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They’re delicious as a healthy snack or in a salad, but you don’t have to eat cucumbers to reap their benefits. This nourishing veggie is also a great way to treat your skin.

Cucumbers have anti-inflammatory properties, plus they’re loaded with antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C and folic acid, making them an excellent ingredient for a DIY face mask.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at how cucumbers can benefit your skin and, if you want to know how to make a homemade cucumber face mask, we have some recipes to share with you, too.

It’s easy to spend big bucks on products that promise to improve the texture, tone, and overall appearance of your skin. While some of them may deliver, you don’t necessarily have to part with a lot of cash to get a healthy, glowing complexion.

Of course, good genes help. But, sometimes it’s also a matter of using simple, nourishing ingredients that have the ability to boost the health of your skin in a variety of ways.

Packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, cucumbers are one of those natural ingredients that may help benefit your skin on several fronts. Here’s a look at some of those benefits.

1. Reduces swelling and puffiness

Studies have shown that cucumbers have the ability to reduce swelling and puffiness of the skin. This may be especially helpful if you’ve been running low on sleep and find you have dark, puffy circles under your eyes.

Chilled cucumber slices or cucumber juice can help lessen puffiness while at the same time “waking up” tired-looking skin.

2. Aids acne-prone skin

Oily skin and dead skin cells can clog pores and trigger acne breakouts. Cucumbers — which are mildly astringent — may help to cleanse the skin and tighten pores. This may help reduce breakouts.

3. Helps combat premature aging

According to a 2011 study, the antioxidant components in cucumbers may make it a potentially helpful anti-wrinkle ingredient.

Additionally, cucumbers contain both vitamin C and folic acid. Vitamin C has the ability to stimulate new cell growth, while folic acid aids in fighting off environmental toxins that can make your skin look tired or prematurely aged. Combined, these components may help your skin look firmer and healthier.

4. Soothes irritation

The cooling and anti-inflammatory effect of cucumbers may help ease pain, redness, and irritation caused by sunburns, insect bites, and rashes.

5. Provides a base for hydration

Cucumbers are 96 percent water. While water alone isn’t enough to moisturize your skin, the juice from a cucumber can easily be mixed with other moisturizing ingredients like honey or aloe vera to hydrate and soothe your skin.

Making your own cucumber face mask doesn’t take much time, and it’s pretty easy. To get started, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 cucumber
  • mixing bowl
  • mixing spoon
  • measuring spoons
  • blender or food processor
  • strainer

Keep in mind that specific recipes may call for other ingredients too, such as aloe vera, oatmeal, or honey.

Here are 3 options for DIY cucumber face masks, starting with the most basic recipe:

1. Basic cucumber face mask

This recipe may be a good option if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to refresh or rejuvenate your skin.

  1. Blend or puree half an unpeeled cucumber in a blender or food processor until it’s the consistency of a watery paste.
  2. Separate the juice from any solid bits by pouring the mixture through a strainer.
  3. Apply the cucumber juice to your freshly washed face. Let the mask sit on your skin for 15 minutes.
  4. Wash the mask off with cool or lukewarm water and pat your face dry with a soft cloth.

2. Cucumber and aloe vera face mask

This mask may be especially beneficial if you have dry skin, due to the aloe vera that can boost hydration.

  1. Blend or puree half an unpeeled cucumber in a blender or food processor until it’s the consistency of a watery paste.
  2. Separate the juice from any solid bits by pouring the mixture through a strainer.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel to the mixture. Blend until smooth.
  4. Apply the mask to your face and massage gently. Let the mask sit on your skin for 15 minutes.
  5. Rinse the mask off using cool water. Pat your face dry with a soft cloth.

3. Cucumber, oatmeal, and honey face mask

This recipe may be a good option for acne-prone skin. Together with cucumber’s astringent properties, oatmeal can help exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, while honey can work to balance the bacteria on your skin.

  1. Blend or puree half an unpeeled cucumber in a blender or food processor until it’s the consistency of a watery paste.
  2. Separate the juice from any solid bits by pouring the mixture through a strainer.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of oatmeal to the mixture. Stir the oatmeal and cucumber juice until smooth.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of honey to the mixture and stir until well blended.
  5. Apply the mixture over your face and neck, and massage gently with your fingertips. Let the mask sit on your skin for 15 minutes.
  6. Rinse the mask off with lukewarm water. Pat your face dry with a soft cloth.

For best results, always thoroughly cleanse your skin before applying a mask and be sure that you’ve removed all makeup.

When applying a cucumber face mask, gently massage the mask into your skin in small circular motions. This helps the ingredients to penetrate your pores. It also stimulates blood flow on the surface of your skin.

Allow the mask to sit on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm or cold water. Don’t use hot water. This can irritate and dry out your skin.

Don’t use a face mask more than two or three times a week. Overuse can irritate your skin or disrupt the natural balance of oils.

If you don’t have time to make your own mask, you can purchase a cucumber mask at your local drugstore, beauty store, or online.

Before purchasing, always check the label to ensure you’re not allergic or sensitive to an ingredient in the mask. Also, look for a mask that addresses your specific skin care needs.

If you have dry skin, look for a product that’s formulated with ingredients that can add moisture, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or aloe vera. If you have acne-prone skin, choose a mask that’s oil-free, which will make it less likely to clog your pores.

Some masks that may work well, depending on your skin type, include:

  • RAYA Cucumber Ice Sorbet Masque. Made with cucumber, chamomile, and aloe vera extracts, this cooling gel mask works well to reduce redness and inflammation, and to soothe the skin. Find it online.
  • Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask. Well suited for dry skin, this mask works to soothe, hydrate, and detoxify with extracts of cucumber, papaya, chamomile, pineapple, sugar maple, and aloe vera. Shop for it online.
  • Freeman Cucumber Facial Peel-Off Mask. Best suited for normal and combination skin, this peel-away mask helps to remove impurities while moisturizing the skin. Find it online.

Cucumbers can help you feel good both on the inside and outside. They’re not only a great, low-calorie snack. Cucumbers can also soothe your skin, reduce puffiness and redness, and help combat signs of aging.

Boasting anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C and folic acid, cucumbers make a nourishing ingredient for a face mask, and a good base for adding other ingredients that can benefit your skin, like honey, aloe vera, or oatmeal.

You can make your own cucumber face mask by following a simple DIY recipe, or you can buy a face mask online or at a drugstore.

If you’re not sure if a cucumber face mask is right for your skin, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider or dermatologist.