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Botanical skincare with ingredients

The Best Botanical Ingredients for Smooth, Glowing Skin

While botanicals may have become quite the skin care buzzword lately, these natural ingredients have been used on the skin for decades. Botanical extracts are derived from plants, whether it be the flower, fruit or leaves, and this gives each one some truly powerful and unique properties. 

Wondering which botanical ingredients you should be adding in to your skin care routine? Here are 10 of the best.

Grape Seed

Derived from the seeds of grapes, grape seed tends to appear as either an extract or an oil in skin care products, and can also be taken as oral supplements.

Whichever one you go for, this botanical has some incredible skin-boosting properties, such as:

  • Contains potent antioxidants – not only does grape seed contain vitamins C and E, but it is also high in plant compounds known as OPCs. These have been shown to have 20 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E, along with 50 times that of vitamin C
  • Anti-aging benefits – when applied to the skin, grape seed bonds with collagen to strengthen it. This then makes a huge difference to smoothness, wrinkles and elasticity
  • Reduces sun damage – when applied to the skin before sun exposure, grape seed is able to help protect against the sun’s UV rays, boosting the way in which a sunscreen works. Some studies also suggest that grape seed can even protect against cancer
  • Softens and moisturizes the skin – grape seed is a rich moisturizer, but is also extremely gentle

Aloe Vera

You have likely heard of, or even used, aloe vera before, but did you know that this plant contains more healing compounds than most of the other plants out there?

This is why aloe vera is often referred to as the miracle plant, as there are so many different issues that this botanical can treat. 

Dripping aloe vera juice into a clear jar

When it comes to the skin, aloe vera is most commonly used for its calming and soothing properties, which is why you will often find it formulated into products for sensitive skin. 

In addition to this, aloe vera has a few other benefits, such as: 

  • Speeds up wound healing – due to its anti-microbial properties. This is also why the gel is a common treatment for sunburn 
  • Hydrates the skin – aloe vera has the ability to store huge amounts of water, as this helps the plant from drying out in the desert. These water-storing abilities translate to the skin as intense doses of moisture and hydration 
  • Packed with antioxidants – aloe vera contains a number of nutrients, and many of these are powerful antioxidants that can help to treat skin cell damage while preventing premature aging 
  • Can treat acne – this is thanks to the plant’s anti-microbial properties, as well as the way in which it can calm inflammation 
  • Has anti-aging effects – many of its nutrients, including vitamins C and E, are key when it comes to keeping the skin looking youthful

No matter your skin type, and whether you are suffering from acne, psoriasis, or anything else, aloe vera is a botanical that can probably help. 

Witch Hazel

If you have oily, acne-prone skin, then you have probably already heard of, or even used, witch hazel before.

The botanical itself comes from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel shrub, a plant that is native to North America.

Why is it such a popular acne treatment?

Because, firstly, witch hazel is an anti-inflammatory. This means that not only can it reduce acne breakouts, but it can also treat other inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

Witch hazel is also an astringent.

What does this mean?

That it causes the tissues in your skin to contract, resulting in the opening of your pores shrinking. This then prevents oil, bacteria and everything else from settling into your pores and causing breakouts.

If all of that wasn’t enough, witch hazel is also packed with tannins. These are plant compounds that boast antioxidant properties, meaning that they are able to neutralize free radicals in the skin. Research shows that tannins are also able to act as an effective barrier on the surface of the skin, preventing unwanted particles from entering into the skin’s layers.

Chamomile

A plant that produces small flowers that look similar to daisies, chamomile has long since been used for its healing properties. 

Cup of chamomile in water surrounded by loose chamomile flowers

As you probably know, chamomile tea is often consumed for its calming effects, and these are the same benefits that your skin will experience when this extract is applied topically. 

In a way, the skin effects of chamomile are quite similar to that of aloe vera, with chamomile also being an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich and skin-soothing ingredient. 

Just like aloe vera, chamomile is great for healing the skin, and is also often used for treating burns. It is also hydrating and gentle, making it ideal for all skin types, even for babies. 

Green Tea

While all of the teas are fantastic for your skin, green tea is just that little bit more powerful, making this the tea to go for. 

Studies show that green tea contains the most potent of all the antioxidants known to mankind. Known as EGCG, this antioxidant not only has anti-cancer properties, but is also a fantastic anti-aging compound. 

Green tea is also highly anti-inflammatory. This is due to the polyphenols, known as catechins, within the extract. 

If you’ve got acne, green tea can help with this too since it is an antibacterial agent, while those with dry skin will love the hydrating properties of this botanical. 

Do you suffer from puffy eyes and dark circles? 

Green tea contains tannins that are able to shrink blood vessels, reducing puffiness and redness, which is why this ingredient is often used in eye creams and serums.

Rose

Roses are quite an amazing plant, and so many parts of this plant are beneficial when it comes to the skin. 

These are just a few of the products that can be made with roses: 

  • Rose water – a great cleanser and toner 
  • Rosehip oil – incredibly hydrating and moisturizing 
  • Rose extract – gentle but potent 

No matter which type of rose product you choose, they all share similar properties, such as: 

  • Antibacterial – this makes rose an effective cleansing agent, especially for those who suffer from acne 
  • Anti-inflammatory – roses are fantastic for reducing redness and swelling while calming the skin 
  • Antioxidants – roses are packed with antioxidants, including especially high levels of vitamin C 
  • Astringent – roses have astringent properties, meaning that they are able to tighten up the pore openings 
  • Moisturizing – roses contain an array of natural oils that help to soften and condition the skin 

As you already know, roses also have a beautifully distinct scent. For this reason, many skin care companies choose to use this botanical instead of a fragrance in their products. 

Marine Algae

Often referred to as the superfood of the sea, algae, along with seaweed and kelp, is fantastic for the skin. This is something that is becoming more and more widely known, with over 40% of millennials in the USA already using a skin care product containing marine algae.

Marine algae floating freely in the ocean

So, what makes algae so effective?

To begin with, algae is one of the most nutrient-dense crops in the world. These are just a few of the nutrients that can be found in marine algae: 

  • Vitamins A, B, C, D and E 
  • Minerals including copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, zinc, iodine, calcium and phosphorus 
  • Amino acids and proteins 
  • Peptides 

What does all of this do for your skin? 

Quite a bit, such as protecting against cell damage, hydrating the skin, nourishing the skin with antioxidants and providing the skin with plenty of anti-aging compounds. 

There are many different types of marine algae out there, and while they all share some similarities, they also each have their own distinct properties. 

Jojoba

Jojoba is a plant that is native to North America, and the oil that is derived from it is already an extremely popular skin care botanical. 

Why? 

Well, most importantly, the structure of jojoba oil mimics that of the sebum that is naturally produced by the skin. This means that jojoba is an oil that can even be used by those with oily skin. Rather than exacerbating oiliness, jojoba oil tricks the skin into thinking that it has produced enough oil, resulting in its sebum production slowing down.

Thanks to its unique structure, jojoba oil also has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin than other oils, meaning that it can bring about more significant changes. 

What does it actually do once it is in the skin? 

A number of things, such as: 

  • Antibacterial properties – able to kill bacteria and fungi on the surface of the skin 
  • High in antioxidants – can fight free radicals, while its vitamin E helps to heal the skin 
  • Noncomedogenic – this means that it won’t clog up your pores 
  • Anti-aging benefits – jojoba oil can help to increase the rate at which your body produces collagen 
  • Speeds up wound healing – the oil encourages skin cells to bind back together again after they have been damaged and separated 
  • Anti-inflammatory – calms and soothes the skin, making it especially effective for eczema and psoriasis 

Jojoba oil is extremely gentle and safe, meaning that not only can it be used by all skin types, but it can even be used on the more sensitive parts of the skin, such as around the eyes. 

Oats

While oats may not be as exotic as some of the other ingredients on this list, this botanical has some amazing skin-boosting properties. 

You probably already know that oats are a great ingredient to use if you need to soothe and calm your skin. This is due to the botanical’s anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties, both of which are so effective when it comes to treating conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dry skin and itching. 

It is also packed with antioxidants, proteins and lipids, all of which help to protect the skin from damage while encouraging skin cell healing. 

Wondering if you can just apply the oatmeal in your kitchen to your skin? 

Technically, yes, but this won’t have much of an impact. The oat extracts contained in skin care products consist of molecules that are small enough to be absorbed by the skin, and this is something that won’t happen with standard oatmeal. 

Pomegranate

Pomegranates have been around for over 3000 years, with ancient cultures being well familiar with the health benefits that this juicy fruit can bring. 

