SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com
There's an endless supply of new skin care products hitting drugstores and specialty stores every day, but that doesn't mean you necessarily need them. Shopping for skin care can be both expensive and time consuming. And there's nothing more frustrating than bringing home a pricey cream only to discover that it doesn't even work.
The next time you have a dry patch or irritation, forget going to the store. Instead, head straight for your own fridge or pantry. Odds are you already own some fantastic skin care ingredients—you may have even had them for breakfast.
Citrus Fruits Vitamin C is a common skin-brightening ingredient, and your favorite citrus fruits—lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange—are loaded with it. New York City facialist Cecilia Wong suggests mixing grapefruit, lemon, and lime juice with carrot oil and applying the mixture to your face for 8-10 minutes.
"It's a great anti-aging and brightening mask," she says. "It's good for sun damage and pigmentation." For even more skin-brightening power, she likes to add a teaspoon of pearl powder, an ingredient that's common in Chinese medicine, to the mix.
Honey Honey can do so much more than sweeten your tea. If want your skin to look instantly rejuvenated, try using it as a mask by spreading a thin layer on your face and letting it sit for 8-10 minutes before rinsing it off.
"Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it draws free water from the inner tissues to the surface layers of skin," says New York City dermatologist and psychiatrist Amy Wechsler, MD. "That subtle fluid shift creates a plumping effect that temporarily improves the appearance of wrinkles." Honey also soothes irritation, and it's packed with antioxidants to ward off free-radicals and fight aging.
Milk If your skin is chapped, wind burned, sun burned, or just plain irritated, Dr. Wechsler suggests taking a soothing milk bath. Simply add two to four cups of whole milk to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. "Milk's lactic acid in particular weakens the glue that lets dead, ready-to-be-shed cells stick to the skin's surface, making it look dull and dry," she explains.
For glowing skin, you can also apply milk directly to your face. Warm it up slightly in the microwave (be careful not to keep it in too long or it will get too hot), and paint it on with a cotton ball or clean makeup brush. After 10 minutes, rinse with warm water and follow with your regular moisturizer.
Olive Oil The same olive oil you use for cooking is also a fantastic moisturizer. Choose an organic olive oil—it's higher in antioxidants—and massage a few drops directly onto your face. Amy Fazio, a pharmacist and co-owner of New London Pharmacy in New York City, also suggests using it to remove makeup. Put olive oil on a cotton pad, and even waterproof mascara will wipe away easily.
Tomatoes Next time you have an overripe tomato sitting around, use it for what Fazio calls a "Roma facial."
First, apply a layer of yogurt to your face (she recommends the Greek variety); then, take the juice of the tomato and paint it over the yogurt. The two ingredients blend together for the perfect combination of cleansing (from the enzymes in the yogurt) and skin-nourishing (from the antioxidant properties of the tomato). Relax for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water. "The tomatoes soothe the skin, reduce irritation, act as an astringent, and even fade sun spots," Fazio explains.
Wheat Germ Oil You can use wheat germ oil to treat blemishes and hyperpigmentation—simply rub it onto the area after cleansing.
"Say hello to even toned, clear skin," says Fazio. She also recommends massaging it on stretch marks—even ones that have already formed — to help fade them. It's rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, which can help with tissue repair.
Baking Soda You probably know that baking soda has umpteen uses, but you may not have realized that it's a fantastic face scrub.
Mix three parts baking soda with one part water, and massage it into your skin. It's extremely gentle, and because it dissolves it's difficult to over-exfoliate. Rinse it off with warm water, and follow with your favorite night cream.
Chamomile Tea Chamomile tea can calm puffy eyes the same way it mellows you out before bed.
Steep two tea bags in hot water, and set them aside to cool. (Enjoy a cup of tea in the meantime.) Apply one tea bag to each eye, sit back, and relax for as long as you like. Swelling will virtually disappear.
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