37 Things You Might Not Know Are Good For Your Skin
From calcium to daisies and even snail mucin, these ingredients are a recipe for great skin
We all know we should get enough sleep, exercise and eat well. It’s not just good for physical health, it’s also good for our body’s largest organ: the skin. When it comes to skincare, we are willing to try everything, from make-up hacks, to various serums and moisturizers.
However, there are some ingredients your current regime might not include that could have a big impact on your complexion.
From flowers to vitamins, minerals and some stuff you’d find lying around your kitchen, we consulted with dermatologists, skincare experts and make-up artists to find out what they think are the most overlooked ingredients in skincare. It’s time to take stock of your needs and rethink what you are using to care for your skin.
Preeti Luthra, Skincare Expert & Founder of Pure & Cimple underscores the importance of good skincare. “Not only is our skin our largest organ, it is the barrier between the outside world and our inner body. On a daily basis, our skin combats sweat, dirt, viruses and outside stressors.” What those stressors do to your skin varies widely. Are you trying to combat dry skin or signs of aging? Do you want your skin to look brighter or reduce puffiness? Whatever your skincare goals there is probably a key ingredient you aren’t yet using. Here are 37 of them!
Lesley Thornton, Holistic Esthetician and Founder of the eco-inclusive botanical skincare line KLUR, thinks daisy extract hasn’t yet had its time to shine in skin-care formulations. KLUR turns to it as its main ingredient, because it naturally resists and reduces skin discoloration including sunspots, dark spots, and uneven skin tone. The small but mighty flowers also encourage cell turnover through exfoliation gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.
You may have heard of CBD but there’s another non-intoxicating cannabis component in town: Cannabichromene, or CBC. Rob Evans, cofounder of Purissima, says that CBC may contribute to the health of skin that is prone to blemishes and breakouts and help strengthen and promote cellular turnover, even at low concentrations. The results of a study conducted by Purissima indicated that after using products using CBC, skin showed a “marked improvement included a reduction in the appearance of skin redness, and decrease in the appearance of skin inflammation.”
Aloe isn’t just a remedy for sunburn. Celebrity makeup artist Sebastien Tardif swears by it for extra glowing skin. The Co-Founder of Veil Cosmetics says you can cut the leaves open and spoon out the fresh aloe, then apply a thin layer all over your face as a mask for 30 minutes. Gently wash it off for extra glowing skin. You can place the aloe leaf in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and repeat daily before going to bed or in the morning.
Cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. This means that it can help to soothe irritated skin, fight acne-causing bacteria, and helps reduce the signs of aging. Blanca Aguirrezabal, founder of TheBlogStuff, who specializes in all-natural hair and beauty products, uses homemade cinnamon and orange soap to help her complexion and drinks cinnamon tea.
The strange-smelling ingredient Sulfa is best known as a component of some antibiotics. According to skincare expert Nurse Tara Adashev APRN at Neinstein Plastic Surgery, Sulfa is also great for skin because it is an antibacterial agent that helps battle the bacteria that causes acne. Sulfa can be found in some face washes and topical spot treatments.
According to Dr. Loretta, “of all skincare ingredients to date, topical retinoids have the most studies proving their effectiveness in treating skin photo-aging.” It’s also a very effective skin exfoliator, so it helps shed dead cells at a healthier rate, which can help skin look brighter.
Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark
Sought-after natural health physician Dr. Fred Pescatore, M.D.,says that Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark extract, an ingredient known to aid in jet lag and asthma when ingested orally, is also great for the skin. Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France. It can help reduce the signs of aging, enhance the skin’s ability stay hydrated and helps with collagen production. The extract is found in over 1,000 products worldwide, including serums that can be applied directly onto the skin.
Dr. Luigi L. Polla, founder of Forever Institut and Alchimie Forever, says that red clover helps maintain the youthful and plump appearance of the skin. It stimulates collagen, increasing the skin’s thickness, and improving the skin’s moisture levels. It is derived from plant estrogen, which is different than human estrogen. By ingesting this herb, it means you get all of the skin benefits of plant estrogen without any hormonal effects.
