Botanicals offer some powerful benefits for our skin. Here’s True Health’s guide to the best in plant-based beauty for all your skin needs.
The winter weather can take its toll on our skin; a mixture of wind and cold weather outside, and central heating inside can mean our skin can feel dry, dull and lacking in vitality at this time of year.
And that is where botanicals can be so useful, offering gentle and natural nourishment to keep your skin in the best of health.
“Botanicals are natural plant-based ingredients that can be used in skincare products. These can include herbs, fruit, seed and plant oils, which provide moisturising, healing, cleansing, protecting and nourishing properties to natural skincare products,” explained Rose Holmes, Registered Nutritionist and Education and Training Manager at Rio Health.
“Natural botanical ingredients have many beneficial properties which can revitalise and renew skin. Combinations of these botanicals can help prevent tired, dull skin, dehydration and wrinkles. They can reduce the slowing down of cell renewal that can occur in ageing and help encourage brighter and more radiant complexion. Natural oils, high in antioxidants, provide essential protection and repair, maintaining the skin’s natural moisture barrier and restoring hydration, radiance and skin health.
“Just as we need healthy foods to nourish our bodies, we need healthy ‘foods’ to nourish our skin; skin superfoods like rosehip oil, sacha inchi, shea butter and cranberry seed oil nourish and protect the skin. These natural botanicals can be far more effective than synthetic ingredients – naturally nourishing, rather than increasing exposure to synthetic and sometimes drying or damaging ingredients.”
When choosing botanical skincare products, it’s important you choose wisely, opting for natural and organic products, and trying to avoid the use of some common chemicals that can be found in more conventional brands.
Rose advised: “In addition to looking for what is included in skincare products, consider what is excluded. Look for a product range that has no nasties. Added ingredients such as parabens, PEGs, DEA, TEA, SLS and others may negatively impact both skin and whole-body health.
“Parabens are widely-used preservatives. Research suggests parabens have oestrogen-mimicking properties and may lead to impaired fertility or foetal development and may associate with increased risk of breast cancer. Paraffin and petrochemicals should also be avoided. Mineral oils are petroleum derivatives, commonly used as emollients and lubricants but are often contaminated with impurities. These petro-ingredients may affect the ability of skin to breathe, may clog pores and cause acne and may cause skin to age prematurely.”
She continued: “PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based chemicals used to soften, thicken and aid moisture retention of the product. Like other petroleum-based chemicals, PEG compounds can be contaminated with impurities. PEGs also are penetration enhancers and therefore may allow other compounds to absorb more readily through skin into the body. These can therefore cause skin irritation and system toxicity.”
Also be aware of ethanolamine compounds, DEA (diethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
And Rose added: “Synthetic fragrances often irritate sensitive skin and are not necessary when there are wonderful essential oils and other natural ingredients to give fragrance. Alcohol (ethanol) is dehydrating and may damage by destroying natural oils in skin, resulting in dry, cracked skin.”
So, what do you need in terms of natural choices? And what ingredients are useful for your skin at this time of year.
Rose reminded that vegan ranges, such as Rio Rosa Mosqueta, mean not only that there are no animal or animal-derived ingredients, but also that the products are not tested on animals.
And ingredient wise? Rosa mosqueta is high on the list for its many benefits.
“A particular favourite botanical ingredient, and the beauty secret of South America is rosa mosqueta rosehip seed oil, which is extracted from the seeds of rosehips and is naturally rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C and E and essential fatty acids, which play an important role in skin regeneration,” Rose explained. “Studies have shown this antioxidant-rich oil has the ability to heal and fade post-surgical scars and prevent the advancement of premature ageing. Rosa mosqueta also contains trans-retinoic acid, a naturally-occurring compound related to vitamin A.”
Your skin needs:
- For dry/oily skin: Rose suggested: “Babassu (Orbignya oleifera) is a gentle natural moisturiser ideal for both dry and oily skin. Another South American botanical is Manilkara multinervis. Manilkara repairs, protects and promotes skin elasticity and is ideal for both dry and oily skin.” And don’t forget rosehip seed oil for its ability to prevent the advancement of premature ageing.
- For older skin: Rosehip seed oil has restoring and rejuvenating properties. It helps to keep skin hydrated and soft, helping also to promote cell regeneration.
- For damaged skin: “Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) oil is another nutrient-rich, moisturising oil, rich in omega 3 and antioxidant vitamin E, as well as naturally containing vitamin C and carotenoids to help fight against oxidative damage,” Rose suggested. “Cranberry seed protects against free radicals and instantly moisturises. Contains omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids.” And keep in mind Calendula officinalis, which soothes, softens and heals and is full of antioxidants that protect and prevent harmful oxidative damage.
- For dull skin: You could try the natural exfoliator, Bambusa arundinacea, known as golden bamboo. “It is a natural vegetable scrub that cleanses and removes impurities, helping to brighten the skin. Great for sloughing off dead skin, golden bamboo is a fantastic ingredient in exfoliating products and can be found in Rio Rosa Mosqueta Brightening Exfoliator,” Rose suggested.