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Bananas are convenient for rushed mornings when you need a quick breakfast, and they are an easy-carry snack that you can throw in your bag to eat later during the day. They become overripe and too mushy to eat so quickly, though, that they can actually be quite a drain on the budget if you aren’t careful about how many you buy at a time. Brown spots on your banana do not mean you have to toss food away, though -- you may not want to eat it, but an overripe banana will make a quick homemade facial.
Common Money-Saving Strategy
Using an overripe banana for a facial mask is actually kind of common, and it’s one of the first suggestions -- past making tons of banana bread -- that beauty sites and frugal-living sites make for using up the too-soft fruit. You don’t want to assume all browned bananas are suitable for a facial, though. If the banana is completely brown to the point of starting to blacken, Billeater.com says, it will make an excellent bit of plant food.
Much of the time, a homemade facial with overripe bananas is simply the banana, mashed up and smeared on your skin. Some recipes add unspecified amounts of honey, or honey and oatmeal; no single official recipe exists. The timing varies, too, as various recipe instructions suggest leaving the fruit on for as little as 10 minutes or as much as 30 minutes before rinsing it off.
Agents and Effects
Bananas have both texture and nutrients going for it, facialwise. The smooth, moist mash moisturizes; adding oatmeal can give it a scrub effect for exfoliating skin. Bananas also have vitamin E. The Linus Pauling Institute says some vitamin E can penetrate the skin and improve its appearance if you use it topically. Bananas ripen very quickly, of course, so you don’t want to wait too long before mashing it into a facial mask. When the banana peel still shows a good amount of yellow with just enough brown spots to make you not want to eat it out of hand, it's ready to move over to the cosmetics case. Everyone will have different preferences, so experiment with bananas that have different amounts of brown spots to find the texture you feel most comfortable with.
One word of caution if you start adding banana facials into your routine: It is possible to develop an allergy to bananas, even if you're using them topically. People can develop two types of allergies; one is based on pollen -- people allergic to birch pollen may have a tough time with this -- and one is based on latex allergies. DermNet NZ notes that latex allergies and banana sensitivities can be related, and that it is possible to become sensitive or allergic to a food even after years of eating it. If you end up with irritated skin after putting banana on your face, see a dermatologist to be tested for allergies. Don’t eat bananas, either, until an allergy test rules them out as the cause of the irritation.