Give your skin a tasty treat and cook up your own beauty recipes, says Sandra Dick

If there’s anything coronavirus crisis has taught us, it is that constant scrubbing will give us the withered hands of a 95-year-old tattie howker.

Which is fine should you want your wrinkled, shrivelled hands to co-ordinate with the deep worry lines etched across your face and your lanky grey roots.

However, denied access to our usual choice of pampering products and expensive beauty salon treatments, subjected to 23 hours a day indoors with nothing to do but scrub the kitchen worktop with bleach, our dreadful-looking skin simply matches the national mood: sad.

Of course, looking flawless while in the grip of a pandemic is hardly a top priority, but if we do want to spruce up and avoid looking like a sundried raisin, help – it would appear – is hiding behind the panic-bought dried pasta in the kitchen cupboard.

According to personal finance site, the kitchen larder offers a wealth of potential beauty fixes – if we can get over the idea of slapping good food all over our faces.

It claims everyday kitchen ingredients – from olive oil to rice, porridge oats, even tea and milk – have been used for centuries to stave off the impacts of ageing, sun and bacteria, and could help keep the impact of all that modern alcohol-based sanitiser and soap at bay.

Even better, whipping up a homemade skin remedy will cost a fraction of a fancy beauty salon treatment – handy when it’s not clear where next month’s money is coming from.

Plus, if it all goes wrong, you can at least eat what you’ve made for dinner.

Among its suggestions is to follow in the perfectly pedicured footsteps of Cleopatra and embrace the beauty benefits of milk – a good idea at a time when dairy producers have been left with the headache of how to sell millions of gallons of unused milk.

There’s no need to fill a bath – unless you really want to emerge with clean pores but smelling like old yoghurt. Instead, the site suggests mixing it with green tea as a natural toner.

Should you be missing the skin-smoothing effect of an eye-watering beauty salon chemical peel, you may want to follow the online site’s alternative: granulated sugar, mixed with olive oil then a right good rub.

For those who can spare some beer, its yeast content will help fight excessive sebum production and the bacteria that causes acne.

Mix with egg whites and mashed strawberries then use as a face pack – or just pretend it’s a beery kind of meringue and eat it.

While the website’s store cupboard treatments may seem a shade desperate, according to Claire Gray of Glasgow-based skincare specialist Ermana, there is real merit in seeking out a more natural approach to our skincare regimes.

“At the moment, most of us are focused on shopping for essentials such as food and medicine, and skincare is often viewed as a luxury product,” she says.

“But all this time indoors and washing our hands is having an impact on our skin.”

For eyes strained from peering too long at Tiger King on Netflix, she has an age-old remedy: “The tannins in tea can help reduce puffiness and get rid of dark circles. Simply soak a tea bag in warm water and place on your eyes for 20 minutes.

“For an astringent or toner, wipe a teabag over your face to tighten skin and then blot with a towel.”

With coffee shops closed and our espresso fix now confined to home, there is a use for all those spent coffee grounds. “Simply add some coffee grounds to coconut oil to make your own at-home scrub,” she says.

“The coffee grains help remove dirt and dead skin cells and promote overall skin health, and the scrubbing action stimulates blood flow and can help to reduce cellulite.

“The caffeine in coffee grounds has potent antioxidant properties that can help protect the skin from sun damage.”

While honey’s antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties mean it makes a handy face mask, so too do the fats, minerals and vitamins in mashed avocado.

Pineapple is almost a skincare superfood: vitamin C, bromelain and antioxidants can help prevent and treat acne, fine lines, sun damage and uneven tone. Rub it on, leave for a few minutes and rinse off.

Gray suggests there’s even a skincare use for that bottle of apple cider vinegar lurking at the back of the cupboard. “The main ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid but it also contains lots of other natural alpha-hydroxy acids,” she says.

“These work together to gently exfoliate the skin by dissolving dead skin cells. Applying apple cider vinegar to the skin also delivers beneficial enzymes, proteins and good bacteria.”

With hand-washing a national hobby, she suggests taking particular care when choosing which soaps to buy.

“Handwashes contain water and any product with water has preservatives to stop it degrading. And if it says ‘parfum’ on the bottle, it’ll have a multitude of sins.

“It’s much better to choose a natural soap, such as one made with olive oil.”

Helen Atherton of Edinburgh-based soap specialist, Dook, agrees that while washing hands with soap is a proven virus-killer, many harsh supermarket soaps will also wreck our hands.

“The difference between a bar of handmade soap and a manufactured one is huge,” she says. “In handmade soaps, the natural glycerine that’s squeezed out in the industrial process is retained. So handmade soap is much kinder but will still destroy viruses.”

She uses coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils and Himalayan salt to make her organic soap, but strongly advises against attempting to break out the saucepans to rustle up your own bar.

“If you’re not careful, homemade soap can go a bit rubbish – there’s chemistry involved, caustic soda. You need gloves and eye protection.

“Get it wrong and you’ll end up with a soap dish full of sloppy soap or, worse, in A&E.”

The store-cupboard spa: the everyday ingredients with magical properties

Assuming you’ve not already eaten the entire contents of your kitchen, you could be rustling up a very tasty skin solution.

Olive oil: Adored by the ancient Egyptians for smoothing hair and skin, gently heat and massage into the scalp for a conditioning treatment, or mix with aloe vera for a hand moisturiser.

Honey: Packed with natural antibacterial properties, add to a bath to help reduce inflammation or combine with ground almonds for a cleansing face and body scrub. Apply straight to the face for a natural hydrating mask.

Porridge oats: Grind some oats with granulated sugar and honey, massage into the face and leave for 10 minutes to draw oil out of the skin.

Eggs: Mix with natural yoghurt to make a moisturising face mask. Add to banana, olive oil and avocado, and smooth over your hair for a hydrating conditioning mask.

Coconut oil: Use to remove makeup and as a skin and hair softener. Delicate enough to be used as an eye cream. Replace shaving foam with coconut oil for extra smooth skin.

Lemon: Lemon juice will help lighten uneven skin tones or scars. Rub knees and elbows with lemon halves or apply lemon juice and leave for 10-20 minutes.

Rice: Rice facials are popular in Japan. Place rice in cold water for 20 minutes, mix, then decant the water into a bottle. Soak a clean flannel in the bottled rice water and leave on your face for 20 minutes. Blend leftover rice with water to use as a body scrub.