Category Archives: Anti-Aging Ingredients

Heart-Healthy Drinks

Heart disease is a serious threat, but with proper care and education, heart disease is also quite preventable. Maintaining a healthy diet full of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is one part of keeping your heart healthy. Getting regular exercise is also incredibly important when you are taking steps to keep your heart healthy, as is reducing as much stress as possible. However, food, exercise and stress reduction aren’t the only things you can do to help prevent heart disease. You may not put much thought into the beverages you consume, but if you want to keep your heart healthy, it’s time to start. Below, find some of the best heart-healthy drinks.

Coffee beans

Coffee
If you can’t live without your morning cup of coffee, then prepare to be excited. Coffee actually registers more antioxidant activity than tea, which is well-known and widely used for its antioxidant abilities. A study involving more than 83,000 women found that those who drank two cups of coffee each day were at a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than those who drank no coffee each day. The antioxidants in coffee inhibit inflammation in your body, and coffee not only lowers your risk for strokes, it lowers your risk for all cardiovascular disease. Consume coffee in moderation; about two to four cups of coffee each day.

Green Tea

Green Tea
Coffee may register more antioxidant activity than green tea, but that doesn’t mean that green tea is without benefits. Green tea contains plenty of heart-healthy antioxidants that have been shown (in a 2004 study) to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Additionally, green tea lowers cholesterol, decreases the risk of blood clots and stroke, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Aim to drink two to four cups of green tea daily for maximum heart benefits.

Server pouring red wine

Red Wine
Red wine is full of cardioprotective compounds and perhaps the most well-known is resveratrol. Resveratrol is a polyphenol that is found in the skin of grapes in addition to berries and some types of nuts. The antioxidant properties found in resveratrol have many health benefits, one of which is protecting the blood vessels around your heart and stopping blood clots from forming. There is also some evidence that red wine can raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. It is important to remember that drinking any alcohol, including red wine, in excessive amounts is detrimental to your health, so consume red wine in moderation. Experts recommend drinking no more than a four or five ounce serving of red wine once a day.

Your heart health is of the utmost importance, and there are many ways that you can promote heart health and protect yourself from cardiovascular disease. Incorporate these heart-healthy drinks into your diet for increased heart health.

Top Anti-Aging Oils

Beauty oils have been a major skincare trend for several years and there is a reason that these products continue to be popular – they are effective, yet gentle. If you use the right oils, you can not only add moisture to your skin, you can also arm it against environmental damage, stimulate collagen production and decrease signs of aging like discoloration. With so many oils available, it can be difficult to know where to start looking. Below, find four of the absolute best oils you can use for anti-aging.

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet Almond Oil
Dry skin is one of the most common frustrations when it comes to aging, and sweet almond oil is incredible at thoroughly hydrating your skin. Sweet almond oil contains significant amounts of vitamins E and K which helps your skin regenerate and maintain elasticity in addition to improving circulation. While sweet almond oil is not a substitute for sunscreen, it is a natural ultraviolet radiation blocker and it can increase the effectiveness of your sunscreens. Sweet almond oil is the perfect anti-aging oil for you if you aren’t fond of overly oily oils or pungent smells that can accompany other oils. This oil is nearly odorless and absorbs rather quickly into the skin.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil
Antioxidants are incredibly helpful in the fight against aging, and coconut oil is extremely high in the antioxidant vitamin E. This skin-softening antioxidant also helps protect your skin against environmental damage, including UV radiation, and fights wrinkle-causing free radicals. Coconut oil is also composed mainly of lauric acid – a medium chain fatty acid that provides skin benefits. Coconut oil can help with signs of aging all over the body and may help fade the appearance of not only wrinkles, but stretch marks as well. This oil has a pleasant, mild coconut smell and is in solid form until heated.

