We are what we eat and so, as it is Healthy Aging Awareness month, it is a great time to be sure we are doing all that we can to feed our faces. Antioxidant superfoods keep you young and healthy on the outside as well as on the inside. I try to bring these delicious fruits of nature into my diet. There are also ample opportunities to bring them into my skincare regimen as well. Here’s why these superfoods will help you win the aging healthfully battle and where to find them in the best beauty products.
Forget tomatoes. If you really want a dose of antioxidant lycopene, reach for a slide of watermelon. Refreshing and delicious, watermelon has next to no calories. But while that’s a bikini bonus, what your skin will love is the citrulline and arginine, both of which help increase blood flow.
Look out for cosmetics with watermelon oil, such as Circ Cell’s Serum. The seeds of watermelon provide vitamin C and an amino acid called citrulline and can be found in Marie Veronique’s Anti-aging Body Oil and Your Best Face Quench Lip Treatment ($15 in the shop), a product that is always in my purse as it keeps my lips soft and hydrated despite what air conditioning or chill winds bring. Watermelon is about the only good thing going for Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty line. But you can do much better than that with La Vie Celeste’s natural anti-aging skincare with melon featured in the lovely Glycolic Face Mask ($60 in the shop) and the Illuminating Toner ($35 in the shop). Although I haven’t yet come across watermelon in a sunscreen, I am intrigued to know that lycopene provides natural protection against sunburn.
This herb will send your ORAC ratings sky-rocketing (that’s the amount of antioxidants you consume and so is a good thing). Sprinkle dried oregano on just everything you can. It also is a good source of vitamin K.
100% Pure Organic Pomegranate Hydration SPF20 has oregano and is a very pleasant light moisturizing sunscreen ($27). It is also in 100% Pure’s Honey cleanser, which is part of our essential regimen kit. Because it is an astringent, oregano often makes it into hair products, such as Intelligent Nutrients spray-on detangler. 100% Pure adds oregano to its Honey Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner, which has our reviewer Michelle hooked.
You will get more than 450% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C from a red bell pepper and it is unique in combining large amounts of vitamins A and E, along with the C. Half a cup will give you 600 ORAC points.
Yes To Tomatoes has a hand cream called Tender Touch that features red bell pepper and watermelon. You’ll be more likely to find it listed as capsicum in cosmetic ingredients and as such you will spot it in HydroPeptide’s Lip Plumper, one of our Five Best.
Prickly or cactus pear (also known as Indian fig)
Cactus pear is an extraordinary antioxidant, brimming with flavonoids and carotenoids. People who ate 500 grams of fruit pulp daily for two weeks showed decreased lipid oxidation and improved antioxidant status (doing a better job than vitamin C on its own, according to one study).
It is probably easier to incorporate into your skincare regimen than your diet, however. The signature ingredient of the Skin Nutrition line, cactus pear is given credit for providing potent antioxidant benefits, as well as purifying, soothing and calming the skin to help prevent the appearance of redness and blotchiness. Check out reviews of their highly nourishing Night Cream and the Cell CPR. Cactus pear is also in Sevani’s Rapid Renewal Resurfacing Crème ($68 in the shop), which is full of natural ingredients and is great for breakouts or large-pore-prone skin.
Fungi are packed with nutrients such as B6, folate, niacin, riboflavin, iron and potassium. The thing about mushrooms is that they are an important source of the antioxidant amino acid ergothioneine. You will find ergothioneine in Osmosis products, Replenish and Correct, Sevani’s C + Resveratrol Anti-Aging Elixir and Chella’s Lift Reovery Micro Sculpt Concentrate.
Certain mushrooms are also an excellent source of water-retaining actives (like a natural sodium hyaluronate) and as such can be found in Snowberry’s reader reviewed and recommended Bright Defense Day Cream, which uses a cute mushroom called Silver Ear. Another water-retaining mushroom is tremella, and this is put to good use in Sevani’s lovely Rose Hyaluronic Age Defying Tonique ($39 in the shop) and Chella’s Master Protocol 7 (a powerful serum that enlisted compliments for our reader reviewer).
A source of malic acid (an exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid), strawberries are also antioxidant powerhouses. One cup of strawberries will give you a massive 5,400 ORAC points. Scientists have found that strawberry extract is a sunscreen that protects the skin from UV radiation.
Strawberry sunscreen isn’t yet commercially available, but you can find it in juice form in Eminence’s Strawberry Rhubarb Masque. Strawberry seed oil is in MAD’s Illuminating Daily Moisturizer ($50 in the TIA shop) and in Juice Beauty’s good enough to eat Refining Finishing Powder ($22 in the TIA shop), as well as their Reflecting Lip Glosses ($15 in the TIA shop). I was very pleased to be reminded that strawberry extract is in Skin Nutrition’s Complexion Revitalizing Serum, which Nisha really likes.
Vitamins A, C and E feature prominently in papaya as well as the exfoliating enzyme papain. Papaya juice has the ability to reduce skin discoloration caused by the sun, creating a healthier-looking, more even-toned complexion. When topically applied to the face, papaya promotes elasticity with beta-carotene.
Bryce Organics does a exfoliating mask with papaya called the Papaya-Enzyme Alpha Hydroxy Fruit Facial Peel. Because of its exfoliating properties, papaya is useful in cleansers and it is in Kahina’s and in several forms in La Isha’s Gentle Aromatherapy Face Wash, including organic green papaya.
All nuts are fantastically good for you, filled with protein and omegas. Results of a five-week macadamia nut diet reduced cholesterol levels. Macadamias increase the absorption rates of nutrients and fat-soluble vitamins and are packed with calcium and magnesium.
You can give your skin a great dose of macadamia with Mukti’s Antioxidant Oil, a facial serum in which organic macadamia oil is the most dominant ingredient and is joined by apricot and pomegranate. Mukti, in general, is big on macadamia, so you’ll also find it in its Pink Grapefruit Hand & Body Lotion ($35 in the shop). And to get the full head-to-toe macadamia treatment, treat your scalp and hair to Max Green Alchemy’s Shampoo and Conditioner. You will also find it in Pomega5’s new Grenade Anti-Rides.
Kiwis are among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants. Just one large kiwi supplies your daily requirement for vitamin C, as well a good source of potassium, fiber, and a decent source of vitamin A and vitamin E.
As you might expect from New Zealand brand, Snowberry, there is kiwi extract in their Remineralizing Toner and, more unusually, you will find it in makeup in Juice Beauty’s new color cosmetics, including the Perfecting Foundation ($35 in the shop). Kiwi features prominently in Mario Badescu’s Kiwi Face Scrub and in Skinfinite LOL Eye Serum ($49 in the shop).
Most pomegranate fruit parts — its juice, peel, oil, seed, flowers, bark, roots — are known to possess antioxidant activity (amongst other things), with benefits especially for the skin: UVA- and UVB-induced damage control, to skin regeneration, hyperpigmentation control, to collagen production, chemopreventative activity, and matrix metalloproteinase inhibition. Pomegranates have also been shown to enhance the topical effectiveness of sunscreens.
Get pomegranate and a veritable orchard of fruit powders in Tilvee’s Pomegranate Acai Rejuvenating Masque ($23 in the shop). It is also the featured ingredient in 100% Pure’s sunscreen. Meanwhile Body Shop has a whole line starring pomegranate.
By the way, it isn’t all that hard to eat a lot of antioxidant rich food. Here’s a video tour of my fridge on a random day (you’ll also find out why oregano should be your new best friend.