Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keep skin supple and smooth and help fight age-related damage. Wondering what to eat and what to smooth on? Health magazine found five skin-saving foods to help both ways. (Be sure to do a skin-patch test first, and wait 24 hours to see if you have an allergic reaction.)
Strawberries smoothie mask
Strawberries have more anti-aging vitamin C per serving than oranges or grapefruit. Research shows that people who eat foods rich in vitamin C have fewer wrinkles (vitamin C helps fight free radicals, which break down collagen, leading to those dreaded lines) and less age-related dry skin. Apply a mask once or twice a week, and eat C-rich foods daily.
1 cup of frozen or fresh strawberries (you can also substitute in raspberries and/or blueberries — they’re loaded with antioxidants)
1 cup of vanilla or plain yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey (a great moisturizer)
Enjoy your smoothie, then apply the remaining smoothie to your face over a sink (it’s a little drippy at first), and leave it on for about 8 minutes before rinsing.
Easy green tea eye treatment Curling up to a cup of green tea does a lot more than relax you. Green tea is filled with inflammation-fighting antioxidants. What’s more, research shows that drinking green tea may reduce your risk of skin cancer. (And when you add a generous squeeze of citrus juice-like lemon, lime, or orange — the tea’s antioxidants get a boost of staying power).
Recipe: Chill any leftover damp tea bags in the fridge for an hour and then put them on your eyes for 10-15 minutes.
Sip at least three big mugs of green tea every day for an antioxidant boost. Green tea contains tannins, which can help reduce puffiness when applied to skin.
Pumpkin pudding facial
Pumpkin’s orange hue is from carotenoids, wrinkle-fighting plant pigments that help neutralize free radicals in the skin. Pumpkin is filled with vitamins C, E, and A, as well as powerful enzymes that help to cleanse the skin. Although the seeds make a great fiber-filled snack, you get the skin-saving antioxidants from the pulp. Eat and apply the facial once a week.
In a food processor or blender combine:
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Coat face; leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse.
(To make a sweeter pudding add: 2 tablespoons 1/3 less fat cream cheese and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.)
Olive oil moisturizer
The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil don’t just benefit you on the inside —they soften your skin, too. Ancient Romans massaged olive oil into their skin, resulting in smoother, radiant skin. Olive oil provides antioxidants to disarm free radicals and reduce inflammation (inflammation is a major cause of wrinkling and sagging in the skin). In addition, you can apply the olive oil as a lip gloss or use it on rough patches (think elbows and heels).
Recipe: At meal time, drizzle a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into a small bowl and dip whole-grain bread in it.
Pomegranate exfoliating scrub Pomegranates are one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits. Eat some fresh pomegranate (in season now through January) or use it in the age-fighting scrub. Apply once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells.
Cut off the pomegranate crown, and score the rind in sections, without cutting all the way through. Place in a bowl of water for 5-10 minutes. Break rind away from seeds, which will sink; strain seeds.
In a food processor combine:
2 tablespoons of seeds
1 cup of uncooked oatmeal
Transfer to bowl
Stir 2 tablespoons of honey (an antiseptic)
2 tablespoons of buttermilk
Apply to face for a few minutes, then rinse.
Enjoy remaining pomegranate seeds au natural or with your favorite cheese.
For more beauty tips and recipes for your skin, visit Health.com