Sunday, October 27, 2013

Simple DIY Nourishing Face Mask

Simple DIY Nourishing Face Mask with Ripe Papaya, Yogurt and Honey


As a healthcare professional, I try to avoid using products with chemicals whose effects on humans are unknown and may potentially cause damage to our skin rather than protect it. This past year, I have been experimenting with different DIY skin care recipes using ingredients in my kitchen. Not only are the results satisfactory but the savings I make by not going to expensive spas and salons as much as I used to are significant. Taking care of our health and physical appearance is a must and shouldn't cost a fortune. If budget is an issue, there are practical ways to achieve a beautiful and healthy complexion that you can do yourself in the comforts of your home. 

I always keep Manuka honey in my pantry which I regularly put in my green tea beverage and even spoon out as a delicious dessert. While all honeys offer antibacterial properties, as discussed in a previous blog, New Zealand's Manuka honey with a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating of at least 10 is found to have greater healing powers because of its Methyglyoxal and Hydrogen Peroxide components. Manuka honey may also offer antioxidant protection from free radical damage. These antibacterial and antioxidant components make Manuka honey a powerful aid in treating simple or complex and acute or chronic wounds and burns and in skin care in general. When applied topically, Manuka honey draws fluid and other nutrients into the skin which aid in faster wound healing and the growth of new tissue.   

Another item that I normally have in my refrigerator is plain yogurt. Yogurt is not only tasty but it also has great health benefits. Yogurts with "live and active cultures" are an excellent source of probiotics, the good bacteria that can aid gastrointestinal health when eaten in adequate amounts. They are also a good source of other important nutrients that include Calcium, Protein, Potassium, Magnesium and the B-Vitamins. Yogurt may help prevent osteoporosis, decrease risk for yeast infections, and even lower cholesterol. Their health benefits are abundant which make them a perfect anytime snack. Because yogurt comes from milk, it contains lactic acid, a form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that can help improve skin's texture and hydration level, slough away dead skin cells, moisturize dry skin and prevent formation of lines and wrinkles. 

As a child, I had always enjoyed ripe Papaya fruit as a snack. This deliciously sweet, low-calorie tropical fruit is packed with powerful nutritional and medicinal properties. It is one of the fruits with the highest Vitamin C content, an antioxidant with free radical scavenging, protective, immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. It is an excellent source of other nutrients that include Vitamin A, another powerful antioxidant that contributes to healthy skin and eye sight; B-Vitamins that play a major role in our body's metabolism; and Potassium and Calcium, minerals that help maintain a healthy blood pressure and are essential for proper smooth skeletal and cardiac muscle functioning. It is also rich in dietary fiber making it beneficial for digestive health. Papaya fruit's papain enzyme content has been used as an ingredient in enzymatic debriding preparations for the treatment of chronic wounds, sores or ulcers with overlying dead tissue. All these components make ripe Papaya fruit a wonderful skin care ingredient that exfoliates and removes dead skin cells to reveal a smoother, healthy-looking and radiant complexion free from blemishes and unwanted discolorations.    

Having discussed the numerous benefits of these three food items, they make wonderful natural skin care ingredients. Here's a simple Do-It-Yourself recipe for a face mask that you can apply to your skin about once a month. Ripe papaya skin has somewhat of an orange color and has soft spots when pressed. You may buy green papaya, put it in a brown paper bag and wait until it ripens which is a fairly quick process, about 3-4 days. Once it fully ripens, peel the skin, cut it up and remove the seeds. Set aside a small piece and store the rest (if you're not cooking or eating it) in the refrigerator for about a week or in the freezer for about a month. Make it a habit to use sunscreen and avoid over exposure to the sun especially after using any product that contains Alpha Hydroxy Acids to prevent sun sensitivity and ultraviolet damage. 

1. Mash the papaya fruit with a fork and place a spoonful in a small bowl.
2. Mix mashed papaya with 4 spoonfuls of plain yogurt.  
3. Add half a teaspoon of (Manuka) honey to the mixture and blend well. 
4. Wash your face with lukewarm water and a sulfate-free cleanser. Pat dry. 
5. Apply the mixture evenly on your face. If you have easily irritated skin, leave it on for about 15 minutes. Otherwise, leave it on for 20-25 minutes. Rinse well with lukewarm water.
6. Apply moisturizer or cream.