We’ve all heard about the seemingly boundless powers of so-called superfoods: fruits, veggies, and whole grains that promise everything from a wrinkle-free existence to everlasting life. But the term isn’t particularly precise. “Superfood” can refer to any nutrient-dense food, which explains why it gets thrown around so often. Still, some superfoods—like acai berries and tomatoes—are superlegit, and good for you both inside and out. We tapped dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler for a list of the best superfoods for the skin. Here’s how they work, and why they deserve the title.
One of the buzziest superfoods out there today, this rainforest-grown, grape-like fruit packs a megadose of antioxidants, fatty acids, and protein in just single handful. As it turns out, you can get some of the same benefits from applying acai topically, according to Dr. Wechsler. Acai is particularly dense in anthocyanins, the same antiaging compound found in red wine. Whish’s latest Acai Grapefruit Shave Crave Shaving Cream harnesses the fruit for a nick-free shave experience.
This succulent has more than earned its spot in the skincare superfood hall of fame. Bursting with amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins, aloe absorbs into skin four times faster than water—making it an ace hydrator, skin-soother, and blemish-healer (not to mention the best go-to for treating sunburns). W3LL PEOPLE uses organic aloe as a base for all of its natural makeup—our current morning routine includes the Narcissist Stick Foundation.
Coconut oil’s superpower? Its high fatty acid content, explains Dr. Weschler. Applied topically, fatty acids help strengthen the skin’s connective tissues, reducing the appearance of fine lines. “Because it’s so pure, coconut oil acts as a great moisturizer and can improve the lipid content of your skin,” she says. In addition, the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help skin ward off infections and breakouts. All of which makes us love Ellovi’s all-natural Body Butter, which hydrates and soothes skin with coconut oil and just five other ingredients, even more.
This ruby-red fruit is rich in vitamin C, which can help smooth and brighten skin, says Dr. Wechsler, as well as ellagic acid, an antioxidant believed to help slow the breakdown of collagen, thereby leading to fewer wrinkles. Pomegranate pigments abound in 100% Pure Lip & Cheek Tint, contributing to the all-natural formula’s rich color payoff.
Made from the nut of the African shea tree, shea butter is often touted as a superfood for the skin, thanks to its unique moisturizing and antiaging properties. “Shea contains high amounts of vitamin A, which can help combat wrinkles and eczema,” says Dr. Wechsler. “Furthermore, the moisturizers in shea mimic those produced by the sebaceous glands in your skin, helping it to penetrate and heal dry skin.” Perlier Body Butter in Shea Almond not only smells divine—it hydrates with a base of organic shea butter. A win-win.
Here’s one fruit (yes, fruit!) that we never expected to see in skincare. But we’re sure glad it’s, um, cropping up. “Tomatoes are full of antioxidants, not to mention vitamins A, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6,” says Dr. Weschler. “These help fight free radicals and brighten skin.” Tomatoes play a starring role in Yes To™ Tomatoes Daily Pore Scrub, which clarifies skin and boosts radiance with help from the vine-ripened fruit.