Tag Archives: skin problems

Dealing With Dry Skin

The joy of perfectly heahtly skin

The cause

Dry skin problems usually comes from underactive sebaceous glands, which may be due to hormone imbalance of vitamin or mineral deficiencies and therefore don’t produce enough important oily fluid to lubricate the skin and protect it from water loss.

Another reason may be the result of being exposed to excessively drying weather conditions, central heating, or air-conditioning, or from a diet too low in essential fatty acids.

Sometimes dried out skin is due to an incorrect water balance in the horny cells as a result of their being exposed to water for too long causing the cells to swell and burst, or on the other hand from being deprived of water for too long and as a consequence the cells gradually desiccate.

Excessive dryness of the skin also occurs in people who are suffering from subclinical deficiencies of Vit. A or C or one of several of the B-Complex group or of linoleic acid.

A dry skin incidence is also increasing, probably as a result of air pollution, the use of drugs, or the overuse of detergents and soaps on the skin of the face and body. skin conditions such as neuro-dermatitis, fungus infections, contact dermatitis, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis are often confused with dry skin.

Prevention and cure

Use a water-in-oil emulsion on your face night and day to protect against excessive water loss by trapping the water in the outer layer of the skin, preventing it from being released. Ensure sufficient essential fatty acids in your diet. Good sources are olive oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil.

You may also want to consider taking supplements of Vit. A and D in the form of fish liver oil. Vit. E taken internally or rubbed on the skin is often helpful too.

Other helpers include a humidifier, a weekly steaming of the skin followed by an oil massage, and mineral water sprayed onto the skin before applying moisturiser or treatment products. Avoid using soap on your face, avoid skincare products containing alcohol and apply a mask at least once a week.

Useful aromatherapy oils to use which you can mix yourself that contain the essence most useful for dry skin are geranium, camomile, rose, sandalwood, lavender, and ylang-ylang.


Cleopatra’s Beauty Secret

Aloe Vera


Cleopatra was renowned for her beautiful skin. One of her secrets was to massage aloe gel into her skin to nourish it and to make it shine. But she was not the only one to believe in the restorative powers of aloe.

Her fellow Egyptians was also very fond of the plant and drawings of aloe have been found in Egyptian temples dating to 3000 B.C. Egyptian medical writings from 1500 B.C. recommended it for infections and skin problems and as a laxative, uses that are supported by modern herbologists.

The Bible mentions aloe several times, in passages such as “I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon” (Proverbs 7:17). But it is unlikely that biblical aloe was one that we know today. In the ancient world, many bitter, resinous plants were called aloe.

The word ‘aloe’ comes from the Arabic ‘alloeh’ meaning ‘bitter and shiny’ – an apt description of the plant’s wound-healing inner leaf gel.

Michael Castleman, author of The New Healing Herbs reports that Aloe is one of the few non-narcotic plants to cause a war. When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 B.C., he heard of a plant with amazing wound-healing powers on an island off Somalia. Intent on healing his soldiers’ wounds – and on denying this healer to his enemies – Alexander sent an army to seize the island and the plant, which turned out to be aloe.

To prepare fresh aloe gel to help soothe superficial (not needing stitches) wounds, including burns, scrapes, sunburn, and to help prevent infection, select a lower (older) leaf and cut off a few centimetres. Then slice it lengthwise and scoop the gel onto the cleaned wound, and let it dry. As for the injured leaf, it quickly closes its own wound.

This fresh aloe gel is also wonderful for enhancing the beauty of your skin. (It is worth noting that the ‘stabilized’ (preserved) gel found in commercial skin care products and shampoos may not provide the fresh herbs skin-enhancing benefits.)

If you don’t mind the bitterness and resulting stomach cramps you can also take the fresh gel internally as a laxative. Cut a 15cm piece of lower leaf. Wash it to remove any dirt, make a few lengthwise cuts, and put it with cut end down in a glass of water. Refrigerate for an hour or so. Remove the aloe leaf and take mouthful doses.

Can’t find an Aloe Vera plant?

Then use our own indigenous Bulbine frutescens. For external use some claim that it even surpasses Aloe Vera.

Please note that if you are pregnant or trying to conceive you should not take aloe internally as its cathartic nature may stimulate uterine contractions and trigger miscarriage. Nor should it be used by nursing mothers. It may cause stomach cramps and violent catharsis in infants. Before embarking on any self medication please consult your doctor.

Extract from the SA Herb Academy