The skin absorbs a lot of what it touches, which is what makes natural skincare especially important. The last thing any of us needs is more toxins in our body. While many cosmetic companies like to downplay the impact of artificial additives, the truth is, no one really knows the long-term effects of synthetic products.
The cumulative impact of this chemical cocktail is even harder to predict. That goes for the environment as well. Treat yourself and the planet right. Following are eight natural skincare ingredients you should try.
1. Pearl Powder
Did you know that the pearls that people wear as jewelry actually have medicinal powers? Going as far back as Cleopatra, pearl powder has been used to enhance beauty and health. Pearl powder has long been prized in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for its anti-aging and calming properties. Pearl powder stands up to the test of modern science.
With over 30 trace minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and other healthful compounds, pearl powder nourishes the skin and can be used as part of a gentle facial cleansing routine. Applied after washing, it also imparts a luminous sheen to the skin. When you’re looking for gifts for grandma, consider pearls, in any form she might like best.
2. Green Tea
Green tea has been popular in Asia for almost a thousand years. It is chock-full of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds. These properties repair and improve the appearance of the skin, slowing the aging process. Even better, green tea reduces oxidative stress, protecting against skin cancer including melanoma.
Green tea can also help with conditions like rosacea, fungal infections including candidiasis, and other skin issues such as atopic dermatitis. In studies, it has also been proven effective in treating acne. Green tea offers further benefits in reducing puffiness around the eyes. Applied externally or taken internally, green tea works wonders on your skin.
3. Licorice Root
Licorice root is another skincare gift from ancient China. It contains bio-active compounds that enhance skin cell production. Great news for acne-prone skin: licorice also offers antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory effects. Licorice soothes disorders like eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and dermatitis. As if that weren’t enough, licorice root extract is a natural skin lightener that evens out tone and treats melasma, hyperpigmentation, and other pigmentation issues.
People have been using cocoa as food and medicine for thousands of years. Besides being delicious, cocoa butter or extract offers amazing benefits for the skin. Cocoa is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and omega-3s, to name just a few healthful compounds. Its nourishing and moisturizing properties are famous, and you can also use cocoa butter to protect against damaging UV sun rays.
Additionally, cocoa inhibits the production of enzymes that cause wrinkles; regular use reduces the signs of aging. One word of caution: because cocoa butter may clog pores, use sparingly if you are prone to breakouts.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe is a tropical plant that contains a range of healthful ingredients, including vitamins, amino acids, and phenolic compounds. Aloe’s anti-inflammatory effects are well known and it is often used to soothe burns including sunburn. Aloe is anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic and it speeds wound healing. It also reduces itchiness and can slow the progression of stretch marks during pregnancy.
From insect bites to infections, aloe works great on many skin conditions. It’s an all-purpose ingredient that offers phenomenal benefits for your body, inside and out. Just keep in mind that aloe can be very potent so use sparingly.
6. Calendula (Marigold)
Calendula is another plant that has been used since ancient times to promote health and beauty, and it is still popular today. Marigolds are not only pretty and edible, they also offer fantastic benefits for your epidermis. Calendula contains esters, antioxidants, saponins, flavonoids and essential oils, to name just a few of its health-boosting compounds. It is bio-active and promotes the synthesis and growth of collagen and skin.
Calendula also offers protection against UV stress and is a top choice for soothing eczema and skin inflammation. Other uses include treating athlete’s foot, swelling, bruises, insect bites, and dry or sensitive skin. Marigold is a fantastic ingredient to look for when purchasing skincare products.
Besides its delightful, soothing smell, lavender contains many phytochemicals that offer many benefits for the skin. Lavender oil promotes the creation of collagen, the primary constituent of skin that starts to break down as early as our 20s. It is also effective in healing wounds and injuries, as well as soothing insect bites and sunburn.
In studies, lavender has been shown to be effective against psoriasis and eczema. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce pain and general skin irritation. Note that, as with all fragrances, lavender may irritate sensitive skin.
8. Coconut Oil
Versatile and aromatic, coconut oil nourishes your skin from the outside and the inside. It penetrates deep, strengthening your skin from the innermost layers. Coconut oil removes dead skin cells, and protects against sunburn and bacterial and viral infections. It also fights chronic skin conditions like atopic dermatitis. Added bonus: coconut oil is great for your hair. Taken internally, it promotes healthy digestion and even fat-burning. What’s not to love?
For your own health and that of the environment, choose natural skincare whenever possible.