7 High-Performance Ingredients To Look For In Natural Skin Care Products

Written by Lorraine Dallmeier

Scientific research is backing up what herbalists have known for a very long time: natural and botanical extracts can deliver high performance results when it comes to skin care.

Shoppers are now demanding their skin care actually deliver noticeable results and have begun looking for effective, natural ingredients on their product labels as they move away from mainstream cosmetics and personal care products. When you're shopping for natural skin care products, look for these ingredients on the label:

1. Lecithin

Lecithin is a phospholipid, which are generally extracted from sunflower or soy (or egg yolks) as lecithin, but are also found in olive and hazelnut oils. Why is this ingredient so amazing? Its head is attracted to water while its tail repels it, meaning it makes a great moisturizer since it actively works with the skin, which also has water-loving and water-hating parts. The similarity in structure means lecithin helps moisturizing ingredients penetrate further into the skin.

Lecithin can improve and protect cells and membrane damage from free radicals, which are thought to be one of the main causes of aging.

2. Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is found in skin, connective and nerve tissue, making your skin look firm and healthy. This high performance ingredient enhances the appearance of dry or damaged skin by boosting moisture content and restoring suppleness. It's often used in moisturizers and anti-wrinkle formulas for its moisturizing potential. It can also absorb up to 1000 times its own weight in water, aiding in the firmness and suppleness of your skin.

3. Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

Vitamin E is often added to creams and lotions as a natural antioxidant because it prevents the oils and butters in those creams from going rancid too quickly. It also works as an antioxidant to protect the skin against free radical damage.

4. Olive squalane

Olive squalane is sometimes also referred to as "nature's face-lift" since it's found in your skin's natural oils and is easily synthesized by your body. It's an excellent moisturizer and feels much lighter than most other cosmetic oils. Squalane functions as an antioxidant, prevents UV damage and promotes cell growth.

5. Salicylic acid

Derived from the bark of the willow tree, salicylic acid is oil soluble and so can blend with your skin's natural oils to penetrate into the pores where it dissolves and removes the dead skin cells that clog pores and cause pimples.

6. Essential fatty acids

Though essential fatty acids (EFAs) are essential to good health, we must ingest them since our bodies can't make them. Eating EFAs certainly benefits our skin from the inside out, but when applied topically, they help with the maintenance and recovery of skin, anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory effects and helping other ingredients penetrate further into your skin. Look out especially for linoleic acid and gamma linolenic acid (GLA).

7. Coenzyme Q10

Also known as ubiquinone or CoQ10, coenzyme Q10 is present in all of our body's cells where it provides protection and production of the body's energy. Scientists have shown that CoQ10 fights signs of aging and can improve the appearance of wrinkles. The latest research suggests that topical application has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

So the next time you're shopping for natural skin care products, remember to check the labels for these seven ingredients if you want to get the most out of what you put on your body and face.

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