International Salves

My Belgian friend, Sarah and I joke about her being my intern. I am pretty sure she thinks I am kidding, but I am dead serious. She recently saved the day by tracking down a European drugstore offering that I was dying to get my hands on: Homéoplasmine.

Since I am the queen of dry, irritated (and red) skin, I am always game to try out something that provides relief for skin irritation. This European salve is made with plant extracts and an antiseptic to soothe. I have been using it on my forearms where I suffer from Keratosis pilaris (those nasty red bumps that also show up on the back of the upper arms). I also have used it on cuticles, scars, psoriasis, and even on my cheeks where I have a little redness.  No wonder this is (was) the best-kept beauty secret of countless professional estheticians and makeup artists.

The balm contains Calendula officinalis (pot marigold), a popular plant in Europe, that induces wound healing and helps relieve skin infection. It is an antiseptic and accelerates the cellular rejuvenation. Make sure you pick up a tube on your next visit to a Parisian pharmacy.

My other international gem isn’t quite as hard to find. Yu-be Moisturizing Skin Cream is available at Sephora. Yu-be was invented in 1957 by a Japanese pharmacist, and continues to be the top selling medicated skin cream in Japan today. The cream is glycerin based, with vitamin E, vitamin B2, and camphor (giving it a slightly medicinal smell). Glycerine is used in personal care products as a humectant to give smoothness and lubrication. It is an effective treatment for psoriasis, irritation, rashes, calluses and burns.

I have been putting Yu-be on my dry and callused feet before bed. After about 10 minutes in socks, my feet are soft and moisturized.  Cuticles are soft and the camphor has a cooling effect, but without an obnoxiously overwhelming odor.

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