As we age, our skin becomes less supple due to the many factors that we can control. Here are some ideas to keep your skin healthy, prevent dryness, and inhibit wrinkle formation.
Healthy Skin Care Tips
Herbs for the Skin and Hair
When I teach herb courses, this section is the most fun.
It’s rich in scents and soothing oils.
Healthy skin is moist skin.
Drinking plenty of water helps hydrate your skin from the inside out. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages dehydrate your skin, so limit them.
Protect your skin from the sun and wind, which can have aging effects.
Keep your skin covered during very hot or cold weather. The sun harms your skin due to radiation exposure, and all harsh weather dries the skin out.
Protect your skin by eating foods rich in omega-3 and omega-7 fatty acids, which give your skin the tools it needs to repair itself.
Try eating nuts, fish, whole grains, or flax seeds on a regular basis. Only about a handful of nuts a day is all that’s needed for your skin to develop a nice texture and be flexible.
Borage seed, black currant seed, fish, evening primrose, and sea buckthorn oil supplements may also be beneficial.
Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and bioflavonoids.
These can help with skin repair and hydration and provide protection from the elements. The vitamins in fruits and vegetables help repair cuts, burns, and scars.
Use antioxidant-rich skincare products on the outside of your body for an extra layer of protection. Green and red teas help prevent aging and
Feed your skin from the outside as well as the inside. What we put on our skin is as important as the foods we eat.
If you “feed” your skin with moisturizers and cleansers that contain toxins and preservatives, your skin will absorb them.
Opt for plant-based skincare products. Apricot kernel oil is a wonderful, fragrant oil that benefits dry, sensitive skin.
Jojoba oil nourishes mature skin. There are several plant oils on the market, too.
Try various ones and see which one feels and works best on your skin.
Herbs for the Skin and Hair
When I teach herb courses, this section is the most fun. It’s rich in scents and soothing oils.
Why not get some friends together and have a skin medicinemaking party?
Your skin will feel amazing, and you’ll share more laughs than you can imagine.
The products you make will save you a bundle of money and be better for you than store-bought cosmetics.
And did I mention that it’s easy?
Before we get creative, I want to tell you about some of my favorite herbs for skincare.
There are many.
If you like the results of the products you make now, you may want to consider purchasing a book about herbal skin care.
Several are available; just start reading.
Many of the herbs used for skincare work via the liver.
That may sound odd until you consider what the liver and skin do. The liver is a major organ of elimination, as is the skin.
The liver detoxifies harmful substances. If chemicals are eliminated without being detoxified first, those substances cause inflammation and irritation.
Toxic substances that have not been broken down by the liver may cause redness, irritation, itching, and breakouts if eliminated via the skin.
A healthy liver makes healthy skin.
Herbs that help the liver help the skin.
Many liver tonics are roots, which reach down deep into the earth, extracting nourishment and healing energies more than any other plant parts.
My favorite root for skin care is burdock root.
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)
Burdock is a weedy plant with deep roots. As a child, I remember getting its round seed heads tangled in my hair—it seemed like my family were always cutting them out of my collie’s tail!.
I liked the big leaves, even though they tasted bitter.
(I always tasted plants as a child. By the way, that’s not a very smart the thing to do unless you know what you’re tasting, and we don’t recommend it.)
Burdock seeds and roots are both used medicinally.
I have never used the seeds but always use the root. Burdock is available as a weed throughout the northern hemisphere or as a vegetable called gobo.
If your local grocery store doesn’t have it, try an Oriental market; the herb is used in Japanese cooking. I toss it in stews with carrots, parsnips, and other winter vegetables.
Burdock root is considered an alternative. Alternatives are nourishing herbs, suitable for long-term use. I keep the dried root in my kitchen cupboard for flavor, nourishment, and to ease skin irritations.
The root is prepared as a decoction, like most other roots. Burdock is rich in inulin, a carbohydrate. It’s also a good source of minerals. Burdock has a mild, astringent flavor.
It’s rather bland and mixes well with other herbs.
For skin problems, make a burdock decoction using the instructions for a standard decoction.
Drink three to four cups daily. It may take a month or two for you to see results, as alternative herbs like burdock often work slowly.
They are powerful but gentle toners. Some people find that burdock increases the frequency of bowel movements, as it’s a mild laxative.
