Ever heard your mother say that she’s seen a new cream in the magazine that helps aging?Or covers wrinkles? She wouldn’t need any of those products in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with her skin but only because we get influenced, is that we think we wouldn’t survive without it. Or your grandmother who swears her still-youthful glow is thanks to a lifetime of shea butter? Depending what part of the world you or your ancestors hail from, you may have grown up with some promise or other about the powers of natural beauty.
Companies conduct market research to find out what words folks respond to most—aloe! shea! vitamin C!—then they sprinkle a tiny bit of the popular ones into an otherwise crappy product. (To get an idea how much of that lauded ingredient is in your product, check the label: Ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration, so if it’s near the middle or bottom, you’re being ripped off.)
Let’s hope you’re not too shocked now. What can you do to prevent “bad surprises?”
We’ll have to use, what has been used many years before by our ancestors- get back to the basics. Forget ‘Q10’ effect or others, because who knows if the wanted coenzymes are even present in a proper dosage? Try using more of this:
- Argan oil: Nicknamed “liquid gold,” Morrocan women swear by this stuff to treat everything from wrinkles and psoriasis to burns and acne. Science is still catching up but argan is extremely rich in linoleic acid, which applied topically is proven to reduce acne, and vitamin E, an antiager that may reduce scarring as well.
- Aloe vera: Even if your mom wasn’t a hippie you know that aloe vera gel has calming and restorative properties straight from the plant. Science says that it’s antibacterial and has been proven to speed wound healing in rats. In humans who’d undergone dermabrasion treatment, damaged skin healed 72 hours faster when aloe was applied. (Works perfectly with fever blisters, just cut off a tiny piece of your aloe vera plant and sprinkle it on the blister regularly.)
- Baking soda: Most of us have it at home it will wash your sink, but it will also whiten your teeth,banish your bad breath, and deodorize bad smells—including your own.
- Coconut oil: With a molecular structure that allows it to penetrate skin and hair, both preventing water loss and replacing lipids that deplete with aging, it’s a double winner. Science says it also accelerates wound healing, can help treat eczema, and has shown to be therapeutic in the treatment of acne and gives your hair some extra treatment when applied as oil.
- Green tea: We should all be drinking it, but topical application of green tea has lots of science on its side, too. Several studies have shown it toreduce the effects of UV damage, enhance wound healing, and treat acne. Green tea is also anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the redness associated with rosacea.
- Honey: Before we had antibiotics we had honey, which was frequently used in wound dressing to accelerate healing. It’s no surprise then that science says it does, in fact, do just that. Its topical application also demonstrates antibacterial action, and helps prevent scarring. (It’s good on toast, too.)
- Olive oil: Just when you thought you’d heard everything there is to know about the powers of olive oil: A 2000 study done on mice indicated that topical application of olive oil after UVB exposure effectively reduced the rodents’ chances of developing skin tumors. Already proven to be a powerful antioxidant in food, olive oil may play an exciting role in reducing DNA damage in skin, too.
- Propolis: Bees use propolis, an antimicrobial resin, to sterilize their hives, and a variety of studies have shown its properties to benefit human health—from reducing the duration of common colds to slowing the proliferation of cancer cells. Topically, propolis functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory proven to protect skin against photodamage, it’s more antibacterial than honey, and is even effective against cold sores.
- Shea butter: West African women (and grandmas 😉 ) have been using this stuff forever. Not only does its application exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory properties but recent studies are indicating that cinnamic acid (found in shea) reduces the effects of UV damage. Just make sure to choose a brand that’s sourced fairly, like Alaffia.