If there were a Hall of Fame for natural ingredients, carrot, rosehip, and sea buckthorn would be like Louis Armstrong — inducted early and forever cherished. But thanks to the ever-curious, plant-loving whizzes in anti-aging skincare these days, there are plenty of other botanical ingredients out there that deserve just as much hype.
From fading brown spots to repairing DNA, check out the new skin transformers in town and why they’re worth making room for.
1. Nettle Leaf
If you’re gung-ho about aging gracefully and preventing premature fine lines and sagging, getting vitamins A and C inside and onto your body is non-negotiable. Vitamin A is treasured for its ability to encourage healthy skin cell production, while vitamin C protects from environmental damage. Nettle leaf is ultra-rich in both, making it a superstar nemesis against wrinkles.
But that’s not all. “Along with the most optimal ratios of skin-beautifying vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, nettle delivers one of the highest percentages of naturally occurring silica. Silica is incredible for increasing skin firmness and elasticity. It is called ‘nature’s Band-Aid’ because it binds the underlying cellular structure together,” April Gargiulo, founder of Vintner’s Daughter, tells EcoSalon. The glowing skincare expert also notes that nettle is one of the most nutrient-dense botanicals in the world, “so much so that in ancient times it was called ‘the food of life.’”
Find it in: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
2. Dioscorea Batatas Root Extract
Dioscorea Batatas, also known as Chinese Yam or “fairy food,” has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine for its antioxidant activity (in other words, its ability to protect the body from environmental aggressors like pollution and UV rays). Oh, and if you happen to be looking for a way to add a bit of metaphysics to your skincare ritual, get this: Many people refer to Dioscorea Batatas as “The Root of Light,” as they believe the fleshy portion of the yam carries a light source that can be transferred to people, which then delivers energetic qualities that can support physical and spiritual health. Whether or not you believe it, you will believe your eyes once you see your newly perfected skin.
Find it in: Kjaer Weis Beautiful Oil
3. Yangu Oil
Also called Cape Chestnut, yangu is gathered and pressed for its precious oil by the locals, the Maasai of Africa. The oil is so effective at protecting skin from the sun (the top cause of premature aging) that the elderly Maasai enjoy smooth, glowing, and firm skin even though they hang out under the sun for hours every day. This is thanks to yangu oil’s rich content of protective antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which help keep skin hydrated, plump, soft, and elastic.
Find it in: May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon
4. Kigelia Africana Fruit Extract
This triple-threat ingredient is a godsend if you haven’t bid farewell to breakouts after your angsty teenage years—and it’s not only because of its bacteria-fighting properties. Kigelia extract is also anti-aging and calming, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice your wrinkle-fighting endeavors—even if your skin is sensitive and easily prone to irritation.
“It’s vital to protect your delicate skin barrier no matter what concern you’re trying to address,” says Jene Roestorf, founder of Luxe Botanics. “Many people, especially those with sensitive skin, harm their skin when they slather on harsh anti-acne ingredients. Kigelia is an exotic botanical from Malawi, which not only prevents and minimizes breakouts because of natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, but nourishes, soothes, and strengthens skin with its miraculous DNA-repairing powers.”
Find it in: Luxe Botanics Kigelia Clarifying Serum
You can’t seek a natural anti-aging solution and ignore something called “nature’s Botox plant,” right?! Like many botanical extracts, hibiscus protects skin from free radical damage, while firming and lifting. But on top of that, the mighty flower reduces appearance of pores, speeds up cell turnover, and prevents and minimizes blemishes because it contains alpha-hydroxy acid (AHAs). AHAs are chemical compounds that occur naturally in fruits, sugar cane, and milk. When applied topically, AHAs dissolve dead skin cells, which means you get clarified pores and smooth skin.
Find it in: Mahalo Pele Mask
6. Scarlet Pimpernel
Bleaching agents: ew. Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid: ouch. If dark spots and damage from over-sunning are your main skin concern, get all over scarlet pimpernel, which is celebrated for its ability to help lighten and brighten skin. It’s also known to soothe and calm skin (so even sensitive-skinned folks can get in on it)!
7. Red Clover
Red clover is prized for all its antioxidants, including the ultimate brightener vitamin C, but it’s really a winner because it also cleanses skin and stimulates the lymphatic system, which drains out toxins. The end result is clear, decongested, and luminous skin.
Find the above two in: Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Damage Repair Facial Serum
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