Adding skin food to your face and body is a wonderfully simple thing to incorporate into your everyday skincare regime.
Your skin absorbs chemicals and pollutants far quicker than your digestive system. Therefore it makes sense to think about what you are putting on your body not just what you are putting in your body. If you can eat it, you can put it on your skin!
You may well already have plenty of skin food already in your refrigerator, kitchen cupboards and your garden. Botanical ingredients have benefits and active healing properties including fruits, vegetables, herbs, oils, grains, nuts, seeds, pulses and dairy foods. Many are rich in vitamins, minerals, fruit acids, enzymes, amino acids, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), antioxidants and proteins.
Below is a list of many skin foods and their various uses and properties in each category.
Skin foods – fruits
- Apple – contains malic and tartaric acids which gently exfoliate the skin. Grated apple is very soothing and smoothing to a dry skin.
- Avocado – rich in natural oils. Mash the flesh and apply as a simple face mask. Avocado is soothing, softening and is an emollient to dry skin.
- Banana – contains mucopolysaccarides which improves skin hydration. Mashed banana can be used in skin preparations for its soothing and softening properties.
- Grapes – contains tartaric acid. Crushed grapes are very soothing, cooling and toning to the skin.
- Lemon – contains citric acid and is anti-bacterial and an astringent. Lemon juice is useful for treating oily and blemished skin (please note, it is best to use diluted). Also good for hair and skin preparations to counteract the alkalinity of soaps and shampoos and will reduce any product build up and irritation that may result from their use.
- Pawpaw/Papaya – contains the enzyme papain which has the ability to dissolve keratin and therefore dead surface skin cells. Mash the fruit and leave on your face for 10-15 minutes as a gentle exfoliant.
- Pineapple – contains the enzyme bromelain which is a gentle exfoliant. Either the flesh or the juice can be added to skin preparations.
- Strawberry – contains salicylic acid which removes dead skin cells, allowing it to absorb moisture more efficiently. The fruit can be mashed or juiced and added to skin preparations for its soothing, toning and mildly bleaching properties. Strawberry leaves can be infused and used as an infusion for oily skin.
Skin foods – vegetables
- Cucumber – hydrating and mildly astringent to the skin. Grated cucumbers make a gentle and mild astringent mask. Useful for sunburn. Slices are great to pop onto your eyes during a face mask. Mixes well with aloe vera.
- Lettuce – mash with a mortar and pestle to produce a very soothing preparation which promotes the healing of blemishes.
- Potato – juiced or grated potato is soothing and an anti-inflammatory. It can reduce bruising and calm puffy eyes.
- Tomato – has astringent properties making it useful for oily skin conditions.
Skin foods – nuts, seeds, grains, pulses
Ground nuts, seeds, grains and pulses are perfect for skin exfoliation for both the face and body. Use smaller grains for the face while the larger grains are best suited to the body. Suitable ingredients can be ground such as almonds, lentils, adzuki beans, rice, semolina, bran and lecithin.
Oats can also be used, specifically in the form of oat flour, oat bran and oatmeal which can all be used in skin preparations to sooth and heal the skin. Oats also relieves irritations, inflammations and itchiness.
Foot and body powders can be made from corn starch, potato starch, rice starch and chickpea flour. They can be combined with essential oils and herbs to make luxurious fragrant body powders or combined to make a dry hair shampoo.
Skin foods – herbs
- Aloe vera – the cooling gel is obtained from the plant’s succulent leaves. It is an effective healing agent for burns, injuries and acne. It is soothing, cooling and hydrating and stimulates the growth of new cells.
- Calendula – infusions can be made from the flowers and are antiseptic, healing, soothing and anit-inflammatory. Can also be used to highlight fair hair in a rinse.
- Chamomile – makes a soothing infusion that can help with wound healing. Used as a compress to soothe the skin and eyes and reduce inflammation and irritation.
- Comfrey – contains allantoin and mucilage which gives comfrey its excellent healing and soothing properties.
- Elder flowers – infusions are used for their mildly astringent and soothing properties. Makes a great skin toner and eye compress.
- Ginseng – can be helpful in increasing skin elasticity and in revitalising epidermal cell production.
- Lemon balm – antiseptic, astringent, soothing and healing. Useful for sensitive and blemished skins. The infusion is good to use as a facial toner.
- Lemongrass – good for oily skins to help normalize excessive sebaceous secretions.
- Peppermint – relieves inflammation, skin irritation and itchiness. The infusion has a refreshing and cooling effect on the skin and useful in hair preparations to combat dandruff.
- Rosemary – antiseptic, astringent, deodorant, stimulating and healing properties. Improves blood circulation and can help devitalised skin. Also useful in hair preparations to relieve dandruff, encourage hair growth and improve scalp conditions.
- Thyme – has antiseptic, astringent and healing properties. Used as an infusion, herbal vinegar or herbal oil in deodorants, shampoos, hair rinses, and aftershaves.
Skin foods – dairy
- Cream – rich in butterfat and contains lecithin. Cream is a good addition to facial masks to soften and soothe dry skins.
- Eggs – egg yolks are a major source of lecithin which is a natural emollient and preservative. Egg whites are very astringent and drying. Both are great to use on the skin and also in hair preparations to give body and shine.
- Yoghurt – rich in protein, calcium and vitamins. Yoghurt can be used as a face mask on its own or with other ingredients and is suitable for all skin types.
Stay tuned for our upcoming skin food recipes using these wonderful fresh ingredients from your kitchen or garden.