Beauty rituals are important because they place us in touch with our bodies. They require us to slow down and interact with nature's chemistry. They give us a space for evaluating and shifting the image of ourselves we portray to the world. They may lead to better health and greater peace of mind.
I did not grow up feeling direct pressure to be beautiful; however, the knowledge that my appearance held with it some sort of power brought me a kind of pressure which housed itself in my skin. During my youth, my mother, albeit well-meaning, used to play doctor to my acne, squeezing at pustules until they either burst or bled, sometimes leading to scars. When I got older, I spent hours in front of a mirror taking these small surgeries into my own hands. My face became a map marked by my many mild mutilations. I could read my self-inflicted wounds as one would tea leaves. I felt relief on the days when I could stay inside and heal, not having to show my face to world. And, yet, I continued to choose harsh nightly benzyl peroxide treatments and physically invasive measures.
As with most things in my life, this approach changed as I got older and realized that healthier, simpler possibilities exist. My goal now is to nourish my skin and allow it to rest, detoxifying itself in its own way and time. The method of nourishment changes, but I'm compelled to share some of the things that are working best for me right now. While there's no guarantee of these helping anyone else, I want to share my suggestions just in case. Use them with caution and care.
Flower Water: As I mentioned in my first ever post, I'm a huge fan of this. Pour boiling water over dried flower petals and mix with a few drops of essential oil. Inhale the steam and then dip a rag in the mixture and rub it all over your face and neck. (Favorite flowers = lavender, rose, calendula; Favorite essential oils= tea tree, lavender and sage) This is powerful aromatherapy—very uplifting and joyful! It also hydrates and cleanses the skin while reducing the appearance of puffiness and fine lines. The addition of sage helps dry excess oil and heal lesions on acne prone skin. Tea Tree is also a powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal agent. Lavender has antiseptic properties and is good at reducing inflammation and healing burns.
Mud Mask: A mud mask can relax the facial muscles, remove toxins and aid in wound healing or it can overstress skin. Personally, I recommend using green clay mixed with cool water. I also recommend treating your face to flower water before and after using the mask. Leave the mud in place for no more than 10 minutes, no more than twice a week. However, feel free to place mud for several hours on isolated lesions and insect bites to promote more rapid healing.
Supplements: I have noticed the biggest difference in my skin when I take regular doses of L-Lysine and St John's Wort. Both have anti-viral, wound-healing properties. L-Lysine also aids in calcium absorption and is vital to having healthy connective tissue. You can assimilate it from various foods within your diet; however, supplementation helps, especially if you do not eat meat. St. John's Wort also has powerful neurological effects, and a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. If you feel compelled to take SJW, I recommend you consult your physician and give it a try. More information is here.