When I go into a department store I head right for the cosmetic counter. What used to be a simple stroll through various lipsticks, foundation make-up, now appears to be a visit to a food market. What is being sold now for cosmetics for shoppers are such items as soy extract, grape seed oil, oat cleanser, apricot scrub, vitamin C rejuvenation therapy, vitamin E anti-aging agent, and on and on.
There is one application for the eyes, one for the T-zone, one for the skin and chest, one for firming up cellulite, one morning cream and one night cream, one for the neck and one for firming the jaw line. To follow this regimen, you will likely end up with both a pharmacy and a grocery store on your bathroom shelf. I spent a day of confusion trying to figure out which one to use first, or in which combination, I determined that it had to do mostly with food. I then called my aunt in Syria, who is close to 68 years old with skin as gorgeous as though a 30-year old. She is a person who, as my mother says, with some envy, “the sun has never kissed her face.”
In her time, there was no sunscreen available, which resulted in my aunt holding an umbrella to shade her face on the most sunny of days. When she travels in an automobile, she always sits in the middle of the seat so the sun doesn’t hit her. According to her, the secret is not so much keeping her skin in the shade, but it is her generous application of olive oil on her skin. Every morning, without fail, she mixes olive oil and honey, puts it on her face, and only washes it when she has to go out. Then she uses the umbrella.
To find out if there is something new under the sun, I did some research and learned that the ancient Romans did the same thing, but they never washed theirs off, leaving it on all day. And who hasn’t heard that Cleopatra was famous for bathing only in milk, not water.
There are several books that discuss food’s role in skin rejuvenation. The Wrinkle Cure, The Perricone Prescription, Beautiful Skin are just few of the titles.
What they all agree upon is the effect of the sun’s rays on one’s skin. It does damage the skin. I’ve seen women in Florida with skin similar to leather from spending so much time in the sun. They all agree that consumption of at least 8 cups of water a day which gets rid of the toxins in one’s body. Think of your kidneys as the garbage disposal of your system, and their need for water in order to flush out the toxins.
Olive oil is another point of agreement. They all recommend that it is the only oil one should use on your skin, and a couple of the authors insist on using only it in cooking. We know that olive oil is good for one’s heart, and that it is helpful in holding down one’s cholesterol. Olive oil contains an anti-inflammatory agent that helps prevent one’s cells from aging. Think of the effect rust has on metal. It eats it away. Then think of the effect of an anti-inflammatory food on your cells, which prevents the cell membranes from “rusting,” or aging. Olive oil and dark leafy vegetables and dark fruit, such as blueberries and raspberries, which are full of anti-oxidants which prevent inflammation of one’s cells and inhibits “free radicals” from developing. This is good prevention for heart disease and cancer.
What one should avoid is refined carbohydrates which increase the release of insulin, which in turn makes one more susceptible to inflammatory agents, which ages one’s skin. There is also an ultimate danger of an onset of diabetes. The author of the Perricone Prescription always recommends that you start your meals with a protein. By doing this before you eat your salad and bread, it slows down the release of insulin, which is a good thing for diabetics.
All of these recommendations, whether or not they are the fountain of youth, are good healthy recommendations that will help keep you out of the hospital and the assisted living apartments.
A few days ago I got caught up in the research I was doing on skin rejuvenation, and, after eating part of a mango, I rubbed the rest of it on my face. I forgot it was there when a neighbor knocked on the door to tell me something. He was staring at me in a funny looking way, then, he said, bluntly, “you’ve got something on your face.” That was one of the few times in my life that I was at a loss for words.