Loose pomegranate surrounding a small vial of pomegranate extract

When it comes to the skin, pomegranate has a number of effects, including: 

  • High in antioxidants – research shows that pomegranate is very capable of protecting skin cells from damage. It also contains ellagic acid, which increases the rate at which the body produces its own antioxidants 
  • UV protection – while it shouldn’t replace your sunscreen, studies show that pomegranate is quite effective when it comes to protecting the skin from UV damage and sunburn 
  • Anti-inflammatory properties – this is down to the omega-5 punicic acid in pomegranates 
  • Anti-aging benefits – pomegranate is able to boost skin cell regeneration, as well as circulation, both of which keep the skin looking youthful 
  • Moisturizing properties – not only is pomegranate highly moisturizing, but the skin absorbs it easily, and it does not leave a greasy feeling behind
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals – these include everything from vitamins C and K to potassium, iron and zinc 

As more and more people are recognizing the benefits of botanicals, these ingredients can now be found in such a wide range of skin care products. They are able to help with so many different skin concerns, making it well worth incorporating more botanicals into your skin care routine whenever possible. 

Young beautiful woman looking in the mirror

All About Skin Thickness Explained

Many people think that they either have thin skin or thick skin, but did you know that your skin thickness varies around your body?

Not only that, but skin thickness also changes with age, significantly changing your appearance, making skin thickness a topic well worth knowing a bit more about!

What Exactly is the Difference Between Thin and Thick Skin?

The skin consists of three main layers:

  • Epidermis – provides protection against the world around you, preventing everything from bacteria and viruses to pollutants and water from entering your skin. It also helps to keep your skin’s moisture locked inside
  • Dermiscontains the hair follicles, sweat glands and connective tissue
  • Hypodermis – composed of fat and connective tissue

 

Within the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin, there are more layers to be found…

Thin skin contains four layers here, while thick skin contains five.

As you can imagine, this makes thin skin more vulnerable to damage than thick skin.

So, where on your body can you find thick and thin skin?

The Face

To put it simply, the skin on your face is much thinner than the skin on your body.

But, to make things slightly more complicated, different parts of your face will feature skin with a different thickness.

Let’s start with the skin around the eyes…

The skin here is up to ten times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face, which is why this area is usually the first to show visible signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. 

In addition to being thinner, the skin around the eyes, especially in the outer corners, is noticeably lacking in oil glands

Why does this matter?

Because oil glands are crucial when it comes to keeping the skin moisturized, preventing wrinkles and fine lines from developing.

So, how can you properly care for the skin around your eyes?

Here are a few tips:

  • Make use of antioxidants – make sure that the skin care products you use contain plenty of vitamins A, B, C and E, as well as beta-carotene and other antioxidants 
  • Keep it moisturizedmoisturizer gives your skin an additional layer of thickness and protection, making this especially important for areas of thin skin. Sodium hyaluronate is one of the best ingredients when it comes to hydrating this part of the face
  • Sun protectionbeing so thin, the skin around the eyes is highly susceptible to sun damage, so make sure that you are not only using a sun cream, but also wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat for added protection
  • Avoid squintingthis will only speed up the rate at which your fine lines and wrinkles develop
  • Be gentle – the skin around the eyes is delicate, so make sure that you are gentle when doing everything from removing makeup to cleansing. Don’t ever tug or pull at the skin here

Woman applying eye cream in front of mirror

Another part of your face where you will find thin skin is…

Your lips!

Yes, your lips consist of the same layers of skin as the rest of your face. The difference lies in the thickness of the epidermis, with the lips featuring an extremely thin epidermis.

Just like with the skin around your eyes, the skin on your lips does not contain any oil glands, with the only source of moisture here being the saliva from your mouth.

It goes without saying that the best way to give your lips some extra nourishment is by providing them with an additional moisture source, such as a hydrating lip balm. Try to find one that contains SPF, as the skin on your lips will experience UV damage just like the skin on the rest of your face and body.

The Neck and Chest

When it comes to the skin on your body, the skin on your neck and chest is the thinnest.

Again, just like the thin areas on the face, the neck and chest do not contain as many oil glands, meaning that both of these areas are highly prone to the visible signs of aging. Added to this is the fact that the neck undergoes so many different movements throughout the day, with all of these repeated motions leading to loose skin and wrinkling.

So, what can you do about this?

It’s actually quite simple…

All you need to do is extend your regular facial skin care routine downwards, so that you are covering your neck and your chest too.

Yes, this means everything from your cleanser to your exfoliant to your serum to your moisturizer, as the skin here needs all of this just as much as your face does.

The Hands

The hands are quite similar to the neck and chest, in that the skin here is quite thin.

This is why many people can instantly tell your real age just by looking at your hands.

Not only that, but the hands tend to be the part of the body that are always exposed to the sun, yet many tend to neglect this area when it comes to applying sunscreen. All of this sun exposure only leads to a breakdown in your skin’s collagen and elastin, making it even thinner than it was

How can you give the skin on your hands the care that it needs?

Moisturizing is key.

You likely wash your hands more often than you wash any other part of your body, but, each time you do, you are actually drying your hands out.

To counter this, make sure that you apply a layer of moisturizer or hand cream each time you wash your hands. Don’t worry about completely drying them either, because the cream will work so much better on damp skin.

Sun protection is also important. If you tend to forget this, try finding a hand cream that already contains SPF.

The Feet

While the actual soles of your feet may feature skin that is thick, the skin covering the rest of your feet is relatively delicate.

However, not only does it have to deal with its own fragile nature, but it also experiences so much wear and tear from the use of improperly fitting shoes.

In fact, 70% of foot problems are caused by ill-fitting shoes, and this definitely isn’t going to do your skin here any favors.

As you can imagine, the best way to prevent this is by making sure that your shoes fit you properly. Any quality shoe store will be more than happy to help you with this. 

A moisturizer or foot cream can also really help to keep the skin here moisturized.

But don’t forget…

Just because the soles of your feet have thick skin, this doesn’t mean that you can completely neglect them.

The skin here contains no oil glands, meaning that it is prone to dryness.

Sun damage can also take a toll here, often without people even realizing.

So, why not give your entire foot some TLC each week?

Give this indulgent foot routine a try:

  • A foot soak – either in a small tub or a bath, add in some Epsom salts, colloidal oatmeal, jojoba oil, and a few drops of your favorite essential oils, before soaking your feet for around ten minutes 
  • Exfoliateuse a pumice stone to gently give your feet a rub
  • Moisturizemake sure that you apply a layer of moisturizer while your feet are still slightly damp. To make sure that it doesn’t rub off, try slipping on a pair of thin cotton socks
  • Oilif your feet are especially dry and are cracking, a layer of a moisturizing oil, such as olive, coconut, or safflower, can really help

The Elbows and Knees

The elbows and knees experience quite a bit of friction, since they are usually rubbing against something.

This is fine when you are younger, but, as you age, skin cell turnover declines, meaning that your older skin cells remain on the surface of your skin for longer.

This means that the rough and discolored skin cells on your elbows and knees, caused by all of the extra friction, build up, leading to the appearance of thicker skin around these joints. The skin here can also often look and feel dull and rough.

So, what can you do about this?

Exfoliation, especially with hydroxy acids, can really help. These acids will dissolve away the glue-like substance that is holding the dead skin cells to your elbows and knees, allowing this rough and discolored skin to simply be washed away.

What you will be left with are the fresh and new skin cells beneath.

While they may look radiant and new, don’t forget that they are also extremely vulnerable to the elements, especially the sun. Sun protection is always important, but it becomes even more so after you have exfoliated.

Keeping the area moisturized is also key. Look for a rich and thick moisturizer that contains urea and hyaluronic acid, as these ingredients will really help to hydrate the skin.

If you are already using a retinol product on your face, try using this on your elbows and knees too.

Why?

Because the retinol will not only exfoliate the skin here, but will also increase collagen production and keep the skin smooth and firm.

Skin Thickness Changes with Age

Even though parts of your skin may already be quite thin, your skin thickness actually changes with age, with your skin becoming even thinner the older you get.

Illustration of young versus aged skin

Why does this happen?

Due to several different factors, such as a breakdown in collagen and elastin, along with a decrease in oil production.

In fact, after the age of 20, a person produces around 1% less collagen in their skin each year.

If this sounds frightening, don’t worry just yet…

There are actually several different ingredients out there that can not only help to prevent thinning skin, but can also help to thicken thin skin back up.

