We all want healthy, beautiful, glowing skin. But if we're using conventional beauty products, we may be paying a high price for our health. Many of our favorite "power products" are full of toxins that are harmful to our environment and have been linked to serious health issues.
But we don't have to sacrifice powerful anti-aging and beauty-promoting results to avoid harsh chemicals and toxins.
The key to finding natural beauty products that work is to look for certain ingredients in amounts high enough for them to be effective, while continuing to avoid harmful ingredients.
To help sort the hype from the science, here are five natural ingredients that have been shown to change and improve our skin.
1. Coenzyme Q10
Our bodies naturally make CoQ-10 to neutralize free radicals in cells, but we make less as we age. Adding CoQ10 to your beauty routine can help combat signs of aging, keep healthy cells looking healthy longer and plump and boost the appearance of aging cells.
What to look for on the label: Ubiquinone, Ubidecarenone, Coenzyme Q, CoQ, Q10, CoQ10, CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
2. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a natural compound found in skin that helps retain moisture, encourages tissue repair and provides that cushioning characteristic of younger skin. A powerful anti-aging agent, hyaluronic acid helps plump up skin and alleviate fine lines and wrinkles.
What to look for on the label: Hyaluronic acid, hyaluronan, glycosaminoglycan and sodium hyaluronate.
3. Vitamin C
As we age, our bodies slow down the production of collagen and elastin, both of which keep skin strong, flexible and resilient. The antioxidants found in vitamin C help stimulate the production of collagen and minimize fine lines, wrinkles and scars. It's important to look for the fat soluble form of Vitamin C (Vitamin C ester or ascorbic palmitate), not the water soluble version (ascorbic acid). The fat soluble form of vitamin C is less irritating, more powerful and better absorbed by the skin.
What to look for on the label: Vitamin C ester, ascorbyl palmitate
Ceramides are a type of lipid found in the membrane of cells. They help hold skin cells together, forming a protective layer that plumps the skin and retains moisture. Ceramide levels decrease as we age which leads to loss of hydration, less skin turnover and dryer, more damaged skin. Replenishing the skin's ceramide levels will help restore moisture and fortify the skin's natural barrier, helping skin look and feel younger.
What to look for on the label: There are nine different ceramides labeled 1 through 9 (ie: ceramide 1, ceramide 2, etc.)
5. Green Tea Extract
Tea is loaded with nutrients called polyphenols, which have been shown to fight free radicals. Studies have found that ingredients in green tea can reduce sun damage and may protect against skin cancer when applied topically. Using green tea extract under sunscreen can provide an extra dose of protection. Polyphenols in creams and lotions will help slow signs of aging, reduce sagging skin and decrease wrinkles.
What to look for on the label: green tea extract
Now that we've identified these powerful natural ingredients, how do we know if they're present in amounts strong enough to make a difference?
Pay close attention to the order of the ingredient list. All ingredient lists begin with the largest concentration and move downward, often ending with trace elements. While you won't typically see these anti-aging ingredient in the first or second spot, if they're near the end of a long list, they're most likely present in amounts too small to be effective.
Finally, all beauty products should be checked for potentially harmful or toxic ingredients like parabens, PEGs, sulfates, DEA/MEA/TEA, siloxanes, Vitamin A (retinol), formaldehyde releasers and BHA. These ingredients are associated with negative health effects and should be avoided.
Now that you know what to look for, go ahead and pamper your skin. These five ingredients will be worth the splurge and help you get the most glowing, radiant, youthful, healthy skin ever!
Photo Credit: Shutterstock