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There is no denying it—ancient wisdom still prevails today, even in the ways we care for our skin. Beauty regimens from long ago have lasting power for one simple reason—they work!

Yet some of these skin care rituals may surprise you. With all the fancy ingredients in skin care products today, these uncomplicated and cost-effective treatments taken from our ancestors are definitely worth a try.

Rub On Olive Oil

olive oil howstuffworks.comAs early as Biblical times, people unlocked the power of olives by using the cold-pressed oil in everything from food to anointing the skin.

Nutrient-rich, extra-virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants, protects against bacteria, and assists with the body’s ability to heal itself. Due to its small molecular structure, it absorbs easily into the skin. In fact, its lipid profile is very close to that of human skin.

For many people with oily or acne-prone skin, the thought of putting more oil on the skin may seem counterintuitive. Contrary to what you would think, olive oil can balance overproductive oil glands and can even clear out blackheads, since it is naturally anti-inflammatory.

If you’re not into slathering olive oil on your skin, try Norma Kamali’s Olive Only Soap made with puréed olives. It can be used on both the face and the body. You can find it for $15–$85 at The Wellness Cafe.

Take Baths in Milk

images-4Cleopatra, famous for her beauty, reputedly took regular baths in milk, among other beauty rituals. French and English aristocracy also bathed in milk in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Milk contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that naturally exfoliates the skin. This type of acid gently dissolves proteins to exfoliate dead skin cells and reveal fresh, younger-looking skin underneath.

Choose creamier milk, as it is better at moisturizing dry skin.

For products containing milk to be effective, labels should list “milk” or “lac” within the first five ingredients, and the contents should be opaque, according to Cyren Organics, an Australian company that produces a beauty line based on goat’s milk.

The company also warns against soap bars with milk ingredients.

“When milk is used in soap bar manufacturing,” Cyren Organics says on its website, “soaps are naturally alkaline, which negates any benefit ‘lactic acids’ would have on the skin. Lactic acid in milk is already quite mild; put that into a highly alkaline environment and the acid won’t work.”

A nice, no-fuss formula to try is Osmia Organics Organic Milk Bath. It contains organic buttermilk powder, organic oats, and baking soda, combined with essential oils.

Or simply add two to four cups of milk or buttermilk to your bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Slather On Raw Honey

HoneyOnce again, we turn to beauty icon Cleopatra who used honey and natron, or baking soda, as a facial scrub.

Raw honey has naturally antibacterial, antiseptic, and moisturizing properties.

To blend a honey mask, Jennifer Taveras, an acupuncturist and herbalist in New York, recommended in an email to combine one tablespoon of raw honey with one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and apply as a facial mask for 15 minutes. Then rinse off with warm water.

“Cinnamon works to kill acne by drying out the affected area and bringing blood and oxygen to the surface to open the pores,” says the Acne Skin Site.

Once considered an elixir of health and immortality in oriental and ayurvedic medicine, the combination of honey and cinnamon can also be brewed as an anti-aging tea used by an ancient Himalayan tribe called Hunza.

Health from Nature recommends using one tablespoon of cinnamon and four tablespoons of honey in one cup of hot water. Drink this four times a day to slow down the aging process.

Use Mud and Clay

Rhassoul clay has been used for over 1,400 years as a soap, shampoo, and skin conditioner, according to Mountain Rose Herbs.

Hailing from the Atlas Mountains in Eastern Morocco, the reddish-brown cosmetic clay contains high percentages of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium—topical nutrients that benefit skin and hair. The clay’s properties cause it to swell when water is added to it, which makes it a popular choice in spas and skin care regimens from facial masks to hair care.

One pound of raw Rhassoul clay powder costs only $9 on the Mountain Rose Herbs website and can be used in multiple ways.

Mud from Israel’s Dead Sea is renown for its therapeutic properties for the skin due to the high mineral content. We still cover our bodies with it today to help heal eczema and psoriasis, and to deliver beautifying minerals to the epidermis.

Can’t travel to Israel to get it? Dead Sea Warehouse Mud Mask is practically the real deal, with minimal processing. It costs $24.95 on the Dead Sea Warehouse website.

Grind Mint Leaves

mint leaves maskMint leaves have been used for their medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties since the earliest stages of human evolution. Mint was used by the ancient Egyptians and Romans for its fragrance. In Greek mythology, mint symbolized hospitality.

“Mortals rubbed mint leaves on the table to welcome gods,” says one blog post on the Dr. Vita website. “During the Middle Ages, people used mint as a cleaning agent and as a way to purify drinking water.”

Mint leaves and mint oil help heal acne and acne scars due to their high content of salicylic acid, according to Aida Duncan, writer of “How to Improve Your Skin with Mint” on the How Stuff Works website. It also contains vitamin A, which can strengthen skin tissue and help reduce oily skin.

Duncan recommends a mask, which combines two tablespoons (15 milliliters) of mint with oatmeal and yogurt. Apply this mixture to your face and rinse off with warm water after 10 minutes. Or try my impromptu mask with ingredients I dug up in my kitchen (see photo).

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jaderollerlgAncient Beauty Tool: The Jade Roller

By Ceri Wheeldon

Jade holds a significant and even mystical place in Chinese society. Jade artifacts dating back to 5000 B.C. have been found in China.

Jade rollers have been found in tombs dating back to the 12th century. During this time, jade was always considered a symbol of beauty, grace, and longevity.

Jade rollers were part of every wealthy and powerful woman’s beauty chest in ancient China. The lighter the color of jade, the more valuable it was considered.

History

Jade was thought to be such a powerful stone that the aristocracy of China were buried in jade suits.

Imperial families believed these suits would grant them immortality. Some of these complete suits of jade have recently been uncovered, and one is currently on display in Cambridge, U.K.

What Are Jade Rollers Used For?

Traditionally, jade rollers were used to flatten wrinkles on the face and clear fluid congestion. Jade is an interesting semiprecious stone in that it remains cold while in contact with the skin (even in Brisbane, Australia, in summer). This feature allows it to help close the pores and tighten the skin.

According to modern understanding, the jade roller’s most useful function is to increase lymphatic drainage.

Here we are referring to the fluid that resides in the tissues. This fluid is responsible for providing cell nutrition and removing waste products and toxins. The lymphatic system has no pump to keep the lymph circulating and instead relies on muscle contraction. When this system does not function correctly, there is a buildup of fluid in the tissues, which can manifest as swelling and fluid retention in an area.

The lymphatic system responds very well to manual therapy. This can be done in a variety of ways. One of the easiest and most affordable ways is with a jade roller massage.

By improving lymphatic circulation, you can provide improved nutrition to the cells in the epidermis and dermis. You can also increase the removal of waste products.

Using the Jade Roller

Jade rollers are quick and easy to use. The basic principle is to roll in an upward and outward direction, as this is believed to lift the qi or energy of the face. Traditionally, the massage always started on the right side of the face followed by the left side, as this is the direction in which the energy in this part of the body is believed to flow.

The rollers are also excellent to use on areas such as the eyes and neck, which are harder to treat.


Ceri Wheeldon is founder and editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk. This article was reprinted with her permission from an original product review found on the Fab After Fifty website.

This post first appeared in Epoch Times Style. Re-posted with permission from the Epoch Times website here.

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