So, I have my crazy lady head on again! But I promise is won't be that crazy as it's actually about skincare which I hope some of you will find interesting.
But if you don't then you can just look at the pretty pictures.
For quite some time now I've been trying to treat my skin nicer - no more harsh toner, natural face masks and only organic/natural facial washes and scrubs and I have seen a difference. It's more calmer and pretty clear for the most part however I do seem to have a problem with dead skin cells and the turnover of them. Which means my skin can look a bit blah and dull at times.
So I decided to do a bit of research into AHA's as I had seen this word along side dead skin cell removal and peels etc I also knew it was something to do with fruit acids. Here is what I found out...
Fruit acids loosen the bond between dead skin cells and most fruits are great for acne/spots.
Warning - I did also found out that when using fruit acids/AHAs your skin can be lightened (from the citric acid) and can also be more sensitive to the sun, so suncream is a must!
However there is no need to start mixing up different messy face masks full of mashed banana and honey! All you need is the fruit, which you directly rub onto the skin and you can actually do this in the morning whilst eating the fruit!
So ever since I've been rubbing half a strawberry over my face two mornings a week which I grow directly from my little patio. The strawberry not only smell good but also feels so good and cooling on the skin. Plus I have noticed a difference especially around my nose where I did have a build up of dead skin cells. I also been experimenting with all differen't types of fruit and have been doing a bit of research into which fruit contain what.
Here is a list of wha fruits contain which acids, what they do and how often you can use them (the waffles and ice-cream are an optional extra!)
Strawberries - The main natural acids in strawberries are citric and malic acids which help promote skin cell turn over and even age spots. Strawberries also contain salicylic acid which is found in many topical creams that are used on acne. To use this on your skin, just use either a chopped off head of a strawberry or half of one, run all over the face and leave for 10 minutes. Strawberries can even be used to whiten the teeth naturally if you leave it on for a minute over the teeth! If you don't fancy the idea of rubbing half a strawberry over your face then a Strawberry face scrub is the an easy less hippy alternative. Just grab a few strawberries, half a cup of sugar and a table spoon of olive oil and mix together well with the back of a spoon.
Best for - Spot prone skin. Use 2-3 times per week max.
Apples - The main AHA in apples (green ones are best) is malic acid which again helps cell turn over and also helps to give a more even skin tone. Use half an apple or even just a slice of it, twice a week is enough to give softer more even skin. Another alternative is to pour some pure apple juice into an ice cube tray and use one all over the face in the morning as this will help remove dead skin cells and also the chill of the ice cube with reduce puffiness around the eye area. Plus it smells nice!
Best for - Skin that suffers from redness. Use twice a week.
Tomatoes - Tomatoes contain lactic acid with is known to be the mildest of AHA's so can be used on sensitive skin. This is good for both moisturizing the skin and also reducing the size of pores. To use, cut half a tomatoes (can even be a small plum tomato) and rub all over the face concentrating on the areas with most blackheads, leave on for a few minutes and then wash off. I have only done this once as I cannot stand the smell and hate tomatoes in general but this does help reduce pores especially if the tomato has been stored in the fridge.
Best for - As an anti-aging treatment and to tighten pores. Use three times a week max.
Grapes - The main AHA in grapes is the lesser know tartaric acid which again is more suitable for sensitive skin and helps with the tone and texture of aging skin. Grapes can be used as a natural skin cleanser by running a few halves over the skin and leaving for 5 minutes before washing off with cold water. For a more anti-aging face mask crush a handful of grapes and drain most of the juice so that you are left with mainly the skin and seeds. Next, mix with equal amounts of natural yogurt and then a table spoon of honey and olive oil. Spread over the face and leave for up to 30 minutes.
Best for - Wrinkles and toning the skin.
Lemons & Oranges - Lemons, limes and oranges are all good sources of citric acid which do mean you do have to be wary of photosensitivity (to the sun) and also applying these to broken skin or open spots. The juice of any of these can be used dabbed on the skin or you can use the squeezed out empty rinds on the skin which should help to exfoliate the skin. As citric acid is quite astringent this should only be left on for 10 minutes and not used on sensitive skin.
Best for - Oily and acne prone skin.
Of course none of the fruits above will be wonder cures for skin problems however with a good cleansing routine and the ease of just cutting open a fruit a few times a week and applying it to the skin instead of using a shop bought face mask, will within a few weeks start to give results, though your skin should feel instantly softer after washing the fruit off after each use.
As all the fruit contain different types of Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) you will notice smoother skin from the fruit acids breaking down the bond of skin cells to penetrate the skin and decrease the number of dead cells to give that smooth look and feel.
Of course smashing a strawberry around your face mid-lunch break whilst reading Heat magazine and eating a Greggs pasty isn't advised... mainly because you will be wearing makeup! So I'd suggest keeping it as morning breakfast affair or while watching TV at night.
It does feel slightly mother earth like I must admit, but it is actually quite empowering! Knowing that the product on your face hasn't got a long list of un-pronounceable chemicals in it but it's just good for your body inside and out! Plus it's practically free if you use the normally wasted part of the fruit.
I did mention about tomatoes about but again the same applies with vegetables, they are also just as good for the face...
Potatoes - Okay, maybe not Mc Donald's fries! I was feeling a bit peckish when looking for images of potatoes.
I would say using vegetables is slightly messier and it doesn't smell that great on the face, especially with your nose being at the centre of the face! But one that isn't that bad at all is using half a potato on the face.
It's not messy in the slightest and it doesn't have a smell to it really. It's also in fact really good for soaking up excess oil on the skin, so it can be applied over the face to mattify the skin before getting ready or even use over makeup slightly instead of powder. Yes, it sounds crazy but it actually works and I have tried it. You can even use the excess water that you boil your potatoes in as a toner (on a cotton pad) for the face or you can just wash your face in it! Just store it in the fridge after cooking and usr within a day or so.
Other vegetables that you could use - Cucumber (for sensitive, dry skin and tired eyes), Pumpkin (never tried this as pumpkins freak my out!), carrot (for dull looking skin).
It does take some getting use to and for it to feel like it's not that strange of a thing to do. However I promise it's a fun and free thing to do that will help your skin no end!
I'm also still very much trying out different recipes from the Carla Oates' Feeding Your Skin book (link) but will post some of my favourites in a few weeks.