"Indians are very holistic in nature and use food to treat ailments in all organs—both inside and out," says Shama Patel, Founder + President of Clean Your Dirty Face. "And skin, after all, is your body’s largest organ." It's common for Indian women to use ingredients from their kitchen to treat skin concerns, and Patel recalls her mother treating her teenage acne with lemon, turmeric, and tomatoes. I learned this lesson firsthand on a recent trip through India with Flashpack, when I was given a crash course in Indian ingredients during a cooking class in Jaipur. I walked away not only with the know-how to make an inflammation-fighting lentil dish under my belt, but also with an entire roster of DIY masking recipes that I couldn't wait to try.
Read on for five at-home Indian face mask recipes that will treat all kinds of different skin concerns. Chances are, you've already got all of the ingredients in your kitchen, and the concoctions really are good enough to eat.
Try these 4 Indian face mask recipes you can make at home
For fighting inflammation: Turmeric and honey on a banana peel
The next time you are snacking on a banana, instead of tossing the peel in the trash you can use it as a part of your next DIY facial. "Banana peels are full of antioxidants, which brighten the skin and reduce fine lines," says lead esthetician at Clean Your Dirty Face, Sammy Sowa. "Turmeric is one of our all-time favorite ingredients for brightening dark spots, and honey has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it a great ingredient for someone with acne or redness." She's not necessarily a fan of using honey on your face (though other pros say "go for it," especially if it's of the manuka variety). In addition to fighting inflammation, this mix will also help lighten dark spots... especially if you squeeze a little bit of lemon into the mix. Combine the turmeric and honey, then use the banana peel to apply it to your skin. When it dries, rinse with warm water.
For dealing with dark spots: Papaya, honey, and turmeric
Papaya has become a skin-care aisle staple thanks to the fact that is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants, and it also acts as an exfoliant thanks to enzymes that loosen dead cells on the surface of your skin. Mixing it with inflammation-fighting turmeric and honey will help brighten dark spots and lighten skin. To try the mask for yourself, mash the ingredients in a bowl and apply evenly to your skin. Once it dries, you can rinse with warm water.
For major exfoliation: Tomato slices and sugar
There are two types of exfoliation: chemical exfoliation, which melts dead cells away by breaking the bonds between them and the skin's surface, and physical exfoliation, which scrubs them away—and this combination's got them both. "Tomatoes are very high in vitamin A and also contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), making them fabulous exfoliants," says Sowa. While she and Patel advises against using straight up sugar, because the grains are large and can create microtears in your skin, derms say if you do want to use a physically exfoliating ingredient, it's actually the best of the bunch (compared to, say, walnuts or microbeads). "For maximum benefits, exfoliating two to three times per week is important in order to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, so that the expensive face oil you’re using can actually penetrate deep into your skin as opposed to sitting on the surface," she says. "Often times, the appearance of fine lines can disappear immediately after using an exfoliant and face oil." Sprinkle some sugar on top of a slice of tomato and use it to gently exfoliate your skin, then follow up with your favorite hydrating oil.
For hydrating: Raw potatoes, raw cucumber, lemon
"Potatoes contain an enzyme that removes dead skin cells, cucumber is hydrating, and lemon brightens dark spots," says Patel. She warns that lemon may be too acidic for anyone with sensitive skin, so it's best to test a small spot on your neck before slathering the concoction all over your face. If you want to kick things up to an even brighter notch, Patel suggests mixing in some plain yogurt, which contains lactic acid for an even more intense exfoliation. For this mask, mash the potatoes and cucumbers together and squeeze in some lemon, then apply to your face. When it's dry, rinse with warm water.
India isn't the only place we're finding beauty inspiration. These are our favorite natural ingredients from Scandinavia, and the skin-care tips we're stealing from French women
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