The values of the vegetable extracts, for both health and beauty, lie in their vitamins, minerals, enzymes and trace elements.
In beauty care, the vitamins and minerals nourish the skin and hair, while enzymes help to cleanse the skin of dead cells. This has a renewing and revitalizing effect. Vegetables also have particular benefits and healing properties. Some extracts are antioxidants and thus delay the visible signs of ageing.
Cucumber has several beauty benefits. It is an astringent and helps to tone and refresh the skin. It closes the pores and reduces oiliness. It also helps to lighten skin colour over a period of time. The effect of cucumber is gentle on the skin. That is why it is a traditional remedy for the delicate skin around the eyes, helping to reduce dark circles and brighten the skin. Applying cucumber also helps to lighten dark patches and freckles. Cucumber is a natural coolant. It also has cooling and soothing effects on the skin.
For a cooling face pack, mix Cucumber juice (or pulp) with two teaspoons powdered milk and one egg white. Put the ingredients in a blender, for a smooth paste. Apply on face and neck and rinse off with water after half an hour. It will also help to remove tan.
To tone the skin, mix cucumber juice with rose water in equal quantities. Apply on the face and wash off with plain water after 20 minutes.
For a skin lightening pack, mix cucumber pulp with ripe papaya pulp and yogurt. Apply on the face and wash it off after half an hour.
Potatoes help to clear away skin blemishes. Potato slices can be used to wipe the skin in rashy conditions. Potato juice can also be applied on the face. It has a skin tightening effect. It is also known to reduce puffiness around the eyes and is most commonly used for this purpose. Apply grated potato or potato juice around the eyes daily and wash it off after 15 minutes. Potato juice can also be mixed with cucumber juice for treatments around the eyes. Potato also helps to remove unpleasant body odour. Potato slices can be rubbed on areas where odour forms easily, like under the arms, or under the feet.
Cabbage contains valuable minerals and are also very nourishing for the skin. It is said to have many healing properties, due to a high sulphur content. During ancient time, the juice of cabbage leaves was applied externally on the skin to soothe eruptions and skin diseases. It also contains Vitamin V and thus is good for the skin. Cabbage can be boiled in enough water. Cool the water and use it to wash the skin. It is a nourishing and soothing skin treatment.
Tomato is a favourite food and a common ingredient in most Indian curries and in salads. It also has beauty benefits, due to its high vitamin and mineral content. It contains lycopene, which is an antioxidant and therefore, has anti ageing benefits when applied on the skin. Tomato pulp or tomato juice also helps to reduce oiliness and lightens skin colour over a period of time. It is particularly useful for oily skin.
Leafy green vegetables, like spinach, are excellent for skin care. Spinach is rich in Vitamins A, C, E and K as well as vital minerals. Thus it has make benefits, taken internally as food and also applied externally. Spinach helps to clear up acne. Make a face mask by blending spinach with a little water and applying it on your face for 20 minutes. It is known to reduce oiliness and also inflammation. It also helps to tone and refresh the skin. In fact, spinach is also known to soothe sun damage.
(The author is a beauty expert)