Aging skin happens to everybody. Essentially from the moment you are born you are aging, so what we are really talking about in the post is what happens after you become a fully mature adult, past the teenage years where the worst skin problem is acne.
There are points in time where skin starts to age in a perceptible way. At least for teenagers and young adults, acne blemishes, pimples, or zits, whatever you want to call them, come and then they go. Although agonizing for young people, acne is a skin condition that goes away with time. Aging is an effect of time that, no matter how many face-lifts and Botox injections one receives, cannot be avoided.
Women notice a really big difference in their skin tone and elasticity after they enter menopause and when they are fully postmenopausal. Men just gradually age without the huge hormone shift that affects women. These days I’ve heard it called “Low T” (low testosterone), a term coined by pharmaceutical companies to push pills. Women are not prescribed Estrogen pills anymore because of the increased risk of breast cancer. Men should keep that in mind if they are considering taking Testosterone pills.
AGING SKIN – Ways to Keep Your Skin from Aging
Aging skin is starting to dry out and lose its elasticity. Because our bodies produce less of the proteins collagen and elastic. Fats and oils don’t store in the skin anymore to make it look taut and plump and rosy. The skin develops brown spots (also called age spots or liver spots) and becomes dry and thin, then starts to sag. Wrinkles become more and more pronounced the older your get. Because of this sobering situation postmenopausal women probably spend more than anybody on products for their skin, products that promise the fountain of youth but realistically cannot deliver it. For older women the only real way to achieve young looking skin without any wrinkles is to have surgery or continuous Botox injections.
Why not skip all the expense and look in your cupboard, your garden, or the supplement aisle of your natural food store for the fountain of youth? I have found lots of great ideas and recipes to share with you that use common products you may already have in your kitchen cupboard or fridge, herbs that grow in your garden or vitamins and other natural substances you can find at the health food store!
This is not a weird new age fad. Many, many women know about these inexpensive and homemade products already. These humble ingredients just don’t come in fancy bottles with names like ‘serum’ or ‘beauty cream’ and cost big bucks. I have fallen prey to those late night or early morning infomercials and ended up signing up for subscription for jars and vials of stuff that I didn’t like to use and ended up throwing away. Take Hollywood beauty Secrets, a low key website whose owner appears on television all the time to share the simple anti-aging secrets that are no longer secrets!
Beyond genetic disposition (some families are young looking while others look older) what you take into your body and certain behavioral habits will make a big difference in how quickly your skin ages. It’s as simple as that. Here is a list of the top behavioral factors that age skin:
- Drinking alcohol
- Too much sun exposure, even with sunblock
- Exposure to very cold, dry air
- Stress that leads to frowning and other facial expressions
- Lack of exercise
- Not enough hydration (that means not drinking enough water)
- Lack of sleep
It seems to be pretty well known that smoking causes wrinkles, its’ one way to try and convince young people not to smoke.
You can make a giant leap forward in your efforts at anti –aging if you change your behavior and start living more cleanly, more greenly(!) Everything in moderation is a good way to look at. Excessive participation in anything at all can lead to problems. Too much exercise, too much water, too much sleep, see what I mean? All we can do is strive to balance our lives to remain centered and healthy.
Say you want to apply treatments onto your skin. Maria Trimarchi explains in her article in Health.How.stuffworks.com,
Applying over-the-counter topical anti-aging treatments can be a good way to plump up your skin, but it’s the nutrient-based ingredients rather than the topical cosmeceutical treatments that most effectively reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Look for topical anti-aging products that contain retinol (which is vitamin A), peptides or hydroxyacids. These treatments don’t protect you from the sun’s damaging rays (which can lead to premature aging); so don’t forget to apply sunscreen.
Also consider alternative products and old wives’ tales, as some may have real benefits. Let’s look at witch hazel, for example. Witch hazel has been used for years, anecdotally thought to be good at tightening the skin when applied topically. And as it turns out, there is some truth in the tale — the herb witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it helps boost your body’s defense against cell damage.