Argan Oil

Argan Oil
There is a reason that argan oil has become omnipresent in the world of beauty – it works. Argan oil is composed of about 80 percent fatty acids which are known to help erase visible signs of aging such as wrinkles. Argan oil is full of antioxidants that protect against environmental concerns like UV rays. One prominent sign of aging is hyperpigmentation, or sun spots, that indicate previous damage and argan oil can help fade these spots of discoloration for a more even complexion. Argan oil also encourages and increases the rate of regeneration of healthy skin cells, meaning that newer, healthier skin cells improve the appearance of your skin.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot Kernel Oil
If you have dry and damaged skin, apricot kernel oil is perhaps the best anti-aging oil available for you. Apricot kernel oil contains the intensely hydrating omega-6 gamma-linoleic acid to nourish your skin, while vitamins A and E encourage regeneration of skin cells and promotes the production of collagen to fight wrinkles and keep skin smooth and even. You do not have to have dry or damaged skin to use apricot kernel oil for anti-aging, this oil is considered non-greasy and does not take too long to absorb into the skin.

When looking to anti-aging oils be sure to select those that are labeled as organic, unrefined and cold-pressed. These oils retain the most vitamins and nutrients and provide the maximum benefits to your skin. You can use the above oils on their own or as a carrier oil for blends of essential oils, such as tea tree for acne. If you are looking for great anti-aging benefits in your skincare products, check out one of these four incredible anti-aging oils.

Best Ingredients for More Youthful Skin

The ingredients you put onto your skin have a significant and direct impact on your appearance. If you’ve been looking in the mirror and seeing skin that appears dull, rough, dry or lackluster, it’s time to add some serious anti-aging ingredients into your skin care routine. However, there are so many products with even more ingredients and it can be a little daunting to know what ingredients really are the best when it comes to achieving more youthful looking skin. Read below to find out the top five best ingredients for more youthful skin and why they are the best.

Woman holding a vitamin capsule

Retinol
Retinol is the purest form of vitamin A and it is one of the most beneficial ingredients to keep your skin looking young. Retinol is a cell-communicating ingredient that essentially tells your skin cells to look and act younger. It stimulates collagen production, activates cellular metabolism for more rapid cell turnover, fades the appearance of sun or age spots and reduces fine lines. By communicating with your cells to perform all of these tasks, retinol gives your face a firmer, younger and more even appearance.

Green tea

Antioxidants
Free radical damage is one of the most significant causes of aging and unfortunately, there are types of free radical exposure that you can’t avoid such as the sun, oxygen or pollution. What you can do is to look for skin care products that contain an array of antioxidants to fight free radical damage. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, green tea extract and vitamin E. Vitamin C is a favorite among dermatologists because this antioxidant boosts your skin’s natural defenses against sun damage and also encourages collagen production.

Hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid
Hydrated skin is an important part of a youthful appearance, and hyaluronic acid is one of the greatest skin care ingredients for adding moisture to your skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it is able to draw moisture from the air and hold that moisture into your skin, and hyaluronic acid is so powerful that it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Hyaluronic acid makes your fine lines and wrinkles become significantly less noticeable because as it holds water, it plumps the appearance of your skin.

Grapes in a vineyard

Resveratrol
Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes, blueberries, cranberries and Goji berries and also in wine and some nuts. High-quality skin care products also harness the power of resveratrol to fight signs of aging. Resveratrol features a number of potent antioxidant properties and helps keep your skin looking young. It also helps protect against further environmental damage by fighting off free radicals.

Milk

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Exfoliation is a crucial step in maintaining youthful-looking skin and alpha-hydroxy acids are incredible for this purpose. Alpha-hydroxy acids are generally derived from fruit or milk sugars. Some common alpha-hydroxy acids are lactic acid and glycolic acid. These acids exfoliate your skin by gently dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. This allows for the dead skin cells to be sloughed away from the skin to reveal smoother, more even skin and can also help reduce the appearance of pores.

Not all skin care ingredients are created equal. Some, like the five above, are seriously powerful anti-aging ingredients that provide your skin with a more luminous and youthful appearance. When selecting skin care products, always check the ingredient list to see how high on the list these anti-aging superstars are. The closer to the beginning of the list, the higher the concentration of each ingredient in the product. Choosing well-formulate, quality skin care products that contain these five best ingredients for more youthful skin will keep your face looking young and radiant.

