The Everything Guide to Herbal Remedies: An easy-to-use reference for natural health care

CHAPTER 15

Self-Care and Beauty

Over the last few millennia, humans have put a lot of effort into looking good. Primitive people used twigs to keep their teeth clean, the ancients used fragrant and naturally frothing plants to clean themselves, and Roman women dabbed on creams made with olive oil, rose water, and saffron to keep their skin glowing. Many of the ingredients used in modern lotions and potions are the same as our forbears used—and many more are synthetic concoctions that may actually do more harm than good.

How Herbs Can Help Your Looks

Modern cosmetics contain a laboratory’s worth of synthetic chemicals, virtually all of which are deemed safe—or safe enough—by the government. Unfortunately, that’s not much of a guarantee. Many people choose herbal self-care products over comparable conventional products because of concerns over safety.

Regulation of Cosmetics and Self-Care Products

The rules governing the marketing and sale of personal care products are enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Current regulations prohibit companies from selling “adulterated or misbranded” products—things that contain (or are packaged in containers that contain) poisonous or dangerous substances, are spoiled or contaminated, or have labels with false or misleading information. (A big exception to this rule is hair dyes, which are made with known carcinogens.)

They also require manufacturers to list a product’s ingredients and any other information necessary for a consumer to make an informed purchase. If a product contains ingredients that are restricted (such as cancer-causing hair dyes or foaming bath agents, which are known irritants), its label must include the appropriate warning.

What the FDA doesn’t control is a product’s actual composition: what’s in it, how (and if) it works, and if it’s safe. Unlike drugs and medical devices, cosmetics fall outside the agency’s premarket approval authority, meaning the FDA can step in and try to stop the sale of a product or take action against the company that’s selling it only after it’s been shown to be in violation of the law. Cosmetics firms, believe it or not, are on the honor system when it comes to manufacturing and selling products that are safe.

Why Herbs Are the Better Choice

Of course, herbs and herbal products fall under the same rules (or lack thereof) that the lab-created cosmetics do, and a skin cream made with jojoba (a natural moisturizer) isn’t inherently safer than one made with triethylhexanoin (a synthetic). Unless you grow your own botanicals—and control the seeds you plant, the water you give them, and the dirt you plant them in—you can’t be completely sure of what you’re getting.

As is the case with conventional products, you also can’t always trust the label: There’s no official definition of “natural” when it comes to consumer goods, meaning a manufacturer can slap a green label onto a products that’s entirely lab created. If you’re buying packaged products, be sure to read the label carefully. (For more, see Chapter 17).

The Environmental Working Group reports that nearly 90 percent of the ingredients in personal care products have not been assessed for safety. Many products contain ingredients that are known toxins and are linked to serious health problems, including cancer and neurological damage. More than 400 products being sold today have been found to be unsafe even when used as directed.

Despite these issues, in most cases, you’re still better off with herbs than synthetics. Because they’re made with ingredients that are almost always gentler and less likely to cause a reaction than their synthetic counterparts, herbal cosmetics and personal care products generally are a better option.

Healthy Hair 101

Hair grows all over your body, with a few exceptions (including your lips, palms, and soles of your feet), and the average person has about 5 million hairs, most of which grow for between two and six years before falling out and being replaced. Hair—especially the hair on your head—can be a good indicator of your overall health.

Although there are huge variations in what’s normal and healthy when it comes to hair (some people have hair that’s thicker, curlier, or longer than others), a healthy head of hair is generally shiny, lively, and full. The living parts of the hair—the root, the follicle that contains it, and the sebaceous (oil) gland that’s attached to it—are beneath the surface of the skin. The part that’s visible, the shaft, which is covered by a cuticle, is dead. Hair gets its color from melanin—the more melanin, the darker the hair. Loss of melanin results in gray or white hair.

Healthy hair requires a few things to stay that way: a good diet with plenty of protein and fat (essential for hair, skin, and other tissues), sufficient sebum, or oil that’s produced in the scalp (enough to coat and protect the hair shaft, but not so much that it builds up or collects excess dirt), and a healthy balance of hormones. The good news is that many herbs—whether incorporated in commercial products or used au naturel—can keep your hair healthy without all the synthetic ingredients.

