examination of scalp using UV technology

8 Pre-Treatments to Save Your Scalp

Scalp problems are extremely common, and come in so many different forms. No matter what scalp issues you may currently be battling, here are 8 pretreatments that are likely to be able to help.

1. Pretreatment for Scalp Acne

While scalp acne may not actually be noticeable unless you have short hair, it is still unpleasant to deal with, as it can be painful, annoying, and lead to hair loss.

Scalp acne can be caused by a number of different things:

  • Junk food
  • Hormones
  • An oily scalp
  • Hair products
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Constipation
  • Medications

The acne that forms on your scalp is exactly the same as acne that would form on your face, or other parts of your body, and can significantly vary in severity.

To treat scalp acne, use a medicated shampoo, as recommended in the section above for oily scalps.

Since your scalp acne is the same as any other type of acne, you can also use over-the-counter acne treatments to clear breakouts, although you are best off avoiding any products that contain benzoyl peroxide, as these can cause discoloration in your hair. 

Even if your acne is not being caused by the hair products you use, it would still be worth making sure that everything you apply to your hair is lightweight and free of petroleum. You should also make sure to wash any hair products out of your hair at the end of each day, as leaving these in will only lead to more breakouts.

2. Pretreatments for a Dry and Itchy Scalp

People usually think that a dry and itchy scalp is the same thing as dandruff, but this is not actually true

While both conditions can cause itching and flakiness, dandruff usually requires the use of a medicated shampoo to be treated, while dry scalp can be treated by rehydrating the scalp. 

So, what actually causes dry scalp?

woman scratching her dry and itchy scalp

This occurs when your skin is not receiving enough moisture, which can happen for a few different reasons:

  • Cold and dry air
  • Aging
  • Contact dermatitis

If you have a dry scalp, you will likely also notice other dry and itchy areas around your body.

If left untreated, dry scalp can lead to hair loss, so it is important that you take the steps necessary to rehydrate your scalp.

A scalp massage is a great way to begin, as this helps to lift away dirt and redistribute your natural oils around your scalp. Hair masks are also effective, as these remain on the head for quite some time, allowing the moisture to really penetrate into the scalp. Try using one that contains shea butter, as this will bring so much goodness to your scalp. 

In terms of shampoo, moisturizing shampoos are key, while medicated shampoos can also help.

Exfoliating your scalp could also help.

Wondering how to do this?

Dedicated products containing fruit enzymes or salicylic acid are the gentlest, as well as extremely effective. There are also many scalp scrubs out there, but be careful that these do not end up exacerbating your dryness.

3. Pretreatments for Allergic Contact Dermatitis

As mentioned above, contact dermatitis can lead to a dry and itchy scalp, and can also cause inflammation and redness.

What exactly is allergic contact dermatitis?

This is caused when certain chemicals irritate the skin. One common irritant is paraphenylenediamine, also known as PPD, which is often used in permanent hair dyes. Fragrances in shampoos and conditioners are another common cause.

While steroid gels and creams can help to decrease the inflammation and reduce the symptoms, the problems will never really go away until you identify the exact cause, and then eliminate it from your routine.

4. Pretreatments for Scalp Ringworm

While it may sound frightening, scalp ringworm is not actually a worm, and instead refers to a fungal infection, the same as athlete’s foot.

Wondering what this actually looks like?

It usually appears as scaly spots and hairless patches, often with black dots in them. These black dots are actually hairs that have broken off at scalp level.

Ringworm is surprisingly common…

But many people mistake it for bad dandruff, and therefore opt for the wrong treatments.

So, what are the right treatment options?

An anti-fungal shampoo is key, and should be taken alongside an oral antibiotic. If you share a home with other people, they should also start using the shampoo, as ringworm is easily contagious, and can also reinfect a person. You should also have any pets checked out, as ringworm can pass from humans to other animals, and vice versa.

But what actually causes ringworm in the first place?