Age Spots Home Remedies
Let’s start with some really simple remedies for age spots and freckles. After that we’ll tackle dry skin, and wrinkles. With some recipes that are more involved, recipes that include herbs and essential oils. If you experiment with different ways to reduce the look of age spots and freckles you’ll find what works best for you. And then use it consistently to see results.
Age or liver spots, also known as solar lentigines, are those brown spots you get on your skin as you age, especially if you are fair skinned and spend time in the sun. They are not dangerous to your health, just difficult on your sense of youthfulness. There are really simple, safe, and inexpensive ways to combat solar lentigines, and freckles you really don’t need to resort to laser, abrasive or pharmaceutical treatments.
According to trusted green author Annie Berthold-Bond, who makes her own formulas for house cleaning and natural body care, there are certain anti aging ingredients that work to basically bleach or fade the spots. Mostly these are acidic substances, but mostly mild in nature. Here is her list:
- Vitamin E
- Aloe vera gel
- Fruit acids like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar
- Witch hazel extract
- Horseradish (horseradish is not so mild to use sparingly) mixed with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or milk
- Lavender oil
- Rose water
These substances can simply be applied to your skin straight from their containers.
Enzymes like papaya and pineapple are used in many skin care products. Here is a little explanation about enzymes from the Dermstore website:
“Enzymes [are proteins that] occur naturally in the human body and other places in nature, such as papaya fruit (which produces papain) and pineapple (bromelain) . . . In terms of the skin, you can think of enzymes as speeding up the skin’s metabolism. Because of this property, and because they remove the outer layer of dead cells on the skin’s surface, enzymes are often used in various skin care products as non-abrasive exfoliants.”
Dry Skin and Wrinkles – What to do for Aging Skin?
The reason for dry aging skin and wrinkles is simple. Your skin is not retaining moisture as well as it use to. So make sure you have your favorite moisturizers always on hand. If it’s a commercially prepared skin moisturizer make sure the ingredients include peptides, Retinol, and / or antioxidants. Don’t think that you need heavy creams to keep your skin moisturized, those can sometimes block your pores. However as a protective layer for a cold windy day, heavier creamier facial and eye moisturizers can be helpful.
Here is Annie Berthold Bond’s favorite non-creamy moisturizer that she uses on her face and all over in fact. She likes it because it is light:
“The Best Basic Soft and Silky Moisturizer
½ cup aloe vera gel
1/8 cup vegetable glycerin
Combine the ingredients in a glass jar. Shake or stir to blend. Dampen your skin then massage some of the mixture into skin.
Lasts in a tightly sealed glass jar for 4 months”
Taken from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold Bond
For regular deep moisturizing of aging facial skin Annie suggest a honey mask with added Vitamin E.
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon of honey
1 200 i.u. capsule Vitamin E
Stir together the cornstarch and honey. Add the Vitamin E capsule and stir again.
Steam Clean your face using a steaming tool, or hot towels. Dab on the mixture to your damp face and leave for 20 minutes or until it has dried. Wash it off and follow with a cold water rinse, an astringent, and finally a moisturizer.” Taken from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold Bond
For eye wrinkles, which can start at almost any age:
“Avocado [Eye] Cream
¼ cup avocado oil, Apricot kernel oil, or sesame oil, or a mixture of these
¼ cup of aloe vera gel
Combine the ingredients in a glass jar. Shake to blend. Dab a little on your fingers and massage around your eyes, being careful not to get any in your eyes.
Stores in a refrigerated glass far for 4 months” Taken from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold Bond
Annie teaches you how to make your own skin and body care products in her book Better Basics for the Home. If you are interested in learning how to make more complicated recipes that include water and oil infusions, and basic creams, salves and the like, get her book. I’ve read it from cover to cover, she is a great writer.
I found a recipe for a body scrub formulated for dry skin. It’s from Reader’s Digest Homemade, p. 256.