INGREDIENTS TO PREVENT AND TREAT THINNING SKIN

Here are just a few of the ingredients that you can turn to if you are worried about thinning skin:

  • Retinol – a potent derivative of vitamin A, retinol has been proven to thicken both the epidermis as well as the dermis. It also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin within the dermis
  • Hydroxy Acidsboth alpha and beta hydroxy acids are exfoliants, meaning that they clear away the top layer of skin. While this may seem as though it is thinning your skin, the act of exfoliation actually sends a signal to the epidermis to produce more skin cells. By exfoliating regularly, your epidermis will soon naturally thicken up 
  • Vitamin Cextremely effective at boosting natural collagen production, while its antioxidant properties help to protect skin cells from environmental damage
  • Vitamin Eworks hand in hand with vitamin C, magnifying the way in which it works
  • Plant Oilsthese can give your skin the nourishment it needs to thrive, while protecting it from environmental damage. Look for oils high in oleic acid, as this will contain extra antioxidant properties. Oils to consider include avocado, camellia seed, olive, and apricot kernel 
  • Peptidespeptides are basically mini proteins, and, when applied topically, they send a signal to your skin to produce more collagen
  • Hyaluronic Acida humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin, therefore hydrating it and plumping it up, giving it an immediately thicker and healthier appearance

Now that you understand how skin thickness varies around the body, you will be able to take the necessary steps when it comes to protecting areas of thin skin. These areas are extremely delicate and fragile, and if you want to delay the onslaught of skin aging for as long as possible, learning how to properly care for your skin is key.

Young woman running in the city

The 7 Most Annoying Skin Issues for Athletic People

Do you exercise quite often?

While this is fantastic for your health, as well as for your skin in the long run, athletic people do tend to face a whole host of skin issues due to this increased physical activity.

From body acne to hyperpigmentation, here are 7 of the most common skin issues experienced by sporty people, along with ways in which you can avoid them.

Facial and Body Acne

Acne is frustrating enough to deal with on the face, but when it starts to develop on the body too, which is also known as bacne, this can be even harder to clear.

How does exercise lead to acne?

It all comes down to sweat…

When you exercise, your body releases sweat, which then builds up in your hair follicles, not only on your face but also your body. This clogs up the follicles, leading to inflammation and breakouts. Add to that the irritation from clothing, as well as any rubbing that your clothing has been doing, and you have the perfect recipe for a big breakout.

So, what’s the best way to avoid this acne?

Well, when it comes to facial and body acne, the methods are pretty much the same.

To begin with, make sure that you remove any sweaty workout clothing as soon as you are done, and take a cool shower immediately. To help unclog your hair follicles, use a cleanser that contains either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Can’t have a shower immediately after working out?

That’s ok, because you can simply use a salicylic acid face or body wipe instead, and then have a shower as soon as you are able to.

Don’t forget to also wear loose and breathable clothing, as this will help to prevent your clothing from irritating your skin and causing you to sweat more.

Not sure if your workout clothes are breathable or not?

These are some of the most breathable fabrics:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Rayon 

Heat Rash

As you can guess from its name, heat rash is a rash that is caused by heat.

In a way, its cause is similar to acne…

Again, it is your sweat that leads to this skin issue. When your sweat ducts become obstructed for whatever reason, it causes your sweat to leak on to your skin. The area around that leakage then becomes extremely inflamed, leading to the red prickly bumps known as heat rash.

How can heat rash be prevented?

Well, the solution is easier said than done…

The answer here is to keep your body cool at all times, which is, of course, quite difficult when working out. However, restricting the amount that you sweat is key, so it may be worth moving your work into an air-conditioned room on hot days, or saving your workout for the cooler early morning or evening air.

Just like with acne, keep your clothing light and breathable, to prevent it from rubbing against your skin.

Already have heat rash?

Here are a few tips to help you to clear it:

  • Make sure that you do not scratch at your rash, as this will only make it worse
  • Take an antihistamine to lower the inflammation in your body
  • Look for cooling sprays and creams, but make sure that these do not contain any fragrances or other harsh ingredients
  • Bathe your rash in cool water, adding in some colloidal oatmeal if the rash is especially itchy 

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a number of different factors, with the main one being UV exposure, something that sporty people tend to experience much more of than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

Not sure what hyperpigmentation is?

It refers to darker patches of skin, either on your face or your body.

Each time you expose your skin to the sun, your body produces more melanin, which is the pigment that gives your skin its color, and is responsible for suntans. Melanin is your body’s way of protecting itself against the sun’s rays, but sometimes melanin can be over-produced, leading to it clustering up under small areas of skin, which is why these patches appear darker than the rest.

How can you avoid this?

Well, seeing as it is likely due to sun exposure, the best way to avoid hyperpigmentation would be to ensure that you are using plenty of sun protection. Not only should you be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen each time you are out in the sun, but make use of physical sun protection methods too, such as hats, sunglasses and lightweight clothing.

You should also take care to stay out of the sun during its hottest hours. These are usually between 11am and 3pm, although it will vary depending on your location. Try to seek shade whenever possible, and give your body regular breaks from direct sunlight.

Sun Damage

If hyperpigmentation wasn’t bad enough, the sun also leads to other skin issues, which, again, is commonly experienced by athletic people and those who spend a large amount of time exercising outside.

What sort of skin issues does the sun cause?

Well, the first, and most common, is a sunburn.

While you may think that this is just a temporary problem, sunburns are actually much more serious than most people realize…

Did you know that five serious sunburns can increase your risk of developing a deadly form of skin cancer by 80%?

There are many ways in which you can make a sunburn easier, and less painful, to deal with, using products such as aloe vera and green tea. However, you would be far better off avoiding the sunburn to begin with, as this significantly reduces your cancer risk.

Another extremely common skin issue caused by sun exposure is premature aging…

If you have ever noticed an increase in wrinkles in those who regularly exercise outdoors, then it is likely that they have not been using adequate, if any, sun protection. 

The sun is responsible for up to 80% of skin aging, causing everything from wrinkles and fine lines to dark spots and dryness.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid all of this…

All you need to do, as mentioned above, is wear sunscreen each and every day.

Think you can skip out on your sunscreen because it’s cloudy outside, and you don’t plan on working out for too long?

The sun’s UV rays can not only penetrate through thick cloud, but also through glass, so even if you are working out indoors near a window, you will still need to wear sunscreen.

Artist illustration of UV rays penetrating layers of the skin

While a certain amount of sun exposure is good for your skin, your skin only needs 10 minutes of this a day in order to top up its vitamin D supplies. So, if your workout is going to be longer than ten minutes, which it likely will be if you are a sporty person, then definitely apply plenty of sunscreen beforehand.

When it comes to premature aging, make sure that you are already following an anti-aging skin care routine. Even if you are diligent about sun protection, you will likely still end up leaving your skin exposed at times by accident, so it is important to be using the right skin care products as a follow-up to this.

Athlete’s Foot

If you are already quite an athletic person, then you are likely already well aware of athlete’s foot.

However, for everyone else, this is a fungal infection that can be picked up from other people’s feet.

This does not mean that you need to be touching their feet…

Simply walking barefoot over public areas, such as in the changing rooms at the gym, can lead to this.

What does athlete’s foot look like?

It generally manifests as white scaly skin on the bottom and sides of your feet, with this being quite dry and sometimes itchy. It can also lead to a thicker and softer white skin developing in between your toes, before entering into your toenails and causing them to thicken and turn yellow.

Fortunately, this is another skin issue that is easy to avoid…

All you need to do is make sure that you are wearing sandals or flip flops when walking around public exercise areas.

Already have athlete’s foot?

You will likely need to make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist, as the best way to clear this is with a prescription anti-fungal cream. It takes a few weeks for the infection to clear, but make sure that you have it treated as soon as you notice it, because once it worsens, it is much harder to eradicate.

Dry Skin

For some, exercising regularly can lead to oily skin and acne, but for others, it can have the opposite effect.

Those who regularly exercise often end up showering more often, which is necessary in order to clear away the sweat from your skin.

This is no problem if your showers are quick and cool.

However, if you like to turn up the temperature and enjoy a leisurely steamy shower, this is when the problems arise…

Wondering what’s so bad about a hot shower?

The hot water strips away your skin’s natural oils, which are important for skin hydration.

Yes, your skin does produce more oils on its own, but if you have a hot shower too often, you will be stripping your oils away faster than your skin can replace them. 

What happens then?

Your skin ends up dry and dehydrated, with red, itchy and flaking patches.

As mentioned above, a shower after working out is essential, but the hot water isn’t.

The best way to prevent dry skin from developing is by keeping your showers as cool as you can handle, and make sure that you do not remain in the water for any more than ten minutes.

Don’t forget…

As soon as you are done in the shower, it is important to apply a layer of moisturizer, while your skin is still damp.

Why?

Because a moisturizer is designed to form a thin protective layer over the surface of your skin. This prevents moisture from evaporating, meaning that if you already have extra water on the surface of your skin, the only place for this to go is downwards into your skin.

Frequent Eczema Flare-Ups

While exercising doesn’t cause eczema, it does cause existing eczema to flare-up, and quite drastically too.

Why?

Due to the moisture and salt of your sweat. These both irritate the skin, which not only makes an eczema rash redder and more visible, but also more uncomfortable. With an increased itch, you will likely end up scratching or rubbing at the rash, which then, as you already know, makes the eczema even worse.

Want to know how to prevent eczema flare-ups when exercising?