Basic—and Better—Hair Care

Many herbs can deliver the same effects—cleaning, conditioning, styling, and coloring—that their lab-created counterparts do, without the hazards.

You can use a simple herbal infusion—a type of “tea” that’s not really made of tea (Camellia sinensis) but is made the same way—to give your hair color a boost without all the toxins. Try chamomile (Matricaria recutita)if your hair is light and amla (Emblica officinalis, Phyllanthus emblica) or walnut (Juglans regia) if it’s dark brown or black.

Everyday Wash and Wear

For centuries, people have used herbs to clean their hair and scalp. Here are a few you can use today:

• Olive (Olea europaea)

Olive oil is the most common source for castile soap, a vegetable-based cleanser that’s gentle for both hair and skin. Castile soap can also be made with other plant oils, including almond (Prunus dulcis),jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), hemp (Cannabis sativa), and coconut (Cocos nucifera).

• Ritha (Sapindus mukorossi)

The dried fruits of this Asian tree, also known as reetha, soapnut, or Chinese soapberry, also produce a gentle lather. You can find it in some commercial shampoos (imports from India) or mix the powder with water and use it straight.

• Shikakai (Acacia concinna)

This Indian shrub, also known as soap pod, contains natural saponins, or soap-like chemicals. It’s been used for centuries throughout India and Southeast Asia as a gentle shampoo, and it is sold today as a powder (which you mix with water to make a paste) or incorporated into ready to-use shampoos or oil-based treatments.

• Yucca (Yucca glauca)

The roots of this Native American plant, also known as soapweed, can be crushed and used as a shampoo. Yucca was also used by the Indians of the Great Plains and Southwest to promote healthy hair growth.

Many companies are now selling dry shampoos, powdered formulations that can be sprayed into your hair to absorb excess oil and buy you another day without washing. Corn (Zea mays)—or, more specifically, cornstarch, which is extracted from corn flour—makes an effective natural alternative. Just sprinkle a bit onto your scalp, then brush it away.

Damage Repair

Hair can be damaged by physical trauma (rough handling or blow-drying), chemicals (coloring or straightening), and environmental factors like UV light. The following herbs can help:

• Avocado (Persea americana)

Both the pulp and the pit (actually, the oil from the avocado seed) can be used to condition and repair hair.

• Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)

Jojoba oil is considered to be one of the closest herbal cousins of human sebum. It’s a classic hair conditioner, used alone or incorporated into commercial products.

Coloring and Styling

Some people like to take their hair beyond the basic (clean and healthy) without venturing into the world of synthetic dyes and styling products, which can leave hair and scalp damaged.

Commercial hair colors are a virtual chemical bath and contain some of the harshest ingredients you can find in an over-the-counter (OTC) product. But you’ve got some more natural options:

• Amla (Emblica officinalis, Phyllanthus emblica)

Also known as amalaki or Indian gooseberry, the fruits of this tree are a mainstay of Ayurvedic medicine (used to strengthen the hair and scalp, among other things). Powdered amla fruit can be used as a shampoo (it contains a soap-like chemical) and hair color (it creates an ashy brown shade). Amla oil is used as a hair conditioner, as well.

• Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

This is classic treatment for temporarily brightening natural or out-of-a-box blonde hair (it also works on streaks and highlights).

• Henna (Lawsonia inermis, L. alba)

The best-known natural hair color and one of the earliest cosmetics (Cleopatra was reportedly a fan), henna contains a reddish pigment called lawsone. Henna has been used traditionally around the world to dye hair as well as skin (it’s the pigment used in mehndi and other temporary “tattoos”).

• Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria)

Like henna, indigo has a long history of use as a hair and body dye. Once (mistakenly) known as “black henna,” indigo actually contains a bluish black pigment—the same one that gives blue jeans their color—that creates a very dark hair color. Some people mix indigo with henna to get a deep brown color.

• Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Black tea contains mildly astringent tannins (which leave hair shiny) plus dark pigments that intensify and revive black and dark brown locks. The leaves and husks of the walnut (Juglans regia)and the leaves of the eclipta, or false daisy, plant (Eclipta alba, E. prostrata) are also used to make a rinse for dark brown hair.

