Though chemical-based skin care is often associated with achieving rapid results such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, increasing elasticity, and reducing discoloration, their use frequently includes uncomfortable side effects. Chemical actives like retinol, hydroquinone and hydroxy acids continue to grow in popularity in the skin care industry as treatments for various skin concerns; however, redness, peeling, and increased UV-ray sensitivity are frequently experienced with their use. So, how can your clients achieve added skin care benefits without the added side effects? The answer might be in their garden, refrigerator or kitchen cupboard! Nature offers a cornucopia of superfoods that provide topical benefits for multiple skin concerns, with little to no downtime or side effects. Here are five miraculous, skin-saving superfoods and how they work to treat the skin.
Blueberries are commonly referenced as a healthy skin ingredient because of their high concentration of potent antioxidants. These tasty treats draw their dark blue color from a pigment called anthocyanins, which also function as powerful antioxidants, working to slow the signs of aging, moderate inflammation and protect against sun damage. Anthocyanins also assist in protection from stress and pollution, as well as support collagen production. Blueberries have a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and this measurement is used to evaluate the antioxidant levels of various foods. Due to blueberries’ high ORAC score, their level of antioxidants has the ability to neutralize substantial levels of free radicals. Just as rust degrades and oxidizes metal, free radicals damage healthy skin cells and reduce the skin’s radiant glow. Through neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants also contribute to maintaining hydration and reducing inflammation.
Internally, a diet high in blueberries can also improve heart health and circulation, which is a key step in achieving healthy skin.1 A healthy heart and circulatory system pump blood throughout the body to deliver oxygen and key nutrients to cells and remove waste along the way. Our skin needs these nutrients and oxygen to heal and repair damage caused by environmental stressors. When incorporated into someone’s diet, blueberries can provide the necessary tools needed to support the body’s regeneration and repairing of damage. The nutrients found in blueberries also help with skin inflammation related to eczema and psoriasis.2-3 I recommend incorporating both the actual fruit, as well as blueberry-formulated skin care products into any routine to address issues such as redness, signs of aging, inflammation, dry skin and discoloration.
Cucumbers are a magical ingredient that work wonders both internally and topically. Cucumbers are 96% water, meaning that they’re not only incredibly hydrating, but are also well suited for all skin types, especially sensitive, blemish-prone skin. When ingested, the high concentration of vitamin C, fiber and folic acid in cucumber support gut health by reducing inflammation.4 Cucumbers are also a natural diuretic, which helps the body get rid of excess fluid. They are also a good source of silica, which aids in the growth and maintenance of connective tissue in the body.
These benefits also extend topically. We all know the age-old trick of applying a few slices of cucumbers to tired eyes when they need a little TLC. Well, there is a reason that this go-to hack has been trusted for generations. The cooling and soothing properties of cucumber calm the skin and reduce puffiness around the eyes, as well as soothe swelling and irritation related to blemishes and sensitized skin. Cucumber juice is also incredibly nourishing and can be used as a toner to balance oiliness, and tighten and reduce pore size due to its mildly astringent properties. Cucumber juice can also be used to soothe sunburns or irritation, and its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties can ease redness, pain and even dryness.5
Brian Goodwin is an award-winning international educator for Eminence Organic Skin Care. As a master medical esthetician, master herbalist and consultant, Goodwin leverages over 10 years of spa industry experience to bring fun, engaging education to spa professionals around the world.