Gorgeous, glowing skin is possible at any age with these naturally rejuvenating age erasers.
The passage of time gets written across our faces in the form of crow’s feet, laugh lines and other assorted wrinkles and sagging skin. “Certainly, no one wants to look older than they are—and sometimes we don’t even want to look our age!” quips Lisa Petty, healthy-aging expert and author of “Living Beauty: Feel Great, Look Fabulous & Live Well.”
Still, rolling back the clock on your skin using beauty formulations made with unhealthy chemicals isn’t the answer if it makes you sick down the road. “Ingredients such as parabens, for example, can wreak havoc on hormones and have been found intact in human breast tissue,” explains Petty. “We simply don’t need to take the risk with our health. Mother Nature has provided us with plenty of safe, raw materials that can help us look and feel younger.” If you’re longing for fresher-looking skin—the natural way—check out the following five antiaging favorites.
1. Hyaluronic Acid
Although the name hyaluronic acid sounds like a scary laboratory chemical, it’s actually a natural component of healthy skin. “Since it’s able to attract and retain water, hyaluronic acid can help support collagen fibers,” explains John Salerno, MD, director of The Salerno Center in New York City and author of “Fight Fat With Fat.” In essence, it traps huge amounts of water in the skin in order to give it a smooth, firm appearance.
Although there is a much bigger body of research related to injectable hyaluronic acid, there are a few studies that focus on the oral form. For example, in one study, about 100 middle-aged adults took either hyaluronic acid pills or placebo pills for one month. By the end of the month, the people taking the real pills had measurable improvements to skin moisture content compared to the beginning of the study, as well as in contrast to those taking the dummy pills. To help restock your skin’s hyaluronic acid stores, Salerno recommends taking 100 mg daily.
A key job of collagen—which Salerno points out is mainly found in the middle layer of the skin—is to “provide the skin with strength, texture and resilience.” The body makes its own collagen, but as production dwindles with the passage of time, the skin loses its supple, youthful appearance. The solution is as simple as a bottle of collagen pills or a topical preparation that includes collagen.
When researchers keep a close eye on the skin qualities of people supplementing with collagen, the results are plain to see. In one recent study, women supplementing with collagen (either 2.5 g or 5 g daily) for two months showed improved skin elasticity and hydration.
3. Camu Camu
“The South African fruit camu camu, which acts as an amazing astringent and anti-inflammatory, contains extremely high vitamin C levels,” says Salerno. Since vitamin C is a key component of collagen synthesis, camu camu can help replenish collagen supplies in the skin. Camu camu supplements can be used in the amount of 500 mg twice per day, he adds.
“Ceramides are essentially fats that are naturally present in the top layers of the skin. In terms of beauty and antiaging purposes, the excitement for ceramides is that they help to retain moisture and plump up skin,” says Petty. If you want to give them a try, take a close look at product labels, since many ceramides on the market are synthetic.
Salerno is also a fan of ceramides; he finds that supplementing with wheat ceramides can help restore flagging ceramide levels in aging skin, benefiting skin moisture and smoothness while battling other factors that contribute to the signs of aging. He recommends 350 mg daily.
In one study examining a group of women with dry skin, those who took 350 mg of ceramides every day for three months felt their skin became more hydrated. When dermatologists objectively evaluated their skin (in comparison to a placebo group), it was clear that the ceramides did greatly improve moisture levels and skin dryness. As a topical moisturizer, ceramides can be particularly helpful as an add-on therapy during acne treatment to counteract potential skin dryness and irritation.
5. Orthosilicic Acid
Orthosilicic acid is simply a biologically active form of the trace mineral silicon. This mineral plays a big role in healthy skin, as well as hair and nails. Numerous studies show that orthosilicic acid helps boost collagen levels, says Salerno, who suggests aiming for 5 mg twice per day.
“I’m all about creating beauty from the inside out with nourishing foods and supplements. Start by eating a colorful mix of fruits and vegetables to get the nutrients you need for healthy skin, and try taking supplemental orthosilicic acid, which you can find in both capsule and liquid forms,” shares Petty.
There is certainly research to back up the hype with orthosilicic acid. When a group of women with sun-damaged skin used a supplement every day for five months, dermatologists noted significant benefits in terms of skin roughness and elasticity.
8 More Ways to Feed Your Skin
If you’re looking for additional ways to give your skin a youthful boost, then look no further than these skin-loving dietary supplements and herbs.
|Vitamin C||Ramps up collagen production of skin, wards off wrinkles and lessens skin damage from sun exposure.||Take 500–1,500 mg daily.|
|B-complex vitamins||Enhances skin circulation and helps prevent acne breakouts.||Take a B-50 complex once per day.|
|Coconut oil||Lubricates and softens skin.||Apply a thin layer of food-grade coconut oil to any trouble spots.|
|Essential fatty acids||Locks in skin moisture and helps treat acne, eczema and psoriasis.||Take 3 g of evening primrose oil or 1 Tbsp of flaxseed oil daily.|
|Gotu kola||Strengthens connective tissue and heals various skin conditions, including minor wounds, varicose veins and cellulite. Helps prevent and treat enlarged scars (keloids).||Take 60 mg of a standardized extract daily. Gotu kola ointment can also be applied to the affected areas several times daily.|
|Green tea||Protects against photoaging of the skin and reduces the risk of skin cancer.||Drink several cups of green tea or take 200–400 mg of green tea extract daily.|
|Pycnogenol||Contains proanthocyanidins, which protect skin collagen from free radical attack and degrading enzymes.||Take 50–200 mg of Pycnogenol (from pine bark) or grape seed extract daily.|
|Selenium||Improves skin elasticity and staves off wrinkles.||Take 200 mcg daily.|
1/2 cup aloe vera
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon green tea powder
4 drops grapeseed extract
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1 medium-sized ripe banana
Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Blend until smooth.
Herbed Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Almonds
5 medium sized beets
1/4 cup water
2 garlic cloves
1 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons flaxseed oil
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped
2–4 ounces herbed goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash beets well and pat dry. Place in baking dish, add 1/4 cup of water and cover with foil. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until all beets tender but not mushy. Remove from oven, uncover and let cool at room temperature.
Once they’re cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut into smaller pieces. Place beet pieces, garlic, Greek yogurt, flaxseed oil, rosemary and maple syrup in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to scrape into a serving bowl. Crumble goat cheese on top and sprinkle with crushed almonds. Serve with a warm baguette or whole-wheat pita.
Seared Salmon with Roasted Broccoli and Brown Rice
1 large bunch of broccoli
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup long grain brown rice
2 (4–6 ounce) filets of fresh salmon
2 tablespoons flaxseed oil
Fresh lemon juice and olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and break down broccoli into small florets. Toss in one tablespoon of flaxseed oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread them out evenly across on a foil-lined sheet pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package instructions. Season the salmon filet. Heat the flaxseed oil in medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the salmon and cook until the bottom-side is golden brown and crispy, then flip it over and turn off heat. When the broccoli is about three minutes away from being done, place the salmon in the oven as well.
Season the cooked rice and remove both broccoli and salmon from the oven. Squeeze some fresh lemon over the fish or drizzle with a bit of olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!