You know all those pricey creams and serums at Sephora that boast “radiance-boosting natural antioxidants” and “natural fruit enzymes” as their active ingredients? Those antioxidants and enzymes are actually derived from real, whole foods—and in their natural state, they can be a lot more powerful!
We sat down with Dr. Trevor Cates, a naturopathic doctor and the organic skin care guru behind, “The Spa Dr.” Dr. Cates knows her stuff—she was the first woman licensed as a naturopathic doctor in the state of California, she’s developed her own line of all-natural products that work incredibly well, and her book Clean Skin from Within is set to be released in early 2017. Lady boss, right?
While we’re all for filling our medicine cabinets with organic, effective skin care products, we were curious about the active ingredients that we might already have in our kitchens. Here are The Spa Dr.’s top five ingredients—plus a DIY face mask that smells like a tropical island and brightens a dull complexion.
Avocado is packed with hydrating oils and skin-nourishing vitamins A and E. It is one of my favorite ingredients for DIY face masks because of its high antioxidant content and moisturizing benefits. You can mash up one avocado alone and place directly onto your face as a face mask or as part of a combination of DIY mask.
Honey is a natural humectant (which means it helps retain moisture and regulate pH), making it a perfect ingredient in skincare. According to a December 2013 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, historical records show honey has been used for skincare, cosmetics, and as a healing property since the earliest civilizations. Make sure to use raw, unpasteurized honey, because you don’t want to kill the beneficial bacteria or remove the nutrients. Darker honey tends to have higher antioxidant levels.
Oats provide moisturizing, healing and anti-inflammatory skin benefits. Due to their saponin content, oats work well to cleanse skin without drying it out. In addition, their antioxidant and hydrating qualities make them a great addition to face masks.
Yogurt contains nutrients, enzymes, and active cultures that can aid in smoothing and balancing your skin. Lactic acid helps dissolve dead skin cells for natural exfoliation to help smooth and rejuvenate. The natural acidity of yogurt also balances skin’s mildly acidic pH and its beneficial microorganisms may help support your skin’s microbiome. Make sure to use unsweetened plain yogurt when applying to your face.
Papaya is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which are nourishing and protective. Papaya’s natural enzyme papain helps exfoliate skin, leaving it smooth and soft. These are the reasons papaya is one of my favorite DIY skin care ingredients. Not only does it naturally exfoliate your skin, but it also hydrates and can reduce signs of aging, such as fines lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
You can mash and mix any or all of these ingredients together for nourishing (yummy) face masks—here’s one of our faves.
Use this mask only at night because papaya can cause photosensitivity (which makes you more prone to sunburn or hyperpigmentation). This mask will exfoliate and nourish your skin.
1 tablespoon papaya flesh
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon oatmeal
In a blender or food processor, blend the papaya, yogurt, and oatmeal until smooth. Apply to your clean, dry face. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse with warm water. Rinse your face again with cool water and pat dry