When it comes to skin care, we recommend using clean, safe products because after all, your skin is like a calling card-it’s what people see when you first meet them. Fortunately, Mother Nature provides us with many natural options that come from a variety of sources, including minerals and plants.
Minerals for better skin
The minerals you put on your skin, as well as those you ingest, can have a significant impact on your skin’s health. For starters, if you use mineral water to wash your face, you can help reduce many common skin issues, and the minerals in the water may help some of your skin cells absorb moisture better.
Then there are specific minerals that have been shown to improve skin health. Here are a few of them and how you can utilize them on a regular basis.
Selenium. One of the most important things to think about with skin care is the prevention of skin cancer. Twenty percent of Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they are 70. More people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year in the US than all other cancers combined. Therefore, any natural way to help prevent this cancer is welcome.
Research has shown that individuals with skin cancer who took selenium supplements (200 micrograms daily) were protected against the disease in the following ways:
- They experienced 37 percent fewer malignancies.
- They had a 17 percent reduction in overall mortality.
- They experienced a 50 percent reduction in the risk of dying from skin cancer.
Other research has shown that taking selenium supplements along with copper reduced the formation of sunburn cells. In addition, use of selenium, along with copper, vitamin C, and zinc helps support skin health and structure. Zinc in particular is helpful for the prevention and treatment of acne.
Copper. In a 2014 article appearing in Current Chemical Biology the author noted that “Copper has two key properties that endow it as an excellent active ingredient to be used in products, which come in contact with the skin, aiming to improve the skin’s well-being.” For one, the mineral has biocidal properties, which means it can help eliminate pathogens that can harm the skin. Two, copper plays an integral role in the production and stabilization of skin proteins and overall health.
More specifically, along with zinc and vitamin C, copper is involved in the development of elastin, a fiber that supports skin infrastructure. It also boosts the function of antioxidants, which help to protect the skin from sun damage. Dietary sources of copper include seeds (sesame, sunflower), nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts), coconut, mushrooms, and soybeans.
If your home has copper pipes, you may be getting sufficient copper from your drinking water. Hair Mineral Analysis is an effective way to test for deficiencies and toxicities of heavy metals.
Zinc. If you have acne, zinc is the mineral for you. Zinc supplements as well as topical creams and lotions can help clear acne lesions or control their formation. The antioxidant properties of zinc may help protect against aging skin. Dietary sources of zinc include nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds), sesame and sunflower seeds, barley, olives, cooked dried beans, organic soy foods, and peas. Soak nuts and seeds in water overnight, which releases the phytic acid that can hinder zinc absorption.
Plants for better skin
The plant kingdom provides us with so many wonderful options to take care of our skin. Here are just a few of the plants that contain compounds that can improve and support skin health.
Arnica. You may be familiar with arnica (Arnica montana) for its ability to help relieve sprains, stretch marks, and arthritis, but it also has an ability to improve skin health. That’s because the flowers contain flavonoids, carbonic acid, coumarins, volatile oils, and sesquiterpene lactones, all of which can be helpful for skin vitality. Together these ingredients provide anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties as well as an ability to boost the healing process. One caveat with arnica is that too much can cause peeling or blistering so be sure to use it as directed.
Avocado oil. The next time you use avocado oil while preparing dinner, also think “skin.” That’s because avocado oil is a rich source of nutrients that support and promote skin health, such as vitamins A, D, and E as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Avocado oil also contains lecithin and potassium, which help moisturize and nourish the skin. The antioxidants in avocado oil can relieve dry skin and treat eczema and psoriasis.
Carrot seed oil. This oil is rich in antioxidants that possess a number of incredible health benefits. For example, carrot seed oil has been shown to fight fungi that can affect the nails, skin, and hair. Carrot seed oil also is used by some natural medicine practitioners to treat ulcers, boils, and abscesses, although there is a lack of scientific evidence to back up this use. In a 2018 report, the authors noted that carrot seed oil-based cosmetic emulsions “have sufficient potential to be used as potential skin rejuvenating preparations.”
Chicory. Often used as a coffee substitute, this plant also has qualities that can benefit your skin. An old herbal remedy involves making a paste of chicory leaves and applying it directly to swelling and inflammation that is associated with sunburn.
Mango extract. Researchers found that use of mango extract on hairless mice can promote anti-aging of the skin. According to the authors of the study, mice who took mango extract showed a significant improvement in wrinkles and an increase in collagen (a protein in the skin).
Although collagen is often sourced from animals, it can also be sourced from algae, it is very important to many part of the body especially the skin. [Editor’s Note: Our sponsor, NeoCell, offers a variety of collagen supplements to choose from.]
Are you ready to work on achieving the best skin ever? What is your morning routine? Let us know how you use plants and minerals to help your skin.
Barhum L. Eight benefits of avocado oil for the skin. MedicalNewsDaily 2018 Apr 19
Borkow G. Using copper to improve the well-being of the skin. Current Chemical Biology 2014 Aug; 8(2): 89-102
Bouchez C. Nutrients for healthy skin inside and out. WebMD.
Cameron M, Chrubasik S. Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews 2013 May 31; (5): CD010538
La Ruche G, Cesarini JP. Protective effect of oral selenium plus copper associated with vitamin complex on sunburn cell formation in human skin. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine 1991 Dec; 8(6): 232-35
Singh S et al. Formulation and evaluation of carrot seed oil-based cosmetic emulsions. Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy 2018 May 8: 1-9
Song JH et al. Protective effect of mango (Mangifera indica L) against UVB-induced skin aging in hairless mice. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine 2013 Apr; 29(2): 84-89