While no one wants an old heart or liver, it’s the skin that get the most attention in the anti-aging category. As the body’s largest organ, it offers a first impression on the age of the person who bares it.
The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutis. The epidermis, the outside visible layer of skin, is constantly rebuilding itself with new cell growth occurring in the lower layer epidermis, which works its way to the surface in about four weeks and then sheds. Melanocyte cells in the epidermis produce melanin in response to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light, causing a tan, but also age-related dark spots. Moving to the thick inner layer of the skin, the dermis has elastic fibers, which help the skin stay elastic (aka, wrinkle free).
Research has shown healthy nutrition affects the processes and look of skin, but consumers can find it difficult to eat all of the nutrients they want to keep their skin youthful, so supplement and functional food manufacturers have the opportunity to include researched-backed botanicals and specialty nutrients into anti-aging skin care products.
Carotenoids, yellow, orange, and red pigments synthesized by plants, have been shown to be suitable photoprotectants (offer protection from the sun). The herb rosemary has also demonstrated an anti-aging effect to the skin. Olives and olive oils help skin with its hydroxytyrosol, the major antioxidant compound, which protects skin that’s been damaged by UV light.
In India, the spice turmeric is featured in curry and has been used in Ayurvedic medicines to address several conditions. Modern research has shown it improves skin health. Boswellia serrata, a tropical tree, has also long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for arthritis, infections, depression, diabetes and cancer. Boswellic acids (BAs) extracted from the gum resins of boswellia have been shown in modern research to stimulate fibroblasts benefitting skin health.
Lychee fruit, a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of China, helps the dermis and appearance of the epidermis, according to several unpublished trials.
Beta-glucanssugars in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens and plants, such as oats and barleyare known for their use in immune health, but other research has how their benefits to skin as a moisturizer and wound healer.
Vitamin E is comprised of eight fat-soluble compounds (alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol, and alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienol), with research showing benefits to skin, especially from tocotrienols.
Learn more about the research behind these and other skin care natural ingredients in the article “Ageless Skin Care Ingredients" by Sandy Almendarez in INSIDER’s Content Library.