Many city ( urban ) women have being conditioned by marketers to believe that what they rub on their skin is more effective than what they put on their plates. As a result, many African/black women think buying all the “beauty” products that they see in advertisement would help them get smooth and healthy skin. For example, older city women in Africa encourage young ladies that are suffering with acne and skin disease to use skin bleaching cream. The understanding is that, bleaching creams such as tura, top gel, G&G, fair&white, etc fade dark spots and discoloration instantly, that is true.
However, the long term side effects of bleaching creams include sensitive skin (you get bruises easily), skin cancer ( because the dark pigmentation/melanin that protects you from sun is removed hence living you vulnerable ) nasty body odor, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, mercury poison damaging your liver and kidney ( pictures below ).
This is not to suggest that I don’t do daily facial routine. But my focus is mostly on what I eat, because our skin reflects the health of our organs.My tips are simply encouraging you/us to eat foods that are nutritious for a wholistic health of both our internal and external organs.
- Before every meal, drink a large cup of hot water ( as you would tea ). This helps you with digestion and it would prevent you from over eating.
- Avoid anything white, e.g rice, eggs, sugar,etc. Food companies especially in the “developed” world would bleach food items for cosmetics purposes, in the process they remove nutrients. Dark foods are better for you.
- Eat lots of raw vegetables and fruits. This is the best way for you to get nutrition, vitamins C, D etc. One of the many benefits of growing up in the village is that, I have the advantage of knowing food items that can be eaten raw.For example,a. Sweet Potatoes ( Americans call it Yams)
b. Cassava ( Yuca)
Digging cassava in Bawagraki, my village in Middle-Belt, Nigeria
If you are anti raw food, you can juice your fruits and vegetables. For those that have frequent electricity, you can blend your vegetables ( spinach, parsley, ginger,moringa leaves, etc) and add honey to make it tasty. If your community lacks electricity you can sun dry your vegetables, then pound it into powder ( this is common sense for most villagers like myself ). When you are ready to have a drink, simply add it in room temperature water mixed with honey or just drink it plain.
Here is an example, I/we just made this. We juice twice a day with different fruits and vegetables. Ingredient ( all natural and organic ): ground cinnamon, mango, almond nuts, berry, carrots, celery, ginger and honey.
4. Roast or bake instead of fry. For example, instead of frying your “irish potatoes” bake it, if you do not have a stove and electricity, simply roast them over an open fire.
5. Cook your meals with little to no oil, but if you must, stick to olive oil and for those in Africa, coconut or peanut butter ( groundnut) oils are easy to find and are fantastic. below is an example, I cooked this last night and did not use oil. Ingredient: organic chicken ( I hardly eat meat but when I cook it this is how I hook it up ), onion, spinach, pepper, garlic, salt and brown rice ( boiled).
6. If you are not active, excise regularly.
7. Drink a lot of water, if you do not like to drink plain water, you can always add drops of tamarind or lemon.
8. Avoid “fast foods” burger, fries,etc. But if you are an addict, once a month fast food is okay. I know that many young people in Africa, especially in Nigeria consider eating at “Mr Biggies” a “civilized lifestyle” because that is what they see on western tv, I get the mentality, but if you want to live long and have a healthy skin you must avoid fast food. Most of the food they sell are processed and genetically modified.
9. Say no to sugar and sweets.
If you have sugar rush, make sweets on your own with ingredients that are less harmful to your body. For example, I make banana bread a few times a year.
Ingredients all natural and organic: wheat flour, brown sugar, butter, olive oil, vanilla extract, almond nuts, vegetarian brown eggs, gluten free baking powder, and of course ripened bananas.
10. Do not drink soft drinks ( soda, pop,etc)
they are empty calories, would make you break out and destroy your teeth.
11. Do not cook with maggi, it is poison.I know that many Africans use this condiment, claiming it is indigenous to Africa, but it is actually not. And most importantly, it has ingredients that are harmful to your/our health for example, disodium guanylate.
- Wash your face with black soap ( or face wash of your choice ), pat your face dry with towel, using cotton balls or your fingers tips rub tea tree oil all over your face. Repeat this at least twice a day,
- Drink lots of room temperature water as always,
When you are on your period/cycle and you have breakouts. Drink hot water ( as you would tea ) with lots of lemon See “Taking Care of Your Vagina is Important to Your Overall Health: Suggestions for Sisters.” Moisturizing Your Skin
Raw organic shea butter ( they are mostly made in Africa, Ghana is one place that has a large production ) it prevents “ashy” dryness of the skin, burns, helps and maintain your silky beautiful black skin. This is the only thing I use, I have a smooth, even dark skin, from head to toes because I do not use hash chemicals in pursuit of healthy skin. If you do not like the natural smell of shea butter, you can mix it with scents of your choice. For example, the picture above shows my final product. I mixed shea butter from Ghana and coconut oil from Middle-belt, Nigeria .