7 Need-To-Know Skin Care Ingredients From Latin America

Recently, we’ve noticed a Latin trend of sorts (no, not the Ricky Martin- and Shakira-fueled "Latin Explosion" of the late '90s). Instead, we're noticing a growing number of skin beautifiers that contain active ingredients with roots in Latin America.
You might already know how jojoba, a shrub native to Mexico, helps dry skin, but that's only the beginning. For instance, coastal areas of the Caribbean are home to red mangroves, which thrive despite being hammered by the sun and surrounded by salt water. “The Caribbean is a harsh environment for many plant species," explains Miami dermatologist Dr. Oscar Hevia. "After bearing salt, sea and sun conditions over hundreds of years, the plant develops the antioxidant profile needed to survive.” What's good for these plants can be good for your skin — and that goes for plenty of ingredients from Latin America.
Since we’re always up for a beauty adventure, let’s head south to Patagonia for Undaria algae, through the depths of the Amazonian rainforest for camu camu, and back through Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil to check out the indigenous plants and trees that pack a punch in our skin care favorites.
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Image via RMS Beauty
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The jojoba beads contained in HydroPeptide's exfoliating cleanser are made from pure jojoba wax, which is produced in the seed of the jojoba plant, a shrub native to northern Mexico. Jojoba beads have no sharp edges, so they won't cause microscopic cuts that invite bacteria into the skin's surface — an ideal exfoliant, to be sure.

HydroPeptide Cleanse: Anti-Wrinkle Exfoliating Cleanser, $38, available at HydroPeptide.
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Journey way down to the southernmost regions of South America, and you'll find some of the purest natural seaweed on earth. Undaria algae, harvested off the coast of Patagonia, prevents the breakdown of hyaluronic acid in the body, which is necessary to keep skin smooth and firm.

OSEA Undaria Body Polish, $48, available at OSEA.
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The mangrove tree (found in countries such as Nicaragua, Cuba, Belize, and Mexico) is unique in its ability to thrive with its roots exposed in direct sunlight, with limited fresh water, and by drawing nourishment from non-soil resources. Building off of these properties, Hevia's red mangrove extract helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines. Use it consistently, and smaller-looking pores will be yours.

Hevia MD Skin Science Night Repair Treatment Cream, $120, available at Hevia.
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Although not native to Latin America, aloe vera now thrives in much of the region; it's used to soothe and cool irritated skin. The Body Shop sources its fair-trade, organic aloe vera — used here in a healing lip balm — from farmers in the El Progreso department of Guatemala.

The Body Shop Aloe Vera Lip Treatment, $9.50, available at The Body Shop.
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Equally effective on the body or face, this cream's blend of cocoa butter and vitamin E softens and relieves extremely dry skin. The cocoa butter is derived from Ecuadorian cacao nibs, and it's known to help fade scarring (goodbye, stretch marks!) over time.

Jason Nourishing Cocoa Butter Crème, $6.39, available at Jason.
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Peter Thomas Roth's newest serum contains extracts of the camu camu berry, an Amazonian superfruit. Camu camu is getting buzz, and for good reason: Its low molecular weight has superior absorption properties, allowing it to better penetrate the skin. A powerful antioxidant, it helps to increase collagen, brighten, smooth, firm, and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $85, available at Sephora.
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One of the main ingredients in this lightweight, antioxidant-rich facial oil is buriti oil from Brazil. Rich in tocopherols and carotenoids — in other words, major good-for-your-skin stuff — it protects the skin from free radicals and can actually reduce the amount of UV rays the skin absorbs.

RMS Beauty Oil, $74, available at RMS.

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