13 Natural Skincare Ingredients We Love
If you're like most of us, your skin doesn't stay the same all the time. Sometimes it's oilier, sometimes drier, and it probably also changes with the seasons. Further complicating matters is the fact that you may be interested in or worried about purchasing "clean" skincare and cosmetics. At NESARA by Nicky, we fully support the clean skincare movement. That's why none of our products contain parabens, phthalates, SLS, or formaldehyde.
Before we begin, here’s a quick note about natural products: they are not always better than or even different from their lab-made counterparts. Additionally, you must keep in mind that the phrase "natural" is not regulated. Sadly, any cosmetics firm can make such a claim, so be sure to always check labels and ingredient lists before buying (rule of thumb: natural products should not contain any artificial colors or fragrance.)
The term "natural" is a marketing staple, yet any good chemist will tell you that there is no such thing as a "natural substance." The molecular structure alone is what the body uses to determine if something is natural or synthetic. Vitamin C is a chemical that can either be made in a lab or found in nature. When looking at ingredients, one must consider whether or not the body is able to recognize them. This recognition is what gives you real results on your skin.
We've put together a list of 14 of the most effective, scientifically tested, naturally occurring skin care ingredients to make your search easier. Additionally, many of these are manufactured synthetically, which is perfectly OK (as stated above). Below, we've included information about each ingredient's natural origin and why it works so well in skincare.
1. ALPHA-HYDROXY ACIDS (AHAS)
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a class of acids produced from both plant and animal sources. In vegan and organic products, only acid derived from plants is used. Products that contain AHAs like serums, toners, and creams can be used on a daily basis, while chemical peels can be used sometimes for more intensive treatments.
Among the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), glycolic acid stands out. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane. The acids help dead skin flake off, exposing fresher skin underneath. Moreover, as a humectant, it helps your skin retain moisture by attracting water from the air.
AHAs have been shown to treat mild to severe acne, reduce wrinkles and fine lines, and lighten hyperpigmentation. They also help collagen form and thicken the skin. What is not to love?
2. ALOE VERA (ALOE BARBADENSIS EXTRACT)
This tiny succulent grows naturally in tropical regions worldwide. Since aloe vera gel can soothe and calm inflamed skin, it is the best natural cure for treating sunburns, rashes, and other skin irritations.
It can penetrate the skin's outermost layer, or epidermis, eight times faster than water, leading to the renewal of skin cells. The polysaccharides and gibberellins it contains aid in skin cell regeneration while also calming inflammation and reducing redness.
This amazing herb has been shown to slow down aging by increasing collagen production, making skin more flexible, and stopping fine lines and wrinkles from forming.
If you've ever looked up a solution for wrinkles, acne, or discoloration on your skin, you've probably come across "retinol," the current buzzword in skin care science.
But bakuchiol (pronounced "buh-KOO-chee-all") is making waves as retinol's gentle sister, who works just as well. It is a plant extract that can be used instead of retinol because it is natural, less irritating, and vegan.
It's the best thing there is for protecting against pollution, ageing, and free radicals all at once. It fights and gets rid of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots, and its effectiveness doesn't change even after being in the sun. It is also said to have powerful calming, soothing, and healing effects.
Bakuchiol has been found to be helpful for people with redness, irritation, and a damaged skin barrier.
Consider your skin cells to be the bricks, and these lipids (ceramides are long-chain lipids) to be the mortar that holds them together and keeps irritants at bay. The issue? As we get older, our skin naturally produces less ceramide; therefore, we need to apply more of it to maintain its youthful elasticity and smoothness.
It has been shown that the ceramides used in cosmetics, both those made in a lab and those made from plants, are very similar to the ceramides found in human skin. One Japanese study even found that ceramide use resulted in a more than 100% increase in skin moisture content.
5. COCOA (THEOBROMA CACAO)
This all-natural moisturiser does a fantastic job of counteracting the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin. Photoprotection from the sun's UV rays is essential to maintaining healthy skin, and cocoa’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities help to improve this defence.
Cocoa has also been shown to make wrinkles less likely by slowing the growth of collagenase and elastase, which are enzymes that break down skin cells.
A word of caution: Keep in mind that cocoa butter can clog pores, so use it with caution if you have a history of acne.
6. APRICOT OIL
Apricot kernel oil, also known as Khubani oil, has been revered for generations as one of the best skin care components in Indian homes due to its emollient properties. When put on hair and skin, this amazing oil has properties that make it soothing, healing, antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-aging. Oil has a distinct aroma reminiscent of ripe apricots.
It is naturally nourishing due to its balancing qualities. Because of these qualities, it is also a great ingredient to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps mend damaged skin, making it a wonderful option for people with sensitive skin.
7. HYALURONIC ACID
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies. It works well because it can hold a thousand times its weight in water. This not only aids the skin in keeping its natural moisture levels, but also stops any loss of moisture to the surrounding air. Whether your skin is oily or dry, this is one of the best moisturising agents you can use.
Hyaluronic acid serums are a great addition to many skincare routines, but they are especially helpful in the months between summer and fall and winter, when low humidity and dry indoor heat can mess up your skin's moisture levels.
8. LIQUORICE ROOT
Glycyrrhizin, a chemical found in liquorice's root, is the plant's star ingredient. In addition to its significant anti-aging effects, glycyrrhizin has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and acne-fighting qualities.
It regulates discolouration and pigmentation at the cellular level by reducing tyrosinase activity within the skin, the enzyme responsible for melanin creation. It also has an active chemical called liquiritin in it. This chemical attacks excess melanin and helps get rid of spots while stopping new ones from appearing.
