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Natural Living


Beauty serums get a boost with powerful natural ingredients.

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Designed to absorb quickly and penetrate deeply, ultra-concentrated serums can super-charge any skin-care regimen. Formulas vary, but most contain powerful ingredients that boost collagen, brighten skin, provide antioxidant protection, and ultra-hydrate skin. Some of the best serum ingredients:

1. Hyaluronic acid, a major component of the body’s connective tissues, supports skin structure, hydrates skin by trapping water, and acts as a cushioning agent. As we age, levels of hyaluronic acid decrease, which can lead to wrinkles and sagging skin. Applied topically, hyaluronic acid helps smooth and firm skin, and can dramatically improve the appearance of wrinkles. And some studies show topical hyaluronic acid speeds wound healing.

2. DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that’s responsible in part for creating muscle tone. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant that helps strengthen cell membranes, and helps tone and firm skin. Several studies have shown that topical DMAE dramatically improved the appearance of wrinkles. You’ll often find it in combination with vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid, which enhance its skin-healing effects.

3. CoQ10, an essential nutrient best known for its role in heart health, is also a powerful antioxidant for the skin. As we age, levels
of CoQ10 in the skin decrease, diminishing the skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin and other important skin molecules. CoQ10 is especially effective in warding
off the harmful effects of sun exposure; in studies, CoQ10 suppressed inflammation and protected skin from UV damage.

4. Vitamin C, long used for its antioxidant and immune-boosting effects, has powerful effects when it’s used topically. It’s best known for its ability to slow the deterioration of collagen and elastin, and to repair sun damage. Studies showed that topical vitamin C improved the appearance of
aging in sun-damaged skin. You’ll often find it in the form of Ester-C, a patented form of vitamin C that’s more easily absorbed by the body and skin.

5. Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant made by the body; because it’s both fat- and water-soluble, it’s thought to provide the greatest protection against damaging free radicals. Used topically, it helps diminish
fine lines and boosts levels of other antioxidants, like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D. Some studies show that topical alpha-lipoic acid also enhances the appearance of sun-damaged skin.

6. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, antioxidant compounds that are especially effective at fighting sun damage. Studies have shown that applying green tea topically protects skin from UV damage and signs of aging, and may also protect against skin cancer. You’ll find it in combination with rose,
vitamin C, and other healing compounds.

7. Bearberry, derived from the uva ursi plant, is an herbal extract that contains a natural form of hydroquinone, used in skin bleaching creams. Bearberry is a gentle way to brighten skin and diminish dark spots; studies have shown that arbutin, the active ingredient in bearberry, can safely and effectively improve skin darkening and hyperpigmentation. It also has antioxidant properties to heal skin and soothe inflammation.

8. Sea buckthorn, derived from a small berry native to Tibet, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps soothe and calm skin, reduce inflammation, and repair damage. Some studies also show that topical application of sea buckthorn has significant healing power for burns and wounds, probably because of its antioxidant effects.

9. Baobab, derived from the seeds of the baobab tree from Africa, is traditionally used to treat skin disorders, especially eczema and psoriasis. The seeds are rich in a variety of antioxidant vitamins and essential fatty acids. Some studies also show that baobab oil has anti-inflammatory effects, and can soothe irritated skin.

Good Buys

MYCHELLE DERMACEUTICALS Perfect C Serum boosts collagen and brightens skin with 17% potent vitamin C.

NOW SOLUTIONS CoQ10 Antioxidant Serum works to improve elasticity around the eyes, mouth, and forehead.

SIBU BEAUTY Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Serum with sea buckthorn oils infuses skin with moisture, brightens, and stimulates cell renewal.