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. 

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 undergoing pulse therapy

Understanding The Anatomy Of A Lipoma

You’ve just been diagnosed with a lipoma. Your mind begins to spiral. How long have you got? What do you need to know? Who’s going to get Mom’s silverware? Relax. Lipomas are just one of those medical terms, like simple chronic halitosis; they only sound scary. In reality, lipomas are relatively harmless, and usually painless as well. However, at this stage in your life, the last thing you need is something unidentified growing on your body that can’t be gotten rid of with a flick of the hand or a damp tissue. So, what can you do about this unwanted guest? Let’s take a look at the wonderful anatomy of the lipoma.

Lipomas
Lipomas are lumps which slowly develop between the skin and the muscle layer underneath. Lipomas are easily identified because they move easily when pressure is exerted upon them. They tend to have a doughy feel, but normally are not tender and several may appear at a time. Although a lipoma may occur in individuals at any age, they mostly develop during the middle of a person’s life.

Symptoms
Lipomas are most often, but not limited to the neck, arm, back, and shoulder areas. They are located right under the skin, are soft and doughy to the touch, and are usually small. While lipomas are usually not painful, they may cause discomfort if they press on nerves or contain many blood vessels. Usually, the most troublesome symptom is the location of the lipoma or a significant increase in size which may make it noticeable to others.

Causes
Although the actual cause of a lipoma is not known, many experts believe genetics are responsible, since they tend to appear commonly in members of the same families. Occasionally, injuries to the body, such as a traumatic blow to the area have been shown to trigger growth as well.

resveralife Understanding The Anatomy Of Lipoma

Treatment
Lipomas typically do not require treatment, and there is no known treatment to stunt their growth or prevent them. However, surgical removal may be recommended if the lipoma becomes painful, inflamed or infected, if it drains smelly discharge, if it increases in size, if it interferes with movement, or becomes bothersome and difficult to look at. Lipoma removal is a relatively simple process done at a physician’s office with a local anesthetic. The surgeon will begin by making a small incision, followed by extraction of the tissue. Stitches are used to close the incision. Other choices for removal include:

Steroid Injections
Steroid injections usually will not completely eliminate the tumor but have been known to cause lipomas to shrink.

Liposuction
Liposuction employs a large syringe and needle to remove the lipoma, but it is difficult to remove the entire lump.

Herbal Remedies

Chickweed
Chickweed tincture can be obtained at herbal specialty stores. One teaspoon can be taken orally three times daily, or the chickweed can be obtained in ointment form, rubbed directly into the affected area once a day.

Bitters
Bitter herbs and foods increase the body’s ability to digest fat, which is what a lipoma essentially is. Bitter herbs include gentian, wormwood, goldenseal, and yarrow, while olives, unsweetened chocolate, citrus peel and dandelion greens are all examples of bitter foods.

Lemon Juice
Adding lemon juice to the water that you usually drink may be helpful in eliminating lipomas. Lemon Juice removes toxins from the body by stimulating the digestive system and cleansing the liver.

Cedar
Lipomas can be treated by applying a cedar ointment to the affected area three times per day. Mix five drops of cedar extract with two teaspoons of water and drink three times daily, then rub the ointment into your skin.

Did you treat your lipoma? Let us know how it went. And be sure to get all and any suspicious-looking lumps and growths examined by a professional.

Woman running outdoors

A Runner's Reference For Sun Protection

You’re serious about your running routine.You’re at it every day. And you want to see some serious results. You want to look in the mirror and see those biceps bulging. You want to see those glutes flexing and those quads defined. What don’t you want to see? Sun damage.

Running is a great way to stay in shape, but if the terrain is your domain, you have to deal with the elements, and the sun is a large element. All those miles in the sun increases the risk of malignant melanoma and associated abnormalities. If you’re skipping the sun screen, here are some things your dermatologist may want to tell you.

Don’t Skimp on Protection
According to Amy Mc Clung, MD, sweating in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer. Even if you are starting in the dark hours of the morning or in cloudy weather, there is no reason to throw caution to the wind. The darkest days can always give way to sun, and you can also burn on an overcast day. McClung recommends a generous application of sunscreen, a hat, and a pair of sunglasses, regardless of how the weather looks when you set out.

Apply Sunscreen with a Heavy Hand
Before you start patting yourself on the back for applying the sunscreen, make sure you have plenty on. Brooke Jackson, MD, and once dermatologist for the Chicago Marathon, says that if you are using a cream or lotion formula, aim to apply enough of the stuff to fill a shot glass. That translates to about an ounce and a half, which means you should go through an eight ounce bottle in about two days.

