Posted by Marta

Doing my best to out-Jimmy Jimmy, I can smugly report that I am writing this from Benguerra Lodge on an island off the coast of Mozambique. One of four islands in a protected national park, Benguerra is truly a barefoot paradise. There is a beautiful reef in clear turquoise waters and although we probably spend most of our time eating and sleeping, there has been enough snorkeling in salty waters to demand a lot from one's body lotion. Benguerra Lodge's complimentary cosmetics of choice are made by a company called Africology and the body lotion is well worth bringing back home.

Africology specializes in local botanicals and I wasn't surprised to see that one of the ingredients is apalathus linearis leaf extract. This is South African rooibus or red tea. This isn't a tea at all, but a pea. However, generations of South Africans have imbibed it as a liquid cure-all for everything from skin allergies to HIV-AIDS. It has at least two antioxidants, the flavenoid aspathalin and the polyphenolic called nothofagin. Plus there seems to be plenty of research to support claims that it is a potent antioxidant, perhaps out-doing green tea.

Hypoxis hemerocallidea is known as the African wild potatoe and is generally claimed to be an anti-inflammatory. However, there is one study that says that it not as good in this role as acetyl salicylic acid. I was also pleased to find that Africology uses sclerocarya birrea seed oil since this comes from the marula tree, of which there are many on Benguerra Island. The fruits of marula have eight times the vitamin C of oranges. They also contains nine fatty acids.

You may also be interested to know that aloe ferox is the South African member of the aloe vera family and increases collagen and cell regeneration. Throctic acid is another name for alpha lipoic acid. Meanwhile, lactoperoxidase is an antibacterial and antioxidant enzyme found in milk. The other natural and, for once, harmless preservative is glucose oxidase. Found in honey, it works by converting oxygen to hydrogen peroxide.

The lotion is thick but penetrates the skin quickly. Even my husband loves it. Best of all, despite the lack of conventional (and all too often unwanted) cosmetic weapons, it is dealing heroically with everything we have to throw at it: dry, flaky skin; insect bites; and even a touch of sunburn.

Ingredients in Africology Body Lotion

Water, stearic acid, aspalathus linearis leaf extract (rooibus or red tea), apricot kernal oil, sweet almond oil, essential oils, shea butter, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, beeswax, hypoxis hemerocallidea root extract, glucose, hydroxigenated olive oil, olive fruit oil, olive oil unsaponifiables, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, grapefruit extract, sclerocarya birrea seed oil, throctic acid, xanthan gum, aloe ferox extract, lactoperoxidase, glucose oxidase.