There’s a sentiment that if you’re a woman beyond the age of 40, you must choose your body or your face, curves or lines. If your face looks good, it’s because you’re a little plump and the fat cells have smoothed out your facial lines; on the other hand, if you’re thin, your body looks great but your face tends to be more lined.
With a little work on your part, however, (and without that dreaded surgeon’s help) you can be thin without excess facial lines. You just need to make sure that your face is as well exercised, and as well nourished and cleansed as the rest of your body.
Face exercises are particularly important as we age. We tend to not think of the face as needing to be exercised, concentrating more on the muscles in our bodies. But, after all, the face is, like the body, a conglomerate of muscles. A well-toned muscle elsewhere in the body has elasticity and smoothness. It is the same with facial muscles.
As we grow older, one form of line we develop in our faces is called character lines. These lines and sags reflect something about how we characteristically feel and manage our emotions. These lines can actually be a picture of our personalities. Character lines form because we tend to manage our feelings in repetitive ways, and, in doing so, we position our faces in repetitive ways that reflect our feelings.
Exercising the Face
You may have noticed that people who do yoga have especially youthful faces. This is because yoga has specific exercises that stretch and contract all the muscles in the face, thus counteracting the fixed muscle positions that we are characteristically inclined to assume. As well, yoga facial exercises bring oxygen to muscles, thus aerating the cell tissue in the muscles and oral cavities.
For rejuvenation of cheeks and eyes:
With fingers spread apart, join fingertips in front of face and close both nostrils with thumbs. Leave eyes open and inhale through your mouth while your lips are puckered. Hold breath with eyes closed. Drop chin into sternal notch (the cavity at the base of the neck) and puff cheeks out with breath. Hold as long as possible. Return head back to normal and open eyes. Exhale slowly through nose.
For the neck and double chin:
Lift your chin with head tilted back. Press surface of your tongue against the roof of mouth. Hold for 1 minute. Bring head back to level position. Then lift chin again; this time, turn head to one side and look over shoulder. Slightly open mouth and jut out bottom teeth and jaw. Hold for 1 minute. Return head to original position. Do same procedure on other side. Repeat whole series 5 times.
For a radiant complexion:
Sit in comfortable cross-legged position. Raise both arms up 60°. Bend wrists back so palms are flat and parallel to ceiling. Do a deep breathing exercise for 1 minute. Inhale completely, hold breath and pump navel 16 times. Repeat 2 more times still holding arms up.
There is a yoga series of four exercises called “Young and Beautiful in 12 minutes.” Rather than working on muscles, these exercises work on the glands, thought to be in yogic philosophy the guardians of your health. According to yogic principle the glandular centers (also called chakras) vibrate at a certain frequency. Aging (and disease) occurs when this spinning action slows down or becomes unbalanced. The quickest way to regain youth (and health) is to get these glands to vibrate at their normal rate. Because these exercises also recharge and rebalance the electrical circuits in the body, the angles must be precise. If the angles are off, rather than stimulating the various glands, the exercises will stimulate muscles.
Exercise 1) for balancing the lower and upper parts of body
Lie on back with arms at side and heels together. Keeping legs straight and heels touching, raise legs to 45° angle. Make sure neck is not tense. Hold for 3 minutes with long, deep breathing through the nose.
Exercise 2) stimulates the body to produce energy
Squat on balls of feet with heels touching (frog pose); Bring arms straight down between the legs with fingertips on floor. Let head hang down and relax in this position. Hold for 3 minutes with deep breaths through nose.
Exercise 3) distributes energy to upper body; works on sex organs
From frog pose, slowly and rhythmically raise the hips, keeping neck relaxed and head hanging down without any tension or resistance. You have come into the “up position” of the frog pose, keeping fingertips on floor and legs as straight as possible. Maintain position for 3 minutes with long, deep breaths.
Exercise 4) works on all glands simultaneously for whole body balancing; thymus, thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary and pineal glands are stimulated
From up-frog position, slowly lower yourself down to sit on heels with head still bent forward and neck relaxed and knees together. Slowly raise head up; let it slowly fall backwards while simultaneously raising the arms, extended straight out with palms facing down to shoulder level, parallel to floor. Eyes are closed and focused on third eye point (½ inch above eyebrows and ½ inch inside head) with total concentration. Let head hang back. Hold for 3 minutes with long deep breathing.