Woman applying sunscreen

Don’t Get A Base Tan
If you’re thinking gradual exposure will protect you from sun burn or damage, Jackson would like you to think again. She warns that tans and burns are not buffers, but rather the body’s built in way of telling you you’ve had enough sun. “As a dermatologist,” she says, “when I see tanned skin, I see damaged skin. It doesn’t at all look healthy to me.”

Don’t Run Shirtless
Or in a very small top, sports bra, or similarly sized contraction. While it is tempting to disrobe in the heat, doing so will increase the surface area of skin exposed to the sun. Look for the “UPF” label on clothes, which indicates that the item has sun protection built in. Even if there is no label, Jackson says that even regular tanks and shorts can provide an SPF of about 8.

Don’t Omit Your Head and Lips
Scalps with thinning hair are very vulnerable to sun damage and are known to be the first area on which cancerous growths first appear. As Jackson points out, the spot can be particularly dangerous, because remaining hairs can conceal the appearance of cancers, making them easy to overlook.

Apply sunscreen to the top of your head, and, if you have a full head of hair, remember that your part is also a target for sun damage, and should be protected appropriately. A hat will provide even better protection than lotion, and can also help to shade your forehead and spare you from the possibility of getting irritating sunscreen in your eyes.

Don’t forget about your lips, which are also subject to burn. Give them a coating of sunscreen or use a lip balm with SPF and wear your shades to protect your eyes from cataracts and cancer.

So take special care if you are running and let us know what you do to keep your skin from burning. We wish you good luck and great skin.

Woman smiling

Jojoba Oil Is Biocompatible To The Skin

Some things were meant for each other. Peanut butter and jelly, Oreos and milk, Sunny and Cher, hamburgers and French fries, and jojoba oil and your skin. The last one take you by surprise? Jojoba oil and skin have been making beautiful music together since time immemorial. Native to Mexico, the jojoba plant has been used for centuries by Native Americans to counteract the harsh effects of the desert sun. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, non-comedogenic, emollient, and anti- bacterial, but perhaps most outstandingly, it has the ability to work harmony with living cells.

The Secret of Jojoba Oil
Although its name suggests otherwise, jojoba oil is not an oil at all; rather it is a waxy substance that is very similar to the skin’s natural oil, or sebum. The two are so similar in fact, scientists believe jojoba oil can actually trick the skin into “thinking” it is producing adequate amounts of oil which is how it helps to balance oil production. According to Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center, “Jojoba oil is rich in natural fats that mimic those in the outer layer of skin. This means it can help skin retain moisture and heal itself.”

Uses
When topically applied, jojoba oil can be an effective treatment for psoriasis, acne, chapped skin, and sunburn. It is frequently found in cleansing products, shampoos, and face and body lotions and can also be used as a lip balm or to condition skin prior to shaving. Jojoba oil is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, antioxidants, and sterols, which are compounds that can reduce inflammation and boost skin metabolism. It may be the answer to your dry skin woes.

Jojoba oil

Scars and Stretch Marks
Jojoba oil can help to rid skin of unsightly scars, scabs, and stretch marks when applied in problem areas. It may also help to heal wounds.

Anti-Aging Serum
The antioxidants in jojoba oil can reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Apply to eyes, mouth and neck and watch it work its magic.

Makeup Remover
Wipe away even the toughest waterproof mascara and liquid liners when you use the vitamin E rich oil to remove makeup.

Body Lotion
After bathing or showering massage a few drops of jojoba oil into damp skin. Follow with a natural cream, like cocoa or shea butter to lock in the hydrating benefits. You’ll find a significant reduction in chapped skin, irritation, and dryness.

Facial Cleanser
Apply a few drops of the oils onto dry skin and rinse away with water to clear impurities and debris from the skin’s surface.

Anti-Acne Gel
The microbial properties in jojoba oil can clear skin and the iodine in the oil can fight growth of acne causing bacteria.

How do you use jojoba oil to keep your skin in great shape? Keep us informed! We love to know!

Girl in hat at the beach

Sun Protection: Shade Vs. Sunblock

Sunblock talks a pretty good game. You may have heard of SPFs as high as 75, melt- in sunscreens, continuous sun comfort sprays and even melanin-inducing sunblocks and screens. But how can you be sure that all your sunscreen is really working? Did you apply enough? Did you miss any spots? It’s enough to make you think you’re better off just using your own methods of avoiding sun exposure, like just staying in the shade. Of course, the shade is a good option, it definitely cuts down on direct sunlight, but is it a better alternative than sunblock? Here are some things you should know before you give up on sun lotions altogether.

