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9 All-Natural Essentials That Need To Be In Your Skincare Routine

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Most of us learned in anatomy class that our skin is the biggest organ that we have. It's comprised of three layers — epidermis, dermis and hypodermis — and five million pores (20,000 just on our face alone!). Yep, our skin is pretty intricate and complex.


Unfortunately, until we get have a breakout, notice a little eczema, or we're trying to heal a scar somewhere, many of us aren't thinking about giving our skin any more attention than the soap we wash it with and the lotion (or coconut oil) that we apply to keep from looking ashy.

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But I can personally vouch for the fact that setting aside 15-20 minutes each day to give your skin some TLC not only reduces blemishes and evens skin tone, it can also cause all sorts of random people to have a look of shock on their face when you tell them how old you are and they reply that they thought you were so much younger than that.

Things like lavender, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E are commonly-known remedies for treating skin. But if you're looking for oils, herbs, or vitamins that are great for daily skin maintenance and pampering, here are some lesser-known ones that are just as effective and can provide even more benefits to your face, neck, and body.

Frankincense Oil

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A lot of us only think of frankincense oil around the holiday season (you know, frankincense and myrrh?) but it's something that is beneficial all year long. The properties in this oil make it a natural astringent and toner that can reduce pores and tighten skin. Frankincense also promotes cell and tissue regeneration and, when used regularly (at least three times a week), it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, acne blemishes, and any scars on the skin too.

Helichrysum Oil

Helichrysum is a member of the daisy flower family. It's known as a miraculous essential oil due to its anti-microbial, anti-biotic, and regenerative compounds. Applying this oil to your skin will not only promote healthy skin cell growth, but it will also deeply moisturize your skin too. Something else that's awesome about helichrysum oil is, it's so gentle that it's perfect for skin that is highly-sensitive. And, if you've got any skin discoloration anywhere, it will even out the appearance of your skin over time.

Neroli Oil

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Is your skin oily or highly acne-prone? Get yourself a bottle of neroli oil as soon as you possibly can! The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that are found in this oil will balance out the natural sebum in your skin without drying it out in the process. Another cool thing about neroli oil is it's able to increase your skin's flexibility. Also, because it contains a significant amount of Vitamin C, neroli oil helps to elevate the production of collagen in your skin as well. That means it can make your skin look fuller and "plumper" in the very best way possible.

Horsetail

Horsetail is an herb that got its name because it looks a lot like a horse's tail. It's the kind that most of us don't hear about every day but should be in our skincare arsenal. That's because horsetail contains calcium, manganese, iron, flavonoids, tannins, and phenolic acids — all things that our skin desperately needs.

If you've got acne, try dipping some cotton balls into some horsetail tea; it will act like a toner for your skin as it pulls out toxins and reduces inflammation. If you want to tighten sagging skin, make your own horsetail paste by grinding some of the herbs with a plantain and water. Apply it to your freshly washed face, let it sit for 20 minutes and then thoroughly rinse with cool water.

Irish Moss

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Irish Moss has a great reputation for balancing out thyroid production and also lowering cholesterol levels. It's also a cold-water seaweed that contains plenty of sulfated polysaccharides. This is important as it relates to your skin because sulfated polysaccharides have a remarkable ability to soften your skin as well as your scalp. Irish Moss is also the kind of herb that heals skin rashes and eczema and because it's also high in iron, folate, copper, vitamin-C, and chlorophyll, making it a blood purifier that can help to prevent breakouts too.

You can make your own Irish Moss lotion by combining a teaspoon of a powdered form of the herb with one cup of distilled water, ¼ cup of Aloe Vera gel, and two tablespoons of sweet almond oil. Boil the herb in the water for 20 minutes until it turns into a jelly-like consistency. Then add the Aloe Vera and allow the mixture to completely cool. Put the gel and oil into a blender and mix until it turns into a white-looking lotion. Then apply.

Dandelion Root

Probably the most popular way to get the benefits of Dandelion Root is to drink it in tea form. It's an herb that regulates the secretion of hormones, opens up pores, and contains properties that fight all sorts of infections including warts and ringworm. That's why it's so good at healing acne cysts. The antioxidants in this herb also softens fine lines, lightens the appearance of dark circles underneath eyes, and evens out T-zone skin.

If you'd prefer not to drink Dandelion Root, put a couple of tea bags into a boiling pot of water, let the bags steep and then put your face over the water. You'll automatically have a nourishing and healing face steam.

Vitamin F

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If you're wondering what the heck Vitamin F is, it's better known as an omega-6 essential fatty acid. It's something our skin needs plenty of, although most of us are low in it. Vitamin F is really good for dry skin, thanks to the healthy fats that are in it. If you take it regularly enough, Vitamin F can cause your face and body to have a natural glow. Something else that's awesome about this vitamin is it provides a barrier to protect your skin from environmental damage. Plus, if you suffer from eczema or atopic dermatitis, it can help to relieve those too.

It really is best to take Vitamin F in supplement form (around 12 grams per day) but if you wondering what foods contain it, sunflower seeds, English walnuts, and salmon do.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that has a great reputation for being loaded with antioxidants; that alone makes it a must-have for your skin. Since it neutralizes free radicals, selenium can protect your skin from cell damage. Since it's also the kind of mineral that increases white blood cells in your body, it can also reduce inflammation in your skin while keeping skin infections at bay. Selenium is so effective that it is even something that can help to relieve dandruff too.

Even though selenium is really good for you, when it comes to this mineral, you can get too much of a good thing. So, make sure that you take no more than 55 mcg a day. If you'd prefer to eat foods with selenium in them, consume grain or grass-fed beef, brown rice, or Brazil nuts.

Copper

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Did you know that if you notice premature greying in your hair that it could be because you're not getting enough copper into your system? Copper is one of those minerals that constantly gets slept on yet provides all sorts of benefits. Skin-wise, it helps to maintain the collagen and elastin in your body; that makes copper one of the best anti-aging supplements around. Something else copper has the ability to do is repair DNA damage in your cells as it reverses inflammation, scars, and fine lines that you might notice on your face and neck.

Dosage-wise, it's best to take no more than 900 (mcg) a day along with a zinc supplement. As far as the foods that contain copper, you're gonna love reading this — almonds, oysters, sun-dried tomatoes, avocados, and (yes!) dark chocolate top the list. Every time you eat dark chocolate (that's 65 percent or more cocoa), you're loving on your skin, soooo…eat up, y'all!

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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