It is spread through contact with infected people, animals and soil, and can be caught through sharing everything from pillowcases and hairbrushes to clothing.

5. Pretreatments for an Oily Scalp/Seborrhea

An oily scalp, also known as seborrhea, will soon leave you with greasy hair, while also contributing to outbreaks of dandruff, neither of which anyone wants to deal with. No matter how much you seem to wash your hair, you will never be able to really clear away this oil.

Do you know what actually causes an oily scalp?

woman with oily scalp

Well, your scalp contains sebaceous glands that produce oil, and these provide your scalp with an important layer of protection that helps to keep it hydrated.

However, for a number of different reasons, sebaceous glands can sometimes produce excess oil, resulting in an oily scalp.

This tends to affect men more than women…

Why?

Because male scalps naturally generate up to 50% more oil than female scalps.

So, what can you do about it?

The first step is a medicated shampoo, Look for one containing either salicylic acid, tar or selenium, because these ingredients will help to clear away excess oil while rebalancing your scalp’s natural oil production.

It can sometimes be helpful washing your hair twice, because all of the excess oil present in the first wash can prevent the medicated shampoo from properly lathering up, which you need in order to cleanse your scalp.

In addition to a medicated shampoo, you could also look into traditional remedies, such as apple cider vinegar. This can be used as a hair rinse to reduce oiliness. Tea tree oil is another effective one, and can be mixed into your regular shampoo.

6. Pretreatments for Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that results in dry, itchy and flaky skin. This is frustrating no matter where on your body it appears, but, when it is on your scalp, it can seem even harder to beat.

Psoriasis actually affects around 2% of the population, with around half of those people experiencing it on their scalp.

These are a few of the symptoms:

  • Red, scaly patches, especially along the hairline
  • Itchy and painful areas
  • Flaky skin

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can actually cure scalp psoriasis, but there are a few pretreatments that can help to prevent flare-ups from occurring.

To begin with, you should be using a shampoo that has been designed for scalp psoriasis. These will contain ingredients that will soothe the skin, while loosening any scaly patches so that they can be washed away.

There are two main types of psoriasis shampoos out there:

  • Tar Shampoos – the active ingredient in a tar shampoo is, as you may have guessed, coal tar, which is a by-product of coal. This helps to reduce inflammation and itching, while restoring the skin’s appearance. However, keep in mind that many tar shampoos have quite a distinctive smell to them
  • Medicated Shampoos – these can contain a variety of ingredients, from topical steroids to salicylic acid to algae 

Don’t forget…

A psoriasis shampoo is designed to treat your scalp, not wash your hair, so you need to ensure that you really massage it into your scalp well. Leave it in for up to ten minutes before washing it out.  

Another pretreatment for scalp psoriasis is…

The use of organic oils topically. Whether this may be argan, coconut or tea tree, these oils can really help to calm the skin and minimize itchiness. The effects of this tend to be boosted when paired with omega-3 fatty acid supplements, as this helps to treat the skin from within as well as externally.

7. Pretreatments for Dandruff /Seborrheic Dermatitis

Otherwise known as seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff affects up to 50% of the population at some point in their lives. This usually occurs between adolescence and the age of 50. 

Why?

Because this is when the sebaceous glands, which produce oil, are at their most active.

dandruff under a magnifying glass

So what actually causes dandruff?

Usually, dead skin cells are naturally shed by the body, but when this does not happen, they end up building up on the scalp. It does not take long for the scalp to become irritated by this, leading to inflammation and peeling. An overly oily or dry scalp can also cause dandruff, as can certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Before even thinking about pretreatments, you need to first go through all of the products that you currently use on your hair. Sensitivity to certain ingredients can irritate the scalp, leading to dandruff, so you need to stop using these immediately.

Here are a few of the things that you should be looking out for:

  • Hair dyes, especially those that contain paraphenylenediamine
  • Shampoos that contain harsh chemicals, such as sulfates
  • The use of too many styling products

Unfortunately, dandruff is a condition, not a disease, meaning that it cannot be cured. However, there are pretreatments that can help you to manage it.