Butterfly Bush Extract
Licensed clinical aesthetician and beauty industry veteran, Dawn Turner, co-founder PRIORI Skincare, recommends using Butterfly Bush Extract, also known as Soliberine. This rare find has potent antioxidant properties that target free radicals and protect the skin against the damaging effects of light rays, UV rays, infrared rays and blue light. Butterfly Bush Extract does many jobs in one acting as a protective agent, sunscreen agent, anti-wrinkle agent, and an anti-inflammatory agent.
Vitamin C had its moment in the sun during the Covid pandemic, and now its having a skincare moment, too. According to Connie Elder, founder of PEAK 10 SKIN, topical vitamin C is a favorite ingredient among dermatologists and estheticians because it may help slow early skin aging, prevent sun damage, and improve the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, and acne. Because Vitamin C is an antioxidant, it also may help fight harmful toxins that come in contact with your skin on an everyday basis.
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Joyce Tse, certified Cosmetic Chemist and Co-founder of Velvette, recommends sea buckthorn oil, which is derived from a small shrub found at high altitudes in the northwest Himalayan region. It’s packed with numerous vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and also the elusive omega-7, all of which work together to promote healthy, moisturized skin. According to Tse, sea buckthorn oil is so effective, that astronauts have used to help with radiation burns upon their entry back into earth. Sea Buckhorn oil also contains Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are also good for the skin.
We all know that calcium is good for your bones but it’s also good for the skin, too. Lara Pizzorno, author and scientific advisor for AlgaeCal, says most of the skin’s calcium is in the epidermis, which is the outermost layer. With daily exposure to pollution, dry winds, UV rays, and chemicals in makeup, if you aren’t getting enough calcium in your diet, your skin may not be able to recover well. This can cause skin to look fragile, dry and worn-out which could lead to premature wrinkling. Pizzorno shares that it is more beneficial to absorb calcium through supplements, with the added benefits, such as increased bone density.
Popping open a vitamin E capsule and applying it to the skin has long been a remedy for scars. But Gigi Sime, skincare expert and an owner of My Beauty Clan, recommends it because it also helps neutralize cell-damaging free radicals triggered by sun exposure. It’s most beneficial for the skin when it’s applied underneath sunscreen. You can also apply vitamins E and C together, because the two antioxidants work together to build collagen and preserve the existing ones in the skin.
Eating raw eggs isn’t recommended as it can cause salmonella, but raw egg whites are very good for your skin because they have a nourishing and toning protein content. Melissa Gilbert, an aesthetician and skincare expert at Fantastic Services, says that if you apply the egg white wash like a mask and allow it to harden on your face, it will form a layer that tightens and firms your skin and diminishes the appearance of large pores.
Castor oil may be best known as an old-fashioned remedy for tummy troubles but it can also be great for skin! Dr. Dylan Alston, a board-certified dermatologist and spokesperson for BABE ORIGINAL, says that castor oil is rich in fatty acids, which provide numerous anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory benefits. Because of this, it’s used to enhance the smoothness of the skin. This softening and hydrating oil can promote an increase in hydration due to those fatty acids.
Dr. Rosmy Barrios, M.D., a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, head of the anti-aging department, and a regenerative medicine specialist, recommends glycolic acid because it’s one of the simplest, mildest, and most effective alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) there is. It’s naturally extracted from sugar cane juice, and its small molecules easily penetrate the skin. Because of this, products containing glycolic acid are a favorite of cosmetologists. AHAs restore and moisturize the skin and even out the tone, promote the synthesis of collagen and elastin, affect the hair follicle sac where acne forms, promote skin regeneration and protect from harmful sun rays. It can be used as face wash or toner daily, or a weekly face mask.
