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An ingredient that few of us would think to look out for in our skin care products, boswellic acid, comes from a shrubby tree (Boswellia Serrata) that grows across India, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. The tree produces a resin or milky sap, which when dried, becomes "frankincense" – an ingredient long used in religious and ritual ceremonies.

The sap contains boswellic acids, a range of organic acids, which have been studied for their ability to kill cancer cells, in particular brain tumors and cells affected by leukemia or colon cancer. They also exhibit anti-inflammatory behaviour. Boswellia was historically used as a painkiller, particularly for those with arthritis. More recent studies have shown that boswellia does in fact, help to relieve symptoms associated with arthritis

When it comes to skin care, boswellic acid is included in preparations for its anti-inflammatory abilities:

Wrinkle prevention: A 2010 study involving 15 women with sun-damaged skin showed significant improvement in the appearance of wrinkles and skin elasticity after 30 days of treatment.
Redness. Likely due to its anti-inflammatory effects, boswellic acid reduces redness, producing a more even tone.
Acne. Boswellia has been used to clear up its appearance and encourage faster healing. It also has a reputation for reducing the likelihood of scarring.
Boswellic acid is well tolerated by most individuals and has no major side effects. It's always exciting to find out that an 'old' ingredient has lots of exciting potential.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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