By Catie Ryan, Staff Writer
Sometimes we underestimate the power of Mother Nature’s resources. We forget that the same ingredients that make our expensive skincare products so wonderful are often sourced from common plants. Additionally, these ingredients are typically inexpensive and accessible at any local grocery store. Of course, household fruits aren’t a substitute for your retinol, but they can definitely help if you’re on a tight budget or don’t have time to stop by a fancy department store for other products.
Ginger is a superfood through and through. When ingested or used topically, ginger can help the body heal in seemingly magical ways. Ancient civilizations have been using this root as medicine for thousands of years due to its antioxidant properties that are proven to help the body heal. When directly applied to the skin, ginger combats the signs of aging by preventing free radical damage and improving overall skin elasticity. Additionally, this powerful root can reduce redness and swelling in blemishes, and even minimize the appearance of scarring. To take advantage of these benefits, simply use raw ginger as a spot treatment on problem areas, or ground it into a home-made face mask. Drinking ginger in hot tea is also a great way to absorb these effects from the inside out.
Witch hazel is often used as an ingredient in a plethora of skincare products, but it also works wonders on its own. This age-old product is typically used as a skin toner, tightening the pores and eliminating excess grease. However, be sure to use witch hazel products that don’t contain the wrong kind of alcohol, as they can irritate your skin further and cause unwanted dryness. Witch hazel is also used by many to fight acne, especially if you’re pregnant and cannot use harsher products like retinoids and salicylic acid. Need another reason to buy it? As an added bonus, witch hazel can help with inflammation and pain when you get razor bumps.
Purchase witch hazel products with no alcohol or alcohol that won't irritate your skin.
Okay, this one is a given, but it’s still a cheap, easy and necessary elixir for a flawless complexion. Water clears out blemishes by cleansing cells of waste, all while it helps hydrate, strengthen, brighten and clear your complexion. Here’s where the unknown comes into play - how much water is necessary to achieve those effects? Scientists are in a continuous battle to properly answer this question, but most argue that 8 glasses a day will do the trick. Drinking water becomes easier once you make a habit of it, so try to always keep a full glass on your desk and a water bottle in your bag at all times.
Ice is a perfect solution if you’re looking to minimize blemishes in as little time as possible. The temperature of ice reduces the swelling and redness of your pimples, making them easier to cover up. Applying ice also numbs the inflamed area, making your zit dramatically less painful. To avoid harming your skin further, cover the ice in a thin cloth or paper towel as opposed to directly putting it onto your skin.
Lemons contain high levels of Vitamin C, which is proven to brighten and tighten your skin. Vitamin C also enhances cell turnover, which can help the skin rid itself of dark spots and dead skin cells. The abundance of antioxidants found in lemons aid this process as well. However, lemons are highly acidic, so you might want to mix lemon juice with a moisturizer like honey before applying it directly to the skin.
Speaking of honey, this sweet, natural remedy works wonders on your complexion on its own. Honey serves as a moisturizer, acne treatment, and even a facial cleanser. Due to the food’s antibacterial properties, it can unclog pores and even eliminate stubborn milia (those tiny white bumps that aren’t quite pimples but just won’t go away). Try mixing honey, oats, and yogurt for an at-home face mask that will leave your skin feeling softened and refreshed.
Like ginger, coffee can aid your skin whether you ingest it or use it topically. Coffee beans are packed with antioxidants that disarm free radicals, brighten skin and even shrink blood vessels to reduce puffiness. Drinking coffee can help your body absorb these benefits, but beware not to over-consume - your skin will become flaky and dry. When you want to apply it directly to your skin, try making a face mask out of ground coffee beans and coconut oil. Scrub it on your face and leave it on for 15-20 minutes for full effect.
So, next time you see a new pimple or your skin is feeling dull, you don’t even need to leave the house to get your skin feeling as good as new. Nature gave us skincare hacks that cost less than $5, so why not give them a shot? Nothing is better than having another reason to grab that morning cup of Joe!