You can't put a price on clear, healthy skin, which is why we're willing to shell out a fraction of our hard-earned paychecks for top-of-the-line skincare products. With that said, we can't resist a good DIY hack, especially considering the growing trend toward all-natural, plant-based beauty and skincare. Enter your new secret skincare weapon (that currently resides in your spice cabinet): paprika.
Derived from a combination of dried bell peppers and chili peppers, "paprika is full of antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, E and carotenoids like zeaxanthin, that are readily absorbed into skin tissue promoting natural skin radiance," explains Paula Simpson, holistic nutritionist and founder of science-based Zea Skin Solutions. More specifically, "zeaxanthin fends off free radicals caused by environmental stressors while vitamin C speeds up collagen production." She adds that paprika is also recommended by eye doctors, as the vitamin A helps protect the eyes from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays.
As far as aesthetics are concerned, Simpson adds that anti-inflammatory paprika can help fade dark spots, even out skin tone, and combat blemishes. The vitamins, iron, and beta-carotene in paprika help to even out your complexion by restricting the production of melanin, which makes your skin darker.
To introduce this ground spice into your diet, she recommends combining paprika with other spices to create a healthy meat rub, adding it to hummus or homemade bean dips and salads, or using it to season soups, stews, purées, rice, sauces, eggs, steamed vegetables, and even popcorn. In terms of skincare, you can prepare a skin-brightening facial mask by combining paprika and honey, applying the mixture in an even layer on your face and leaving it for 20 minutes.
Head over to Livestrong for more on the health benefits of paprika.