We’re all familiar with images of cucumber slices on eyes to de-puff them, but they may do even more for your skin than your taste buds.
The cucumber is a member of the squash family, and originated in India over 1,000 years ago. It later became popular in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt; the fruit was hailed for its beneficial effects on skin. It’s even been reported that Louis XIV cherished them so much he grew them in his own greenhouse so he’d never be without any. Later, they were transported to America by the colonists.
Today, people use cucumber, particularly cucumber fruit extract, for everything from treating acne and psoriasis to minimizing stretch marks and scars.
Vitamin C prevents photodamage (hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and sagging) which is caused by sun UV damage; in fact, according to the National Institutes For Health (NIH), photodamage, rather than the normal aging process, may account for 80% of age-associated cosmetic skin problems.
Cucumbers contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, that some say is the common thread of those foods classified as “superfoods.” Quercetin fights the free radical damage that leads to aging and boosts immunity and heart health. Quercetin also acts as an anti-inflammatory to eliminate redness and irritation and it also fights acne and helps heal scars.
Cucumbers are rich in vitamin A, another powerful antioxidant and anti-aging warrior. Vitamin A produces collagen, diminishes wrinkles and lines, fights acne, and improves overall skin health. Vitamin A is necessary for wound healing and research shows that it may reduce the risk of skin cancer.
There’s also abundant vitamin B-1, also called thiamine, in cucumber. Vitamin B-1 is a powerful antioxidant that works synergistically with the other B vitamins. It performs an important role in the regeneration of collagen, keeping skin supple and strong.
Cucumber is about 96% water. That amazing water content combined with its antioxidants, helps to keep skin strong and supple.
Skin contains a protein called elastin. The elastin is what makes skin bounce back but, over time, it degrades, and our bodies stop producing as much hyaluronic acid which is what keeps skin moist and plump.
Not only does cucumber have an ultra-high water content that allows it to hydrate, but also contains a pancreatic enzyme called elastase, which keeps the elastin healthy and tightens skin and promotes cell renewal and collagen buildup.
When skin is properly hydrated, it looks healthier overall but most importantly, the appearance of wrinkles and lines will be reduced, because dry skin tends to magnify them.
Dark spots and an uneven complexion tone are one of the major signs of aging, and vitamin C lightens skin with its antioxidant properties. It also protects against sun damage and neutralizes the free radicals that cause melanin production and improves skin texture and suppleness.
Cucumbers also contain substances that inhibit the formation of tyrosinase, an enzyme that produces melanin, resulting in a reduction of melanin synthesis. That’s why cucumber slices are so effective in eliminating dark undereye circles.
Red, irritated skin loves cucumber fruit extract because of all of the phytosterols, essential fatty acids, and components like water, potassium, magnesium, silica, and vitamins A and C help skin hydrate and reduce irritation. Whether that irritation was caused by chemicals, pollutants, fragrances, allergies, or sun damage.Magnesium is especially regarded in China for its beautifying properties. It is beneficial for keeping a healthy level of fatty acids in your body which are needed for skin elasticity and moisture. Without those fatty acids, you'll experience dryness and inflammation. This mineral protects cells, promotes the growth of healthy tissues, and is a natural pain reliever.
There’s also a link between magnesium deficiency and eczema and other skin allergies. When magnesium levels are low, immune systems become compromised, possibly leading to an increase in histamines, says the National Institutes For Health (NIH).
Cucumbers are rich in other minerals, including:
More than just a salad ingredient, cucumber is the anti-aging answer for skin. This nutrient-packed fruit cools, rejuvenates, and hydrates.