Keeping your skin young: an age-old fight?
Age-old? Well, actually no, it isn’t. For in the good old days, the aspect of middle age which most preoccupied people wasn’t ageing skin, but rather whether they’d be lucky enough to live that long.
Numerous centuries down the line, with the average life expectancy for men and women in the UK now sitting at around 77 and 82 years respectively, our worries concerning middle age have naturally changed dramatically.
These days, instead of dodging sabre-toothed tigers, stray flint arrows or pernicious plagues in an attempt just to make it to middle age, those of us approaching or in the throes of our forties devote our dwindling energies to waging war on wrinkles.
Our main concern, in this softer, more pampered society, is to look as young as we can for as long as we can.
And of course, the fast-growing beauty industry is only too happy to aid and abet us in our endeavours to enhance the elasticity of our skin, obligingly whipping up one rejuvenating beauty treatment after another.
The latest in the long line of plant ingredients to be extolled for their anti-ageing attributes is burdock.
In addition to its characteristic prickly heads that stick readily to fur (and were the inspiration for Velcro), the burdock thistle has various features which endear it both to herbalists and to manufacturers of spa and beauty products.
Traditionally the plant was considered to be a diuretic, blood-purifying agent and was used for many years to treat a variety of ailments. Burdock is also a source of Arctium lappa extract, a substance which helps protect against chronic tissue inflammation and stimulates the synthesis of collagen.
It is this feature that makes burdock a common constituent of the host of anti-ageing spa and beauty lotions and creams to be found on the shelves of chemists and departments stores the length and breadth of Britain.
These products are all perfectly suitable for applying yourself in the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for a really indulgent treat, you can equally well recline and relax while a trained beautician pampers you with a full facial during a spa day or pamper day.
It’s all a far cry from the days when simply reaching middle age was treat enough…