The skin, as the rest of the body, will benefit from a healthy lifestyle. This includes a good diet with enough vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Some specific substances are however especially useful to stimulate healing of injured skin or skin with aging signs, like wrinkles, lack of elasticity, miscolored spots or lack of moisture. Most of these are used in topical product for healing and for anti-aging purposes. You can also use many of them in a natural form upon the skin or to ingest. Here are some of the most important ones listed:
Argan oil: This is a vegetable oil extracted from the fruits of the argan tree growing in the north of Africa. It has a long traditional use as a general remedy to hinder skin aging and to heal all types of aging signs. It is also used as a general protective remedy against hard impacts from the environment. People using it also report good effects against diseases in the skin that cause inflammation, like acne, psoriasis and eczema. The oil can be used upon the skin as a sole remedy, but can also be used in cooking. Some proponents claim that the beneficial effects of argan oil is so comprehensive that it serves best when used in pure form and not in other products.
Squalan and squalen: Squalan is an oil with the empirical formula C30H62. It is found naturally in all living beings, both humans, plants and animals. Traditionally it has been extracted from the fat of sharks, but most squalan is nowadays extracted from olive oil. Squalan is used in creams, cleansers and cosmetics, and can also be used on the skin in pure form. The substance stimulates healing of damaged skin tissue and rejuvenates. It is also a good rinsing medium for the skin. Some people report it is especially good to counteract inflammations and damages caused by inflammation. If you use pure squalan excessively it might however cause irritation. Squalan is not the same as the related substance squalen. Squalen has however many of the same effects as squalan.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A, retinol, is used for health improvement of the skin, both as an oral supplement and in creams to apply on the skin. The vitamin stimulates proliferation of cells and the development of structures in the skin and in most other bodily areas. It has therefore a generally healing and anti-aging effect. The vitamin is however toxic in high doses and then the effects can get contrary to the wanted ones. You gets good doses of vitamin A from eating fat fish. Beta-carotene, which is the orange substance in carrots, are converted to retinol by the body. Eating carrots will therefore also give a beneficial effect upon the skin.
Retinoids and tretinoin: Retinoids are derivates of vitamin A. These have the ability to regulate tissue development and growth in a variety of ways. The most commonly used retinoid for anti-aging purposes is tretinoin (retin A) Much of the vitamin A is converted to tretinoin in the body and that substance gives many of the effects of vitamin A. It has a strong stimulating effect upon formation of new cells and upon healing of skin damage and age signs. The substance has however many side effects if used excessively, for example irritation and dryness. Products containing tretinoin is therefore usually prescription bound.
Olive oil: Using olive oil in the cooking is generally healthy for the whole body, including the skin. Olive oil is a traditional ingredient in skin care products. Olive oil of good quality can also be used directly upon the skin. Before application the skin must be dry and clean. The amount you need is very small. You use exactly so much that the skin gets satiated, but not so much that it is felt greasy. Olive oil used this way protects the skin against environmental impacts, makes the skin smooth and elastic and has a generally rejuvenating effect. Olive oil tends to stay in the skin, so it is not necessary to apply it every day.
Lecithin: Lecithin is a special type of fat which plays a role as a structural component in cell membranes and as shielding around cells in the brain and nerves. Components in the lecithin also serve as transmitter substances in the nervous system and as tissue hormones in the whole body. Many people report that consuming a supplement of lecithin gives a generally rejuvenating effect, and especially upon the skin. Lecithin is generally regarded as a good remedy for health improvement for the nervous system, the heart, the blood vessels and the digestion.
Aloe vera: Extracts, juices or gels from the succulent north African plant Aloe vera have a long tradition as a remedy for skin ailments and as a beauty remedy. Gel extracted from the plant is used directly on the skin or as ingredients in creams and lotions. Aloe vera counteracts inflammation, rinses the skin and alleviates aching. It helps to heal superficial burns and other superficial injuries, but does not seem to be good for the healing of deeper lesions.
Panthenol: Panthenol is closely related to panthotenic acid (vitamin B5) and can be converted to B5 by the body. Panthenol is not used alone, but in creams or ointments in up to 5% concentration. It penetrates easily into the skin. It binds water and moistures the skin. It stimulates repair of skin tissue, especially the outer epidermal layer and the structure inside the pores, and thus help healing of injuries like, mechanical wounds, superficial burns and sunburns. It makes the hair structure firmer. It counteracts iching and inflammation in the skin. The sum effect of these actions is a general rejuvenation of the skin.
Allantoin: Allantoin is closely related to uric acid and is used in products to apply on the skin, shampoos and toothpastes. It helps the skin hold moisture. It soothes irritation and helps to bind and deactivate external irritants. The substance dissolves an excessive horn layer and gives a rinsing effect on the skin. Allantoin stimulates proliferation of skin cells and repair of skin structures and thus helps to heal injuries. It has many of the same effects on the teeth and inside the mouth. As a combined effect of these actions allantoin rejuvenates the skin and makes it look smoother.
Flavonoides: Flavonoides are colored substances found in all plants and especially in colored fruits. They work as anti-oxidants and can protect the skin from harmful agents. They are found in a great variety and many of them will also stimulate repair of injuries and aging signs. They are used in anti-aging pills and in several creams to apply on the skin. You can also get a good supply of flavonoides by eating fruit with strong colors, which will benefit the whole body, including the skin.
Peptides: Peptides are substances whose molecules are composed of two or a few amino acids. Many manufacturers have variants of peptides in their products to stimulate repair of skin damage and to counteract aging. Some of the peptides also smoothen the skin by relaxing small muscles within the skin structure. What kind of peptides used is generally held secret by the manufacturers, but they tend to blend several peptides together, which may have been extracted from natural sources or produced by chemical synthesis. They penetrate from the surface of the skin to the deeper parts and there stimulate regrowth and restoration, according to the manufacturers.