Why are cucumbers good for your skin?

Written by rachel mason
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Why are cucumbers good for your skin?
Cucumber spa facial (cosmetic mask with cucumber image by Elena Vdovina from Fotolia.com)

A spa facial treatment just wouldn't seem complete without a cucumber slice on each eye. While use of cucumbers for facials and the treatment of skin disorders has a long history in folk medicine, there are solid scientific explanations as to why cucumbers are beneficial for skin. While some of these benefits result from topical applications, taking cucumbers internally as well provides you with the most health benefits.

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Cold Temperature

One of the simplest explanations as to why cucumbers work to get rid of bags under the eyes and eye swelling has nothing at all to do with the fact that they are cucumbers but rather the fact that they are cold from being kept in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures cause the blood vessels to restrict, thus bringing down swelling. The same purpose would be served by placing ice packs over your eyes. The cucumber slices, however, are the perfect shape and size for your eyes as well.

Water Content

Everyone knows that a deflated balloon is wrinkly and flabby, but a full water balloon is tight and firm. The same analogy applies to your skin cells. When they are adequately hydrated they look firm and smooth, improving your overall complexion; when they are dehydrated, your skin can become slack. Cucumbers are 90 per cent water, and if consumed frequently, can help your body and skin remain properly hydrated.

Silica Content

According to Chef Cary Neff, author of The New York Times best seller "Conscious Cuisine," cucumbers are a good source of silica. He says, in an article on the Experience Life website, that "Silica, a vital mineral, is an essential part of healthy connective tissue and also improves skin health." For this very reason silica supplements are often sold as anti-ageing, anti-wrinkle, youth-restoring products.

Caffeic and Ascorbic Acid Content

Cucumbers contain several acids that contribute to skin health. The first is a substance called caffeic acid, which can soothe irritated skin and minimise swelling.

Cucumbers, with 8.4 mg of ascorbic acid each, are also a reasonable source of vitamin C. According to a study by Dr. Marcus S. Cooke of the University of Leicester, vitamin C helps promote wound healing, protects damage of skin cell DNA, and can increase the rate of skin regeneration.

Astringency

An astringent is something that causes your tissues, such as your pores, to constrict and draw together. Cucumber juice is mildly astringent and as such can be useful for cooling sunburns, tightening skin, reducing incidence of oily skin and even for acne. If you don't have a juicer available, just rubbing cucumber slices over the desired area will have the same effect.

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