power pLanTS

Mother Nature proves yet again that the most effective skin-care ingredients aren't always concocted in a lab. Here, six botanicals you need to know about
1 Pomegranate

There's a reason pomegranate juice became as über-popular as it did a few years ago: The pigments that give the fruit its rich red color are loaded with antioxidants that fight free radical damage in the body. "Pomegranates contain ellagic acid, which, when ingested orally, has been shown to help decrease hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure and decrease inflammation associated with UV exposure," says Elizabeth Trattner, A.P., D.O.M., an acupuncturist and doctor of Chinese medicine in Miami Beach, Fla. Other studies have shown the ellagic acid in pomegranates has the same skin-saving benefits when applied topically.

Fresh picks: [a] derma e Tropical Solutions Anti-Aging Eye Creme ($20; dermae.com); [b] Burt's Bees Naturally Ageless Line Diminishing Day Lotion ($25; burtsbees.com). Also try: Desert Essence Organics Age Reversal Pomegranate Facial Cleansing Gel ($10; desertessence.com).
2 Bamboo

Bamboo sap is rich in properties that cool and calm the skin. "In Chinese medicine, bamboo is used to treat eczema, atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory skin diseases," says Trattner. What's more, the sap is also a rich emollient, helping to soothe skin through its hydrating powers. But the benefits of this powerhouse ingredient don't stop there: Ground-up bamboo chute is a wonderful (and all-natural!) exfoliant.

Fresh picks: [c] Lather Bamboo Silk Foaming Face Scrub with Lemongrass ($21; lather.com); [d] Anokha Rice & Bamboo Facial Scrub ($28; anokhaskincare.com). Also try: Zia Skin Basics Bamboo Exfoliant ($25; zianatural.com).
3 Bearberry

The antiseptic properties in this dwarf shrub, which grows in rocky areas throughout North America, help fight acne and inhibit melanin production in the skin. "Bearberry has a whitening effect on skin, making it perfect for those who want to minimize freckles or age spots," says Tammy Fender, a holistic aesthetician and skin-care expert in West Palm Beach, Fla. Bearberry also helps regulate your skin's oil production and remove dead cells, which is ideal for those with oily complexions and who are prone to acne.

Fresh picks: [e] John Masters Organics Bearberry Oily Skin Balancing Face Serum ($24; johnmasters.com); [f] EmerginC spot lightening gel ($48; emerginc.com). Also try: June Jacobs Brightening Serum ($110; junejacobs.com).
4 Sea buckthorn

Found high in the Tibetan Himalayas, sea buckthorn has traditionally been used in India and Russia to increase the body's resistance to stress and trauma. It's a rich source of omega-7, an essential fatty acid that helps support healthy skin, hair and nails. It's also packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. "Sea buckthorn helps repair and strengthen skin by stimulating collagen growth," says David Bank, M.D., a dermatologist and president of the New York State Society for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery in Mount Kisco, N.Y. Bonus: That collagen boost helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your face.

Fresh picks: [a] Sibu Daytime Facial Cream ($20; sibubeauty.com); [b] Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn & Cucumber with Ester-C Moisturizing Mask ($9; aubrey-organics.com). Also try: REN Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream ($55; sephora.com).
5 Apple stem cells

Swiss biochemists discovered that stem cells from the apples of the Uttwiler Spatlauber, a nearly extinct tree in Switzerland that produces fruit too tart to eat, have impressive anti-aging benefits. When technological advances made it possible to replicate those cells in the lab, several skin-care companies hopped aboard the apple bandwagon. Apple stem cells have been found to repair and rejuvenate human skin cells, says Fender, a combination that helps skin appear younger and healthier.

Fresh picks: [c] MyChelle Apple Brightening Serum ($44; mychelle com); [d] Goldfaden Stem Cell Skin Serum ($75; goldfaden.com).

Also try: Eclos Cellular Activator Face Serum ($25; eclosbeauty.com).
6 Orchids

Exotic orchids come from Asia and are incredibly hearty, self-sufficient plants. Because the bloom has highly moisturizing and antioxidant properties, it's now being used in topical skin care to hydrate skin and help light free radical damage. "Like all antioxidants, the molecules from an orchid's flower scavenge the skin, looking for abnormal cells — also known as free radicals — to destroy before the multiply," says Bank. "This is important, because those free radicals can be the beginnings of cancer."

Fresh picks:[e] Decléor Aroma Night Regenerating Night Cream ($65; decleordirect.com] [f] Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Fluid ($300; neimanmarcus.com) Also try: Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil ($49; clarins.com).
Botanical ingredients are a good go-to. They help smooth and soothe skin. Repair and rejuvenate your complexion with products that use Mother Nature's finest. The classics

Here, six other botanical ingredients you've seen before for good reason: They work!

ARGAN OIL Extracted from trees in Morocco, this oil has a slew of anti-aging properties and helps nourish, moisturize and improve your skin's elasticity.

Try: Russell Organics Argan Oil ($28; russellorganics.com).

LAVENDER OIL This essential oil is rich in anti-microbial properties that heal, cleanse and detoxify the skin. Try: Avalon Organics Lavender Daily Moisturizer ($17; avalonorganics.com).

ROSE HIP OIL Also known as rosa-mosqueta, the antioxidants and fruit acids in this oil help rebuild skin cells, improve elasticity and hydrate sensitive skin.

Try: ilike organic skin care Rosehip Gel Mask ($40; szepelet.com).

CALENDULA The bright orange and yellow petals of this plant (also known as pot marigold) soften dry, chapped skin and heal cuts and scrapes.

Try: Naturopathica Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream ($58; naturopathica.com).

GREEN TEA The antioxidants in green tea help protect skin from environmental pollutants. Try: Aveda Tourmaline Charged Radiance Fluid ($40; aveda.com).

TURMERIC This antioxidant can reduce free radicals at the skin's surface and provide intense hydration to increase your skin's firmness.

Try: DDF Advanced Firming Cream with turmeric complex ($105; ddfskincare.com).

PHOTO (COLOR): Bearberry has a whitening effect on skin — perfect for evening out age spots.

PHOTO (COLOR): Pomegranates contain ellagic acid, which has been shown to decrease the discoloration associated with sun exposure.

PHOTO (COLOR): Bamboo does triple-duty as an anti-inflammatory, emollient and exfoliant.

PHOTO (COLOR): Orchids' pretty flowers have moisturizing and antioxidant properties.

PHOTO (COLOR): Sea buckthorn helps repair and strengthen skin by stimulating collagen growth.

PHOTO (COLOR): Apple stem cells actually repair and rejuvenate human skin cells.


By Sophie Knight

PHOTOGRAPH BY Pornchai Mittongtare

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