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My Skin Care is Garbage: Tea Bags, Olive Oil, and Potato and Lemon Peels

Updated on July 29, 2010

What if I told you that I use garbage for my skin care? Okay, I don’t exactly go dumpster diving for products to put on my face. What I do is to rescue items I’d otherwise throw away—like tea bags, olive oil, and potato and lemon peels—and use them as free natural beauty products. Here’s how:

Tea Bags. Tea bags are convenient to repurpose as spot treatments for the skin. Any kind of tea is beneficial for the skin, but green tea is ideal. You may have noticed that green tea is a component in many upscale spa treatments and beauty products. Aestheticians and dermatologists praise its calming effects and antioxidant properties. It is used for a variety of conditions, including acne and aging issues. While lying down, simply pat down the tea bag on the area of your skin that you want to treat; leave it there while you relax for 20 minutes.

Olive Oil. Olive oil makes an outstanding skin and hair treatment. It is a first-rate emollient and is high in phytonutrients and Omega-3 and -6. Some of this precious oil is wasted whenever a seemingly empty bottle is thrown away. Next time your bottle no longer contains enough oil to be viable for cooking, keep the bottle upside down overnight(with the cap firmly attached), and allow the last bit of oil to collect at the top. Use it full strength to revitalize your skin.

Potato Peels. Don’t throw those peels away! Potatoes are packed with important minerals, vitamins C and B6, and phytonutrients like carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid. Many of the nutrients in potatoes are found near the peel. Potatoes are a traditional remedy for a dark or puffy undereye area and for absorbing excess oil. There are two ways to use fresh potato peels as a skin treatment. The first approach is simply to glide the moist side directly onto your skin. Rinse off after 15 to 20 minutes; if possible, leave the treatment on overnight. The second way is to grate the peel and wrap it in muslin. Allow the packet to stay on your face for at least 20 minutes.

Lemon Peels. Vitamin C is a proven topical treatment for the skin, and lemons are full of this nutrient. Vitamin C promotes collagen health, and thus keeps skin looking young. In addition, lemons have been used traditionally to fade freckles and dark spots. The easiest way to reuse a lemon otherwise destined for the garbage can or compost pile is to turn the peel inside out and gently rub the moist side on your freshly washed skin. (Test on a small patch first if your skin is sensitive.) For dry skin, follow up with a tiny bit of cooking oil. Another method is to let the peel of a lemon dry completely and then grind it into a powder (using a coffee grinder) to use as a base in skin care recipes. For example, combine a teaspoon of this powder, one teaspoon of unflavored yogurt, and an egg yolk. Apply to the face, wait 20 minutes, and rinse.

Even though used tea bags, bottom-of-the-bottle olive oil, and potato and lemon peels can be seen as “garbage,” they are by no means nasty or smelly. In fact, their luxuriant and earthy aromas are uplifting. But the real proof of their value is that the results from these treatments are as good as the outcomes I’ve had with high-priced skin products. And when I think about all the money I’ve saved, an attractive smile always appears on my face.

After reading this article, which treatment would you be most likely to try?

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    • Mariana Fuzaro profile image

      Mariana Fuzaro 

      3 years ago from São Paulo, Brazil

      These homemade treatments are the best, and their effect is immediate. It's not a cream with 0,005% of the active principle, it's the pure thing. You just apply something on your face and relax for 20 minutes and your skin looks brand new. It's like a spa at home, you can play relaxing music, burn candles, incense, what you like. And the best part is that they are either free or super cheap. You cannot relax after buying a 120 bucks spa product and then spend the rest of the month wondering about how will you pay your debts, unless you are super rich.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanx for such wonderful suggestions...

    • debugs profile image


      7 years ago from Odessey777, Umbris

      Lemon (if you have oily skin) is the best toner!

    • G.L.A. profile image

      Geri Anderson 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks! Very helpful..

    • VioletSun profile image


      8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Excellent tips! Was not aware of the potatoe peel's benefits. I use olive oil at times, and keep a small bottle in my bathroom.


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