You have probably seen ads for spas where women are relaxing with slices of cucumbers over their eyes. There is a reason for that. The high water content and caffeic acid found in cucumbers may help reduce puffiness and dark circles under your eyes. Cucumbers offer a number of benefits, both for your skin and your health.
Cucumbers and Nutrition
Cucumbers contain a number of vitamins and nutrients, including:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6
- Vitamin K
- Folic acid
Cucumbers also provide antioxidants, carbohydrates, protein and fiber.
Because cucumbers are made up of 96 percent water and are low in calories (a medium, unpeeled cucumber is only 24 calories, a large cucumber with the skin on is only 45 calories) it is a healthy snack. Cucumbers may also act as a diuretic, aiding in removing waste products from your body.
Cucumbers and Your Skin
While there aren’t many studies that provide us with information on the benefits of cucumbers for our skin, some studies do support using cucumbers. One study, published in 2011 in the Archives of Dermatological Research point to cucumbers as an anti-wrinkle aid. Another study, published in Fitoterapia in 2013 states, "It gives a soothing effect against skin irritations and reduces swelling. Cucumber also has the power to relax and alleviate sunburn pain."
Some of the ways people use cucumbers in skin care include:
Placing or rubbing cucumber over dark circles and puffiness under your eyes. Leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse off. Daily applications may help reduce dark circles and puffiness over time.
Using cucumber juice as a toner. Dab cucumber juice on your face, leave on for 15 minutes and then rinse with water. Cucumber juice can be combined with coconut juice, lemon juice, honey or tomato for a different type of toner. May help to brighten your complexion, reduce freckles and reduce excess oil from your skin.
Apply cucumber juice to skin after being in the sun, especially if you have a sunburn. The juice will help soothe the burn and may help it to heal quicker.
Create a facial mask. Make pureed cucumber (without seeds) mixed with egg white and avocado or yogurt in your blender and apply to your face. Leave on for 15 minutes and then rinse off.
Cucumbers are easy to find year round (although winter cucumbers tend to be smaller) and are good for you, whether you eat them or apply them to the skin. Some people, who have ragweed allergies, might experience an allergic reaction from eating cucumbers, especially if the skin is included.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.