Our skin definitely needs some extra TLC when it’s colder; it’s coping with the cold outside and the drying central heating inside. We tend to eat less fruit during winter, which means that our antioxidant, mineral and hydration intake might suffer at the time our skin needs it the most. Love Fresh Berries has teamed up with dermatologist and skin guru Abigail James to discover why berries are a great source of skin loving nutrients and will benefit your skin all year round.
A key vitamin that appears in abundance across all berries is Vitamin C. This is a mega anti-oxidant and great when eaten and applied topically to the skin. Our bodies constantly need Vitamin C to be replaced as we don't create it ourselves in the body. It’s essential for a healthy immune system, growing and repairing tissue, wound healing, healthy bones, strengthening blood vessel walls, staving off damage from the sun’s harmful rays and is an essential ingredient to help support pigmentation issues too.
Vitamin K does not get as much attention as some other vitamins, but it’s essential for strengthening capillary walls. It prevents our arteries from calcifying and supports the blood clotting process, all essential parts of maintaining a healthy circulatory system. If our circulation is working well, our skin is being fed by fresh nutrients and oxygenated blood efficiently from our internal circulation supply. Vitamin K is a key ingredient often used in eye products because it strengthens capillary walls helping to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Vitamin A is essential for boosting cell turnover, which helps combat the ageing process, reducing the appearance of acne, pigmentation, fine lines… the list goes on.
Minerals – magnesium, copper, potassium, zinc, iron are all found in different strengths across berries and are all essential minerals for healthy skin formation; from collagen production, healthy red and white blood cell formation, balancing hormones and helping balance oil production too.
All berries are rich in plant fibres which support a healthy gut without being an aggressive or stodgy fibre source. If our gut is healthy then our skin is going to be happy and clear.
Reinvigorate your winter skin with berries…
Raspberries have one of the highest levels of combined antioxidants - 40% more than other berries, making them good for the fight against UV damage, pollution and stressful lives.
They also contain omega 9 and have been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties due to their natural flavonoids which help protect our cells and combat inflammation. This makes them good for skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea.
Raspberry ketones have been found to reduce the production of melanin in our skin (the pigmentation). There are some sunscreens that use raspberry seed oil as a natural ingredient to help combat pigment issues with sun exposure. Raspberries are also rich in folates supporting in the formation of healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen around our bodies.
Blackberries are an ancient British berry which are made up of more than 85% water. This, coupled with all the natural fibres and nutrients makes them an amazing skin hydrator. The combined Vitamin A, C and K along with omega 3 and 6 oils in the seeds are all perfect for the skin.
Strawberries have anthocyanins which is the antioxidant that created their red colour, a great support to our circulatory system. They also have slightly astringent properties making them good for treating puffy eyes. As an alternative to the slices of cucumber, take strawberries straight from the fridge, cut them in half and glide them under the eye area.
They have natural AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) which are widely used within the skincare industry for their skin brightening and exfoliating effects. There are many fruit acid peels available; strawberries and blueberries are often used alongside other fruits for their skin rejuvenation effects. Strawberries might also be good for breakouts as they contain a natural form of salicylic acid which is widely used as clinical antibacterial ingredient.
Strawberries are also great for your hair and scalp, the vitamins and AHA’s help stave off dandruff whilst the high levels of Vitamin C encourage a better iron absorption which can promote healthy hair growth. Plus, because they are loaded with silica they can support split ends and thick lustrous hair too.
Blueberries have a high concentration of salicylates, the salt part of salicylic acid. Within the facial treatments at my spa, my most commonly used low level peel is actually a blueberry peel. They are great for treating all skin types, especially spot prone skins because of this natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. They are great for keeping pores clear and sloughing off dead skin cells for a smoother complexion.
Mixed Berries Ultimate Face Mask
Prep your skin for a perfect glowing complexion…
1 large or 2 small strawberries
2 heaped tablespoon oats
1 teaspoon of honey
1 large tablespoon yoghurt
1 table spoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground almonds (optional)
This mask is the perfect blend of ingredients to brighten (it will give a radiance!) with the Strawberry AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) which has a brightening and exfoliating effect. There is an amazing blend of antioxidants from all the berries especially with the high levels of Vitamin C and A. There is also Vitamin K for supporting blood vessels, an amazing blend of essential minerals for skin health, notably magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Oats give a soothing and healing benefit when applied topically to the skin, honey has incredible anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and healing properties, and natural yoghurt for its probiotic effect balancing the skin acid alkaline balance and soothing benefits. Coconut oil acts as a beautiful skin hydrator with nourishing, anti-inflammatory rich oil, packed with vitamin E, an oil soluble antioxidant along with ground almond which is also rich in antioxidants. Natural oils give a mild exfoliating effect along with the slightly softer oats to further smooth and refresh the surface of the skin.
Place all ingredients into a smoothie maker and blend for 20 to 30 seconds until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Apply with your hands (it can be a little messy). Natural fruit acids in this mix may cause a mild tingling sensation. Massage over the face and neck, to work the mask into the skin and activate the exfoliating properties, avoiding the eye area. Leave on the skin for 5 to 10 minutes, remove with a warm damp flannel or cloth. The skin can feel zingy and has a lovely glow afterwards.