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep wiping off any sweat while you are working out, but make sure to use a towel and not your shirt
  • Wear lightweight and breathable clothing so that your sweat can easily evaporate off your body, rather than being trapped on your skin
  • Take regular breaks to keep your body cool, and drink plenty of water too
  • Always shower immediately after working out 

If you are already experiencing an eczema flare-up…

Tone it down a bit when it comes to your workouts, taking this slower until your flare-up has calmed. This may mean walking instead of running, or doing some yoga instead of a sports class. 

While you may be tempted to ignore the problem and just carry on with your normal routine, this is only going to make your eczema worsen even more.

Make sure that you are keeping your skin well-moisturized, as those with eczema already have a damaged skin barrier, which a moisturizer will help to temporarily heal.

If your flare-up is especially severe, then visit your doctor for a more powerful treatment. 

While these skin issues can definitely be annoying, the benefits of exercising frequently and regularly far outweigh the problems that these skin problems bring. As long as you know how to avoid the issues that you seem to be most susceptible to, you will be well-equipped to keep being just as physically active as always.

Happy smiling middle-age woman with short wavy hair

Keeping Your Skin Healthy At Every Age

It is no secret that as your body ages, your skin is going to go through quite a few changes, with your skin in your 20’s being extremely different to your skin in your 50’s.

This is why it is so important to keep adjusting your skin care routine as you progress through life, adopting different ingredients and techniques at each stage, as this will help to cater to your skin’s ever-changing needs.

Skin Care in Your 20’s

When you are in your 20’s, it may seem as though the firm and tight skin you have always known is going to last forever, but, unfortunately, this is not true.

In fact, your 20’s is when things begin to slow down in your skin…

In particular, cell turnover.

This is the rate at which your body sheds its old skin cells, to make way for new ones. In your teens and younger years, your cell turnover rate is every 14 days. However, as you progress through your 20’s, this declines to every 24 to 30 days.

Collagen is another key element of your skin that begins to decline in your mid-20’s.

What is collagen?

It is one of the building blocks of your skin, and is the protein that largely makes up your skin’s structure. Once you reach your mid-20’s, the rate at which the collagen in your body breaks down overtakes the rate at which you naturally produce new collagen.

This means that skin aging is not too far away…

So, what can you do about this?

Well, seeing as up to 90% of facial wrinkles are caused by the sun’s UV rays, wearing sun cream is essential. If you are not already doing this every day, then this is something to begin doing right now.

When it comes to your declining collagen production and slower cell turnover…

Start using a retinol product.

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, and is one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients out there, with one of its greatest benefits being the way in which it speeds up cell turnover. Not only that, but it also stimulates your natural collagen production, helping to increase this so that production once again outweighs breakdown.

Skin Care in Your 30’s

While you may have been completely confident in your skin in your 20’s, you are much more likely to experience a few panicked moments in relation to your skin in your 30’s.

This decade tends to be the one where you experience your first static lines and wrinkles.

These are lines that do not fade when your face is resting, and are usually due to the continued decrease of collagen in your body.

If you are not yet using a retinol product, then now is the time to start, for the same reasons as mentioned in the 20’s section before.

Another key component in your skin that begins to noticeably decline in your 30’s is hyaluronic acid.

You may have already noticed this ingredient in many skin care products out there, but do you know what it actually is?

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that occurs naturally in the body, and can be found in so many different parts of the body. So, when your natural levels of hyaluronic acid begin to decline, it only makes sense to top these back up.

But what exactly does hyaluronic acid do for the skin?

Well, this ingredient is a humectant, meaning that it draws moisture from the air into its molecules and then holds this water there. Your skin then absorbs this moisture, helping it to stay hydrated for longer.

Hyaluronic acid can also help with:

  • Wrinkles
  • Sagging skin
  • A damaged skin barrier
  • Wound healing
  • UV damage

Hyaluronic acid can be found in everything, from serums to creams. The most effective tends to be a serum, as their thin consistency means that they are more easily absorbed by the skin.

When choosing a product, make sure that it contains at least 1% hyaluronic acid, as this is the amount needed in order for the ingredient to really have an impact. 

How else can you care for your skin in your 30’s?

By incorporating antioxidants into your skin care routine.

Your skin is constantly under attack from free radicals, which are caused by everything from sun exposure to pollution. Simply put, free radicals are atoms that are missing an electron. In order to “heal” themselves, they will try to steal electrons from nearby cells, thereby damaging those cells, as well as their DNA.

Free radicals are one of the primary causes of aging, which is why this is something worth focusing on.

How do antioxidants help?

They provide free radicals with the electron that they are missing, therefore healing them and stopping them from attacking other cells in the body.

So, which antioxidants should you be using?

In addition to retinol, give these a try:

  • Resveratrolthis is an antioxidant that comes from plant-based foods, such as red wine, blueberries and cacao beans, and provides so many benefits for the skin, from brightening to anti-inflammatory 
  • Vitamin Chelps to strengthen the skin, while calming and hydrating it

Don’t forget…

Antioxidants work best when used in conjunction with each other, so try adding multiple antioxidants to your skin care routine.

Skin Care in Your 40’s

Those light lines that you noticed appearing on your face in your 30’s will begin to deepen in your 40’s, making them much more noticeable.

All of the natural declines from your 30’s, such as collagen production and hyaluronic acid, continue on, with cell turnover also decreasing down to every 30 to 42 days. You will notice that your skin feels much less resilient, and that it does not “bounce back” in quite the same way anymore.

Another common skin change that many experience in their 40’s is dryness…

Wondering what causes this?

The outer layer of your skin consists of a protective barrier, whose role is not only to protect your skin from environmental damage, but also to retain moisture.

As the body ages, this barrier weakens, meaning that your skin experiences a far greater loss of moisture.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to deal with this, and this is by switching to a much richer and thicker moisturizer. You may also need to moisturize more frequently throughout the day, in order to compensate for the extra moisture loss.

Another skin issue that may arise in your 40’s is hyperpigmentation.

This is when melanin, which is the pigment that gives your skin its color, is over-produced in some areas of the skin, causing those areas to darken. This can vary greatly in terms of shape and size, as well as placement on the skin.

Here are a few tips on how to deal with this:

  • Use a sunscreen – UV exposure only encourages your skin to produce more melanin, which you are trying to prevent
  • Use a gentle chemical exfoliant this helps to speed up the cell renewal rate
  • Use a lightening cream such as one containing kojic acid or hydroquinone

One key ingredient that you should be using in your 40’s are ceramides…

These are naturally one of the main components of your skin’s surface, and are an integral part of your skin’s matrix and structure.

However, with age, the body’s natural production of ceramides declines, meaning that the skin then begins to lose its firm structure and supple surface.

Research shows that the topical use of ceramides can really help with this, improving suppleness, roughness, uniformity, hydration and overall glow

Skin Care in Your 50’s

Once you have gone through menopause, your skin will be experiencing even more drastic changes.

Due to the drop in estrogen levels, the skin becomes much thinner and more fragile, meaning that it is even less able to retain moisture

Not only that, but research shows that, in the first five years after menopause, 30% of your collagen is lost.

This may sound frightening, but there are still several steps that you can take to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy.

Begin by making sure that you are already following all of the tips mentioned in each section above. While you may not be able to reverse your skin’s changes, you will still be able to brighten and nourish the one you have, preventing the changes from worsening.

A multi-step skin care routine is vital, and this should be something that you follow each and every day.

Wondering what the multiple steps should consist of?

Here are some guidelines:

  • A cleanser – this should always be the first step of any skin care routine, as it allows subsequent products to easily penetrate into the skin and work much better
  • A tonerthis helps to rebalance your skin’s pH level, which is often disrupted through cleansing
  • Exfoliant/peelthis is important to keep the surface of your skin looking smooth and vibrant. It will also encourage your natural cell turnover
  • Masksthese can be used on a weekly basis to give your skin a deeper treatment. Look for masks that address your specific skin concerns, whether this may be hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, or dry skin
  • Eye serums and creamsthe skin around your eyes is so delicate, and eye products are formulated to be gentle enough to nourish and care for this area without harming it
  • Face serumsserums are thin and lightweight, meaning that they quickly and easily penetrate the skin. While they may not look much different to water, serums are actually packed with a high concentration of active ingredients, which is why they are so effective at tackling various skin issues
  • Moisturizeras mentioned above, the moisturizer you are using now should be rich, thick, and packed with antioxidants

Skin Care in Your 60’s and Beyond

If you have worked out a skin care routine that is working for your skin in your 50’s, then stick to it through your 60’s, adjusting and adding in individual products when needed.

If you have been caring for your skin well throughout your life, then, by the time you reach your 60’s, you will be able to tell what your skin does and does not need.

One example of a product that you may want to add into your routine at this stage in life is targeted wrinkle creams. These are potent formulas that come with a small applicator that enables you to directly apply them to each wrinkle.