It’s recommended that you lie on your back for 10 minutes after completion of the exercises to let the energy circulate throughout the rest of your body.
Cleansing the face
In order to have a youthful face, we need to make sure that our face skin is cleansed. The best morning cleanser for your face is the same procedure you use for your body: dry skin brushing. You can buy a cosmetic brush that is smaller and softer than your body brush. Just as with your body brushing, you will be removing dead skin and collected chemical debris from your face, thus allowing your pores to open to receive nutrients.
As well, there are many cleansers that you can use from your kitchen. You can add essential oils to any of these formulas which will make them more powerful as well as giving a scent. Additional basic ingredients that can be added to any formula include eggs, avocados and honey. The eggs and avocado should be added just before use, as they spoil. Eggs are rich in protein and make good skin and hair conditioners. The yolk has a lot of lecithin, and the whites are naturally astringent, meaning that it will help shrink or tighten pores. Avocados are rich in natural oils, protein, vitamins A and B. You can mash the avocado into your hair as well as your face as a deep conditioner. Use the pits to make a scrub. Dry the pit, then finely grind in coffee grinder. Honey has a high potassium content, which makes it impossible for bacteria to survive. It increases the shelf life of your formulas. Add it to your bath water and your skin will feel like silk.
To cleanse the face:
Rub grated carrots over the face, or for a longer procedure, use grated carrots, egg and honey as a face mask. This will hydrate the skin as well as clear away dead cells. Carrots are chock full of vitamin A, called the beauty vitamin because it is essential for clear skin and shiny hair.
To clear up blemishes:
Wash face with carrot juice.
To cleanse dry skin and reduce eye puffiness:
Rub a slice of raw, peeled potato over the skin. Then rinse. Raw potato patties placed over the eyes will also reduce eye puffiness. The vitamin C is the important ingredient here.
To cleanse oily skin:
Put ½ head of lettuce in pot of water and bring to boil. Lower heat; simmer one hour. Strain off solids. Add 1/4 tsp tincture of benzoin as a natural preservative. Wash face with solution twice a day.
Moisturizing and nourishing the face
Most of the time we think about moisturizing our faces, but we don’t think about actually nourishing our faces. The problem with moisturizers and lotions — even the natural ones — is that they generally lie on the surface of the skin. But lines and wrinkles come from deeper than surface skin; if you’re going to ease their harshness, you need to help the body to produce its own moisture internally.
If your face is unduly lined, it is caused, in part, by dry skin. Moist skin is smooth; and moist skin comes from internal moisture, not from slathering on oily creams. When your skin is healthy, it produces its own moisture continuously. In addition, dry skin, on the face and elsewhere (elbows, wrists and knees particularly) is indicative of a deeper health issue. If we’re dry on the outside, it is likely that we’re dry on the inside. In fact, according to Dale Alexander, dry skin and arthritis are just two sides of the same coin. They are both symptoms of the same underlying problem, which is lack of lubrication. Too, if your skin is dry, your blood cells are drying out, losing the lubrication that allows them to circulate freely. They clump together, causing sludge blood. Your arteries lose their elasticity, becoming hard and brittle, setting you up for a stroke or aneurysm. The list of health conditions goes on and on.
The oil that best lubricates the skin is cod liver oil. None of the other oils — the nut oils, even the health-enhancing flaxseed oil — work specifically on the skin the way cod liver oil does. All other oils are land oils; the fact that cod liver oil is a marine oil gives it special properties. Cod liver oil contains large amounts of vitamin A, which protects the skin, and essential fatty acids, which have a fantastic ability to heal the skin.
The best way to take cod liver oil is with milk. The milk is an oil-bearing liquid with emulsified oils that mix with the cod liver oil.
Moisturizing your skin with cod liver oil:
For best results, take your cod liver oil before bed or an hour before breakfast. In a small glass jar, mix one tbspn of cod liver oil with two ounces of goat’s milk. (If the jar is large, you will lose too much of the oil on the sides of the jar. If goat’s milk is not available, substitute whole, not skim, organic cow’s milk.) To sweeten and eliminate the cod liver taste, you can add 1 tbspn fruit concentrate (black cherry concentrate is nice). Shake jar and drink. Take every day until skin is no longer dry; then take every other day for 6 months; then taper off to once a week. (Individuals suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes will not assimilate the oil quickly, and should take it only twice a week.)
