Natural Skin Care Through the Ages

The use of natural ingredients in skin care has an enduring history throughout the ages. Influenced by culture, geography and of course aesthetics you may be surprised at what natural skin care remedies of yesteryear have in common with today’s skin care products. Relying on natural ingredients begins with the Egyptians and has evolved to the present day. Such knowledge can take your skin care into the next decade with confidence.


Ancient times

Ancient Egyptians created do-it-yourself remedies consisting of sesame, castor and moringa oils to diminish wrinkles. They cleansed their skin with a soapy paste using bentonite clay and olive oil, a combination still sold today in some soaps and face mask products. The most famous of Egyptian women, Cleopatra, was said to have used these to preserve her beautiful skin.


The ancient Greeks looked no further than fresh berry bushes, olive trees and honeybees to mix, mash and extract surrounding bounties to create oils and pastes with anti-aging and hydration properties.


Middle ages

During Medieval times and the Renaissance years in Europe smooth, white skin was highly praised. Women turned to herbs, seeds, and flowers for their face masks and sported hats to shade their skin from the sun. Saunas and sweat cleansing came into vogue for both men and women.


Later, in the 1800s the white porcelain doll look continued to be pursued by using lemon juice to naturally lighten the shade of skin.


20th Century change


It wasn’t until the 1930s when Coco Chanel returned from a Mediterranean cruise with a glowing bronzed tan that year-round tans became the desired look for skin. Prior to that tanned skin had been associated with field work. Routines for skin care often included ten steps.


Cold cream, moisturizers, and sunscreen all became easily accessible in the 1940s. During the 1950s do-it-yourself skin care face masks staged a comeback. Sunbathing was seen as glamorous. Powder compacts reduced skin shine.


During the 1960s skin damage from UVB and UVA rays became known, but many did not heed the warnings until decades later. Following the cake mascara psychedelic sixties, the 1970s ushered in a soft, natural look with minimal makeup and organic skin care products that harkened back-to-the earth sentiments. Natural beauty reigned as represented by popular celebrities Goldie Hawn, Ali McGraw, Sissy Spacek and let’s not forget men including Michael Douglas, Dustin Hoffman and John Travolta.


The 1980s were the yuppy years when designer names were blazed on clothing. In skin care, anti-aging products with collagen, natural extracts and acne cleansers were introduced. Face scrubs and exfoliation became common in skin care routines. Sculpted, defined features were highlighted. Matte makeup gave skin a natural look.


By the 1990s escalating skin cancer concerns brought sunscreen to the forefront and became a regular accompaniment for men and women’s morning skin care routine. Herbal essence shampoo filled shower stalls; body powder and body lotions crowded bathroom cabinets. AHAs – alpha hydroxy acids – were introduced to help diminish fine lines, promote blood flow, brighten and exfoliate skin.


21st Century solutions


Let’s forget Britney Spear’s body glitter in the 2000s and Victoria Secret’s Love Spell fragrance and move onto natural body butter, cellular face creams, and vegan hand lotions that promote bright healthy skin.


The 2020s  will continue to embrace natural, sustainable skin care products. Global diversity has provided an influx from other cultures. The toffee-colored, healthy skin of celebrities such as Alex Rodriguez, Halle Berry and Beyonce is now admired.


Serums, refillable products, body and face creams, lip elixirs and other organic skin boosting, skin smoothing remedies harken back to the ages when natural bounties were relied upon. What we know is that there is no one and done process in skin care. It’s an everyday effort. Take your skin care into the next decade with convenient, effective, natural, organic, and sustainable solutions.


Cleopatra would be jealous.


(image: Saph Photography | Pexels)

Eight Components for Healthy, Glowing Skin

Healthy, beautiful skin comes from the inside out. Good nutrition promotes a healthy glow. So what we put in our bodies is as vital as what we put on our bodies. A healthy skin diet is a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Research suggests that certain antioxidants such as vitamin C, Vitamin, E, Selenium, and Vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) nourish and protect the skin to extend it’s youthful appearance.


