The Natural Ingredients Replacing Chemicals
As consumers we have become increasingly conscious of our health and well-being in recent years. A heightened awareness of the environment in which we live has resulted in a reluctance to purchase chemical laden products and seen us turn to more natural alternatives, none more so than the new breed of so-called ‘superfoods’.
‘Superfood’ is a non-medical term used to refer to a natural foodstuff which is thought to have health-promoting properties thanks to unusually high contents of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. From avocados to algae, carrots to kale and body boosting berries. Such was the buzz around the dawn of this new generation of food heroes that incorporating superfoods into our daily diets soon became an easy way to get valuable nutrients into our bodies.
But it wasn’t just our diets that stood to benefit from these powerful super foods; and before long the beauty industry too became increasingly aware of just how conscious its customers had become about what we put both into and onto our bodies. Cosmetic giants quickly recognised the popularity of these new super ingredients and soon began to incorporate them into their own products, replacing unwanted chemicals with natural substitutes and allowing consumers to align their daily skincare routine with their five-a-day healthy lifestyles.
Natural ingredients were no longer restricted to ‘Free From..’ cottage industries and big brand leaders began tapping into the demand for these nutritionally dense components to translate our healthy living ethos into their skincare ranges, infusing new products with superfood goodness in place of artificial additives.
In the past decade wheatgrass, a highly nutritious plant packed with vitamins, minerals and plant based nutrients, has secured a high-ranking place amongst the best-selling superfood supplements in a market which is currently worth in excess of £12 billion worldwide.
Once just a popular oral supplement famed for its energy and immunity boosting properties, wheatgrass is no longer confined to the health food section but firmly features in the beauty aisles too. High in vitamins A C and E which help to nourish and plump the skin along with a stimulating scent to kick start the mind, wheatgrass has established itself as a popular ingredient in our bath and body products.
So now let’s take a look at some more superfoods and fruity ingredients which can be found in our bathroom cabinets today and ask just when did skincare get so healthy?
Rich in pro-vitamin A to help heal and repair damaged skin, carrot oil is also a recognised natural alternative to fake tan. Not only is it a popular ingredient in after-sun soothers but will also act to top up your glow!
Most commonly found in rain forests of the Amazon, the acai berry is one of the healthiest berries out there. For centuries this antioxidant rich fruit has been heralded as healing, immunity stimulating and energy boosting. Heavily laden with omega oils the acai berry is a popular ingredient in nourishing creams and balms as it is intensely hydrating and helps to maintain the skin’s elasticity.
We all know that blueberries are packed full of natural antioxidants and as such form a vital part of a healthy diet. But perhaps what you didn’t know is that they are often used in facial cleansers and moisturisers as their powerful antioxidants actively fight against the free radicals that can cause break down of the skin and premature ageing to improve texture, firmness and help keep wrinkles at bay.
The African Kigelia fruit boasts impressive antioxidant and antibacterial properties and is widely used in both medicinal and cosmetic applications. Indeed many cosmetic companies acknowledge its skin enhancing properties by adding extract of the fruit to their products to help promote blemish free skin.
A more familiar fruit to most of us the avocado is no stranger to the beauty industry. Rich in fatty acids avocado flesh is highly regarded as a natural moisturiser and its high vitamin A content works to repair and restore leaving firmer feeling skin and making it a favourite ingredient in eye creams and serums.
We have all heard about the benefits of introducing this iron rich superfood into our diets but did you know that when incorporated into facial moisturisers spinach has a bountiful supply of vitamins A C E and K which replenish and intensely hydrate bringing rapid relief from dry itchy skin. Further its high folic acid content actively promotes a clearer complexion.
Hailed as a modern day ‘miracle plant’ Spirulina has established itself as a firm favourite amongst health and beauty gurus alike. The blue-green freshwater algae is rich in omega 3, vitamins and fatty acids all of which play a vital role in boosting immunity and regulating cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Spirulina is also a popular ingredient found in detoxifying face masks helping to reduce inflammation and repair skin for a healthy glow.
Chia Seed Oil
One of the richest vegetable sources of fatty acids, chia seed oil feeds the skin with omega-6 and -3 leaving skin soft, plumped and intensely nourished. In addition, regular use of products containing chia seed oil can protect environment ravaged skin from external oxidative stress and help reduce outward signs of ageing.
Kale is an extremely popular super food with one of the highest levels of vitamins (especially K) there is. High doses Vitamin K stimulates skin cell repair and collagen production to visibly smooth away fine lines and wrinkles. This celebrity favourite is particularly evident in products used in the treatment of rosacea, spider veins and stretch marks, to speed up the skins healing process post-surgery, and to reduce bruising, swelling and scarring.
Affectionately dubbed ‘The Supergrain’ quinoa is a protein packed seed with a high natural magnesium content which when used in beauty products removes environmental pollutants from the skin, boosts regeneration of its cells and increases elasticity. Quinoa is often also used in hair conditioning products thanks to its unrivalled ability to successfully penetrate deep into the hair shaft.
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