5 Clean Beauty Ingredients That Actually Will Improve Your Skin, Hair and Nails

Clean beauty

Updated Aug 3, 2020 @ 12:14 am

By Gretchen Lidicker

There’s no shortage of clean beauty products on the market, each one claiming to transform your hair, make your skin flawless, and finally give you the strong nails of your dreams.

Sounds pretty great, right?

If you’ve tried any of these products, you know that they don’t always live up to the hype. In fact, they can often be disappointing, leaving you wondering if they were even worth the money at all.

The secret to finding the best clean beauty products is to look for specific ingredients; ingredients that have a long track record of producing noticeable improvements in skin, hair and nail health.

Here are 5 of those ingredients, and why you should make sure they’re in the next clean beauty products you add to your card.

1. Biotin

You’ve probably heard of biotin, likely in the context of skin, hair and nail health. Well, biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is popular for a reason. A 2015 study showed that women who were given an oral supplement containing biotin experienced significant hair grown in areas affected by hair loss. They also had less shedding than the placebo group. Other studies have confirmed this link; in fact, hair loss, brittle nails, and skin rashes are all symptoms of a biotin deficiency.

Dr. Amy Shah, an integrative medicine physician, loves biotin and often recommends it for hair and nail health. “The exact mechanism by which it grows hair and nails is not really known, but we do know that it’s a vitamin cofactor that helps in many parts of the body.” Dr. Shah explains that especially if you have a deficiency, taking biotin can be beneficial.

Biotin is found naturally in egg yolks, almonds, salmon, organ meat, and mushrooms but many of us could also benefit from taking an oral supplement, which comes in the form of pills, capsules, and powders. If you want to incorporate biotin into your wellness routine, try this Beauty Powder from Youtheory®, which contains biotin and added nutrients such as collagen and hyaluronic acid for targeted skin health support.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV fanatics, this is your moment to shine! This versatile ingredient can be used for anything from a naturally cleaning product to a digestif to an all-natural toner for your skin. Plus, a bottle of ACV is less than $4 on Amazon. Just mix one part ACV with two parts water, apply to your skin once or twice a day with a cotton round, and watch ACV’s natural anti-inflammatory properties get to work on improving your skin’s texture and appearance. Thanks to its natural anti-fungal properties, you can also use ACV on your scalp as an anti-dandruff treatment. Just use the same spray bottle to apply to the solution to your hair while you’re in the shower, rinse, and then shampoo.

3. Collagen

Collagen is a type of protein that has taken the wellness and natural beauty worlds by storm. There are 28 types of collagen and each plays an important role in the structure and functioning of skin, bone, cartilage, and muscle. In fact, we have collagen to thank for the elasticity of our skin! Knowing this, it will come as no surprise to learn that collagen production decreases as we age. And this decline is only accelerated by factors like too much sun, pollution, and sugar in our diets.

Luckily, supplementing with collagen appears to promote the body’s own collagen production as well as support the skin’s elasticity and may reduce visible signs of aging. The best part is that collagen powders are virtually tasteless and dissolve completely when blended in liquids. You can add them to smoothies, soups, oatmeal, or even your morning cup of coffee. You’ll often see collagen supplements paired with vitamin C, which brings us to…

4. Vitamin C

When it comes to skin health, there’s no bigger star than vitamin C, an active ingredient that can benefit all skin types. According to Dr. Kiran Sethi, a physician and integrative skin and wellness expert, “Vitamin C has been proven to be effective in preventing UV associated damage through its anti-oxidative effect. It has also been shown in studies to reduce post-sunburn erythema and sunburn cell formation by nearly 50 to 60%.” You can take vitamin C internally or topically for a brighter complexion, more skin moisture, and to help fend off the effects of UV damage. “It’s effective in reducing pigmentation by inhibiting the action of tyrosinase and can also help prevent pollution-related skin damage,” continues Dr. Kiran. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C seems to do it all when it comes to clean beauty.

You may have noticed that vitamin C is often added to collagen supplements, like this Collagen Powder from Youtheory. According to Dr. Kiran, that’s for a good reason. “Vitamin C is also a cofactor in collagen synthesis, hence it is well known to reduce signs of aging,” she says. Studies have shown that vitamin C helps support the health of your existing collagen and helps your body produce more of it. “Basically, vitamin C is a must for nearly every skin health concern,” she continues.

5. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is one of the most underrated clean beauty ingredients out there. Native to Eastern North America, witch hazel is a plant that produces bright yellow flowers. It’s also known as Winter Bloom and Snapping Hazelnut and has been used in traditional medicine as a gentle remedy for itchy or injured skin. Today, you can use it for insect bites, general inflammation, and even varicose veins.

In one study, applying witch hazel to damaged skin showed a significant decrease in IL-8 activity, which is a common marker of inflammation. Other studies have suggested that it can reduce skin aging and protect from sunburns and photodamage. It’s also extremely reasonable; in fact, you can find a 16-ounce bottle for less than $5.

If you’re in the market for effective clean beauty products, keep an eye out for biotin, vitamin C, ACV, witch hazel, and collagen. They won’t disappoint!

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