Christine Kingsley, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and the Health and Wellness Director of Lung Institute, likes using a topical face mask of mashed pumpkin because it provides a pipeline of essential nutrients that are often lacking in a typical diet, including vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. These all work to alleviate skin cell damage caused by free radicals. Since damage from free radicals often accelerates skin aging, this can leave a baby-soft and plumping effect after application and an even out skin tone leaving wrinkles less visible after regular use. Pumpkin’s folate and niacin also facilitate skin regeneration, helping get rid of dead cells and making skin clear and bright. There are also lots of great skincare products made with pumpkin.
If you are brave enough to try it, snail mucin can help hydrate the skin, lock in moisture, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. Simone de Vlaming, a beauty advisor and founder of Beautymone says it can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Even better, snail mucin is a safe and effective ingredient that can be used on all skin types.
Dr Alex Trevatt, Aesthetic Doctor and the CEO of Avon Aesthetics stresses that the single best thing you can do for your skin is wear high factor sunscreen – all year long. Up to 80% of the signs of visible ageing on face comes from sun damage. That’s because up to 80% of the sun’s rays get though even the thick, overcast clouds that are common in winter. UVA rays damage the deeper skin layers, resulting in premature ageing and increased risk of skin cancer. Studies have shown that those who wear sunscreen daily, even if it’s cloudy or cold outside, have fewer wrinkles and more volume in their face than those who don’t. The difference becomes very noticeable after the age of 40, with those who have worn sunscreen regularly often looking years younger.
Dr. Mona Gohara, M.D., Dove Partner and Dermatologist, says that ceramides are a big part of building up a strong barrier to the skin to help it retain moisture. Ceramides are fats or lipids that are found in skin cells. Some serums, like the Dove Beauty Body Love Intense Care Body Lotion, contains Ceramide Serum which helps your skin produce its own ceramides, strengthening skin from within, replenishing moisture, and protecting skin against dryness.
Master esthetician Olga Lorencin is known as the “Acid Queen,” and is sought out by celebrity clients for her masterful ability to change skin texture, revive dull and congested skin and help everyone achieve clear and glowing skin. Years ago, Olga Lorencin Skincare formulated the world’s first Lactic Acid Serum. She is consistently reformulating her serum to keep up with evolving scientific findings and ensure the ingredients stay in harmony.
Irina Gottesman is an expert and co- founder of luxury skincare brand, House of Grō. She uses the rare Chaga Mushroom. It has botulinum acid which helps with skin regeneration and can promote melanin, which helps with sun protection. Linda Wang founder of Karuna likes two other types of mushrooms for skincare. Snow mushroom has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, meaning it’s ultra-hydrating and provides gentle brightening benefits. Black hoof mushrooms can help calm visible redness and reduce blemishes and eczema.
Dr. George Bitar is a Board-certified Plastic Surgeon who recommends bakuchiol, a natural skincare ingredient originating from bakuchiol seeds. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and targets wrinkles, fine lines, and general signs of aging. Bakuchiol has similar uses to retinoids, but it can be more tolerable for sensitive skin. For those who need to use the product long-term, it is more sustainable, especially if retinol has caused irritation and redness.
You may already know that probiotics are good for digestion — but Lori Bush, Co-Founder of Solvasa, says they are good for skin as well. “The use of probiotics is an important trend in skincare as we are discovering the critical role of our microbiome in maintaining skin clarity and healthy radiance,” explains Bush. Look for ingredients such as rhodiola, lactobacillus ferment lysate and saccharomyces lysate extract in skincare products to support the proliferation of healthy bacteria and the equilibrium of skin’s protective microbiome.
Nina Wawryszuk, a wellness and beauty expert for Natu.Care, likes rose water for its antibacterial properties. Rose water can help fight against acne, improve the complexion and minimize the redness of your skin. Since rose water contains vitamins A, E, C, D, and B, all of which are important for skin health, it can play a vital role in keeping your skin looking bright.
NYC Dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian can’t say enough about vegan marine collagen. It’s a versatile compound that has been shown to have wound-healing properties, enhancing skin elasticity, and potentially reduce the skin-aging process. She recommends using TruSkin SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C, which not only contains vegan marine collagen but contains sunscreen and vitamin C — also important to maintaining skin health.
