I am making my way through my mid-40‘s and also live in dry, intensely sunny climate at elevation. This has kicked me in the backside to start caring more for my face. I wasn’t bad before. I’ve generally not, after a couple of awkward teenage years, used unhealthy cosmetic or harsh cleansers on my face. But at a certain point, a bit more effort needs to be put in.   

Aging and cumulative sun exposure are the biggest factors in our skin’s health and appearance, though dietary and lifestyle habits are also significant factors.

The focus here is what the plant world has to offer for healthy skin.  Along those lines, here are a handful of my tried and true skin care allies:

1. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Chamomile is a fantastic anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant ally for the skin. Research shows that it augments the sun protective factor (SPF) of other UV blocking products, and that it improves skin hydration by reducing transdermal water loss.    Topical use of chamomile also decreased roughness and wrinkles associated with photoaging.  Chamomile is traditionally used for sun damage, sensitive skin and skin prone to broken capillaries. 

2. Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum and others)

Helichrysum is a valued botanical for skin care. Like Chamomile, it possesses both potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity for protecting the skin from damage. Helichrysum also inhibits an enzyme called elastase that contributes to wrinkle formation.

Helichrysum essential oil – sun damage, precanc lesions, couperose skin, sensitive. Extracts of Helichrysum have some level of UV-protective effect.

Elder flower – sun damage, sensitive skin, couperose skin, normal or dry or oily skin,

combination skin, antiinfl antiox

Elder extracts (berry or flower) has some level of UV-protective effects 

used by Marie Antionnette along with other ingredients for anti-aging effects

Lavender flower or essential oil – sun damage, normal, oily , combination, sensitive, couperose

Rosemary – sun damage, normal, dry, oily, couperose, strong antioxidant

Rose flower or essential oil – astringent, anti-inflammatory, normal, dry, oily, couperose, sun damage

Some additional tips…  Don’t use soaps or detergents on your face.  Drink lots of water and eat healthy fats and oils daily.  Always dilute essential oils before applying to your face or anywhere else.

Olive oil – some uv protection, anti-aging effects

Remember that skin care starts from the inside. A whole foods-based diet, lots of water and healthy fats and oils is the foundation on which to add these botanicals.


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