Recently, I read an article about how value-priced personal product brands are transitioning to more natural ingredients. One of the dermatologists interviewed for the article praised these companies for offering more “intelligent” natural ingredients than the kitchen ingredients that are being shared on the Internet.
Whoa! Stop the presses. That comment put a burr in my saddle. Granted, he’s a trained, licensed physician who took the Hippocratic oath to Western medicine. But does he realize that Hippocrates and early Greek physicians based their healing on herbal medicine? They watched what plants the animals ate when they were sick and followed the same example when humans got sick.
If Greek medicine believed that Mother Nature was a healing goddess and remedies are found in nature, then why would using oils, butters, nuts and plants from nature be unintelligent?
Take honey for example, it is one of the most effective beauty ingredients. Hello, does Cleopatra come to mind? It’s been used for nearly five thousand years. Honey has stood the test of time and it continues to hold its own in skin care. It is a natural humectant so it’s hydrating. Honey restores moisture to your skin. The antibacterial and antifungal properties draw out bacteria, which makes honey an effective acne and pimple fighter.
Another kitchen ingredient that’s been used for millennia is olive oil. Galen, the prominent Greek physician in the Roman Empire, regarded massage oil as a part of hygiene. He infused the olive oil with Fir tree cones and buds. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants: vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols. Can you say, “Anti-aging?”
Milk. Who can deny the alpha hydroxy benefits of lactic acid? It’s a natural way to exfoliate and soften skin, reduce wrinkles, boost collagen, and brighten skin. I can’t find anything unintelligent here. And milk has been used for thousands of years. Cleopatra is famous for her milk baths.
Cane sugar might not be good for our health, but it’ll give your skin a beautiful glow. It’s a natural source of the alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid. Cane sugar is used for exfoliation, fights acne, provides skin hydration, and prevents premature aging. Let’s put a check mark in the intelligent column for cane sugar.
Shea butter. Yes, you read correctly. Shea butter has been used for years in Africa as a cooking fat. All the wonderful constituents of shea: antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A and E that we love for moisturizing our skin is just as beneficial for us internally. But a note of caution, it must be pure, raw African shea butter. Promise me you won’t ingest the shea butter from the beauty aisle.
May I offer you some Chamomile tea? Would you like that in a teacup to sip or on a cotton pad as toner? Chamomile is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. It calms skin irritations, moisturizes your skin, and aids in healing wounds. As you might suspect, ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans used chamomile as a healing salve for treating wounds.
I can continue this list of ingredients, but I think you get my point. This is why the dermatologist got my goat when he insinuated that kitchen ingredients weren’t “intelligent” natural skincare ingredients. One only has to look back at history to see the importance of oils, butters, nuts, and plants for food, healing, and skincare purposes.