The beauty world is brimming with high-tech devices and cutting-edge ingredients, but when it comes to handling some of the most common skin care problems, newer isn’t always better. In some cases, simple natural options might be as effective as scientifically engineered solutions.
Benefits: Hydration, anti-inflammatory. There’s growing science supporting the use of this plant fat as a topical skin soother. Recent research shows that extra virgin coconut oil suppresses some of the body’s natural inflammatory agents while making the skin a better barrier. Many people love coconut oil products to help fight dry, itchy skin and skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.
Gotu Kola (Also Known as Centella asiatica)
Benefits: Wound healing. This ancient herb often used in Asian cuisine is now a part of modern skin care due to its wound-healing benefits. Chemicals in the plant boost blood supply to injury sites and strengthen the skin. Researchers have found that when skin injuries in rats are treated with Centella asiatica, the sites showed higher healing. The combination of amino acids, beta carotene, fatty acids, and phytochemicals help speed healing time, making it a helpful way to treat injuries.
Benefits: Sun protection, anti-aging. The connection between drinking green tea and improved health has been suggested for years, but it may also help to use the plant on the skin. “Green tea has good results in terms of photoprotection and anti-aging benefits,” says Jeanine Downie, a dermatologist in Montclair, NJ. The polyphenols in green tea have antioxidant properties as well as soothing abilities that help treat sun-damaged skin and offer a way to address the signs of sun damage, she says.
Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, eczema relief. Oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant chemicals called avenanthramides. It also has moisturizing beta glucans and starches. It’s the reason why oatmeal baths are so effective for conditions like eczema and rashes. But not all oatmeal is created equal. Colloidal oatmeal is powder that’s derived from grinding and preparing oats into very tiny, specific sizes. This size and quality of oats is what makes the ingredient so therapeutic and able to blend with water to form the soothing paste when mixed with water.
Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, itch relief. Derived from the nut of a shea tree, shea butter is an ingredient in many moisturizers. It seems to hydrate skin effectively because it’s loaded with fatty acids. These nutrients have a calming and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. She says shea butter might be most useful for treating and soothing eczema. Clinical studies using shea butter as a treatment for eczema in children showed less itching within 4 weeks, and another study with adults showed improvement in 2 weeks. Geraghty points out another plus of the natural moisturizer: Shea butter doesn’t seem to cause skin allergies often, which makes it right even for the most sensitive skin types.
These are some of the best natural products for optimum skin health.