“Simple Sugar Scrub for Dry Skin
1 cup brown sugar, white sugar, or a mix
½ cup olive, grapeseed, or other oil
2 drops of vanilla or almond extract (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until you achieve a paste like blend. Add extract if desired and stir until incorporated.
Transfer to a clean, airtight glass container to slow breakdown of the oil.
In the shower, massage this mixture gently over damp skin. It will exfoliate and moisturize at the same time. Do not use on broken, irritated, or scarred skin. Avoid the eyes. This is an especially oily mixture, so it is really best for dry skin.
Store mixture in the refrigerator for 6 months to a year.”
And another scrub recipe from Reader’s Digest Homemade, p. 243 formulated for dry aging skin.
Almond Mayonnaise Scrub
¼ cup almonds
1/8 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon red-wine or cider vinegar
½ cup water
Clean your face thoroughly.
Grind almonds in a blender or food processor until they form a meal. Whirl in the mayonnaise. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the vinegar and water. Rinse your face with this mixture.
Gently and thoroughly massage your face with the almond-mayonnaise scrub. Leave it on for 10 minutes. Rise with warm water and pat dry.
Banana is a natural, inexpensive astringent. It tightens your skin and that reduces the wrinkles that you see. You could mash up a banana and spread it over your clean face in a mask. Let it dry, or 15 – 20 minutes later gently wash it off with warm water. Pat your skin dry. Or if you want to get creative with your banana astringent try this ridiculously yummy looking recipe from Readers’ Digest Homemade:
Banana, Sour Cream, and Honey Face Mask
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sour cream
Mash up the banana, mix in the honey and sour cream. Apply to your face and leave for 10 minutes.
Youthful Skin Mask
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 medium banana
1 Vitamin E capsule, 400 IU
Mash together cream and banana, then stir in the vitamin E.” Apply as you do for other masks!
A few more herbs, oils and juices that work really well in body care products for aging skin.
- Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, Vitamin E
- Carrot juice and other bioflavonoid-rich fruit and vegetable juices
- Witch hazel
- Nettle, kelp, calendula, comfrey, licorice, lavender, rose
Berthold-Bond, p. 158
Obviously we all know by now that what we eat affects our health and the condition of our skin, hair, eyes, etc. From Maria Trimarche:
There are a few ways you can change your diet to give your body an anti-aging boost with the foods you eat every day.
First, let’s look at fats. Adding foods that are full of good-for-you dietary fats and oils can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as improve the long-term health of your skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially good at plumping and tightening skin, because they nourish skin cells. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and sardines are good sources of omega-3s, as are almonds, walnuts, flaxseed and sunflower seeds (and oils).
Tuna, salmon, nuts and legumes are all also good sources of two trace minerals important to wrinkle reduction: selenium and copper. Selenium is an antioxidant, which means it helps prevent cell damage by neutralizing free radicals, and it may also help restore skin’s elasticity. Copper plays an important role in how the body builds the skin’s two skin tissue proteins, elastin and collagen. Soy-based foods may also help build collagen. Whether or not soy foods are beneficial against wrinkles is still up for debate, but soybeans contain plant compounds called isoflavones, some of which have antioxidant properties.
Did you know some vitamins may help you fight gravity? And minerals and enzymes can lend a lifting hand, too. All these substances are antioxidants, and antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging healthy skin cells. They do this by supplying electrons to the unbalanced free radicals — antioxidants are actually molecules that help neutralize free radicals. They are vitamins (vitamins A, C and E), minerals (more on that later) and proteins (enzymes) found in darkly-colored fruits and vegetables (the dark fruits and vegetables contain the most beta-carotene and anthocyanins), nuts, and legumes.
ACNE AND OILY SKIN
Acne blemishes and oily skin are often suffered by girls, boys, men, and women of all ages in tandem. Teenagers typically suffer from oily skin due to their age, and older people who are beyond the hormonal rollercoaster of their teenage years suffering from acne most likely have oily skin.
