(NaturalNews) Many health researchers now understand that our skin is a reflection of our internal health. A body that is fed nutritious whole foods, for instance, is more likely to enjoy clear and radiant skin, while a body that is fed processed foods is more likely to suffer from greasy and affliction-prone skin. Therefore, a change in diet should always be the priority among people seeking to improve their skin's long-term health.
That said, nature has provided us with a number of foods which, if applied topically, can improve the general appearance of our skin in a natural and gentle manner. This article contains three of the best of these foods, complete with information on how to apply them for best results.
There are several reasons why honey is found in so many facial masks, moisturizing creams and other cosmetic products. Firstly, it contains significant antibacterial properties, meaning it can help treat a large number of skin conditions ranging from eczema to acne. Secondly, it is rich in antioxidants, which lend it impressive anti-aging benefits. Lastly, its natural soothing and moisturizing qualities can greatly improve our complexion.
The easiest way to use honey for skin-boosting purposes is to simply make a mask out of it. To do so, apply a thin layer of honey (raw, unprocessed honey is best) to slightly damp skin using circular motions. Allow the honey to sit for at least 15 minutes (this will give its many nutrients time to nourish and rejuvenate the pores), then rinse it off with warm water. Try mixing the honey with a little dash of lemon juice -- a natural astringent rich in collagen-stimulating vitamin C -- for even better results.
Due to its large concentrations of medium-chain triglycerides (fatty acids that penetrate and unclog the pores of the skin), as well as its proven antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties, coconut oil is another great choice for improving skin health. It is even a time-honored home remedy for treating stretch marks, which are one of the most stubborn skin conditions to remove.
To create a mask out of coconut oil (raw coconut oil made from organic, cold-pressed and extra virgin coconuts is best), simply add a layer of it onto the skin using circular motions. Like honey, coconut oil should ideally remain on the skin for at least 15 minutes. This will allows its main skin-boosting compounds, such as the bacteria-fighting lauric acid, to absorb into the pores and do their work. After 15 minutes, remove the oil with warm water. If you're feeling adventurous, consider adding some turmeric powder to the coconut oil. Aside from being a powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, turmeric can also lighten dull skin and even out discolorations.
Though it might not be as pleasant to apply topically as honey or coconut oil, oatmeal really can do wonders for the skin. After all, it is a natural cleanser, exfoliator and moisturizer, and its skin-soothing abilities (attributed to its large concentrations of beta-glucans) were known as early as 2000 BC. Some people even bathe in colloidal oatmeal -- a finely-ground oatmeal suspended in water -- on a regular basis to ensure their skin remains soft and radiant.
To make a mask out of oatmeal (organic, steel-cut oats are best), cook it and apply it to the skin once it is lukewarm. Allow it to stand for at least 15 minutes, then wash it off with warm water. Oatmeal mixes well with both honey and coconut oil, so don't be afraid to experiment until you find a skin mask that is best-suited to your needs.
About the author: Michael Ravensthorpe is an independent writer whose research interests include nutrition, alternative medicine, and bushcraft. He is the creator of the website, Spiritfoods, through which he promotes the world's healthiest foods.