We know that the food we eat provides us with nutrition for our body to function at optimal levels, we also know that long before there were creams and lotions our grandmothers and mothers used the food we ate for their beauty regime. Each home has an ingredient for cleansing, moisturizing and toning the skin.
Historically used beauty rituals across the world have become the basis for today’s beauty products. These ‘organic’ products add chemicals, preservatives and other items which harm the skin in the long run.
It is time to scour through your kitchen shelves to help your skin look nourished, glowing and hydrated this summer. Here are some easy to use kitchen aids for your skin.
A common man’s fruit, it is available throughout the year. Papaya is nutritionally one of the best sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, riboflavin, folate, calcium, thiamine, iron, niacin, potassium and fibre.
Another important compound found in Papaya is Papain, an enzyme which helps in digestion of proteins and is used for tenderizing meats. All these amazing components of papaya are what make it a perfect skin therapy.
Papaya is endowed with the ability to lighten skin, remove the tan and even out the skin tone because of the action of papain. Papaya is also capable of exfoliating dead skin and hydrating it to helping reverse ageing. Papain is also found to be effective in reducing wrinkles by working on collagen and elastic fibres of our skin. Hospitals in poor communities also use it effectively for treating burn ulcers in children.
How to use: Cut the fruit close to the skin and then it can be mashed and applied to the skin and used as a scrub or it can be mixed with besan, honey or milk to make a pack.
Are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, vitamin C, potassium. These nutrients can transform skin into one that is bright glowing.
Lycopene is a strong antioxidant and works even when applied topically to scavenge free radicals leaving the skin refreshed. The high content of vitamin C works as a natural bleach restoring the glow to the skin. Both these fight the effects of ageing and sun damage working as an anti-ageing combination. Tomatoes also work well on oily skin reducing the chances of acne and pimples and are also believed to help tighten pores.
How to use: You can rub the tomato all over the skin dry and wash off after 5 minutes. On returning from the outdoors use a tomato toner made with juice of blended and strained tomato to which a little cucumber juice can also be added.
3. Coconut Oil
An all-time favourite for skin care, non-processed coconut oil is very well known for its benefits. It is endowed with strong antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. It helps with strengthening the underlying dermal tissue, protects us from sunburn and is an exfoliating agent – removes dead skin cells.
Coconut oil is very often recommended by surgeons for post-surgery scars. Being an oil, it helps moisturize dry skin.
How to use: It can be massaged on to your skin left for 5-10 minutes and rinsed, it could also be added to a base of fuller’s earth as a pack. Coconut oil also makes a good makeup remover.
4. Raw Honey
A natural healer, honey has been used in traditional medicine to treat wounds and non-healing ulcers. Recent research has also supported its use for non-healing ulcers and even surgical wounds.
Honey is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity and its ability to hydrate the skin. It is useful for preventing outbreaks, reducing scars, and provide moisture for the skin. Honey is also a good remedy for dandruff.
How to use: You can simply spread some on your face using your palms, leave it on for about 10 minutes and then rinse. Honey can also be used with other natural ingredients like chickpea flour or tomato in a face pack.
5. Raw Milk
An ingredient used extensively in my home for generations. Milk is made up of proteins, fat, B vitamins, calcium, lactic acid, biotin, and vitamin A to name a few. All these are very beneficial for skin health.
Raw milk baths have been around forever for a reason. It helps to cleanse and purify the skin, it nourishes the skin preventing dry and flaky skin. Milk boosts collagen formation and maintains the elasticity of the skin. Its protein helps tissue repair and growth promoting wrinkle-free skin. Lactic acid hydrates nourish and also fights free radicals preventing ageing. It is very effective for dealing with pigmentation and patchy skin.
How to use: The simple way is to dab a cotton ball soaked in milk all over the skin and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Add it to oatmeal or normal atta for making a scrub.
There are so many more kitchen ingredients that make a great skin therapy; even something as basic as sugar will work well on your skin.
Also keep some ground split moong dal, besan and organic dry ground haldi powder separately in the fridge and use any of the above ingredients along with one of these bases for scrubbing, soothing or cleaning.
All that is food gives us nutrients, eat clean and fresh, hydrate well, and exercise often and watch your skin and body live in a happy zone. So, raid your fridge and pantry –thoda khaao, thoda lagaao.
(Rupali Datta is a clinical nutritionist who has led teams in corporate hospitals. She has an in-depth knowledge of health care, food and nutrition – both in wellness and diseases. She has appeared as a food and health expert on various TV shows on BBC, NDTV, CNN IBN , AAJ TAK, DD, etc. She has also been associated with e-commerce food websites for which she has created health and nutrition content.)