Saturday, January 05, 2013

Of Creamy Stories and Rose Petals


This love affair of mine, of roses and creams, is not unbeknownst to many. The stories starts when I am contemplating on a cream which my two friends regarded as the 'panacea' of skin complaints (well almost). As usual, I reached for the label and, without surprise, horrified with what I've read. Filled with chemicals is one thing but imitating cold cream is a big no-no.

Feeling heroic, this apothecarist sets into action. Armed with the arsenal of cream making (beeswax and stuff), he has successfully recreated the cream so affectionately ascribed to Galen himself.


Aiyo, what is a cold cream???!!!

The first cold cream is formulated by Galen (aforementioned). The original recipe includes beeswax, olive oil, rose petals, and rose water. The cream is termed 'cold' because as the rosewater in the cream  evaporates, it will create a cooling sensation (it does not, however, makes you 'cool' nor 'hip').


On top of that, the original recipe lacks a fundamental ingredients which a pre-packed cream sorely needs: preservative. The original cream is designed by Galen (legend goes) to be used quickly, usually within a month or so. It is used as a cleanser and moisturiser at first and dearly requires a rinse with warm water after application to prevent the hand to be overly oily.

Taking these factors into account, I have created a lighter version of this affectionate recipe. Replacing olive oil with grapeseed oil makes it smoother and lighter while adding borax to the unguent makes it less susceptible to germs contamination. Borax is harvested naturally from mineral lakes and it is a mild emulsifier and preservative. No one wants contaminated creams and to make matter worse, spoilt cream does not necessarily smells off or looks bad.

The Modern Day Creams Dread

The modern version of the 'cold cream' is the very definition of cold in its best. Replacing the vegetable oil with mineral oil (and terming it nicely as Paraffinum liquidum) for the reason of rancidity is the biggest mistake of the pharmaceutical giants. Mineral oil is a by-product of petrol production and definitely cheap as well as abundant; not something you would want to smear on your skin really.

Natural plant oil, on the other hand, is absorbed by the skin and surely did not have such dubious reputation. Though it is more expensive, their effectiveness is guaranteed as human beings have been using it for centuries. Bear in mind cold cream has existed for almost two centuries since Galen and how long vegetable oils have existed? Perhaps since the dawn of neolithic, when agriculture began! Compare this to the mineral oil.

"Bear in mind cold cream has existed for almost two centuries since Galen and how long vegetable oils have existed?"

Aside from the mineral oil as base, the emulsifiers used to mix the oil and water are usually of petroleum origin as well. Plus the preservatives (usually paraben which has the yes-nay reputation to cause breast cancer), fragrance, and colouring, what you have is a jar of chemicals which do you temporary good but harmful side effects on the long run. We humans have never had paraffin before until recently.

This report confirms that aqueous cream do more harm than good (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3244814.stm). Half of the children with eczema often gets irritated by paraffin cream which ironically used to moisturise them.

Another concerning report is published here (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1321559/Moisturiser-aqueous-cream-BP-cream-make-eczema-worse.html). Skin cream, which claim to help alleviate skin problems such as eczema, in actual fact, makes the problem worse as Sodium Laureth Sulphate is used as emulsifier.

Mayura's Galenical Cream; An Alternative

Following the footstep of the world's first physician, Galen, I have faithfully recreated the cream, with which the Greeks have used to keep their skin moist and supple. I have termed this Galenical Cream which is the cold cream once common to everyone who wants to keep their skin from the onslaught of the elements.

Free from chemicals, this gentle cream is handcrafted from the finest nature can offer. Unrefined Beeswax and select vegetable oil is used as base whereas the finest world-renowned Damascus Rosewater offers an unparalleled moisturising experience. Finely powdered rose petals exfoliates the skin gently while caressing your skin with the lovely smell of French rose.

If you would want to purchase this cream, feel free to drop by at my Facebook page, Mayura Apothecary where I put all of my ideas to use. All the products listed there reflects the philosophy I have enumerate in this blog, so feel free to buy!

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