5 Incredible Cucumber Benefits for Skin

Cucumber Benefits for Skin

When the New York Times published an article recommending cucumber juice to treat sunburns,1 they likely had no idea just how good this advice was. In fact, its role as a soothing topical sunburn treatment is just the beginning of the many cucumber skin benefits—and why it’s one of our favorite face mask ingredients.

If you struggle with puffy, tired, or less-than-happy-looking skin, recruiting cucumber into your natural skincare routine may be the key to providing one key element every complexion needs to bounce back: hydration.

Here, we’ll walk you through the top six cucumber benefits for skin, as well as some tips for incorporating it into a clean, simple beauty routine at home.

#1 Helps Foster Youthful-Looking Skin

Cucumbers and cucumber-based types of face masks may also help reduce some of the hallmark signs of premature aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.2

According to a study on the potential effectiveness of cucumbers for wrinkle reduction, there are two main ways this fruit may help kick premature skin aging to the curb:3

  • Fostering skin resiliency – This study showed that cucumbers exhibit impressive anti-hyaluronidase activity, which means they may strengthen skin’s ability to “bounce back” even as we age. In a similar vein, cucumbers showed significant anti-elastase activity, helping to preserve the elasticity skin already has by preventing the loss of elastin in the dermis (the middle layer of skin).
  • Drenching skin in antioxidants – Cucumbers demonstrated serious chops as a free radical scavenger. Free radical scavengers are known to hunt down molecules that can prematurely age skin, putting cucumbers in a category of ingredients alongside antioxidants—a type of molecule that protects the skin from oxidative damage, thereby minimizing the visible effects of aging that accompany it.

Not only did this study show cucumber played both an active and preventative role in forestalling skin aging, but it also hinted at cucumber’s role in promoting collagen synthesis. This is because cucumbers are rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), a constituent that’s intimately involved in collagen synthesis—a process responsible for creating firmer, moisture-rich, resilient skin.4

#2 Reduces Swelling

Whether you’re trying to recover from an all-nighter or just need a quick fix to reduce swelling in some pesky mosquito bites, studies suggest that applying cool cucumbers to the skin works like a charm to reduce puffiness or swelling.2

There are several reasons many of us may wake up to find bags or puffiness under our eyes, including:

  • Getting older – Aging can have a cascade of effects on the skin, including developing undereye bags that just don’t seem to budget. When undereye puffiness is connected to aging, this may be to a loss of fat in the skin, which can cause the skin beneath the eyes to sag.5
  • Lack of sleep – Whether you stayed up late partying or studying, bags or circles under the eyes is one of the hallmark signs of lack of sleep. The area beneath your eyes tends to collect fluid easily, which often shows up as swelling or puffiness.5
  • Tears – If you were crying happy tears with your best friends the night before graduation or watching your sister step into her wedding dress, you might want to plan on using a quick cucumber compress to calm those puffy eyes before the cameras flash. 

So, what’s the key to cucumbers’ ability to reduce puffiness? Two key antioxidants:6

  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C is known as one of the skincare world’s most sought-after antioxidants, with a remarkable ability to encourage and stabilize collagen synthesis, alleviating fine lines and protecting healthy skin against oxidative stressors.7
  • Caffeic acid – Just as its name would suggest, caffeic acid (or CA) is a compound found in foods like coffee, tea, wine—and, yes, cucumber. It’s known for its ability to reduce inflammation and minimize the effects of oxidative stress, which is often behind chronically inflamed or dull-looking skin.8

To maximize cucumber’s swelling-reduction potential, seek out products that act as a cucumber compress, like a cucumber-rich face mask, which will expose your face to calming compounds like vitamin C and caffeic acid for longer. 

Make sure to store your face mask in the fridge. The cold temperature combines with cucumber’s natural properties to help reduce puffiness in a pinch.2

#3 Reduces Dark Under-Eye Circles

In a double whammy of skincare solutions, cucumbers can help reduce dark circles as well as puffiness under the eyes. 

This is because cucumbers pack a serious punch of vitamin K, which has been shown to:9

  • Help pare down the appearance of dark undereye bags10
  • Reduce the appearance of veins and scarring
  • Minimize visibility of dark spots, creating a more even skin tone

Given vitamin K’s juicy benefits, there’s a reason why you may have seen photos of 1950s beauty queens laying cucumbers over their eyes while treating themselves to a face mask.

To simplify your self-care routine, reach for a face mask that incorporates cucumber in its formula and leave on for at least 20 minutes. That way, you’ll be able to keep both eyes open, take a scroll through IG, and brighten your skin in one fell swoop.

#4 Calms and Conditions Sunburns

So, did the Times have it right all along? As we mentioned earlier, you may be able to use cucumber—either directly or as an ingredient in a face mask—to help soothe sunburned skin.2

Cucumber has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory, cooling effect that could help reduce discomfort caused by some common skin concerns like:2

  • Sunburns
  • Rashes
  • Insect bites

Of course, the best protection against a sunburned face will always be sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sticking to the shade—all of which can help you keep your skin looking healthy and lower your risk of skin cancer.11

But for the days when the summer sunlight, a pesky mosquito, or a stubborn skin outbreak sneaks up on you, cucumber skincare may be one of the best tools in your arsenal to soothe and comfort inflamed skin.

