It might be the millennials’ favourite food served up with eggs but, this summer, avocado is popping up on beauty shelves as often as it does on brunch menus. Turns out, the ingredients that make avocado such a superfood also work wonders for your looks and skin health when infused into the latest beauty products. It’s even been identified as one of the top three 2018 beauty trends by IRi data services. ‘Avocado supplies antioxidant vitamins C, E and antioxidant carotenoids as well as moisturising monounsaturated fats which promote plump, youthful skin,’ reveals Dr Sarah Brewer, author of new book Eat Well Look Great (Eddison Books, £13.99).
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The oil found in avocados contains hormone-like plant chemicals called phytosterols, which have a regenerative effect on the skin and can even improve inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. ‘When consumed, the avocado’s healthy fats are converted into anti-inflammatory substances that help to damp down redness and inflammation,’ says Brewer. Equally, cosmetic science is proving that the superfood can benefit your skin when applied topically, offering both anti-ageing and healing benefits. ‘In studies, applying a cream containing avocado oil and vitamin B12 helped improve psoriasis,’ says Brewer.
Want to look and feel younger? Several studies suggest the antioxidant pigments found in avocados – especially lutein and zeaxanthin – help to protect your DNA against premature ageing. ‘Studies have shown that airline pilots and frequent air travellers with high intakes of these nutrients showed significantly less DNA damage than those with low intakes, suggesting that these substances have an anti-ageing effect,’ confirms Brewer. ‘Your skin shows the first visible signs of ageing, and avocado pigments appear to protect against UV damage.’ In addition, researchers have found that avocado extracts help to protect skin by enhancing wound healing.
When it comes to skincare, avocado is more hydrating than coconut oil, say beauty experts. It also penetrates your skin more deeply, helping increase skin elasticity and smoothing your complexion while helping reduce puffiness. Avocado oil is suitable for all skin types and a brilliant multi-tasker. Scan the beauty shelves and you’ll find it starring in everything from night creams and facial oils to hair conditioners and body scrubs. At its most simple, invest in a pure avocado oil which doubles up as a moisturiser and cleanser. ‘Try using avocado oil on a cotton wool pad to remove make-up, then massage in the residue as a moisturising night serum,’ says Brewer. A little goes a long way, too, as it takes 10-15 minutes for full absorption. Don’t want to splash the cash? Just grab an avo from the kitchen and try some DIY treatments. ‘Use chilled avocado peel (save it when you’re using avocado in the kitchen) to gently rub over your face to absorb the healthy oils,’ says Brewer. ‘You can also place a thin avocado slice under each eye to reduce puffiness. Scooped out more avocado than you need for your toast? ‘Make a simple mask for dry skin by mashing the pulp and applying to your face,’ says Dr Brewer. ‘Lie back and relax for 15 minutes, then rinse. Use any leftovers to massage into your hands and feet – especially cracked heels.’ Avocado also makes the perfect hair conditioner, thanks to its rich supply of biotin, which helps strengthen hair and promote growth. Mix it with olive oil and apply to the lengths and ends of your mane. Tuck it under a hair cap for 20 minutes, rinse, then enjoy the shine.
Boost your skin and body with these avocado-infused treats Green People Quinoa & Avocado hair serum (£9.95 for 100ml; greenpeople.co.uk). Avocado oil conditions and reverses damage while quinoa protein adds shine and bounce. Veridian 100% Organic Ultimate Beauty Oil (£10.25 for 200ml; viridian-nurition.com). Take this blend of avocado and other superfood oils daily for healthy skin, hair and nails. Neal’s Yard Vitamin E & Avocado Night Cream (£22 for 50g; nealsyardremedies.com). Avocado, almond and wheatgerm oils, plus herbal extracts, work overnight to restore your complexion. Antipodes Divine Face Oil (£22 for 30ml; antipodesnature.com). The collagen-boosting benefits of avocado combine with healing rosehip oil to reduce the appearance of lines, age spots and scars.