Of course, skin care is internal as well as external, and caring for your skin from within can really help to maintain a healthy glow throughout your later years.

How can you care for your skin from within?

Here are a few tips:

  • Diet – make sure that you are consuming a healthy diet, filled with plenty of fresh, whole foods, and with a minimum amount of processed foods 
  • Sleepadequate quality sleep is so important, although you may find that you need slightly less sleep as you age
  • Exerciseexercise is one of the best things that you can do for your skin, no matter what age you may be
  • Stressstress leads to nothing but problems in the skin, so try to find some stress management techniques that work well for you

By understanding the changes that your skin goes through as your body ages, you will be able to provide it with exactly what it needs. From the preventative steps that you can take in your 20’s, to the healthy lifestyle changes you can make in your later years, it is well worth taking the time to keep your skin healthy, no matter what age you may be.

 

Young blonde woman checking skin in mirror

Dehydrated Skin? Try These Easy Tips

Dehydrated skin can lead to so many different skin problems, from premature aging to a dull and rough complexion, making this an issue worth dealing with as soon as possible.

Not sure where to begin?

Here are 12 tips to help you to treat your dehydrated skin.

What’s the Difference Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin?

Many people often think of dry and dehydrated skin as being the same thing, but this is not at all the case.

Wondering what the difference is?

The main difference is that dehydrated skin lacks water, while dry skin lacks oil.

Since water and oil are so different, you need to know for sure whether your skin is dry or dehydrated before you begin treating the problem.

Here are a few more details about each condition:

  • Dry Skin – becomes more prevalent with age, due to the skin’s natural lipid barrier decreasing. Symptoms include redness, itchiness and ashy areas, especially for those with a darker skin tone
  • Dehydrated Skincan be caused by a number of factors, such as not drinking enough water, sun exposure, and indoor heating or cooling systems. Symptoms include tightness, a scaly, rough or flaky texture, and the appearance of smaller pores 

If you think your skin may be dry rather than dehydrated, then you will need to look for ways in which you can counter that.

Make Sure That You Are Drinking Enough Water

Do you drink around eight glasses of water a day?

If your answer is no, then this could be one of the reasons as to why your skin is dehydrated.

All of the organs in your body need water in order to properly function, and each time you drink some water, this gets distributed to the organs that need it the most. These usually tend to be the vital organs, and the skin is last on the list, meaning that it often misses out when it comes to this dose of hydration.

However, while many may recommend drinking more that the recommended amount of water a day, this will actually not benefit dehydrated skin, unless you do feel thirsty. Any excess water will only end up being flushed out of your system, and not much of this will actually reach the skin.

To keep your skin at its healthiest, try to drink around eight glasses of water a day, or more if you are overly active.

Eat More Moisture-Rich Foods

As mentioned above, water that you drink ends up being directed to your vital organs first, meaning that your skin can sometimes miss out.

So how do you ensure that your skin is hydrated from within?

By eating moisture-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. 

These contain water, but in a more structured form, and rather than flushing out your system in the way that a glass of water would do, moisture-rich foods provide your body with long-lasting hydration. This water is released into your body slowly, making it more likely that your skin will receive some of this hydration. 

Wondering which fruits and vegetables contain the most moisture?

Here are some of the top moisture-rich foods out there:

  • Watermelon, Green Peppers and Strawberries – 92%  water
  • Cucumbers96% water, with most of this located in its skin
  • Iceberg Lettuce96% water
  • Celery95% water  
  • Cantaloupe90% water
  • Pineapples, Oranges and Raspberries87% water 

Make Use of Hydrating Skin Care Ingredients

There are so many different skin care ingredients out there, and each one will bring its own range of unique benefits to the skin.

When it comes to hydrating ingredients, there are plenty to choose from, but one of the most effective is definitely hyaluronic acid.

Never heard of this powerhouse before?

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning that it draws moisture from the air towards the skin. It is able to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, making it key when it comes to helping your skin to retain moisture.

Your skin naturally contains hyaluronic acid, but applying some more topically can make a huge difference. Look for this ingredient as part of a moisturizer or a serum for best results.

Other ingredients to look out for include:

  • Urea – has strong water-binding properties
  • Plant oilsimproves the skin’s water retention
  • Glycerine especially hydrating when used along with hyaluronic acid 
  • Ceramideshelps with the skin’s hydration balance
  • Niacinamidealso known as vitamin B3, this helps to heal and strengthen the skin’s barrier, preventing moisture loss

Stay Away From Dehydrating Skin Care Ingredients

While some ingredients are known for the way in which they hydrate the skin, others are infamous for being dehydrating.

If you already have dehydrated skin, then dehydrating skin care ingredients are the last things that you want to be applying to your skin.

These are a few of the ingredients that you should try to stay away from, at least until you have managed to treat your skin dehydration:

  • Alcohol
  • Fragrances
  • Harsh exfoliants  
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid

Make Use of Hydrating Face Masks

Face masks are designed to remain on the skin for an extended period of time, meaning that all of its active ingredients have enough time to properly penetrate your skin and work their magic.

Of course, there are so many different types of face masks out there, and not all of them are suitable for dehydrated skin. 

So, which ones do you go for?

Cream masks are great, because these are rich in oil and moisturizing ingredients, with many of them also containing hyaluronic acid.

Gel masks are also incredibly hydrating, especially since these tend to be infused with antioxidants, while sheet masks can also be beneficial, especially if you apply an extra layer of hyaluronic acid underneath the mask. 

Wondering which ingredients to look out for, as well as to avoid, when it comes to hydrating face masks?

The same ingredients mentioned above, as those apply to all skin care products.

Be Extremely Gentle With Your Skin

Dehydrated skin is usually a sign of some form of skin damage, meaning that you need to treat it just as gently as you would any of your other organs if they were to become damaged.

When touching your face, whether this may be to cleanse your skin or to apply a cream, allow your hands to smoothly glide over it, avoiding any scrubbing, rubbing or tugging motions.

Invest in a Humidifier

A humidifier and dehydrated skin go hand in hand, because this is something that can really help to add moisture back into your skin.

The optimum humidity level for your skin is around 55%. However, if you use central air in your home, this can bring the humidity level in your house down to 10%. As you can imagine, this is not good for dehydrated skin.

So, how does a humidifier help?

They work by adding water vapour into the air, therefore increasing the air’s moisture content, and therefore the humidity of a room. By increasing the air’s moisture levels, you then help to prevent it from pulling out moisture from your skin.

Wondering where to keep your new humidifier?

The best spot is usually in the bedroom.

Why?

Because the time during which you are asleep is when your skin cells are healing and regenerating, meaning that this is the time in which they require the right amount of moisture in order to properly function. The humidifier will help it with this, at the time when it needs it the most.

Can’t decide between a warm mist and a cool mist?

Experts recommended going for a warm mist, as this is much closer to the skin’s natural temperature. 

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Sun Protection

If you often neglect to wear sunscreen, then this could be one of the big causes of your dehydrated skin.

Exposing your unprotected skin to the sun for an extended period of time leads to water evaporating from your skin, leaving it dehydrated.

How do you prevent this from happening?

With the use of sunscreen.

When it comes to choosing a sunscreen for dehydrated skin…

Many find that the physical sunscreen formulas often exacerbate any flaky or scaly areas.

Why is this?

Because the mineral filters used in a physical sunscreen, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, also work as an astringent, meaning that they can have quite a drying effect. 

The best way around this is to either apply a layer of moisturizer on to your skin before applying a sunscreen, or opting for a chemical sunscreen formula instead.

Cleanse Your Skin Each Evening

Cleansing is actually extremely important for dehydrated skin.

Why?

Because if you do not remove the layer of dirt, dead skin cells, oil and more that settle on the surface of the skin throughout the day, any hydrating skin care products that you apply will not be able to properly penetrate into your skin.

Attractive woman washing face in mirror

Of course, with your skin being dehydrated, you do need to make sure that you opt for a gentle, moisturizing cleanser, staying away from foaming formulas.

Wondering why it is better to cleanse at night rather than in the morning?

Because this allows you to wash away all of the dirt from the day, while giving your skin the ingredients needed to help it with all of the work it does at night. If you cleanse immediately before going to bed, and sleep on a clean pillowcase, then your skin will still be clean in the morning.

Don’t be tempted to cleanse twice a day, as over-cleansing can cause even more problems for dehydrated skin.

Use Oil-Blotting Paper for Excess Oil

As mentioned above, over-cleansing your face can cause numerous problems, but what happens if your dehydrated skin is oily as well?

While it may be tempting to scrub at your face a few times a day, this will only lead to even more breakouts.

One easy way to clear your skin of excess oil throughout the day is to use blotting papers, as these gently remove the oil without damaging your skin in any way.

