Beautiful Monday: Tepezcohuite — Ancient Mayan Skin Secret

the tepezcohuite flower by Peter Gunn

It’s called Tepezcohuite (pronounced “Te-pez-co-whee-tay”) and I’m sure you’ve heard of it…No? Don’t worry, I’ve got 15 years of beauty/skincare industry experience and I hadn’t heard of it until recently. It was definitely one of those “wish I had heard of that, sooner” moments.

Apparently, it’s been growing all over Mexico and Brazil for thousands of years. Known for centuries as the “skin tree”, the Mayans used the tepezcohuite root bark in treatments to stop bleeding, prevent infections, treat lesions and treat skin inflammations.

bark of tepezcohuite “skin tree”

More recently it was used in 1984 by medics to treat hundreds severely burned workers who were hurt in a series of explosions in a Mexico City gas factory. The Mexican Red Cross also started treating burned earthquake victims with tepezcohuite powder a year later.

Lab studies have shown that the tree’s bark is rich in skin-smoothing tannins, anti-aging flavonoids and cell repairing micronutrients like zinc, copper, and magnesium, along with a bevy of antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. This makes it a natural candidate for it’s incorporation into a number of products created to treat skin aliments like dryness, rashes, psoriasis, eczema, acne, cold sores and more.

Photo: Luca Tettoni/Corbis

The Aurora Spa at Mexico City’s Las Alcobas Hotel provides a one-hour Tepezcohuite Body Drench using a cool and hydrating body salve containing “skin tree” bark, along with aloe and mint. It is said to be perfect for parched, damaged or sunburned skin.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso Resort & Spa in Los Cabos has also been known to provide its most exclusive clients with a full body Tepezcohuite Healing Wrap.

Tepezcohuite Mimosa Pudica Herbal Soap by Ginger’s Garden

You can find tepezcohuite in analgesics, fungicides, and in dermatological and medicinal creams in salons, shops, spas and medical facilities all over South America.

In the US and Canada, LaVigne Organics offers a line of Mayan Magic skincare products that can be found in health stores or ordered online. In the UK, this Tepezcohuite site offers anywhere from the pure powder to facial masks, soaps and creams at rock bottom prices.

So get to slathering and let me know how the magic works out for you!