Why Retinol is so Important for Anti-Aging

Retinol, while not a new skincare ingredient, is everywhere and pops up in products from potent antioxidant serums to foundations. The reason that retinol is everywhere? Because it works. Retinol is an incredibly effective skincare ingredient that fights the signs of aging and encourages skin to act in a younger, healthier way. Find out just what retinol is and why it is so important for anti-aging below.

Vitamin A chemical formula

What is Retinol?
Retinol is just another name for vitamin A and it can be broken down into more potent compounds that are referred to as retinoids. “Retinol is an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell,” explains skincare expert Paula Begoun. Retinol is somewhat of an umbrella term and the vitamin A molecule is broken down into many derivatives of vitamin A that are known as retinoids. In a paper published on PubMed Central, a service of the US National Library of Medicine, the authors state that “retinoids are very well known to influence a variety of cellular processes, such as cellular growth and differentiation, cell surface alterations and immune modulation.” It is the influence that retinol and retinol derivatives have at the cellular level that are responsible for the immense anti-aging benefits of these ingredients.

How Does Retinol Counteract Aging?
“Retinol is an antioxidant, and thus can help interrupt the free-radical damage process that cause skin to look and act older. This action helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production,” says Begoun. In order to actually influence cell behavior, retinol has to undergo a process of breakdown and conversion. “Before retinol can successfully go to work in skin, it must be converted into it’s active form – all-trans retinoic acid. Once retinol has been applied to skin, enzymes in the skin break it down into all-trans retinoic acid, which then goes on to help regulate cell function,” notes Begoun.

As you age, the effects of sun damage become more visible and apparent in the forms of discoloration or sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles and larger pores. Retinol, when converted to retinoic acid, is able to influence cells that fight against these signs of aging. Although retinol can’t reduce large pores caused by genetics, it is able to decrease pore size that occurs as a result of sun damage. In addition, retinol promotes an increase in substances that enhance and improve the skin’s structural elements, meaning your skin is strengthened, and retinol is also helpful at stimulating collagen production which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol is available in a variety of forms and can be found in cosmetic products that are readily available. There are also prescription strength retinol products that are used both for acne and aging. Before beginning a retinol regime, it’s important to know that retinol can cause sensitivity and irritation and it often takes some time before your skin gets used to this ingredient. Consulting with a dermatologist or doctor is a great way to know what concentration of retinol would be most beneficial. While there is no single ingredient that magically solves aging concerns, when retinol is used with other quality ingredients and products, it is an incredibly effective ingredient that helps skin look and act younger.

Ingredients to Look for if you Have Sensitive Skin

If you suffer from sensitive skin, you know how difficult it can be to find products with ingredients that will keep your skin healthy, clean and youthful without being irritating. You may know what ingredients you need to avoid if you have sensitive skin, such as alcohol, fragrance or abrasive ingredients, but you might not know where to start looking when it comes to ingredients your skin will love. Below, find our five favorite ingredients to look for if you have sensitive skin.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of the most soothing skincare ingredients available. Aloe vera is a clear gel that is secreted from cactus plants and instantly calms irritated skin. One of the major uses for aloe vera has been after sun care and that is because it is so soothing. Aloe vera reduces redness on sensitive skin, hydrates the skin and calms skin down. Aloe vera gel is widely available and many grocery and health food stores sell aloe stems if you want to go straight to the source. Simply cut the stem and use the 100% pure aloe vera gel that the plant secretes.

Glycolic Acid
Exfoliation is still important to sensitive skin because it removes dry, dead skin cells and other debris and helps to promote healthy cell turnover. Alpha-hydroxy acids are great exfoliants if you have sensitive skin because they are not harsh or abrasive and exfoliate more by dissolving dead skin than scrubbing it off. The reason that glycolic acid is particularly helpful for sensitive skin is that it has a small molecular structure thus it is able to absorb more deeply into your skin.

vitamin E.