Give it a Month

You are likely tempted to try some of the new skin care ingredients or techniques mentioned above, but patience is key here…

It takes, on average, about 28 days for your skin regeneration cycle to go through one round, meaning that this is how long it takes for your old skin cells to be replaced by new ones. The older you are, the longer this takes.

This means that, when trying anything new on your skin, you need to give it at least a month before deciding whether or not it works.

Of course, if anything you are trying is clearly affecting your skin in a negative way, then you should cease this immediately.

Dehydrated skin can definitely be frustrating to deal with, but you need to make sure that you treat it with the care it requires, otherwise it will only get worse. From knowing which ingredients to avoid to providing moisture to your skin in different ways, these tips will help you to rehydrate your skin in no time at all.

Woman checking skin in mirror

8 Easy Tips to Purify Your Skin

With everything from pollution to the food that you eat leading to the creation of toxins in your skin, it is so easy for your skin to become weighed down by all of these impurities.

To keep your complexion looking fresh and healthy, here are eight tips to follow to purify your skin, from both inside and out.

Cleanse Your Skin at the End of Each Day

Everyone is guilty of neglecting to cleanse their skin once in a while, but if you do this too often, this is a sure-fire way for impurities to build up on your skin.

Most people only need to properly cleanse their skin once a day, so save this for the evening. This gives you the chance to clear away all of the dirt, pollution, bacteria, sweat and more that will have settled on your skin throughout the course of the day.

Do not forget…

Once you have cleansed your skin, it is in quite a vulnerable state, so a layer of moisturizer immediately afterwards is essential. The moisturizer will form a barrier over the surface of your skin, preventing impurities from working their way into your skin’s layers.

This means that, in the morning, you only need to rinse your skin with water, rather than using a cleanser again.

Why shouldn’t you use a cleanser in the morning too?

Because over-cleansing can be almost as bad as not cleansing at all. Your skin needs its natural oils in order to thrive, and clearing these away too frequently will leave your skin red, irritated and damaged.

Unclog Those Pores

When impurities build up on your skin, they need somewhere to go, and the only place is into your pores.

For those who suffer from oily skin, this is especially challenging, as the impurities end up mixing with your skin’s natural oils and really affecting your complexion with acne and pimples.

Fortunately, there are quite a few ways in which you can unclog your pores and rid them of any impurities:

  • Pore strips these are made with bonding agents that act like a magnet, lifting away any dirt and toxins that have built up within your pores
  • Steam cleaning all you need to do is fill a bowl with boiling water, and then place your face over this, draping a towel over your head to keep the steam in. Do this for about ten minutes to open up your pores and give them a good cleanse. Add some essential oils to the water for added benefits
  • Exfoliation this should be done a couple of times a week to keep your pores clean. If you find that exfoliation does not seem to be working for you, try a different method of exfoliation 
  • Purifying face masks these will contain ingredients to help purify the skin, and are discussed in more detail below
  • Extractions this is a professional procedure that usually involves an esthetician manually clearing out your pores, using a set of metal tools 

Use Purifying Face Masks

From hydrating to anti-aging, there are so many different types of face masks out there, each designed to target specific skin issues. 

One type of face mask that you will often see is the purifying face mask.

These come in a variety of forms, from clay masks to sheet masks, so use whichever type you are most comfortable with.

Wondering how they work?

It all comes down to their active ingredients.

There are certain ingredients out there that have been proven to help extract impurities from the skin, and these are what tend to be used in purifying face masks.

Clay masks are usually the go-to mask type when it comes to purifying the skin, as they begin to work their magic in just a couple of minutes. They basically draw all of the toxins out of your skin, and also absorb excess oil.

They are fantastic for those with oily skin, but those with dry skin may find that their skin feels even drier afterwards. The key here is to really be diligent with the amount of time that you leave the mask on for, as leaving it on for too long can leave your skin dehydrated.  

Activated charcoal is another popular ingredient in purifying face masks.

What exactly does it do?

It binds to dirt and toxins in the skin, helping to pull them out, ready for you to wash away. It is also able to help treat acne, speed up skin healing, and can be used on the hair and scalp too. 

Algae is also extremely effective, because not only does it contain a wide range of antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which help the skin to detox, but it also adds moisture to the skin. This then plumps up the skin’s natural protective barrier, therefore preventing more impurities from settling into the skin.

Other common ingredients in purifying masks include lemon, tea tree oil, and coconut oil, all of which help to rid the skin of toxins.

Hydrate With Water

If you decide to only follow one of these tips, then this should be the one to choose.

Water is essential when it comes to purifying the body, and even a small amount of dehydration can result in a huge build up of toxins.

You should aim to drink at least eight glasses, or two litres, of water each day, and try to sip on this throughout the day, even if you are not feeling thirsty. 

Find it difficult to drink so much water?

Try infusing your water with some fruit, or give herbal teas a try, which are discussed in more detail in tip number six. 

Purify Your Skin Through Your Diet

Your diet directly affects your skin in several different ways. By consuming a diet that is rich in certain foods, you will be able to stimulate your skin’s natural detoxification process, encouraging purification. These same foods will also help to keep your blood healthy, and since your blood is your skin’s source of oxygen and nutrients, this can, again, have a huge impact.

So, what should you actually be eating?

Here are a few of the most popular purifying foods out there:

  • Garlic contains sulfur, which helps to purify the organs, including the skin
  • Leafy Greens greens such as kale, cabbage, and broccoli contain certain compounds that help the body to detox
  • Cilantro especially effective when it comes to purifying the skin of heavy metals
  • Apple Cider Vinegar keeps the blood clean but also contains antiseptic compounds, which help to fight infections within the body. ACV also naturally balance’s the skin’s pH levels, resulting in a healthy complexion
  • Beets a strong anti-inflammatory that purifies the body and boosts the immune system
  • Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a natural antioxidant that produces detoxifying enzymes within the body 

In addition to incorporating more purifying ingredients into your diet, you should also try to cut back on the amount of refined sugar, dairy, and fried and processed foods that you eat.

Why?

Because these are filled with impurities that are severely detrimental to your skin. It may not seem like it now, but once you take the steps necessary to improve your diet, you will definitely notice a huge improvement in your skin too. 

Drink 3 Cups of Herbal Tea a Day

There are so many herbs out there that have been proven to help purify the skin and body, but incorporating these into your diet can be challenging.

This is where herbal teas come in…

Infusing certain herbs into a tea gives you the opportunity to really make the most of the antioxidants that these herbs contain. 

Wondering which herbs will work best for your skin?

Here are a few to try:

  • Dandelion – this will have a diuretic effect, which significantly helps the liver to flush out toxins from the body
  • Burdock – when it comes to impurities that result in acne or boils, burdock can really help
  • Green tea – packed with antioxidants, green tea will also rejuvenate the skin
  • Green Nettle – this also has a diuretic effect, and will cleanse both the body and skin

Aim to drink around three cups of a herbal tea a day, especially if you are proactively trying to purify your skin in a set time frame.

Try Dry Brushing

From face masks to facial cleansers, many of the external skin-purifying methods tend to be focussed on the face.

But what about the rest of the body?

This is where dry brushing comes in…

This is an effective, inexpensive, and quick way in which you can purify the skin all over your body on a daily basis.

Never heard of dry brushing before?

It is a technique that has actually been used for centuries, mostly for the way in which it purifies the body and skin. It does this in numerous ways, from boosting circulation to stimulating the sweat glands, all of which help the skin to detox.

You do need to purchase a dry brush to do this, but these are generally inexpensive and widely available. Try to opt for a brush that has natural bristles, as these will be kinder on your skin.

Once you have your brush, begin at your feet and slowly work your way upwards, simply brushing your dry skin. Make sure that your strokes are always aimed towards your heart, and do not dry brush any parts of your skin that are cut or infected.

Woman dry brushing her legs

Dry brushing is best done right before you step into the shower, as this then enables you to wash away all of the impurities that you have dislodged.

Wondering how long it takes?

Well, in the beginning, it may take you about 15 minutes. But, once you get the hang of the technique, you should be able to dry brush your entire body in just five minutes

Want to try dry brushing your face too?

This can really help your complexion, but make sure that you purchase a dedicated facial dry brush. These will be made with softer bristles, which is essential since the skin on your face is much thinner, and more delicate, than the skin on your body, therefore much more susceptible to damage.

Enjoy A Purifying Bath

Purifying baths are exactly what they sound like…

They are a bath that is able to purify the skin, as well as the rest of the body.

How?

This all depends on the type of bath that you choose.

An Epsom salt bath is the most popular type of purifying bath out there. Epsom salts are actually a naturally occurring mineral compound, rather than an actual salt, and are packed with magnesium. Magnesium basically acts as a toxin repellent, flushing any impurities out of your skin cells.

