When it comes to skin concerns, there are many—pigmentation disorders, acne, uneven skin texture, sun damage, aging. But with the overwhelming amount of natural skin care ingredients on the market, how can you tell which ones really work?
Natural ingredients can help improve the overall texture of the skin, making it smoother, softer, nourished, and brighter. However, it’s important to have realistic expectations, since natural skin remedies take time.
It’s also important to remember that “natural” doesn’t always mean “safe” or “effective.” Discontinue using any ingredient that causes your skin to react negatively. And if you have a skin disorder caused by a medical condition, talk to a dermatologist about what treatment they recommend.
5 natural ingredients that are good for the skin
1. Aloe vera
- Contains vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C; choline; niacinamide; glycoprotein; enzymes; phenolic compounds; various amino acids; phytochemicals; and salicylic acid
- Has anti-inflammatory, soothing, and healing properties
- Versatile and used to treat skin diseases, infections, insect bites, etc.
2. Apple cider vinegar (acetic acid)
- Easily available and inexpensive
- Can be consumed or diluted and applied over the skin
- Contains acetic acid, so may be used as an effective cleanser and toner for treating acne, although scientific research is lacking
3. L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- Can be consumed or applied over the skin
- Contains a strong antioxidant that may be effective in treating pigmentation and anti-aging, repairing skin damage, stimulating collagen production, and reducing the risk of skin cancer
- May even out skin tone and improve overall skin health
4. Rosehip oil (Rosa canina)
- Contains ascorbic acid; phenolic compounds; a high concentration of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6); bioflavonoid molecules, and vitamins A, E, and C
- Has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties
- Can be used to treat dry skin, irritation, burns, scars, and pigmentation and to reduce the signs of aging
5. Milk, buttermilk, and even sour milk
- Contains lactic acid which can help lighten, hydrate, and exfoliate
- Soak a cotton ball in plain milk, apply anywhere over the face or body, and wash off after 20-30 minutes
What face masks can I make using natural ingredients?
Face masks may be prepared at home using natural ingredients, 2-3 times a week. Some masks that can help reduce pigmentation and improve skin texture include:
- Yogurt, lemon, and gram flour mask: May be applied all over the face, neck, and other problem areas, left on for 30 minutes, and then washed off.
- Yogurt is rich in nutrients, including lactic acid which is a naturally occurring exfoliating agent.
- Lemon contains vitamin C that can reduce pigmentation.
- Gram flour helps thicken the mask, giving it a paste-like consistency. Gram flour also acts as a natural exfoliating scrub, which is gentle on the skin, improving skin texture and reducing hyperpigmentation. Gram flour can be replaced with rice flour for similar benefits.
- Papaya, banana, lemon, honey, and gram flour mask: These ingredients contain vitamins and minerals that can reduce pigmentation, improve skin texture and nourish the skin. They can be mixed into a paste, applied all over the face, and washed off after 20 minutes.
What role does diet and hydration play in skin health?
In addition to natural topical ingredients, it’s important to feed and nourish your body from the inside out.
Drinking enough water (8-10 cups a day) and eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables are important for skin health. Hydration and a nutritious diet can improve skin cell turnover, improving skin tone and texture.
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