You know what you should eat for glowing skin and glossy hair, but do you know which foods can be applied direct to your skin for a youthful complexion? Here are seven beauty foods you can eat and put on your face...
See also: Eight steps to younger-looking skin
See also: Add sugar to your shampoo, advises dermatologist
1. Olive oil
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil is a 'good' fat that can help lower cholesterol. Olive oil has also been celebrated as a natural moisturiser for centuries. Ultra-hydrating, it is particularly helpful for those with dry skin and people with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.
Pour direct from the bottle and apply to skin after a bath or shower. It can also be used for dry hair. To lock in moisture, wrap hair in cling film and leave for several hours or overnight.
They are said to keep the doctor away, and it seems that apples can help to keep wrinkles at bay too. Apples are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant which is necessary for the production of collagen, the building block of healthy skin.
They also contain malic acid and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which is used widely in the cosmetic industry. Foods that contain AHAs are often used in chemical peels and beauty products for mature skins as they help turn over skin cells quicker, making the face appear brighter and more youthful.
For a fresh and fruity scrub, try mixing apple pulp with some rolled oats and a little milk. Apply to the face in circular motions for 30 seconds then rinse with water.
There are four main natural sources of AHAs - lactic acid (milk) citric acid (citrus fruits) mandelic acid (apples) and glycolic acid (sugarcane and some fruits, including pineapple).
Glycolic acid has the smallest molecular size and so penetrates the skin most easily. For this reason, it is most commonly found in chemical peels and exfoliants - designed to reduce acne scarring and hyperpigmentation - and products which claim to re-surface the skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
To make your own glycolic acid peel, puree pineapple flesh and stir in 2 tbsp of plain gelatine. Microwave until the gelatine dissolves (30 seconds or so) and allow to cool. Once set, apply to the skin, leave for 15 minutes and then peel off.
Natural yoghurt contains live cultures which help to prevent the growth of yeast infections and harmful bacteria and may be of particular benefit for those with acne.
Yoghurt contains lactic acid, an AHA which helps to soften skin and may help to prevent premature ageing. In the same way the ancient Egyptians bathed in milk, applying plain natural yoghurt to the face may help smooth and soften the skin.
Try applying a thick layer of plain whole yogurt to your face and allowing it to set for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
Oatmeal has been used as a natural healer for centuries, helping to soothe rashes and irritations caused by everything from poisonous plants and sunburn to psoriasis, eczema and acne.
Some people with eczema find that using colloidal oatmeal (a different type to breakfast cereals which shouldn't be eaten) helps. Try adding a handful to bath water to sooth and soften the skin.
You can also use normal porridge oats (the kind you eat) to create a gentle skin exfoliator. Mix with warm water and apply to your face, let it dry for 15 minutes, and then rinse off.
Nature's natural antiseptic, honey has been revered for its health benefits for centuries, most commonly used to help speed the healing of wounds and superficial burns.
Because of its moisturising qualities, honey is a common ingredient in the cosmetics industry and is found in many beauty products, from body lotions to lip balms.
To make a body lotion, combine one teaspoon of honey with one teaspoon of vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice. Rub on, leave for 10 minutes and rinse off with warm water for hydrated, moisturised skin.
Before applying anything new to the face, it's wise to do a test first. Apply the mixture to a two-centimetre area on the neck, leave for 5 to 10 minutes and see how it reacts. Repeat a few times before applying to the sensitive skin of the face.