Good Enough To Eat


What’s great for your insides may benefit you on the outside, too.

Common kitchen staples are bumping chemicals off the ingredient lists of many mainstream skincare products, and for good reason: whether you raid the fruit bowl for your next facial or pick up a fortified beauty product off the shelf, food ingredients have serious benefits – it’s called biomimetics.

“Nature is more powerful than most people realise and through technology, we are only now starting to discover her secrets,” says chemical engineer and founder of Lapureté Peter Vranes. “Natural compounds that have adapted over millions of years to thrive despite aggressions such as strong UV light, low moisture environments and free radical damage, and they also provide unrivalled protection and repair to our skin.”

Coconut

Coconut works to nourish, protect and heal skin, says nutritionist Emma Sgourakis. “By massaging coconut oil into your skin you can improve tissue strength, preventing wrinkles from forming and helping soften wrinkles that are already present,” she says. Coconut is a triple treat: as well as strengthening the connective matrix of the skin, coconut oil neutralises aging free radicals, and acts as an anti-fungal and anti-microbial agent[1] on inflamed or fungal skin conditions.

Try: Palmers Coconut Milk Formula Body Butter, $10.99
Lush Coco Lotion Body Lotion $22.95

Oats
If you’ve ever run a bag of oats under your bath tap, you’ll know the smooth, silky feeling they give to skin. In modern skincare, colloidal oatmeal (finely milled, cooked oats) is the hero in many calming and soothing products because it not only works as an anti-itch agent, it also protects the skin’s barrier layer[2]. The beta-glucan in colloidal oatmeal has been shown to penetrate cells, where it fights wrinkles by stimulating collagen and binding moisture to the skin.
Try: Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, $40
St Ives Naturally Soothing featuring Oatmeal and Shea Butter, $6.99

Avocado
Avocado is one of the cleverest foods on the shelf, chock full of fatty acids that keep skin cells plump, plus vitamins A, B and D, all essential for radiance and healthy skin function. “It’s also high in plant steroids, adds facialist and skincare expert Sharon McGlinchey. “It is the sterolins in avocado that help soften and provide moisture and nourishment to benefit dry, dehydrated, mature and sun-damaged skins,” she explains.

And avocado oil is the friend of oily or congested skin. For an intensive detox, massage avocado oil over the face every day for a week. “At the end of the massage, the secret is to use a hot compress over the face several times, allowing the skin to soak up all the beneficial nutrients and help soften blocked pores,” says McGlinchey.

Try: MV Organic Skincare Instant Revival Skin Booster, $86
Crabtree and Evelyn Avocado, Olive and Basil Skin Nourishing Body Butter, $40

Tomato

Raw, it’s high in vitamin C and citric acid, making it a great addition to cleansers and masks for oily or rough skin. But cooked, it releases a powerful antioxidant: lycopene. “When cooked, the fibre in the tomato breaks down and the lycopene is released, increasing the potency by about four times,” says Corrine Morley, skin therapist from Trilogy.

Powerful antioxidants are the Holy Grail for skincare scientists, since they fight environmental stress, one of the main aging factors for skin, believes Morley. “The body has a huge demand for antioxidants, and the skin is last to be supplied,” she explains. By including lycopene in the serums, oils and moisturizers you apply topically you guarantee skin gets a serve of the good stuff.

If you’re one of the small number of people who suffer allergies to nightshade foods like tomato, swap it for products containing watermelon extract, which is also high in lycopene.

Try: Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant +, $29.95
Yes to Tomatoes Skin Clearing Facial Mask, $23.95
The Jojoba Company Silken Melon Body Lotion, $29.95

Honey

Honey has been used for centuries in healing, but only recently have scientists started discovering the extent of its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial powers. Whether you use a mask containing extracts, or apply pure honey to skin, it has the ability to hydrate, protect, and clear bacteria without irritating or drying out skin. “Honey also helps to repair the skin from the damage of the sun’s rays, and supports the skin’s ability to rejuvenate, leaving it feeling silky soft and supple,” says Morley. Look for honey when you want protection and hydration – masks, gentle scrubs, hand creams or night creams all get a boost from bees.

Try: Apivita Face Exfoliating Gel, $39.90
Comvita Intense Hydrating Mask, $50


Cucumber

It’s in the movies so it can’t be true, right? Well those cucumber slices on the eyes have science behind them. Aside from the cool, hydrating properties of cucumber, they have high levels of silica and caffeic acid. Silica is one of the building blocks of collagen, essential for supple skin, while caffeic acid has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.[3] These attributes makes cucumber popular in eye serums and masks to sooth and cool irrated skin or reduce puffiness. Like many veggies, much of the cucumber’s goodness is in the skin, so if you want to DIY, try whole cucumber in the blender as a mask.

Try: Yes to Cucumbers Calm Care Soothing Facial Mask, $23.95
The Jojoba Company Cucumber and Guava Firming Eye Balm, $46.95

BREAKOUT

Food fads, or the next big thing?

Ingredient: Green Banana
In: Clarins Extra Firming Day Cream, $95
For: Enhancing the process of anchoring collagen in skin cells.

Ingredient: Broccoli
In: Biotherm Skin Ergenic Serum, $49
For: Sulforaphane, thought to stimulate cells’ own protective function.

Ingredient: Okuru
In: Lapureté Okuru Double Intensity Serum, $69.90
For: Muscle relaxant qualities shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in clinical trials.

Ingredient: Quandong
In: Kosmea Clarifying Facial Wash, $34.95
For: Cell renewal and brightening.

Food for thought
Try including these superfoods in your diet for fabulous skin:

1. Raw grated carrot: contains unique fibres that bind with toxins in the body to reduce excess circulating estrogen – a major player in premature skin aging, according to Sgourakis.

2. Braised lamb shanks: or any other slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone dish that is high in gelatin. “Gelatin contains high levels of glycine, the amino acid responsible for the structural properties of collagen and wound healing. Used as a major source of dietary protein, it’s an easy way to prevent premature ageing,” says Sgourakis.

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