Berries are excellent in terms of their health benefits. They can reduce cholesterol, help prevent cancer and diabetes and are a great source of vitamin C. Berries are also famous for snacking as they contain minimal amounts of calories. What they are mostly famous for, however, is their antioxidant properties.

In recent years, there has been a great deal of attention towards free radicals and their effect on our health. We have heard repeatedly that exposure to everyday pollution, tobacco smoke and toxins increases our susceptibility to free radical attack. But what exactly are free radicals and what can their attack cause?

Free radicals (reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species as they are scientifically described) are generated by our body by various endogenous systems, exposure to different conditions or pathological states. If free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a  condition known as oxidative stress arises and a number of diseases are triggered.berries-for-beauty

Oxidative stress accelerates the aging process, directly causing wrinkles and age spots, severely overloads the immune system, causes heart disease, atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and many more.

For our body to function properly and protect itself from such an attack a balance between free radicals and the famous antioxidants is necessary. An external source of antioxidants, in other words eating berries, has been proven to help tremendously.

While berries are our body’s cell protection they are beneficial to the skin too and more and more beauty companies are using them to make our skin glow. Still, it is not necessary to go to a department store for berry beauty. Berries are perfect for homemade masks that are cost-friendly, utterly relaxing and beautifying. Just remember to only use organic ingredients.

A. Strawberries – the perfect exfoliator

Strawberries are bursting with the natural goodness of antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and are rich in vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, folates and vitamin A. They are completely cholesterol free and their regular consumption reduces the free radicals in the body.

Besides enjoying the benefits of strawberries by eating them, you can use them as a face mask too which gently refreshes and exfoliates the skin. All you need is a strawberry and honey mask.for-all-skin-types

Strawberry exfoliating mask

  • 2-3 big strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Mashing the strawberries in a small bowl  and slowly mix together  the honey until they form a smooth texture that is mask-like. Apply the homemade mask onto your face and massage gently for approximately two minutes in circular motion before leaving it on for another 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, rinse the mask off with lukewarm water and apply your moisturizer as normally.

B. Blueberries – the soothing miracle

Blueberries have all the goodness of antioxidants, flavonoids and phytochemicals that can reduce inflammation and retard diseases such as cancer or heart ailments.

Woman with blueberries Blueberries have also been found to decelerate Alzheimers disease, prevent brain damage, experimental stroke and aging as well as lower cholesterol and reducing blood sugar in type-2 diabetes.

Besides the significant health benefits, blueberries are yummy for the skin too as they are known to normalize the skin’s oil secretion and help with acne, blemishes, pimples and uneven skin tone problems. Couple it with aloe vera known for its soothing and moisturizing benefits and the results will amaze you.

Blueberry- aloe vera rejuvenating mask

Mix equal amounts of cold blueberries and aloe vera gel until they are fully integrated. Apply the mask mixture onto the skin for about 20 minutes and finally rinse it off with cold water.

C. Raspberries – the anti-ageing ally

Rich in Vitamin Cs and full of antioxidants, raspberries are packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals also and are a delicious way to lose weight because of its high fiber content which makes you feel fuller. Raspberries however are not only beneficial for your health but your skin too.fruit-facial-mask

The pulp of raspberries mixed with yoghurt is a powerful face pack to fight wrinkles and leave you with a glowing skin!

Raspberries-yogurt anti-ageing mask

  • 8-10 raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

Mash the raspberries in a bowl until they form a pulp and mix in the yogurt  everything is well blended. Clean your face and apply the mask gently on to the skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.

D. Cranberries –  no more dull skin

Cranberries are one of the world healthiest foods and practically loaded with antioxidants. They are a rich source of essential micronutrients such as manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin K. Cranberries are known to be anticarcinogenic and anti-clotting agents and are also used in preventing recurrent urinary tract infections.

Cranberries are used in multitudinous natural beauty products for the face and body care, soaps and shampoos, sprays and constitute an important ingredient in aromatherapy. A homemade facial mask of cranberries can instantly make your skin brighter, tighter and smoother. Use it twice a week and you will see amazing results.cranberry-mask

Cranberries anti-dullness face mask

  • a handful of fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Blend cranberries and yogurt in the blender to make a smooth paste. Add in the honey and the olive oil and mix well. Apply on clean face and neck for 15-20 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water and then cold. Moisturize as normally.

As with all homemade beauty products,  it is best to do a small patch test first before using it all over your face.

As some berries, for example strawberries, are known to cause severe allergies in some individuals, if you have a known berries allergy you should refrain from using any of the above.

If you suffer from a skin condition, like acne, eczema, you should consult your doctor before trying any of these as they can irritate the skin further.

 Have you ever used berries in your beauty regimen? We would love to hear your ideas.

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Lab scientist, sharp dresser and cooking guru Maria is one half of the original alwaysladies.com founding team. She brings her opinions with earnestness and a smile, even when there are razor blades inside.

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