Nurturing Your Skin
by Brenda Hyde
Pampering our skin is something we should learn to do for our health and well being. Many of the commercially made soaps, lotions, and bath products are actually harsh on our skin, despite what they claim. However, there are some simple things you can do to nurture your skin without buying expensive spa products.
Do not over wash your face or body. A gentle rinse in the morning is often all you need for your face and neck area. Avoid scrubbing with the abrasive cleaners that are available or harsh soaps. I have found that a good quality handmade soap works well. When washing use warm water and finally, pat your face dry gently with a soft towel. The key to pampering your skin is to be as gentle as possible.
In "Age Erasers for Women" (Rodale Press, 1994) the editors of Prevention Magazine recommend this quick home facial. Grind 2 cups of dry red beans in a food processor or grinder. Mix 1/2 cup of the powder with a little water to form a paste. Spread on your face, avoiding your eye area, and leave on for about 5 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Save the remainder of the powder in a covered container. After this cleaning mask, you can follow with a hydration mask as follows:
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. half-and-half or heavy cream
Apply to your face, including your eye area, and leave on for 15-20 minutes and rinse with warm water.
I have found that the best moisturizers are fragrance and color free. The simpler, the better. It's important that you do not towel dry your face or body completely before adding a moisturizer. They do not ADD moisture, but instead they help retain the moisture from your bath or shower. If you do want to add fragrance, try adding a few drops of essential oil such as calendula, which has skin soothing properties.
Pampering in the Bath
Many of us have always loved hot baths, unfortunately soaking in hot steaming water is not good for your skin. Soothing baths should be warm and comforting. Many bath products on the market are very harsh on your body. The more perfume and chemicals in the product, the worse it is for your skin. You can however, add scent to your bath without using commercial products. The following herbal bath treats are relaxing and soothing to your skin:
Chamomile Foam Bath
You will need:
- 4 tablespoons dried Chamomile
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 4 tablespoons grated soap (a gentle variety)
Crush the chamomile and mix with the water and soap. You can also stir in a teaspoonful of oil, such as almond oil. Pour into a running bath.
Lavender and Milk Bath Sachet
You will need:
- 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers
- 1/4 cup instant powdered whole milk
- 1/4 cup oatmeal.
Place into a muslin drawstring bag. Toss the bag into the bath water as it's running. You can also use the bag to rub your skin as you bathe.
You can also make your own variations of bath tea with assorted fresh or dried herbs. Place a cup or so of assorted herbs into a bowl and add 2 cups of boiling water. Let this steep for 10 minutes, strain and add to your bath as it runs. These amounts are estimates; feel free to experiment until you find a combination that works for you.
Learning to nurture your skin is important for men, women and children. The earlier you start pampering yourself the better your skin will feel and look. We are exposed to so many destructive elements on a daily basis from the sun, the wind and air around us that our skin needs a little help to feel it's best.
Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer, editor, herb gardener and mother to three children. For more herb recipes and tips visit her at Seeds of Knowledge.com. (http://seedsofknowledge.com/gardenpath.html)