If you find that you’re going to the bathroom too frequently, reduce the number of cups of burdock tea you drink.
I use burdock root to relieve all of the following conditions: skin inflammations (including psoriasis), boils, and canker sores.
It’s considered a blood cleanser.
Burdock may relieve joint discomfort and stimulate urination.
Burdock tea can be made into a hot compress to relieve hemorrhoids and other areas of inflammation.
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Chickweed is found in temperate climates.
As its name indicates, it’s a common weed commonly found in lawns. It should be gathered and used fresh during spring and summer months.
Chickweed is a mucilaginous herb. It soothes the entire body, removes inflammation, and reduces LDL-cholesterol levels. It is nourishing with a good
amount of vitamins and minerals, and rich in emollients. Its cooling leaves may be added to a salad.
This little creeping plant benefits the whole body, especially the liver, when eaten, and the skin when applied topically.
Chickweed is a safe herb that has been used for thousands of years. It may help reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries, and it’s effective in relieving rashes, eczema, and psoriasis.
Rose (Rosa varieties)
Don’t you just love roses? Every garden I have ever planted has had several varieties of roses. My favorites are the ever-blooming and repeat-blooming varieties.
The key to growing roses easily and well is to choose roses that are right for your climate. They’re adaptable—roses live in hot and cold climates.
Some can even tolerate the salty air near the seashore.
Many of the old roses, like wild roses, dog roses, and rugosas, provide the most amazing scents of any roses.
They also have the most medicinal properties.
Besides looking and smelling incredible, roses are amazing medicine. The hips contain as much as 50 times the amount of vitamin C that is contained in an equivalent weight of an orange.
dries them, grinds them, and gives them to her dogs, since dogs benefit from a little extra vitamin C in their diet.
Roses are extremely gentle when used in skincare products.
Illnesses and Remedies
Acne is a source of embarrassment for many teens and adults.
It is especially prevalent during the teen years, as hormonal and other changes occur during the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Keeping the skin clean, engaging in exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet can all reduce acne flare-ups.
Drinking herbal teas provides deep healing to the body, reducing outbreaks as well.
Pimples-Away Honey Burdock is an excellent remedy during the teen years when pimples are a nuisance.
Since a teen may not find drinking tea convenient, try this sweet
Your teen will need to take 1 tablespoon each morning and evening for a month or so before he or she notices clearer skin.
It works very well.
If it’s too sweet,add the remedy to a cup of iced black or green tea or juice.
Local honey is a nourishing sweet that contains trace nutrients and local pollen.
Consuming local honey may help reduce sensitivity to pollens and enhance the the function of your immune system, providing an extra benefit to this acne fix.
1 lb. fresh burdock root or 4 oz. dried burdock root
1 qt. water
1 cup honey, preferably local
Simmer burdock and water, covered, for 45 minutes over low heat. Strain out the roots and compost them.
Measure remaining tea. Boil uncovered until approximately two cups of tea remains.
Add honey. Heat again, but do not boil.
Pour into sterilized jars. No refrigeration needed. Makes 3 cups.
Healthy Skin for Life
Healthy skin is possible at any age.
Maintaining a proper pH balance, ensuring cleanliness, and using gentle moisturizing are actions you can take to keep skin supple and promote a healthy glow.
Humectants, such as glycerin, pull moisture from the air and prevent the skin from drying out.
Rosewater Skin Cleanser
Purchase rosewater in a grocery store, natural foods store, or pharmacy. It’s used in Middle Eastern cooking and in pastries.
It has a perfect pH for keeping skin healthy, and it’s gentle and soothing.
Rosewater makes skincare products smell amazing, too!
Glycerin is obtained from pharmacies or natural food stores. It’s excellent for skin care and for making herbal medicines for children.
This recipe is my favorite face cleanser—it’s very gentle and smells expensive. It’s the next best thing to awakening in a garden.
1 cup rosewater
1/2 cup vegetable glycerin
Gently heat rosewater and glycerin in a saucepan until very hot but not yet simmering.
Pour into a sterilized bottle with a narrow neck.
Let cool. Apply cork or lid.
Use as an extra gentle skin cleaner for all types of skin. Rinse face after using. Make up a large batch and pour it into fancy bottles with a decorative bow for gifts
that is joyfully received!