Holistic secrets of youth
Forget dangerous Botox, fillers and surgery; herbs and essential oils offer an even more effective natural face-lift.
The power of natural ingredients to lift, tone, plump and firm skin cannot be underestimated. Nutritive oils like apricot kernel, rosehip, and wheatgerm contain high levels of essential fatty acids which smooth and hydrate, while calendula, carrot, lavender, frankincense and chamomile essential oils protect skin cells from free radical damage and so prevent wrinkles and slow signs of ageing.
Other anti-ageing warriors include antioxidant-rich green tea, blueberry and pomegranate extracts, coenzyme Q10, beta-carotene and vitamin C, Kakadu plum, and the remarkable new plant extract okuru (see box “Out of Africa”), which increase cell turnover and boost collagen, resulting in improved firmness and suppleness, and marine minerals and algae, which strengthen, stimulate, and tighten skin. Rosehip oil contains essential fatty acids that soften dry skin, fade scarring, and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This is an excellent alternative to Botox. In one study, 90 percent of women saw an improvement in skin tone, elasticity, and firmness after just one cosmetic acupuncture session. Fine needles are inserted into specific acu-points on the face and body that increase micro-circulation to the skin’s surface, creating a natural glow, and stimulate production of collagen and elastin, the skin’s support structure. A course of treatment is usually 10 one-hour visits over a five-week period.
Ophelia in Hamlet remarks that “rosemary is for remembrance”, but it stimulates more than just memory, with an International Journal of Tissue Reactions study showing that it contains strong antioxidants that inhibit free-radical damage on the skin’s surface.
Of all the herbal antioxidants, green tea (Camellia sinensis) has the best scientific support, with American and Korean studies finding that creams containing green tea polyphenolic compounds prevented the degradation of the extra-cellular matrix, which keeps skin firm.
The okuru plant is native to Western Africa, where it has long been prized for its ability to rejuvenate skin. French scientists have found that its peptides minimise wrinkles in a similar way to Botox, while Monash University studies report a 30 percent reduction in fine lines in women who used it for four weeks.
Try a D-I-Y facelift
Harness the healing power of Nature with these recipes:
Frankincense has impressive anti-ageing properties, while almond oil plumps up the skin’s epidermis.
8 drops frankincense essential oil
14 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops neroli essential oil
50ml almond oil
Combine ingredients in a small container. Massage a small amount into face and neck for five minutes before going to sleep.
Strawberry skin peel
Strawberries boast high levels of skin-brightening alpha-hydroxy acids; white willow bark removes dead surface cells.
4 large strawberries
1 white willow bark tablet, ground
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon honey
Combine ingredients, thickening with cornflour. Smooth onto damp skin and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse.
Age spot lightener
Licorice blocks tyrosine, an enzyme that controls melanin (pigment that colours skin). Apples’ fruit acid and vitamin C are mild bleaches.
¼ cup licorice root tea
1 tablespoon apple pulp
1,000 mg vitamin C tablet
rice flour, sufficient
Combine ingredients, thickening with flour. Paint paste on spots, let dry, and rinse. Refrigerate leftover paste. Repeat daily.
Boo to Botox
What it is Botox comes from botulinum toxin, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum which causes severe food poisoning (botulism). First used in the 1980s to treat uncontrollable blinking (blepharospasm) and misaligned eyes (strabismus), cosmetic treatments were pioneered in 1987.
How it works Small doses are injected into facial muscles to paralyse or relax them. This has the effect of smoothing wrinkles and fine lines. After several months, Botox is metabolised by the body, so devotees need to repeat treatment regularly.
Health dangers Droopy eyebrows and eyelids, headaches, bruising, swelling, and nausea are common side effects. There’s also the risk of leakage into adjacent body regions, causing weakness, numbness, paralysis, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. Ironically, once effects wear off, you may look even more aged due to muscle atrophy.
Natural anti-agers we love
Alpha-H Age Delay Facial Oil, www.adorebeauty.com.au
Yes To Blueberries Age Refresh Intensive Skin Repair Serum, www.yestocarrots.com
lapureté Okuru Resurrection Night Crème, www.lapurete.com.au
Bakel Q10-B5 Cellular Revitalizer, www.bakeltechnology.com
Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Serum, www.trilogyproducts.com
One Skin System Ultimate Vitamin Treatment, www.oneskinsystem.com
Pod Puraceuticals Liquid Erase, www.podskincare.com
Pevonia Botanica Age Defying Marine Collagen Cream, www.pevonia.com
Joi Pure Recovery Eye Serum, www.joipure.com
Mambino Organics Youth Glow Omega Face Complex, www.mambinoorganics.com.au
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