Skin looking dull and sallow? It could be suffering from stress effects, here's how to stop it
Phnom Krom Lotus Farm, Cambodia – Sitting in a rickety boat rowing across a lotus farm is one unreal experience. The boat almost rips through the plants as they row along. The huge leaves scraping against the sides of the boat as it rows by. Everyone eyes the beautiful pink flowers that peek out every meter or so all around us. They are magnificent, some as large as a salad bowl, with petals in hues of translucent pink opening to the sun. ALSO READ: Goodbye, dullness and clogged pores, this fermented ingredient fights pollution The plants are hardy alright, despite the boats tearing through and the guides plucking the flowers as souvenirs for the tourists in their boats, they seem to spring to life back after each vessel passed. The rowboat ride from the start of the farm to the end that connects to the Tonlé Sap River took a good 30 minutes, and the local guide filled the time talking about the lotus, a sense of pride detectable in his voice. ALSO READ: 5 hydrating facial essences to incorporate into your skincare routine Lotus grows wild in Cambodia and is also cultivated and it plays a big part in the country’s culture and heritage. Every part of it is useful. The antioxidant-rich flowers steeped as a health tea and used for decoration, its nutritious stems, seeds and rhizomes eaten in salads and local dishes, the huge leaves used to wrap food, the fibres in the stems weaved into silk-like fabrics, and extracted from the various parts are natural medicines and chemicals which have long sustained the indigenous people. The flowers are used in luxurious baths too, and are intricately folded to use as decoration, both of which we were lucky enough to experience on the press trip. ALSO READ: Goodbye, dullness and clogged pores, this fermented ingredient fights pollution If you visit the iconic temple of Angkor Wat there, the lotus flower is inherent in its design, starting from the sprawling lotus pond at its front entrance. Even the distinctive temple peaks resemble the shape of closed lotus buds. Carved into the temple walls, the apsaras (heavenly nymphs) can be seen with lotus flowers in their hands and weaved into their hair. And the design of the flower can be found etched onto the beams and cornices of the ceilings. In Cambodian culture, the plant and its flowers are prolific, as it is with various oriental cultures, religions and civilizations across Asia from Cambodia to Thailand, India to Japan. ALSO READ: 5 hydrating facial essences to incorporate into your skincare routine The usefulness and significance of the lotus is not lost on the founders of skincare brand Fresh. “The lotus is considered sacred in many cultures, but I especially love the way the Buddhists regard it. They believe that it is the ultimate symbol of complete purification, as it journeys through muddy water to rise above the surface and blossom into a stunning flower,” said Lev Galzman, co-founder of the brand. He and his wife, Alina Roytberg, who is the other co-founder of Fresh, say that they “just knew there was something worth investigating about the lotus plant” and they tasked their research labs to delve into it. Hence, the lotus stars in one of Fresh’s skincare lines – The Lotus Youth Preserve range. It first launched in 2014 with the Face Cream that’s said to stall the first signs of ageing with antioxidant benefits from the lotus. When asked if the lotus the brand uses for its products come from Cambodia, Lev was quick to say no. “We get our lotus from different parts of the world, not only from Cambodia. It is selected based on the quality of each harvest so that we get the best quality,” he said. ALSO READ: Goodbye, dullness and clogged pores, this fermented ingredient fights pollution New in the range now, is the Youth Preserve Rescue Mask, a five-minute wash-off cream mask that the brand touts as a quick facial treatment to fight signs of skin stress – particularly dullness, rough texture, uneven skin tone, dryness and congestion. But in fact, stress manifests in different ways on different people’s skin. In one individual, being on a long flight can stress their skin out and cause extreme dryness, flaking and peeling skin; conversely, the same situation can cause another person’s skin to become uncontrollably oily leading to an acne breakout. Some people get isolated pimples popping out on their forehead and cheeks when their deadlines approach. While others get a dull, sallow pallor, or even a flare up of angry, red eczema from undergoing a prolonged period of stress. Stressed skin is essentially skin that’s out of whack and that starts to act up, so how this mask works is really to calm, balance and strengthen skin with antioxidants from the lotus plant. The same antioxidants within the plant that scientists attribute its ability to preserve its flower so it emerges pure from the murky waters to. ALSO READ: 5 hydrating facial essences to incorporate into your skincare routine or 5 ways stress affects your looks, plus beauty editor's tips on how to fix that In addition to antioxidant protection for the skin, the mask also has ground lotus seeds and red algae particles that serves as a gentle mechanical scrub when you apply the mask onto your skin, as well as when you massage and wash it off, so you get extra radiance. The creamy-textured opaque mask should be applied in a thin even layer on clean, dry skin anytime skin looks tired or is acting up, even daily if you need it. Alina says she would use it after a flight, a late night out, or a hectic work day. It is different from other wash-off cream masks in that you can feel and see the pieces of ground lotus seeds and bits of red algae in the mask, but they won’t scratch, rather they lightly buff the skin as they are finely ground. “These natural exfoliants are so much more beneficial for your skin as they contain vitamins and minerals within them too,” says Alina. “Plus, they are not harmful for the environment like plastic-derived microbeads are.” After five minutes, you wash off the mask and apply your regular toner, serum and moisturiser. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask, $62 for 100ml, available at Fresh stores and Sephora. ALSO READ: Goodbye, dullness and clogged pores, this fermented ingredient fights pollution
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