Vitamin E
Antioxidants are always great for your skin, and the antioxidant vitamin E is particularly beneficial to you if you have sensitive skin. Like other antioxidants, vitamin E protects your skin from oxidative damage due to harmful free radicals. Vitamin E is an amazing anti-aging ingredient for sensitive skin because it fights free radicals, helping to prevent wrinkles, while remaining super gentle to your skin. This skincare ingredient also reduces inflammation in the skin and helps to regulate the moisture levels in your skin so that you stay well hydrated.

Peptides
Proteins are necessary for your skin to maintain its health and youth and peptides are a great anti-aging ingredient for sensitive skin. Peptides are chains of amino acids that are portions of larger protein molecules. Peptides have the ability to communicate with your skin cells, directing them to perform functions necessary for youthful, healthy skin. One of the ways peptides work is by directing cells to produce more collagen or to thicken the support structure of your skin, which is definitely helpful to sensitive skin.

Chamomile

Chamomile
Chamomile is an amazing ingredient for sensitive skin because it has been shown that chamomile flavonoids and essential oils are able to penetrate the deeper layers of your skin. A natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, chamomile helps to prevent skin issues like acne while being super gentle to your skin. In addition to having the ability to keep skin clean, chamomile also helps promote healing of wounds and prevents infection.

Finding the right products for you may require a bit of trial and error but when you know where to start, you can significantly shorten the journey. Using the ingredients above will help you to achieve healthy, radiant and calm skin while also protecting your skin from harm and premature aging.

How 3 Powerful Anti-Aging Ingredients in Skincare Work

There are so many anti-aging ingredients available in skincare today that it becomes difficult to know which ones really work and what exactly these ingredients do to your skin. Three incredible anti-aging products are retinol, resveratrol and peptides. If you’ve heard these words but wondered what they actually meant to your skin in terms of aging, wonder no more. These three powerful anti-aging ingredients aren’t just fads, they have been proven to work by scientific research. Find out more about three of the best anti-aging ingredients below.

Grapes.

Resveratrol
One of our very favorite anti-aging ingredients ever, resveratrol is an incredibly potent antioxidant. Resveratrol is found in berries such as blueberries and blackberries and some nuts like peanuts, but the highest concentration of resveratrol is found in the skins of grape. As it relates to skincare, resveratrol is highly effective at protecting your cells against oxidative damage. Free radicals that are produced by exposure to oxygen and sunlight damage collagen and activates enzymes that break down elastin and collagen, but resveratrol is able to combat free radical damage. Additionally, resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory and a small study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, indicated that resveratrol may also be useful in the treatment of acne and acne scarring.

Retinol
Dubbed the King (or Queen) of anti-aging, retinol is a true skincare superstar that can solve a wide variety of skin issues from aging to acne. Retinol is the entire vitamin A molecule and retinoids are all derivatives of vitamin A. Retinol and retinoids have anti-aging benefits in skincare products because they prompt skin cells on the surface of your skin to turnover and die more rapidly. In doing this, retinol makes way for new cell growth underneath, which will reveal newer and healthier skin. Retinol also prevents the breakdown of collagen and make deeper layers of your skin, where wrinkles begin, thicker which slows the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, retinol can help reduce dark spots caused by sun damage by gently exfoliating the skin and preventing the production of melanin which is responsible for skin pigmentation. Retinol is not only an anti-aging superstar, but it also is widely used to treat acne.

Peptide

Peptides
Collagen loss is one of the most troublesome areas when it comes to aging and your skin and peptides can help to fight this issue. Peptides are chains of amino acids that serve as the building of protein in the skin, such as collagen. Collagen is responsible for skin thickness and suppleness, but your production naturally slows down as you age. When peptides form a short chain of amino acids, they can send signals to your skin cells that tell them how they should be behaving. Applied topically, peptides send signals to your cells that indicates it’s time to begin the formation of new collagen. As new collagen forms, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is diminished.

Anti-aging ingredients can be very powerful on their own, but most work better when combined with other ingredients as well. Now that you know what these amazing anti-aging ingredients do, you can look for products that contain them with confidence that they are going to perform well for your needs.

