4 Natural Anti-Aging Alternatives

A fresh wave of alterna-treatments promises firmer, younger-looking skin. Do they really work?

By Jennifer Goldstein

Photography by Gabrielle Revere


anti again techniquesThe Treatment Ayurvedic Medicine

What is it? This system of traditional Indian healing relies on techniques such as diet changes, breathing exercises, and botanical medicine to treat patients based on their dosha, or "body type."

Does it work? "The doshas seem to line up with skin types we're familiar with," says Jasmina Aganovic, an MIT-trained chemical and biological engineer and founder of the Stages of Beauty skin-care line. "The Vata dosha typically coincides with dry skin; Pitta coincides with sensitive; and Kapha, with oily or combination skin." Even so, there's no scientific evidence that treating your skin based on your dosha is beneficial, says Susan Stuart, MD, a dermatologist in San Diego.

However, there is proof that many of the plant-based ingredients used topically in Ayurvedic medicine can help you look younger. For example, "research shows that turmeric and ginger, both used frequently in Ayurvedic medicine, can reduce wrinkles," says Shyam Gupta, PhD, a chemist and founder of Bioderm Research, a cosmetic research company in Scottsdale, AZ. And several studies show that grapeseed extract, another Ayurvedic ingredient, protects against photodamage.

Bottom Line Try products with Ayurvedic ingredients like turmeric and ginger, but don't overhaul your beauty regimen based on your dosha just yet.

The Treatment Alkaline Diet

What is it? A few studies have shown acidity can be damaging to the body, so it's thought by some that eating mostly alkaline-forming (acid-lowering) foods like fruits and vegetables may slow skin aging.

Does it work?
There's no research proving this theory. (Our bodies do a good job of regulating acidity regardless of diet.) But there is anecdotal support: "My clients who eat 80% alkaline-forming foods notice fewer lines and more hydrated skin in weeks," says nutritionist Kimberly Snyder.

Bottom Line The diet won't erase wrinkles, but eating more fruits and veggies improves overall healthand that can only be good for skin.