The skinny on skin care
Wondering what those unpronouncable or flowery-sounding ingredients are in your creams and lotions? Read on:
The Claim: A potent anti-oxidant found in purple varieties of potatoes and carrots and in the Australian kakadu plum, anthocyanin promises to fight free radical damage caused by the sun’s UV rays and build collagen in the skin.
The Proof: “There has been a decent amount of research looking into anthocyanin as a natural sun-protection agent with basic science showing that it also can stall the growth of precancerous skin cells,” says Dr. Adam Friedman, assistant professor of medicine and director of dermatologic research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.
The Claim: Derived from algae and kelp, seaweed extract is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals that balance and tone your skin, and serves as a powerful humectant (attracts water).
The Proof: “Seaweed functions very similarly to hyaluronic acid that’s naturally found in your skin, which holds 1,000 times its weight in water -- meaning it can pull water into the skin to hydrate it,” Friedman says.
The Claim: The bamboo plant contains a high level of silica, an element that supports collagen in the skin to give it a youthful glow. Silica naturally depletes as you get older, resulting in a dry and wrinkled complexion.
The Proof: “Bamboo extract is an effective anti-aging ingredient because it’s the richest known source of silica,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.”
The Claim: The metal promotes the production of collagen and elastin, helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
The Proof: “Copper is just like vitamin C -- it’s important for the formation of elastin in the skin. More research still needs to be done on its efficacy in topical applications, but in theory, it works,” Friedman says.
Egyptian neroli oil
The Claim: This essential oil extracted from the flowers of an orange tree is said to help maintain the right moisture and oil balance in the skin to keep it supple and soft.
The Proof: “Neroli oil is an emollient that moisturizes the skin well,” Jaliman says.
The Claim: This flower blossom has a long history of use as a wound-healing and skin-soothing botanical, which makes it a popular moisturizing agent in beauty products.
The Proof: Not only does calendula have great promise as a moisturizer, Friedman says, “In clinical trials, it prevented free radical damage -- though more research needs to be done with topical applications of it.”
The Claim: Jade is believed to slow down cell aging and contains vital elements for the human body, such as minerals, calcium, magnesium and water.
The Proof: “There’s nothing that I know of or studies I could find to support these claims,” Friedman says.
The Claim: The baobab fruit’s pulp is full of antioxidants that protect the skin from free-radical damage, which can lead to wrinkles and sun spots.
The Proof: In addition to antioxidants, baobab is also rich in amino acids, B vitamins, calcium and potassium, Jaliman says: “With this potent roundup, it does protect the skin against free-radical damage.”