Anti-aging tips from ancient Egypt

Anti-aging tips from ancient Egypt

The thought of wrinkly god and goddesses is hardly attractive. It kind of contradicts the concept of being all-powerful and immortal. Godly beings had to be magnificent and ageless. This was certainly the opinion shared by Cleopatra who had her body treated with honey on a daily basis, to ensure her skin was supplied with essential vitamins and minerals.

The oldest anti-aging recipes in the world

Beauty and anti-aging were already highly important topics at the time of ancient Egypt. To the people at the time, emphasis wasn’t only placed on external beauty in the current life, but also on the preservation of the skin for the next. Interestingly, this applied to both sexes, meaning that caring for the body and paying attention to anti-aging wasn’t regarded as unmanly, but as the norm. Mud and clay masks as well as deodorising smells such as frankincense and myrrh were already used then. Evidence of how important anti-aging was back then can be found in the fact that beauty instruments and products were put into the tombs of the dead, such as rose oils, combs, mirrors and toiletries. People would have priests say prayers for them to wish for long lives, good health and success. Doctors at the time also knew about the health benefits of medicinal herbs.

We are still amazed today about everything the Egyptians knew so long ago. There is also evidence from papyri and other texts to show that the Egyptians didn’t always think that illness and aging was determined and brought on by the gods. They therefore used their knowledge about beauty to try to delay the first signs of aging. Many documents from ancient Egypt have been preserved over time thanks to the dry climate. There is for example, a text called ‘Transfer an old person to a young one’ (direct translation).  Still, I can’t be sure whether the fenugreek ointment recommended in the text due to its isoflavonoide properties actually worked, or if it was supposed to work from the power of the gods alone.

The luxuries of the Pharaohs: baths in donkey’s milk!?

As mentioned above, Cleopatra went through her beauty and cosmetic rituals on a daily basis. This included bathing in donkey’s or goat’s milk which we now know contains essential anti oxidants and moisturizers. The milk can also support cell renewal. It is doubtful whether Cleopatra actually knew of the potential beauty benefits from the milk, but she thankfully noted down her recipes and ideas carefully.

The Egyptians already knew back then how important diet and nutrition is and they had already made great steps in understanding anti-aging. The intestine was referred to as the root of all evils  and therefore Cleopatra cleansed it three times a month. It was also quite likely that the Egyptians knew that digestive disorders and nutritional problems could cause skin irritation. They were however not aware that a lack of nutrients or unbalanced amino acid pool could be to blame.

snake egypt anti-agingSome of their anti-aging beliefs were certainly weird and wonderful. For example they thought that you could obtain a kind of internal peeling from the fat from snake’s skin. This was supposed to keep you looking young and healthy. They also wore protective amulets which were supposed to prevent wrinkles. Many of these rituals were of course only affordable for the very rich. We do know that there were at least four Pharaohs who lived to be almost ninety years old. Rameses the Great made it to the mighty age of ninety-six! It is nevertheless not possible to know whether the anti-aging measures actually worked, or whether good genes were to thank for reaching this grand old age. Either way, we have been able to learn a great deal about beauty from the ancient Egyptians.

My little Egyptian anti-aging treatment to use at home

  • Cleopatra milk bath
  • 1 litre of milk
  • 4 tablespoons of honey

Let the honey dissolve in a bath of warm water and slowly pour in the milk. The milk enables the skin cells to renew themselves more quickly and for it to receive more moisture. The honey makes the skin soft and supple.

Try it out and I bet you’ll feel as beautiful as Cleopatra in no time!