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Naturally beautiful

Posted on September 1, 1998

Sure, they’re trendy, but what can these eight luscious ingredients actually do for your skin?

Papaya

The fruit’s protein digesting enzyme, papain, dissolves dead cells on the skin’s surface without harming living ones, making it a good exfoliant; try Fresh Papaya Enzyme Peel by Zia Natural Skincare. Papain can also soften tartar stuck to tooth enamel; it’s used in Age Defying toothpaste by Rembrandt.

Hemp Oil

From the seeds of Cannabis sativa is extremely high in essential fatty acids ideal for parched lips, hands, and feet. Try Hemp Elbow Grease by the Body Shop.

Cucumber

The juice is both a mild astringent and an antiinflammatory-thus great for tightening pores and soothing sunburn and blemishes. And because its pH is close to skin’s, cucumber is suitable for the most delicate complexions.

Honey

It’s been used for centuries as a cleanser, emollient, and humectant (meaning it softens skin and helps it hang on to moisture). Honey also contains traces of lactic acid, a gentle exfoliant (though probably not enough to slough dead cells). Try Burt’s Bees Buttermilk Soap with honey.

Oats

When used in masks and lotions, the oils and amino acids in oats relieve dry, itchy skin and ease discomfort from dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes. (Try O.A.T. Gentle Treatment Cream by A-Derma.) Finely milled oatmeal makes a super-gentle scrub or exfoliating soap.

Green Tea

The antioxidants that make this beverage so healthful to drink also show promise when applied to skin. Research suggests that green tea extract may fight damage from sunlight, notably skin cancer. It can ease swelling, too. Look for it in Sebastian’s Firming & Hydrating Masque.

Ginger

The zesty spice has the same warming effect on your skin that it has on food. This makes it a stimulating addition to body treatments, such as Origins’s Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream. But it can irritate some complexions, so don’t use it on your face.

Milk

Its softening and moisturizing properties-which come from fats and proteinshave been known at least since Cleopatra used it to bathe. But pH-gentle milk is also a source of lactic acid, vitamins A and D, and emulsifiers that add body and volume to hair. Check out Nectarine-Milk soap made by Fresh Inc. (To order, call 800/FRESH-20.)

(Photograph Omitted)
Captioned as: Cucumber Gel Masque by Peter Thomas Roth; Oatmeal Soap with milk and honey by Thymes Limited.

Copyright © 1998, Health. All rights reserved.