I have a big problem with the phrase Anti-Aging. It sounds so military. As if aging is the enemy and we must martial all forces against it.

The new term circulating through the trade rags is Better-Aging and I consider it to be a much more appropriate moniker. After all, we are talking about the natural cycles of human existence here. If a thing is like gravity (pretty much inevitable) the best that you can do is to practice doing it with grace.

Regular readers will note that the natural health and healing “program” advocated in this venue and in “The Reactive Body Handbook” (www.reactivebody.com) is in fact also a Better-Aging program. After all, living well and healthy is the best medicine to take over a long and active life.

Nature based Better-Aging actives generally include anti-inflammatory botanicals and plant seed oils. This mix appears to have a profound and potent effect on maintaining the facial collagen when used daily.

Remember the rule: If you can eat it you can put it on your skin. If not, think twice.

Natural plant seed oils contain trace amounts of botanical goodies that seem to enhance their effects. Sunflower oil contains vitamin E and Omega 6 fatty acids. Olive oil contains polyphenols. Both oils contain additional natural anti-inflammatory compounds. This is true of many natural seed oils unless the goodies were taken out in the processing. Applying liquid oils topically seems to improve skin elasticity and tone, and some of the compounds in them may help to heal or minimize sun damage.

Solid oils like cocoa, shea, palm stearin, cow’s milk butters or even pig fat are a mix of both liquid and solid oils. Oiling your skin has a strong humectant effect which helps to keep it from drying out. Over time oiled skin tends to lose the “old and dry” look in favor for a healthier and more youthful aspect.

One ol’ Vermont farm gal confessed that she took a little of her home-grown pig fat (bacon grease without the salt and additives) and rubbed a little on her face and hands each day just before supper. Everybody always commented on how youthful looking her skin was.

Solid oils and the waxes they contain add an extra amount of humectant-ness to a skin soothing better-aging blend. These work especially well as a base for nighttime use since solid oils take a long time to absorb in. Alternate with liquid oil blends or “serums” during your day for a “glow” rather than a ‘shine”.

The role of anti-inflammatory botanicals on mammal health is well studied, less so are the benefits when used topically and in combinations. And it may be that their benefits are much more than just skin deep. What we do know is that a calm hydrated face presents a very different image to the world than a dry inflamed one.

Modern pharmaceutical medicine works using known actives of isolated potency. Natural medicine works by throwing “bundles of botanical goodness” at it. This is true both as medicine and as a preventative regimen inside and out. And it takes both approaches to keep a body healthy, happy… and aging better!

This is the Soapman, saying adios amigos!