Natural wonders: A top cosmetic chemist picks three of the most effective natural skin-care ingredients
Joe Lewis is the Indiana Jones of ingredients. Several of the most important anti-aging ingredients found in jars and tubes today are the quarry of his scientific expeditions. Ever heard of alpha-hydroxy acids or idebenone?
As one of the country’s top cosmetic chemists and the founder of his own skin-care brand called Priori, Lewis loves his double-blind, peer-reviewed studies. So when he found coffeeberry, an antioxidant from the coffee plant, he began to apply scientific rigor to natural ingredients as well.
We asked him for the proof behind coffeeberry’s power and for two other natural ingredients that claim to be heavy-hitters.
Here are the natural ingredients that Lewis likes because they deliver results:
Brightening, sun-damage prevention
1. CoffeeBerry: The antioxidant is dramatically more beneficial than green tea, acai, pomegranate, gogi berry or most other commonly hyped natural ones. CoffeeBerry extract has an ORAC of 15,000. ORAC is a measurement of antioxidant potency. For perspective, a cup of antioxidant blueberries has a score of 13,427. CoffeeBerry is one of the most important natural ingredients fighting the free-radical battle. It can reduce unwanted skin pigmentation and help prevent aging.
Smooths wrinkles, boosts hydration
2. Lactic Acid: A natural alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) found in milk and other natural sources is critical to proper skin moisture. It’s an exfoliant that can improve hydration, so it’s the first step in any anti-aging skin regimen. Higher concentrations of lactic acid are often used in spa peels to boost the results of home-care products. Lactic acid has been proven to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and has a plumping effect because it increases skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Most obvious natural source: Yogurt
Serious anti-aging (deep wrinkles); acne treatment
3. Vitamin A: By far still the most prescribed anti-aging treatment by physicians because of its proven anti-aging results in the skin—correcting wrinkles, improving firmness—dating back to the landmark research in this field in the 1980s. Vitamin A, the precursor to retinoic acid, cannot be made by the human body so it must be ingested or topically applied. Even the over-the-counter version called retinol is an effective cell-communicating ingredient. What does its text message to your skin say? Act like a healthy, younger skin cell. In addition to improving discoloration and wrinkles from sun damage, it’s also been shown to be a heavy-hitter against acne.
Most obvious natural source: Carrot oil —Melisse Gelula