When your skin lacks moisture, it is a lot more fragile because its protective barrier layer is compromised, sensitizing the skin to all types of culprits: pollution, sun, stress, harsh products, etc. Using ingredients that feed moisture to the skin causes it to plump up, making it more resilient to fine lines and wrinkles, sagging and breaking (stretch marks) as it is more elastic. Nature, of course, has always known all of this. So have African women. It is no wonder then, that Africa’s bright stars when it comes to natural ingredients for skin, all hold moisture and hydration as their biggest promise. Here are some 3 natural African skin care ingredients for universal skin concerns and what they offer beyond good old hydration:
Marula oil is popular in skincare because it is lightweight and easily absorbed, resulting in supple, smooth skin – free of fine lines & wrinkles. This anti-inflammatory oil is extracted from the kernels of the fruits of the Marula trees, which grow from South Africa stretching up Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya going as far north as Ethiopia. Packed with vitamin E and C, marula oil is great for hair and scalp. Because it is an oil, it seals in moisture keeping the skin hydrated for longer. Epara Balancing Face Oil is a great example of what this liquid gold can do for the skin. The blend of moringa, marula and ylang-ylang oils in this product is luxurious and nourishing, specifically formulated to treat pigmentation and even out any other glaring imperfections.
Prickly Pear: a very popular skin brightening effect
Very popular with many Asian skincare brands for its skin brightening effects, prickly pear is a fruit that grows from a cactus that grows in South Africa, specifically in the Eastern Cape and Karoo regions. Apart from being one of the most deliciously refreshing fruits to eat in summer, it is also a barrier boosting hydrator that assists in superficial would healing, reduction of inflammation as well as prevention of acne breakouts. Because it is non-comedogenic, it can be used on skin as an oil daily, as it easily penetrates the skin without clogging pores. It is extremely high in fatty acids omega 6 and 9 as well as amino acids, which stimulate collagen production to promote faster cell turnover. Uniquely, it also contains vitamin K, which helps to brighten under-eye dark circles and promotes your skin’s elasticity. Suki-Suki’s star product, the Prickly Pear Rejuvenating Oil, has become a cult favourite with African skin enthusiasts. Prickly pear oil works very well with retinol and Vitamin C.
If ever there was one fruit that wins all the prizes in skincare and yet remains the lesser known of them all, it would be Kigelia Africana. The kigelia tree grows a fruit shaped like a thick cucumber, known to be poisonous and purgative when consumed raw but can act as an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory when formulated into skincare. Kigelia trees grow in the tropical and wet savannah regions of sub-Saharan Africa and are found close to rivers or streams. Brands like Luxe Botanics and Terres D’Afrique have discovered the benefits associated with kigelia on skin: firming and tightening, strengthens capillaries, improves skin barrier function, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and reduces excess sebum production. Watch out for this one, we suspect it has the potential to become as ubiquitous as shea.