I am pretty sure we all have had this discussion over and over again – what is beauty? And still, after many and many hours of debate, we get to no conclusion. Beauty is one of the most subjective topics and always opened to discussion, as it depends on the evaluation of something that is pleasing to the eye of the beholder.
While Asians gravitate towards fair white skin, Caucasians chase a nice even tan. Same way, more developed cultures see overweight as a huge health concern while many countries in Africa still see it as a sign of power.
Unfortunately, with the natural cycle of life aging creeps up indiscriminately by pulling down skin and causing age spots all over. Most of us are constantly going to great lengths to cling onto beauty and youth, often becoming gullible and vulnerable to all sorts of practices, some involving needles and even scalpels. And for what? Just to look better, younger, more beautiful.
Luckily for us, not all beauty actions require items of great expense or rarity as even the most ordinary item of your everyday life is proven to have a great effect in preserving and enhancing our beauty.
Here are just a few examples of items which have stood the test of time and have proven their mettle in the fight against aging and the further beautification of personal appearances.
Rice water and rice powder
Oriental cultures use rice powder (ground, uncooked rice) and water from washed rice to maintain beautiful skin. Rice contains PABA (para aminobenzoic acid) which helps fend of damage from ultraviolet rays, ferrulic acid which enhances the protective effects of Vitamin C and E, as well as allantoin, a potent anti-inflammatory agent to aid with skin healing. Rice also promotes whitening by blocking tyrosinase.
Empress Wu Ze Tian was famous for her smooth, radiant skin and popularised pearl powder ingestion and pearl cream. Her beauty practice stemmed from Ayurvedic medicine that used pearl to treat a variety of ailments. Nowadays, in modern medicine, pearl powder is found to stimulate growth factors in the skin that leads to even and smooth skin tone, placates redness and flares of the skin that generally leads to more youthful skin.
The Greeks and other Mediterranean cultures are known for abusing of olive oil in their cuisine. Apart from its amazing taste, olive oil is also an important ally to be considered for beauty purposes. Olive oil is often used to maintain hydration, moisture and elasticity of the skin, to treat flakiness of the scalp and hair loss, as well as to maintain health of the cuticles and nails. Olive oil contains hydroxytysol – a very potent antioxidant that helps to filter out ultraviolet damage, as well as Vitamin E, polyphenols and phytosterols.
Indian cultures are famous for using turmeric face masks in their beauty procedures. The calcium, Vitamin C, B6 and magnesium in the mask help to maintain collagen and elasticity of the skin, hydrate dry skin and slow down the aging process by its anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. Along with neem, turmeric is also a very effective resource against acne prone skin.
Coastal areas like Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean use coconut trees and all they offer in their everyday life. It is used from construction to food passing through well-being, as it’s especially beneficial for hair health. Coconut oil has lauric acid that strengthens the proteins in the hair shaft, reducing hair shedding and its soothing and moisturising properties ensures healthy scalp, and is even purported to keep lice infestations away!
Dead sea salt
The biblical Dead Sea in the Jordan rift is known as the very first health resort for King Herod The Great, and this World’s wonder is famous for its great contribution to health and beauty. Its high content of magnesium, calcium and bromide helps to improve skin hydration and to reduce inflammation; making it beneficial for acne and psoriasis, as well as detoxifying sources of allergies. It has been said to reduce wrinkling by up to 40% and aids inflammatory arthritis by ways of balneotherapy.
Lemons and milk share a common method in maintaining skin health and colour. Lemons contain citric acid and ascorbic acid that helps to lighten and exfoliate the skin; to unclog pores; reduce pigmentation and fine wrinkles. Milk also contains another hydroxyl acid, lactic acid that in addition to exfoliating also helps to maintain skin moisture.
Volcanic ash and mud are often used to treat can; clogged pores and prevent the aging of the skin. Volcanic mud and ash contain sulphur which is an anti-bacterial and a FDA-approved substance to treat acne. Volcanic mud is an excellent exfoliator that can prevent damage from free radicals and toxins.
Sheep placenta is often called the elixir of youth. Swiss has a long practised biological medicine utilising the growth factors, peptides, hyaluronic acid, immune factors and antioxidants to improve skin tone; wrinkles; pigmentation problems and other signs of aging not only aesthetically, but also internally. This effective trend has caught on, leading to being practised readily by people all over the world.
Rejuvenation, beauty and youth do not necessarily imply an alteration in structure. Most of the cases, it only takes a boost to enhance what you already have. Let us help you filter through the facts from the myths and enhance while appreciating the beauty within you.
And for you, what does beauty stands for? And how further are you willing to go to achieve it?
Article by SWC in The Expat magazine, Health Editorial, May 2015 Issue