The adage of beauty being skin deep emphasizes the point that what you eat has an impact on your skin – and by extent, on your appearance. After all, having a smooth, scar and acne-free canvas always makes for flawless makeup application.
Skin cells age and are damaged by factors in our daily lives such as the sun and pollutants. If you’re not getting enough nutrients, healthy fats and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, you’ll only ever be fighting the battle with half the troops at your disposal. In the spirit of holistic beauty, here are some of the great foods-to-eat-and-use-on-your-skin ideas.
Coffee and cocoa
Arguably two of the best-loved gifts of nature, coffee and cocoa are also great for your skin. Sure, too much caffeine may cause breakouts or dehydration. This is not to say drink it exclusively, the whole day. Like green tea, caffeine is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants fight the free radicals that lead to cell wear, tear, and breakdown. The same is true of chocolate – the darker and more cocoa rich, the better of course.
These two ingredients work a treat as a face mask as well. Ground coffee beans or instant granules and cocoa will not only infuse your skin with antioxidants but really get that circulation going and gently exfoliate your skin. This combo is particularly good at combating eye puffiness.
To make it, combine four tablespoons of coffee and unsweetened cocoa powder each. Add a small amount of plain, unsweetened yogurt and apply. Rinse it off with warm water after a few minutes.
Greek plain yogurt and cheese are probiotic wonders that balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut. Poor gut health leads to skin inflammation, among other things. Red wine and vinaigrette dressings along with leafy greens – the more apple cider and balsamic vinegar the better – are brimming with antioxidants and the acidity required to balance your pH.
Then there are those all-important fatty acids from fish, oils and avocado dishes. Reap the benefits of these externally as well with an olive oil mask. Combine two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of honey, apply and leave for 20 or 30 minutes, and gently rinse with warm water, never with hot water.
Whether you’re in the mood for kofta halal kebab, a kosher hummus, and tahini falafel or anything else, there are many aspects of the diet of the Med you can enjoy. There is certainly no shortage of halal Mediterranean options available to order or enjoy at restaurants, and the foodie trend means many of them are elevated to fine-dining standards. Youtube videos and Instagram provide great culinary inspiration if you’re more the DIY type.
Most citrus fruits are brimming with vitamin C and retinol antioxidants, ideally suited to fighting those free radicals from within. Curious as it may be, highly acidic fruits such as lemons and citruses are actually turned into alkaline once ingested. But did you know that anything citrus is also a terrific toner? Lemon, oranges, grapefruits, all citruses work well. Just squeeze a few drops into a cup and dab some onto your cotton wool and then your face. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse off with warm or cold water. The acidity acts as a natural astringent that tightens and closes your pores and brightens your skin.
It turns out that some of the best ways to improve how your skin looks come from food, whether that is choosing the right things to eat or using ingredients directly on your skin.