Feature Archive

Natural Skin Care Treatments

By Denise Mann
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith June 5, 2003 -- For great natural skin care, it's time to say bye-bye Botox and hello ... blueberries?

The fountain of youth may actually be located in your kitchen, not your plastic surgeon's office.

"Through a three-tier approach involving diet, supplements, and creams, we can control the rate at which we age," says dermatologist Nicholas V. Perricone, MD. "And we can delay the need for surgical procedures, including facelifts, by 15 to 20 years -- if we even get them at all."

Here's a step-by-step guide to natural skin care using ingredients largely available in your own kitchen. For this information, WebMD turned to two leading experts on natural skin care. Nicholas Perricone, MD, is a clinical professor of medicine at Michigan State University and the author of The Perricone Prescription and The Wrinkle Cure: Unlock the Power of Cosmeceuticals for Supple, Youthful Skin. Deborah Chase is a health and beauty expert and the author of Fruit Acids for Fabulous Skin and The Medically-based No Nonsense Beauty Book.

1. The Natural Skin Care Diet
2. Natural Skin Care Creams
3. Natural Skin Care Masks
4. Vitamins & Supplements for Natural Skin Care

Follow a Diet for Natural Skin Care

Try Perricone's three-day nutritional facelift to get omega-3 fatty acids vital for natural skin care:

For lunch and dinner, eat:

  • A green salad (making a dressing out of olive oil and lemon juice)
  • 3-oz of broiled salmon or another cold water fish such as tuna or mackerel
  • Strawberries, raspberries and/or blueberries for dessert.
Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an important ingredient in natural skin care. A deficiency of omega-3s has been linked to a wide array of diseases as well as premature aging of the skin, Perricone says. "Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries and raspberries are all loaded with antioxidants which save cells from premature aging," he says.

For breakfast, Perricone suggests you "choose a sensible breakfast that is low in carbohydrates and sugars." Also drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to keep skin hydrated and supple.

After three days, this natural skin care diet "will make such a difference in your appearance that people will say, 'Wow!'" Perricone says. "You will look as if someone turned a lamp on your skin. Your pores will be tighter. Your dark circles go away and you will look like you were on vacation."

Here's why: "Inflammation is triggered by what we eat and sugar is the bad actor," says Perricone. "Anything that is sugar or rapidly converted to sugar (carbohydrates such as white rice, white breads or pasta) can attach to collagen and cause stiffness of skin and very old looking skin," he says. Collagen is a natural protein that forms connective tissues in the body.

Next: A Natural Facelift in a Bottle

Use Toners and Creams for Natural Skin Care

A facelift in a bottle. Sound too good to be true? It's not if you choose a natural skin care cream rich in DMAE (dimetheyaminoethanol), Perricone says. "If you apply it to your skin, it can enhance muscle tone -- which stops sagging -- and in just 30 minutes, your face is lifted," he says. Apply this natural skin care cream twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. "The longer you use the cream, the more pronounced the difference," he says. "It also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and protects the skin from the irritation that can cause wrinkles and age-related skin damage."

Also consider natural skin care creams with alpha lipoic acid. "It helps restore a healthy radiance to your skin. It also can tighten pores and diminish fine lines in just a few months," Perricone says. Another key ingredient in a natural skin care cream is vitamin C ester. "It is fat soluble and thus penetrates the skin at 10 times higher levels than vitamin C [without ester]," he says. "It will thicken skin, decrease fine lines and is a necessity for a youthful appearance."

Aside from creams, a toner is an important aspect of natural skin care, says health and beauty expert Deborah Chase.

Here's a recipe Chase suggests for your own natural skin care toner.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary, dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup white wine
Gently boil herbs with white wine for 10 minutes. Allow herbs to cool in white wine for one hour. Drain off herbs and discard. Keep the liquid and transfer the strained toner to a clean glass jar. Store in refrigerator for one week.

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