Herbs and skin are a natural pairing: The aromatic plants are a sensual treat for our largest sensory organ, and the skin is a selective barrier, allowing some of the herbs’ healing properties to penetrate.
Here are some suggestions for supplementing your daily skin-care routine with herbs.
Cleanse with herbs that contain foaming saponins, such as oats (Avena sativa) and yucca (Yucca spp.), and antimicrobial herbs such as thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and sage (Salvia officinalis).
Exfoliate with abrasives such as ground peach pits, date pits and powdered parsley (Petroselinum crispum), or by using naturally occurring acids from parsley, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and lemon.
Tone to restore the skin’s natural acid mantle. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a common toning astringent, and volatile oils in herbs such as lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) and roses have a similar effect.
Replace and rebalance oil and moisture with aloe (Aloe vera) gel, mullein flowers (Verbascum spp.), safflower oil, sunflower oil and calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis).
Mask occasionally to reach impurities deep in the pores; masks can be made using oats or by mixing various herbs with natural clays, yogurt or honey.
Source: Quatrochi, Kathlyn. The Skin Care Book. Loveland, Colorado: Interweave Press, 1997.