It’s only March but don’t neglect getting your skin ready to meet increasing time spent outdoors. From author Gerrie Summers of About Style, here are 14 natural foods that promote good skin care and some tips on how to use them.
1. Almonds are really edible seeds (not nuts) loaded with vitamins and minerals; they also have antioxidant and anti-aging properties which nourish the skin while preventing cell damage and protecting against UV radiation damage. Using almond oil and almond-based masks help delay the aging process and treat wrinkles.
Make a paste with one tablespoon ground almonds and one teaspoon honey with warm water. Apply mixture to face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
2. Aloe Vera is rich in silicon which is important for collagen production that helps promote new tissue formation. Aloe vera is great for mature skin, slowing the effects of aging, improving elasticity and reducing wrinkles.
Dab aloe vera gel on affected areas. Leave on for 15-20 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water.
3. Amla Powder or Indian gooseberry is a source of vitamin C that protects against skin aging.
Mix amla powder and lemon juice into a paste. Leave on face for 10 minutes then rinse with cold water.
4. Avocado and its oil contain vitamins A, D and E and antioxidants which boost collagen production that reduces aging effects. It also contains sterolins that help heal sun damage. This is especially good for decreasing eye wrinkles, diminishing expression lines and reducing deep lines.
For a creamy moisturizer, mash about a tablespoon avocado and mix with 1/2 teaspoon plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon each of lemon juice and coconut oil. Massage the mixture into your face. Leave on 10-15 minutes then rinse with warm water.
5. Bananas also help reduce deep lines and wrinkles.
Mix half a small banana with 2 teaspoons plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon honey. Mix well and apply to face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes then rinse with warm water.
6. Carrots contain vitamin A that helps in collagen production and smoothing the skin.
Apply carrot juice with added coconut oil to wrinkles. Let dry for 5-10 minutes then rinse with cold water.
7. Cinnamon plumps the skin, filling in fine lines and minor wrinkles.
Dr. Oz’s recipe combines 6 teaspoons each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg placed in a coffee filter with hot water run through a coffee maker. Allow to cool and use as face wash. Leave on face for 10 minutes and then rinse. Nutmeg turns off pigment cells and lightens age spots. Note that cinnamon can be irritating.
8. Cucumber contains vitamin C, an antioxidant useful for building collagen and elastin. It also has caffeic acid that protects against UV damage that breaks down collagen and elastin, leading to skin damage and wrinkles.
Apply cucumber slices on wrinkles and wrinkle-prone skin, or apply cucumber juice to affected areas.
9. Fenugreek contains niacin (vitamin B3) that helps repair damaged skin cells and regenerate new ones, making it great for treating fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
Boil fenugreek seeds in water and use as facial wash (or grind leaves into a paste and apply to face for 30 minutes). Rinse with lukewarm water.
10. Ginger contains antioxidants which suppress the breakdown of elastin and provide protection against free radical damage.
Apply mixture of ginger juice and aloe vera juice or gel and apply to wrinkles. Or grate fresh ginger and mix with honey for 20-30 minutes. You can also eat the ginger and honey mix or make ginger tea. Ginger might be more beneficial when consumed.
11. Honey is one of the best ingredients to use in facial masks and other homemade facial recipes. It rejuvenates the skin and has antioxidants that smooth wrinkles and promote skin elasticity.
Take peeled apple and chop and boil pieces until soft. Drain, mash apple and mix with 1 tablespoon honey. Apply to face for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
12. Lemons contain citric acid, an exfoliant that helps fade wrinkles, fine lines and dark under-eye circles.
Dab lemon juice on lines and wrinkles, leave for 5-10 minutes then rinse with cold water. Note: lemon juice will make your skin sensitive to sunlight; you’ll need to apply sunscreen even after you’ve rinsed off lemon juice.
13. Pineapple has enzymes that promote skin elasticity and eliminate dead skin cells.
Rub pineapple core onto wrinkled area and let dry for 20 minutes then rinse with cold water.
14. Witch hazel is an astringent extracted from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel shrub. Tannins in witch hazel tighten the skin to smooth out wrinkles. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which protect skin tissues from free radical damage.
Massage witch hazel into wrinkled areas and leave on overnight.
By Miriam Latto