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A Guide to Natural Anti-Aging Skin Care

Age gracefully by staying savvy about what you put on your skin. Avoid potentially irritating chemical ingredients and opt instead for safe, natural anti-aging skin care.

| November/December 2013

  • Age gracefully by staying savvy about what you put on your skin.
    Photo By Veer
  • Eschew chemical anti-aging products in favor of natural moisturizers and exfoliants.
    Photo By iStock

Anxieties about aging have many of us swarming the market for products that promise to bring back youthful, radiant complexions—the U.S. anti-aging skin-care industry is expected to expand from $80 billion in 2011 to $114 billion by 2015, according to the market research firm Global Industry Analysts. It can almost feel more natural to fight the aging process than to embrace it.

Anti-Aging Arsenal: 5 Natural Products

Aging is a fact of life, and some natural skin changes are unavoidable: Our skin starts to produce about 1 percent less collagen each year after age 20, leaving it thinner and more fragile. As we age, skin also produces less elastin and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which help support elastin and collagen.

But our habits also affect our skin. Sun and environmental damage such as pollution can leave us with freckles and sun spots, and exacerbate loss of collagen, elastin and GAGs. In fact, up to 90 percent of the wrinkles, dark spots and loss of collagen we typically attribute to aging is actually caused by sun exposure.

To maintain youthful skin, start with healthy habits: Eat well, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and avoid exposure to sun and smoke. Signs of aging such as wrinkles take decades to develop. It’s unlikely they will disappear entirely with a smear of a cream. Instead, aim to slow the aging process by preventing damage. Protect, exfoliate and moisturize, and pay attention to what you put on your skin—many “miracle creams” are made with potentially irritating chemicals that offer modest results at best.

Safe, Natural Solutions

Protect: Sunscreen is one of the most important ways we can keep younger-looking skin. People who regularly apply sunscreen have 24 percent fewer signs of skin aging than those who only use sunscreen on occasion, according to a new study published by the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Avoid sunscreens made with vitamin A (more on that later), estrogen-mimicking oxybenzone, and SPFs higher than 50, which research indicates may not actually provide additional protection. Opt for a mineral-based natural sunscreen that lists micronized zinc and titanium dioxide as active ingredients, at SPF 30.

3/24/2015 8:37:59 AM

There have been some studies that support the use of the herb Polypodium Leucotomos Extract as an internal source of sun protection. I have not used this one, so can only cite it via studies but it has good reviews and data available.

3/21/2015 5:18:31 AM

Sunscreen is a may be good but it is not for everybody, i think natural things are good enough from any medicine. I have found some relative info at

11/7/2013 3:56:07 PM

I, too, am leery of nanoparticles on/in skin. Would like to understand these better--like how much of nano-titanium dioxide (in sunscreens) penetrates cell walls in skin cells and how long do they persist? To what effect? How much do they get absorbed into the body or deeper organ systems than the epidermis? do they react with anything else? Interfere with natural processes? As far as I know, this is not yet well researched.

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