Homemade Beauty Recipes for SummerNatural Treatments for Healthy Skin
-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
Summer is the season for showing skin. But with more exposure to the elements and greater oil and sweat production, skin problems (namely sunburn, heat rashes and breakouts) seem to increase right along with the temperature. Luckily, you can fight summer skin problems and you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars at the cosmetics counter to do so. Try these homemade skin care recipes, featuring ingredients like blueberries and cucumber, which are in season all summer long.
*Note: As with all skin products, do not use any of these recipes if you are allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients, or have very sensitive skin. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns or questions. In case of a rash or reaction, discontinue use immediately and seek medical advice.
Blueberry Smoothie Face Mask
Blueberries have been making headlines recently for being one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the fruit and vegetable kingdom. Antioxidants are compounds that help keep your cells healthy. Of 40 fruits and vegetables analyzed for their antioxidant activity by the USDA, the blueberry ranked No. 1 in the fruit category, earning blueberries the title "super food." And the antioxidants that benefit your body when you eat them can also benefit your skin when applied topically, revitalizing the skin and hastening healing.
- Small handful blueberries, fresh (or unsweetened frozen berries, thawed)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened plain yogurt
- 3 Tablespoons raw almonds
Blue Oatmeal Face Mask
Blueberries pack antioxidants (see above), while oats gently exfoliate the skin.
- 1/2 cup rolled oats, old-fashioned or quick
- 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh (or unsweetened frozen berries, thawed)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 5 raw almonds
Cucumber Cleanser for Dry Skin
The following recipes call for organic cucumbers. Besides being sprayed with pesticides, conventional cucumbers are coated with wax, which may contain synthetic chemicals that you probably don’t want on your skin—let alone in your body. Organic cucumbers, especially the ones you can buy at your local farmers market, are free of pesticides and wax. In lieu of organic, peel conventional cucumbers to cut down on unwanted wax and chemicals.
- 1 unpeeled organic cucumber, grated
- Plain, unsweetened yogurt
Cucumber Mask for Sensitive Skin
Cucumbers contain nutrients like vitamin C and caffeic acid, which help soothe the skin and can reduce swelling.
- 1 unpeeled organic cucumber, chopped into large chunks
- 2 Tablespoons plain, unsweetened yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (available in the bulk foods section of your local natural food grocery)
- 1 Tablespoon rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon honey
Aloe Vera Gel
Although the juice and gel of aloe vera can be consumed, aloe vera is not usually considered a food. But the gel of this desert plant is a super-beneficial substance, especially for sun-exposed skin. You don't have to buy bottles of aloe from the store, though. The plant itself is hydrating, healing, and very easy to use. Simply buy a small aloe vera plant, keep it in a sunny window, and water it when it gets dry. After you cleanse your skin in the evening, break off a small piece of the plant, open it up to find the gel, and pat it onto your skin.
Remember that no matter how nourishing and revitalizing these homemade skin care products are for your skin, nothing can completely undo the damage of too much sun, so always wear sunscreen when you’re going outside.