness after 24 hours.
How to Use Native Snowflower for Skin
Native Snowflower extract can be found in nearly every skincare product you can think of (from cleansers to toners; from serums to moisturizers) and can be incorporated into both morning and nighttime routines.
Avoid layering it with other blemish-fighting, active skincare ingredients. This includes Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, and Retinol; the combination of these ingredients may prove irritating to the skin, especially for those with sensitive skin (14). Otherwise, though, Native Snowflower plays nice with nearly every ingredient out there. For instance, other antioxidants, including Vitamin C, CoQ10, and Vitamin E. Niacinamide, a skincare active known for its sebum-regulating properties, is also worth considering.
Already looking for skincare products formulated with Native Snowflower? Look no further. Here’s how easily you could fit Native Snowflower into your regimen with Terrakai Skin’s products:
- Cleanser: Remove your makeup and wash your face with a non-stripping cleanser, like our Snowflower + Niacinamide Gel Cleanser.
- Toner: Spritz on your toner of choice after cleansing. For a refreshing, hydrating skin boost, give our Rebalancing Snowflower + Niacinamide Toning Mist a go.
- Serum: Massage a few drops of serum (e.g., our Balance Snowflower + Turmeric Serum) into your face.
- Eye cream: Apply your eye cream, like our Age Defying Lemon Aspen Botanical Eye Cream, before you slather on your choice of creams and oils.
- Moisturizer: Use Daily Balancing Act Snowflower + Witch Hazel during the daytime, then pamper your skin with our Lipid-Balance Snowflower + Niacinamide Night Cream as you catch your beauty sleep.
- Sunscreen (daytime): Sunscreen acts as a shield against the outside world (so you don’t end up applying all those products on your face for nothing).
Native Snowflower for Skin FAQ’s
What does Native Snowflower do for skin?
With its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, Native Snowflower can help fight oxidative damage, even out skin tone, boost collagen production, and calm breakouts (both inflammatory and non-inflammatory) – helping you achieve smoother, clearer, more radiant skin.
What skin type is Native Snowflower suitable for?
Every skin type can benefit from Native Snowflower.
Terrakai Skin Products that Include Native Snowflower