The Best Natural Skincare Ingredients You’re Probably Not Using: Walnut Seed Extract, Kakadu Plum and Cordyceps Mushroom

When you think natural skin care, you probably think of popular ingredients like lavender, aloe vera and chamomile. But there are some unsung heroes you’re skin is likely missing out on—natural foods already popular in other cultures that exhibit some extraordinary properties shown to completely transform skin. Today, we’ll look at three of them: walnut seed extract, kakadu plum and cordyceps mushroom.


Walnut Seed Extract: The Skin-Loving Multitasker

Let’s talk about walnuts! It’s widely known that this wrinkly nut is loaded with beneficial fats and vitamins, but how does it help our skin?

Walnuts actually have a higher antioxidant activity than any other common nut. Chockfull of vitamin E, melatonin, and polyphenols, walnuts help fight factors that cause oxidative damage, helping to reduce the visible signs of aging.6 Walnuts are also a good source of biotin, commonly known as the hair, skin, and nails vitamin.

In the skin, this B vitamin helps regulates fats which prevent skin from drying out. The omega-3 fats in walnuts also help regulate sebum production, keeping skin moisturized5. It’s very important for glowing skin that your skin be able to retain water. Hydration without proper moisturization won’t be help keep skin healthy. That’s why we want to make sure our skin is able to retain water. Also, the high potassium content in walnuts can help with puffiness under the eyes caused by excessive sodium intake7. So many nutritious compounds come together in the walnut, making it an effective tool to combat common skin concerns.

Ready to transform your skin with these extraordinary botanicals? Try all three by slathering your skin with 8CELLENT’s Vitality Complex Serum or for richer texture, the Vitality Complex Cream.

Kakadu Plum: The Reigning Vitamin C Queen

The kakadu plum is a small fruit, about the size of an olive or a cherry, which was long used as “bush food” by Australian aboriginals. Besides making a tasty jam, this fruit can help supply your skin with some serious nutrition.

Let’s start with vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. Besides being a go-to supplement during cold and flu season, vitamin C is also a key ingredient in keeping skin healthy and radiant. A powerful antioxidant, it eliminates the molecules in our body trigger the visible signs of aging, molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are produced by our body during natural processes, and unless they’re neutralized, damage our skin from the inside. Kakadu plums have almost five times the amount of antioxidants as blueberries!1

Ascorbic acid is also part of the anti-aging machinery by being involved in the collagen production process. Our skin needs vitamin C so that the cells in our epidermis and dermis —which produce collagen—can get going!2 Where does the kakadu plum come in? Well, this little fruit actually has one of the highest recorded levels of ascorbic acid of any plant in the world. Oranges have about 50mg of vitamin C per 100mg of fruit. Kakadu plums, on the other hand, have 5000mg of the vitamin C per 100mg of fruit. It’s no wonder this brush fruit is considered the ultimate superfood.

Cordyceps Mushroom: The Free Radical Fighter

The Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi which grows in larvae. We know that’s a little icky to think of, but benefits here far outweigh that little detail. Long used in traditional Chinese medicine, Cordyceps is beginning to see some popularity in the West, especially in supplements. It also has applications in skin care as part of the growing trend to incorporate fungi in our creams and serums.

As we mentioned, antioxidants are key to fighting the visible signs of aging. Studies have shown that Cordyceps has antioxidant power without causing any damage of its own. This is important because although some extracts help fight free radicals, they cause other DNA damage which can trigger aging. Studies have also shown that the polysaccharides from the fungus can enhance our antioxidant activities. In our bodies, there is normally a balance between free radicals and antioxidants.3 As we age, however, there is an imbalance between the two, and our body can’t fight off free radicals as well as it did in youth. One study showed that CMP in Cordyceps helped protect our mitochondria, one of the parts of our cells that free radicals attack.4 In doing so, the activity of our natural antioxidases was increased.4 What does this all mean? Well, antioxidases are proteins in our body that speed up processes which counter oxidative stress, the process by which free radicals damage our cells. These processes are all affected by aging, slowing down. By increasing our natural antioxidase activity, Cordyceps helps bring up antioxidant levels and re-establish the balance between them and oxidants.

Sources:

1. Konczak, Zabaras, Matthew Dunstan, and Aguas. Hydrophilic phytochemical composition and anti-oxidant capacity of commercially grown native Australian fruits, CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, https://publications.csiro.au/rpr/download?pid=csiro:EP101542&dsid=DS1 (September 2018).

2. Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal. 2013;4(2):143-146. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.110593.

3. Fusco D, Colloca G, Monaco MRL, Cesari M. Effects of antioxidant supplementation on the aging process. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2007;2(3):377-387.

4. Li XT, Li HC, Li CB, Dou DQ, Gao MB. Protective effects on mitochondria and anti-aging activity of polysaccharides from cultivated fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2010;38(6):1093-106

5. M.M McCusker, J.M. Grant-Kels. Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Clin. Dermatol., 28 (2010), pp. 440-451.

6. Haddad EH, Gaban-Chong N, Oda K, Sabate J. Effect of a walnut meal on postprandial oxidative stress and antioxidants in healthy individuals. Nutritional Journal. 2014; 10; 13:4.

7. Ros E. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients. 2010;2(7):652-682. doi:10.3390/nu2070652.