#5 Enhances Your Other Moisturizers

If you’ve ever taken a trip to the spa (or just indulged in some self-care at home), you’ve probably noticed how a few slices of cucumber seem to make a chilled glass of water even juicier.

As it turns out, this principle may apply to skincare. This is because cucumbers are comprised of 96% water—and as such, they’re one of the most hydration-rich fruits you’ll come across.2 Your skin may need an extra boost of hydration if:12

  • Your skincare routine includes soaps, alcohol, acne treatments, or chemical exfoliants that can strip healthy skin
  • You use abrasive exfoliants
  • You tend to shower or bathe in warm water
  • Your caffeine intake is high
  • You’ve recently been exposed to extremely hot or cold climates

Giving your skin plenty of hydration—both by drinking and eating water-rich foods (hello, cucumber!), and moisturizing your skin—is key for building up skin health and ensuring the rest of the products in your routine work with maximum efficiency.

How to Deliver Cucumber Benefits with a Deep Skin Treatment

Whether you’re drawn to cucumber for its promise of reducing undereye circles or ramping up your complexion’s overall hydration, soaking in all of cucumbers’ benefits requires one ingredient you won’t find on any skincare label: time.

Translation? One of the best ways to incorporate cucumber into your skincare routine is in face mask form. Here are X steps for quenching your dry skin with a deep moisturizing treatment:

  1. Cleanse your face. This will free it of any dirt, debris, and excess oil. 
  1. Gently exfoliate. Avoid using abrasive exfoliants, which contain small, coarse particles that can injure the surface of the skin. Instead, use a toner with chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid to exfoliate and dispel any lingering makeup or grime.
  1. Apply your mask. Retrieve your face mask from the fridge and apply a thin layer to your skin and neck using clean fingers or an applicator. For bonus points, place two cucumber slices over your eyelids and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

One of the best parts of deep conditioning skin treatments is that they let you skip the final stage of your skincare team: moisturizer. 

So if cucumbers have any wisdom to impart to skincare enthusiasts, it’s that nourishing skincare doesn’t always mean throwing the kitchen sink at your complexion. Sometimes it just comes down to clean, beautifully formulated ingredients like the ones you have in your produce drawer.

Stay Calm, Cool, and Hydrated with HPPY Skin

Happy skin, like happiness itself, comes down to life’s simplest pleasures. And in skincare, that means clean, familiar ingredients you can pronounce when you read the label. 

Hydrate, replenish, and wake up dry, dull, or puffy skin with HPPY’s cucumber-based Hydrating Mask. From cucumber to Manuka Honey, we use strictly cold water and high pressure to extract the most nourishing plant-based compounds—which means every formula we create is preservative-free and so safe to use on sensitive skin. 

Embrace skincare minimalism with dermatologist-approved treatments made for clean, joyful skin by shopping HPPY today.


Sources: 

  1. New York Times. Care of the Skin. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1908/07/19/104741353.html?pageNumber=51 
  2. Healthline. Benefits of a Cucumber Face Mask and How to Make Onehttps://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/cucumber-face-mask 
  3. Archives of Dermatological Research. Cucumis sativus fruit-potential antioxidant, anti-hyaluronidase, and anti-elastase agent. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-010-1103-y
  4. Oregon State University. Vitamin C and Skin Health. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C
  5. Mayo Clinic. Bags under eyes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bags-under-eyes/symptoms-causes/syc-20369927
  6. Huff Post. 3 Reasons Why Cucumber Is Your Skin's New Best Friend. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/cucumber-skin-benefits_n_7645976
  7. National Library of Medicine. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applicationshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29104718/
  8. National Library of Medicine. Chemical and Pharmacological Aspects of Caffeic Acid and Its Activity in Hepatocarcinoma. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598430/
  9. Healthline. The 4 Best Vitamins for Your Skin. https://www.healthline.com/health/4-best-vitamins-for-skin#vitamin-k
  10. //www.jarcp.com/3050-evaluating-the-potential-benefits-of-cucumbers-for-improved-health-and-skin-care.
  11. American Cancer Society. How do I protect myself from ultraviolet (UV) rays? https://www.cancer.org/healthy/be-safe-in-sun/uv-protection.html 
  12. WebMD. Dos and Don’ts of Skin Hydration. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/skin-hydration
  13. Allure. Skin Buzz. https://www.allure.com/story/skin-buzz 
  14. Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin E for Skin: What Does It Do? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/vitamin-e-for-skin-health/ 
  15. Harper’s Bazaar. #BeautyGlossary: Everything you really need to know about squalane. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/skincare/a33665640/best-squalane-skincare/ 
  16. Healthline. Spirulina Benefits for Skin: Superfood or Super Skin Care?  https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/spirulina-benefits-skin#skin-benefits 
  17. Healthline. What Is a Konjac Facial Sponge? https://www.healthline.com/health/konjac-sponge#:~:text=According%20to%20Dr.,oily%20and%20acne%2Dprone%20skin
  18. Stylecraze. 32 Benefits Of Cucumber (Kheera) And Side Effects. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-cucumber-for-skin-hair-and-health/#DarkCircles 
  19. The Cut. The Most Dangerous Beauty Through the Ages. https://www.thecut.com/2013/12/most-dangerous-beauty-through-the-ages.html 
  20. Harvard Health Publishing. How to moisturize your skin. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-moisturize-your-skin

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