Fall is here, complete with molten gold and ruby leaves, chilly breezes, snuggly sweaters, soft blankets, fireplaces spiced with tobacco woods… and bushels of fragrant apples.
Lots and lots of apples. Especially if you are dwelling in the German countryside (as I am for the moment!), where apples hold center-stage in much the same way that grapes do in the Champagne, France.
Bushelfuls have been walking past my cottage door all week against a backdrop of misty afternoons, timber huts, smoky woods and some robust yodelling. Most will be turned into Germany’s cult culinary staples – apple cider, apple wine and apfelstrudel. Some will be kept back to make love charms and wishing wands.
And a whole will be stored away in the larder for making beauty potions.
Obviously, it’s this last one that fascinates me the most. And I am far from alone in the quest – leading beauty brands have been distilling the humble apple (did you know it’s the most widely grown fruit in the world?) into their skincare collections.
Whether it’s Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel (my personal favorite), Lancôme’s Absolue Precious Cells Day Cream, Indie Lee’s Swiss Apple Serum or 100% Pure Apple Butter Soap, the original forbidden fruit is powering some of the most cutting edge beauty research of all times.
Though it’s not really surprising, since apples have been a part of beauty and healing rituals across the world ever since the time of Adam & Eve. Today, science is simply reinforcing what indigenous medicine has always known – that apples aren’t just delicious, they have potent beauty benefits as well.
How an apple a day keeps the skin problems away… !
Apples contain potent antioxidants: And hence prevent cell and tissue damage (goodbye wrinkles, sagging and premature aging!), while protecting the complexion against environmental exposure. Just make certain you don’t peel off the skin – that’s where most antioxidants reside.
Apples have skin boosting fibres: These delicious fruits (which, incidentally, are members of the rose family) have high doses of collagen and elastin to keep our skin soft, smooth and plumped up.
Apples are astringent and toning: Apple juice balances the skin’s pH levels, gets rid of surface bacteria and regulates sebum (natural oil) production. The result? Healthy, glowing skin sans signs of stress, fatigue, acne or greasiness.
Apples offer UV protection: While they won’t be replacing SPF anytime soon, apples provide extra protection against the sun. They can even treat sunburns most effectively.
Apples restore hair health: A compound called procyanidin B2, which is commonly found in apples, keeps locks long and glossy.
Apples are chockfull of vitamins: Green apples, in particular, are dense with vitamins A, B and C, which have a terrific whitening and nourishing effect on the complexion.
Apples fight infections: In addition, apples contain immunity-boosting pectin, which helps fight all kind of skin infections, including chronic acne.
Convinced? Now try these simple beauty recipes to harness the potent beauty benefits of an apple
Tone it up: Purify oily, blemish-prone skin and perk up stressed-out complexions
Core and de-seed a green apple but leave the peel on. Cut it into small cubes and combine with half a cup of lukewarm water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely then strain through a fine sieve to remove the pulp. Stir in 1/4 cup of witch hazel and apply the mixture to your face with a cotton ball, like a toner.
Light & bright: Deliver a powerful dose of skin lightening tannins, enzymes and vitamin C to even out the skin tone
Puree an apple in a food processor. Add the rind of half a lemon and 2 tablespoons powdered milk; blend until smooth. Apply this all over the face; leave for 15 minutes, then rinse off.
Scrub & go: Gentle exfoliation
Combine equal amounts of pureed apple (or unsweetened applesauce) and wheatgerm to make a paste. Apply on clean face; once its dry (around 10 minutes), rinse with warm water.
Skin soother: Soothe and nourish the skin
Combine half an apple (cored, and grated), 2 tablespoons rolled oats, 2 teaspoons cream and 2 teaspoons honey; mix thoroughly. Apply the mixture to clean face; allow to remain on skin for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water using gentle circular motions.
Skip the spots: Helps heal chronic acne
Mix equal parts grated raw apple and honey. Apply mixture to a clean face and let it remain on skin for 10 minutes. Finally, rinse off with cool water.
The wrinkle buster: Reduce wrinkles and inflammation
Grate an unripe apple and apply the pulp to freshly washed skin. Let it remain for 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.