Slide Show: The Science Behind 10 Natural Skin Remedies: Why They Work--Or Don't

From hydrating to getting a good night's sleep, two dermatologists explain which home treatments actually work--and why
1 of 10

BEAUTY REST: Does a well-rested body equal a fresher face?

Clichés often turn out to be true, but surely the validity of beauty rest as a treatment was banished along with corsets and pin curls.

"Actually, it does make a difference," Madfes says.....[ More ]

SCRUB-A-DUB: Are homemade exfoliants the better bet?

Giving the old bod a good scrub down can get rid of dull, dead skin cells . But are all exfoliation treatments created equal? Madfes says there's no reason to spring for an expensive scrub, noting that any granular paste—including homemade varieties—can get rid of dead skin simply by virtue of its mechanical abrasiveness.....[ More ]

TEABAGS AND CUCUMBERS: Good for more than a tea party and finger sandwiches?

Cucumber slices are practically the universal sign for home skin care, but can this little trick from the past really perk up tired-looking eyes?

"Cucumbers have an anti-inflammatory capability," Baumann says, which can reduce puffiness.....[ More ]

BEAUTY AND THE FEAST: Will fruit facemasks keep the dermatologist away?

It might sound appealing to shun pricey facial treatments in favor of a homemade concoction of fresh fruit and other inexpensive edible ingredients. But will your skin react as positively to the masks as your taste buds?....[ More ]

SUPPLING SUPPLEMENTS: Do vitamins or herbal supplements make for more supple skin?

Skepticism about the efficacy of supplements has been mounting among scientists. But dermatologists say some of them may help stave off skin damage. For anti-aging purposes, Baumann recommends vitamins C and E, lycopene (found in tomatoes), and lutein (common in spinach and kale).....[ More ]

OIL IT UP: Is oil better slathered or swallowed?

For dry skin, some advocate putting oils on the body, whereas others believe it's best to up oil intake through supplements or diet. The answer: do both. Dry skin is a result of a poorly functioning barrier that allows too much moisture to escape from the body, Madfes says.....[ More ]

WATER IS THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Is super-hydration just hype?

Eight glasses of water a day has long been the gold standard for general health. But as metal water canteens have taken on the status of fashion accessory alongside canvas tote bags, are hyper-hydrators doing their skin a huge favor?....[ More ]

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: Can you eat your way to better skin?

Sugar isn't looking so sweet to many dermatologists these days. It's already gotten a bad rap for a host of other health issues, and now it's also a beauty no-no. In addition to upping the risk of acne , Baumann says, "sugar's been associated with increased aging." In a process called glycation, sugar molecules bind to proteins, such as collagen, causing them to become less effective and show signs of aging more quickly.....[ More ]

NO BUTTS ABOUT IT: What does smoking really do to your skin?

It's common knowledge that smoking isn't good for skin, but what exactly makes it so bad? Among the many downsides, Madfes says: "You have increased free radicals from nicotine; you have decreased oxygen in the skin; repetitive motion [of smoking causes] wrinkle lines in lips." Free radicals, highly reactive chemical particles that can cause cell damage, increase the body's production of metalloproteinase, enzymes that break down collagen.....[ More ]

ATHLETE'S FACE: Exercise might be good for the inside of the body, but does it help the outside, too

A brisk workout may leave exercisers feeling good (thanks to those happy-making neurochemicals, endorphins), but can a single exercise session leave you looking better, too? You bet, Madfes says. "When you exercise, you increase blood flow everywhere, which gives you a nice, refreshed look," she says.....[ More ]

risk free title graphic

YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no obligation to continue the subscription. If I like it, I will be billed for the one-year subscription.

cover image Subscribe Now
Share this Article:

Starting Thanksgiving

Enter code: HOLIDAY 2015
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >


Email this Article