Face Food: 15 Effective Skin Treatments To Try Today
Easy, nourishing skin treatments using ingredients from your kitchen.
If you’re a regular Urbanette reader, you already know that the majority of mainstream skin care brands use harmful chemicals in their products. If you want to be sure that you’re giving your skin as many real, bioavailable nutrients as possible (while avoiding nasties) the best way is to make your own skin care.
I’ve had skin issues my whole life, from zits to eczema to hives to flaky dry skin. Through it all, the only remedies I’ve found that actually work long term are the natural ones. That’s why, in my early 20’s, I tossed out all my mass-market products and switched to organic everything. Nowadays, I only use simple, organic concoctions with minimal ingredients.
Luckily, healthy and effective skin treatments can be made with products in your kitchen!
Below are my favorite skin treatment ingredients. To keep things simple, there’s no need for recipes, as one ingredient will often do the trick. If you want the benefits of several of these natural skin boosters, just mix them together. Easy!
Instructions: For all facial treatments, it’s very important that you make sure to remove the day’s grime first using a cotton pad soaked in witch hazel or cider vinegar as a cleansing toner. Keep wiping until the cotton pad doesn’t show dirt. To maximize results, steam your face first (try the green tea steam, described below), to open pores. Then apply one of these delicious and nutritious treatments, made from organic ingredients:
Raw avocado has even more antioxidants than kale. This fruit is a well-known skin food because it’s so rich in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, niacin, pantothenic acid, and other natural emollients. To make a face mask, mash the avocado, or stick it in the blender with a little water, then leave on the skin for 10 minutes.
With its gentle abrasive action, it can be used a face & body exfoliant. It also helps neutralize skin’s pH. Mix it with some oil, green tea, or avocado to create your ideal consistency.
Another well-known anti-aging food for the skin, banana is rich in magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, iodine, folic acid, and vitamins A, B, and E. Mash one overripe banana and spread onto face. Rinse off after 15 to 30 minutes with warm water. I love mixing banana, avocado, and green tea in a blender and using it as a face mask.
These can be used both as toner and antiseptic. It also lightens scars and adds beneficial bacteria to your skin. After washing the face, dilute apple cider vinegar with two parts water and apply over your face with a cotton ball. If you can find it, Raspberry Cider Vinegar is basically the same thing but smells much better. If you can’t order it at your local health food store, you can try making it – the recipe is simple.
This vegetable contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the redness and puffiness in the eyes. Place two cucumber slices over the eyes and rest for 15 minutes or apply cucumber juice under the eyes. The remaining cucumber can be made into a puree that can be applied as a pack onto face. Remove after fifteen minutes. It also works well as a sunburn treatment, especially when combined with extra-virgin olive oil.
This tropical fruit makes an invigorating facial. The proteolytic enzyme papain makes papaya an effective treatment for acne and to get rid of dead skin cells. To make a face mask, peel and remove the seeds from a ripe papaya. Chop it into small pieces and blend in a blender or food processor until a very smooth paste is formed. Apply to to your neck and face, but not around the eye area. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Red grapes are super high in a polyphenol called resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps combat aging by increasing collagen production and neutralizing free radical damage. They also contain flavonoids, antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids. Cut one red grape in half and rub lightly all over your face, or mash the grapes into a smooth paste and apply it on acne. To fight age spots, sun damage, and even out your complexion, mix tomato and grapes in a blender, and blend thoroughly, crushing the seeds, which contain nourishing grapeseed oil. You can also try adding some honey or coconut oil to thicken the mask.
The antioxidants in green tea help the face look brighter and more flawless. You can just splash green tea on your face and rinse with cool water or you can make a green tea steam facial. Boil green tea (in filtered water) and pour it into a large bowl. Bend over the bowl close enough to feel the steam. Stay under for only five minutes.
Honey is a natural humectant (that means it draws water into the skin) so it’s good for soothing dry skin. Use a cloth damp with warm water and pat the skin to open pores. Smear honey onto skin and leave on for 15 to 30 minutes. If you want to make it extra soothing, mix in anti-inflammatory turmeric powder. Rinse off with warm water, then pat the skin with a cloth dampened in cold water to close pores.
Important: To get healthy honey, you’ll need to make sure it’s from a small-batch organic ‘raw’ honey producer that doesn’t heat-process the honey. Heat processing kills the nutrients and turns the honey into sugar, which is inflammatory and will harm your skin/body. Here’s a list of safe honey brands.
