The most effective and proven natural skin care ingredients don’t compete with or disrupt the skin’s fundamental structure and processes. They complement how nature designed our largest organ, skin. Unfortunately, as we age some of these processes weaken. Our skin needs a boost to remain healthy and vital. The following natural skin care ingredients mimick your body’s natural signals to protect, hydrate and revitalize your skin.
On the skin’s surface is a protective coating of sebum that is produced in the sebaceous glands. It hydrates the skin by locking in moisture and forms a protective barrier against germs. It also protects against UV rays. Overproduction of sebum causes oily skin while underproduction causes dry, flaky skin.
Ceramides are skin cells on the epidermis (outer skin layer) that contain fats. Their job is to keep skin moist and prevent germs from entering the body. When skin’s ceramides level decrease, the skin becomes dry. To offset this, ceramides are added to creams and moisturizers to restore the skin’s optimum levels. There are different kinds of ceramides so read the labels. For dry skin try skin care products with ceramide 1 (EOS), 3 (NP), and 6-II (AP).
Squalene is found naturally in olives, rice bran, sugar cane and humans. Your skin cells produce this lipid naturally but the amount declines with age. A stable form of this molecule is hydrogenated before it can be used in skin care products. The resulting ingredient is called squalane on product labels. It can be found in moisturizers, sunscreen, and lip gloss. It has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness, while also increasing moisture and diminishing fine lines. An antioxidant, it fights free radicals.
Hyaluronic acid gives the skin structure. It’s a humectant that draws water from the atmosphere and holds that water on your skin’s surface. It helps keep skin soft, hydrated, and elastic while reducing wrinkles and roughness. Studies have shown that small molecules of hyaluronic acid can penetrate the skin to alter the depth of wrinkles, improve elasticity around the eyes and increase moisture on the skin surface.
Alpha hydroxy acids are water-soluble acids that help exfoliate and resurface the skin. The smallest molecules are contained in glycolic acid, which is often used in skin care products because it penetrates the skin surface to promote exfoliation and brightening.
Jojoba oil comes from the nut of the hearty, perennial jojoba plant. It is a humectant, drawing and locking water in to soften and hydrate skin. An antioxidant it contains vitamin E and antimicrobial properties, helping to reduce the impact of pollution and toxins on the skin. Its makeup is so similar to that of skin’s naturally occurring sebum that the oil isn’t likely to build up or clog pores. It seals the skin’s surface in a soothing way and helps regulate sebum production.
We learn more about the structure and processes of human skin each year. Look for ingredients on product labels that respect and work with the skin in the way nature intended.
(photo: cottonbro | pexels)