So what are these buzzing, mysterious “superfoods” anyways? There are no scientific parameters to define a superfood, but many classify it as a food packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As has become popular in the past decade, adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet can prevent diseases and nourish your organs … including your skin.
Increasingly, these powerhouse ingredients are popping up in skincare products. But do they really work? Using antioxidants topically has been shown to combat signs of aging, as well as protect (and even repair) skin from sun damage. Considering that up to 90% of skin aging (wrinkles, brown spots, and leathery skin) is caused by the sun, that’s huge!
The proof is in the pudding! Of those superfood-packed products my husband and I have recently tried, we’ve definitely noticed an improved difference — softer, hydrated skin with fewer lines and wrinkles.
This beneficial marriage of nature and cosmetics is creating the next wave in skincare. And as a label-reading, ingredient-aware parent, it’s something I can get behind.
So, I’ve curated this list of promising superfood ingredients with corresponding skincare products, many of which are free of parabens, phthalates, and other ingredients with questionable impact on our health and the environment.
1. Chia Seed
Benefits: Chia seeds are a terrific source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals. When consumed, they stabilize blood sugar and have been shown to help shed stubborn belly fat. Externally, chia seed oil is excellent for calming inflammation, fighting signs of aging, and providing essential moisture.
Product: Perricone MD Chia Serum, $75
2. Amaranth Seed
Benefits: As an excellent source of protein, minerals, and protein, amaranth seeds are a popular gluten-free alternative to traditional grains. Amaranth oil used topically is not only high in antioxidants, but is also one of nature’s few sources of squalene, an essential omega-2 found naturally in skin. Squalene helps seal in moisture and promotes elasticity to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
Product: Pai Echium & Amaranth Age Confidence Facial Oil, $90
3. Goji Berry
Benefits: Goji berries have a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity, which basically means that they pack a serious antioxidant punch. They’ve been used for years in Chinese medicine but are more recently being explored as a skincare ingredient. Scientists at L’dara have isolated the compound in goji berries that is most effective for anti-aging. My tester (aka my husband) says the gel works into the skin quickly, hydrates, and dries fast. It makes his face feel really smooth.
Product: L’dara Advanced Anti-Aging Serum, $120
4. Sea Buckthorn Berry
Benefits: Sea buckthorn berries are used in medicine, cosmetics, and food. They make up jellies, juices, purees, and sauces, and when consumed can prevent infections, improve sight, and slow the aging process. Their nourishing mix of fatty acids form a protective barrier for the skin, helping to moisturize, prevent sunburn, and promote healing (including acne, eczema, skin color changes after giving birth, and more).
My husband and I both tried this one. In addition to making my skin feel super soft and hydrated, this oil smells amazing. My husband felt like he was on vacation!
Product: Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil, $26
5. Noni Fruit
Benefits: The noni plant is a small evergreen bearing a fruit that’s been used medicinally in Polynesia for centuries. Though used for a variety of ailments, studies are still underway to test their specific benefits. Today, we use them as juice, dried fruit-leather, and supplements. And in the beauty realm, Miranda Kerr is a huge advocate. She created the KORA Organics line, which uses noni fruit extract with more than 170 vitamins and minerals. Miranda credits the fruit for contributing to her supermodel glow, as she grew up applying the juice to her skin whenever she noticed a blemish or got too much sun.
6. Prickly Pear
Benefits: This cactus, a staple in the Mexican diet, has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a plethora of helpful vitamins and minerals. Great for aging or dehydrated skin, it attracts moisture, reduces inflammation, and improves the skin’s texture.
Product: Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Sleep Mask, $90More On