Chalease Linderman from New Legends Cosmetics recommends kaolin clay because it is a very gentle and mild clay, making it great for skincare. Face masks that contain kaolin boast some noticeable benefits such as preventing acne, managing dry skin, and absorbing excess oil or sebum – which is a major cause of breakouts.
Grape Seed Oil
Keri Bougie, Founder and Owner of SoChok Skinlove, uses grape seed oil in her products because it is good for your skin in so many ways. It’s not only an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, but its’ benefits include keeping skin pores clean, evening out skin tone, and reducing skin dehydration.
Honey is a delicious and healthy sweetener but it’s also good for your skin. Minesh Patel, CEO of Eczema Honey, likes the absorption and healing benefits of honey. When used with colloidal oatmeal, honey works to restore the skin’s lipid barrier which protects the skin and helps keep it moisturized.
Licorice isn’t just found in the candy aisle. Jordan Karim, founder of halal skincare brand Flora & Noor, thinks that licorice root is a superpower skincare ingredient. It works for hyperpigmentation and fading spots and also inhibits the production of an enzyme needed to produce melanin (pigment) in the skin.
You probably already know that olive oil is heart-healthy, but Marilyn Roman, brand representative for Capatriti, says it also has many benefits for your skin. It’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which are known to improve skin moisturization, have anti-aging effects and relieve your skin from sun damage. You can use olive oil as make-up remover both to nourish your skin and get rid of traces of foundation and blush left at the end of the day.
Elina Wang, CEO and Co-Founder of ESW Beauty, uses pineapple in her products because it can help gently exfoliate the skin, making it a great choice to get rid of dead skin cells and remove blackheads. Pineapple also has high levels of Vitamin C and E, which help naturally brighten and even skin tone. Need more reasons to use pineapple? It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the appearance of redness. That is why pineapple is the star ingredient of the Pineapple Bliss Revitalizing Raw Juice Sheet Mask as it helps tone, brighten, and exfoliate the skin naturally.
Believe it or not, applying oils to the skin can have a clearing effect. Andy Vaughn, Marketing Director for Broken Top Brands, recommends looking for non-comedogenic ones that won’t clog your pores. Vaughn recommends opting for that are high in essential fatty acids that your body won’t produce naturally, such as Sunflower Oil, Grape Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil.
Maegan Griffin, N.P., CEO and Founder of Skin Pharm, likes niacinamide because it is a multitasker. It can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, decrease redness, and improve skin structure to create a healthier, brighter complexion. Hydrating products like Skin Pharm’s Youth Serum contain niacinamide and can be used on more than just your face. Niacinamide can help relieve sunburns, soothe irritated post-shave skin, and help heal small cuts and wounds.
Even though cholesterol is bad for your health, Alli Reed, Founder and CEO of Stratia, says it’s great for your skin. That’s because it’s a vital compound that’s already found in your skin. According to Reed, cholesterol makes up about 25% of the lipid mixture that forms your moisture barrier, keeping your skin flexible, healthy, and clear. To strengthen and reinforce your moisture barrier, look for products featuring cholesterol. It’s even better if cholesterol is combined with ceramides and fatty acids. This combination can be found in the brand’s cult-fave Liquid Gold and Night Shift.
Caffeine is great for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up but Kyle Jiang, cofounder of JUNOCO says it’s also a popular ingredient in skincare products. The main ingredient in coffee is a great anti-inflammatory and an excellent vasoconstrictor. When caffeine penetrates the skin, it improves circulation, to help brighten and revitalize it. It can also minimize inflammation and the appearance of dark circles, strengthen the skin, and help stop some of the damage caused by UV rays. For maximum effect, use caffeine in a serum, prior to applying moisturizer.
Lena Korres, founder of KORRES, says that greek yoghurt is a secret skincare remedy that is packed with protein and pre-probiotics. These help moisturize, calm, and nourish all skin types, even the most sensitive of skin. That makes it a skincare superfood! If you don’t want to slather yogurt from the fridge onto your face, try the brand’s Greek yoghurt foaming cream cleanser.