And wow, combing through the latest skin care trends is no small feat!
We hand selected ingredients and trends found in anti-aging skincare products and go over how they work. Plus we tell you the myriad of diverse sources for most of these trends! And guess what - finding these sources in their whole plant form almost always outweighs their isolated, extracted form.
How and why does our skin age?
Our skin ages both from intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors include things like our genes, diet, and stress. Extrinsic factors include things like exposure to the sun, pollutants, and other environmental factors.
As we get older, our bodies see a drop in estrogen that causes thinner skin, the appearance of wrinkles, and drier skin (1). Collagen and elastin production decrease as well, which also contributes to the thinning of skin, slower wound healing, easier bruising, and sagging skin (2).
Aging is normal, natural, and inevitable. “Anti-aging” is a term that gives the wrong impression - we should not and cannot be against the aging process. Our bodies, just like the trees, age with strength, resilience, and wisdom. There is no need to fight this process. We can, however, support our bodies by taking preventative action and including holistic health practices that nurture our bodies from the inside and the outside.
Green Tea & Polyphenols
Green tea has been a natural and effective trend in the skincare industry for more than a couple decades. Why? Because it is so rich in the micronutrient group known as polyphenols. Green tea is awesome for skin health, but so are tons of other polyphenol rich plants!
Polyphenols are loaded with antioxidant activity. It is the polyphenols in green tea that gift it with its anti-aging properties. Protection from UV-induced damage can lessen inflammation, protect against skin cancer, and slow oxidative stress & DNA damage (3).
- Coffee drinkers - swap your afternoon coffee with afternoon green or black tea!
- Chocolate lovers, add cacao powder to your smoothies and recipes.
- Seek out skincare that incorporates medicinal herbs! Like Anato’s Baume Reparateur with rosemary, chamomile, thyme, oregano and lavender. Or Anato’s Regenerative Elixir loaded with roses and rosehip seed oil, or the Ocean Friendly Sunblock with cacao!
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Ascorbic acid, better known as Vitamin C, performs many anti-aging actions for our skin! It is the basis of the barrier function of our outermost layer of skin by protecting us from environmental damage. The high levels of vitamin c in our skin serve as antioxidants that protect us from UV sun induced damage, and stimulates collagen production (4). Without Vitamin C concentrations in our skin, there would be no collagen production!
Ideally our skin is receiving much of its Vitamin C through our diet. Topical applications though, especially if from whole plant ingredients, can contribute to antioxidant and collagen stimulating effects.
- Use a serum every day with rosehip seed oil or seabuckthorne oil
- Vitamin C Smoothie Recipe ~ Strawberry, Kiwi, Guava, & Kale blended with Cashew or Coconut Milk!
Vitamin E has a handful of anti-aging effects for our skin (5):
- As a strong antioxidant, it protects from free radical oxidative damage
- Anti-inflammatory action
- Supports bodies response to sun induced damage and aging
- Modulates and protects against photocarcinogenesis (sun induced skin cancer)
- Slows down the breakdown of collagen
Our bodies do not produce their own Vitamin E, so we need to seek it in our diets and skincare routines. Studies have shown that Vitamin E, when applied with Vitamin C, has stronger effects on the skin (particularly in lessening the effects of sunburn) than when either is applied alone. This reminds us of the importance to source whole plant forms of these vitamins. Isolated compounds lack the synergy of the makeup in whole plants! Many plant sources will naturally contain both.
Foods, particularly nuts and oils, our packed with Vitamin E:
- Avocado & Avocado Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Make a trail mix to keep handy for healthy snacking! Mix almonds, cashews, and goji berries (the berries for the synergistic effect of vitamin C)
Squalene, a naturally occurring part of our sebum, is quite similar in composition to Vitamin A. As a precursor to phytosterols, squalene is an incredible natural emollient by keeping the skin hydrated and supple. Not only does squalene prevent the evaporation of moisture from the skin, it delivers oxygen to the skin and removes waste (6).
Rather than seeking out isolated squalene in skin care products, look for products that contain ingredients rich in squalene, plus other beneficial vitamins and minerals:
- Olive Oil - the highest plant-based source for naturally occurring squalene! Olive oil will lubricate the skin while supporting repair from sun damage thanks to its phytosterols. We really believe that this explains the deep nourishment of our Baume Reparateur.
- Grapeseed Oil
All of the above oils can be incorporated into foods or in body care!
- Set up a jar with chopped rosemary, thyme, garlic and oregano. Fill with extra virgin olive oil. Let sit for 2 weeks and then strain and bottle up to use raw on salads or on top of steamed vegetables.
