March 2003 Ageless herbal newsletter
Although writing about skincare may sound like re-stating the obvious to some, there are still people that do not know how to look after their skin.
A skin is a skin is a skin - no matter what age, ethnic background or gender - you need to look after it properly every day to keep wrinkles and the ravages of age at bay.
When we talk about every day, we mean each and every day - no matter what your circumstances or schedule. Even if you get back home very late (or early for that matter) from an evening out, you still need to do your routine, since it is continuous good skincare which results in a radiant looking skin.
Wash, tone and moisturize is the maxim on which good skincare rests, and although individual products and applications may vary, it will be around these three things, that will decide the way your skin looks.
Some cleansers do not need to be followed with a toner, since they are formulated in such a way that your skin will be cleansed and toned at the same time - but check for this when purchasing a product, as you may need to get an individual toner as well.
The surface of our skin, the stratum corneum (horny layer), is the first line of defense for your skin, keeping bacteria and viruses at bay. The horny layer is acid by nature and is normally referred to as the acid mantle. This acid mantle plays a significant role in warding off the advances of micro organisms and it is therefore important to maintain the integrity of the acid mantle.
Toners are specially formulated to assist in restoring the integrity of the acid mantle, while it cools, calms, refreshes and removes the last traces of any pollutants or make-up from the skin. It is better to get an alcohol-free toner, since alcohol, whilst it makes your skin feel very cool, is a very drying ingredient.
Moisturizers are needed by everybody - even if you stay in cooler climates, as your skin will then be subjected to central heating.
Teenagers with skin problems also need moisturizers - they do not need an oily compound, but could do with a moisturizing gel that moisturizes whilst helping to clear up the problem.
Men, if they want to admit it or not, also need moisturizers, since they are equally vulnerable to the drying effects of the environment and aging. Modern day standards also dictate that the man must look groomed and presentable and the craggy worn look of decades ago has been replaced by the man equally looking to keep aging at bay.
Whilst talking about male skincare it is interesting to note that some dermatologists advise to rather shave using a mild soap and a wet razor, instead of commercial shaving foam or an electric razor. (This should then be followed by using a facial cleanser when finished to remove all traces of the soap.)
The logic behind this is that it takes extra time to wet, lather and rinse the skin. This should be done at least twice, before starting to shave, with a sharp razor. This will give the beard time to absorb water and to soften, for easier shaving and causing less stress to your skin.
Countless people have tried this method and while some still reported highly sensitive skin in the beginning, it did disappear after a while.
So if you are tired of shaving with an electric razor, or if you wish for a smoother razor shave, then try this method - if it doesn't work out for you, you can always go back to your previous way of shaving.
An encyclopedia can be written about skincare, but we thought that it would be a good idea just to make you aware once again that good skincare is not a once-in-a-while happening, but consists of a daily routine closely followed each and every day. ( More skincare tips are available at www.ageless.co.za/skincare.htm)
Lavender is an evergreen woody shrub about 1 meter high (3 feet), with gray-green narrow linear leaves and the most beautiful purple-blue flowers perched on a long stem. A few varieties of Lavenders grow wild in the Mediterranean region, but the main producer is France.
The name Lavender is derived from the Latin word 'lavera' to wash. The Romans used Lavender frequently in their bath routine, and it is said to have been introduced by them into England, where it soon was a firm favorite.
Lavender was a favorite for strewing on the floor since it released an aroma when walked upon. It is used in toilet water, as an insecticide when placed between linen (keeping bugs at bay) and to clean wounds.
Lavender oil has a soothing and calming effect on the nerves, relieving tension, depression, panic, hysteria and nervous exhaustion in general. It is effective for headaches, migraines and insomnia and beneficial for problems such as: bronchitis, asthma, colds, laryngitis, halitosis, throat infections and whooping cough.
This oil relieves pain when used for rheumatism, arthritis, lumbago and muscular aches and pains, especially those associated with sport. It tones the skin and is useful for all types of skin problems: abscesses, acne, oily skin, boils, burns, sunburn, wounds, psoriasis, lice, insect bites, stings and as an insect repellent.
Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be used neat on the skin, and this is especially useful when treating a minor burn wound. It must however be used with extreme caution and in very small amounts.
In vapor therapy Lavender oil can be useful for: allergies, anorexia, dizziness, sleeplessness (also in children), hay fever, headaches, depression, trauma, anxiety, hysteria, fear, nightmares, irritability, nervous tension and as an insect repellant.
Lavender oil can be used as a massage oil or diluted in the bath for: abdominal pains, allergies, anorexia, arthritis, bowel disorders, fatigue, hay fever, headaches, insomnia, moodiness, trauma, anxiety, depression, hysteria, nightmares, fear, irritability, nervous tension, stress and for relaxing.
Although Lavender is considered one of the safest essential oils, you should discontinue use if you have any allergic reactions. ( For more information please visit www.essentialoils.co.za/essential_oils/lavender.htm)
This is a Brazilian herb, also referred to as murapuama, and is mostly known for its effective help with erectile dysfunction and increasing libido and as an aphrodisiac - but is also an excellent tonic for increasing general well-being and mental tiredness.
Muira puama grows up to 5 meters in height and produces pungent flowers with a jasmine-like fragrance.
The indigenous tribes in Brazil have used the roots and bark internally as a tea for its aphrodisiac properties, for treating sexual debility and erectile dysfunction, nervous system disorders, neuralgia, baldness, impotency, gastrointestinal disorders, neuromuscular problems and rheumatism.
Murapuama has been used as a herb in Europe for some time and is listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, a source on herbal medicine from the British Herbal Medicine Association, and is recommended for the treatment of dysentery and impotence.
It is from the Olacaceae family, and the genus is Ptychopetalum (species olacoides) and is also known as Muira Puama, Marapuama, Marapama, Potency Wood and Potenzholz. The bark and roots are used in herbal treatments.
Although many people are skeptical about sexual stimulants or "herbal Viagra's" as such, the Muira puama herb has been shown by Dr. Jacques Waynberg, a world authority on sexual functioning, of the Institute of Sexology in Paris, France, that it is effective in assisting in increasing sexual desire as well as attaining and maintaining an erection.
The active constituents are free long-chain fatty acids, sterols, coumarin, alkaloids and essential oils. Chemically, it contains .05% muirapuamine, .4% fat, .5% alkaloids, .6% pholbaphene, .6% alpha-resinic acid, .7% beta resinic acid, .5% of a mixture of esters including behenic acid, lupeol and beta-sitosterol, as well as tannin, volatile oils and fatty acids.
Muira puama is considered a safe herb, whereas another herbal sexual stimulant called yohimbine can induce anxiety, panic attacks, and hallucinations in some individuals, as well as elevated blood pressure, high heart rate, dizziness, headaches, and skin flushing.