The famed theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, once said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”. What Einstein was beseeching others was to return to nature and look to her in a teacher-student relationship for answers. The words that Einstein has said off the cuff do have some value, which allows us to gather our thoughts in an increasingly technological world. For us urbanites, those words of wisdom are harder to practise than to preach, but how about starting from our backyards?
In particular, there are some crops that are known to be easy to nurture and grow, even for those without green fingers. The added benefit for some of them is that they can be used to achieve soft and supple skin, for a more beautiful you.
Ah… the refreshing aloe vera is a favourite of ours, since it can be found in many sweet dessert treats or when it is used as a restorative gel to treat skin ailments, like sunburn and acne. On the difficulty scale, the aloe vera plant is one of the easiest plants to grow, since it thrives in a warm climate like ours and does not require a lot of maintenance or water.
If your skin is in need of a quick pick-me-up, you can simply break a leaf open and rub its content directly onto your skin as an all-natural moisturiser or as a healing gel to treat acne scarring. Since the gel contains vitamins C and E, your skin will feel firm and retain all of its moisture to look your best every day.
Ever wondered why mint is a staple in most skincare products? The organic compound of menthol found in mint stimulates the sensory neurons with a refreshing feeling that we have all come to enjoy, while lowering the excretion of oil from the sebaceous glands. When grounded and used with your cleanser as an exfoliate, the salicylic acid within a sprig of mint would help to fight the good fight against acne breakouts and cleanse your pores. If you would much prefer to have them only in your teacup, a swig of mint tea contains both phenolic acids and flavonoids, antioxidants that lower oxidative damage and ultimately, safeguard your skin from free radicals.
The shocking thing about mint is that it is a breeze to grow. But the downside to growing a planter is that they can be extremely invasive and take over an existing bed of plants nearby if you don’t pay enough attention.
More than just a herb used in most roast recipes, thyme is heaven-sent for those with acne issues. Not many would know this but thyme is a cousin of mint, and within the family tree, they share beneficial skincare qualities. Most people wouldn’t even consider it but thyme has antiseptic properties that would make a good toner or tincture to resolve acne blemishes. Preparing a tincture is simpler than it sounds — just mix thyme with water or alcohol and dab a thin layer over the acne or dry spots on your face.
We concede, it can be quite a challenge to nurture your own thyme plant from seedling to adult, since there are factors, like sun exposure and water considerations that require the Midas touch of an experienced gardener. Hop into your nearby nursery and start your gardening journey with a young thyme plant instead (we promise we won’t tell!).
If you are second-guessing the inclusion of calendula on this list, you are forgiven. How can such a vibrant and lively flower look as good in the garden, yet be as handy in keeping your skin youthful and flawless? For the longest time, the sunny yellow flowers have been grown and harvested as a soothing herb to soothe itchy skin and heal acne sores. Picked straight from the garden, the flower can be infused and made into a tincture to lessen inflammation on pimples. If you are still hesitant, try out calendula oil at a drugstore first, before planting a garden bed full of calendulas.
Considering how beautiful they look, more attention has to be paid to growing and tending to your calendula crop. Since the plant thrives in cooler temperature, have them planted in an area where there is filtered sun or is partially shaded. Do note that they can grow to almost 1.2 m, so it is best to grow them from the ground up, instead of off an elevated planter.
Reap the Seeds You Sow
As anyone would have guessed it, gardening is not a one-day job and it requires constant care and careful attention for a plant to bloom and blossom into a beautiful adult. The same can be said for skincare, since it takes an equal amount of determination and effort for your skin to reap the fruits of your labour. These solutions from Mother Nature’s backyard add a touch of creativity to your beauty regime, and at the same time, you can keep those chemicals and preservatives found in your skincare products at bay.