Natural henna produces a reddish brown color—there’s no such thing as “neutral” or “black” henna—so products promising to deliver other colors must contain additional ingredients. Some manufacturers add chemical dyes or metal salts, which can react with the chemicals in conventional hair products and leave you with green, purple, or otherwise horrific hair. Read labels carefully.

• Aloe (Aloe vera)

Aloe gel is an effective moisturizer for hair as well as skin, and, because it creates a semi-stiff surface when dry, can replace commercial styling gel or hairspray.

• Avocado (Persea americana)

The rich emollients in avocado pulp work as well as a commercial pomade or sculpting wax, delivering a dose of conditioning at the same time.

• Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

Marshmallow contains humectants (chemicals that attract and hold moisture), which make it a natural hair-styling agent.

• Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Nettle contains astringent chemicals that are natural body-builders, making it a good stand-in for commercial volumizing products.

• Psyllium (Plantago ovata, P. psyllium)

Psyllium seeds contain mucilage, a slimy substance that does what many commercial gels and mousses do: coats your hair when it’s wet and holds it in place as it dries.

The average American uses between fifteen and twenty-five personal-care products every day (including several hair care and styling products). But each product you pile on adds more chemicals to your hair and scalp, increasing the chance of a bad reaction (or just a lot of product buildup). In contrast, most herbs work alone or in combination with just a few other ingredients.

Dealing with Dandruff

Dandruff is a broad term for a flaky, sometimes itchy, scalp. In many cases, it’s caused by a buildup of hair care products or dry skin on and around the scalp, something that’s easily remedied with a change in shampoo and conditioner. In other cases, the flakes are what’s technically known as seborrheic dermatitis.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of flaking and scaling of the scalp that’s caused, ironically, by excessive oil. (The word seborrhea means “too much oil.”) Seborrheic dermatitis can also create scaly patches on other areas, such as the inside of the ear, face, or torso. A case that develops in an infant is referred to as cradle cap (see Chapter 6).

Tea (Camellia sinensis) contains astringent tannins along with the antidandruff phytochemicals salicylic acid, sulfur, and zinc—close relatives of the chemicals used in commercial dandruff remedies. Steeping a handful of leaves (or a few tea bags) to make an extra-strong infusion gives you an easy, effective after-shampoo treatment for hair and scalp.

Seborrhea symptoms can also be associated with yeast overgrowth, although most experts say the condition itself isn’t caused by fungus.

Conventional dandruff treatments focus on removing flakes and fighting inflammation; some are also antifungals. Most of the time, doctors recommend OTC remedies, but severe cases might be treated with prescription-strength shampoos or topical cortisone treatments.

OTC dandruff treatments include shampoos made with salicylic acid (see “Acne and Oily Skin,” below), coal tar (a thick, black byproduct of the manufacture of gas and coal that contains known carcinogens), pyrithione zinc, and selenium sulfide; you’ll also see antifungal shampoos made with ketoconazole in the dandruff aisle. All can reduce symptoms, but they can cause side effects like stinging or burning and hair loss. Some people also use OTC lotions made with these ingredients, or OTC or prescription steroid creams or lotions, which can cause skin reactions and impair immune function. Here are a few antidandruff herbs:

• Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Peppermint contains menthol, selenium, and zinc—all proven anti-flake ingredients that are also used in conventional dandruff shampoos. Juniper (Juniperus communis) contains the same chemicals, along with several antifungal agents.

• Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice contains salicylic acid—the same ingredient in many pharmaceutical dandruff treatments—without all the unnecessary extras. You’ll also find a healthy dose of salicylic acid in calendula (Calendula officinalis).

• Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree oil is a potent antifungal that’s also drying—perfect to combat seborrheic dermatitis. Research confirms its effectiveness as an effective dandruff remedy.

Too Oily? Too Dry?

Your scalp is covered with hair follicles—about 100,000 of them—most attached to a sebaceous gland, which pumps out sebum. When sebum supplies are right, your hair and scalp are protected from environmental assaults, and they look (and feel) healthy. But if your sebaceous glands are putting out too much (or not enough) sebum, your hair and scalp will look oily (or dried out).

