Winter can turn the mildest skin problem into a major annoyance, so our favourite industry experts explain how these six natural beauty ingredients can soothe bad skin, ezcema and even psoriasis…
Winter can turn the mildest skin problem into a major annoyance, so our favourite industry experts explain how these six natural beauty ingredients can soothe bad skin, ezcema and even psoriasis or hives.
Sarah Jagger, beauty expert and celebrity makeup artist, swears by argan oil for dry skin and flaky scalps. “It’s so fantastic for both hair and skin,” she says. “Everyone can use it as a moisturiser for the face and body and if you have really dry skin it can be used as a serum. It’s great as an intensive pre-shampoo treatment, nourishing really dry hair and flaky, dry scalps. Opt for a cosmetic-grade pure virgin argan oil, which although expensive, goes a really long way as you only need a small amount.”
World-renowned make-up artist Ruby Hammer adds, “The nice thing about argan oil is that it naturally sinks right into the skin or you can take a spoonful of it pure and mix it into your yoghurt, salad or porridge. Argan oil rubbed into the skin or incorporated into your diet can really help relieve eczema and dermatitis.”
Jo Fairley, the co-founder of Green & Black’s chocolate, beautybible.com and co-author of The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible, says her husband finds argan oil really effective for his own psoriasis. “Fatty acids and carotenoids in the oil work to balance the skin’s natural moisture levels, which is important because dry skin often makes psoriasis worse,” she says. “It also features vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, which helps to reduce the inflammation caused by psoriasis.”
Charlotte Vohtz, founder of The Green People Company says, “Recent research shows that aloe vera juice contains high levels of polysaccharides that have protective properties on the skin’s surface. It also increases the hydration of the skin and encourages cell replication and regeneration.”
Jo also points out that it is particularly good for eczema, hives and anything where skin feels heated. “The tough-looking spikes slice surprisingly easily, revealing a soft, shiny, cooling, gel-like sap,” she says. “To harness its healing power, cut off two inches of leaf, slice in half and apply the cut side to the area that hurts; it seals the skin with a protective, healing covering as the gel dries. Alternatively, peel the aloe and crush it into the skin. Avoid the green-ish/brown juice of the rind, though, because paradoxically this part can actually irritate.”
According to Ruby, yarrow has a reputation for speeding up the recovery of inflamed wounds and damaged skin. “Yarrow oil has a sweet, spicy smell,” she says. “It can help to improve skin conditions from rashes, cuts and eczema to inflamed skin, scars and burns. Its extract helps to balance skin functions, making it great for acne or oily skin. It can soothe itchy, dry skin and relieve minor skin irritations, and it stimulates regeneration of new skin cells, improving its overall appearance.”
Sarah agrees, “If you’re looking for a natural, anti-ageing moisturiser, opt for one containing yarrow. Research suggests that yarrow may thicken the epidermis with regular use, making it an ideal ingredient to reduce the appearance of fine lines. Its antioxidant properties make it a potent protector against skin-cell damaging free radicals.”
Usually referred to as calendula in the cosmetic world, marigold is one of nature’s most healing, skin-soothing elements, according to Jo. She uses it to treat her own eczema. “Calendula cream is so gentle it can be used for babies’ skincare. Marigolds are rich in betacarotene, antioxidants and salicylic acid. Hands, in particular, respond to their TLC. Very occasional adverse reactions have been reported though – so remember your patch test, as always.”
“Calendula has long been believed to have healing and protective properties across the world and in India it’s often used in ayurvedic medicine,” adds Ruby.
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