Blueberries…….a tiny, power packed morsel that is good for your health, both internally and externally. Yes indeed, blueberries are good for the skin! When I chose to make a particular soap, a lot of research goes into the “why”. I source real blueberries that are firm and brightly colored. Bright colors mean more phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds found in plants that offer protective properties. When we consume these plants, we benefit as well.
Why add them? How do we know they provide any benefit at all? Of all the botanicals we could have chosen to add to a soap, the addition of blueberries was a no brainer. Natural anti-oxidants, natural vitamins A, E & C, and beta-carotene* are all present in copious amounts. But what is even more amazing, the benefits remain in the soap.
Research has shown that the anti-oxidant power of blueberries is retained even after freezing and heating. Individual-quick-frozen (IQF) blueberries retain as much antioxidant power as fresh-picked berries. By holding its shape and texture in a quick freeze, the phtyonutrients, the color and the anti-oxidant properties are still intact.
In cold-process handcrafted soap, the process of saponification (converting fat to soap) generates heat which is typically damaging to nutrients. However, this is what makes the blueberry all the more incredible!
In terms of cooking and applying heat, research in 2009 by the University of Berkeley found no substantial loss of anti-oxidants even after baking, simmering or microwaving** ! So even with soap-making temperatures rising to 200 degrees during saponification, I know that the blueberry anti-oxidants are still intact in the final cubes.
Since 2004, there has been a massive amount of research on blueberries by the FDA, scientists, universities and blueberry growers themselves. They have shown that blueberry anti-oxidants protect the skin from cellular damage. The Vitamin C content helps strengthen blood vessels and reduce the appearance of “spider veins” under the skin. Also rich in Vitamin A, blueberries have been successfully used in the treatment of acne.*** The next time you pick up blueberries at the market, set a few aside for the following skin recipes. Treat yourself to one of these blends and feel the difference for yourself.
Moisturizing Blueberry Mask
1 1/4 cups of pureed fresh or thawed blueberries (blender or other method)
1/2 cup raw or organic milk (full fat)
1/2 cup pulverized oatmeal (processed to fine powder in a blender)
1/8 cup virgin olive oil
1/8 cup raw honey
Mix well, apply to face and leave on for 15 – 20 minutes.
Refrigerate and use the remainder for up to 1 week.
Blueberry Acne Mask
1 cup fresh or thawed blueberries
1/2 cup pulverized oatmeal powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Mix well, apply to face for 10 – 15 minutes, twice daily