People struggle to keep their skin soft, supple and wrinkle free. Basic skin care techniques of cleaning, toning and moisturizing are not new; they can be traced to ancient times and ancient civilizations. But instead of the unpronounceable chemicals we now put on our skin, the ancients had only natural products from which to choose. You too can prevent and treat wrinkles using techniques from antiquity.
Archaeological finds of old bath houses tell us that the Romans had unique skin cleansing methods. After sweating in a sauna-type area they would be doused and smeared with olive oil, which was vigorously rubbed into the skin, then scraped off using flat tools made of bone. This process removed dirt, sweat and, they believed, impurities from the body. While steam rooms and scraping may not suit you, oil based soaps such as patchouli or cocoa butter, which are traced to ancient India and Africa, are good, mild cleansers for the face.
Since washing opens the pores, it’s important to close them again before the elements can affect the skin. The ancient Greeks and Arabs knew that Juniper berries did wonders to balance the skin; and an old tradition from India promotes Lemongrass for that purpose. Another hint comes from the Middle East where Pomegranate juice has been used for centuries.
Perhaps the most important step in wrinkle prevention and treatment is to moisturize the skin. Not surprisingly, some of the best ideas for moisturizing come from dry, arid climates. Black Seed oil (Nigella Sativa) has been found in Egyptian tombs, especially those of the aristocracy, and legend has it that even Cleopatra used this soothing balm. In India, Neem oil has been a favorite moisturizer since ancient times. But perhaps the best recommendation comes from southern Chile, where women have used Rosehip Seed oil for centuries.
Masks & Treatments
In addition to the standard three-step skin care regime, skin occasionally needs extra help, and again we can turn to historical wisdom. Milk, in which Cleopatra bathed and which Indian women pat lavishly on their faces, can also be made into a mask for a once monthly special treatment. Simply soak whole-grain bread in milk, squeeze out the excess and place the slices over your face. Lie down and relax for 30 minutes or so, then rinse well. Another special treat involves inexpensive Jade massage rollers that can be used daily after applying your moisturizer, or can be used as part of a weekly facial massage.
The best old techniques and recipes could be combined in the following way: cleanse your face with mild cocoa butter soap, tone it with pomegranate juice, then moisturize and massage—perhaps with an ancient Egyptian wrinkle cure that combines the oil of Almonds and Frankincense, or with the Chilean Rosehip Seed oil.
Everyone’s skin is different, and many people have contact allergies to various extracts. Just because something is natural does not mean that it is necessarily safe. There are many products available, both natural and manufactured and any of them should be tested carefully on your skin before use.