Superfood skin savers

by Kate Lee

We all know that kale salads and chia seed bowls belong to the superfood newbie starter pack, but how do they function in skincare? We look at some of the most loved superfood skincare products and how their claims stack up to science.

We've seen "superfood" plastered everywhere on menus and vitamin bottles and even skincare products. While the marketing virtually surrounds us, we want to figure out if there is any scientific merit to labeling a certain food product a "Superfood." 

Merriam-Webster defines "superfood" as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. These are typically foods that have high antioxidant or fiber content and may help to increase energy. The term feels fairly empty in science, however, because there is no real criteria to determine which foods are actually worthy of the title. A cursory search on Pubmed will reveal some paltry results. Despite this, there are definitely heaps of research supporting the superior antioxidant power of some ingredients.

Supplementing your body with antioxidants, whether from multivitamins or through an impressively healthy diet, helps it to fight free radicals that are essentially the harbingers of aging. Your body's Avengers squad of antioxidants include carotenoids, vitamins, and enzymes, among others. Most important of these are carotenoids for the skin. Beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein play key roles in anti-aging science as well as helping to reduce the risk of cancer development. Research has shown that using some of these antioxidants on your skin together with supplements can help delay the signs of aging.

Youth to the People is one of those companies that has really taken the superfood mission to heart. Their products are packed with leafy greens, claiming to give your skin the antioxidant powers it needs, like the Age Prevention Superfood Moisture Cream. It's got kale, spinach, and green tea. The greens are packed with Vitamins A, B, C, and E, all of which help to regenerate and moisturize skin, as well as help to build up its barrier. Kale also contains lutein, which is, as mentioned, a powerful antioxidant. 

Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Face Oil is an impressive blend of pressed superfood seed oils. Going through the ingredients list, you may find a number of familiar names: broccoli, cranberry, blueberry, and wild carrot. Bagsnob, Tina Craig, sings the highest praises of this face oil and the woman does not age.

If you want more cranberry in your life, try Kiehl's Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask. Cranberry contains polyphenols and arbutins, which have been shown to have antioxidant and skin-lightening properties. Turmeric, on the hand, has been a long-standing remedy for almost everything in the East. It's a powerful anti-inflammatory that also works to brighten the skin.

Sea buckthorn is another fruit that contains tons of beta-carotene. It's packed so much that too much of the oil can actually stain skin. Herbivore Phoenix Cell Regenerating Face Oil does just that. The beta-carotene present in the sea buckthorn oil lends a beautiful orange color while also treating your skin to an important antioxidant that can help prevent the signs of aging. Added bonus? It's also got chia and CoQ10, which helps with collagen production.

We've all had a chia pudding at some point, or at the very least sprinkled chia seeds in our smoothies. Maya Chia Supercritical Chia Waterless Wonder Balm takes the chia seed powers to the next level with this all-purpose balm to use wherever your body needs a little extra TLC. Historically a staple of Mayan culture, chia seed contains some essential omega fatty acids that provide a range of health benefits. In the realm of skincare, however, it requires further research.