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Good Enough to Eat: Thanksgiving Beauty Secrets

Turkey with cranberry
November 21, 2013 Reviewed by Marta 0 Comments

As I tried to think of some Thanksgiving-related beauty themes this morning, the first that came to mind was turkey neck. Not the most positive start, to say the least. Then there’s stuffing and facial fillers. Okay, okay, let’s not go there. Actually, it isn’t difficult to be inspired by Thanksgiving ingredients and come up with some great anti-aging beauty products and actives. Starting, believe it or not, with turkey.


This powerhouse Thanksgiving ingredient is a component of turkey anyway: l-tryptophan. This is an amino acid that’s in turkey and acts on serotonin to give you that feel-good, ever so sleepy post-Thanksgiving dinner feeling. It turns out that this is a bit of an urban myth because there isn’t all that much l-tryptophan in turkey. But, nonetheless, tryptophan is worth seeking out (there’s a lot in egg whites) as the body uses it to make niacin, a B vitamin important to skin and hair.

Beauty products with tryptophan

Osmotics FNS Revitalizing Shampoo ($21) and Osmotics FNS Revitalizing Conditioner ($26) contain tryptophan. The Osmotics FNS range was developed with cancer doctors to help speed up the hair growth of chemo patients. The shampoo and conditioner contain vitamins and wheat amino acids, including our friend tryptophan.

Wine (resveratrol)

More than one person in team Truth In Aging regards wine as a Thanksgiving dinner course. Oh well. At least each glass will give you a boost of anti-aging resveratrol. The famed "French paradox" and Dr. Oz favorite is a powerful antioxidant found in red grape skins. However, there is one little wrinkle. Getting resveratrol into our bodies takes more than a swig of table wine with dinner. Studies have found that several hundred bottles are required to get enough resveratrol to age more slowly. That’s several hundred too many, even for team TIA. But –  and here’s the good news –  when applied topically, it works (according to a 2008 study) by significantly inhibiting sun damage and enhancing skin thickness. Yay!

Beauty products with resveratrol

Arcona’s Wine Hydrating Mask ($38). Wine extract is accompanied by resveratrol in this mask that leaves unhappy and irritated skin looking ready for the holidays. A favorite mask of mine, it also has omega 7-rich macadamia and black currant oil to promote healthy cell respiration and stimulate microcirculation. 

Your Best Face Control ($160 in the shop). Resveratrol is joined by powerful free radical fighters, spin trap and Lipochroman-6. This does-it-all serum is also formulated to combat sagging skin and wrinkles with some impressive peptides. A best-seller with good reason.


So much more than a Thanksgiving ingredient for pie, pumpkin is a natural skin exfoliator - its enzymes break down the outer layers of the skin to remove dead skin and decongest pores. Pumpkins are full of beta-carotene, one of the plant carotenoids that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Pumpkin is also a good source of thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese.

Beauty products with pumpkin

Arcona Pumpkin Lotion 10% ($35). Pumpkin ferment boosts 10% glycolic acid to exfoliate and rejuvenate the body. These two strong exfoliators and lighteners are balanced with oils for calming, healing, and antioxidant protection. Fructooligosaccharides encourages collagen building and moisture retention.

Suki Renewal Bio-resurfacing Facial Peel ($82.95). Pumpkin and papaya enzymes join forces in this facial mask from Suki. Thanksgiving also conjures up cholesterol. But as an ingredient here, it's a good thing. Because the skin's natural lipid barrier comprises of cholesterol, this ingredient helps maintain proper functioning in the epidermis by retaining moisture levels and regulating cell activity.

PureCeuticals Pumpkin Enzyme Cleanse ($30). With a delicious spicy pumpkin-y, ginger-ish scent, a small amount goes a long way. Formulated with lactic acid and pumpkin to brighten as well as cleanse, this is nevertheless very suitable for sensitive skin.


Seasonal factoid: only 5% of cranberries produced are sold fresh, presumably to accompany the Thanksgiving turkey. The bitter berry should, however, be regarded as a cosmetic friend. This is one powerful antioxidant. The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of 100g of cranberries is 9,584. A University of Maine study compared cranberries to 22 other fruits and found that they had the highest number of phenols, leaving red grapes in the dust.

Beauty products with cranberry

Blissoma Solutions Restore Deep Healing Oil Serum($35.99). This super-hydrating facial oil (that is also helpful for the delicate eye area) has great absorbency due to the cranberry and grape seed oils. There’s also the increasingly popular anti-aging sea buckthorn, raspberry seed oil, and pomegranate.

Arcona Cranberry Toner ($32). This all-in-one toner, cleanser, and makeup remover is so cranberry-ish, I'm always tempting to drink it. A favorite toner of mine in a base of witch hazel and rice milk.


Apple stem cells have been one of the "it" ingredients of the past year. Apparently, plant stem cells never undergo the aging process, but immortally give rise to new specialized and unspecialized cells.

Beauty products with apple stem cells

Skinfinite Peptide Repair Serum ($69 in the shop). Peptides and free-radical scavengers round out the apple stem cell extract in this well-priced serum. The most dominant peptide in the formula is derived from rice and is a moisture-binding peptide.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer ($65). Juice Beauty’s stem cell complex is taken from apple and grape buds, lemon bark, and apple, grape, and lemon juices. It has even found its way into its new CC Cream. In this moisturizer, they are not mere tokens, but are featured near the top of their highly useful and organic ingredient list.


I love jewel-like pomegranate seeds. Theantioxidant pomegranate (both seeds and juice) have huge benefits for the skin: UVA and UVB-induced damage control, skin regeneration, hyperpigmentation control, collagen production, chemopreventative activity, and matrix metalloproteinase inhibition. Pomegranates have also been shown to enhance the topical effectiveness of sunscreens.

Beauty products with pomegranate

Sevani Ageless Eyes Revitalizing Eye Serum ($54 in the TIA store). An eye cream doesn’t need to be a cream. Sevani proves this with their oil-based serum. Brimming with antioxidant oils – sea buckthorn, grapeseed, pomegranate, and argan – it is a wrinkle smoother and skin softener. Additionally, it isn’t oily and absorbs extremely well. Perfect for those looking for something new, but want to be all natural.

Me & the Girls Moon Beauty Serum ($38). Pomegranate seed oil has center stage in this serum that gives your skin an instant glow, calms irritation, and provides all-day hydration. No nasties… only good things. 

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