Shade
According to the National Skin Cancer foundation, the guideline is, if you can see the sunlight, seek the shade; but know that not all shade is created equally. You can spend hours in the shade and still receive quite a good amount of sun exposure. Indirect UV light is radiation that has been scattered in the atmosphere and bounced back by UV reflective surfaces, like sand and concrete. As a result, most of the UV light we get sitting under an umbrella or tree is indirect. Only when we are in deep shade, meaning we are unable to see the sky, can we be assured of complete protection.

Hats
Even if you wear a hat, you may only be getting minimal sun protection, especially on your neck, nose, and ears. Hats with all around broad brims angled downward provide the most comprehensive sun protection. Research shows that wearing a broad brimmed hat will provide sunblock protection comparable to a sunblock with and SPF of 5 for the nose, ears and neck, while baseball caps may offer the same for the nose, but little for the other parts of the face, like the cheeks and chin.

Umbrella

Umbrellas
Unless your umbrella is very large, their UV protection is relatively low. Although the SPF of an umbrella can range for 3-106, the amount of UV light under the umbrella can be as high as 84% of that in direct sun. In other words, because so much UV light is reflected under the umbrella from the water, sand, and sky, an umbrella on the beach offers very little protection against the sun.

Trees
If you are looking to a tree to defend you from the sun, look for ones with large, rather than sparse spreads of foliage, and, if possible, choose a tree located near other trees or buildings and note factors that may decrease the amount of protection, such as reflective surfaces. Also note that the same tree will give less protection in the early and late parts of the day, when the diffuse UV rates are higher, than it will at midday, when the sun is directly overhead. Similarly, trees offer better protection on a sunny day than on a cloudy one, when indirect sunlight is greater.

Other Elements
Because you are never guaranteed full UV protection from shade alone, it is important to employ a comprehensive program for sun protection, including wearing clothing made of dark or bright colored tightly woven threads, hats, and sunglasses, and regularly using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more. Be aware of sunscreens claiming higher than an SPF over 30. According to dermatologist James Spencer, an SPF 15 product will block approximately 94% of UV rays, while an SPF 30 blocks about 97%: and SPF 45 blocks about 98% and, “after that, it just gets silly.”

What do you think? Do you swear by your parasols or can you trust your sunblock? Let us know!

Woman with pruritis

Identifying The Root Causes of Pruritis

Generalized itching, also known as pruritus, can be maddening, perplexing, and even downright depressing. If you are suffering from annoying itchiness, here is some information on pruritus and its causes.

What is Pruritis?
Pruritus can be defined as profuse itchiness of the skin and is a relatively common disorder affecting 20-25% of the population at one time in their lives. The condition can be, but is usually not, accompanied by a rash and the itching can range from a minor itch to a very severe itch, capable of disrupting quality of life. “Acute pruritis” is the term used for pruritus lasting six weeks or less; while “chronic pruritus” is used to refer to cases which exceed a six-week duration. For the majority of cases, there is no identifiable cause. If the condition is chronic and no cause is found, the condition is termed “Idiopathic Chronic Pruritis.”

What are the Causes?
Itching can be caused by many things including allergic manifestation, a side effect of medication, an infection, a skin disorder, or a psychological disorder. It can also be caused by a systemic disease such as, a kidney problem, thyroid disease, a neurologic disease, a blood disorder, liver disease, or connective tissue disorder and malignancy; it can also be caused by pregnancy.

How Is Pruritis Diagnosed?
A board certified allergist should be able to ask the correct questions to discover the cause of pruritis. A detailed family history should be taken from the patient and a thorough physical examination should follow. The next steps may include laboratory tests such as urinalysis, X-rays, skin biopsies , patch tests, and stool samples.

How Is Pruritis Treated?
If a systemic disease is determined to be the root cause, the itching usually subsides after the disease is treated. If there is no identifiable cause, there are a number of treatment alternatives. Medications can be given to lessen or relieve itching. Oral medications are primarily used, but topical creams can also be successful. Medications are usually administered for one to two weeks, but more severe cases may require years of treatment. UV light therapy has also been used, although degrees of success vary.

If you suffer from generalized itching, it is recommend that you seek professional help in finding the cause. Even if no cause is found, you may be given something to reduce or completely relieve your itching. If you have struggled with pruritis, feel free to contact us and share your experience.

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!

Woman meditating on grass

Meditate For Clear Skin

If you put on the T.V. these days, it is hard not to see Ellen Degeneres. If you miss her daytime talk show, you can always catch her doing Oil Of Olay commercials, showing off her age-defying skin, or in her Amex commercial, meditating over a pair of socks that she was charged for twice. From these two examples, it becomes clear that Ellen DeGeneres is known for two things, good skin and meditation. Did you ever think these two things might be related?

