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The Wonderful World of Walnuts

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: August 26, 2009, from the September 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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The omega-3 essential fatty acid content of walnuts makes their consumption a good method to use when fighting inflammatory skin issues, such as eczema and psoriasis.1 Eating walnuts also helps improve skin smoothness because walnut oils contain lineolic acid, which helps maintain skin structure.2 Also, their shells are often ground up for a natural and effective exfoliation ingredient, and walnut leaf extract can be used in skin care products for its astringent and conditioning properties.3

The Chocolate Bean Polish is a prenatal treatment offered at The Spa at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania, that combines cocoa bean husks and walnut shells for a skin-softening service, as does the Bamboo Lemongrass Scrub that blends bamboo and ground walnut at the Watermark Hotel & Spa in San Antonio, Texas. At New York City’s Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa & Boutique, the Honey Walnut Manicure features a moisturizing honey walnut hand mask; and the Body Polish at Per Se Aveda Lifestyle Salonspa in West Hartford, Connecticut, combines kelp, aloe, lavender and walnut shells to detoxify the skin. The Woodlands Walnut Shell Body Polish at Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville, Georgia, gives skin a lustrous, silky glow; and see the step-by-step how-to for the Honeysuckle Ginger Dew Treatment from Springs Eternal Spa at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa in Bedford Falls, Pennsylvania, which features a smoothing black walnut scrub.

Skin care products often use many different parts of the walnut to improve their formulas, as well. Nikali’s Walnut Sugar Scrub polishes away dead, flaky skin, and Éminence Organic Skin Care’s Pear & Poppy Seed Microderm Polisher includes fine walnut for its vitamin E content and gentle exfoliation. Szép Élet’s ilike organic skin care offers Herb Infusion Serum that includes walnut leaf extract to help calm inflammation, and SpaTeen Blemished Skin Cleanser from Pevonia Botanica uses micronized walnut shell powder to help cleanse and refresh skin. Dramatic Radiance TRF Cream from DDF contains walnut shell extract to help revitalize fatigued skin; and Torn Ranch features Dark Chocolate Blueberry Walnut Clusters from its Mind and Body Collection for a sweet treat to offer in the relaxation room.

A pick-me-up

As an ingredient that is equally beneficial both inside and outside the body, you’d be nuts not to add walnuts to your spa’s menu as part of a tasty lunch treat or to your treatments for a revitalizing pick-me-up. And though picking up walnuts is something my dad won’t have to do anymore as my parents transition into a new home and new phase in their lives, as they age, hopefully they will enjoy the benefits of this nutty wonder that graced their backyard for so many years.