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The Extraordinary Carrot

By Cathy Christensen
Posted: April 28, 2008, from the August 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Hardly an exotic vegetable, carrots are a favorite in U.S. households, starting with the startled look and orange face of a baby enjoying his first experience with the strained vegetable and evolving into the comforting accompaniment at Sunday dinners and the satisfying, crunchy favorite of the perpetual dieter.
     Whether your experience is limited to easing open a plastic bag of baby carrots for a quick snack or includes grinding your knees into the dirt of your garden and grasping green tops to unearth this sweet find, almost everyone has enjoyed a carrot at one time or another. Nutritionally rich, this form of the Queen Anne’s lace wildflower also is incredibly beneficial not only for the body, but for the skin as well.1

In the kitchen
     Although all of the carrot’s components—including the greens and seeds—are edible, its root is the traditional favorite due to its sweet taste and crunchy, healthy texture. It can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: raw, whole, chopped, grated, in salads, soups and stews, boiled, fried, steamed, and in cakes and puddings.1
     At Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah, Carrot Mousse can be enjoyed, and the Banh Mi hoagie at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, features pickled carrots for an extra punch of flavor. La Cocina Que Canta Culinary Center at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, features a tasty Picante Jicama and Roasted Carrot Salad with Creamy Basil Dressing, and the various locations of Centara Spa in Thailand offer Chilled Carrot Soup with Garlic Flakes. Check out the delicious Carrot Flan from Elenor Brown, menu consultant for The Oaks at Ojai in Ojai, California.

In the spa
     The carrot’s richness in vitamin A is key to skin health because the nutrient is required for developing and maintaining skin cells, and its deficiency can cause dry skin. The vegetable also contains high levels of antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage, as well as fiber, biotin, potassium, thiamine, and vitamins B-6, C and K.2 These skin-nurturing ingredients haven’t gone unnoticed by spas and product formulators. In fact, the crunchy orange root is making appearances on spa menus throughout the country and beyond.
     At Eshe Day Spa and Salon in Chicago, the 24 Carrot Facial is a signature treatment that includes carrot soap and is completed with the spa’s 24 Carrot face cream. The Rejuvenating Carrot Vitamin skin care treatment at Keystone Lodge in Keystone, Colorado, pairs the rejuvenating and free radical-fighting effect with the scrumptious scent of carrot cake.
     In a fun twist, the Phantom Horse Spa at Pointe South Mountain Resort in Phoenix introduced the Carrot Facial in April to honor the Easter season. The service combines the crunchy veggie with orange, honey, flax seed and lemon juice for a moisturizing, revitalizing and nourishing effect. For a green spin on things, The Spa at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach, California, features the Organic Carrot Vitamin Facial that nourishes, soothes and moisturizes, enhanced by the addition of wild plum tonic and almond mineral exfoliate. The Carrot Scrub at The Oberoi Spa in Bangalore, India, is a mild-but-effective cleanser that combines carrots, honey and other natural ingredients.
     Products that feature the benefits of the carrot include Aubrey Organics Vegecol Facial Cleansing Lotion and Vegecol with Aloe Vera Moisturizing Cream. Issimo International recently released its Niaouli + Carrot Seed Dead Sea Salt body exfoliant that balances the skin’s surface, and includes antiseptic and toning qualities. The Almond & Carrot Oil Mask from Reviva Labs is ideal for dry skin, while Dr.Hauschka Skin Care offers its Moisturising Day Cream to help soften and smooth. Celazome Clinical Skin Care’s Serum Vitae utilizes carrot oil, among other ingredients, to counterbalance free radical damage while stimulating cell renewal, and the Carrot Vitamin Masque from Éminence Organic Skin Care revitalizes, hydrates and soothes.

The root of it all
     The surprisingly extraordinary carrot offers a rich variety of benefits, both through your stomach and on your skin. So the next time you spear this lovely orange root onto your plate or smear it on your face, let this serve as a reminder that the things you take for granted often are the most remarkable of all. 

REFERENCES
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrot
(Accessed May 29, 2007)
2. http://www.newstarget.com/020409.html
(Accessed May 29, 2007)
3. http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/trivia.html
(Accessed May 29, 2007)
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Blanc
(Accessed May 30, 2007)