Bee pollen makes an excellent base for a moisturizer. Bee pollen, you may remember, is chock full of anti-aging properties. It has RNA and DNA nucleic acids, all of the amino acids and is a complete food that provides all the nutrients necessary for the sustenance of human life. Nothing nourishes the skin like a bee pollen mask. If you make these products a part of your regular skin care, you will see dead skin melt away. The only products needed for these formulas that you will not have in your kitchen are glycerin, beeswax, aloe vera, witch hazel and stearic acid; all are totally natural. Glycerin can be made from either plants or animals. All drugstores carry the animal form and health food stores can order the vegetable glycerin. Beeswax can be found at most farmers’ markets and at some health food stores. If you can’t find it at these places, just buy some natural candles, which are made from beeswax. Aloe vera gel is found at any health food store, or better yet, you can grow your own plant indoors. The gel is the center part after you have removed the green surface. Witch hazel is a plant whose leaves and bark can be made into a skin freshener and astringent. It’s been a staple of medicine chests for 300 years and is available at any drugstore. It’s good for tired eyes as well as the face. Stearic acid is a natural butter acid obtained from fats and oils. Craft stores carry it because it’s used in making candles.
Bee pollen moisturizing mask:
Mix 1 tsp of ground bee pollen, 1 tbspn of honey (if you can find a honey with propolis, you’ll increase the vitamin B) and 1 egg yolk. This is the essential mask. You can also add mashed avocado for extra nutritional boost. Smear on face and leave on half-hour.
Bee pollen scrub:
Add cornmeal to the mask, and rub on skin.
Bee pollen astringent:
Mix together 1 tsp of ground bee pollen, ½ cup of fresh lemon juice, white of 1 egg and ¼ cup of water. Use daily to cleanse your face.
Bee pollen cold cream:
Stir in ½ tbspn bee pollen with 1 tbspn of water. Mix ¼ cup glycerin, ¼ cup grated beeswax and ½ cup almond oil. Heat on stove until wax in melted. Put oil mix in blender; slowly add pollen and water mix. Blend on high for one minute. Let cool.
Bee pollen moisturizing cream:
Mix together 1 tbspn ground bee pollen, 2 tbspn apricot kernel oil, ¼ cup almond oil and ¼ cup stearic acid. Heat oil mix in water bath (put mix in stainless steel pot and place in larger pot filled with water) until mix is clear liquid. Then mix ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp aloe vera gel and 1 cup water. Heat water mix in water bath. Add 1/3 water mix to oil mix and stir until foamy. Pour foamy mix into blender. Add rest of water mix in slow, steady stream on high blend until fluffy white. Put mix in glass container and let cool.
Smoothing out lines and wrinkles
There are several natural products that have an anti-wrinkle effect. One of the best is Stevia. Stevia has been used traditionally in skin care for centuries. The Indians used it before Columbus. Liquid Stevia is dark, and you’ll actually look like a painted Indian. As you let it dry on your skin, you will actually feel your facial skin tightening. It is easily washed off with water. You can usually see the effects of Stevia on facial lines and wrinkles after just a few treatments. It also works exceptionally well on acne, seborrhea, dermatitis, eczema and just plain old blemishes. If it is used on cuts or wounds, it will speed up the healing and will prevent scarring.
Stevia anti-wrinkle procedure:
Put just a few drops of liquid Stevia each day on your face, right on top the wrinkles and lines. You can also add the white powdered Stevia to your favorite moisturizer and wear through the day.
You can also give yourself a “fruit peel” as an anti-wrinkle treatment. Papaya has a natural enzyme called papain which works well for this purpose. Pineapple has bromelein, also an enzyme.
Anti-wrinkle fruit peel:
Mash 2 tbspn of outer rind of green papaya or pineapple with 1 tsp aloe vera gel. Leave on only 5 minutes as mix is drying.
Finally, pine needles make an excellent facial toner and their advantage is that they’re available year-round in any climate. Perhaps when we use a brew made from pine needles, we absorb some of the steady, sturdy properties of the trees. This formula is slightly astringent and will improve circulation. It’s gentle enough to use below the eyes. The subtle scent gives a nice feeling of calm.
Pine needle toner:
Put 1 cup pine needles in pot and cover with water. Bring to boil. Then allow water to cool; strain off pine needles. Add ¼ cup witch hazel and stir.