My Favourite Secret Skin Saviours

Denise Leicester

My ila journey began with an 18-month trip around the world, meticulously researching and sourcing ingredients of the highest natural and ethical purity – the finest plants and minerals, wild-harvested in remote, untainted regions by artisan producers. Wherever I went, I was intent on supporting – and even helping to resurrect – traditional, sustainable practices. I also drew on my many years of experience in mainstream and alternative medicine to unite ingredients with physical, emotional and spiritual properties to benefit the individual, international communities and the earth. Whittling the hundreds of products that I have sourced, tested and worked with over the years down to a definitive top three ‘secret saviours’ is no easy task. But based on their ability to change my skin, my products and my outlook on natural healthcare, the trio below is a pretty good place to start…

I first came across Rosehip Seed Oil in a medical capacity in the early 90s while running my complimentary therapy practice. I began using it to nurse a variety of skin complaints and fresh scar tissue, having recognised how much it stimulated and sped up the healing process. It was unlike any oil I had used before. Very high in vitamin A and retinol, it rapidly penetrated the skin's upper layers, directly initiating regeneration in cell membranes that had been affected by everything from scar tissue to stretch marks, sun damage to psoriasis, fine wrinkles to irregular pigmentation. What I didn’t know then is how dependent Rosehip Seed Oil’s benefits are on where it grows, with the soil and climate greatly influencing its inherent richness and potency. Today I only use one particular oil, cold-pressed from the seeds of wild roses by a sustainable farming project in the southern Andes. Here, the untouched, fertile soil and specific microclimate help produce a beautiful amber oil with a fantastic nutty scent that truly accelerates the skin’s natural healing potential. It is without a doubt one of my favourite natural ingredients of all time – a non-greasy, deeply moisturising nectar that is a key element of many ila products, from Body Oil for Vital Energy to our Face Oil for Glowing Radiance.  

Seabuckthorn oil is another magical little saviour that is often hugely undervalued. Originating high in the Himalayas, it is revered in the ancient Tibetan manuscripts for its ability to balance the body’s yin and yang energies. I first explored its historical importance as a medicinal oil many years ago while creating a host of Tibetan treatments for the Ananda Spa at Ananda In The Himalayas. It was only while reading the ancient Tibetan texts that I realised how magical and incredible this elixir was, how rich in omega seven – a wonderfully anti-ageing fatty oil – and how beneficial for digestion and balancing the immune system hormones. You can take it internally in juice or jelly form as well as use it externally. I am delighted to finally be showcasing seabuckthorn oil as one of the stars of ila’s new Gold Cellular Age-Restore Face Cleanser where it helps to strengthen cell walls and regenerate skin, while improving circulation and balancing core energy.

My third natural superstar is boswellia. In 2012, I met a research scientist from Ethiopia who had dedicated many years to its potency and healing properties. To be completely honest, I had never really favoured frankincense as an essential oil – it never seemed to truly deliver what it promised – but my experiments with boswellia, the raw resin and pure life force of the tree, delivered everything I had ever read about frankincense and more. So taken was I by the healing potential of the boswellic acids contained within, that I worked with leading frankincense pioneers to develop ila’s BosTriWell® extract: a revolutionary anti-ageing panacea that removes cellular inflammation and allows cells to repair and rejuvenate. Unique to ila’s new Gold range, the extract comprises a trinity of sustainably harvested boswellia species from Arabia, Africa and India that also work together to improve dysfunctional lipid synthesis and stimulate the production of ceramides (which help skin retain its moisture). It really is one of the most potent formulations I have ever had the pleasure of working with and signifies a real breakthrough in the advancement of all-natural anti-ageing skincare.

There are many more skin saviours that could be added to the above list – and I hope many more still for us to discover. 

Read more about our wellness expert Denise Leicester

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