Meditation, Stress and Your Skin
You’ve heard it a million times, stress is not doing you, or your skin any favors, but how do you avoid stress? While that may be impossible, there are ways to lessen it. Meditation anyone?

Dr. Jeannette Graf, MD and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center says, “Meditation is great for everything. There’s nothing like it. For starters, it settles you so you’re in a state of deep relaxation and you’re breathing. Meditation helps every single cell in the body, and it helps your skin.” Graf explains that deep breathing adds oxygen to skin which is, “the key to help boost the actions of the cells to act normally and with great health.” She goes on to sing the praises of meditation, mentioning its positive effects on blood pressure, body, and mind.

Meditation Lessens Negativity
The popularity of meditation has grown exponentially in the past 30 years. Research from the University of Sheffield found that relaxation sessions, meditation and cognitive behavior therapy can benefit people suffering from eczema. psoriasis, acne, and vitiglio. In one such study, individuals suffering from psoriasis were asked to listen to meditation tapes while receiving UV light treatments. They were found to have healed four times faster than non-meditators. It was determined that this was caused by meditation’s ability to reduce the stress that initially caused psoriasis and helped to trigger the body’s ability to repair itself. Meditation can reduce wrinkles and slow the aging process, brightening you skin’s complexion. It will also help you feel younger by relieving tension related ulcers, headaches, muscle aches, and joint problems.

How Do You Start?
Good skin? You’re in! Meditating can be done anywhere at anytime. Just focus your mind and center your breathing. Try to clear your mind and concentrate on each breath as you inhale and exhale, excluding other thoughts. You don’t even need a quiet room, candle, or a lot of time. Graf enthuses, ‘First of all, a yoga class is a moving meditation, so find a yoga class nearby and pop in. Yoga is amazing for your skin. If you’d rather practice privately, you can buy guided meditation on iTunes and listen anywhere.

Are you a good skin guru? If you are, we want to know your secrets. Tell us what meditation has done for your skin. We love to hear from you.

Woman looking in mirror

Is There An Upside To Acne?

It is arguable that yearbooks may, in actuality, be a compilation of photos documenting case studies on acne. After all, how many teens can sincerely claim to have been lucky enough to have taken a yearbook photo on a breakout-free day or, for that matter, how many teens can actually claim to have attended high school on a breakout free day? Unfortunately, it seems that the graduation, intended to be a celebration of a coming of age, is more often a woeful testimonial to a less than perfect adolescence. Do any high schools offer photoshop on student’s yearbook photos? Please feel free to weigh in.

Anyway, if you are one of the unfortunate students whose yearbook was marred with acne, take heart. When reunion time comes around, you will exact revenge! New British research reveals that those afflicted with acne may have an edge when it comes to aging.

What’s Behind It?
Telomeres are caps on the end of chromosomes which protect DNA from damages. As we age, the telomeres gradually become shorter and eventually die. As a result, people with long table-mores remain biologically younger than their peers of the same age. A King’s College study of adolescent twins, one-quarter of whom were acne sufferers, found that the telomeres of the acne afflicted were notably longer. Yet another study examining skin samples showed that the gene cluster responsible for cell death was showed less activity in the acne prone.

New Findings
If these revelations do not seem completely new to you, it is not surprising. Dermatologists have noted correlations between slow aging and pimples for quite a while, however, the deficit of wrinkles was always thought to be related to the excess production of oil. The connection to longer telomeres is a newer revelation. Says lead researcher Dr. Simone Ribero, “Our findings suggest that the cause could be linked to the length of the mores which appears to be different in acne sufferers and means their cells may be protected against aging.” Adds co- author Dr. Veronique Bataille, Longer telomeres are likely to be the one factor explaining the protection against premature aging in individuals who previously suffered from acne.”

Moles
Other research from King’s College, reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology,shows that people with a lot of moles may also fare better in their later years. Maybe that explains the eternal youth of Cindy Crawford. Longer telomeres are also associated with stronger bones and less frailty in old age. In parting, all of you who are doomed to a damning yearbook pic, listen to the wise words of Dr. Veronique Bataille who assures that you are going to look, “fantastic in their 40’s and 50’s.” and, “It’s nice to know there’s a positive aspect to having acne.” Knock ’em dead at the reunion!

We’d love to hear from you on this. Do you have a reunion revenge story or know anything about the possibility of photoshopping a yearbook photo? Curious minds want to know.

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