BEAUTY ELIXIRS | 5 Ancient Skincare Remedies From Across The World That Still Work Today

5 Ancient Skincare Remedies From Across The World That Still Work Today

While technology is rapidly advancing in beauty industry, we’re also seeing the return the centuries-old, tried-and-tested approach. Alkassandra goes around the world to find 5 ancient remedies that are still just as effective today.

The old adage, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” has never been more true than in the current changing landscape of beauty. Rituals that where tried and tasted centuries ago have come full circle, with more brands returning to a holistic natural approach for their products and formulas. With just a few tweaks, these ancient methods and ingredients are brought bang up to date; a sure sign that, at its core, beauty can be simple and sustainable.

Here, Alkassandra goes around the world to find five ancient beauty rituals that are still just as effective today.

TURKEY: Essence of Rose

Rose is a classic ingredient, the essence of which has been distilled into water for centuries. Turkey has long been one of the largest producers of rose, and the country’s use of purified rose water in beauty dates back two thousand years ago. Rose essence is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that moisturize the skin. It also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce redness and soothe the irritation. Furthermore, rose oil extract can refine texture, and even treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Studies have shown that rose essential oil can boost the speed at which wounds heal, help to retain hydration, and lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in the body.

FRANCE: Hand Creams

If it was good enough for Marie Antoinette, it is good enough for us. The infamous French Queen (1755-1793) is often referenced in relation to beauty treatments and rituals – she was known to apply balms and moisturisers to her hands, then put on a pair of gloves to sleep in to allow the potions to do their job. Today’s in-salon solutions are not too dissimilar. Paraffin treatments follow the wax to hydrate and soothe the skin at  a deeper level; the wax is also though to ease join pain such as rheumatoid artheritis. At-home, apply a deeply nourishing hand cream, followed by cotton gloves overnight (or just for a few hours) for super-smooth effects.

Finland: Heat Treatments

The benefits of a room heated by coals was adopted as early as 1112 in Finland, and heat treatments from saunas to salt caves and infra-red rooms – are still widely popular today. Heated to 70, 80, even 90 degrees Celsius, the dry heat of the sauna is thought to have myriad benefits. A report published in 2018 suggests that regular saunas can stabilize the nervous systems, improve heart health, and reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and arterial stiffness. Further studies have also found that a short 30-minute sauna session post-exercise can significantly lower blood pressure.

The latest use of heat, fast gaining popularity in the wellness industry, is the infra-red sauna. The primary difference from the traditional sauna is using infra-red heat to target specific area of the body, heating both the skin and muscles, which can lead to further of tension.

India: Turmeric

While the Western world has seen the turmeric trend rise in recent years, in traditional Ayurvedic practices the bright yellow root has been used for over 4,500 years – infused in milk or added to food for its medicinal properties.

A 2017 study on the health benefits of curcumium – the compound found in turmeric – found that it can help to reduce the effects of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis and even anxiety. It is also thought to reduce exercise – induced inflammation and muscle soreness; as well as offering low-key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits when taken (either in food or supplements) regularly. “Turmeric is a good immune booster, displaying powerful antioxidant properties some five to eight times more potent that vitamin C and E. it’s even strong enough to quench the hydroxyl radical, which is considered to be the most reactive oxidant responsible for damage to the body”, explains Shabir Daya, co-founder and in-house pharmacist at Victoria Health.

Daya adds that turmeric has-been recognized for its healing properties. “Turmeric has been used for centuries to treat wounds and infections. In fact Johnson & Johnson used turmeric in plasters to heal scrapes and cuts faster”. And modern research is revealing further potency, too. “Current scientific research shows that turmeric inhibits pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi including many candida species”, Says Daya.

China: Acupuncture

The 2,000 year old therapy has proven efficacy in the medical field, with experts recommending treatment to reduce chronic pain, boost fertility, help to ease asthma and release muscle tension. Acupuncture use needles of varying lengths to stimulate the nervous system and immune cells, which can in turn can impact our lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems, plus emotional and cognitive wellbeing.

“Chinese medicine is being on prevention alongside cure. Once they are well, many clients continue to combine regular acupuncture with mindful living to maintain balance and health”, explains Katie Brindle, the founder of Hay’o method and a qualified Five Elements Chinese Medicine practitioner. It’s particularly during changes in circumstances that this preventive approach helps. “Acupuncture is often used at the turn of the season to help the chi (energy)in your body adjust in line with the shifting energy in nature.”

Acupuncture is now being used in skin treatments too, targeting conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, as well as being used cosmetically to improve the complexion. Known as fotofacial acupuncture, needles are inserted below the epidermis, stimulating circulation and skin cell renewal. This method can increase hydration levels and elasticity of the skin, often resulting in instantly visible improvement in skin condition. “Acupuncture is used widely in China as an Alternative “tweakments”and cosmetic procedures. It can help to reduce wrinkles, eliminate fine lines, lift skin and improve pigmentation and texture”, adds Brindle.

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