Biotin, a water-soluble B vitamin, is essential for healthy hair and scalp, and a deficiency can cause hair loss, dandruff, and a host of other problems. Biotin supplements can help, but so can eating plenty of biotin-rich plants, like whole grains, legumes, cruciferous vegetables, and herbs like soy (Glycine max) and garlic (Allium sativum).

Many people have dry skin—on their bodies and faces as well as their scalps—and can experience itching and flakiness (and dry, dull hair) as a result. To restore moisture to parched skin and hair, you can look to commercial products, which most certainly contain ingredients you don’t need along with the emollients you do. Or you can try these herbs:

• Almond (Prunus dulcis)

The oil from this ubiquitous nut—it’s grown all over the world—can moisturize both skin and hair without leaving too much grease behind; unlike many other plant and synthetic oils, it’s got a light texture and is absorbed into the tissues quickly. Almond oil is also rich in scalp-friendly omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs).

• Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)

Cocoa butter, the semi-solid fat derived from cocoa beans, is a rich emollient and protectant that’s great for dry skin. It also contains lactic acid, a proven remedy for rough, scaly skin.

• Flax (Linum usitatissimum)

Whether used topically or internally, the oil from flaxseeds locks moisture into the scalp and hair and delivers omega-3 acids, which restore the skin’s natural moisture balance. When taken orally, omega-3s seem to work best when combined with omega-6 acids, which are found in borage (Borago officinalis) and evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) oils.

Trying to remedy a case of the greasies generally means hitting the shampoo aisle in search of the strongest shampoo you can find. But that strategy can leave you with dried up, damaged hair and scalp. Herbs offer a better solution:

• Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

Horsetail is an astringent herb that was used by several Native American tribes as an oil-inhibiting hair wash. Willow (Salix alba) and juniper (Juniperus communis) are two more remedies for oily scalp.

• Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Nettle leaves are also a good source of astringent chemicals, and a nettle infusion makes an effective rinse for oily hair and scalp. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) can produce similar results.

Halting Hair Loss

If you’ve noticed your hair getting thinner—or showing up in greater-than-normal quantities in your brush or shower drain—you’re probably not happy about it. Hair loss, or alopecia, can affect anyone, at any age, and can be caused by many things. Some cases will resolve on their own, while others will continue until a large amount of hair (if not every last strand) is gone.

Essential oils—highly concentrated herbal extracts—have been used for centuries to keep hair and skin healthy. Research shows that applying a combination of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia),Atlantic cedar (Cedrus atlantica), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) essential oils can significantly improve symptoms of alopecia areata, a type of hair loss that affects both women and men.

At any given time, about 90 percent of the hair follicles on your head are in the growing stage and the others are resting. When its resting phase is over, the follicle sheds its hair and starts growing a new one.

Most people lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. Losing significantly more than that can mean a few things, including:

• Hereditary (androgenic) alopecia: This condition, known as male-pattern and female-diffuse balding, is the most common type of hair loss. Androgenic alopecia is progressive, meaning it won’t resolve itself and will only get worse as time goes by.

• Alopecia areata: Alopecia areata typically produces round, completely smooth patches on the scalp (and occasionally progresses to complete baldness). Many experts think it’s an autoimmune disorder. In most cases, hair returns on its own.

• Telogen effluvium: This is a temporary condition in which an abnormally large number of hair follicles enter the resting stage at once, meaning you’re losing more than you’re replacing. It can be caused by physical or emotional stress, thyroid abnormalities, nutritional shortfalls, and certain medications (including pain meds, anticoagulants, and antidepressants).

Conventional medicine typically treats hair loss with drugs: minoxidil (Rogaine), which started as a prescription but is now available OTC, and finasteride (Propecia, Proscar), a prescription. Side effects of minoxidil can include dizziness or fainting and fast or irregular heartbeat. Propecia can cause sexual side effects. Alopecia areata is often treated with cortisone injections, which can cause suppressed immunity and other problems. But herbal medicine has some alternatives:

• Eclipta

Eclipta, also known as false daisy, is an Ayurvedic staple with a long tradition

(Eclipta alba, E. prostrata)

of use as a hair treatment. In modern studies, it’s been proven more effective than minoxidil (Rogaine) in promoting hair growth.

