Swedish Beauty Secrets

By Alissa Marrapodi

Many beauty experts attribute Scandinavian women's glowing skin to healthy eating -- such as fish rich in omega-3s and berries high in antioxidants -- and an active lifestyle, which are both indigenous to Swedish culture and the Nordic region as a whole.

Woman applying cream on face
credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images
Swedish women apply sunscreen for protection from the sun.

The Diet

Traditional Swedish diets are not only high in fish, they're high in fiber, free-radical fighting nutrients, vitamins and minerals. So no matter your skin type or complexion, incorporating Nordic staples into your diet will give your skin a boost. Cold-water fish such as salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the skin from signs of aging while supporting its current skin matrix. Annica Joensuu, head of the Swedish Organization of Skin Therapy, told YouBeauty that Nordics' everyday diets are chock full of vegetables -- think leafy and root -- that pack a vitamin punch including A and C, both known to support skin health. And when in doubt, think in color -- blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. Berries are a mainstay in the Nordic region and are rife with vitamins and antioxidants.

The Lifestyle

If Swedish women can do it, any woman can do it. The Arctic is known for its very long and very cold winters. And although Nordic women are no more active than women in other regions, staying active, even during the harshest months, is one way Swedish women keep their skin healthy and radiant. Exercise boosts complexion, so slap on a hydrating moisturizer with UV protection and get moving.

Skin Care Products

Many skin care lines boast ingredients from the Nordic region; bottling the benefits of fruits, vegetables, fatty acids and oils indigenous to the Arctic region is your best bet for healthier skin beyond diet and exercise. Look for skin care products made from berries rich in antioxidants, such as raspberries and cloudberries, and seed oils high in omega-3s and omega-6s. All skin types can benefit from antioxidants, as they fight off free radicals responsible for aging, and omega-3s, which increase collagen and work as anti-aging agents. As explained in a Marine Drugs journal article in 2013, researchers at the Marine Biotechnology Research Group in Scotland found omega-3s fight inflammation and bacteria on the skin, so those with acne-prone skin may benefit most from omega-3s.

At-Home Remedies

Swedish makeup artist Petra Strand shared with Woman's Day online magazine an at-home trick that works for all skin types to give skin a boost of free-radical-fighting antioxidants. Replace your standard toner with a concoction of mineral water and green or white tea. Boil the mineral water with a few green or white tea bags, let it steep, then freeze it into ice cubes. Once frozen, rub the ice cube all over your skin. Mineral water's benefits are better realized when it's frozen.

Create the effects of a sauna at home by boiling water in pot, reduce it to a light simmer and let it sit on the stove for 10 minutes. After cleansing your skin, pull your hair back in a ponytail and place a towel over your head. Carefully lean over the pot and allow the steaming water to wash over your face for five minutes. After five minutes, splash cool water on your face and dab your face dry with a towel.