ingredient highlight: 2 botanical forms of vitamin c
We all know Vitamin C is essential for health, and it turns out is also important for radiant, youthful skin. Vitamin C serums and various potions flood the market today, many of them made up of synthetic forms of Vitamin C such as ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. And while they can do really great things for your skin, such as brighten complexion, reduce pigmentation, and help fade sun spots, there is something vitally important for you to know. Vitamin C is water soluble and a very unstable ingredient, because it oxidizes. It's a tricky ingredient for formulators to work with and difficult to be sure that correct dosage is stable in a product for the consumer. To be clear, there are wonderful brands out there with some effective product, and there are also many Vitamin C products that aren't going to do much for your skin.
Here's where plants can step in and fill in the gaps. It used to be said that natural skin care might be gentle and better for you, but not very effective. Well, not anymore. Today, I have to two amazing fruits given to us by God for us to examine. We will see just how big of a punch they pack.
Also known as Indian Gooseberry, one small fruit from this tree is equal in Vitamin C to 2 oranges. It has twice the antioxidants of acai berry and about 17 times that of a pomegranate. In Indian medicine amla is believed to increase the immune system against diseases, and it is one of the oldest oriental medicines spoken of in Ayurveda.
In India the fruit is juiced, eaten, and used in beauty practices for skin and hair. Aside from its exceptional Vitamin C content, amla is also high in omegas 3 and 6. The Vitamin C found in the fruit is bonded with tannins that shield it from heat or sunlight, which would otherwise destroy the vitamin.
Amla is extremely beneficial when taken internally:
1. it eliminates toxins by helping the liver detoxify
2. it strengthens eye sight
3. it supports fertility
4. balances stomach acid, thus aiding digestion
5. helps food absorbtion
6. boosts absorption of calcium
7. builds up the immune system
For skin and hair health, amla boasts great benefits also:
1. The high content antioxidant from Vitamin C make it a great addition for mature skin types and those looking for preventative skin care
2. reduces pigmentation, such as dark spots caused by sun damage
3. naturally brightens and lightens the complexion
4. boosts collagen production
5. as a natural blood purifier it helps treat acne and acne scars
6. exfoliates skin
7. strengthens hair
8. prevents premature graying and makes a wonderful natural dye for those with darker hair
9. boosts hair growth (I wonder why Indian women have the most beautiful long, silky hair?)
You can purchase organic amla powder online from Amazon to use in beverages, make your own capsules, or in your skincare. This is the one I use: Terrasoul Amala Powder
Make a multi-tasking face mask and exfoliate mixing 1 tsp of amla powder with a bit of honey, yogurt or water to make a paste. Apply to clean face and leave on until dry, 10-15 minutes. To remove wet face and gently message to exfoliate and remove completely.
You can also make a very easy amla extract to use in a face serum or unscented shampoo like in my personalized shampoo post.
DIY Amla Extract
(for cosmetic use only)
In any size CLEAN jar fill with:
20 % amla powder
40 % distilled water
40% vegetable glycerine
*1% preservative, such as benzyl alcohol or Geogard ECT (opt)
Re-hydrate amla with some of the water. Mix all ingredients together and shake. Cover, label and date. Agitate daily 4-6 weeks. Strain with cheese cloth and coffee filter (or just coffee filter, which will take longer and have to be done in batches, but still works great). Decanter into clean, disinfected glass dropper container or other suitable container. Experiment and enjoy!
*If using the preservative change distilled water amount to 19%.
Another powerhouse "C" fruit is the Australian Kadadu Plum. It is traced back to the Aboriginal people of Australia who have been eating the fruit for centuries. Now deemed a superfruit because of it's high nutritional content, the Aboriginal people also used it medicinally. When Western civilization became aware of its benefits, they of course wanted to utilize and commercialize it...even at the cost of the Aboriginal. The beauty company, Mary Kay learned of it's amazing skin benefits and tried to patent the Kakadu plum for themselves, at only themselves. According to www.fodors.com, the communities of Northern Australia would "to pay to harvest a food that was part of their culture, their extensive history, and actively growing all around them."Thankfully, this bio-piracy was not carried out. The Aboriginal do commercialize the Kakadu plum, but sustainably and only by their own people. For us this means that we won't find this plum in our grocery stores, but we can find it in powdered form where the fruit has been freeze dried to preserve it's excellent health benefits--internally and cosmetically. Personally, I'm thankful the Aboriginals took a stand and are preserving their heritage by only locally growing and harvesting Kadadu plum trees.
So what kind of nutrients and phytochemicals do we find in this sweet and sour superfruit? Well for starters, 1 gram of freeze dried kakadu powder is the equivalent to one orange in Vitamin C. We are talking 3,150 mg to 50 mg!! Or 55 times more Vitamin C than an orange per ounce. In fact, it is the plant highest in Vitamin C known on earth right now. These high vitamin C levels, research is discovering, makes excellent preservative properties. The Aboriginal people eat it to fight off diseases and viruses, and it is rich in antioxidants, folate, and iron.
For skin rejuvenation, Kakadu boasts some amazing benefits. It helps form proline, an amino acid that creates collagen, which in turn help fine lines disappear and encourages firm, plump skin instead. It also kills bacteria in acne prone skin from gallic acid, an astringent that is an antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial agent. The Vitamin C content protects skin from environmental stress such as pollution and UV damage. A super fascinating fact is since the plum contains both water and oil soluble antioxidant properties, by combining them, this may provide more protection against oxidative stress.
For ease of making sense of all this, let's list out the highlights of what Kakadu plum can do for your skin:
1. brightens complextion (it even rivals traditional Vitamin C products!)
2. helps corrects pigmentation
3. clears blemishes and acne causing bacteria
4. heals past environmental damage, while protecting from current toxins, pollution, and ultraviolet light
5. promotes firm and plump skin
6. potent anti-aging ingredient that helps keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay
7. hydrates and moisturizes skin and hair
8. Aids collagen and elastin levels in hair
So how do you get a hold of this amazing ingredient? You can purchase skin care with kakadu plum extract in it, or you can buy organic freeze dried powder from here and use it in your own DIY's. Try making an extract with it like in the amla extract recipe above. Use the extract in lotions and serums or shampoo...or create your own! There are so many wonderful pluses to incorporating Kakadu plum into your skin care or health routine. I hope you are encouraged to give it a try!
As always, I hope you enjoyed reading. May you be inspired and came away with just a little more knowledge on plant ingredients for skincare than you had before. Thank you for visiting my blog, and I'll see you next time!
*I am not an affiliate with Amazon or any of the products I mention on this post.