tips for healthy skin, part 4: lemon water and other citrus

One of the best things you can do for your skin is to eat lots of citrus fruit!! And what better time than winter…..

[Citrus fruits, oddly enough, are a common allergen and sometimes can cause skin to break out, so just try to notice whether you see any changes for the worse.]

VERY IMPORTANT: Please do not drink orange juice from a carton!!! The sugar in a serving of that stuff is terrible and serves as a total shock to your liver.  It is very different than eating a whole piece of fruit.  Interesting article from the L.A. Times about how orange juice is not all that great.

The vitamin C in citrus promotes the formation collagen and elastin (the building blocks of the skin).  Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and helps to neutralize free radicals in the body.  And less free radicals = less wrinkles and healthier skin.  The thing to remember is that one orange does not clear skin make– it will take probably a couple of weeks for the increase of vitamin C to make it to the surface layer of your skin.  Be patient.

Citrus fruits are also rich in Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), which can help to brighten and exfoliate the skin, and can be used topically.  See this great article for some facials you can make at home, including a citrus one, here.  You can also just apply fresh squeezed citrus juice (dilute lemon juice a little with water first) to your skin with a cotton ball.  Rinse off after 10 minutes. It might sting a little, but that’s ok.  If your skin is more irritated afterwards, discontinue use.  (I eat grapefruit as slices rather than halves, and I just sop up the juice from the plate with a cotton ball after I eat it!)

Lemon water: drink a cup of warm lemon water first thing in the morning (use a quarter or a half of an organic lemon. You can also squeeze the lemon juice right into the green tea you should be drinking!). The acidity can weaken tooth enamel if taken too often or too long (you might try drinking through a straw to help with this). It is recommended that you drink lemon water every day for a week at first, and then every 2-3 days after that.

Once you drink it, the lemon juice actually serves to alkalinize the body, aids in the digestive process (helps your body to eliminate more toxins), and seems to help a lot of people suffering from acne.  If your digestive system is sluggish, your skin (as the body’s second major elimination organ, sounds weird and gross, right?) will have to pick up the slack.

This is what one place says about lemon water:  “Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can participate to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Lemon water… can fade scars.”

You can also try the amazing Emergen-C for a hefty dose of Vitamin C and B vitamins (which are also important for the skin).  It doesn’t have many calories (less than 10) I think, so you won’t be shocking your system with a ton of sugar.  It’s basically like a multi-vitamin that you drink (and please consult a physician first, etc, etc.) I haven’t been using this recently, and I have never been able to drink it as consistently as would be necessary to really help my skin, but I am going to try to get back on the bandwagon.  The tangerine flavor is amazing.

Also, my sister-in-law recommends Neutrogena’s Pink Grapefruit Scrub, which I haven’t tried, but it looks great.


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