Have you noticed the advertisements for lotions and potions aimed at the Baby Boom generation? They all promise a return to a youthful skin. We grandmas could be enticed to spend mega-bucks to regain our youthful looks, if we were convinced about the benefits of looking young for our age. And I guess, our grandchildren could be taken in too – convinced that if they don’t start now they’ll look as old as Grandma when they retire. So let’s look at the beliefs behind all that Youth in a Bottle hype.
- First: The truth is most grandmas do not feel they need to look less than their age. Lines, especially laugh lines, are a badge of honour. Celebrities, however, know that the advance of lines on the face and body means a reduction in take home pay (unless you’re Judi Dench who manages to look fabulous working those facial lines). That’s why female actors take on these awful advertisements that mostly line (lol) the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies.
- Second: Only expensive lotions and potions continually applied will stop aging. Actually, aging of the skin is natural and depends on inherited DNA which dictates whether you have a dry skin or an oily one. Young people with oily skins should rejoice. Their skin will be less likely to show lines as they age – if that is what they want, or don’t want.
- Third: Chemical sunscreen is the best barrier against sunburn and cancer. Actually, there are some cheap and sensible things you can do to care for your skin so that it is not put under unnecessary stress while out in the sun.
- Fourth: Pharmaceutical-produced products for the skin have been tested and found to be safe. Actually, they may contain chemicals that can cause allergies and actually harm some skins.
Is a tan okay?
Okay, most of us look better with a tanned skin – no argument here. However, some skins take a tan safely and other fairer skins simply burn. Susceptible skins may do more than burn, they may grow skin cancers. Sensible thing is to protect your skin before going out to the beach or pool party.
So how do you choose good protection?
Some commercially developed sunscreens are advertised as being anti-aging! (Now why is Grandma not surprised?) These sunscreens usually contain Vitamin A which is an anti-oxidant, one of those buzz-words in health care. In medical use Vitamin A is applied to the skin to improve wound healing, reduce wrinkles, and to protect the skin against UV radiation. But take a look at this report: The Problem with Vitamin A. The cure may be worse than the cause.
Unfortunately, recognising Vitamin A in a sunscreen list of ingredients is not that easy. It goes by various names including: 3-Dehydroretinol, 3-Déhydrorétinol, Acétate de Rétinol, Antixerophthalmic Vitamin, Axerophtholum, Dehydroretinol, Déhydrorétinol, Fat-Soluble Vitamin, Oleovitamin A, Palmitate de Rétinol, Retinoids, Rétinoïdes, Retinol, Rétinol, Retinol Acetate and others.
Sensible people might then decide to go the totally natural way and make their own. Here is a sunscreen recipe gleaned from ‘The make-your-own Cosmetic & Fragrance Book’, by Elizabeth Franke. An updated version of the original book is available here: WorldCat.org.
Franke’s sunscreen recipe uses:
⦁ 1 cup lanolin
⦁ ¼ cup sesame oil
⦁ ¾ cup very strong tea, made with 3 tsp of tea and infused for 20 minutes
Method: Blend the ingredients together in an electric blender while the tea is slowing poured in.
Unfortunately, some people are allergic to lanolin, which is an oil extracted from sheep’s wool. So try the lanolin on a sensitive but less exposed part of your anatomy before making up the sunscreen. If you go too long under the sun, then there is always this Sun-soothing Lotion to be applied.
⦁ 2 tbsp cucumber
⦁ 2 tbsp room warm milk
⦁ 2 tbsp very strong tea
⦁ 2 tbsp witch hazel
Method: The cucumber is pulped and squeezed through a cloth, then stirring all the time the milk, tea and finally witch hazel is added.
Witch hazel certainly sounds rather on the edge, but it turns out to be an essential oil, extracted from the Witch Hazel tree. No doubt Wise Medicine Women have used its healing properties for centuries and it can be bought as an essential oil from a number of different online stores like Medshop Express (click the picture to link).
I think the lesson to be learned is that there are cheap, effective alternative natural remedies to pharmaceutical medicines. However, just as with allergies to chemical medicines, some people may be allergic even to natural materials. Testing on a small area of skin is essential before use, but at least you can be sure no animals will have been harmed in the testing.
Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author