“You don’t get to choose whether you age or not but you can choose how well you age”
Although we can’t stop the clock – we are all getting older every day – we can do our best to take care of the skin we are in. There are literally thousands of commercial products that you can spend a lot of money on to look and feel your best. However, these do not always work – nor are they always safe.
Longevity is big business in America today – the dream that anything is possible, even reversing our internal clocks, drives millions of people to seek out sometimes drastic measures to reduce the signs of aging. Plastic surgery, botox and other invasive procedures bring high dollar and high risk.
The truth is, the key to fighting aging does not rest in some procedure, injection, pill or even makeup, but rather on achieving internal balance. The overall health of the body determines how gracefully we age.
The average person’s skin weighs 8 pounds and measures 22 square feet. Our skin changes as we age, regenerating itself about every 27 days or so. In order to keep your skin looking its best and healthiest, proper care and treatment are essential.
Natural ways to slow the aging process
If the mirror used to be your friend until you discovered a small highway of lines making tracks on your face, don’t fret. If you stumble when asked your child’s birthday or the date of your wedding anniversary, don’t fret. While aging is inevitable, no one said that you cannot do so gracefully.
Along with outward signs of aging, our immune systems become increasingly less efficient, leaving us vulnerable to free radical attack. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, and as long as there are enough antioxidants to suppress them we are ok.
However, it becomes dangerous when we have natural free radicals intermingling with free radicals produced from external stressors such as pollutants. The numbers of free radicals tend to outnumber the antioxidants. The result is oxidative damage to tissues.
Turning away from commercial products, we see that nature offers us a bountiful supply of anti-aging tools. Here are our top 5 favorites.
Both neem oil and neem leaves have been used to treat the skin for thousands of years. The neem tree belongs to the mahogany family and is an evergreen found mostly in India, Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. All parts of the tree, including the oils, seeds, bark and leaves, have health promoting qualities.
Studies have proven that neem oil has antiviral, antifungal, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Neem oil is loaded with nutrients and contains a high level of antioxidants that protect the skin from environmental toxins. The oil is high in fatty acids and vitamin E, which is easily absorbed into the skin to help rejuvenate tired cells and restore elasticity.
Neem oil will also smooth wrinkles and fine lines, giving skin a healthy glow. Use neem oil if you have acne-prone skin and watch your blemishes disappear. The aspirin-like properties soothe inflammation and irritation while fighting off the bacteria that cause acne, without the side effects of over-the-counter medications.
As beautiful as lavender is, it is equally therapeutic. Lavender has been used for centuries for various medicinal purposes. Once such use of this fragrant herb is to put a few drops of lavender oil in water before washing. In fact, the Latin word for lavender means ‘to bathe.’
Lavender has antiseptic and antifungal properties, and is used to treat a number of skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. Also used to help promote rapid healing of wounds, cuts, burns and sunburns, lavender helps encourage healing and the creation of scar tissue. Research has also indicated that lavender oil helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Water infused with lavender rehydrates the skin, leaving it feeling fresh and youthful.
Ginger is a potent anti-aging herb mainly due to its anti-inflammatory properties. If sore or stiff joints are a concern, ginger goes right to work to alleviate the pain and inflammation. Ginger boosts the immune system and helps the body to absorb nutrients from the food we eat.
Ginger contains over 50 different antioxidants that work at neutralizing free radicals in our bodies and stimulating the healing process in damaged cells. Ginger improves skin elasticity, prevents fine lines under eyes and reduces forehead wrinkles and sagging skin. Make a tea with a teaspoon of fresh ginger daily for best results.
Tamanu oil is a tropical nut oil from the Pacific Islands. It has strong antioxidant properties and helps to protect skin from free radical damage. It also helps to reduce inflammation and ease sensitive or irritated skin.
When put on burns, it helps with the formation of new skin tissue. A tiny bit of this oil goes a long way and will also kill the bacteria that cause blemishes. Use this valuable oil on cuts, abrasions, stings and any other insult to the skin for prompt healing.
Coconut oil – the perfect alternative
Nature has provided the perfect alternative for healthy and vital skin: pure, extra virgin coconut oil. Organic coconut oil has been used for thousands of years medicinally, and is clearly a better option than any petroleum based commercial product.
The wonders of coconut oil taken internally and applied directly to the skin are well documented, with an ever increasing volume of scientific information accumulating daily.
Not only can coconut oil help reduce abdominal fat and help reduce cravings for unhealthy foods, it can also act as a moisturizer for all skin types. Studies (see resources) point to the ability of coconut oil to heal wounds, treat dermatitis and serve as a replacement for antibiotic treatment of acne.
Coconut oil helps to clear away dead skin cells, and can also be combined with coconut crystals, sea salt or other natural exfoliating substances to make a very useful facial scrub that leaves the skin feeling soft and clean.
No need to spend money on special products when you can use coconut oil. A simple scrub can be made by mixing one cup of coconut crystals with 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil.
People living in the tropics have beautiful, wrinkle-free skin, and this is due, in part, to their use of coconut oil. This medium-chain fatty acid protects and heals the skin at the same time. Coconut oil is also an effective sunscreen, blocking out 20 percent of harmful rays.
Coconut oil puts nutrients back into your skin, as opposed to mineral oil products that suffocate the skin and provide no nutritional benefits. If you want to use coconut oil as a moisturizer, be sure to start with a very small amount.
If you put too much on your skin, it will be a mess and your skin will not be able to drink it all in. A little bit goes a long way, and this makes it an extremely economical choice for a moisturizer.
Coconut oil is safe for children of all ages, including babies, and can help heal up a mean diaper rash in no time.
Will you trust your skin to coconut oil, like islanders have for thousands of years? We think you will be pleased with the results.
To learn more about how coconut oil can improve your health click here. We think you will be amazed!