Your skin is never so much exposed or on display as at this time of year. An uncomplicated way to keep it looking its best is to increase your use of fresh ingredients – in the bathroom as well as the kitchen. Here’s a few tips on how to feed and nourish your skin, inside and out – naturally, affordably and effectively.
Internal Skin Foods The best nutrients for your skin include:
- plain water for hydration and flushing out waste
- foods containing high levels of vitamins (A, beta-carotene, B, C, E) for anti-oxidants that reduce the aging effects of free radicals
- foods containing high levels of minerals (silica, zinc) for building the connective tissues
- foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids for elasticity and smoothness
Eating a wide variety of fresh produce that is vibrantly coloured is the easiest way to get a combination of these nutrients. Think green, orange or reds for vitamins (kale, broccoli, leeks, spinach, green beans, bright peppers, mango, papaya, apricots, cherries, berries, watermelon, for example). Think wholenuts, seeds and seaweeds or wild greens & herbs for minerals (pumpkin, pecans, Brazils, cacao, brown rice, parsley or coriander, nori or dulse for example). Think avocado, coconut, or oily fish for fatty acids plus seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds and evening primrose oil, for example). Don’t forget the lifestyle essentials of sleep, sunshine and movement in this ‘food’ mix: a daily dose of relaxation and exercise outdoors can work wonders – great rewards without costing you a penny.
External Beauty Treats With summer’s variety of ripe fruit and vegetables, it’s easy to set some aside to try on your skin.
- Soft fruits that are equally good inside and out include bananas (moisturising), strawberries (brightening), lemons (toning), watermelon (soothing), papaya (cleansing), avocados (hydrating).
- Skin-friendly vegetables include cucumbers (refining), tomatoes, steamed carrots (repairing), turnips (skin tones), peas (even pigmentation).
Yes, using fresh produce is messier than using packaged cosmetics, but on the plus side, it will save you money, and being totally natural and edible, comes without a long incomprehensible list of chemicals and preservatives – with leftovers you can eat. Talking of which, why not try washing your face with raw honey and a little evening primrose oil instead of regular soap at night? It’s deeply cleansing, and hydrating. It will make tight, dry summer skin feel pliant and comfortable again (if you have healthy skin, you won’t need to moisturise afterwards).
For a little pick-me-up try making a berry facemask by mashing up soft fruits with natural yoghurt and a little ground oatmeal to form a spreadable paste. Great for exfoliating, calming inflammation, and plumping up the skin.
For tired, allergy-aggravated eyes, use thin watermelon or cucumber slices, or wet, chilled chamomile teabags on closed lids.
Did you know?
Foods that are rich in betacarotene provide a natural protection from the sun – try eating more sweet potatoes, carrots, green algaes and wheatgrass.
For more on skin-friendly foods and remedies, come to class on Sat. 19th Jul 2014