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Homemade Beauty Recipes for Summer

Natural Treatments for Healthy Skin
  -- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
Summer is the season for showing skin. But with more exposure to the elements and greater oil and sweat production, skin problems (namely sunburn, heat rashes and breakouts) seem to increase right along with the temperature. Luckily, you can fight summer skin problems and you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars at the cosmetics counter to do so. Try these homemade skin care recipes, featuring ingredients like blueberries and cucumber, which are in season all summer long.

*Note: As with all skin products, do not use any of these recipes if you are allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients, or have very sensitive skin. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns or questions. In case of a rash or reaction, discontinue use immediately and seek medical advice.

Blueberry Smoothie Face Mask
Blueberries have been making headlines recently for being one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the fruit and vegetable kingdom. Antioxidants are compounds that help keep your cells healthy. Of 40 fruits and vegetables analyzed for their antioxidant activity by the USDA, the blueberry ranked No. 1 in the fruit category, earning blueberries the title "super food." And the antioxidants that benefit your body when you eat them can also benefit your skin when applied topically, revitalizing the skin and hastening healing.
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Apply to clean face, and leave on skin for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Store any leftovers in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Blue Oatmeal Face Mask
Blueberries pack antioxidants (see above), while oats gently exfoliate the skin.
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Apply to clean face, leave on skin for 15-20 minutes, or until set. Rinse with warm water. Store any leftovers in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Cucumber Cleanser for Dry Skin
The following recipes call for organic cucumbers. Besides being sprayed with pesticides, conventional cucumbers are coated with wax, which may contain synthetic chemicals that you probably don’t want on your skin—let alone in your body. Organic cucumbers, especially the ones you can buy at your local farmers market, are free of pesticides and wax. In lieu of organic, peel conventional cucumbers to cut down on unwanted wax and chemicals.
Place cucumber in a bowl, and add just enough yogurt to form a paste. Wet face with warm water, and apply cucumber cleanser, in gentle circular motions, over entire face. Rinse with warm water, and pat dry. If desired, allow to remain on skin for 15 minutes before rinsing off. Store any leftovers in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Cucumber Mask for Sensitive Skin
Cucumbers contain nutrients like vitamin C and caffeic acid, which help soothe the skin and can reduce swelling.
Blend cucumber and yogurt in a blender until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients blend just until mixed. Apply to clean face and leave on skin for up to 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water.

Aloe Vera Gel
Although the juice and gel of aloe vera can be consumed, aloe vera is not usually considered a food. But the gel of this desert plant is a super-beneficial substance, especially for sun-exposed skin. You don't have to buy bottles of aloe from the store, though. The plant itself is hydrating, healing, and very easy to use. Simply buy a small aloe vera plant, keep it in a sunny window, and water it when it gets dry. After you cleanse your skin in the evening, break off a small piece of the plant, open it up to find the gel, and pat it onto your skin.


Remember that no matter how nourishing and revitalizing these homemade skin care products are for your skin, nothing can completely undo the damage of too much sun, so always wear sunscreen when you’re going outside.