Find out how these health and beauty staples benefit your skin
You don’t have to be a mad scientist to know all about skin care ingredients, but you do need to be aware of labels and what to look for when shopping. To better understand some of beauty’s top ingredients, we enlisted the help of Rachael Pontillo, president and cofounder of The Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance, creator of holisticallyhaute.com, and bestselling author of Love Your Skin, Love Yourself. So next time you’re scoping out the aisles for new beauty products and supplements, keep an eye out for these:
1. Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is a skin care ingredient you should really get to know, in case it’s not already on your radar. And don’t be wary when you see the word “acid.” It won’t strip the skin at all. In fact, it’s actually moisture binding and will help keep the skin hydrated and plump, which is why it is found in a plethora of creams and serums on the market. While it’s mainly used in topical form, there are also supplements—which Pontillo prefers—that “bind moisture into the skin at the cellular level.”
But before you buy a supplement, she recommends reading the label carefully. “You want pharmaceutical-grade hyaluronic acid, which is derived from rooster combs,” relays Pontillo. “As unglamorous as that sounds, vegan alternatives made from sugar beets are typically GMO and only cosmetic grade, which isn’t the quality you’d want for internal supplementation.”
Try: Nature’s Way Hydraplenish Hyaluronic Acid
Chances are you’ve heard of biotin before. This popular B vitamin supports the production of keratin—the building block that makes up hair, skin, and nails. Biotin helps aid in healthy formation of the hair, skin, and nails from the inside out. It is most commonly used as a supplement, and is known best for strengthening brittle nails and stimulating hair growth. “I always recommend people buy the best-quality supplements possible from companies that ethically source and manufacture their products—but it’s also widely available from [eating] whole foods,” says Pontillo. “Some whole food sources of biotin are eggs, sweet potatoes, nuts, onions, and tomatoes.”
Try: SOLGAR Biotin 10,000 MCG
3. Green tea
Green tea has many surprising beauty benefits. First and foremost, it helps degradation of elastin and collagen, which are essential for youthful-looking skin. It is also high in antioxidants and helps reduce inflammation—which is a great option for those with skin conditions. Pontillo suggests consuming several cups a day to reap the benefits. “I prefer people just drink the tea or use a fresh preparation—the benefits are more intact that way,” she says.
Green tea is also popular as an ingredient in skincare products such as toners and cleansers. In powdered form, it’s a great option for an at-home face masque treatment. It is also known that green tea, when combined with an FDA-approved sunscreen, will help maximize protection from harmful UV rays.
Try: YOGI TEA Green Tea Super Antioxidant
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is absolutely necessary for healthy skin. “It is a powerful antioxidant that can help combat free radicals from environmental aggressors, and also is essential for healthy collagen production,” says Pontillo. Aside from getting your daily dose from fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, and pineapple, you can also apply it topically or take supplements—but it’s important to know the difference between the two.
When taking supplements internally, look for those with L-ascorbic acid. It’s more beneficial to the body when taken internally. Topically, Pontillo recommends ascorbyl palmitate, the ester of vitamin C. “It is oil soluble, which means it can penetrate the skin’s barrier layer; it is not acidic, which means it is nonirritant and actually has an anti-inflammatory effect; and it does not break down or oxidize quickly, so its benefits last much longer than L-ascorbic acid.” Just be cautious of vitamin C products and the sun, as they’re known to cause photosensitivity. Use them at night for the best results.
Try: 100% PUREBrightening Serum
Looking for an effective, all-natural night serum? Try this easy DIY recipe for healthy, glowing skin.
Green Tea and Rosehip Night Repair Serum
½ oz. green tea-infused jojoba oil (see recipe below)
½ oz. rosehip seed oil
1 ml vitamin E oil
2 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops frankincense essential oil
- Pour ingredients into a 1oz dark glass pump bottle. Shake well.
- Apply one pump to clean dry skin at night and follow with moisturizer.
Green tea infused jojoba oil recipe:
4 ounces of dried green organic tea leaves
- Add green tea leaves to a 16 ounce mason jar.
- Next, add enough jojoba oil to cover the tea leaves with approximately two inches of oil on top.
- Close the jar, shake, and put the jar out in the sun for 2-3 weeks, shaking daily.
- After the time is up, remove the tea leaves and pour the oil through a double layer of cheesecloth to make sure there aren't any particles of tea.
- Pour in a dark glass bottle, close and store in a cool, dry place (or in the refrigerator) and use within 1 year.