Why Do Spas Put Cucumbers on the Face?
Before I got into the spa business I never really understood why spas would put cucumbers on a client’s face during a facial treatment and skin enhancement session. I would think, "what a funny thing to put on the face", plus it feels a little slippery and cold. However now that I’m all grown up, I fully understand the benefits of cucumber as part of a routine facial treatment.
Cucumbers are full of antioxidants and contain powerful minerals such as silica (good for collagen), potassium, magnesium and are of the best relievers of eye puffiness and mild skin irritation. They relieve water retention but also properly hydrate through two of the main acids in the vegetable. Those two acids are ascorbic acid and caffeic acid. If the word caffeic sounds familiar than your right, it is from coffee and coffee is the main source of caffeic acid, however it is not caffeine itself. Caffeic acid is also in apples, pears, radishes, olive oil grapes and other fruits and veggies. The truth is pretty much all fruits and veggies have Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as a benefit but many do not have caffeic acid.
Caffeic acid has huge benefits on the body besides the ones mentioned for your face. In test tube studies it has been shown to decrease the growth of cancer cells and viruses. Animal studies also show reduced fatigue after exercise, weight loss and various other unusual benefits. (See WebMD for more information). The great thing about cucumbers is that they are easy to get ahold of but for those who desire to buy professional products off the shelf without the desire to prep there are many shopping options.
The following is a small list of facial moisturizers that have real cucumber added: Yes to Cucumbers, Coola Face Moisturizer, Estee Lauder DayWear, Peter Thomas Roth and many more. You can also DIY and make your own home facial cream from cucumbers and create everything from toners to a variety of masks. Below are a few home recipes you might want to try if you’re looking to save a few dollars:
Facial Toner- For a mild soft toner try this. Cut half a cucumber and puree with 2 Tbsp. distilled water and 3 Tbsp. witch hazel. Pour into a bottle and use generously by soaking in a cotton ball and applying. It will stay fresh for weeks in a fridge. The best thing of all is that’s cheap.
Yogurt Cucumber Mask- If you have mixed dry and oily skin try this. Take half a cucumber and 1 Tbsp. of plain yogurt, blend it together and apply to face for 20 minutes.
Oat Cucumber Mask- For a truly cheap moisturizing mask this this. Put 1 tsp of oats with finely blended cucumber, let it sit out for 30 minutes in order to thicken and then apply to face for 20 minutes and then rinse it off. Adding a small amount of honey can add additional moisture.
Just pain cucumber application- To get the full benefits of laying simple cucumbers by themselves on your face and eyes, cut them very thin, paper thin (or even shred) and then apply over face and/or eyes. The huge cucumber slices you see on your people’s eyes in movies and commercials are not highly effective since they tend to sit high from the eye area. For even better benefits using this method soak them in a very small amount of water with a drop or two of lemon (for more vitamin C) and keep refrigerated before use.
Also don’t forget to eat cucumbers plain or on salads (only not the ones you used for face masks, lol)