Natural Skincare Products for Aging, Acne, and Everything in Between
If you're part of the growing number of women concerned about what they're smearing onto their bodies every day, you may have decided to make the switch to natural skincare products. But it can be tough to wade through all of the marketing hype and figure out which ones are best for your specific skin. So we talked to four natural beauty experts, all of whom are involved in the industry in slightly different ways, and asked them to recommend their favorite natural beauty products based on skin concern.
- Ido Leffler, founder of the fruit-and-veggie-focused personal care line Yes To
- Sophie Uliano, blogger and New York Times bestselling author of Gorgeously Green
- Sonia White, managing director of LoveLula, an online apothecary specializing in natural and organic beauty products
- Kate Murphy, blogger behind Living Pretty, Naturally
Which natural skincare products are best for anti-aging?
Sophie and Kate both recommend rosehip oil for signs of aging, from wrinkles to stretch marks. Kate says, "High-quality rosehip oils that have been pressed properly have incredible amounts of vitamin A, which is essentially natural retinol." Retinol promotes collagen and elastin production, creating smoother, tighter skin and even fading dark spots and lightening undereye circles. It's packed with essential fatty acids, too, helping hydrate mature skin.
Sonia suggests rosewood, a rarer find than rosehip oil, which she says also improves elasticity. She recommends using it in tandem with frankincense, believed to encourage new cell growth, for a one-two punch that's "ideal for mature skin."
How about acne?
Sonia and Ido both praise products with fruit-derived enzymes, which can help slough off dead skin cells to clear clogged pores. Sonia says fruit-enzyme masks are "safer than harsh exfoliators, as they remove dead skin cells without damaging living cells."
Which fruits are best? For Ido, nothing beats fruits with salicylic acids in them—and there's a slew of them, from blackberries to tomatoes, the latter of which appear in his skin-clearing Yes to Tomatoes line. Ido is not alone in his fandom. Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in almost all acne-fighting drugstore cleansers. Other fruits contain lactic and glycolic acids, which are often used to gently resurface the skin and unclog pores during facial peels.
Sonia adds that the best fruit for your skin depends on your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, try products that contain papaya, mango, or fig. "Oily and acne-prone skin will have good results with pineapple for its clarifying results, papaya for its antibacterial properties, and kiwi for its antimicrobial properties," she says.
What works for uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation?
Whether the cause is sun damage, acne, or hormones, Sophie says that to treat hyperpigmentation, "I'd go to my vitamin C ... but still, you're going to want to look at a regimen, not a single product or ingredient. I'd have you do peels, AHA [alpha hydroxy acid] serums, deep exfoliation via fruit and glycolic acids. And then really nourish your skin with natural oils." Again, the vitamin A in rosehip oil can help brighten skin.
Ido suggests stocking up on natural skincare products that contain lycopene, which is in his Yes to Grapefruit and Yes to Tomatoes lines. He says it's "the big one when it comes to [age] spots."
And Kate urges prevention. "A mineral sunscreen is also essential to prevent any further skin discoloration."
For dry or sensitive skin?
If you have dry or sensitive skin, you'll likely want to steer clear of essential oils. They can cause irritation, according to Sonia. "However, rose oil can be beneficial for reducing redness in the skin, and chamomile can be used to soothe the skin," she says. "Rose and chamomile are also excellent for dry skin."
Kate's first inclination is to address dry skin from the inside out. "Foods like walnuts, avocados, vitamin E–rich sunflower seeds, and even oils like borage seed oil when taken internally can greatly help dry skin," she says. Topically, it's important to protect the skin and seal in moisture. I love facial oils which are rich, like chia seed oil or argan oil."
Bottom line, it's all about the ingredients.
The experts agree that to find the best natural products for your skin concern, it's important to read the label to see which ingredients they contain. Plus, reading the label is the only way to make sure you're actually using a natural product, i.e., one that contains all or almost all natural ingredients. To learn more about ingredients labels and natural beauty in general, check out our tips on creating a personalized natural beauty regimen. If you're interested in additional natural beauty product recommendations, we've picked out our favorite natural beauty products for your hair, skin, and nails.