Surveys have shown that Swedes are some of the happiest and most well-adjusted people on earth. But we don't need hard numbers to see that they're also some of the most beautiful. Of course, Swedish celebrities like Malin Åkerman, Elsa Hosk, and Frida Gustavsson bewitch us with their impossibly clear, youthful complexions. And, of course, it's not just the women—Alexander Skarsgård, anyone? We've also noticed everyday Swedes flaunting the same glowy, glass-like skin. Could it be something in the water?
International beauty lovers that we are, we were curious (read: desperate) to find out what Swedish folks are doing to their skin that we haven't discovered yet. In need of that enviable "Scandi-skin," we did a bit of digging to find the products, habits, DIY concoctions, and nutrition habits that Swedes prefer. What we ended up finding was much more intriguing than we even predicted.
Keep scrolling to discover Sweden's best skincare secrets!
Embrace the Powers of Turmeric
This world-renowned spice is one of nature's most potent ingredients, and Swedish natives take full advantage. Research shows that consuming turmeric can help relieve symptoms of arthritis, Alzheimer's, and digestive inflammation. When used topically, it also has myriad benefits for the skin. It can boost skin cell regeneration, stimulate collagen production, stave off free radicals, and reduce inflammation. This means it can help with everything from curbing eczema and acne to preventing wrinkles. It's no wonder the clear-complected folks of Sweden swear by the stuff. Check out this simple DIY mask that boasts turmeric as its main ingredient.
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. turmeric
Mix together one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of coconut oil. Next, add one teaspoon of milk and one teaspoon of turmeric and mix until you have a paste. Apply the mixture to your skin and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
Note that turmeric has a tendency to stain, so be sure to remove all remnants from your skin.
Pamper Your Hands and Feet
Because the weather in Sweden gets so frigid, residents are careful not to let their extremities dry out. Swedish blogger Elin Kling recommends getting frequent manicures, especially in the winter. In the meantime, she religiously applies Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream ($30) and OPI ProSpa Nail & Cuticle Oil ($10).
Enjoy Some Nordic Berries
Though exotic to us, this antioxidant-rich treat is quite common in Sweden. Since the country is so far north, its summer offers 24 hours of sunlight, providing a UV feast for berries that grow there. According to Joe Pastorkovich, the North American VP of Nordic skincare company Lumene, "This makes their vitamin and antioxidant content 81% richer than any other cultivated berry." The berries can be eaten, and their extracts are also used in topical products. The high volume of vitamins and antioxidants have incredible plumping and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin.
Search for Your Next Holy Grail in Unusual Places
Swedes certainly get points for creativity when it comes to sourcing skincare. Actress Alicia Vikander's favorite product actually comes from the Swedish military. This "skin defense ointment" is available at the pharmacy in Sweden for less than a euro. Vikander says it's manufactured to be an all-around secret weapon—you can treat irritated skin, moisturize your lips, and even cook with it.
Dedicate Some Time to the Sauna
Swedish models Elizabeth and Victoria Lejonhjärta owe their top-level beauty game to spending time in the sauna. "It helps you relax, charges up your superpowers, and takes your skin and hair to level 100," they told Vogue. The Lejonhjärta sisters like to spice up their sauna session by inviting a group of friends. "Our favorite thing is to have sauna parties, where we give our skin a boost while having fun," they said. Only in Sweden.
Use Alternative Oils
As Americans, we drown our lives in coconut oil, but avocado and rapeseed are the Swedish woman's oils of choice. Swedish model Kelly Gale says she owes her soft skin to slathering avocado oil all over after showering. Swedes also prefer cooking with rapeseed oil, which is loaded with skin-loving vitamin E.
Eat a Diet Rich in Veggies and Fish
The primary cause of Swedish women's flawless skin can be found in the kitchen. Their fish- and vegetable-laden diets provide a generous dose of fatty acids and vitamins that keep skin plump and hydrated.
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