I just turned 40. OK, to be honest, I didn’t so much turn 40 as get dragged there completely against my will kicking and screaming. But you get the idea. In any case, fending off signs of aging before they’re inevitable has recently taken on a new level of importance for me when selecting skin care products. If you can relate, then Part II of my series on facial oils is for you.
To say we have a lot of choices when it comes to “anti-aging” products is the understatement of the millennium. Whether or not they all work (they don’t) is another matter altogether. To get the low-down on what makes for a top-quality, effective elixir of youth, I turned to Valerie Grandury, founder of Odacité, an L.A-based anti-aging skin care line. Grandury is also French. And let’s be honest: if you’re looking for advice on how to look as great as possible, for as long as possible, asking a Frenchwoman just seems like a smart thing to do, n’est-ce pas?
I also turned to Blissoma founder Julie Longyear, and her invaluable, best-$10-you’ll-ever-spend online booklet, Natural Anti-Aging Ingredients You Should Know, available for purchase and download at Iriestar.com. If you really want to know everything there is to know about what Nature has to offer in the way of anti-aging, in an easy-to-read format, I cannot recommend this booklet highly enough.
In the meantime, I have – with Grandury’s and Longyear’s invaluable assistance – honed in on a few important types of ingredients to look for when purchasing your next age-fighting elixir:
Unless you just emerged from a 50-year coma, you’ve no doubt heard about free radicals and the damage they can do, both internally and externally. These invisible, highly malicious little molecules break down healthy tissue, and are generated by everything from the sun to pollution to that doughnut you ate this morning. In other words: They’re everywhere, and our diets, stressful lifestyles, and polluted environments are exactly what they need to thrive, multiply, and wreak havoc on your face.
Antioxidants, on the other hand, are ultra-powerful free radical fighters. Antioxidants – which include beta carotene (Vitamin A), and vitamins C and E – interrupt the chain reaction that occurs when free radicals encounter healthy tissue. In other words, they prevent free radicals from doing their damage. Problem is, as we age, our body does not produce anti-oxidants as effectively as it did in our youth, making it critically important that we introduce these miraculous little crime-fighters into our system through diet and skin care if we want to ward off free radical damage. Thankfully, antioxidants are readily available in a wide variety of plants, making it fairly easy to do both.
When it comes to selecting the best topical sources of antioxidants, some of Grandury’s favorite include carrot seed, for its high beta carotene content, as well as blueberry seed oil, both of which are featured in her intoxicatingly luxurious and impressively effective new facial serum, A Summer in Hossegor. “What I love about Blueberry Seed Oil,” she explains, “is that it contains a wide range of vitamin E isomers, both tocopoherols and tocotrienols, which move faster in cell membranes, and result in higher antioxidant and radical scavenging activity.” A Summer in Hossegor also features Green Tea extract, one of the top sources of antioxidants in the world.
Other excellent antioxidant-packed oils (and again, there are many) include Acai Berry, Rooibos, Pomegranate, and Rosehip Seed Oil, a key ingredient in the lightweight yet potent facial oil from rms beauty.
You can also find an abundance of antioxidants in Intelligent Nutrients’ Intellimune Complex, a concentrated mega-dose of antioxidants upon which the entire brand is based, including their Anti-Aging Serum, an ultra-rich, ultra-effective blend of oils and extracts that deliver results with impressive speed.
Essential Fatty Acids
Another challenge we face as we age (get it? face as we age?) is gradually thinning skin and its decreasing ability to retain water. This is where Essential Fatty Acids (EF’s) enter the picture. “When applied topically,” Grandury explains, “EFAs dramatically improve the texture and quality of skin, helping repair the skin barrier, thus allowing for the skin cell to hold onto water. This leads to plumper, more hydrated skin, helping to prevent and diminish wrinkles. Some research also shows that EFA’s decrease skin damage from UV and contribute to wound healing because of anti-inflammatory properties.”
In other words, EFAs moisturize dry skin, calm irritated skin, while also nourishing and conditioning aging skin to revive the complexion and plump up fine lines. No wonder they are essential components to all the best anti-aging serums on the market!
Grandury’s A Summer in Hossegar serum features Buriti fruit oil, which contains an impressive 79.2% oleic acid (omega 9). Grandury also frequently turns to Baobab seed oil, an excellent source both EFAs and phytosterols, which help increase skin elasticity and stave off wrinkles.
Other EFA-rich oils your face will love include Chia Seed (a key ingredient in One Love Organics serum collection), Barbary Fig Seed oil (also rich in antioxidants, and featured in La Bella Figura Renewal Serum), and Evening Primrose, a particularly moisture-rich oil that forms the base for Blissoma’s Restore Deep Healing Serum. “When I wake up the morning,” says Longyear, “I have often noticed what a lovely plumping effect Restore has on fine lines, especially when used at night and around the eye area.”
Tune in next week when I address facial serums for oily, combination, and acneic skin (sneak preview: plant-based oils do not cause acne!).