How can oily skin cause acne?
“Once a pore becomes clogged, it traps skin oil inside. Bacteria grow in this oil and can cause an inflammatory response in the skin. Acne lesions can be small and hardly noticeable, have a small white or black head, or can appear red with a white/yellow center. Sometimes a clogged pore will become so inflamed that it can lead to larger, more painful lesions called nodules or cysts, which can ultimately scar. . . Finally, popping pimples is not a no-no. None of us likes to walk around with puss filled pimples. Done correctly, properly popping can actually help hasten healing. However, whatever you do, absolutely, positively, do not pick at your skin”.
Lifestyle Changes to Avoid and Prevent Acne
oily skin is caused by your genes, and also by hormones, and even by food allergies. Some kinds of birth control pills can cause oily skin. Oily skin prevents wrinkles though.
- Use glycerin soap on your skin, or mild skin cleansers never harsh soaps or detergents
- Use astringent wipes a few times each day
- Don’t use moisturizers
- Don’t eat oily food except for those that contain omega-3 essential fatty acids that are wicked good for you.
- Do eat fruits and vegetables that are filled with antioxidant bioflavonoids, usually the dark, intensely colored produce have the most antioxidants in it.
- Do eat food that is naturally antiseptic or antibiotic such as garlic
- Drink purifying herbal teas such as nettle, dandelion, and burdock root.
- Spend 20 minutes a day in the sun or bright daylight to stimulate your body’s own vitamin D production
- Keep hair off your face, don’t touch your face a lot and use water base makeup
Compiled from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond and http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/treating/home-remedies-for-oily-skin.htm (by a variety of authors)
Acne Home Remedies
Treating your acne yourself at home using natural, safe, and inexpensive ingredients can work for you, most likely, if you stay consistent with your acne skin care regimen. Just don’t forget to do these things and you can control your acne yourself. Unless you have a dire case of acne in which case home remedies may not work for you. Why not try it first before moving onto pharmaceutical or expensive commercial acne treatments?
- Cleanse, exfoliate and tone at least once a day.
- Use astringent (drying) wipes a few times during the day to remove oils.
- Use skin scrubs and masks (containing rosemary and sage) once a month or so, whatever works for you. Don’t forget to steam your pores open before applying masks!
Herbs and Ingredients best for treating acne breakouts
Baking soda, Epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, horseradish, cornstarch, salt mist, egg yolk, and citrus juices are all great ingredients for homemade acne products. Witch hazel extract, lemon balm, lavender, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, rosemary, sage, rose, chamomile, nettle, licorice, thyme, calendula are herbal ingredients that can be used in homemade acne recipes. If you like fragrance in your homemade solutions don’t use more than a drop of essential oil. Anything that is antibacterial naturally will help keep your acne prone skin really clean. Keep in mind that cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and drying capabilities can occur together in just one product. Toners are normally used after soap cleansing, to correct your skin’s PH, and to close your skin’s pores before you moisturize. They make your skin feel smooth and firm.
Remember though do not use much if any moisturizer if you suffer from oily skin and acne.
RECIPES FOR CLEANSERS, TONERS, EXFOLIANTS AND ASTRINGENTS FORMULATED FOR OILY SKIN
Here is an incredibly simple recipe for a drying, cleansing solution that you will need to make fresh each time. Just keep a supply of sea salt and lemons or lemon juice handy.
“Salt and Lemon Juice
Salt is one of the best antibacterial ingredients and it is slightly abrasive. Lemon Juice exfoliates as it cleans.
¼ cup sea salt
Enough lemon juice to make a paste
Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Dab on the face with a cotton ball. Massage into the skin, being careful to avoid your eyes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Discard leftovers.”
“Antibacterial Herbal Blend [Drying Solution]
¼ cup aloe vera
5 drops antibacterial essential oils, such as sage, rosemary, lavender, cinnamon, or clove
Combine the ingredients in a jar. Shake or stir to blend. Dab on your face with a cotton ball. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Lasts for 6 months in a glass jar with screw top.”