To eliminate stubborn acne scars, pigmentation, and discolouration, try using liquorice root extract. Those who have oily skin will find it to be a great option since studies have shown it to have oil-controlling abilities.
9. SHEA BUTTER (BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII)
The nut of the shea tree, indigenous to Africa, is the source of shea butter. It's a great source of antioxidants and healthy fats (namely oleic, stearic, and linoleic acids).
Shea butter is used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions, including rashes, sunburn, chapped skin, ulcers, scars, blemishes, eczema, and dermatitis, thanks to its beneficial antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and moisturising characteristics. It works well to hydrate dry skin and protect it from the environment.
It's a common ingredient in high-quality natural skin moisturisers.
Some of its bioactive compounds have also been shown to stop the growth of certain types of cancer cells and prevent free radicals from doing damage.
One of the lipids your skin cells make on their own is called squalene (with an "e"). However, as you age, your body's production of squalene decreases. This natural moisturiser is produced in large quantities during adolescence and declines during adulthood. This causes your skin to get harsher and drier.
Humans aren't the only species to produce squalene naturally. Natural sources of the moisturiser include olive oil, rice bran, and sugarcane. It can also be obtained from shark livers.
Squalene derived from animals or plants is too susceptible to oxidation to be safely used in cosmetics. When exposed to oxygen, it can quickly become rancid and spoil.
Squalene is not a stable molecule, so it must be hydrogenated to produce squalane (with an "a") before it can be used in skin care products.
Hydrogenation is the process that turns unsaturated squalene into squalane, which is a more stable form of oil. Hydrogenation of the oil improves its skin-friendliness and prolongs its shelf life.
Studies have shown that squalane can also help the body detoxify. Using it regularly can also increase collagen formation, which can make the skin firmer.
11. VITAMIN C (L-ASCORBIC ACID)
Vitamin C is one of the best natural ingredients for skin care, and it also happens to be the most well-known (and consumed) vitamin.
Rosehip, sea buckthorn, and aloe vera are just a few of the many foods and drinks that contain vitamin C in their natural forms. L-ascorbic acid, however, has received the most attention from researchers.
Vitamin C, most often applied in the form of a serum but also available in cleansers and creams, is known to increase UV protection and fight dark spots and dull skin during the day.
It is found in fresh green leafy vegetables, berries, and citrus fruits, among others, and is an extremely potent antioxidant for treating dull, blemished, and uneven skin.
Sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and premature wrinkles are all conditions that can be improved with the help of vitamin C.
As a result, your skin is better able to withstand the sun's damaging rays (although you shouldn't skip sunscreen!) while also maintaining and increasing its collagen production.
12. VITAMIN B3 (Niacinamide)
Niacinamide, commonly known by its chemical name nicotinamide, is a kind of vitamin B-3. It is used to help the skin produce proteins and seal in moisture, both of which protect your skin against environmental stressors.
Niacinamide promotes the synthesis of keratin, a protein essential for maintaining healthy, resilient skin. It can help your skin make a ceramide (lipid) barrier, which helps keep moisture in the skin. In addition to making pores look smaller, it also makes redness and spots look less obvious. It helps maintain supple and hydrated skin.
Niacinamide may also be useful for controlling excessive oil production by the sebaceous glands.
Similar concentrations were also effective in lowering several solar damage indicators associated with ageing, according to the studies. Among these are fine lines and wrinkles.
Niacinamide not only protects skin cells from harmful environmental factors, including UV rays, pollution, and pollutants, but also aids in the growth of new skin cells.
13. VITAMIN E (TOCOPHERYL)
The name "d-alpha-tocopherol" refers to the natural form of vitamin E found in many foods. However, vitamin E can also be made in a lab. Vitamin E in its synthetic form is commonly known as dl-alpha-tocopherol. Compared to its synthetic counterpart, natural vitamin E is more effective.
This antioxidant is very good for the skin because it soothes it and protects it from rashes and sores. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
This elixir acts as a moisturiser and protects skin from the sun's rays thanks to its natural sun protection factor (SPF). It protects the skin from free radical damage, which contributes to the persistence of scars, and leaves the skin looking fresh and healthy.
When taken alongside vitamin C, vitamin E is absorbed more effectively.
14. ZINC OXIDE
Zinc oxide, a compound synthesised from zincite, has become a staple in cosmetic dermatology. It is a common ingredient in sunscreens and is also widely prescribed as an anti-acne treatment since it works by killing the P. acnes bacterium. It offers the highest level of protection against both UVA and UVB rays, which cause premature aging and sunburn, respectively.
Zinc oxide is great for people who want to get rid of acne, pimples, and sun spots. Sunscreens containing zinc oxide offer optimal defence against UV damage, allowing your skin to heal and recover more quickly.
Keep in mind that some of the above-mentioned ingredients can also be made synthetically. Again, synthetic substitutes are not worse than their "natural" counterparts. In fact, they are almost always chemically the same. (In some cases, a synthetic equivalent may be better because its chemical structure has been changed to make it more stable or easier to absorb.)
Finally, remember that packaging is everything when dealing with natural ingredients. In the same way that a head of lettuce won't last open in the refrigerator, natural ingredients won't last long in improper packaging. This happens when the product is exposed to air and light on a regular basis or when it becomes contaminated from being scooped out with bare hands.
This oxidation can make the active ingredients in your skin care products less stable, change their colour, and stop working. When purchasing skincare products, it is recommended that you seek out those that come in opaque jar packaging to prevent unnecessary exposure to the environment.
You'll then be maximizing the effectiveness of the organic, all-natural components that can finally give you the skin you've always wanted.