The use of natural ingredients in cosmetics and skin care products is traceable back thousands of years. Here are 3 key ingredients used in ancient times and still found in skin care products today for beautiful youthful skin.
Milk baths envelop the skin in lactic acid, a natural alpha hydroxy. Whilst glycolic acid (another alpha hydroxy) is sourced from sugar cane, Lactic provides greater versatility as a dual exfoliant and potent skin hydrator. Lactic acid gently dissolves superficial dead skin to gently smooth and reveal a softer feeling skin. Lactic acid is also produced by the skin as a humectant. It is able to bind water to deeply moisturise and hydrate for maximum skin comfort. Whilst trying to fill a bath tub with warm goat’s milk would be both expensive and a challenge, why not emulate Cleopatra’s regime with AHA body cleansers, scrubs and moisturisers. Today’s modern formulas are vegan friendly and of course suitable for those who are lactose intolerant.
Did you know that honey is still used to this day in hospital emergency wards to treat second and third degree burns? Honey is a natural antibiotic and hydrating agent that offers versatile results. The ancient Egyptians used honey as a natural preservative to maintain softness and protection to mummified skin. The ancient Greeks on the other hand benefitted from both its wound healing and skin beautifying properties. Honey is rich in royal jelly and antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory sap. Propolis a resin found in honey delivers antibiotic qualities that are useful for inflamed, sensitised and even breakout prone complexions. Next time you have a kitchen mishap or accidentally burn yourself, try a light application of honey for repair-accelerating results. High quality honey contains less sugar and a better concentration of natural actives.
Fragrant and botanical oils were some of the most valuable commodities in the ancient world. The baby Jesus was given frankincense and myrrh – both aromatic oils. Ancient Greek and Roman sportsman would anoint their bodies with aromatic olive oil to moisturise, heal and gently deodorise. Ancient Egyptians would condition the hair and prevent lice by applying oil to their strands. Essential oils don’t just smell nice; they are highly antioxidant agents rich in botanical polyphenols, flavonoids and tannins. Essential oils are highly antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and can assist in removing and healing skin impurities. Base oils like olive serve more purpose than just cooking. They replicate and re-enforce the skin’s natural barrier function for increased skin elasticity, moisturisation and comfort to dry skin conditions.
Why not try a facial oil underneath your moisturiser? The oil is rapidly absorbed imparting a soft and velvety feel. Essential oil additions such as peppermint, tea tree or lavender can tone, re-balance and purify the complexion for an awakened sensation.
By: Andrew R. Christie
Beauty & Skin Industry Specialist