Packed with phytonutrients, avocados have become a darling of the diet world in recent years. Because they're rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, the fruit has been shown to assist with everything from lowering cholesterol to reducing blood pressure.
And they're great when it comes to your waistline: Avocadoes are a great source of both insoluble and soluble fiber. The former keeps you regular, while the latter helps control appetite by making you feel fuller longer.
But when it comes to your skin, avocados contain a secret ingredient: Vitamin E. This nutrient is the key to improving your skin's health. Unfortunately, you shouldn't order a side of guacamole just yet. Eating them isn't necessarily the ticket to a clear, glowing complexion. "Avocadoes are more effective when applied directly to your skin," says Jessica Wu, M.D., a Los Angeles-based dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face. "That's because they contain fatty acids that help replenish the skin's natural protective barrier."
Worried about applying food to your face? Don't be. The great thing about avocadoes is that they're safe for all skin types—they won't irritate dry skin or aggravate a sensitive complexion.
In fact, since avocado is an emollient, when applied topically, it can hydrate and even prevent dry skin. To reap the benefits of this super fruit, try using it as a moisturizing mask once or twice a week. Simply mash half an avocado and apply it directly to your face. For more hydration, add a teaspoon of honey, which traps moisture in your skin. Mix well and smooth on bare, clean skin with your fingertips. Leave it on for five to 10 minutes (you might want to wear an old t-shirt and lie down while you're waiting because the mixture can melt down your face and get messy). Rinse it off with warm water and pat your face dry. You'll immediately notice that your skin is smoother and more radiant.
Avocado oil, a common cooking oil, may also protect skin from sun damage. Treating skin with this oil prior to sun exposure reduced sunburns and inflammation, according a recent study in the Archives of Dermatological Research [source: Archives of Dermatological Research]. Though it's not an excuse to skip the sunscreen, it might be another all-natural way to increase protection.
Now what are you waiting for? It's time to get glowing!
- Rosenblat, G et al. Archives of Dermatological Research. "Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols derived from avocado suppress inflammatory response and provide non-sunscreen protection against UV-induced damage in skin cells." (July 2, 2013). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20978772
- Wu, Jessica, M.D. Personal correspondence.