I had been thinking for a while of formulating a facial oil with Indian and western herbs - an East meets West if you will. Not because I was feeling gimmicky, but because I wanted an oil that offered all of the following:
- Protection against UV rays (anti-oxidant)
- Anti-bacterial protection for the occasional acne
- Astringent for under eye circles
I had done a lot of research on herbs and plants that offer the above properties and decided to create my formulation. The Indian herbs I used were:
- Sandalwood bark
- Yashtimadhu (licorice - not really localized to India ...)
- Kasthuri haldi (turmeric root)
The western herbs:
- Magnolia flower (foraged from trees in my neighborhood)
- White oak bark
- Orange peels (from organic oranges that I bought for consumption)
- Pomegranate peels (from organic pomegranate fruit I bought for consumption)
-Rose hips (from my garden - collected last winter when they were ripe)
Protection against the sun's UV rays:
The idea is to use a bunch of antioxidants to help scavenge reactive oxygen species (or ROS). The UV rays from the run react with skin tissue and create ROS that can do a lot of damage - ex. cause hyperpigmentation. I really dislike sun screen so I always load all the products I use with anti oxidants. That, along with a wide brimmed hat, has offered me fantastic protection over the years (I take walks in the middle of the day, every day in sunny California).
Some potent antioxidants are a class of compounds called polyphenols and flavonoids. Pomegranate peels, orange peels, rosehips and amla are rich in phenolic compounds. Another excellent antioxidant is vitamin C - found in amla, rosehips and orange peels. In addition, the turmeric root contains curcumin, another powerful antioxidant.
Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory:
Acne is caused by bacterial infection of a pore clogged by sebum. Therefore, it is important to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients in your skin care. Ingredients in this oil that provide these benefits are magnolia (rich in magnolol and honokiol) and manjishtha. Manjishtha is a much revered herb in Ayurveda - many good things, such as being anti-inflammatory, are attributed to this herb. Both magnolia and manjishtha are good for acne. Sandalwood bark is also well known for being anti-inflammatory.
Under eye circles:
With age (and accumulation of bad habits and exacerbated by genetics) comes the raccoon look. I have tried formulating any number of gels, oils, and creams for this and received not so great results. Licorice, magnolia and manjishtha are known for skin whitening (see references below) and great for pigmentation issues. I added the white oak bark because it is rich in tannins - chemicals that constrict blood vessels. Pomegranate peels are also rich in tannins. So by using a multi-pronged approach of pigmentation suppression and blood vessel constriction (astringents), I hope this will help with dark circles.
I used Ayurvedic methods to extract the herbs in water and then incorporating the decoction in sesame oil and rounded the whole thing off with a drop of my favorite rose absolute.
Been using this oil for a month now and I plan to get this out for sale. Calling it Timeless Radiance - an oil that can be used at any age.