Minimalist Skincare: Simple and Chemical-Free Skincare Ideas
Dermatology is one of the most successful industries in the world. We tend to deal with skin blemishes starting at puberty as hormones run wild and bacteria get trapped in parts of the body that were previously sealed. As a result, we develop acne, and our sebum production increases, making it difficult to feel comfortable in our own skin.
While we often hope these issues will fade as we age into adulthood, many of these issues (along with several new ones) persist in later life. This has made dermatology a primarily cosmetic field, though several major health issues can affect the skin. Insofar as the cosmetic issues are concerned, making a dermatology appointment might not be your preference.
Most dermatologists recommend pharmaceutical-grade medications to deal with blemishes and damaged skin. In some cases, they will send you to a primary care physician if they suspect the skin damage results from a major health issue. Regardless, dealing with skin troubles can be unpleasant when you are faced with adding chemicals to your daily routine to try and deal with the problem.
While many skin issues can be addressed without input from a dermatologist, most of the mainstream solutions involve pharmaceutical-grade tools. This has led some people to seek holistic alternatives that will allow them to address their skin problems without chemicals. The problem is that the best options are not necessarily well-known, and you might need some guidance.
Option #1: Green Tea Extract
The leaves of Camellia sinensis are an extremely versatile substance that has been used for centuries since they were first discovered. Although the most common use of C. sinensis leaves is the creation of a drink, green tea has several major health benefits. The nutrients in green tea can reinforce our health, but it also has a role in cosmetic care that extends to skincare. You might have heard of green tea peels and similar products that use green tea extract applied topically to the skin.
While some might discount these products as hoaxes, there is evidence supporting green tea use in skincare routines. Green tea's nutrients can be absorbed via topical application, making it a viable skincare product that can address common skin problems.
In 2018, it was discovered that green tea contains a powerful polyphenol called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG earned distinction amongst polyphenols because it has several therapeutic properties and is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. These effects have made green tea a beneficial tool that can reduce the symptoms of acne via its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial characteristics.
A study review from 2016 confirmed the EGCG in green tea was responsible for most of these traits and confirmed their role in treating acne and oily skin. The EGCG in green tea is also anti-androgenic, meaning it inhibits the body's production of sebum (skin oil). Since excess oil on the skin can contribute to acne breakouts, this trait is one of the more important benefits of green tea.
Green tea products for skincare transfer the properties of C. sinensis' EGCG content to your skin, making them viable options for rejuvenating your skin. However, green tea products are not for everyone, and you might want an alternative that suits your preferences.
Option #2: Matcha
We have already covered the benefits of green tea extract and how it can revitalize your complexion to help you look and feel better. However, alternate forms of C. sinensis plants produce more powerful variants of traditional green tea. One of the most powerful variants is matcha, considered the ultimate form of green tea. Like normal green tea, matcha contains EGCG and provides the same benefits as the substance in matcha's common cousin.
The difference is that the concentration and potency of matcha's nutrients exceed green tea by a wide margin. As a result, using a skincare product with matcha instead of green tea can be more effective since the EGCG and other nutrients will be stronger and yield results faster.
Unfortunately, matcha's superior traits mean it is in high demand. This can make it difficult to use if you are on a tight budget, but ultimately worth it if you want the best results quicker.
Option #3: Aloe vera
Aloe vera has been the go-to remedy for sunburns for decades and remains one of the most popular plant-based products worldwide. While Aloe vera's primary use seems to be dealing with sunburns, there is an underlying reason for that benefit that goes beyond treating the sting. Like green tea, Aloe vera contains several nutrients and vitamins that our bodies can use to heal damage it sustains over time.
Aloe vera is effective for treating sunburns because it has anti-inflammatory characteristics that reduce the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. This effect can translate to other issues that might affect your skin and cause blemishes. One of the lesser-known benefits of Aloe vera is that it can be used to treat the effects of hyperpigmentation, a condition where parts of the skin are darker than the rest.
Hyperpigmentation can adversely affect our self-confidence, especially since it affects the face more than the rest of the body. Restoring uniformity to a complexion affected by hyperpigmentation is challenging, but it is possible. Oddly enough, Aloe vera is one of the substances you can use to treat hyperpigmentation and restore your complexion. One of the principal compounds of Aloe vera is aloesin, from which the plant derives its name.
Aloesin is also the source of several of Aloe vera's chief benefits, making it one of the more valuable compounds. Insofar as hyperpigmentation is concerned, a study was conducted to determine whether aloesin could protect the body from UV radiation (one of the main causes of hyperpigmentation).
The study took its subjects and divided them into 4 groups:
- Test Group A: This test group was given aloesin after their forearms were exposed to UV radiation.
- Test Group B: This test group was given arbutin after their forearms were exposed to UV radiation.
- Test Group C: This test group was given aloesin and arbutin after their forearms were exposed to UV radiation.
