By Abby Vinas
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While luxurious skin treatments and fancy facials may seem enticing, you don’t always need to break the bank to get healthy, glowing skin. Sometimes, simple ingredients like plants are exactly what your skin’s been craving. One of our favorite skin-friendly plants? Cucumbers!
What Does Cucumber Do For Your Skin?
The cucumber belongs to the gourd family, which also includes pumpkin, squash, and zucchini. Cucumbers are known for being crunchy and cool, but they’re also great for your complexion and are a well-known superfood for the skin. They’ve been used in skincare for decades to address common skin concerns like hydration, aging, and inflammation. Let’s take a look at the top cucumber benefits for skin:
Packed With Skin-Lovin’ Nutrients
Cucumbers contain plenty of vitamins and nutrients that give them the upperhand when it comes to skincare. Vitamins play a key role in overall health but they’re particularly effective in supporting skin health when applied topically.
Cucumbers are loaded with antioxidants, which are molecules that help fight oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Fruits and vegetables in general are rich in antioxidants but cucumbers in particular contain vitamin C, caffeic acid, and folic acid. Vitamin C, often linked to citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, is an antioxidant that clarifies and brightens skin. Caffeic acid and folic acid help increase collagen production and defend against signs of premature aging. Collagen production typically declines over time, which is why it’s beneficial to incorporate ingredients like caffeic acid and folic acid into your daily skincare routine.
Keeping your skin hydrated helps improve elasticity and firmness. Lack of hydration can cause a visible difference in your skin in that it may look dry and flaky, and be more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Maintain a healthy, glowing complexion by replenishing your skin with hydrating ingredients like cucumber.
Similar to aloe vera, cucumbers contain polysaccharides, which help the skin attract and retain moisture. Cucumbers also consist mostly of water; they’re 96% water, to be exact. This high water content is a key benefit of cucumbers in that it allows them to provide superior hydration to the skin.
Despite having such high water content, cucumbers won’t be able to keep your skin properly hydrated on their own. Follow tips on how to hydrate your skin and remember to moisturize your skin every single day -- no excuses!
Cucumbers have soothing and cooling effects on the skin, making them particularly beneficial for those with sensitive or irritated skin, although they’re suitable for all skin types. They also have anti-inflammatory properties in that they help reduce swelling and morning puffiness.
Spend a little too much time in the sun? Or maybe you forgot to reapply your sunscreen? Aloe vera is popular for alleviating sunburn, but cucumber also does the trick. It can soothe mildly burnt or damaged skin and help alleviate sunburn due to its cooling properties.
Great for Acne-Prone Skin
Cucumbers are a mild astringent, meaning that they tauten and tighten pores, help regulate oil production, as well as reduce the appearance of pore size. Excess oil and large, clogged pores often contribute to breakouts so if you have oily or acne-prone skin, cucumber will be your skin’s new BFF.
5 Ways to Use Cucumber for Skin
Not only do cucumbers have many skin benefits, but they also can be used in a variety of ways and can be found in many different skincare products such as cleansers, toners, and face masks. Since it is a mild ingredient, it can be used on a daily basis but be sure to keep a close eye on how your skin reacts when adding new ingredients and products to your daily routine. With that being said, here are a few of our favorite ways to use cucumber for skin and get your glowiest, healthiest skin yet.
Cucumber extract is often used in facial cleansers due to their soothing and cooling effects on the skin. You can find cucumber in Cleanse, our vegan cleanser for all skin types that also contains detoxifying green tea and calming chamomile. Remember to wash your face every night before bed to get rid of dirt, oil and bacteria that has built up on your skin throughout the day.
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Since cucumber is a mild astringent, it’s often found in toners. Toner is an important step in a skincare routine because it helps balance skin’s pH level, get rid of excess oil and dirt, hydrate and nourish skin, and refine pores.
Toners often combine cucumber with aloe vera or witch hazel. Aloe vera is known for being highly hydrating and rich in nutrients, while witch hazel also has astringent properties that help reduce excess oil and inflammation. Choose a toner that’s alcohol-free to avoid disrupting the skin’s protective barrier, irritating your skin or drying it out. You can even create your own toner using cucumber, rose water, and water and give your skin a spritz throughout the day.
Cucumber Face Mask
Cucumber extract is a popular ingredient in store-bought face masks, but if you’re interested in giving homemade skincare a try, you can create your own vegan face mask using easy recipes and simple ingredients from your kitchen. Looking for something quick and easy? Blend half a cucumber, use a strainer to separate the juice, then apply the cucumber juice to freshly washed skin.
Create a cucumber face mask for acne-prone skin by mixing together cucumber juice, honey and oatmeal. Honey has antibacterial and soothing properties while oatmeal helps remove excess oil and dead skin cells. If you have dry skin, mix cucumber juice with aloe vera for a boost of hydration.
For each of these masks, let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water and gently patting your face dry.
Slices of Cucumber for Puffy Eyes
When you think of a spa day, you might think of fluffy robes and relaxing with cucumber slices on your eyes. Cucumbers are often tied to the spa world due to the fact that they contain flavonoids and antioxidants that help decrease the appearance of swelling and puffiness. As you can probably guess, this makes them great for calming puffy eyes. Keep them in the refrigerator before use for an extra cooling skin treat as the cold temperature helps boost circulation.
Simply place chilled slices of cucumber over your eyes to let them help reduce swelling and soothe the delicate skin. Don’t forget to follow up with an eye cream or eye gel as the finishing touch to lock in hydration and provide additional help with fighting fine lines and dark circles.
Another great way to add cucumber to your skincare routine is by using a moisturizer formulated with cucumber extract. It can be found in both cream and gel moisturizers as well as body lotions to help soften and soothe skin daily.
Leaving moisturizer out of your routine is one of the worst things you can do to your skin, especially if it’s acne-prone or oily. Skin reacts to lack of moisture and hydration by increasing oil production, which can then lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Applying a moisturizer on a daily basis helps control oil production by keeping your skin properly hydrated and nourished.
Alleviate Sunburn with Cucumber
Blend a chilled cucumber to a smooth consistency and apply it to any sunburned areas. You can also place shreds or slices of cucumber over your sunburn for some calming, cooling relief.
For added protection against sunburn, be sure to add sunscreen to your daily routine. Find one made with non-nano 100% mineral zinc oxide, is reef-safe, and provides total protection against harmful UV rays, blue light from digital devices, free radicals, and environmental pollutants. Defend your skin against each of these threats using SunFilter and SunShady, our mineral sunscreens for everyday use.
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Add Cucumber to Your DietProper hydration plays a key role in maintaining optimal health overall. We typically get enough hydration by drinking water and other liquids, but food sources are another great way to help increase your hydration levels. Since cucumbers have a high water content, they make an effective source of water. Cucumbers are also such a versatile food, making them incredibly easy to add to your diet! Throw them onto your favorite salad, sandwich, sushi roll, or any other dish, or add them to water with mint or fruits to add a bit of flavor.
Abby Vinas has long been an active member of the holistic health community, advocating in favor of its benefits to both our physical and emotional well-being. Her commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle has made her an authority on self-care practices. Abby is passionate about fitness, nutrition, and proper skincare, and is also an avid lover of avocado toast and dog-petting.