There are many clinics offering treatments from firming facials, to Botox to a full facelift. As I only use natural methods I am often asked if there are ‘less invasive’ ways to support mature skin and if they ‘work’. So here are a few suggestions you might like to add to your normal skin care routine at home.
My own approach is to support the skin so it can do its job as well as possible. I am sure you will have heard this many times before – to support healthy skin function we need to have a healthy diet, avoid toxins, manage our stress levels, take exercise and get sufficient sleep. These changes in lifestyle may be much more difficult to make than applying a skin cream but bear in mind the fact that the physiology of all these processes directly affect our skin.
The one thing that is guaranteed to make skin look older is exposure to the sun. Trying to prevent this means wearing a complete sun block or factor 50 on our face, even in the UK from March to October. From a cosmetic perspective this will help prevent pigmentation marks and free radical damage that result in the skin losing its elasticity.
Our faces change as we grow older and the three most obvious signs are; changes in skin texture, reduction in the plumpness of underlying soft tissue and loss of muscle tone.
Lets start with skin texture. As we age our skin becomes thinner, more transparent and fine lines may appear. Vitamin A in its natural and synthetic forms has been used since the 1950s to make the surface of the skin appear smoother. Vitamin A promotes healthy skin cell regeneration and a natural form of it called trans retinoic acid can be found in rosehip seed oil. Rosehip seed oil can be used on its own, and is often included as an ingredient in natural moisturisers. Pure Rosehip seed oil is light and easily absorbed so if you have a dry skin you may need to use a moisturiser in addition after applying it. There are many other plant oils that help promote healthy skin cell growth including argan, which also contains Vitamin A; avocado, which contains Vitamin E; sea buckthorn, which contains Vitamin C, and borage and evening primrose, which contain amino acids that also encourage the growth of healthy new cells. Remember plant oils are sensitive to heat and sunlight so to retain their therapeutic properties store them somewhere cool and dark. Always buy the best quality, organic and as unprocessed as possible.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance our bodies produce naturally. Our bodies contain about 15 grams of it and it can be found in cartilage and synovial fluid as well as our skin. If there is a plentiful supply of hyaluronic acid in our skin it will look plump and hydrated, but the amount present in the skin decreases with age. Hyaluronic acid can be applied topically in the form of gel/serum or in a cream. It is only able to penetrate the upper layers of the skin but it may still have a gentle ‘plumping’ effect if used regularly. In most skin care products hyaluronic acid is derived from an animal source, so if you are vegetarian or vegan you will need to look for animal free sources – algae is often used instead.
We all know that exercising our body helps tone our muscles. Facial muscles can also be toned by exercising them correctly, and if carried out regularly you may even see some gravity defying results! Eva Fraser is one of the best-known teachers of facial exercises and has been teaching her own system for many years.
Frownies – the natural Botox!
These are paper triangles that are gummed on one side. You stick them between your eyebrows before you go to bed. What does this do? It prevents those of us who frown in our sleep from doing so and as a result will soften lines between the eyebrows. It is of course temporary and will wear off during the day depending on how deep the line is, but it may prevent lines from deepening prematurely if used regularly. If you have a partner probably best to explain beforehand what you are doing in case they are worried you have joined a strange cult!
Essential oils are well known for their ability to encourage healing and healthy skin function. Frankincense, helichrysum and lavender are good examples. However, I would advise proceeding with caution if using essential oils on the face, as some skin is not able to tolerate them. Always patch test first to be safe or use pre-blended products.
Face massage has so many benefits, including promoting blood and lymphatic circulation and removing toxins and excess fluid, and what’s more it feels good! So treat your face to a little massage everyday after cleansing your skin or come and see me for a facial!