There are few things in life that are more accessible and affordable than carrots. At almost any grocery store one can buy a 1 pound bag of carrots for a mere buck or two. And although it may not be the first item to come to mind when you think of spa or skin care ingredients in many South Asian Spas it is often included in their skin care and body spa treatments. And while raw carrots may be an easy and affordable skin care item, carrot seed oil is also a relatively inexpensive and is truly an underrated essential oil when it comes to it’s healing and beautifying of the skin. This article will give you some easy spa and aromatherapy recipes both with carrots and carrot seed oil that will moisturize and nurture your skin and make you look at this simple table vegetable with a new appreciation.
Carrots: A delicious taproot for dining as well as a moisturizing and nurturing skin care ingredient
Most of us are aware that carrots are good for us to eat. As the name subtly suggest carrots are high in carotene which can be broken down to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that protects both our skin and our eyes from smoke, chemicals and other toxins that attack the body as free radicals. Eating them as well as applying them to the skin helps to prevent aging of the skin and body.
Carrots also contain a large amount of water(88%) which may explain why they help to cleanse and detox our digestive systems and our skin. Eating them will help to cleanse the system and using them in skin care and spa treatments also helps to detox as well as moisturize the skin.
Although it is not too common to see carrots used in spa treatments in North America, they are often used as a final stage or step in skin care and body treatments in many spas in South Asian countries such as Bali. A perfect example of this is the Balinese Boreh Scrub. This is a traditional scrub used in South Asian spas designed to cleanse and warm the skin. For this scrub an assortment of ground spices and herbs are mixed together and then used to exfoliate the skin. Because this scrub can be a little drying and intense the Boreh scrub is followed up by rubbing grated or shredded carrots into the skin to re-balance and moisturize the skin after the warming exfoliation. This is also done with the Bali Kopi Scrub. This is essentially an exfoliating coffee scrub, often given to men, that is both cleansing and exfoliating but sometimes drying for the skin. For this reason the scrub is also followed up with a grated carrot scrub that is rubbed into the skin after the coffee is given to help replenish or to add moisture to the skin.
For those who have sensitive skin there is another very moisturizing scrub given at the Spas in Bali which consists of equal amounts of grated coconut and grated carrots mixed together with turmeric(a popular Indian spice that is very high in antioxidants)combined with a gelatin. If you are looking just to moisturize and nurture your skin, than this is a perfect spa body treatment to try. Here is a simple variation of the Carrots and Coconut Scrub:
1 cup of Shredded Carrot
1 cup of Shredded Coconut
1 Tbsp. of Tumeric
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. Coconut oil
Blend all the above ingredients together in a medium-size bowl. Using your hands, rub the grated carrot/cocnut mixture all over your body and into your skin. After a few minutes, cleanse off the carrot coconut mixture for fresher, softer skin. This is best performed in the shower, as it can be a rather messy procedure.
Another way to enjoy the intensely moisturizing and cleansing qualities of carrot on the skin is to cook the carrot, cool it and applying to the skin. This is simple and effective and makes a moisturizing face mask. Try a cooked carrot for your skin with the following recipe:
Moisturizing Carrot mask
1 ripe avocado, pit removed and mashed
1 carrot, cleaned, chopped and cooked until soft
2 Tbsp. raw, natural honey
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or Greek Yogurt
Begin with cleaning, chopping and boiling a carrot until soft. While the carrot is boiling, cut open an avocado and remove the green pulp and remove the pit from inside the avocado. Mash up the avocado and when the carrot is done cooking also add it to the same bowl with the avocado and continue to mash them up. Once the avocado and carrot are thoroughly mashed up add the 2 tbsp. of raw natural honey and stir it into the mixture. Finally add either a quarter cup of heavy whipping cream or a quarter cup of plain Greek yogurt. Apply to freshly washed damp skin. Let the mixture sit on the skin for 10-15 minutes than wipe off and then thoroughly cleanse the face. Your skin will feel smoother, calmer and more hydrated. Follow up with a light moisturizer.
Carrot Seed oil
The other great way to get the moisturizing effect of carrots, that requires less work, is with carrot seed oil. Carrot seed oil can be found and purchased wherever essential oils are sold. Generally it is available at most health food stores. It is available for a low to mid price range, and is probably one of the most under rated essential oils on the market. The oil is known also as Daucus Carota and is cold pressed from the seeds of wild carrot, which is actually a flower, often referred to as Queen Anne’s Lace. The oil is produced in England and France as it grows naturally in Europe and South Asian countries(and in Canada too). Carrot seed essential oil is not valued for it’s fragrance which is earthy, warm and woodsy, but seen as unpleasant by some. However, it is very good for mature skin, dry and dehydrated skin, eczema, sensitive skin, and helps to relieve water retention. To some extent it can aso help repair skin that has been damaged by the sun and to a certain degree it protects skin from the U.V. rays of the sun. As a beautifying oil it is recommended for the hands, feet, nails, neck and eyes. To hydrate and moisturize the skin around your eyes, try this simple recipe:
Carrot and Coconut Eye Cream:
1 ounce of Coconut Oil
3 drops of Carrot Seed essential oil
3 drops of Fennel essential oil
3 drops of Palma Rosa essential oil
Mix the above ingredients together in a small class jar(that has a lid) using a small wooden spoon. To apply, dab a small amount of the mixed oils onto the under eye area and smooth across to theoutside and top of the eye lid using the ring or baby finger. Be careful not to get the essential oils into the eyes. Apply twice daily. It is not known what effect Carrot Seed oil has on pregnant women, so it is best not used if you are pregnant.
These recipes will likely come in handy as the winter progresses and many of us experience dry or dehydrated skin, however the carrot seed essential oil is really good to use all year round as it protects the skin from the sun, and hydrates the skin throughout winter.