Your skin is your largest organ, making up more than 10 percent of your total body mass.1 So, why limit your skin care routine to just the ingredients you put on your face?
However, a holistic natural skin care routine — one that addresses the many areas of our lives that affect our skin — may help improve the overall appearance and texture of our skin more than we thought, no matter our skin type.
Let’s begin with the adage that beauty starts on the inside.
Natural Skin Care Ingredients That Work From the Inside Out
The health benefits of sound nutrition have long been documented, but how do the foods you eat affect your skin?
One prominent area of research is on the skin-aging effects of oxidative stress, or the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body.2A recent study found a diet high in fruits and vegetables (ingredients noted for their abundant antioxidative properties) can result in more youthful-looking skin.3
Another study, also focused on oxidative stress, found that the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids, particularly in olive oil, may help protect the skin from the appearance of photoaging.
Photoaging is the premature aging of skin due to sun damage from UV rays.4 And there are similar results on the skin anti-aging benefits of avocado oil, another ingredient high in monounsaturated fatty acids.5
Turning to the short-stemmed succulent aloe vera to further demonstrate the powerful punch nutrients pack — a study on the effects of consuming aloe vera gel as a dietary supplement found not only a significant improvement in the appearance of wrinkles, but also in photoaged skin.6
Now, that makes for a pretty compelling argument to ask your doctor if you should increase your daily fruit, vegetables, and healthy fat intake, as well as plant-based supplements like aloe vera, as part of a natural skin care routine.
Want To Retain More Moisture In Your Skin? Drink More Water
Your skin cells contain 64 percent water, which makes water one of the most vital ingredients in a natural skin care routine.7 Not only does water regulate your internal body temperature, lubricate your joints, and assist in flushing waste from the body, it may help dry skin retain moisture.8
So, how much water should you drink for its natural skin care benefits?
Experts say, for a generally healthy person, eight cups a day is adequate; however, this does not include the additional water you get from other drinks and foods in your diet. Plus, your individual needs may vary based on activity level, age, and the climate you live in, so it’s always a safe bet to check in with your doctor for their recommendation.9
Worried About Fine Lines? Sleep Is A Natural Skin-Care Must
Ever wake up after a night of very little sleep and think your face looks a little worse for wear? A study published in the academic journal Sleep may prove you’re not imagining things. Sleep deprivation results in the appearance of more visible fine lines, a paler skin tone, and corners of the mouth that appear droopier.10
Calling it an early night may result in more vibrant-looking skin.
Natural Skin Care Ingredients For Your Face And Body
Of course, consulting a dermatologist to address any issues you’re having with your particular skin type — oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, etc. — is key to safe, effective skin care. But there are a few natural skin care ingredients you may already have in your medicine cabinet (or kitchen pantry) that could also help. Ask your dermatologist if they are suitable for you.
This light seed oil — high in vitamin E and fatty acids — is noted for its moisturizing properties. It’s also a potential protector from sun damage.11 Argan oil is often used on its own as a moisturizer or as part of a cleansing routine to help draw out dirt from pores and slough away dead skin cells.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid from the fermentation process of combining apple cider with yeast and other good bacteria.12 In a diluted form (it is an acid afterall), it can be used as a facial cleanser and alcohol-free toner.
As a non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) ingredient with a long shelf life, jojoba oil can be used in diverse ways, including as a lip balm, makeup remover, and moisturizer.15
Thanks to its cleansing abilities, witch hazel has long been touted as a natural alcohol-free toner.16 Witch hazel is a liquid, much like water, so it’s best applied to the skin with a cotton pad.
What You Should Look For When Buying Natural Skin Care And Makeup Products (And What to Avoid)
While these natural ingredients alone can benefit the skin, you may see greater results when used alongside specially-formulated skin care products. Look for products that are free from parabens and harsh ingredients. Many will contain natural ingredients of their own such as coconut oil, bamboo extract or beeswax.
Ingredients like parabens and imidazolidinyl urea have a more dubious nature and are continually being studied for their possible negative health effects.19,20 As preservatives, these are very common ingredients in everything from face wash to eye cream, so be sure to read labels and avoid them.
Another trick to buying natural skin care products is to get over the ingredient-name learning curve. That is, some ingredients just sound scary, even though they aren’t.
Take hyaluronic acid, for example. It’s a substance that is naturally produced in the body and has been shown to help boost skin’s moisture retention.
Another ingredient with a scary name is salicylic acid. However, salicylic acid can be derived from natural plant sources and is often an effective ingredient for breakout-prone skin.
A Natural Skin Care Routine Goes Hand in Hand with a Healthy Lifestyle
Natural skin care doesn’t have to be confusing or overwhelming. Approaching your skin care as you would your overall health is the first step in the right direction.
So, eat your fruits and vegetables, drink your recommended glasses of water, turn the lights off at a reasonable hour, and choose cleansers, serums, and eye creams with natural ingredients for your skin care routine.
Support Healthy Hair With Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil
Banana, Egg, Olive Oil & Honey Hair Mask For Dry, Damaged Hair
How to Find a Good Hair Stylist