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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien

Dr. Eva Simmons O’Brien received her MD from Yale University and is a board-certified dermatologist. With over 30 years of experience, she has worked for hospitals, established her own private practice, and consulted for organizations such as the FDA. Today, Dr. Eva runs her own practice in addition to serving as our Chief Science Officer.

horsetail on plate

Horsetail: Benefits and Uses

Horsetail: Benefits and Uses

 

by

Hey man, have you heard about horsetail? Yeah, we didn’t think so. In fact, we’d be pretty surprised if you knew that horsetail is a type of plant (and we’d also congratulate you on your superior botanical knowledge).  

Unless you’re into herbal medicine or have some basic bushcrafting skills, you’ve probably never even heard of horsetail. Lucky for you, Disco has, and we know how amazing it is for your skin. 

Our team of skin experts and dermatologists have spent countless hours determining which ingredients are beneficial for the specific pH balance of men’s skin, and which ones aren’t worth putting in our products. Our product ingredients are always intentional, and horsetail is one of our favorites.

At Disco, we believe in the importance of all-natural, science-backed ingredients that really work. Here’s everything you need to know about horsetail: what it is, how it gets into skincare products, and what you can expect in terms of benefits. 

What is Horsetail?

Here’s a hint: it’s not attached to a horse’s ass. 

Horsetail is a plant that grows wild in North America and Europe. It is shaped similarly to a cattail; it has a long stem with a thick seeding “bloom” at the end that can look like a pinecone or like slender, wispy leaves, depending on what stage of growth the plant is currently in. 

The top of the plant resembles a brush that could be used to clean a bottle (slender with “bristles”), and because of its shape it is often referred to as bottle brush. 

Horsetail has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy, and if you ever find yourself in a wilderness survival situation, you can even harvest and eat it. 

Horsetail is a great, all natural, skincare ingredient because it has bacteria-fighting and free radical-busting properties which are great for the skin.

How We Put It Into Products

Horsetail may be good for your skin, but you’re not going to get the benefits from it by finding it in the woods and smearing it on your face. In order for it to be best used by your skin’s cells, it needs to get into skincare products in the form of an extract. 

To make a horsetail extract, the leaves of the horsetail plant are harvested at a particular point in their life cycle and dried. 

From this point, the leaves are then steeped, which forms a type of tea you could even drink. Highly concentrated horsetail “tea” will become horsetail extract, and that’s what eventually makes its way into most of your skincare items. 

What’s So Great About Horsetail?

Why would you need to put foliage on your face unless you were in a jungle behind enemy lines? There are several reasons. The plant compounds found in horsetail are gentle on skin, yet deliver some powerful results. 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has given horsetail extract a 1. This is the safest ranking an ingredient can receive, and means it isn’t a known toxin, irritant, or carcinogen. The EWG tests product ingredients to the highest of standards, so receiving a rating of 1 means this ingredient is incredibly safe.

Horsetail is most often found in cleansing products like washes, shampoos, and conditioners. It contains antioxidants and has skin-smoothing properties that can help wash away dead skin cells and promote new skin cell generation, which means it helps you look younger, too. 

Here’s why we love this ingredient.

Antimicrobial and Antibacterial

Ancient cultures used horsetail for medicinal purposes, probably because it has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Horsetail extract works great to keep your skin clean and free from unhealthy bacteria, which is why you often find it in washes.

Unlike harsh antibacterial ingredients in some washes, horsetail handles bacteria naturally and effectively without drying out skin and making it ashy. It is excellent at keeping body odor-causing bacteria away. 

Antioxidant

You keep hearing about antioxidants, but do you really know why you need them? 

Your skin is constantly fighting off free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that latch onto molecules in your skin’s cells and cause them harm. That harm is normally seen as premature aging. Free radicals are everywhere, and come from environmental stressors like: 

  • UV rays;
  • Smoke;
  • Smog;
  • X-rays;
  • Air pollution;
  • Industrial Chemicals;
  • Cigarette smoke; and
  • Alcohol (Don’t shoot the messenger). 

