By Sayer Ji
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
Even those who may have won the genetic lottery or have unlimited amounts of money to spend on skincare are not exempt from the natural effects of aging.
But while the beauty industry is bent on spending a fortune trying to convince people of the supreme wonders of chemical peels, Botox injections and serums, there’s an entire world of natural solutions to slow the effects of aging.
Ditch the expensive creams and peels for now and explore these natural remedies that may help you delay or manage the signs of aging skin.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is an established topical skin remedy but is also often added to fruit juice or smoothies in gel form. A 2009 study found that taking aloe orally reduced facial wrinkles.[i] Thirty healthy women over age 45 took aloe vera gel as a supplement, with one group taking a low dose of 1,200 milligrams (mg) a day and another taking a high dose of 3,600 mg a day.
The researchers concluded that aloe gel significantly improved wrinkles in both groups after just 90 days. Additionally, the lower-dose group had improved skin elasticity. How? Aloe increased collagen production, leading to enhanced structural support of skin and fewer wrinkles.
A separate study suggested that continued intake of aloe sterol contributed to maintaining healthy skin, as shown in “statistical differences” in areas like skin moisture, skin elasticity and collagen score.[ii]
2. Red Ginseng
Red ginseng contains bioactive compounds that include antioxidants and antiaging agents. It’s available in various forms such as tinctures, powders, liquid extracts and capsules.
In Korea, 82 healthy women over age 40 took part in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.[iii] Every day they received either a placebo or 3 grams (g) of an herbal mixture with red ginseng extract.
After measuring facial wrinkles, elasticity, water content, red patches and pigmentation, the researchers found that facial wrinkles significantly improved in the red ginseng extract group. A number of biochemical markers of wrinkle damage also improved. “These results substantiate the alleged beneficial effects of red ginseng on photoaging and support its use as an effective ‘beauty food,'” the authors wrote.
Korean red ginseng also proved to be an excellent antiaging product in a separate study.[iv] On human skin, ginseng cream increased skin resilience and skin moisture as well as enhanced skin tone.
Soy extract appears to rejuvenate the structure of mature skin.[v] In a placebo-controlled in vivo study, topically applying an isoflavone-containing emulsion significantly flattened the dermal-epidermal junction, considered the most reproducible structural change in aged skin.
Data from separate research seemed to confirm the findings above, indicating that orally taking 40 mg of soy isoflavone aglycones per day improved the aged skin of middle-aged women.[vi]
In a 2007 double-blind, 12-week study, a moisturizer containing compounds found in soy was found to be safe and effective in preventing photoaging.[vii] The moisturizer with stabilized soy extracts can be used to ameliorate overall skin tone and texture attributed to photoaging, the authors noted.
4. Pine Bark
A 2012 study comprising 112 women found pine bark extract to be safe and effective in substantially improving skin color and decreasing pigmentation of age spots caused by mild to moderate photoaging.[viii]
Japanese researchers divided the subjects into two groups, the first receiving 100 mg of pine bark extract each day and the second getting only 40 mg. The subjects received the standardized extracts known as Pycnogenol®, found to significantly improve hydration and elasticity of the participants’ skin.
Pycnogenol also significantly increased the activity of an enzyme that’s important in the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, which then increases skin moisture and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles. It also affected genes involved in creating new collagen.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid derived from microalgae, found in studies to mitigate skin photoaging and age-related skin diseases through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A meta-analysis found that ingesting or topically using astaxanthin may be effective in reducing skin aging and improving moisture and elasticity, therefore providing promising cosmetic applications.[ix]
In a 2018 review, the carotenoid was also found to prevent UV-induced inflammation, wrinkling and skin pigmentation after exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which can cause significant damage to skin tissue.[x]
Visit the GreenMedInfo.com database on skin aging to find nearly 200 studies on natural skin health and antiaging boosters and remedies.
[i] Cho S et al “Dietary Aloe Vera Supplementation Improves Facial Wrinkles and Elasticity and It Increases the Type I Procollagen Gene Expression in Human Skin in vivo” Ann Dermatol. 2009 Feb;21(1):6-11. Epub 2009 Feb 28.
[ii] Tanaka M et al “Effects of Aloe Sterol Supplementation on Skin Elasticity, Hydration, and Collagen Score: A 12-Week Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial” Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2016 ;29(6):309-317. Epub 2017 Jan 14
[iii] Cho S et al “Red ginseng root extract mixed with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus improves facial wrinkles and increases type I procollagen synthesis in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study” J Med Food. 2009 Dec;12(6):1252-9.
[iv] Saba E et al “Korean Red Ginseng extract ameliorates melanogenesis in humans and induces antiphotoaging effects in ultraviolet B-irradiated hairless mice” J Ginseng Res. 2020 May ;44(3):496-505. Epub 2019 May 15.
[v] Sudel K et al “Novel aspects of intrinsic and extrinsic aging of human skin: beneficial effects of soy extract” J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2004 Nov;39(5):487-92.
[vi] Izumi T et al “Oral intake of soy isoflavone aglycone improves the aged skin of adult women” J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2007 Feb;53(1):57-62.
[vii] Wallo W et al “Efficacy of a soy moisturizer in photoaging: a double-blind, vehicle-controlled, 12-week study” J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Sep;6(9):917-22.
[viii] Furumura M et al “Oral administration of French maritime pine bark extract (Flavangenol(®)) improves clinical symptoms in photoaged facial skin” Clin Interv Aging. 2012 ;7:275-86. Epub 2012 Jul 27.
[ix] Zhou X et al “Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Effects of Astaxanthin on Human Skin Ageing” Nutrients. 2021 Aug 24 ;13(9). Epub 2021 Aug 24.
[x] Imokawa G et al “The Xanthophyll Carotenoid Astaxanthin has Distinct Biological Effects to Prevent the Photo-aging of the Skin Even by its Post-irradiation Treatment” Photochem Photobiol. 2018 Oct 19. Epub 2018 Oct 19.
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- The Power and Mystery of Melanin Explained
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About the author:
Sayer Ji is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, and Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.