Adding some bentonite clay to your bath can also help to purify your skin. Bentonite clay has a negative ionic charge, while the toxins in your skin tend to be positively charged. This means that the clay and the toxins end up bonded together, so, when you wash the clay away, you are also washing the toxins away.

Other ingredients that you can use in a detox bath include ginger, essential oils, sea salt, seaweed and apple cider vinegar

When running a purifying bath for yourself, make sure that you do not add any commercial products to the bath.

Why?

Because the majority of these will contain at least one type of chemical, and since you are purifying your skin, you want to keep unnatural chemicals as far away from it as possible.

Following these tips and taking the steps necessary to purify your skin can have a huge impact on your complexion.

You will likely notice that your skin develops a bright, healthy glow, and skin issues such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea and more will all be improved.

Woman with hat laughing outdoors

Skin Care Tips for Weekend Travel

No matter where you may be heading to over the weekend, you need to ensure that you do not neglect your skin. From on-the-go hydration to the secret behind fresh, de-puffed eyes, here are some skin care tips to keep in mind whenever you are spending the weekend away.

Prepare Your Skin the Night Before

While you may already have plenty of last-minute tasks to do the night before you travel, you need to make your skin a priority at this time.

Giving it some extra care and nourishment before you set off will help you to maintain a healthy complexion while you are away.

Wondering what you need to do?

Begin by exfoliating, following this up with a nourishing face mask.

woman relaxing in bath with a face mask

You should also pay attention to the food that you eat before travelling. Snacking on junk food right up until you leave the house will only mean that your skin will suffer on your journey.

Instead, make sure that your pre-travel meals contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some nuts, seeds or oily fish so that you are consuming enough essential fatty acids, as these are key when it comes to skin health.

Don’t forget about hydration either…

If possible, try to drink as much extra water as you can the day before, especially if you know that you will likely forget to continuously hydrate while you are away.

On-the-Go Hydration

The stress of travelling can often take its toll on your skin, leaving it looking and feeling dull and flat.

Hydrating mists are a great way to perk your skin up, and there are a few different ways in which you can use them:

  • Spray it on top of your makeup to freshen up your look
  • Spray it on your skin before applying moisturizer, so that the moisturizer locks in the extra moisture
  • Spray it on your face as soon as you are done applying your makeup, as this will help your makeup to set

Generally, you will find two types of facial mists available…

The first type is usually made from mineral water, and while the simplicity of these is great, you do need to always follow this up with a layer of moisturizer.

Why?

Because if you don’t, the dry air around you will only end up sucking all of that extra moisture away from your skin, leaving it even drier than it was to begin with.

Alternatively, you could opt for one of the more advanced facial mist formulas. The difference here is that they contain additional hydrating ingredients, such as glycerin and botanicals.

Quickly De-Puff Your Eyes

Everybody wants bright, vibrant eyes when they are heading away for a weekend, but, whether due to the stress of planning or the chaos of travel, the eyes can often end up looking tired and puffy.

There are a few different ways in which you can soothe and de-puff your eyes, depending on where you are and what you have available to you:

  • A Cold Metal Spoon – place a spoon in the fridge for a 15 minutes before holding the rounded end against your eyes. The cold temperature will help to constrict your blood vessels and minimize any puffiness.
  • Ice Cubes Wrapped in Cloth when travelling, ice cubes are usually easier to find than a cold metal spoon, so this is another great alternative. Make sure that you wrap the cubes in cloth before holding them against your eyes, otherwise they will be too harsh against your bare skin.
  • Cucumber Slicescucumber slices on the eyes are a go-to method for de-puffing, with the antioxidants in cucumbers giving your skin an extra boost at the same time
  • Refrigerated Eye Cream if you have access to a fridge, then, in addition to placing a spoon in there, you should also use it to store your eye cream. The colder temperature of the cream when applied around your eyes will do wonders for any puffiness. 

Keep Those Lips Soft and Smooth

You will have enough on your mind when travelling that you really do not want to have to worry about your lips too.

While it may be tempting to swipe on some long-lasting lipstick for the journey, this is something that you should refrain from doing

Why?

These formulas tend to be quite drying on the lips, and will only leave them parched and chapped by the time you reach your destination.

Instead, opt for a couple of layers of a lip stain, topping this off with some medicated lip balm, as this will not disrupt your lipstick.

If you have quite a long journey, a lip treatment may be a good idea, especially if you are already planning on using a face mask while you travel.

Blot the Oil Away

If you have oily skin, then this is something that you will want to keep under control during your weekend away.

Oil blotting sheets are great for this, as these sheets can be dabbed against the skin for a few seconds, during which they will soak up any excess oil.

woman using oil blotting paper

Of course, for skin that is extremely oily, you may end up going through quite a few oil blotting sheets, so it is always worth having an extra weapon in your arsenal, such as an oil-absorbing primer.

Don’t forget…

You can also use oil blotting sheets to help set your makeup, as these will absorb any excess oil from the products that you have used, helping them to last for longer.

Shopping for Samples

Trying to pack as lightly as possible for your weekend away?

Then you will probably not want to bring all of your regular-sized skin care products.

To get around this, many people end up stocking up on sample-sized products, and using these while travelling instead. While there is no denying that this can be extremely convenient, you will need to ensure that you are not using any new products while you are away.

Instead, try to find sample-sized products of the items that you already use, as this will prevent your skin from reacting to anything new while you are travelling.

Can’t find any samples?

Another option is to purchase empty travel-sized containers, and then fill these with your creams and other skin care products.

Clean Hands, Clean Face

If you are someone that always seems to be touching their face without realizing it, then you need to make sure that your hands are always as clean as possible.

For those of you who have access to a sink, wash your hands as much as you can while you are away.

Alternatively, an antibacterial hand gel can be carried with you everywhere you go, and applied frequently throughout the day.

Whether you wash your hands or use a hand gel, it is important to follow this up with a layer of hand cream, as this will prevent your skin from drying out.

Don’t want to bring your hand cream with you?

There is nothing wrong with using your standard face moisturizer for this, especially if it is only going to be for a couple of days.

Shaving Cream Alternatives

You may want to keep your legs soft and smooth throughout the weekend, but shaving cream can be quite a bulky item to include in your luggage, especially since you will only be using it once or twice.

Fortunately, there are a few alternatives that you can use:

  • Hair Conditioner one of the cheapest and most effective shaving cream alternatives
  • Raw Honey while this may seem quite thick when you apply it to your legs, it rinses off easily with water, and will moisturize your skin at the same time
  • Body Lotion wait until your shower has turned steamy before applying body lotion to your legs, as this will enable your pores to open, meaning that the lotion will be able to penetrate through your skin much better
  • Coconut Oilthanks to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, coconut oil is great for preventing razor burn
  • Shea Butter softens the hair, making it easier to shave, while moisturizing the skin at the same time

Swipe On Some Red Lipstick

Although it is best to avoid lipstick while you are actually on the move, once you reach your weekend destination, a swipe of red across the lips is one of the best ways to brighten up your look.

woman applying red lipstick

This will instantly make your complexion appear more revitalized, while your teeth will look whiter and your smile will look bigger.

Don’t like lips that are too red during the day?

Simply swipe on a single coat and then blot this down with some tissue, as this will turn your bolder lipstick shade into a subtler lip stain.

Tailor Your Skin Care to Your Destination

Even though you may only be going away for a couple of days, you do need to think about how your destination is going to affect your skin.

For example, heading to somewhere hot and sunny means that you will need to pack hydrating, and sun protecting, products, whereas somewhere cold and windy would require an extra rich moisturizer to protect your skin from the environment.

Make the Most of Your Bronzer

Trying to decide in advance which makeup looks you want to go for over the weekend can be difficult, and you may end up packing a huge back full of cosmetics.

Instead of doing this, try to make use of multi-functional products, such as a bronzer. This one item is all you need to create a flawless evening look.

Wondering how?

To begin with, use a large brush to dust the bronzer along your nose, jawline, cheekbones and temple, giving your complexion a gorgeous glow. Then, sweep some of this along your eyelids, to act as an eyeshadow, before using your finger to dab some along your lower lash line. Finish the look with a brown eyeliner, as this will beautifully complement the shades of bronze around your face.

On-the-Go Face Masks

Applying a face mask while travelling on a plane, train, or even a car, has become all the rage recently, with many celebrities pushing this trend forward.

However, this is not just a silly fad…

Face masks are a great way to nourish your skin on a deeper level, and by using one while you are travelling, you will be able to ensure that your complexion is radiant and glowing upon arrival.

Can’t decide which type of mask to go for?

