Skin type, not taste, dictates fruit-, veggie-based beauty recipes

There is such a bounty of botanical-based beauty products that you might think they grow on trees.

NEW YORK — There is such a bounty of botanical-based beauty products that you might think they grow on trees.

Many fruits and vegetables are indeed considered legitimate treatments, but it’s because of that efficacy that users should know the differences between grapeseed and grapefruit extracts.

“This is serious skin care even though it’s botanicals. It’s not ’fluff’ like some people think it is,” says June Jacobs, founder of an eponymous all-natural product line.

Pumpkin, for instance, is a strong antioxidant and exfoliator, while cranberry’s vitamin C can help prevent bacteria from growing on the skin, which is good for people with acne-prone or combination skin, she explains.

Someone with sensitive skin would fare better with papaya enzymes, which also can clear dead skin cells but is gentler and more hydrating.

Among the garden ingredients often used for beauty are:

l Apples. Dr. Ana Mercedes Ciurea, a dermatologist and assistant professor at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, says she’s surprised the fruit, which can be a good conditioner and toner, isn’t more popular in skin-care products. Apples have vitamin C, which has been shown to protect and repair skin cells, without the drying effect of citrus fruits such as lemon and grapefruit.

l Wheatgrass. It’s good for you — inside and out, says Helen Ambrosen, the science co-ordinator and co-founder of cosmetic company Lush. She recommends wheatgrass for dry and mature skin because it is reparative and fights free radicals.

l Bananas. “It’s a gentle, inert fruit that can be used on the skin and hair,” says Ambrosen. Mashed banana is moisturizing, calming and soothing — and can be mixed with oatmeal and honey for a face mask, she adds. A lesser-known trick is to use a bit to tame dry, curly hair.

l Turmeric. This tropical root is a key ingredient in curry powder, says alternative-medicine researcher Joerg Gruenwald, but, perhaps surprisingly, it also is used in Malaysia as an anti-inflammatory and a healing ingredient.

l Watermelon and tomatoes. Both are sources of lycopene, which Ciurea says is a powerful antioxidant. “My grandmother used to crush tomato and put it on her face — and her skin was gorgeous,” she says.

But consumers contemplating a wearable fruit salad should know there’s probably as much risk of an allergic reaction to a fruit-, vegetable- or other plant-based ingredient as there is to a chemical one, says Ciurea, who adds that she has seen contact allergies develop. (She recommends testing any new skin-care product on the inner side of the arm. It’s similar to the skin on the face, but it’s not usually as unpleasant and obvious if you do have a reaction.)

Ciurea also says the botanicals could be skin-care successes. She’s a user of a lotion with green tea and berry extracts, which she finds calming, and she’s a fan of aloe vera’s healing and anti-bacterial properties.

“You have to pay attention to the effects of ingredients, just like you’d choose chemical formulas,” says Lush’s Ambrosen. Start either with a mild formula or a small amount of product, then, if it’s not irritating, ramp up use from there, she suggests.

And expect more ingredients as global barriers are blurred, says Gruenweld, who collaborated with Oxford University-based Gerry Bodeker, also an adjunct professor in public health at Columbia University, on “Health and Beauty from the Rainforest” (Didier Millet).

In Malaysia, Gruenwald notes, there’s a long tradition of treating beauty both topically and through diet — often doubling up on the same herbs, oils and extracts. “The whole concept of foods for beauty is used more commonly in Malaysia and Asia,” he said.

Bodeker says the herb Pegaga or gotu kola, sometimes eaten as a salad leaf, is well known for what it can do for skin quality, elasticity and skin repair. It can be ground with a mortar and pestle and used as a scrub with a base of rice flower and coconut oil, he explains.

Mathilde Thomas, founder of French skin-care brand Caudalie, has a half-dozen uses for grape byproducts, including vine sap, used to lighten dark spots; vine stalks, which contain the anti-aging molecule resveratrol; grapeseeds, for their antioxidant polyphenols; and moisturizing grape water, which is extracted after grapes are pressed but before the liquid is fermented. Grapeseed oil is rich in fatty acids, another moisturizer, Thomas explains.

Consumers feel comfortable with fruit and vegetable ingredients because they understand what they are, how they grow and how they’re used, says Lush’s Ambrosen.

However, she adds, she doesn’t think the initial appeal of familiarity — not to mention often a pleasant scent — wouldn’t last if they didn’t work. “I feel as a formulator, you should use beautiful things, but, if at the end of the day, the product isn’t beneficial, then people aren’t going to use it.”

Just Posted

Schizophrenia a misunderstood illness, an Alberta expert says

Schizophrenia Society of Alberta campaign kickoff features TSN’s Michael Landsberg in Central Alberta

WATCH: Collecting coats and donations from drivers in Red Deer

Central Albertans made donations to keep children warm and neighbourhoods safe from… Continue reading

PHOTO: Fall Harvest Festival in Red Deer’s West Park

The West Park Community Association hosted the Fall Harvest Festival near West… Continue reading

Man dies in Hwy 2 collision near Ponoka

A 46-year-old man is dead following a three-vehicle collision on Hwy 2… Continue reading

Canyon Ski Resort aiming to open Nov. 10

The finishing touches are being put on Canyon Ski Resort trails just… Continue reading

WATCH: Blackfalds Fire teaches families about fire safety

An open house was held Saturday in support of Fire Prevention Week

Five things about what’s legal and what’s not in Canada’s new pot law

OTTAWA — Canada’s new law legalizing recreational cannabis goes into force on… Continue reading

4 men killed in shooting at child’s birthday party in Texas

DALLAS — An argument at a toddler’s birthday party in South Texas… Continue reading

German bus crashes on Swiss highway, 1 dead and 14 injured

BERLIN — A German bus crashed into a metal post on a… Continue reading

4 days after storm, large swath of Panhandle suffering

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — Crews with backhoes and other heavy equipment scooped… Continue reading

Immigrants face hurdles to prove abuse by US agents

HOUSTON — Within hours of being booked at a Border Patrol station… Continue reading

Unicorns and pipelines: Notley and enviro-activist square off on Trans Mountain

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, with her arch pipeline foe sitting… Continue reading

A year into #MeToo, survivors’ stories resonate online and off: experts

Jenny Wright remembers scrolling through her social media feed a year ago… Continue reading

Emergency buzzer had been disabled in young man’s prison death: report

HALIFAX — An emergency intercom in the jail unit of a young… Continue reading

Most Read