Your skin needs antioxidants to fight off free radicals. Antioxidants help protect your skin cells against the intrusion of free radicals, giving them a fighting chance to resist damage. 

Horsetail is a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen and protect cells from external damage, so including it in a product you’d use daily is a foolproof way to give your skin fighting power against environmental stressors. 

Skin Smoothing

If your skin looks like a patch of rough road that could use repaving, horsetail extract can help. Horsetail is an excellent source of silica, which helps promote the production of collagen. Collagen is the basic building block of your skin (and your tendons and ligaments). 

Collagen helps your skin look and feel smooth, wrinkle-free, and healthy. As you age, your skin’s collagen production begins to decline, leaving you with skin that is less youthful looking. 

Because horsetail contains the most silica of virtually any other plant, it’s the best at helping support your skin’s natural collagen production. Higher collagen levels in your skin help it feel and look smoother, evening out texture and tone. 

Skin Soothing

It smoothes and it also soothes. In addition to helping your skin fight off free radicals and keeping your face smooth and youthful, horsetail also helps repair and restore irritated skin

Skin that is dry, itchy, flaky, red, rashy, or bumpy can get relief from this powerful ingredient which helps calm down areas of irritation and distress. Over time, you’ll notice horsetail’s power to help your skin maintain its balance, and you’ll see less irritation. 

Let’s Disco

How can you get your mitts on this magical ingredient and make it work for your skin? Say no more. Disco includes a healthy helping of horsetail in our Invigorating Body Wash

This body wash is made with natural ingredients and doesn’t include any parabens, toxins, or known irritants, so you can use it without fear that it will damage your skin or your body.

Made with hydrating aloe, this body wash won’t overdry your skin like most bar soaps. You’ll leave the shower feeling clean, refreshed, and hydrated -- never chapped or ashy. 

Because we always double down, we’ve added chamomile to the mix, which is also full of free radical fighting antioxidants so once you leave the shower, you’re protected and ready for whatever the environment has to throw at you. 

Why Disco?

Why Disco instead of a big box store brand? There are a few reasons. 

  1. All natural ingredients. Our products are all derived from natural ingredients. When our founder created our line of skincare items, he wanted to give men access to the same high-quality, all-natural skin care products made for women, but pH balanced and formulated for men’s skin. 

    Our ingredients are natural, safe, and beneficial for your skin. You just can’t say that about the ingredients in most skincare you find at your local store. In fact, some of the ingredients in those other products are known toxins and skin irritants that other countries have even banned from use. 

  2. pH balanced for a man. No more borrowing products from the women’s aisle (or from their bathroom counters). Disco is specially formulated to work best for the specific pH balance of a man’s skin, which is between 5.5 and 6.5 on the pH scale. 

  3. Easy like Sunday morning. Disco’s products aren’t just accessible -- they're easy to use and provide maximum results with very little effort. If you’ve got five minutes in the morning or evening, you can adopt a basic men’s skincare routine that will keep your skin healthy, protected, and more comfortable.

  4. Convenient. Hate shopping for skincare items (or never actually have)? We make it easy. You can grab our products on a convenient 3-month subscription option so you never run out of the stuff you need. 

    A little commitment-phobic? No worries, you can make a one-time purchase, too. 

  5. Dermatologist-approved. Not only are Disco’s products dermatologist-tested, they’re dermatologist-formulated. Our chief medical advisor worked tirelessly with our team to develop the most natural, safest, result-driven formulas for our products. Every ingredient we place in our products is as intentional as what we leave out. 

Sure, you can probably find horsetail in a body wash elsewhere, but you can’t get Disco quality and proven results anywhere else. 

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4499799/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20170379/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5832138/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938278/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4441770/

https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredients/702264-equisetum-arvense-horsetail-extract/

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