People used to think that natural products wouldn't help with aging skin, but so much has changed, says Barbara Close, herbalist and founder of Naturopathica Skincare. Now potent extracts from plants make it possible to create natural products that really work.
"Look for advanced ingredients like peptides, liposomes, and glycosides," says Suki Kramer, founder of Suki Skincare. These ingredients can brighten dull skin, improve uneven skin tone, and prevent wrinkles, all of which are early signs of aging from oxidation and environmental influences.
"I first discovered oils when I was on a modeling trip in the south of France," Maran says. "I saw an older French woman with beautiful skin and asked her what she used." (It was argan oil.)
"Think about the seed of a plant, where the oil comes from," Close says. "It contains the whole life force and genetic imprint of the plant." Oils such as evening primrose, rose hip, and argan contain omega-3s and -6s that protect cells and improve barrier function. "Basically, they hydrate your skin," Close says. And unlike mineral oils, they're absorbed into the skin -- instead of just sitting on top of the surface, blocking pores and causing breakouts.
"I use coconut oil for everything, without fail," says Karyn Calabrese, a holistic health expert. It works as a makeup remover and as an intensive moisturizer. Jojoba oil is even lighter and keeps oily skin in balance.
Good fats and oils, like olive oil and fish-oil supplements, are important for keeping the skin lubricated, our experts say. "You should not be avoiding healthy fat if you want to maintain young-looking skin," Kramer says. Studies show that fats and oils help improve the skin's barrier function, reduce water loss, and actually decrease inflammation.
Getting antioxidants through your diet is also important, says Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Choose fruits, leafy vegetables, and green tea. Your skin cells completely turn over every 28 days -- and those new cells incorporate whatever raw materials you're putting into your body.
Even when it comes to skin care, the mind-body connection is key, says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Stress and emotional upheavals can make your skin look many years older than it actually is. When you're stressed, cortisol molecules are at a higher concentration than anti-inflammatory molecules; cortisol breaks down collagen, promotes wrinkles, and causes dry skin.
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