Gardens are not just for fun and flowers, but for our overall health. Carrots, broccoli, apples, pumpkins, blueberries, and so many more provide nutrition for our bodies. Eating well is essential to our ability to function and fight off disease or deterioration. To stay strong and healthy we must eat fresh and nutrition-packed fruits and veggies. We are taught this from a young age, but most people do not think of eating their fruits and veggies as a way to maintain healthy and glowing skin. Our skin is our largest organ and is affected by everything we consume. This makes it super important to treat our entire body well and give it the nutrients and care it needs.
Many people buy their fruits and vegetables from the store, but homegrown food is packed with higher amounts of vitamins and essential nutrients. If you are unable to garden because of space or time availability, a local farmer’s market is a great choice. Fresh and well-grown food is the key. But if you can, a garden of your own not only helps you to have access to good fresh food, it also helps to support local pollinators. The more small gardens exist, the healthier our environments will be. Our health and the health of the life around us depends on how we live on a daily basis, right down to our skincare.
Not only do fresh foods and local gardens contribute to a better world, but most skincare routines often involve factory bottled products with unnecessary chemicals and environmentally unfriendly packaging. DIY skincare is the best option for our health and the health of the world around us. There are so many reasons to go local, fresh, and homemade as much as possible. Even if you have room for just one of the following plants, it is worth the space and energy you can spare.
Plants for skin health:
Arguably one of the most popular flowers in the world, lavender is used in so many beauty products that it can seem overwhelming. But this is for good reason. It is very easy to grow and will do so in many climates. It is both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The essential oil from lavender can help to heal the body through direct application to burns and cuts, as well as calm the nervous system through scent. Some people use lavender for getting through asthma or anxiety attacks. This beautiful flower ranging in purples, blues, and pinks can be used in lotions, toners, and anything really.
This Lavender Rose Spa Kit is a perfect addition to DIY garden skin health, utilizing the benefits of two wonderful flowers as well as local bee products for relaxation and revitalization.
Believe it or not, chamomile is great for a natural hair lightener. Bleaching or otherwise lightening hair can be an expensive and artificial chemical-ridden process. Using natural options like chamomile and lemon juice brings out the natural highlights in your hair and will overall lighten your shade without the harsh chemicals that damage hair, as well as the skin beneath your hair. Artificial lighteners can look fake and fade badly in time. But a natural option will, well, look more natural. In fact, a combination of homemade chamomile tea with lemon juice is a very effective lightener. Sprits your hair all over, or douse sections for highlights, and spend the day outside to let the sun do its work. Chamomile also has mild sedative properties, making the tea a great bedtime routine. Not to mention that it is wonderful for skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. Simply by drinking the tea, skin conditions can improve. For a more direct approach, natural chamomile creams can be made or bought for application to itchy, dry, and irritated spots.
As a topical applicant, elderflower is mainly used for fading of scars, freckles, and age spots. (Why anyone would want to fade adorable freckles, I can’t say.) Essentially to use elderflower you must make a tea first, with which this easy lotion for chapped hands or an aftershave can be made.
To make a lotion combine:
- 3 tablespoons of elderflower tea
- 1 tablespoon of glycerine
Witch hazel is a natural astringent and is great in skincare routines. Post cleanse, witch hazel can be applied to the face or anywhere on the body with a soft cloth for toning and oil management. It can also be soothing for sunburns, eczema, or acne, as it has a mild cooling effect and anti-inflammatory properties such as tannins. Witch hazel can even be used on the scalp to decrease any irritations or sensitivity. Not to mention that it makes a beautiful yellow-blooming shrub.
When consumed internally, Calendula can assist with digestion, reduce internal inflammation, and even combat certain cancer cells. Most of these wonderful effects are due to its powerful antioxidant properties. Equally as impressive is Calendula's effect on the skin. Historically, it has been used to treat ailments such as rashes, acne, eczema, scarring, stretch marks, and dullness. The Calendula plant is adored by many herbalists worldwide for its beneficial medicinal and culinary properties, learn all about Calendula and ways you can use it at-home for overall health here.
Foods for skin health:
We know that carrots are great for eye health, but what else can they do? Carrots provide both vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta carotene. Each of these plays a vital role in our overall health, which shows itself in our skin. Eating carrots gives our body the necessary nutrients for glowing skin, but it is also possible to use carrots in our daily skincare routine. This mask recipe and a few others allow you to use carrots not just in your meals but directly on your face:
- 2 peeled, cooked, and mashed carrots
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Apples are a staple to Northwest agriculture. As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Or maybe the dermatologist? Apples contain many nutrients, including vitamins B and C. These help to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. Apples are so good for us, it is almost unnecessary to list all of their benefits. But it is clear that they are particularly good for our skin and overall appearance. They help to improve our complexion by speeding skin cell production and reducing blemishes, as well as maintaining moisture.
Citrus can be difficult to grow in the PNW, but if it can be done it is worth it. Small lemon trees such as the Meyer variety can be grown indoors. Another option is finding a local essential oil company for orange or lemon oil to make homemade natural skin scrubs and lotions. Citrus is a great skin clarifier, as it has antibacterial properties that help to fight acne and other skin problems. Citrus of course contains a large amount of vitamin C, a recurring theme in skincare. It helps to repair damaged skin, and prevent further damage. This Honey Citrus Spa Kit is wonderful for all areas of the skin, and soft enough to be used on the face. It combines the qualities of citrus with raw honey, another natural essential for skin health, and exfoliating sugar to bring a glow to your skin.
While pumpkin may seem strange for skincare, it is actually a wonderful addition to any routine. And garden. Similar to carrots, pumpkin contains vitamins A, C, E, and enzymes that help to exfoliate the skin. Pumpkins can be pretty easy to grow and are extremely useful for all sorts of activities, for carving, food, and topical use. The following recipe for a pumpkin face wash has been mentioned before in this post:
● 1 cup blenderized oatmeal
● 1 cup raw honey
● ¾ cup coconut oil
● 1 can pumpkin
● ½ cup baking soda
Utilizing fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers for your skin and general health is the first step to a flourishing life. Combining fresh food and flowers with ingredients like local raw honey is a sure way to have glowing healthy skin. A garden of your own is the best way to do this, but again a farmer’s market or other fresh and local options are also great. As long as you and your skin are receiving the nutrients and attention needed.
Learning how to grow Calendula is a great first step on your way to gardening for skin health and its super easy to get started. Read more about Calendula and why you should start growing it today! If gardening is already your thing and you'd love some new ideas on how to support pollinators as you garden for your own health, read more here to BEE inspired!