By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
Our skin is our body’s largest organ, and often reveals if we’re getting enough nutrients — or have a deficiency. Often our skin lacks what it needs, including healthy fat and proper hydration, which both influence how our skin looks and feels. That’s because it’s frequently last to receive nutrients from the food we eat.
Did you know that your skin is extremely porous? It absorbs about 60-70 percent of what we put on it, which is both a good and bad thing depending on the products that we use. Because the skin is so very porous and absorptive, it can actually work in our favor to help give the skin what it needs by putting the right ingredients/products on our faces. When we think of skin products we often think of products that are chemically created or those that are created in a laboratory, but how about looking into our cabinets in our kitchen for products to use on our faces?
There are actually plenty of foods that we use to eat and cook with that make for great healthy-skin products that we can use every day to keep our skin healthy – and also to save us a lot of extra money on skincare products! Here are my seven favorite foods that also make for great skin-healthy ingredients.
Oats are one of my favorite breakfast foods, but they’re also great for skin. Grind the oats into a flour-like consistency and then apply as a mask to help ease irritation or skin with eczema. Oats also contain a nutrient called avenanthramide that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. Combine oats with honey for a soothing and anti-inflammatory mask.
Avocado is loaded with healthy fat and is a great anti-inflammatory for both the insides of our body and also for our skin. It’s also super moisturizing, and can help promote soft, smooth skin and moisturize your hair. Use avocado as part of a mask along with honey and oats — or use it on its own as a hydrating mask. Allow the mask to sit for 10-15 minutes then remove.
Honey helps your skin absorb and lock in moisture. You can use honey as part of a mask recipe or even use it on its own as a mask. To do so, apply and leave for 10-15 minutes (on a clean face) then wash off!
Bananas are a favorite food of mine to both eat and put on my skin. Bananas are a source of potassium, vitamins, minerals and can also be hydrating and provide moisture to dry skin. It’s easy to use a banana on your skin, especially if you have overly ripe ones around the house. Mash up a banana and apply to skin as a mask on its own or mix with honey and oats for a quick face mask. Always apply a mask to a clean face and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before washing off.
Apple cider vinegar gets a lot of press for being healthful to digestion and anti-inflammation, but it can also be used well on the surface skin too. Apple cider vinegar acts as a toner, helping to keep pores open and break up dead skin cells on the surface. To use apple cider vinegar as a toner, mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water then apply using a cotton ball or round to clean face – make sure to avoid the area around your eye.
Coconuts are a good source of healthy fat that’s good for both your body and your skin. Coconut is also super hydrating and has selenium that helps to fight free radical damage on the surface of the skin. Apply coconut meat or coco butter similar to a moisturizer. Just know that coconut butter (or coco butter) can be somewhat goopy and messy to work with so be ware!
Berries are tasty and also great for your skin. They have a natural source of vitamin C, a precursor to collagen. They’re also loaded with antioxidants that can help to promote healthy and beautiful skin. Mash up the berries into a paste and apply to your face for a mask. You can also mix with other foods like oats or honey for added benefits.
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