The benefits of pomegranate for skincare is well-documented. (Picture from fit-for-fertility.com)

There is a rise in the popularity of superfoods for protecting and nourishing skin.

Superfoods are packed with antioxidants, antibacterial properties, vitamins and minerals. Due to these benefits, it is believed that they can prevent or reduce the risks of certain diseases.

Superfood is an unofficial name and people claim that these foods nourish the skin and protect it from free radicals. Superfoods can be used to moisturise skin, treat acne, improve skin elasticity and tighten pores. Superfoods also help stimulate skin cells which leads to healthy cellular regeneration.

It is no wonder more skincare and beauty products are using these superfood as their ingredients. From chia seed facial oils and blueberry cleanser to avocado moisturiser, acai berries creams to pomegranate body scrubs, the choice is endless.

The following are some of the superfoods that may be the answers to your skin issues.

GREEN TEA


Green tea is packed with antioxidants and has detoxification, anti-inflammation and anti-ageing properties. (Picture from drhealthbenefits.com)

There are various skincare brands that use green tea in their ingredients. This is because green tea is packed with antioxidants and has detoxification, anti-inflammation and anti-ageing properties.

Several studies have found that green tea can be used to treat mild to moderate acne. It helps to reduce the production of sebum (the skin’s natural oil) by the glands in each pore. The rich amount of polyphenols in green tea can help to slow ageing, maintain the vitality of skin, and improve its natural tone and glow.

You can make your own toner with green tea. As suggested by youbeauty.com, take a quarter cup cooled green tea, two tablespoons cucumber juice and one tablespoon aloe vera gel. Blend the ingredients thoroughly to get a cooling, soothing toner.

BROCCOLI

Full of nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K, amino acids and folates, broccoli is the perfect food for healthy skin. Research has found that when rubbed directly onto skin, broccoli acts as a sunscreen. The micro nutrient sulforaphane in the vegetable lessens inflammation and redness of the skin, due to sun exposure.

In addition, broccoli seed oil contains a significant amount of vitamin A (retinol), a fat soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in cell regeneration and maintaining clear and healthy skin.

To get rid of dark circles around the eyes, apply a homemade mask made from coffee, potatoes and broccoli. According to spryliving.com, mix one and a half tablespoons of grated raw potatoes, one and a half teaspoons instant caffeinated coffee and one tablespoon grated raw broccoli. Apply the mixture under the eye area. Leave for 20 to 30 minutes before removing with cotton pads and cool water.

POMEGRANATE

The benefits of pomegranate for skincare is well-documented with many beauty experts suggesting the use of the fruit, juice and seed for the purpose.

Some suggest the use of the juice to treat dry skin as it contains punicic acid, which is an omega-five fatty acid with moisturising properties. It penetrates deeply into dry and cracked skin to rehydrate it.

According to stylecraze.com, pomegranates are rich in vitamin C, a nutrient quite important for skin health. They are also packed with antioxidants such as proanthocyanidins and flavonoids that can help to delaying the signs of ageing.

Mix pomegranate peel powder with lemon juice and honey to create a paste that can remove dark spots, treat pigmentation and brighten the skin naturally. It also has anti-ageing effects.

You can also use pomegranate to hydrate dry and chapped lips. It can also lighten dark lips. To make your own lip balm, as suggested by stylecraze.com, mix crushed pomegranate seeds with cold milk cream to form a paste. Apply the paste on clean lips, and leave for 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

AVOCADO


Avocado mask to nourish the skin (Picture from thenewpotato.com)

Everyone loves this delicious, nutritious, packed with healthy fats, fruit. Not only does it give health benefits, avocado also has nutrients for skincare, especially as a moisturiser.

According to naturallivingideas.com, the healthy fats in an avocado are very similar to the natural oils in our skin. Use it as a facial mask to nourish skin, making it smooth and reduce lines. All you need to do is mash the flesh of a fully ripe avocado and then lather onto dry skin. Leave for 15 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water before patting dry.

Another method is to combine the mashed fruit with a tablespoon of raw honey and a tablespoon of plain yogurt. Apply onto skin and let it sit for 10 minutes, and then rinse off. It peels away dead skin cells and leaves skin soft, smooth and more supple.

Avocado can also be used to treat the scalp and damaged hair. A homemade remedy for hair treatment is to mash one avocado and then mix it with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Massage the mixture onto the scalp and hair, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse well and shampoo as normal. You get smooth, manageable, and shiny hair.

BLUEBERRY


Blueberries are small yet full of antioxidants and vitamins that can protect and repair damaged skin tissues. (Picture from inspiredgirl.net)

Blueberries are small yet full of antioxidants and vitamins that can protect and repair damaged skin tissues.

Blueberry contains essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, B, C and E which can improve skin hydration, kill off skin-ageing free radicals, boost collagen production and improve circulation, leaving skin more supple and firm.