Best of 2015: New Ingredients That Fight Aging

Woman applying skin cream

Retinol, vitamin C, alpha and beta-hydroxy acids and hyaluronic acid, you know what anti-aging ingredients your skin care should contain. Or do you? Because the study and science of skin care are constantly evolving, there are always new anti-aging ingredients available and while some are nothing more than marketing hype, some new ingredients have scientific research and proof that they do what they promise. Check out three of the best new anti-aging ingredients introduced or made popular in 2015.

Growth Factors
Many anti-aging skin care ingredients are intended to increase antioxidants or increase collagen levels, but growth factors take this to a new level. As you age, your body’s natural growth factors decrease which results in a loss of natural collagen, collagen-preserving chemicals, antioxidant reserves and antioxidant-reserving mechanisms. All of this results in skin that is sagging, wrinkled, thin and dry. Growth factors don’t just give your collagen or antioxidants a boost, they are actually designed to increase the production of natural collagen, collagen-preserving chemicals, antioxidant reserves and antioxidant-reserving mechanisms within your skin naturally. Applied topically, growth factors have been shown to stimulate collagen production within your skin which gives you more firmness and elasticity in your skin.

Seaweed.

Seaweed Skin Care
Skin care experts have been looking to aquatic life to discover effective ingredients for anti-aging purposes. One of the most exciting species scientists have uncovered is Okinawa red algae. While algae doesn’t sound super appealing to apply to your skin, reserve your judgement until you’ve heard what it can do. Okinawa red algae is very similar to your skin’s collagen, meaning that it can enhance water retention in your skin and that it may improve the barrier function of your skin. Okinawa red algae also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, proteins and nearly all essential vitamins. Seaweeds, like Okinawa red algae, are seen as a very promising part of sustainable development in regions that are surrounded by water.

Fulvic Acid
If you’ve never heard of fulvic acid you aren’t alone, but chances are you’ll be hearing about it soon. Fulvic acid is a hydrating anti-aging ingredient that has intense antioxidant properties. This amazing ingredient is known for being both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory and is already a popular anti-aging ingredient in Australia. Fulvic acid has been shown to treat symptoms of dry skin, redness, inflammation and irritation that are associated with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and contact dermatitis. Its antioxidant properties is an incredibly potent free-radical destroyer, which means that it can fight signs of aging such as sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles.

These skin care ingredients are extremely promising when it comes to their anti-aging claims, but remember that there is no single ingredient that will solve all of your aging problems. A consistent skin care routine, healthy diet and proper hydration are also a part of your solution to aging. These three new anti-aging ingredients combined with other anti-aging ingredients can help you combat fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Be on the lookout for products containing the above skin care ingredients and watch as your skin becomes younger-looking, healthier and more radiant.

Why Retinol is Everywhere

Seriously you can’t shop for skincare products without seeing the word retinol plastered on nearly every package and ingredient list. What’s so great about retinol that it is everywhere in the skincare world? Well, we’re about to tell you. Below, find our five favorite reasons why retinol really is everywhere.

Retinol formula

What is Retinol?
Retinol, also known as vitamin A, is one of the most effective cell-communicating ingredients, which means it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell.

