Natural ingredients can protect skin from aging, stress, pollution, and UV rays without the irritation associated with prescription products such as retinoids (chemical compounds derived from vitamin A). Technological advances in natural anti-aging skin care have produced potent serums, lotions, and creams engineered to actually boost your skin’s collagen production while fighting free-radical damage. They also have the ability to repair skin damage caused by sun exposure.
“Antioxidants such as those in curcumin, pomegranate extract, and white tea extracts are good for overall anti-aging of the skin,” says Alex Khadavi, MD, FAAD, a Los Angeles-based board certified dermatologist specializing in anti-aging, and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California. Take a look:
Curcumin, the compound that gives the spice turmeric its yellow color, is showing promise in anti-aging, particularly for photo-damaged skin (“age spots”). Research shows that gel containing curcumin, applied for 6 months, resulted in a marked improvement of dark spots on the skin due to sun damage. Researchers believe curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties contribute to its effectiveness. Turmeric/curcumin can be found in facial cleansers and soaps as well.
2. Pomegranate Extract
Recent studies show pomegranate extract can stimulate the skin’s collagen production and may prevent collagen breakdown, and inhibit wrinkle formation by extending the life of fibroblasts (the cells that are ultimately responsible for producing collagen and elastin). Other studies have shown that pomegranate seed extract applied to the skin may help reduce the formation of some forms of skin cancer. Pomegranate extract’s free-radical fighting capabilities are possibly responsible for some of its skin benefits.
3. White Tea Extract
Scientists at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University conducted a study demonstrating that ingredients in white tea are effective in boosting the immune function of skin cells and protecting them against the damaging effects of the sun. In the study, a cream containing white tea extract protected the skin from oxidative stress and immune cell damage, which has applications in helping to prevent skin cancer and aging. White tea’s antioxidant properties helped to preserve cellular strength and the function of the skin.
Another study showed that drinking white tea prevented the activities of enzymes which break down elastin and collagen and can lead to wrinkles.
Cosmetic science is to thank for the use of peptides (small proteins that stimulate collagen production). Topical palmitoyl, for example, was shown to reduce fine lines in photoaged skin in a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. Research shows another peptide, acetyl hexapeptide-3, applied for 30 days, reduces the depth of wrinkles by attenuating muscle contraction.
5. Growth Factors
Growth factors (compounds that play a role in collagen production) including TGF and EGF are appearing in products promising firmer, younger looking skin, in part because of their proven ability to help heal surgical wounds. TGF stimulates collagen production, while EGF encourages skin-cell production.
Another breakthrough anti-aging ingredient is inositol, a close natural relative of vitamin B. Myo-inositol, the most prominent naturally occurring form, is often referred to as vitamin B8, although it’s not technically a vitamin because inositol can be syn-
thesized naturally within the human body. According to Khadavi, “Inositol has been associated with improvement of hair growth and overall improvement of skin.” Myo-inositol has also been shown to strengthen the cells of the hair, helping it to retain moisture, and serving as an antistatic agent. Its vitamin B-like properties allow it to aid in hair growth. Lower levels of inositol can lead to hair loss and skin dryness, even eczema.
DERMA E Peptides Plus Wrinkle Reverse Crème Two peptides—matrixyl and argireline—help reinforce the skin’s cell matrix while relaxing facial muscles to prevent new lines. Antioxidant Pycnogenol, vitamin C, and green tea extract rejuvenate skin.
BOTANIQUE BY HIMALAYA HERBAL HEALTHCARE Purifying Neem & Turmeric Cleansing Bar is handcrafted with certified organic herbs including neem, a detoxifying botanical, and turmeric, known for its complexion-brightening properties.
NOW SOLUTIONS Green Tea & Pomegranate Night Cream works while you sleep to protect, repair, and intensely hydrate. Nourishing green tea and pomegranate extracts are combined with moisturizing aloe and antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E.