Our skin’s composition is up to 70% collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is not just found in our skin, but also bones, nails, tendons, ligaments, joints and even the lining of our guts. Collagen contributes to the plump yet firm texture of our skin. Lowered collagen may make the skin appear fragile, saggy, thin, wrinkled, rough and/or dry (8).
As we age, our body begins to produce less and less collagen, thus why eating the right foods becomes an anti-aging practice in and of itself.
Bone Broth as Food
Bone broth is the most pure and whole foods form of bioavailable collagen. The hyaluronic acid found in bone broth will further contribute to supple, hydrated, and more youthful skin.
Isolated collagen peptides as a supplement or skincare ingredient:
Newer on the market, is collagen peptides. This can be found as a dietary supplement in powder form, or as an ingredient incorporated into skincare products. While collagen peptides are of increasing popularity, collagen from bone broth is the most bioavailable form - because once again, bone broth is a whole form, rather than an isolated compound like collagen peptides.
- Once every few months, make a large batch of bone broth.
- Throw vegetable scraps, herbs, and organic and pasture raised bones that you have saved from your home cooking, into a large pot or slow cooker. Cover with water, and cook on low for 12-24 hours. Keep an eye on the pot, and add water as needed. Once cooled. Store in the freezer for us in a myriad of recipes - anything that calls for stock, or water!
Our bodies naturally produce the antioxidant, Coenzyme q10. As we age, however, our bodies produce less and less of this enzyme. Since coq10 works on a cellular level to help mitochondrial function and cellular metabolism, it can work to reverse signs and damage of aging. Some body care products now formulate with the isolated Coenzyme Q10. Topical application, as well as internal consumption, have seen anti-aging results (9).
Whole sources of Coenzyme Q10 to incorporate into your diet:
- Nuts, particularly pistachio and sesame
- Legumes like peanuts
- Fatty fish, particularly salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout
- Organ meat & meat- always grass fed & organic
- Make a delicious coq10 rich dinner for two:
- Pistachio Encrusted Salmon for dinner! ~ Blend ⅓ cup of chopped organic pistachios, 1 minced garlic clove, ¼ teaspoon of dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup in a bowl. Coat mixture over two 6 oz salmon filets. Bake at 375℉ for 15-20 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste!
Yes, even on cloudy days, wearing a broad spectrum SPF is super important in maintaining youthful skin! Most of the anti-aging trends are rooted in reversing the environmental damage and inevitable impact of accumulated sun exposure over the years. So minimizing the exposure your skin gets to the sun (but not necessarily minimizing your joyful sun-filled adventures!) is one of the most important preventative measures in anti-aging practices.
With so much controversy over toxic sunscreen ingredients, and with growing damage to the world’s coral reef systems, reef-safe and chemical free sunscreen is the way to go. In fact, some place like Hawaii, Key West, and some caribbean islands have banned the use of oxybenzone and other chemical sunscreens.
TO SUM IT UP:
- Check out our Eat Your Sunblock guide for detailed recommendations of what foods you can eat to support a healthy response to sun exposure.
- Eat a plant-based diet, rich in perennial plants like fruits, nuts, and certain vegetables. For recipe inspiration, sign up for our free seasonal cookbook!
- Want more holistic tips for youthful skin? We have an extensive, free guide that explains more wellness trends for feeling and looking your best.
(1) Thornton, M. J. (2013). Estrogens and aging skin. Dermato-endocrinology, 5(2), 264-270.
(2) Robert, L., Labat-Robert, J., & Robert, A. M. (2009). Physiology of skin aging. Pathologie Biologie, 57(4), 336-341
(3) Katiyar, S. K., Ahmad, N., & Mukhtar, H. (2000). Green tea and skin. Archives of Dermatology, 136(8), 989-994
(4) Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. (2017). The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients, 9(8), 866
(5) Park, K. (2015). Role of micronutrients in skin health and function. Biomolecules & therapeutics, 23(3), 207.
(6) Popa, O., Băbeanu, N. E., Popa, I., Niță, S., & Dinu-Pârvu, C. E. (2015). Methods for obtaining and determination of squalene from natural sources. BioMed research international, 2015.
(7) Parker, Susan M. (2014). The Power of the Seed.
(8) Asserin, J., Lati, E., Shioya, T., & Prawitt, J. (2015). The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo‐controlled clinical trials. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 14(4), 291-301.
(9) Prahl, S., Kueper, T., Biernoth, T., Wöhrmann, Y., Münster, A., Fürstenau, M., ... & Muhr, G. M. (2008). Aging skin is functionally anaerobic: importance of coenzyme Q10 for anti aging skin care. Biofactors, 32(1‐4), 245-255.