We’ve all become more skin-aware. Every day we’re bombarded with adverts for skin care lotions that promise to get rid of our wrinkles, lift our brows and generally make us all look like Andi Macdowell at 40. What the adverts don’t tell us is how much these products will cost: we only find that out when we’re standing at the counter with a miniature pot of cream saying, ‘How much?!’
The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can help yourself care for your skin naturally.
The History of Skin Care
Skin care isn’t a new concept: it’s said that Cleopatra bathed in asses’ milk and historians tell us that the ancient Romans used honey in face packs. Coming a bit closer to the present time, our great-grandmother’s relied on very natural creams that were usually home-concocted. Many of the so-called witches were just old-fashioned herbalists who used plants to heal and repair.
Today more and more people are turning back to long-known natural herbal remedies for minor ailments and it’s no different in respect to skin care. Many effective skin care creams can be made easily at home using natural ingredients that can be bought from your local greengrocer or grown in the garden.
A Clean Start
Maybe the best place to begin is with a facial sauna but why buy an expensive electric face sauna when you can make your own using a bowl and a towel?!
Boil a kettle of water and fill the bowl. Add a few drops of essential oils and then hold your head over the hot water, covering both your head and the bowl with a towel. Stay like that for a few minutes to allow your pores to open before applying a face mask.
- For dry skin use chamomile and rose oils; for oily skin use eucalyptus and lemon; and for normal skins, try some orange and lavender.
Honey Face Mask
Once your pores have opened, smear a thin layer of clear honey over your face, avoiding the eyes and lips. Lie back and relax for half an hour and then rinse off with warm water. Splash your skin with cold water to close the pores again.
Strawberry Face Mask
Mash 3 ripe strawberries with 2 tablespoonfuls oatmeal and 1 drop of lemon essential oil. Spread the strawberry paste on your face, avoiding eyes and mouth, and relax for 30 minutes. Gently rinse off with cool water.
Mix some skimmed milk powder with a little water to make a thin paste and use to cleanse your skin. Rinse well afterwards.
Place 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped lemon balm and lavender into a bowl. Add ¼ pint boiling milk, cover and leave to infuse. Strain into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge. Dab it on your face with a piece of cotton wool.
Once a week try mixing together some oatmeal, lemon juice, banana, yogurt and turmeric. Apply the paste to your face and leave it on until dry, Massage your face as your wash it with warm water.
Infuse 2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint leaves in ½ cup of boiling water. Strain when cool. Mix ½ cup of witch hazel with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon mint infusion.
Once a week exfoliate your skin. Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin and flaky cells. They’re not effectively removed by washing and as well as making your skin look dull they’ll prevent the uptake of moisturiser and other face creams.
Put a couple of teaspoons of granular sea salt in a saucer. Dip in flannel in very warm water and hold it against your face for a minute. Then, using your fingertips, gently massage sea salt into your cheeks and forehead and nose, carefully avoiding your eyes and mouth. After a couple of minutes rinse off using cold water.
Other Ways to Help your Skin
- Try to drink 2 litres of water a day.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially veg rich in Vitamin A, such as spinach and carrots.
- Sleep well!