• Garlic (Allium sativum)

Both garlic and its cousin onion (Allium sepa) contain oleic acid, a natural antialopecia agent. Research shows that topical extracts of either onion or garlic can help stimulate regrowth of hair lost to alopecia areata.

• Nettle (Urtica dioica)

This plant is a classic European and Native American hair tonic (the indigenous people of British Columbia recognized its ability to promote the growth of long, silky hair). Nettle’s astringent properties also make it useful for combating excess sebum, which has been shown to contribute to hair loss.

• Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Taken orally, saw palmetto extracts seem to inhibit the hormonal process that has been blamed for androgenic alopecia.

• Soy (Glycine max)

Soy can help you keep your hair in a few ways: It’s used in many commercial shampoos as a gentle scalp cleanser (it contains natural surfactants and astringents), and it also works internally. Soy contains the chemicals inositol and beta-sitosterol, which have been shown to inhibit hair loss.

• Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Regularly consuming green tea (or applying it to your scalp) can produce significant regrowth. Research shows that the polyphenols in tea can help reduce androgenic alopecia.

Japanese researchers have isolated chemicals called procyanidin oligomers from apples (Malus domestica) and barley (Hordeum vulgare), which they’ve shown in both laboratory and real-life experiments can increase hair growth by as much as 300 percent.

Acne and Oily Skin

Acne is a disorder of the sebaceous glands that causes clogged pores and pimples on the face (and occasionally the neck, chest, and upper back). Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, which can combine with dead skin cells and block the pores. The pores can become infected (most often with bacteria), creating more inflammation.

Conventional medicine treats acne with a three-pronged approach, using medicines that reduce bacteria, unclog pores, and minimize (or remove) oil. OTC remedies include cleansers and treatments made with antibacterial and astringent ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or sulfur and exfoliants like salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, or retinol. All of these can cause skin irritation and drying. For example, benzoyl peroxide can cause redness and stinging (it’s a bleach as well as a bacteria killer).

Prescription treatments include topical retinoids like tretinoin (Retin-A), adapalene (Differin), and tazarotene (Tazorac). Topical antibiotics include erythromycin and clindamycin (Benzaclin, Duac); antibacterials include sulfacetamide (Klaron) and azelaic acid (Azelex). Oral antibiotics include tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline. Oral contraceptives such as drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol (Yaz) are also prescribed in some cases. The drug isotretinoin (Accutane) is sometimes prescribed for very severe or resistant cases.

Many chemicals used in acne treatments, including benzoyl peroxide and sodium lauryl sulfate, a cleaning agent, are known irritants that have been deemed “safe” by the FDA because they’re used in relatively low amounts in these products. But in slightly more concentrated applications, these same chemicals are routinely used in lab experiments to induce irritation and burns.

Retinoids can cause irritation and increased sensitivity to the sun. Antibiotics can also increase the likelihood of sunburn along with gastrointestinal upset. Birth control pills can cause digestive problems and headaches and increase your risk for several serious conditions (including heart attack and blood clots). Isotretinoin can cause muscle aches—and severe birth defects when taken by women who are pregnant. Here are some herbal alternatives:

• Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula is famous for its skin-soothing properties (it contains antiinflammatory and immune-stimulating chemicals), but it also contains powerful antibacterial and astringent components. An infusion of calendula can replace commercial toners made with alcohol and other potentially drying ingredients.

• Guggul (Commiphora wightii, C. mukul)

This Ayurvedic herb contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and immune-stimulating compounds. Modern research shows oral doses can be as effective against severe (nodulocystic) acne as the drug tetracycline.

• Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Native Americans made an infusion from the branches of this evergreen shrub to use as an oil-balancing hair and skin wash. It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties (plus exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids), making it an effective acne remedy.

• Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Research shows that a topical tea tree preparation works as well as benzoyl peroxide in clearing pimples, with far fewer side effects.

• Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)

Vitex, one of the best known “women’s herbs” used to balance hormonal fluctuations, can be taken orally to prevent or lessen premenstrual breakouts. Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is another proven remedy for PMS-related acne.

Saving Face

Unless they’re battling acne or another skin condition, most people don’t pay much attention to their skin until it starts to show its age. In your thirties, your skin starts losing firmness and volume—and developing lines, wrinkles, and spots instead. And in most people, those telltale signs show up first—and most prominently—in their faces.

Doctors know that as much as 90 percent of what we once thought of as “normal” signs of aging is actually sun damage, or photoaging. Thus, prevention is key (see Chapter 13).

The fountain of youth might be a coffee pot: Applying extracts of coffeeberries, the unroasted version of the same beans (Coffea arabica) that deliver your morning jolt, can significantly reduce wrinkles. Topical or oral doses of plain caffeine also can deliver skin benefits—and research shows that people who regularly drink coffee have lower rates of skin cancer.

Dermatologists talk about ultraviolet (UV) radiation in terms of UVA and UVB rays. UVBs, which are shorter and don’t penetrate as far into the skin, are responsible for sunburns and tanning. UVAs, on the other hand, are longer and go deeper into the skin. UVA rays are the biggest culprits in photoaging and skin cancer.

Both types of UV radiation damage superficial skin cells and destroy the tiny blood vessels that supply nutrients to the skin. Sun exposure generates free radicals, which cause oxidation and play a role in both disease (cancer) and plain old aging.

Conventional medicine offers several pharmaceuticals and treatments to fight the effects of aging in skin. They include antioxidants like prescription tretinoin (Renova) and OTC retinol as well as vitamins C and E, moisturizers like propylene glycol, and exfoliating agents like glycolic acid. These products can improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of lines, but they can also cause skin reactions and increased sun sensitivity.

Many face-saving herbs have been used traditionally in combination remedies and are now being studied scientifically—with great results. For example, a product containing soy (Glycine max), grape (Vitis vinifera),tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), and chamomile (Matricaria recutita) significantly reduced sagging, brown spots, and wrinkles around the eyes, mouths, and foreheads in study participants.

Conventional practitioners also use injectable wrinkle-fillers like hyalauronic acid (Restylane) and collagen and shots of botulinium toxin (Botox), which temporarily paralyze facial muscles. Potential side effects include pain and swelling (Botox can cause drooping eyelids or other unwanted paralysis). Herbal medicine offers a few alternatives:

• Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)

This Ayurvedic herb can strengthen connective tissue and build collagen. Research shows that topical application can improve skin’s elasticity and firmness.

• Grape (Vitis vinifera)

Grape seeds contain high levels of proanthocyanidins, antioxidants up to fifty times more powerful than vitamins E or C. Studies show that grape seed extracts applied to the skin can bond with collagen, boosting skin’s elasticity and texture and reducing the signs of aging.

• Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster)

Taking oral doses of antioxidant-rich pine bark extracts can increase your skin’s resistance to sunburn—and counteract the oxidative damage that UV exposure can cause.

• Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

Pineapples contain alpha-hydroxy acids and other natural fruit acids, which are used topically and have been shown in numerous studies to be an effective weapon against aging. You’ll also find them in mango (Mangifera indica), papaya (Carica papaya), and passion fruit (Passiflora edulis).

• Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Pomegranate, which is high in antioxidants, can help repair aging skin. Extracts of both the peel and seed (oil) have shown the ability to inhibit age-related collagen loss and speed the production of new supplies.

• Rose (Rosa canina, R. spp)

Rose is rich in antioxidants and has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the plant world. Rose oil (from the Rosa damascena plant) and rose hips (the fruits left behind after the flower dies) can prevent UV-induced skin damage and act as a natural sunscreen.

• Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Tea contains piles of dermis-friendly chemicals, including more than sixty antioxidants, at least forty anti-inflammatories, and malic acid (which combines both alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids). Drinking tea and applying it to your skin can protect against sun damage, preventing photoaging and skin cancer.

• Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Essential oil of chamomile has been shown to decrease puffy eyes and dark undereye circles.