Saving Your Skin With Botanical Remedies in Mexico
Lately I’ve been researching homeopathic ways to address issues with my skin. The Mexican sun can be brutal. Maybe it’s not just the sun but all the salt in the air that makes your skin itch in coastal areas in spite of the humidity in the air. I try to stay out of it completely like my Mexican girlfriends do but didn’t really start taking sun damage prevention seriously until about 25 years ago.
Many Baby Boomer women share the cultural bond of youthful days greasing down with baby oil mixed with iodine as suntan lotion and commiserate over the price their skin paid. I never did that. I am paying for the days when the local public pool in Altus, Oklahoma served as a daycare center for lucky parents willing to pay fifty cents.
Located in the center of City Park, my parents dropped me off at the pool at 11:00 every morning in the summer where I stayed until 4:00 p.m with hundreds of other kids. Keys to wire basket lockers were huge safety pins attached to our bathing suits. The place was filthy. Mayhem reigned.
Some week-ends my parents took me to pool at the Quartz Mountain Lake Lodge Even though the summer temperatures are frequently in the hundreds in Southwest Oklahoma, the Lodge pumped the pool water from the bottom of the lake. Strangers to the area would launch out of the T-shaped pool in hypothermic shock with lips blue from the green icy water screeching “What the hell!”
I learned how to do a back flip from the side of that pool and a one-and-a-half from its two springboards, splattering face-first a thousand times (which is the critical difference between doing a one-and-a-half and the much less-popular one-and-an-eighth dive). At least a thousand times I smacked the water with my face, swam to the side, climbed out and wove like a miniature drunk back to the board to try again.
Luckier teenagers with access to boats spent their summer days water skiing on Lake Altus. Ironically in a place with as little water as Oklahoma, the only thing we had to do in the summer was water. Even irrigation ditches weren’t off limits and unfortunately a few died in them.
It’s pretty hard for a youngster to keep sun screen a priority when navigating summers like that. These days I look at the sun damage on my skin the same way I do my mountain-bike scars, especially the smiley-face scar on my back from pulling too far back onto the back wheel in a descent and landing on the ground behind me and a razor-like lid of a tin can.
"Oh my god! You've been shot!" a riding partner, Steve, yelled from behind me, watching the blood bloom like a big rose on the back of my tee-shirt as we rode back over the bridge into the City of Richmond from James River State Park.
Our marks are a cost of doing business. I’m sure that people without any scars are great people, I’m just not sure if I’ll ever completely trust them.
Still, if something can be done for my skin, I felt I should try. I decided to research homeopathic and botanical treatments (treatments made from plant extracts) before moving up to more expensive pharmaceutical treatments that would assuredly be prescribed by a dermatologist here in Mexico.
A few hours online revealed I’d need
* apple cider vinegar + an eggplant
* vitamin C powder and Omega 3 oil to ingest
* tree tea essential oil mixed with a neutral oil to deliver the tree tea oil since it’s not to be used straight-up
* an exfoliate - What they offered in Mexico looked like finely-sifted mud
* extra virgin coconut oil - as body lotion
* small glass jars and Q-tips
Unlike many things in Mexico, I found botanicals to cost about the same in Mexico as the U.S. First of all, they aren’t very expensive to begin with. From online in the U.S. eight ounces of Vitamin C powder for example costs about $8 (U.S.), about the same as Mexico.
An ounce of the tree tree oil runs as little as $6 online, the extra virgin coconut oil about $10, the carrier lotion about $8. The 100 capsules of Omega 3 oil cost about $10 both in Mexico and online.
My purchases in Mexico totaled $788 pesos ($40 U.S). Ordering the same online with the taxes and shipping in the U.S would have been $55-60.
Buying botanicals in Mexico is a lot more fun though and feels more organic. Some ingredients you buy in the quantity you want, taken from bulk from the people behind the counter who retrieve it and weigh it out for you.
They give you the ingredients in an unlabeled plastic bottles or baggies, without all the packaging. You feel like you’re at the General Store in a western movie as they tally it up on a sheet of paper - that’ll be 788 pesos, Little Missy.
So then, when saving room in your suitcase to bring things back to get you through your periodic stays in the U.S., skip loading up on botanicals and stick to Vanilla Osuna Tequila and Retin-A, like I do.
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