Natural Approaches to Summer Beauty

With the temperatures climbing, BBQs, pool parties and vacation days will start to fill your calendar.

But baring your limbs to the harsh light of day can be daunting after a winter swaddled in sweaters. Find confidence to shed the fleece with these tips for natural beauty from the editors at VitalJuiceDaily.com:

Skin

Eliminate winter flakes: Apply a mashed papaya to your face and neck for 15 minutes to soften and exfoliate.

Sweet sloughing: Sugar is a natural exfoliator that hydrates and nourishes while sloughing off dull skin (though the healthy raw kind can be too harsh, so be sure to use refined). Create a scrub with sugar, honey and lemon for a sweet complexion.

Citrus splash: Add ¼ cup finely grated lemon peel (an astringent and clarifier) and ¼ cup finely grated grapefruit peel (unclogs pores) to a cup of hot water. Add a cup of fresh mint leaves. Boil for 2 minutes until peels are soft and slightly translucent. Let cool, then strain liquid and pour into a bottle for a refreshing splash. Refrigerate. (Keeps up to 3 weeks.)

Tomato dose: Smash a cherry tomato (balances pH levels and tightens pores) and add an equal amount of plain yogurt. Leave on for 10 minutes.

Cucumber fix: Coarsely chop half a peeled cucumber (cools inflammation and tightens pores) and blend until smooth. Apply liberally and leave on for 15 minutes.

Sushi solution: Eel, seaweed and rice are packed with vitamin B (good for oily skin), so chow down on some unagi. Not a sushi fan? Cheese and egg yolk are also vitamin B sources, so try a breakfast scramble.

Inside out: Noshing on raspberries, blueberries and strawberries (rich in antioxidants and vitamin C) help keep summer skin fresh.

Body

Unsightly legs: To treat nicks that are usually covered, apply grape seed extract to the scrape — it promotes healing and helps reduce scarring. If varicose veins are your problem, sleep with two pillows under your feet. If all else fails, makeup works as well on your shin as it does on your chin. Try Dermablend, specifically formulated to cover bruises, unsightly veins and even tattoos.

Scaly arms: Master flaky triceps with a nourishing treatment of half a mashed avocado mixed with a few drops of lemon juice and spread over clean arms. Or eat your dry skin away: chomping on cantaloupe, carrots and apricots smoothes skin, thanks to copious amounts of vitamins A and C.

Blemished back: Soak for 20 minutes in a warm bath with a cup of Epsom or sea salt to loosen dead skin cells and help heal spots. Spread on a bit of fresh lemon juice to smooth and soften.

Hair

Protect: Keeping your hair under wraps (a hat or light scarf) is best, but if that puts a crimp in your waterskiing, rinse your hair with fresh water to keep chlorine and salt water from permeating the hair membrane. Comb olive or jojoba oil through your hair with a wide-tooth comb to protect the hair cuticle (also doubles as a hot oil treatment).

Condition: Mash a ripe banana and whisk with a tablespoon of heavy cream and a tablespoon of honey until smooth (the amino acids and natural oils soften hair while helping to prevent split ends). Or smash eight fresh strawberries with a tablespoon of mayonnaise — the egg and oils in mayonnaise remove buildup, leaving hair soft and silky. Massage into damp hair and let sit before shampooing. (Be sure to use real mayo and shampoo thoroughly.)

Feed: Salmon (loaded with omega-3 fatty acids) supports scalp health. Spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard (with vitamins A and C) all keep hair conditioned. Skim milk and yogurt (calcium galore) add shine.

Nails

First rule of (ahem) thumb: Cuticles protect against fungus and bacteria. Instead of pushing them back and exposing yourself to possible infection, rub a little olive oil into nail beds to moisturize the cuticles and the nail.

Soak: Hands soften in buttermilk or organic apple cider. Feet like Epsom salt and warm water. Try adding orange peel or rosemary sprigs and a few marbles to your foot soak. Rub your toes and soles over the rounded surfaces to work out kinks.

Scrub: Smooth hands with a mixture of 2 eggs whipped with 1 tablespoon honey and a ¼ cup of almond meal. Invigorate feet by mixing 3 tablespoons finely ground coffee, 1 teaspoon cornmeal and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of flour and a few drops of essential oil. Watch the mixture eat up dead skin!

VitalJuiceDaily.com is an expert-reviewed wellness site and daily e-mail covering issues relating to nutrition, fitness and other areas of health.

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