Why Retinol is Everywhere

  • Retinol Rejuvenates Your Skin – As you age, your natural levels of collagen drop and your production slows considerably. Retinol helps to promote new collagen production which results in a more plump and youthful appearance. “Retinol is an antioxidant, and thus can interrupt the free-radical damage process that causes skin to look and act older. This action helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production.” A 2007 study published in The Archives of Dermatology indicated that participants who applied a product with .4 percent retinol concentration to one arm for 24 weeks had dramatic improvements to their skin and biopsies revealed that the arm treated with retinol had more building blocks (such as collagen) that make skin more resilient and smooth than the untreated arm.
  • Retinol Stimulates Cell Turnover – Exfoliation is essential for healthy, radiant skin and retinol is a skin care ingredient that helps you skin cells turnover to reveal healthier skin. Improved skin cell turnover results in a smoother, more even complexion and it helps other skin care products work more effectively. With proper exfoliation, products are able to fully penetrate your skin, which enables them to provide maximum benefits.
  • Retinol Controls Acne – Acne can occur at any age and it can be more difficult to clear your adult acne than it was when you were younger. Part of why adult acne may be more stubborn is that your skin and the components that keep you skin smooth and clear begin to work differently as you age. One contributing factor to acne is the accumulation of dead skin cells and other debris is trapped in your pores. Because retinol is stimulates cell turnover and exfoliates your skin, dead skin cells and debris are removed from your skin and your pores are unclogged.
  • Retinol Can Reduce Pore Size – Okay, so before you fall in love with the idea of poreless skin, that’s not possible. Your skin will always have some pores and when it comes to pore size due to genetics, retinol will not be effective. However, if you have large pores as a result of sun damage or clogging, retinol can help to reduce their size with consistent use. Your pores stretch when follicular keratin, a part of the pore lining, builds up and retinol communicates with these cells to remind them to function properly which results in improved pore functioning. Over time, as your pores work properly, it’s entirely possible to see a reduction in pore size.
    Retinol Improves Overall Skin Appearance – Retinol is a skin care ingredient superstar because it not only functions as an anti-aging and anti-acne ingredient, it generally improves the all around appearance of your skin. Retinol can also address skin issues like eczema, decrease discoloration and sun spots, reduce fine lines and re-texturize the face for a smoother, more even complexion.

Retinol is, as we mentioned, widely available in skin care products and retinol products do not require a prescription. When selecting your retinol products, look for containers that are dark colored, because all forms of vitamin A deteriorate when exposed to light. If you are just introducing retinol into your skin care routine, note that it can be irritating to your skin so it’s best to start slowly. Begin by using your retinol product once every other day and monitor how your skin handles retinol. If you don’t experience irritation, go ahead and use your retinol products daily. Once you start making retinol a part of your skin care routine, you will completely understand why retinol is everywhere.

The Benefits of Green Tea for Your Skin

Green tea

You’ve probably heard of the health benefits of green tea from aiding weight loss to improving your brain function and the amazing powers of green tea don’t stop there. Green tea is also a seriously valuable addition to your skincare routine. The antioxidants in green tea provide your skin with enormous benefits. Keep reading to find out what benefits green tea has for your skin, and how you can use it to improve your complexion.

Fights Acne
When you drink green tea, it helps flush unwanted toxins from your body and the same is true when green tea is applied topically. In addition to removing unwanted toxins, green tea helps heal existing blemishes while also soothing and smoothing out your complexion. How is green tea able to do this? Green tea contains antibacterial agents known as catechins that both help to regulate your hormones and to suppress any acne-causing bacteria. The soothing and evening out of your complexion is due to the anti-inflammatory properties that green tea has. It reduces redness, minimizes any inflammation caused by zits and helps zits to heal more quickly and without scarring.

Combats Aging
Green tea is packed with powerful antioxidant properties that help stop premature signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, sunspots and loose skin. Your cells die for a variety of reasons and the EGCG compounds in green tea can actually reactivate these dying cells whether they are dying due to poor diet and lifestyle, sun damage or environmental pollutants. Another powerhouse antioxidant contained in green tea is oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs, that are incredibly effective when fighting against free radical damage. Additionally, OPCs are capable of healing damaged cells and inhibiting the enzymes responsible for the breakdown of collagen and elastin, both of which are essential to the strength and suppleness of your skin.

Improves Eye Area
If you suffer from tired, puffy eyes and dark circles, you may be reaching for green tea bags soon. Green tea can ease tired looking eyes thanks to its caffeine, vitamin K and tannin content. You might already own an eye product that contains caffeine and this is because caffeine shrinks the blood vessels around your eye, reducing the appearance of puffiness and darkness. Tannins are responsible for stimulating healthy blood circulation and they also help to soothe and tighten the skin around your eyes.