From Better Basics for the Home
Now if you are out, at school or at work you will need some portable drying/cleansing wipes especially formulated for your acne-troubled skin. You’ll have to find some appropriate storage containers for these wipes—a Jar for the fridge, and maybe a small plastic jar to take a few of your homemade acne pads with you. Here’s a recipe from Readers Digest’s Homemade.
“Acne Cleansing Pads
2 cups distilled water
1 tablespoon dried yarrow
1 tablespoon dried chamomile
15 drops tincture of benzoin
6 drops peppermint or wintergreen essential oil
In a small pan, bring the distilled water to a boil. Add the yarrow and chamomile. Remove from heat after two or three minutes and steep, covered, for half and hour. Strain and add the tincture of benzoin and peppermint or wintergreen essential oil.
Put several cosmetic pads in with the liquid. Refrigerate and use as needed.”
Acne Scrub and Overnight Cream
Acne Facial Scrub
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup almonds
2 tablespoons dried lavender
1 tablespoon dried peppermint
1 tablespoon calendula leaf
½ cup green clay powder
In a coffee grinder or blender grind the oats, almonds, lavender, peppermint, and calendula leaf.
Add the clay and mix thoroughly, then put in a clean covered container and keep in a cool place. You can keep this scrub for up to three months.
To use, in a small open dish, make a paste by mixing a teaspoon of the mixture with water. Massage the paste onto your skin. Let dry, then rinse well.
The “cosmetic” clay in the following overnight cream refers to cosmetic grade clay, especially formulated for use on the face and neck. Leaving a substance on your face all night long means you should use high-grade ingredients.
Overnight Acne Cream
4 drops tea tree oil
1 teaspoon cosmetic clay
In a small dish mix the tea tree oil and the cosmetic clay and just enough water to make a thick paste.
Dab onto blemishes and leave overnight.
I hate to say but this next recipe sounds like it won’t smell super great. But it’s totally worth a try for only 10 or 15 minutes. Feedback?
Facial Cleansing Mask
1 packet dry yeast
3 drops lemon juice
2 teaspoons water
This simple recipe is aimed at deep cleansing and is especially suited for young faces and the treatment of oily skin.
In a small bowl mix the yeast, lemon juice, and water vigorously until a thick paste forms. If necessary, add more water to achieve the correct consistency for applying to the face.
Pat the mixture on the face, avoiding the eyes. Allow to sit for 10 – 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Pat skin dry.”
Thanks to Reader’s Digest Homemade for these last three recipes.
Acne Masks can be any cleansing mask recipe you like. The goal is to deep clean your skin. Therefore once a month masks and peels are going to be super helpful for acne sufferers. To make the mask somewhat antibacterial (anti acne) add rosemary and sage and a couple drops of tea tree oil to any recipe where they make sense. Make some rosemary and sage infused oil to use in almost any recipe. Or, if it makes more sense to the existing recipe, add some witch hazel extract (not the witch hazel with alcohol that you normally find in the store).
ECZEMA, PSORIASIS AND ROSACEA
We can’t diagnose or cure your eczema, psoriasis or rosacea but we can explain a little bit about the conditions and offer ideas for how you can gain some symptomatic relief using herbs and natural substances.
“If you have eczema, your skin may not produce as much fats and oils as other people’s, and will be less able to retain water. The protective barrier is therefore not as good as it should be. Gaps open up between the skin cells because they are not sufficiently plumped up with water.
Moisture is then lost from the deeper layers of the skin, allowing bacteria or irritants to pass through more easily. Some everyday substances contribute to breaking down the skin. Soap, bubble bath and washing-up liquid, for example, will remove oil from anyone’s skin, but if you have eczema your skin breaks down more easily, quickly becoming irritated, cracked and inflamed.
