7 must-try natural skin care products

By: Jessica Padykula

Author: Canadian Living


7 must-try natural skin care products

By: Jessica Padykula
With the unforgiving Canadian winter upon us, most of us look to topical solutions to keep our skin smooth, hydrated and youthful. Sure, you may be tempted to reach for the latest anti-aging potions -- which can cost a small fortune! -- but we found some au naturel wonder ingredients that are excellent for treating your skin and staving off fine lines.

We asked Lisa Petty, author of Living Beauty: Feel Great, Look Fabulous & Live Well (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2005), to give us the scoop on the best natural ingredients for smooth and healthy youthful skin. No matter your skin type, there is an ingredient that will help fight fine lines and improve your complexion.

1. Argan oil
For extremely dry or dehydrated skin, Petty recommends argan oil, which is cold-pressed from the kernels of the Moroccan argan tree. "This oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids, carotenes and vitamin E, making it an ideal ingredient to heal, nourish and moisturize skin as it ages," she says. Argan oil also helps to balance skin tone and texture, and absorbs easily into the skin giving it a dewy, youthful glow without the greasy feel.

2. Neem oil
Neem oil is known as the "village pharmacy" in the Ayurvedic tradition. In fact, some form of neem oil is used in almost 75 per cent of Ayurvedic remedies. Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the seeds of the neem tree, which is native to tropical climates, especially in India. You can find it on Canadian shelves in everything from toothpaste to body lotion. This multi-tasking ingredient is a source of nourishing omega-3, -6 and -7 fatty acids and is packed with antioxidants, all of which help keep skin healthy, Petty explains. Rough or sensitive skin, as well as skin prone to redness, also benefit from neem oil because it helps to even skin tone and texture.

Page 1 of 3 -- Learn how natural berries and nut oils can give your skin a healthy boost on page 2

3. Sea buckthorn berry
Now grown in Canada, this beauty-enhancing berry is rich in vitamin E, carotenoids, phytosterols and essential fatty acids, making it a powerful ally in the fight against fine lines. "It's an ideal ingredient for cellular rejuvenation and protection from the signs of aging," says Petty. Sea buckthorn berry is helpful for anyone with dehydrated or depleted skin, as well as mature skin. It has also been used to promote healing from sunburn, eczema and other skin wounds.

4. Kukui nut oil
A light but deeply penetrating ingredient, age-defying kukui nut oil is packed with vitamins A, C and E, and the essential fatty acids linoleic and alpha-linoleic acid. These ultra-moisturizing ingredients are able to penetrate to the deepest layers of the skin, Petty explains, "they create a protective barrier to lock in moisture and renew dry or overexposed Canadian winter-weary skin."

5. Tamanu oil
Tamanu oil is prized for its reputed ability to support the skin, specifically by improving the appearance of scar tissue, stretch marks and blemishes, explains Petty. This healing oil calms and balances sensitive skin, evens skin tone and texture, and improves skin elasticity and firmness, making it an ideal anti-aging ingredient for myriad skin types and conditions.

6. Organic expeller expressed coconut oil
Not just for cooking, coconut oil is an effective natural solution for dry, dehydrated, rough or broken skin, says Petty. Antibacterial, antimicrobial organic coconut oil is emollient and occlusive (air and water tight), making it the perfect finishing touch to trap moisture into skin before heading outside in the winter. "It's also a great body moisturizer to use from head to toe," Petty says.

Page 2 of 3 -- Discover how jojoba oil helps keep your skin hydrated on page 3

7. Jojoba oil
This emollient oil is similar in structure to the oil naturally produced by the skin, making it a gentle moisturizing choice for all skin types. Jojoba oil provides a light, nourishing touch to even oily skin and it is non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores. While jojoba oil is found in many skin, hair and body-care products, you can also use this oil straight from the bottle, say Petty.

If you're looking for another way to keep your skin looking healthy, Petty's top tip for achieving glowing skin is taking daily fish oil supplements for the omega-3 essential fatty acids found within them. These oils help to build membranes around skin cells, which help to shuttle nutrients in and toxins out of your skin, she explains. Healthy skin cells help to hold on to moisture, keeping your skin looking plump and youthful. Also be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid products containing alcohol as they will dry out your skin. "Great skin comes from the inside and the outside," adds Petty.

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7 must-try natural skin care products