- Control Group: The control group was given a placebo after their forearms were exposed to UV radiation.
When the study was finished, it was determined that the subjects in Test Group C showed higher levels of improvement, with Test Group A receiving 3rd place by a margin of less than 10% compared to Test Group B. Nevertheless, this proved that aloesin (and Aloe vera) could be a natural substitute for chemical treatments like arbutin for the same condition. Studies also show that Aloe vera can address acne, excess sebum, and skin hydration issues, making it a fairly versatile tool for natural, minimalistic skincare.
Option #4: Butterfly Pea Flower
Nature is full of diverse plants and compounds with unique appearances and effects. One of the more unique examples of this diversity is Clitoria ternatea, colloquially called the butterfly pea flower. This flower, so named due to its uncanny resemblance to the female clitoris, is a very useful plant that has gained traction in Ayurvedic medicine. C. ternatea has several impressive health benefits, transforming it into a common supplement worldwide.
Additionally, the flower is commonly refined into a popular tea for its nutritional value and distinctive blue color. These properties have popularized C. ternatea in the Western world, but its health and cosmetic benefits are occasionally overlooked due to its novel color. Nevertheless, supplements and teas derived from C. ternatea can affect the health and quality of your skin.
The main benefit of C. ternatea for skincare is that it provides additional hydration for people with naturally dry skin. Dry skin is a problem for a large demographic and can cause blemishes and signs of aging to manifest earlier than they should. Occasionally, dry skin can lead to further complications since your body is not producing enough sebum to keep it hydrated.
In 2021, a study on C. ternatea products determined that topical application could improve skin hydration by 70%. A margin like that means C. ternatea can help restore your skin's otherwise unsustainable hydration level. Additionally, C. ternatea carries a wide range of antioxidants in its chemical composition, offering similar benefits to green tea and Aloe vera.
While C. ternatea can be a valuable resource in your bid to employ natural compounds instead of chemical ones, it does have a weakness. C. ternatea is more difficult to get ahold of since it is rarer than traditional C. sinensis leaves. If you are on a tight budget, C. ternatea products might be something to save for a rainy day rather than a first option.
Option #5: Vitamin C
You have likely heard the same lecture from your parents about how vitamin C is an essential vitamin that you should work to consume regularly. While the lecture might have gotten old, they had a point since vitamin C is essential to the healthy development and maintenance of the human body. While vitamin C can be acquired through several methods, primarily citric fruits like oranges and tomatoes, it can also be refined into a serum.
Vitamin C serums can be used to reap vitamin C's benefits without making major adjustments to your diet. The truly surprising thing about vitamin C is that it can benefit your skin and make it healthier in both appearance and quality. Like most of the compounds discussed in this article, vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties that allow it to address irritation that disrupts the health and appearance of your complexion.
A 2015 review assessed the extent of vitamin C's anti-inflammatory characteristics and determined that it was particularly effective against redness and swelling. Unlike the others in this article, vitamin C is a substance that communicates with our immune systems directly. This is because vitamin C is an essential component of our immune system, which is why it is cited as one of the best ways to bolster our resistance to infection and illness.
According to the studies, vitamin C's benefits for inflammation optimize the immune system to discourage inflammatory responses. That said, the use of vitamin C must be regulated because our inflammatory response is an important aspect of our body's natural ability to heal. When you experience chronic inflammation, it becomes necessary to discourage your immune system from triggering the response when it is unnecessary.
Insofar as complexion is concerned, vitamin C's ability to inhibit our inflammatory response can help maintain an even complexion. Vitamin C also plays a role in reducing the symptoms of hyperpigmentation like Aloe vera does. Unlike Aloe vera, vitamin C inhibits our body's melanin synthesis to prevent excess production that might cause discoloration. In some ways, vitamin C is more effective than Aloe vera for treating hyperpigmentation, but both options are viable. Nevertheless, a vitamin C serum can help you maintain a healthy complexion without using a chemical product.
Finding the Right Blend
Skincare has become a multibillion-dollar industry thanks to cosmetic and medical companies providing chemical-grade tools to produce results. Unfortunately, chemical substances can be unpleasant for people with sensitive biology or who do not want to subject themselves to chemicals if they can be avoided. Fortunately, several natural substances can yield the same benefits as mainstream medicine for skincare.
That said, there are situations where the issues with your skin are because of an underlying medical condition that cannot be treated with holistic tools. If you notice a sudden change in your complexion, it is worth consulting a medical professional to ensure you do not have such a condition. Otherwise, finding a natural product to enhance your complexion is the only issue.
We at Teami have made it our mission to secure improved health and appearance via natural products. We have cultivated a large catalog of products specifically marketed to skincare. To name a few, we have our Green Tea Facial Scrub, Hibiscus Infused Vitamin C Serum, and our Butterfly Toner Mist. Each product has at least one of the substances listed in this article and other powerful skincare compounds. We encourage you to visit our website so you can pick the best one for you. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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