There are milions of beauty products on the market, with the hottest new skin care compounds popping up every single day. As much as we love hearing about the latest beauty must-haves, it can get a little overwhelming, right? So what are the essential ingredients normal skin types (adults) really need to get that healthy glow? Clinically researched & 100% proven over time? Are they all vegan?
No doubt, the most important compounds in modern skin care.
Antioxidants protect the skin by reducing and counteracting free radical production. Free radicals can attack your skin, damaging healthy skin cells and creating oxidative stress. Antioxidants protect your skin from this process and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. They are also great anti-inflammatory agents, preventing breakouts and improving protection against sun damage. Antioxidants can also limit hyper-pigmentation, as they reduce the production of skin pigments (melanin) during sun exposure. Results: significantly better skin texture and brighter skin.
Vegan sources: There are countless plant-based antioxidants. The most common ones: Resveratrol, a potent polyphenolic antioxidant found in red grapes. Also red wine, nuts, and fruits such as blueberries and cranberries.
Polyphenoles, found in coffee, cocoa, green tea, prevent sun damage, support skin rejuvenation and help with skin inflammation.
Flavonoids, commonly found in berries, limit damages caused by UV light, pollution and stress, manage inflammation and help prevent collagen loss.
My current hero: Mukti Organics Antioxidant Facial Oil Omega 3-6-9, 70,00 USD (Australian brand, globally available)
Extremely popular as it boosts collagen production and diminishes fine lines. It is also known for repairing sun damages due to its skin lightening benefits. Strictly speaking, Vitamin C belongs to the antioxidant family, but it is so potent that it deserves its own category. For natural skin care formulations, Vitamin C comes in many forms (as less irritating derivatives) like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, calcium ascorbat, sodium ascorbate and sodium ascorbyl phosphate.
Vegan sources: Fresh fruit and vegetables such as citrus, oranges, passionfruit, kiwi fruit, rosehip, camu camu, acai berry, broccoli. Results: Stunning! Pair with Vitamin E for best efficacy.
My current hero: Derma E Vitamin C Serum, 17,00 EUR, (US brand, available @i-herb online store)
The most common ingredient in anti-aging skin care.
It speeds up cell turnover, promoting firmness & smoother skin. But there’s more to it: Vitamin A also fights off free radicals and helps with collagen production. After 30 our natural collagen is reduced, leading to typical ageing signs like fine lines, dark spots, sun spots and scars. Vitamin A is a collagen booster. It also brightens your skin tone by improving texture and complexion.
Important to know for veggies and vegans: Pre-formed vitamin A exists only in animal products. Those animal derived retinols are called retinoids. They are not allowed in certified organic skin care anyway. However, there are about 50 plant-based carotenoids that our magic body can convert into Vitamin A, with the most common being beta-carotene. Plant-based forms are muss less irritating than animal-sourced retinoids.
Vegan sources: Carrot oil, Sea Buckthorn oil, Rosehip oil, Bakuchiol (Psoralea Corylifolia plant)
My current hero: 100% Pure Retinol Restorative Overnight Balm, 55,00 USD (US brand, globally available)
Strengthens skin’s natural barrier. Helps moisturize to prevent dry, flaking skin.
And has skin healing benefits, too. Vitamin E can be very helpful for a range of skin disorders, such as itching skin or ekzema. It assists in various kinds of cellular restoration from sun damage to healing support for scars or burns. Keeps skin hydrated and calm. Protects skin from photo-ageing.
Vegan sources: Tocopherol as in almonds, nuts, mangoes, vegetable oils, avocado, brokkoli
My current hero: CMD Sandorini Bio Sanddorn Fruchtfleisch-Öl, 9,00 EUR (German brand)
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
A type of good fat. They help retain the skin's lipid barrier by keeping it nourished & elastic.
A couple of fats are classed as essential nutrients because our bodies cannot make them. The most important ones are Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid ) and Omega-6 (linoleic acid) fats.
Omega-3 helps with dry, irritaged skin and eczema while Omega-6 helps with acne.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, they reduce UVB radiation damages and UV-induced hyperpigmentation. Awesome, right?
Vegan sources: Sunflower oil, sesame oil, soy oil, raspberry and elderberry seed oils, chia seeds, hemp, evening primrose, sea buckthorn, rosehip, prickly pear, borage, microalgae
My current hero: Pai Rosehip Bio-Regenerate Oil, 30,00 EUR (UK brand, globally available)
Relatively new compounds in modern skin care.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that act as building blocks of proteins such as collagen, elastin and keratin. One of their most important jobs is to promote cell regeneration and restore collagen, slowing down skin ageing. They also have anti-inflammatory benefits.
These proteins are the foundations of your skin and are responsible for its texture, strength and resilience. They also work against dark under-eye circles and bags.
Peptides (synthetic origin) are very popular in conventional cosmetics, but of course not allowed in natural cosmetics. New plant-based options are fairly new on the market.
Vegan sources: Arctic berry, yeast protein, soy and rice peptides, lupin peptides
My current hero: Evolve Multi Peptide 360 Moisture Cream, 22,00 EUR (German brand)
Helps lock in moisture into skin. Enhances natural skin barrier. Makes skin stronger. Very powerful in combination with Vitamin A. Like collagen, hyaluronic is a natural compound found in the skin. As we age, we produce less and less of it, so it’s important to substitute. The moisture-binding properties of Hyaluronic Acid and its ability to retain water make it a go-to ingredient in highly moisturizing skin care products. Also reduces inflammation.
Vegan sources: Fermented wheat or yeast proteins, fermented mushrooms
My current hero: Lavera Hyaluron Liquid Foundation Ivory, 10,00 EUR (German brand, globally available)
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Exfoliation acids & enzymes that help dead skin cells slough off. So following skin care products are better absorbed. AHAs are a treat for all skin issues associated with ageing – sun damage, dryness, dullness. They even tone and fade discolorations. Leaving skin smooth and soft.
The most common AHAs are citric acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid. Citric acid from citrus fruits work to fight free radical damage and dull skin. Glycolic acid from sugar provides a mild, natural exfoliating effect on the skin. Lactic acid exfoliates, reducing the appearance of wrinkles & discoloration while hydrating & moisturizing.
Vegan sources: Lemons, oranges, grapefruit, papaya, pineapple, strawberry, yoghurt, sugar cane, sugar maple extract
My current hero: Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask, 48,00 USD (US brand, globally available)