Let’s face it, skin changes as it ages. After our erratic teenage years and into our twenties, cell turnover is at its best and our complexions are in optimum condition. We can get by with a basic skincare regime as long as cleanse and moisturize is our daily mantra. However, once we approach our thirties, cell turnover slows down and the protective film on the skin’s surface becomes less effective at retaining moisture and skin begins to feel dry.
Before wrinkles start to show, it’s time to add an anti-aging face cream to our daily regime to fortify skin’s resilience and protect it from the drying effects of exposure to environmental aggressors like stress, climate changes and pollution.
Today, the cosmetics market is flooded with anti-aging products from inexpensive drug- store options to pricey prestige brands. And by now most of us have heard the buzz about using anti-oxidants to fight skin-aging free radicals and alpha hydroxy acids to boost the production of collagen, the skin’s structural support system.
Yet few of us know about these unsung heroes found in organic skincare products that harness the protective powers of nature to help maintain skin’s youth and defend it from environmental damage. The best news is they work -- and there’s science to prove it.
Microalgae: Skincare’s Best New Ingredient
Microalgae or microalgae oil has become a movement and not just in beauty. Scientists are researching it as an alternative biofuel with the U.S. Department of Energy investing millions in the project. Nutritionists are calling it the next soy as it’s made of up over 50% protein. And recently, it’s been heralded as a natural surfactant for sudsy home and personal products.
Most algae extracts are about 95% water-based, but when the oil is extracted it provides hyper-hydration and a higher concentration of vitamins and antioxidants for deeper moisturization. When applied to cosmetics, this algae oil extract contributes to skin’s health and beauty by helping combat skin aging and depigmentation -- the lightening of normal skin pigmentation.
While microalgae in cosmetics isn’t new, get ready to see more products featuring this super ingredient as scientists discover more uses for it, including the possible treatment of hair loss.
Thermus Thermophilus Ferment: Ocean’s Bounty
Beyond the breathtaking views, tranquil effects and amazing wildlife, there’s a lesser known reason to appreciate the ocean. Deep under the water’s surface lives powerful microorganisms that have proved to be very beneficial for skin in fighting the signs of aging.
Thriving in temperatures of approximately 150 degrees, Thermus Thermophilus Ferment extract (TTF) is a specialized bacterium strain found in shallow marine hydrothermal systems and low-saline solfataric springs - the muddy waters near volcanic areas.
TTF’s benefits have been compared to that of vitamin E and in testing it was found to be particularly effective in soaking up free radicals produced by UV exposure. This gift from the sea also protects against dark spots, wrinkles and blemishes and is believed to prevent five years of aging with six months of use.
Fucus Vesiculosus: Marine Marvel
Found in abundance along the coasts of the North and Baltic Seas and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, this species of seaweed more readily known as Bladder Wrack is rich in minerals and a common food in Japan.
Originally discovered as source of iodine in 1811, it was used extensively to treat goiter, a swelling of the thyroid gland related to iodine deficiency. Today, it’s become increasingly popular as a natural anti-aging ingredient in skin care products, particularly in anti-aging moisturizers. It’s been found to increase skin elasticity while firming the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines. It also has proved to soothe and diminish acne and eczema.
Suffering from irritated skin? Bladderwrack can be used as an infusion in the bath in its powder form. Simply place into a muslin wrapper and drop into warm bath water to detoxify and calm the skin.
Laminaria Digitata: Gift From the Sea
Laminaria Digitata, commonly known as oarweed or tangleweed, is a glossy leathery brown kelp that anchors itself to rocks in the northern Atlantic. Shaped like the palm of a hand with irregular finger-like extensions, this fascinating seaweed is one of the oldest plants on earth. It doesn’t produce roots or flowers and absorbs its nourishment solely from the sea, making it a treasure trove of natural beneficial ingredients.
This edible seaweed sold in stores as kelp is popular in both the food and cosmetic industries. It’s long been used in Japan and China for making soups and for other culinary purposes, while its curative powers have been hailed the world over for soothing rashes, burns and swelling.
Fish Collagen: Skincare’s BFF
Collagen/strong> is a protein present throughout our bodies’ organs and tissues. It sustains the tendons, cartilage and skin, providing firmness and elasticity and basically supporting the body’s structure. So, in effect, we’d collapse without it. As we age, our body’s collagen production diminishes and that results in a decrease of firmness and suppleness in the skin and an increase of fine lines and wrinkles.
Studies have demonstrated that when it comes to skin care, the benefits of fish collagen are bountiful. While all collagen sources are beneficial, fish collagen peptides offer the best absorption due to its smaller particle size compared to other animal collagens, particularly bovine and porcine collagens. And since it’s absorbed more quickly, it works more effectively.
From lipstick to face creams, cleansers to serums, think of it as skin’s best friend. Not only does it improve skin’s smoothness and elasticity, it increases moisture retention thereby plumping skin and staving off the visible signs of aging.