10 Skin Secrets from the Ancient World
Snail slime facials and seaweed soaks sound exotic, but they aren’t new. Here’s why beauty companies are looking at centuries-old ingredients for the latest antiaging innovations.
BY: NING CHAO
As much as science has advanced over the years, tried-and-true treatments still endure. “Women think that natural products harness some secret to why they’ve worked for thousands of years. But these remedies can take time, and women want results now,” explains global beauty industry analyst Karen Grant of the NPD Group Inc. That’s why researchers are racing to figure out the science behind these miracle cures and learning new ways to maximize their benefits. Passed along from generation to generation and now perfected with cutting-edge technology, these ancient skincare secrets could help us all find the fountain of youth.
Credits: 1. Chanel Le Blanc Intensive Night Brightening Treatment, $400 for four treatments; 2. Amarte Ultra Veil SPF 50, $45; 3. Estée Lauder CyberWhite HD Advanced Brightening Moisture Creme, $80
Ancient Secret:The Compendium of Materia Medica of the Ming Dynasty suggests applying pearl powder to moisturize skin—Chinese empresses even ingested the stuff. In the Dongui Bogam (a book on traditional medicine from Korea’s Joseon Dynasty), a recipe recommends mixing the powder with milk for a DIY dark-spot corrector.
The Redux: In 2009, a Taiwanese study supported the claims in these early medical books, showing that pearl powder helps hydrate skin, reduces melanin production, and contains antioxidants. Pearls also lend the complexion a light-diffusing glow that minimizes imperfections.
Targets: Dryness, brown spots, sun damage.
Find It Today: 1. CHANEL Le Blanc Intensive Night Brightening Treatment, $400 for four treatments.
Ancient Secret: A member of the mint family, this herb has been used topically in traditional Chinese medicine to treat acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
The Redux: ”Skullcap possesses anti-inflammatory and even possible anti-cancer benefits. The root contains the antioxidant baicalin, which inhibits melanin production and brightens the skin,” says Dr. Craig Kraffert, dermatologist and president of Amarte.
Targets: Acne, sun damage, brown spots.
Find It Today: 2. AMARTE Ultra Veil SPF 50+, $45; 3. ESTéE LAUDER CyberWhite HD Advanced Brightening Moisture Creme, $80.
Credits: 1. Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense, $90; 2. Veria ID Innerdosha Pitta Dosha Balancing Act Serum, $35; 3. Yves Saint Laurent Or Rouge Face Crème, $400; 4. Origins Plant-scription Powerful Lifting Cream, $60
Ancient Secret: This fragrant resin has been used since biblical times to zap blemishes and heal cuts. “Before antibiotics, frankincense was more valuable than gold because it’s naturally antibacterial,” says pharmacognosist Dr. Simon Jackson.
The Redux: Frankincense is rich in boswellic acid, which boosts collagen formation and reduces scarring.
Targets: Acne, wrinkles.
Find It Today: 1. NEAL’SYARD REMEDIES Frankincense Intense, $90; 2. VERIA ID Innerdosha Pitta Dosha Balancing Act Serum, $35.