I saw a woman crushing and spreading poppies macerated in cold water on her soft cheeks ... As frankincense appeases the wrath of the Gods, it will also soothe a reddened skin ... Small, wonderful fragments of beauty that have passed the centuries to arrive up to us. In this way, in fact, Ovid spoke, probably in the first years of the first century after Christ, in a poem, which he called libellus, entitled Medicamina faciei femineae, of which little more than a hundred verses have come down to us and in which the Roman poet offered to the women of his time, but also to the men who should not have neglected themselves, recipes of beauty face masks. We can find tips to keep a young and fresh face, or even against facial blemishes and skin inflammations. Some of Ovid's advice is certainly a bit strange, like when he says that deer antler powder helps to make the face look smooth and shiny, like a mirror, but other ideas, such as using legumes, grains, salt and flowers, are still a lot used nowadays. So, let's see some recipes, simple and beneficial, to make face masks by drawing inspiration from ancient wisdom but adapting them to our times.
Face masks for oily and acne-prone skin
Honey is an ingredient that appears in Ovid's recipes but it is also a powerful cosmetic used today, thanks to several scientific studies that have shown its antimicrobial properties, capable of strengthening the skin's defenses and stimulating tissue repair processes (McLoone et al, Cent Asian J Glob Health, 2016). Honey also appears in the very simple mask that we propose, together with the apple. In fact, it has been observed that apple polyphenols are useful in regulating sebum production and soothing acne (Lee et al, Exp Dermatol, 2017). Wash the apple, possibly organic, cut the apple into quarters and remove the core. Blend the apple until creamy, add two teaspoons of honey and mix, apply on face for 5 minutes, then rinse. If the skin of the face also has spots caused by acne inflammation then you can resort to raspberry, with a lightening action and capable of regulating the production of melanin (Binic et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2013). Here's how to prepare a raspberry mask with a delicate exfoliating action and helpful to regulate the skin color. Blend two tablespoons of raspberries, fresh or thawed if frozen. Add 4 teaspoons of oat flour to this raspberry purée, useful in case of acne but also dermatitis and itching for its anti-inflammatory action (Pazyar et al, Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, 2012). Massage onto your face and leave on for 30 minutes. After rinsing your face, you can complete the treatment with a spray of lemon balm water, antimicrobial, healing, soothing and capable of making the skin soft and elastic (Ramanauskien? et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2015).
Face masks for dry or sensitive skin
Barley is an ingredient mentioned by Ovid in his beauty treatments and science states that barley, containing beta glucans, is antioxidant, counteracts redness and irritation and is able to increase hydration of the skin, to regenerate and rejuvenate it (Majitan et al, Molecules, 2018). For this very simple mask, mix 2 tablespoons of barley flour and 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Mix and apply on the face for about ten minutes. Alternatively, you can prepare a mask based on flaxseed and red clay. Flax seeds improve skin elasticity and hydration, regulate its pH and counteract dry and dull skin (Goyal et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2014). Red clay is particularly recommended for dry skin and its long-term use improves hydration (Velasco et al, Revista de Ciencias, 2016). Grind 1 tablespoon of flax seeds, pour the powder into a bowl and add three tablespoons of water, let it rest for a quarter of an hour. Add 1 teaspoon of red clay, mix. Apply on the face and leave on for ten minutes. Then rinse. Complete by spraying lavender water on the face, relaxing and soothing, healing and capable of stimulating the synthesis of collagen (Antonelli et al, Int J Ther Massage Bodywork, 2020).
Face masks for mature skin
Blueberries are a precious source of antioxidants, capable of protecting the skin from free radical damage and aging processes and of preventing the formation of wrinkles (Grether Beck et al, J Drugs Dermatol, 2017). Kiwifruit, thanks to the substances contained in it, the polysaccharides, stimulates the synthesis of collagen and, since it is a precious source of vitamin C, is a powerful anti-aging (Deters et al, J Cell Physiol, 2005). Blend half a kiwifruit and 1 teaspoon of blueberries, fresh or thawed if frozen. Add a tablespoon of white clay, which improves skin hydration, and a teaspoon of argan oil, mix and apply on the face for ten minutes. Pay attention to the blueberry that could stain your clothes. Rinse and complete with rose water, relaxing and anti-aging, or thyme, useful against dark spots.