Here are a few options:

  • Sheet Masks Just about every brand has their own sheet mask now, because these masks deliver intense doses of active ingredients, while the actual sheet helps to ensure that they go nowhere else but into your skin. The downside to sheet masks is that they are quite noticeable, especially if you are in public.

woman applying sheet mask

  • Cream Masks These are incredibly nourishing, making them great for travelling. They come in a cream-like formula, and can be applied in a similar way to moisturizer, with the only difference being that they are left on for around 30 minutes.
  • Hydrogel Masks These are relatively new masks that are extremely popular in Korea. They are similar to sheet masks except that they are made from a thin gel, which gives them a greater ability to lock in moisture.

Don’t Stress

If you have extremely problematic skin, you may end up stressing quite a bit about how it is going to react to your weekend away.

This is something that you should really try to prevent, as the extra stress will not do your skin any good. Instead, the cortisol that will be running through your body will lead to blemishes, breakouts and more, which is not something that you want to deal with while travelling. 

Have a few stress-management tools on hand, such as a journal, some relaxing music, and maybe a game to take your mind off things.

If you do end up forgetting something important, chances are that you will be able to pick it up from a drug store at your destination. Even if you are heading to somewhere more remote, don’t forget that it is only going to be for a weekend, and you can always give your skin a bit of extra TLC once you return.  

Woman weight training

Try Weight Training For A Flatter Belly

Over the years, we have watched the shirts get higher and the pants get lower. Unless our dryers are just getting more powerful, there seems to be an American obsession with the abdominal area. If Gwen Stefani and Beyonce are any indication, midriff exposure may be the new black. And we all know that dedication to fashion can take hard work. If you want to show off your killer abs, you have to have the killer abs to show. Weight training is a great way to get your belly in shape so you can model the latest crop top/ hip hugger combo. Here’s how!

Spot Reduction Demystified
It may seen logical that exercising one part of your body is the best way to trim fat from the area; hence, performing crunches will strengthen the abdomen. The truth is, that while crunches may provide for a more toned appearance, they won’t burn fat around your stomach. If your goal is weight loss, you need to burn more calories than you ingest, and burning calories includes a strong aerobic component. Circuit training is a great way to combine aerobics with strength training.

Circuit Training
Circuit training includes a variety of exercises performed consecutively without rest in between. It helps to calories and raises the heart rate. Combined with a healthy diet, circuit training can help you burn fat all over your body, belly included.

Circuit Training Exercises
You can include almost any type of weight training exercise into your circuit, as long as you keep moving for a minimum of twenty minutes. Lifting free weights and using exercise machines are both acceptable circuit training activities, however, because you want to avoid taking breaks, you may not want to do multiple barbell exercises that require the addition or removal of weights or any machines that have to be set up.

Vary Muscle Groups
For best results, you should give your muscles 48 hours to heal between sessions. You might choose to do a full body workout every two days, or work your lower body on one day and your upper body the next.

Abdominal Exercises

  1. Barbell Crunches: Lie on an incline bench face up. Your knees should be on the bend of the bench and your feet should be below the foot pads. Use an overhand grip to hold a barbell with your arms extended upward and your hands a shoulder width apart. Exhale, curling your upper body in the direction of the ceiling keeping your arms vertical and your lower back on the bench. Inhale and lower yourself back to the starting position.
  2. Dumbbell Pullover: Lie down face up with your upper back across the bench and your feet pressed flat to the floor. Your body should be straight from your shoulders to your knees. Grip the dumbbell with both hands and extend arms past your head horizontally. Exhale while lifting the dumbbell over the upper chest, then inhale while you return the weight to its starting point.
  3. Low Pulley: Lie on the floor in front of a low pulley machine and attach the straps to both your ankles and the low pulley. Grab a support behind your head. Exhale and bring your knees to your chest using your hips and knees, and then your lower back. Inhale and return to starting position.

Are you doing circuit training to keep that six pack firm? Let us know how you do it, send us every sweaty detail.

Woman applying lipstick

The Beauty Of Poliosis

How we all wait for the day when our mother’s promises come true. When the features that we most wish we could be rid of become the envy of the ‘cool kids’ at school. When the thick heavy brows we spent our lifetimes trying to pluck into non- existence show up on the cover of Vogue, when the poliosis that made some a target for classroom bullies becomes an inspiration for the latest trend in hair.

What is Poliosis?
Poliosis is a condition resulting in the depigmentation of the hair. It can affect hair on the eyebrows, eyelashes, or head. It is caused by a decrease or lack of melanocytes and melanin in the hair bulbs of the affected follicles.
Poliosis may be mistaken for age- related hair graying. It can affect both men and women and is often associated with thyroid disease, chemotherapy, irradiation and malignancy.

Types of Poliosis

  • Genetic: Sometimes poliosis is inherited. White patches of hair can be present from the time of the baby’s birth and are caused by genetic issues, such as gene mutation.
  • Acquired: If poliosis is non-congenital, it may be due to a side effect of medical conditions that reveal themselves later in life.

Diagnosis
Although this disorder is not linked to any certain medical condition, it is important that it be properly diagnosed. Most healthcare professionals will do so by establishing the patient’s family history followed by a physical examination, nutritional and endocrinal surveys, a skin sample analysis, and a blood test.

Treatment
Although there is no “cure” for poliosis, there are a few preventive methods which include:

  1. Elimination of factors that lead to the formation of white patches
  2. Treating those factors.
  3. Discontinuation of the use of antibiotics
  4. Exposure to UV-B lamps
  5. The application of Ammi magus lotion or ointment
  6. Epidermal grafting on the depigmented skin under the white patch

The Beauty of Poliosis
One needs only to look at 23- year old Brianna Worthy to appreciate the beauty of poliosis. Brianna says, “I had several names, such as skunk, that kids would try to insult me with as a child. Sometimes it would bother me when I was younger, but I grew to end up really loving it in my hair and was confident that it was my own unique signature look.” And the biggest perk? Brianna’s daughter will carry on the legacy. Millianna was born with her own white streak making the mother-daughter duo one of the cutest teams ever seen.

Let us know your stand on poliosis! To dye or not to dye? Let us know!

Shea Butter

Boost Your Skin's Winter Radiance

If you want to see winter radiance, you need not look any further than Kate Beckinsale in the movie “Serendipity.” Kate Beckinsale emits radiance even covered in layers of clothing while ice skating effortlessly around Rockefeller Center in the arms of John Cusak, whereas, if the average person attempted this they would undoubtedly fall helplessly on their backsides and trip over their scarves in a flailing effort to get up. But, not to worry even if you do not have the skills of Kate Beckinsale, you can still manage to look radiant in the winter, just get some shea butter infused products!

What’s So Great About Shea Butter?
If you are looking for some superfood for your skin, look no further than shea butter. From the seeds of the fruit of the Shea tree in Africa to your favorite beauty store, shea butter comes without the chemicals and toxins typically found in skin care products and can protect you from the sun and improve your production of collagen, while nourishing your skin with its natural vitamins and fatty acids. A 2010 study also showed that shea butter also has anti inflammatory properties due to its cinnamic acid content.

Shea Butter In the Winter
Winter conditions can be especially rough on the skin’s moisture barrier. Shea butter creates sturdy skin cells that resist outside damage from the winter elements while soaking in nutrients to heal your skin form the inside. Shea butter is rich in the radical fighting antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A and E crucial for winter proofing dry, flaky skin.

Uses of Shea Butter

For Anti-Aging
Shea butter reduces wrinkles by helping tissue cells to regenerate and softening skin. In a clinical study done by the American Journal of Life Sciences, shea butter was proven to diminish signs of aging in 30 volunteers. In yet another study, it was found that applying shea butter twice daily prevented photo aging.

For Moisturizing Hair and Scalp
Shea butter conditions the scalp with its ability to seal in moisture, decreasing dandruff and providing protection from harsh climates. It can be used on both the hair and scalp. Just warm the shea butter and rub it through your scalp and hair and leave it on for 20-30 minutes, Rinse, and then shampoo and condition as usual. Your hair will thank you with extra volume.

Soothes Winter Dry Skin
Shea butter contains moisturizers that penetrate skin, relieving itchiness and preventing windburn. while healing dry, cracked hands, heels, elbows and knees. It also protects skin from the sun and is a healthier alternative to chemically enhanced sunscreens.

Reduces Scarring, Cellulite and Stretch Marks
Heard that laser treatment and Retin-A were the only ways to eliminate cellulite and stretch marks? Well, look out, there is a possible new contender for the job. Due to its healing and hydrating properties, shea butter may be able to lessen the appearance of scars, as well as stretch marks and cellulite. How’s that for power.

Prevents Diaper Rash
Shea butter may be the perfect treatment for your baby’s bottom. Because of its anti-inflammatory and anti fungal properties, shea butter can fight off the irritating yeast that leads to diaper rash while improving blood circulation and cell regeneration without chemicals.

So use shea butter this winter! Your skin will thank you, your hair will thank you, your scalp will thank you, and your baby will thank you. Tell us about all the thanks you got for using shea butter this holiday season. We love to hear from you, and for your comments, we thank you!

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