For ages now, cucumber slices have been the go-to remedy for under-eye dark circles for women across the globe. Even spas swear by it and use it to soothe the eyes during facials. What is it about this humble salad ingredient that makes it a revered ingredient in the beauty industry?
Said to be a skin toner, whitener, refresher, and soother for irritated and sunburned skin, cucumber has manifold benefits. We find out if all these claims actually have scientific proof and how you can make the most of cucumber for your skin.
1. Keeps Acne Off Your Face
According to a study examining the benefits of cucumber on human skin, cucumber lowers sebum levels significantly. This oily substance that the sebaceous glands in your skin release collects, and with the dead skin cells, clogs up the skin follicles, eventually leading to eruptions in the form of acne.
In a study, the formulation with cucumber in it was observed to decrease skin moisture content and increase the loss of body water via the skin, a phenomenon known as trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), which strengthens the anti-acne effects.1
2. Keeps Lines And Wrinkles Away
Turns out, salad not only helps you maintain a toned body but also lets you hang on to youthful skin. Because of its high water and antioxidant content, cucumber helps hydrate skin and makes it supple.
According to a study, cucumber juice has strong anti-hyaluronidase activity. This means it keeps the enzyme hyaluronidase from degrading hyaluronic acid, a natural substance in the body which helps draw moisture to the skin.
Your skin also has a protein called elastin, which, as the name suggests, maintains the elasticity of the skin. Cucumber inhibits the breakdown of elastin caused by the enzyme elastase, thus tightening the skin and supporting cell renewal along with building collagen. This makes it a star ingredient in anti-aging formulations.2
3. Protects Against The Sun
Cucumber is a natural sunscreen and even marketed sun-protection creams and lotions with cucumber have been found to have positive results.3 The credit is due to the flavonoids, tannins, and vitamin C in cucumber that give it an antioxidant property that helps it combat the cell-damaging free radicals generated by UV rays. Cucumber also has pain-relieving effects. And both these properties explain cucumber’s presence in sunscreens and sun-protection lotions and as a sunburn reliever.4
4. Removes Sun Tan And Whitens Skin
A natural skin whitener and bleach, cucumber can bring down the melanin content of the skin, making it good for sun tan removal. When your skin tans, it leads to an increase in the melanin content of the skin, making it look darker.
According to some studies, the biochemicals present in cucumber extract inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for the production of melanin, and that’s how cucumber inhibits melanin synthesis.
The skin-whitening effect of cucumber is also due to the antioxidant activity of cucumber extract. Cucumber extract is rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C, which, being an antioxidant, neutralizes the harmful free radicals produced by UV rays during sun exposure, thereby reducing melanin production. Those with under-eye dark circles can also greatly benefit from cucumbers.5
5. Soothes The Skin And Heals Scars
If you have sensitive skin, cucumber can be your best friend. Not only does eating it cools the body when the mercury rises but applying it topically also soothes the skin. According to research data, cucumber soothes skin irritations and reduces inflammation.
A study also reveals cucumber to be a potent pain reliever and soother for sunburned skin. Being a natural hemostatic agent or that which accelerates blood clotting, it helps heal skin scars.6
6. Heals Swollen Eyes, Burns, and Dermatitis
The ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid in cucumber are capable of preventing water retention, making it a great choice for swollen eyes. Now you know why its slices are used on puffy eyes. Cucumber extract applied topically is helpful for burns and dermatitis, or skin inflammation.7
7. Tones The Skin And Tightens It
Cucumber’s refreshing and skin-tightening effects make it an excellent natural skin toner. You can use the juice of a cucumber or dilute it with water to use as a toner to remove oil or traces of makeup. At the same time, its high water content will keep your skin moist and supple.8
With umpteen benefits, cucumber is by far your skin’s best friend. It helps to know that cucumber doesn’t discriminate between skin types and does its job on every type with sincerity. Do you need more reasons to pick this vegetable to get youthful skin?
|↑1, ↑5||Akhtar, Naveed, ArshadMehmood, Barkat Ali Khan, Tariq Mahmood, Haji Muhammad, Shoaib Khan, and Tariq Saeed. “Exploring cucumber extract for skin rejuvenation.” African Journal of Biotechnology 10, no. 7 (2011): 1206-1216.|
|↑2||Nema, Neelesh K., NiladriMaity, B. Sarkar, and Pulok K. Mukherjee.”Cucumissativus fruit-potential antioxidant, anti-hyaluronidase, and anti-elastase agent.” Archives of dermatological research 303, no. 4 (2011): 247-252.|
|↑3, ↑7, ↑8||Kantivan, P., M. Samant, and R. Srivastava. “Natural sunscreen agents: a review.” SchAcad J Pharm 2 (2013): 458-63.|
|↑4||Kumar, D., S. Kumar, J. Singh, B. D. Vashistha, and N. Singh. “Free radical scavenging and analgesic activities of Cucumis sativus L. fruit extract.”Journal of Young Pharmacists 2, no. 4 (2010): 365-368.|
|↑6||Mukherjee, Pulok K., Neelesh K. Nema, NiladriMaity, and Birendra K. Sarkar.”Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber.” Fitoterapia84 (2013): 227-236.|