Today is World Health Day. Did you know that some of our best skin care routines in modern times come from ancient traditions, observations, and lessons learned from cultures across the globe? It's nice to give thanks to our global skin care "roots" - the sharing of information and the evolutionary process that form the building blocks for some of the best skin care routines that we still use today.
Here is a sampling of ancient skin care wisdom from across the globe:
Coconut oil in Polynesia
Polynesians have long known that coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer. It's also a natural anti-Staph aureus fighter. Polynesian women know that coconut oil brightens the shine of hair, too. I use coconut oil as a key ingredient in my Natural Face and Body Butter Cream. This lovely cream is much nicer on skin than coconut oil, which leaves a greasy and heavy feel.
Australian Tea Tree Oil
In Australia the Melaleuca tree is the source of tea tree oil. This well-known home remedy was originally an aboriginal folk remedy used to treat many problems. It has general antimicrobial properties and has been used for everything from skin infections to bug bites. Some people even put a few drops into water and use as a mouth gargle for dental health.
New Zealand Manuka honey
This is a time-honored folk remedy for skin infections. It's currently gaining favor in traditional medicine for treatment of non-healing ulcers.
Dead Sea Salts from Eastern Israel
Israel is home to the Dead Sea and Dead Sea salts have been a skin remedy dating back to at least biblical times most notably for psoriasis. Adding mineral-rich Dead Sea salts to the bath can give relief from skin itching.
Bag Balm from the United States
The early United States gave us Bag Balm, a US folk remedy for treating dry chapped hands and peeling nails. It is also touted as a healing ointment for superficial wounds and cracked fingertip fissures. First discovered by Vermont dairy farmers, it's now a staple in the cupboard of many homes. I'm a fan and use Bag Balm to heal cracked nails and fissured fingertips. I combine it with the best hand care products in my Dry Skin Hand Repair Kit.
Cleopatra was one of the first to use AHAs
Egypt has a colorful history that catches our imagination. We can thank Cleopatra, the queen of Ancient Egypt, for a number of today's beauty treatments, including clay masks, exfoliating scrubs, the early AHA movement (she used milk baths with lactic acid), and almond oil as a general skin oil. I'm a huge AHA fan. Glycolic acid is the smallest and most powerful AHA for skin to fight the signs of skin aging such as flaking, dullness, roughness, crepey skin and age spots. My Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream and Ultra-Fast Triple Action Body Smoothing Kit capture the best benefits of glycolic acid - from ancient to modern times, the best skin care traditions endure.
Happy World Health Day - enjoy skin care traditions that have survived and evolved from ancient to modern times included!