Because it is prone to drying out and is easily damaged, skin with eczema is more liable to become red and inflamed on contact with substances that are known to irritate or cause an allergic reaction.” http://www.eczema.org/what-is-eczema
What can you do to treat those irritating skin rashes and outbreaks?
Try specially formulated salves, oils and baths to soothe and even heal skin rashes. Moisturize using solutions that are rich in emollients.
“Emollients are non-cosmetic moisturizers which come in the form of creams, ointments, lotions and gels. Emollients help skin to feel more comfortable and less itchy. They keep the skin moist and flexible, helping to prevent cracks.”
Basic Salve Formula
1 ounce beeswax
2 – 8 ounces oil (herbal infused oils are recommended)
Liquid vitamin E capsules (one 2-00-i.u. capsule for every 2 ounces of oil)
Melt the beeswax with the oil in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the contents of the vitamin # capsule, and cream with an electric handheld mixer. Makes ¼ – 1 cup based on how much oil you use. How much oil you use determines the viscosity of the salve.
The herbs you choose to make into your infused oil to then make your salve should be specifically picked out for their soothing skin healing qualities. Here’s the list. Some of these are http://naturallybubbly.com//common- lawn-weeds.html! Did you know that your weedy lawn was actually a carpet of medicinal herbs?
- Red clover
- St. John’s Wort
How to make infused oils
Well, now that I’ve recommended the salve recipe above, I need to follow through and tell you how Annie Bond teaches oil infusion. If you are at all serious about making your own natural face and body care products you should start with Better Basics for the Home.
Basic Formula for Infused Oil
2 ounces dried herbs
8 ounces olive oil or jojoba oil (or other oil with a long shelf life)
Liquid vitamin E capsules (one 2-00-i.u. capsule for every 2 ounces of oil)
Place the herbs in a Crock-Pot and cover completely with the oil. Place over low heat for 6 hours. For strongly infused oil, let cool, strain out the herbs and discard, add another 2 ounces herb to the already infused oil, and heat again for 6 hours. Let the mixture cool in the Crock-Pot for a few hours. Strain the herbs thoroughly from the oil, discard the herbs, and add the contents of the vitamin E capsule to the oil.
Closely related to eczema, psoriasis is another heartbreaking skin condition that plagues folks.
“Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families. Doctors think it probably occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes healthy cells for dangerous substances. See also: Inflammatory response
Usually, skin cells grow deep in the skin and rise to the surface about once a month. In persons with psoriasis, this process is too fast. Dead skin cells build up on the skin’s surface.
The following may trigger an attack of psoriasis or make the condition more difficult to treat:
- Bacteria or viral infections, including strep throat and upper respiratory infections
- Dry air or dry skin
- Injury to the skin, including cuts, burns, and insect bites
- Some medicines, including antimalarial drugs, beta-blockers, and lithium
- Too little sunlight
- Too much sunlight (sunburn)
- Too much alcohol
- In general, psoriasis may be severe in people who have a weakened immune system. This may include persons who have:
- Autoimmune disorders (such as rheumatoid arthritis)
- Cancer chemotherapy
Some people with psoriasis may also have arthritis, a condition known as psoriatic arthritis.
The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and prevent infection.
Three treatment options are available:
Skin lotions, ointments, creams, and shampoos. These are called topical treatments.”
The topical treatments for psoriasis are the same as for eczema.
Best Anti aging, Acne, Eczema and Psoriasis ingredients for your skin
Aloe vera gel
Vegetable glycerin liquid
Vitamin E liquid
Avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, or sesame oil your preference
Brown and or white sugar
Olive or grapeseed oil
Vanilla or almond extract
Mayonnaise (made with eggs)
Red-wine or apple cider vinegar
Antibacterial essential oil i.e. Sage, rosemary, lavender, cinnamon, clove
Dried calendula leaf
Tincture of benzoin
Peppermint or wintergreen essential oil
Green clay powder and or cosmetic clay
Tea tree essential oil
Jojoba oil or olive oil
You could make all the above recipes for aging skin and skin with acne, with the above ingredients!