Tones Skin
With the significant amount of antioxidants found in green tea, it makes an excellent skin toner or refreshing facial mist. As stated previously, these antioxidants soothe your skin, reduce redness and inflammation and heal any blemishes or other damage like cuts and scrapes. The anti-inflammatory antioxidants are perfect to soothe your skin while also tackling serious problems like collagen and elastin loss and acne-causing bacteria.

Green tea is an impressive skin care ingredient and using products that contain high amounts of green tea will result in healthy, young, radiant skin. You can also reap the benefits of green tea by making it and then allowing it to cool. Once this is done, soak a cotton ball in it for a toner, pour it into a spray bottle for a facial mist or use cooled green tea bags on your eye area. Healthy, happy skin can be yours when you incorporate green tea into your skincare routine.

What are Carotenoids?

The food you eat does so much more than taste good. One of the most amazing ingredients you can add to your diet are carotenoids. These antioxidant promote eye and skin health as well as providing protection from certain cancers. Our comprehensive guide tells you just what carotenoids are, what they do for you and how you can add some to your diet.

Carrots on a wooden table

What are Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are plant pigments that your body converts into vitamin A. These plant pigments are responsible for the bright red, orange or yellow hue found in fruits and vegetables and are a class of plant pigments known as phytonutrients. Brightly colored red, orange and yellow are not the only fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids. In fact, kale is one of the greatest sources of dietary vitamin A but the chlorophyll in the plant masks the signature red, orange or yellow color of the vegetable. Generally speaking for both bright vegetables and dark, leafy greens, the deeper in color the fruit or vegetable is, the higher the concentration of carotenoids is.

Carotenoids include:

  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Gamma-carotene
  • Cyptoxanthin
  • Beta-zeacarotene
  • Lycopene
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Lutein
  • Capsanthin
  • Canthaxanith

Of these carotenoids, the highest concentration of vitamin A is beta-carotene but the others are just as important. Even those carotenoids that are not converted into vitamin A in the body like lycopene, lutein and capsanthin, are beneficial to your health in that they have incredible cancer-fighting powers. There is ample research to suggest that lycopene, while not a source of vitamin A, helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

What do Carotenoids do?
While some carotenoids are effective at fighting cancer, they are also a valuable preventive tool. Research regarding beta-carotene, the carotenoid with the greatest amount of vitamin A, shows that those who eat foods rich in beta-carotene have a lower risk of developing lung cancer, even among smokers. The study also indicated that the maximum benefits were seen when beta-carotene was provided in the form of plants and vegetables as opposed to taking a vitamin A supplement. In fact three research studies that involved 169,000 participants, of whom many were smokers, the beta-carotene supplement actually increased rates of lung cancer. However, lutein, lycopene and alpha-carotene showed significant protection against lung cancer.

Experts believe that the variation in carotenoid protection is dependent upon when you take carotenoids. For instance, if you take beta-carotene prior to cells undergoing any pre-cancerous changes, beta-carotene reduces the likelihood that mutations will take place due to the antioxidant actions this carotenoid provides. Conversely, taking a beta-carotene supplement after the mutation of cells suggests that beta-carotene may protect the mutated cells from being destroyed by your body.

In addition to fighting cancer, carotenoids that are converted into vitamin A provide your body with important health benefits. One of the most important uses for vitamin A is eye health. The old maxim that carrots are good for your eyes really is rooted in fact. Vitamin A is essential for eye health and preventing vision loss. Your heart also received health benefits from carotenoids, particularly when combined with vitamins E and C. The carotenoid beta-carotene has also been shown to protect the skin against environmental damage and toxins due to its antioxidant properties.

How do you get Carotenoids?
Now that you know why it is so important to get carotenoids into your body, you probably want to know how you can do that. Some of the very best dietary sources of carotenoids include:

  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Beef liver
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggs

Eating a diet rich in carotenoids is an excellent thing to do for your overall health and you can easily incorporate these foods into your diet. While experts recommend dietary carotenoid as the most beneficial for your body, there are certainly dietary supplements available if you are concerned you aren’t receiving enough from your food. Stock up on these fruits and veggies to keep your eyes, heart and cells healthy in addition to getting the healthiest skin of your life.