Here are some of the most important components for a healthy skin diet:


1)   Vitamin A. Found in low-fat dairy products, and Vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables (beta carotene).  Beta Carotene is a nutrient that is critical for skin health. It is converted to Vitamin A in the body to aid in the growth and repair of body tissue, including your skin.  Best foods for beta carotene are: Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Carrots, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Spinach, Dried Herbs, Butternut Squash, Lettuce (Romaine & Red Leaf) and Collards.


2 )  Vitamin C. Naturally found in skin, it is involved in collagen production and protects cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C is destroyed by exposure to sunlight, even when you spend a short amount of time in the sun. It can leave the skin depleted.  That’s why it is important to replenish your skin’s Vitamin C by eating plenty of Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Best foods for Vitamin C: Red and green hot chili peppers, guavas, bell peppers (all colors), kiwi fruit, fresh herbs (thyme and parsley), bark cauliflower, brussels sprouts, papayas, oranges, tangerines, asparagus and strawberries.


3)  Vitamin B3.  is one of the best forms of the B vitamins for your skin. Also known as Niacin, It is a skin-conditioning powerhouse, B3 treats a variety of skin conditions and irritations, including dermatitis, acne, rosacea, eczema, dry and sun-damaged skin, and hyperpigmentation. It’s also a strong anti-aging ingredient and as such, features prominently in skin care products targeted at fine lines and wrinkles. Best foods for Vitamin B3: Turkey, chicken, dairy products, liver, mushrooms, fish, peas, fortified breads and cereals


4)  Vitamin E. Protects cell membranes and guards against UV radiation damage. Some research suggests that Vitamin E may work with Vitamin C to provide an extra boost of anti-aging skin protection. Best foods for Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, paprika & red chili powder, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, dried herbs (basil & oregano), avocados, dried apricots, pickled green olives, cooked spinach and cooked taro root.


5)  Selenium.  An antioxidant mineral that helps safeguard the skin from sun damage. It helps delay wrinkles by protecting the skin’s quality and elasticity. Best foods for Selenium: Nuts (brazil buts), shellfish (oysters, mussels, whelk), brown rice, liver, fish, sunflower seeds, bran (wheat, rice & oat), caviar, bacon and pork chops, mushrooms, lobster, crab, whole wheat pasta and shrimp.


6)  Zinc.  Your skin contains six percent of all the Zinc in your body. This mineral is necessary for protecting cell membranes and helping to maintain the collagen that keeps the skin firm. Best foods for Zinc: Oysters, toasted wheat germ, skinless chicken (dark meat), lentils, roasted pumpkins, squash seeds, dried watermelon seeds, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, lean lamb, peanuts and crab.


7)  Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  Healthy fats help maintain cell membranes. They are effective barriers allowing water and nutrients in and keeping toxins out. Also known to protect the skin against sun damage. Best foods for Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Chinook salmon, herring, mackerel, halibut, sardines, eggs, soy milk, yogurt, oatmeal, walnuts, brussel sprouts, kale, mint rapeseed oil, cod liver oil, flax seed oil, and olive oil.


8)  Hydration.  When hydration comes from pure clear water the skin cells rejoice. Drinking water will help your body flush away toxins and allow the smooth flow of nutrients into the cells.  Cells that are well hydrated are plump and full. This means that the skin will look firmer and clearer (but not “fat”).  Many fruits and vegetables have high water content that contribute to overall hydration. Best foods that are high in water content: Watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches, pineapple, raspberries, blueberries and plums, celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, tomato, zucchini, mushroom, eggplant and spinach.


You may already be practicing a healthy skin diet without even knowing it. This information on how a healthy diet nourishes your skin will give you some more ideas to expand your practice. (Photo: Daria Shevtosova | Pexels).