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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

There are plenty of natural ingredients that you can use for your skin, especially when the weather changes and your skin gets dry.  Many of these products help to moisturize chronically dry skin and help with acne, as well as evening out skin tone over time.  Let’s look at what natural products (many of which are found in your kitchen) can do for your skin and how they’re scientifically proven to have actual, tangible benefits.  Most of them are even used in your regular go-to products, just in a far more refined form.

1.  Shea Butter

Shea butter is one of the most commonly used products in skin care products like lotion, but when it is refined as much as it is in things like lotion, it actually loses all of its benefits.  The shea butter in lotion is practically useless. In its raw form, it comes with a distinct ashy, nutty scent that the refining process gets rid of, along with why it’s so good for your skin.

But let’s get into why it’s really good in its raw form (which you can buy off of Amazon).

People in Western Africa have used Shea butter for many, many years in order to stop their skin from drying out as well as to soothe burns, scrapes, and dermatitis. It is a naturally harvested product taken from the nuts of the shea tree. 

What makes it so good?  It’s highly concentrated in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and D (both of which are good to heal scars and regular skin issues), and alantoin.  It moisturizes the skin and leaves it soft because of its texture, which makes it useful for treating callouses, managing issues like eczema (like it does for me), healing chapped skin on the heels and lips, and it is proven to be a natural anti-inflammatory that helps heal rashes, scrapes, burns and sunburn.

All in all, it is definitely worth trying.  It’s much better than plenty of lotions out there just because of how versatile it is. If the scent isn’t all that appealing, you can try mango butter, which also works well and doesn’t have the scent.

2.  Olive Oil

This one you can definitely find in your kitchen cupboard.  Olive oil, a cooking staple, is actually really good for your skin. It is high in vitamin E and antioxidants.  The antioxidants have anti-aging properties, and the vitamin E resolves regular skin problems like scars and scrapes and softens skin.  It also helps protect the skin from U.V rays, acting as a natural sunscreen.

Due to all of this, it’s a staple in plenty of beauty products. It was also commonly used by ancient Romans for their skin, and by the French in the 6th century in their olive oil in soaps and other beauty products.

3.  Honey

Yeah, honey is actually good for your skin.  Who would have thought?  It’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, as well as a moisturizer.  That said, it’s incredibly viscous and not often used as a moisturizer, and it really shouldn’t be.  But it’s incredibly helpful for all sorts of blemishes in small quantities – like acne for example, or to help heal wounds and scars.

Mixing honey with Vaseline and sugar and using it on your lips can also help when they’re chapped, and to rid them of dead skin cells. It’s useful to create a good exfoliant. It’s pretty handy.

4.  Aloe Vera

Everyone knows about Aloe Vera.  It’s probably one of the most useful medicinal plants. 

Aloe Vera is very high in a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, all of which are good to heal things like sunburn and rashes and calm itching. It heals specifically at the epithelial level of the skin on which sunburn occurs. It’s also incredibly good at moisturizing the skin and keeping it from drying out.

Furthermore, it’s another good thing to use for acne because the gel contains two hormones: auxin and gibberellins.  These two hormones provide accelerated wound-healing and have anti-inflammatory properties. Giberellin also accelerates the growth of new cells.  When skin heals from acne, they are far less likely to leave scars.  Naturally, these same properties make Aloe Vera good for scars and stretch marks as well.

All you have to do is get an Aloe Vera plant, cut off a leaf and use the inside.  These plants are incredibly low maintenance and fast-growing; you barely have to do anything for them to flourish.

5. Green Tea

The same green tea you would drink is also very high in antioxidants and is good at calming down irritated skin.  It can also fix skin redness, even out skin tone, as well as smooth skin and shrink pores.  A green tea facial wash is a good thing.

Green tea also contains tannic acid, theobromine, and polyphenols which can all help limit the harm from U.V rays, act as a natural sunscreen, as well as heal sunburns and rashes.

Photo References

1.  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/25/70/5f/25705f11f116997f8c4f2c94c54a975c–pimples-remedies-skin-care-remedies.jpg

2.  http://traceyevelynbeautifulyou.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Tracey-Evelyn-14-Benefits-Of-Shea-Butter.jpg

3.  https://www.choice.com.au/~/media/3ea004a17f964b778d12c4f1819a4ed2.ashx?jq=80&w=994&h=559

4.  http://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/the-amazing-benefits-of-honey1.jpg

5.  http://cdn2.stylecraze.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/aloe-vera-gel-on-wooden-spoon-1.jpg

6.  http://www.cancerfightersthrive.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/green-tea-e1429210531847.jpg