Beauty certainly is more than skin deep. Healthy, glowing skin is a reflection of wellness from the inside out. As you age, your concerns over maintaining smooth, radiant skin may shift to an anti-aging focus. You may begin to experience dry skin and loss of elasticity. However, there are ways in which you can adapt your diet and herbal supplementation to support skin health and longevity. Read on to learn about some of the best herbs for anti-aging skin!
More than Skin Deep
In addition to being the largest organ in your body, your skin is also your first line of defense against pathogens. Your skin draws the boundary line between what is and isn’t you—at least in the physical sense!
Also, more than one body system is involved in keeping your skin healthy. Your blood, muscle tissue, and plasma all play a role in skin health. Furthermore, when skin issues crop up, you may want to consider whether digestive imbalances, stress, or liver issues are related. What’s going on in the deeper tissues and organic body can contribute immensely to skin wellness.
Foods and Herbs for Anti-Aging Skin
As you are well aware, there are many ways in which skin health can go awry. Acne, rashes, hives, or skin that is too oily or too dry are all potential skin maladies. This article, however, will focus on protocols for anti-aging skin.
Fortifying the Structure
Maintaining the integrity of the skin’s structure is one important aspect of skin longevity. Your skin’s structure is mostly made up of collagen, with elastin and keratin also playing a role. Furthermore, since your body is mostly made of water, staying hydrated is important for skin wellness. Plus, every cell in your body contains fat, so getting adequate good-quality fats is another key to skin beauty and integrity (1). As herbalist Maria Noel Groves (2016) so aptly states,
“The quantity and quality of the fats you eat has a profound effect on your skin and total body health.“
Consider all these factors in developing a plan to support anti-aging skin. Now some practical tips! Let’s take a look at what you can do to support your skin’s health and structure!
Keep it Intact: Silica
Silica is an important nutrient for anti-aging skin; it fortifies all forms of connective tissue, including collagen, keratin, and elastin. Remember that these connective tissues constitute your skin’s structure (1).
Some good sources for silica include:
Gotu kola is also a wonderful herb for promoting collagen repair. Furthermore, it has a cooling, calming effect on the nervous system and supports capillary integrity (1).
Vitamin C for Thee!
Another fact to consider is that vitamin C promotes healing of connective tissue (1). Plus, vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, meaning that it protects the body from oxidative stress.
Vitamin C-rich Foods and Herbs
- Hibiscus flowers
- Amla (the main ingredient in Chyawanprash
- Bell peppers
Keep it Fluid: Herbs to Nourish and Clear the Water Element
Staying hydrated and clearing out wastes on a daily basis is another key component in skin health. In Ayurveda, the plasma and watery fluids of the body are known as rasa. Consider these herbs for nourishing the rasa and clearing out toxins and metabolic wastes.
Anti-Aging Skin Herbs For Nourishing and Clearing Fluids
Manjistha: a cooling, purifying herb that clears the skin and can be helpful with menstrual irregularities.
Turmeric: can be taken as a supplement and used in cooking. Great for supporting the liver and gut. Turmeric is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and supports detoxification.
Marshmallow: a moist, nutritive herb that is great for helping the skin and body to retain moisture.
It’s in Your Blood: Herbs for Healthy Blood
The quality of your blood will also play a role in skin wellness. Blood is referred to as rakta. in Ayurveda. Just like with the rasa, nourishing your blood and clearing out wastes will contribute to good blood and happy, beautiful skin! Here are some ideas on herbs and foods to nourish and clear your blood.
Herbs that Purify the Blood
- Aloe juice or gel
- Lemon water
Foods and Herbs that Nourish the Blood
- Dong quai
Skin Health From Deep Within
Last but not least, it is helpful to remember that radiant, youthful skin is a reflection of wellness from deep inside. If digestion is strong and you are taking in nourishing foods that are balancing for your constitution, then you will build healthy tissues all around. This includes good quality skin tissue.
Ayurveda teaches that special foods and herbs that nourish the ojas (essential energy of the immune system) will ultimately lead to healthy skin. Strong ojas means a strong immune system, and remember that your skin is the first layer of your immune system. The only caveat is that your digestion also needs to be in good shape to fully digest any ojas-building foods and herbs. This is especially true because herbs that are deeply nourishing tend to be somewhat heavy and sweet.
However, assuming that your digestion is in decent shape, here are some herbs and foods for nourishing your immunity and resilience—otherwise known as ojas.
Herbs and Foods For Deep Nourishment
There is no one way to approach creating and maintaining a healthy complexion. If you are searching for the best herbs for anti-aging skin, it can be helpful to consider your chief challenges. Does your skin run oily or dry? Have you noticed wrinkles or loss of elasticity? Might your nervous or system need a little TLC? Identify your weak spots and you can choose the best path forward to building and creating radiant, youthful skin.
Groves, M.N. (2016). Body into balance: an herbal guide to holistic self-care. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)