In the second part of my skincare blog posts about looking after your skin from the outside and in, I’m focusing on the power of fruit - more specifically I’m focusing on the kind of fruit we are familiar with seeing in a tropical fruit salad. We all know that a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables is great for our health and general well being – it’s also great for keeping your skin in tip top condition and it’s another one of nature’s larder that can be eaten and also applied to the skin and be part of a regular skincare routine.
Papaya, Pineapple, Kiwi, Mango & Banana with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice –these fruits are all familiar ingredients in a tasty, healthy and nutritious bowl of exotic fruit salad. Fruit is packed full of vitamins and anti-oxidants and whilst these tropical fruits are all imported, they do make a welcome addition to the Winter British kitchen; bringing a sense of the tropics and warm sunshine to our plates and of course, their taste is delicious.
The culinary use and dietary health benefits of fruit is well documented. We know we should eat a blend of different colours and have at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. What is less known and less talked about, is its use in natural skincare formulations and also the reasons why each fruit is so good for us.
A squeeze of lemon hightens flavour to so many foods – we know it goes brilliantly with fish and shellfish but try a squeeze of lemon over a panfried pork chop – it really brings out the flavour. Lemons have so many great health benefits. They are cleansing, have antiseptic properties and are often used alongside honey to sooth sore throats and can also be used to clear wounds.
I start every day with a glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice in warm water. It really perks me up and I feel cIean on the inside. In terms of our skin, Lemon is brightening and cleansing – it is often used in peeling and brightening masks as it helps to soften skin. It also has a mild bleaching effect so is often used for lightening sun spots. It is also good for treating blemished skin.
Papayas are full of goodness – rich in Vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotone; minerals including potassium, magnesium and high in fibre. Beta-carotene help our immune function – so this makes Papaya great for preventing colds, flu and infections. The vitamins, A & C are also anti-oxidants so this can help heal and calm inflammations and inflammatory diseases and disorders including things like eczema, psoriasis and arthritis.
In terms of helping our skin, Papaya contains an enzyme called Papain that exfoliates dead, dull skin cells, unblocks pores and makes skin brighter, smoother and softer. Keratin is a protein found in skin and this holds dead skin on the surface of our skin. Papain gently dissolves this. Papaya is also good for stabilizing oily areas as well as sloughing off dry and flaky skin. The next time you have a Papaya for breakfast, use the skin to make a quick mask. Open up the skin and place it over your face for about 15 – 30 minutes. It’s a bit messy but it will slough off those dead skin cells and why not make full use of this precious fruit? You can also use Papaya to marinate meat as it tenderizes it.
Mangos are a natural blood-cleanser and great for balancing acidity. They are a cooling food so if you have too much heat (and therefore acidity) in your body, these are the delicious tasting fruit for you!
Like Papaya, Pineapple contains an important enzyme. Called Bromelain, it works in a similar way to Papain. It dissolves dead skin cells and clears pores. On the dietary side, this enzyme also helps to aid digestion. This fruit is rich in vitamins A, B, C, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and iron. You can make a face mask by simply blending some fresh Pineapple and applying it to your face. Again, it’s a bit messy and you may not have a pineapple hanging around your kitchen.
You can buy face masks and exfoliators that contain Pineapple and Papaya extracts that work brilliantly to gently but effectively slough off the dead skin cells that can make our skin look dull and lack-lustre. Using these fruit extracts brighten the skin and bring a healthy glow and radiance to our complexion. In my opinion, a healthy radiant complexion is what I strive for! In the kitchen, Papaya, Pineapple and Mango too – are full of vitamins A & C – vital for good health and good skin.
I am excited to announce a new face mask that I am soon to launch (I’m still working on a name!). This mask is a dry mask, one that you mix yourself. It contains fruit enzymes, white clay and 10% Vitamin C. It’s a brightening, radiance restoring mask that will very gently remove dead, dull skin cells and leave your skin nourished, clearer and brighter.
So when it comes to these wonderful exotic fruits make them part of your daily diet – they taste delicious, I think they are wonderful for lifting your mood (Masterchef winner Shelina Permaloo was celebrated for her use of Mango and her dishes were often referred to as being “sunshine on a plate”) and their health benefits are plentiful plus using them in your daily skincare routines can also give your skin a gorgeous healthy glow. Look out for them in facial cleansers, exfoliators, masks and natural serums.