An all natural oatmeal facial mask can exfoliate and moisturize even sensitive skin. Try looking for old-fashioned rolled oats than instant oatmeal (for the latter has gone through much processing and may lack some of the nutrients to effectively soothe and cleanse your face). Mix the oats with honey, oil, and/or green tea to form a paste and put it on your face. Rinse your face in hot water to open up your pores.
I only use (organic, as always) oil for cleansing my face and removing eye makeup, as foaming cleaners are wayyyy too harsh and toxic for my delicate skin. Cleansing is simple: I soak an organic cotton pad in oil and wipe away the day’s dirt.
When warmed, these oils also work well as a hair and scalp treatment. I love adding essential oils to make them even more potent. I also dab these on chapped lips and leave a layer on my face overnight, as a moisturizer. During the daytime, when applied in a thin layer, it can act as a physical barrier to dust and other environmental pollutants, while sealing in skin moisture.
Be sure to only buy organic oils that are not heat processed (ie. extra virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined or raw) and that are packaged in dark glass bottles (as oils pull the toxins out of plastic, and UV light creates free radicals in the oils), and keep tabs on when/if they go rancid.
- Camelina oil (my favorite oil) has the highest percentage of anti-inflammatory omega 3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) of any oil you’ll find at your local health food or grocery store. It’s also rich in alpha and gamma tocopherol, two forms of vitamin E which help to improve skin tone and prevent free radical damage. It has a long shelf life and with its high smoke point it’s by far the best oil to use for cooking.
- Raw coconut oil smells amazing and is antibacterial, so it’s the perfect acne treatment (remember: the only way to fight bad bacteria trapped in oil is with good bacteria in good oil.) Mix it with baking soda to create an acne-clearing face wash. Coconut oil has been found to enhance the skin’s protective barrier functions and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Mix it with brown sugar to create a scrub that smells like cookies. Its antioxidant action reduces oxidative damage and it’s an effective, natural collagen booster, to boot! The only downside is that it can be a bit annoying to use, since it hardens unless it’s warm.
- Extra-virgin olive oil is a great source of squalene, a natural moisturizer used in many cosmetics. Natural antioxidants found in olive oil include oleic acid, vitamins A and E, as well as some polyphenols which prevents free-radical damage and quells cellular inflammation. Olive oil also contains the compound oleocanthal, which has been praised for its anti-inflammatory properties. So when you’ve spent too much time out in the sun, opt to soothe your sunburned skin with olive oil rather than reaching for that bottle of ibuprofen.
Whether you want to cure large pores or reduce acne and rashes or sooth a nasty sunburn or simply to revive the glow on dull skin, tomatoes are beneficial in many homemade beauty treatments. Mash a ripe tomato and leave it on the face for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. To give this face mask an extra punch, puree some organic mint in a food processors and add it to the tomato. This instant tomato paste is good for oily skin and works as an astringent as well as a blackhead and oil-reducing agent. Thanks to the fact that it’s full of lycopene, tomato also helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays—in other words, protecting against sun damage.
To make a mint-leaf astringent, add a handful of mint leaves to a quart of water, apple cider vinegar, or witch hazel. Mix and chill until you’re ready to use it. Mint facial astringent is perfect for normal skin or oily skin. As a natural astringent, it won’t dry out your skin while cleaning out the pores and removing the dirt.
Orange juice is good for wrinkles. Soak 100% organic orange juice into a cotton ball and rub it all over your face. This will help add Vitamin E to your skin and help reduce wrinkles. Try adding 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice into your bathwater and soak for 20 minutes for an all-over treatment.
This acidic fruit is an excellent facial cleanser (for non-sensitive skin) that also brightens and softens the skin. Using an organic cotton swab, dab lemon juice mixed with apple cider vinegar and/or witch hazel on the areas that have blackheads before going to bed. Rinse your face with cool water when you wake up. Repeat every night until blackheads are dissolved.
Your kitchen holds more beauty wonders than you know. So before you decide that you need a spa treatment, open your fridge and cupboards first to see what you can “cook” up. And as always, be sure to drink lots of filtered water and wear a healthy sunscreen moisturiser. Bon appetit!
Have you tried these? Do you have other natural treatments to share? Please share!