There are various ways you can use blueberries for a facial mask. According to bustle.com, mash two-thirds of a cup of cup blueberries with two-thirds cup yoghurt or coconut milk. Add one tablespoon raw honey and one teaspoon oatmeal.

Mix until you have a thick paste and apply directly onto your face. Leave on for 15 minutes and then rinse well. The vitamin C and A in blueberry also helps control excess oil that can prevent skin pores from getting clogged which can lead to acne.

It can also be used to get rid of dark circles under the eyes. Used crushed blueberries with aloe vera gel and apply under the eyes. After 15 minutes, wash off with lukewarm water.

SEAWEED


Numerous nutrients in seaweed help in keeping skin revitalised (Picture from ballygarryhouse.com)

Seaweed contains numerous nutrients for internal and external benefits.

Organicfacts.net says the essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants in seaweed help in keeping skin revitalised, moisturised and youthful. Seaweed extracts contain anti-ageing properties and anti-inflammatory properties useful in treating skin rashes and wounds. Seaweed wraps are popular in spas to detoxify and cleanse the skin by expelling toxins out of the pores.

According to liveabout.com, to make a seaweed facial mask, you need to soak seaweed sheets in lukewarm water for five seconds until they are soft.Place the sheets all over your face but avoid your eyes. Wait 15 or 20 minutes and peel off gently.

LENTILS

People have been using lentils as skincare for decades — mainly as facial and body scrubs. Lentils contain vitamin K, dietary fibre, lean protein, potassium, zinc, niacin, folate, iron and calcium — which help with skincare whether you eat it or apply on skin.

Of the many types of lentils, red lentils are commonly used for skincare. It’s rich in proteins and helps combat skin problems like acne, dry skin, pigmentation and scars. If you prefer to make your own facial mask or scrub, soak two tablespoons of red lentils overnight and grind it in the morning. Add two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply on your face and leave to dry. Then wash off with cold water.

And instead of buying whitening creams that are full of chemicals, try a homemade lentil face cream. According to glowpink.com, blend three teaspoons of uncooked rice with three teaspoons of red lentils. Add two teaspoons fresh curd and two teaspoons of olive oil. Apply this paste on your face and let it dry. Then, scrub gently with wet fingers or spray some water on your skin and start rubbing in circular motions. Repeat two or three times a week.

TOMATO


Lycopene in tomato protects against UV radiation (Picture from uncova.com)

Tomato contains lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for its red colour. According to buyilike.com, lycopene protects against UV radiation while revitalising and regenerating skin cells. With its many skin benefits, lycopene helps to maintain skin density and firmness, aids in the synthesis of pro-collagen and protects hyaluronic acid against decomposition.

Parisbarns.com suggests various ways to use tomatoes for a skincare regime. It says tomato pulp and juice can combat excess production of oil by the sebaceous glands. To use, just cut a ripe tomato into two halves and rub the pulpy side over the face. Leave for 15 minutes, so that it penetrates deep into the pores. Rinse off thoroughly with cold water. Repeat this two times daily to improve skin condition.

For a facial cleanser, cut a tomato into two and place half in crystalline sugar. Rub it over the face in circular motions to remove dirt and dead skin cells. Leave for a few minutes and rinse off with cold water.

CINNAMON

It is commonly used for skincare, whether as an essential oil or powder. With its anti-fungal, antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties, many beauty experts believe in the power of cinnamon for acne, anti ageing and smooth skin.

Many beauty websites suggest a simple and easy way to use cinnamon to treat acne. Just mix three tablespoons honey with one tablespoon cinnamon. Apply the paste on your face and leave for 10 minutes and then wash off with warm water.

Drops of cinnamon essential oil mixed with olive oil can plump up the skin and lips. It is believed that cinnamon can stimulate blood vessels and bring blood to the surface of the skin. Use the mixture and soon fine lines will be less visible.

Cinnamon powder is also suitable for face scrubs as it removes dead skin and improves blood circulation. Mix the powder with yoghurt and apply on your face, gently massage and rinse with cold water.

OATS

You may not know that the bowl of cereal you had for breakfast can also fight skin disease. Oats has essential minerals, vitamins, folic acid, and thiamin, which is beneficial in the maintenance of the skin’s natural barrier.

It is one of the most popular remedies to protect skin from sunburn, rashes, acne, peeling and dehydration. Mash a banana with one cup oats and mix with warm milk to create a paste. Then apply on the face and allow to dry for 10 minutes before rinsing with water.

According to thefitglobal.com, oats have natural anti-inflammatory properties, act as an anti-oxidant, and help in relieving itching. Because of this, oats are recommended to treat chicken pox. In addition, oats contain saponins which are natural cleansers and when used as a facial scrub, can remove dirt and oil from the pores.

kasmiah@nst.com.my

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