Herbal skin careUsing natural products that are formulated from herbs is the best way to achieving healthy skin. Herbs are good for cleansing and healing the skin. Since ancient times, women have turned to the bounties of nature to help increase their own beauty. The ancient Romans used beauty packs of eggs and honey (amongst others), and Egyptians are well-known for their use of oils and perfumes. Pampering our skin is something we should learn to do for our health and well being. Many
of the commercially made soaps, lotions, and bath products are actually harsh on our skin, despite what they claim. However, there are some simple things you can do to nurture your skin without buying expensive spa products.
Skin care today is big business. If you peruse the cosmetics section of your department store you can easily become overwhelmed, not only with the choices offered, but also with the prices. Americans spend 45 billion dollars annually on cosmetics and 6,000 to 10,000 new products are introduced every year. Making cosmetics out of simple ingredients found in the kitchen and garden was once an art known to most women. You still can make your own skin care products though, and have fun doing it! The quality of the products you make will be far superior to the most expensive products found at the cosmetics counter, because you control the quality.
Today, when cosmetics counters offer cleansers full of artificial ingredients for astronomical prices, you might want to consider looking in your pantry for natural alternatives. Chamomile, chervil, dandelion, fennel, lime flowers, rosemary leaves, are all cleansing, and mildly astringent. Infusing any one of them into a tea will make for a light and refreshing rinse for your skin. If you are looking for natural antiseptics, try an infusion of lavender, mint, thyme, or witch hazel. If you skin suffers from frequent outbreaks,these may well help.
Keeping your skin healthy not only improves its appearance, but also is necessary for proper functioning of your skin. Important herbs to use for skin care include, but are not limited to, chamomile, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, pot marigold, red clover, rose, sage and thyme. These are all easy to grow herbs for the home gardener.
People seeking relief from chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are increasingly turning to "alternative" herbal remedies. Some of these plant-based products, like aloe vera and witch hazel, have long been used to sooth skin inflammation, but few have undergone the scrutiny of clinical testing on humans. One that most people probably already have in their kitchen cabinet is tea, commonly used as a home remedy for sunburn. Both green and black tea-leaves contain tannins, which constrict blood vessels and tighten the skin tissue when applied to the skin surface. In one study, a diluted solution of green tea infused in alcohol and water applied to the skin reduced redness in volunteers exposed to ultraviolet radiation from a sun lamp. Green tea extracts have also been shown to reduce the amount of sun-related skin damage in patients using Psoralen-UV-A, a treatment for psoriasis.
Other common plants also appear to provide some skin protection. In one study, spearmint extract acted as an antioxidant, protecting skin cells in mice from oxygen-related damage. In another, lavender oil reduced the allergic reaction in mice exposed to chemicals. Two over-the-counter herbal products currently getting attention are borage and primrose oil. Both contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid thought to be lacking in people who suffer from atopic dermatitis (eczema). Some studies suggest that these herbs may help reduce skin inflammation, but at this point the evidence is far from conclusive.