When it comes to achieving clear, glowing skin, you may find yourself constantly reaching for your wallet to purchase any of the thousands of chemical products on the market that promise a clear, youthful complexion. These products are expensive, and may not be worth the purchase. Luckily, some natural ingredients may just do the trick.

Surprisingly, the secret to clear skin and a glowing complexion lies in plants. Plants are filled with phytochemicals, which combat signs of aging and keep your skin looking young. While more research is needed, studies have shown that plants can be used as medicine to reduce skin irritation and itching.

Unlike chemical-based treatments that come with side effects, natural ingredients are mostly safe and suitable for all skin types. However, try a patch test prior to fully applying plant-based ingredients to your skin. Here is a list of five ingredients filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and phytochemicals that promote clear, glowing healthy skin.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been used since 1500 BC in traditional medicine systems in various countries due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been clinically proven to improve skin appearance in patients, according to research. In a small 2014 study, researchers gave 60 participants with mild to moderate acne either a topical retinoid alone or a topical retinoid alone with aloe vera. Findings showed that the retinoid with aloe was more effective than using only the retinoid, suggesting that aloe may be beneficial for acne in certain cases.

When it comes to applying aloe vera on your skin, you can directly use the clear, jelly-like substance in the inner part of the aloe vera leaf or use a product with aloe vera. Some of our favorite products include Lush’s Skin Drink moisturizer, Herbivore’s PRISM Botanical AHA + BHA Exfoliating Glow Facial, and Kiehl’s Calendula Petal-Infused Calming Mask.

Drop of bright yellow essential oil is dripping into glass bottle against blurred pastel pink background. Trendy colors of the year 2021. Extreme close-up
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2. Jojoba

You may know this plant as deer nut, goat nut, or wild hazel. “Jojoba is a shrub that grows in warmer climates with acorn-shaped seeds rich in oil and liquid wax, which possesses healing properties. Jojoba oil is full of natural fatty acids that soothe and moisturize your skin, which keeps it looking young,” Masha Amelina, PA-C, a certified physician’s assistant and the owner of MesoLyft.

Jojoba oil is found in many facial creams, face oils, and serums. Some of our favorite products include Typology’s Organic Jojoba Botanical Oil, Lush’s Ultraplant facial cleanser, and Natural Anti-Aging Cream by Earth’s Cure.

3. Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn is a berry that grows along riverbanks, seashores, and mountain slopes from sea level. The oil of the plant contains powerful phytochemicals and carotenoids that slow down the skin’s aging process. "Moreover, its unique unsaturated fatty acids, such as palmitoleic acid (omega-7) and gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6), give sea-buckthorn oil skin regeneration and repair properties. Sea-buckthorn oil also improves blood circulation, facilitates oxygenation of the skin, removes excess toxins from the body, and easily penetrates through the epidermis.," according to a 2017 review published in Lipids in Health and Disease.

Sea buckthorn oil is especially great for individuals with sensitive skin, as it often does not cause irritation. Some of our favorite products include Herbivore’s Rosehip Anti-Aging Face Oil, Farmacy Beauty’s Honey Grail, and The Ordinary’s Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil.

hibiscus face cream
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4. Hibiscus

This plant will not only enhance your garden but also will give you a glowing complexion. “Hibiscus has been used for centuries both topically and internally thanks to its antioxidant anti-aging properties. It helps to reduce inflammation of the skin, increase collagen production, control oil secretion (and thus clogging of the pores), and hydrate your skin,” Amelina says.

When it comes to applying hibiscus on your skin, you can directly apply a concoction of the hibiscus flowers or use a product with hibiscus. Some of our favorite products include Herbivore’s Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist, Kiehl’s Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask, and Choate Body’s Patchouli Hibiscus Face and Body Scrub.

5. Algae

Algae is high in nutrients and antioxidants that can improve skin hydration and suppleness. “It also contains enzymes that inhibit the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, nipping aging in a bud. Some algae contain amino acids that help absorb certain wavelengths of UV light,” Amelina says. There are many types of algae, such as sea moss–– a red, micro-algae––and chlorella, a type of algae that grows in freshwater.

Sea moss is a popular type of algae used in skincare products. Some of our favorite products include Choate Body’s Tea Tree Sea Moss Face and Body Scrub, Cocokind’s Sea Moss Exfoliator, and Herbal Vineyards’ Sea Moss Gel.

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