World Health Day: Skin Care from around the World

Cynthia Bailey, MD|April 6, 2015

  World Skin Care Today is World Health Day. Did you know that some of our best skin care routines in modern times come from ancient traditions, observations, and lessons learned from cultures across the globe? It's nice to give thanks to our global skin care "roots" - the sharing of information and the evolutionary process that form the building blocks for some of the best skin care routines that we still use today.   Here is a sampling of skin care wisdom from across the globe: iStock_000011225303_LargePolynesians have long known that coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer. It's also a natural anti-Staph aureus fighter. Polynesian women know that coconut oil brightens the shine of hair, too. Australia and its Maleleuca tree are the source of tea tree oil. This well-known home remedy was originally an aboriginal folk remedy used to treat many problems. It has general antimicrobial properties and has been used for everything from skin infections to bug bites. Some people even put a few drops into water and use as a mouth gargle for dental health.Bar of natural handmade soap New Zealand Manuka honey is also a time-honored folk remedy for skin infections. It's currently gaining favor in traditional medicine for treatment of non-healing ulcers. Eastern Israel is home to the Dead Sea and Dead Sea salts have been a skin remedy dating back to at least biblical times most notably for psoriasis. Adding mineral-rich Dead Sea salts to the bath can give relief from skin itching. The early United States gave us Bag Balm, a US folk remedy for treating dry chapped hands and peeling nails. It is also touted as a healing ointment for superficial wounds and cracked fingertip fissures. First discovered by Vermont dairy farmers, it's now a staple in the cupboard of many homes. Egypt has a colorful history that catches our imagination. We can thank Cleopatra, the queen of Ancient Egypt, for a number of today's beauty treatments, including clay masks, exfoliating scrubs, the early AHA movement (she used milk baths with lactic acid), and almond oil as a general skin oil. Let's keep the list going! What skin health and skin care tips do you use from around the world?

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