The Benefits of Using Natural Face Masks As Opposed To Using Many of the Commercial Brands

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Natural face masks have a long and somewhat interesting history. For example, it is said that Cleopatra used to make her own masks using clay from the Dead Sea. Other historical literature suggests she also frequently used egg whites which she would blend with various herbs. Yang Gui Fei, who was a member of the royal family during China's Tang dynasty, was renowned for her youthful looks and picture perfect complexion, and if records and legend are anything to go by, her secret lay in using finely crushed white jade, pearl, and ginseng, all of which were mixed together with starch from Lotus root in order to form a paste. It is said these masks eliminated blemishes, reduced lines and wrinkles, and even lightened the skin, and before long, women all across the country were following Yang's example.

While the facial masks of Yang Gui Fei and Cleopatra may have done wonders for their skin, not all masks during history have been equally as beneficial. For example, during the Renaissance period many women used white lead for their facial masks. In some instances, all traces of the white lead were washed away after a short while, but nine times out of ten, women would leave these masks on since the masks not only concealed blemishes, but also gave women a much sought after milky white appearance. Unfortunately for many, white lead is highly toxic, so rather than ending up with flawlessly beautiful skin, countless women perished.
Other natural masks, while not life threatening, have been somewhat strange, and perhaps even a touch bizarre. For instance, the well heeled and affluent of ancient Greece and Rome believed masks made from crocodile manure could rid one of wrinkles. Even these days, some people routinely use masks many people would consider absurd. Victoria Beckham for example is a great fan of traditional Japanese Geisha masks, which in case you didn't know, consists primarily of the droppings collected from Nightingale birds. While some may think this is taking things too far, we cannot deny the fact that Victoria Beckham's complexion has improved significantly.

Looking back in history, and at some of the beauty treatments people used, one cannot help questioning their sanity, but how can we be sure future generations won't think the same of us? After all, many of the skin care products we see in supermarkets are loaded with dangerous chemicals, and facial masks are no exception to the rule. The big brand names are especially guilty when it comes to using chemicals in creams, lotions, and masks.

Having recently researched a number of brand name masks, I was astonished to see that even many of the so-called natural face masks also contain chemicals. In my mind, this is absurd, since a natural mask should contain only natural ingredients. The one mask I looked at, made by one of the leading manufacturers, actually contains several questionable ingredients, one of which is Titanium Dioxide. Some may argue that this chemical is acceptable, given that it is found in virtually all brand name cosmetics, as well as in 99% of sunscreen lotions.

The big concern here is the fact that manufacturers use the nanoparticle version of this chemical. This is done in order to make it possible for the chemical to be absorbed by the skin, even though, according to various health organizations, the effects on health are not yet known. On the other hand, if you happen to inhale Titanium Dioxide dust, the health risks are known. According to the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer, it's a class 2B carcinogen. Studies involving mice also found that Titanium Dioxide nanoparticles cause genetic damage.

Ideally, natural face masks should be just that - NATURAL. In other words, they should be made from 100% natural ingredients, and each of those ingredients should be 100% safe. When a substance is absorbed by the skin, it eventually reaches the bloodstream. When you eat something, it also reaches the bloodstream; so in essence, there's not much of a difference. If it's unsafe to introduce a substance to your bloodstream via your mouth, it's just as unsafe to introduce it to the bloodstream via the skin.

18 Sep, 2011

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