Use an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains some of the following ingredients:

  • Selenium – reduces fungus and slows down the rate at which skin cells die off
  • Coal tar – slows the growth and shedding of skin cells
  • Zinc pyrithione – an antifungal drug, but gentle enough to be used everyday
  • Salicylic acid – removes scaliness from the scalp before it has the chance to flake off
  • Ketoconazole – kills the fungus that causes dandruff. Can be purchased over-the-counter, as well as in prescription-strength

Make sure that you are leaving your shampoo on for at least five minutes, so that the ingredients have enough time to properly penetrate the scalp.

You should also shampoo your hair more frequently, massaging your scalp for five minutes before stepping into the shower. This will help to loosen the skin, allowing it to be washed away.

An alternative remedy for treating dandruff is tea tree oil, which has natural antifungal properties. You need a shampoo that contains around a 5% concentration of tea tree oil, but do make sure that you are not allergic to the ingredient before you use it.

When it comes to treating dandruff internally, a diet that contains plenty of antioxidants, which are mostly found in fresh fruits and vegetables, is key.

If none of this seems to be working for you…

You may need a prescription-strength steroid lotion, or even oral medications, both of which only a doctor can prescribe to you.

8. Pretreatments for Scalp Cysts

Cysts occur on organs, and since the skin is your body’s largest organ, it only makes sense that you will experience cysts on your skin at some point in life.

They are extremely common, easy to identify, and, in most cases, are absolutely no cause for concern.

What do they look like?

They are usually about the size of a marble or a grape, and are small sacs of skin that are filled with fluid. Most people first feel them when they run a brush or comb over the cyst.

Since cysts are no cause for concern, they can be left where they are. However, if they are bothering you, or are at risk of infection, surgical removal may be necessary.

Nevertheless, a new growth on your skin is something that should still be looked at by your doctor. Even though chances are low, some scalp cysts can turn out to be cancerous, so it is best to get a professional opinion.

6 different women as they age

How Your Skin Changes Through the Decades

It is common knowledge that your skin changes as you age, but do you know why this is?

From your 20s to your 70s, this guide will take you through the many changes that your skin will experience as you progress through life, while explaining exactly how you need to care for it.

In Your 20s

young woman smiling

As you leave your teens and move on into your 20s, your face will start to take on more of a mature, womanly look.

Why?

Because this is when you begin to lose your “baby fat”, and while this happens quite gradually, you will start to notice your face taking on more of a defined shape as you continue through your 20s. However, this loss of fat does also mean that your skin will start to be more susceptible to wrinkles and fine lines, and you may even notice a couple of fine lines in certain areas of your face, especially as you progress through your 20s.

If you used to suffer from teenage acne, you may notice this start to decline, with some people experiencing dry skin as they reach their 20s.

Sound like a blessing?

It may be for some, but this does mean that you need to quickly become acquainted with how to care for dry skin, as this is completely different than caring for teenage, acne-prone skin.

Your 20s is also when your body’s natural antioxidant production begins to decline, meaning that you need to begin supplementing these topically, as well as ensuring that you are consuming plenty through your diet.

Although you still have plenty of growing up to do when you are in your 20s, and will make many mistakes, which you will learn from, along the way, you need to keep your lifestyle choices in check if you want to prolong the youthfulness of your skin.

Did you know that heavy smoking, as well as worshipping the sun, can add around 20 years to the natural age of your skin?

This means that you need to be limiting everything from sun exposure to smoking to stress to excessive alcohol intake, all while maintaining a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime.

When it comes to anti-aging skin care routines, many people decide to adopt one in their mid to late 20s, as this is the ideal time to begin including anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol, into your skin care routine. You do not need to use this every day, and just once or twice a week should be sufficient.

In Your 30s

woman smiling outdoors

Your 30s are likely to be when you really begin to notice a few differences in your skin…

To begin with, this is when your production of collagen and elastin begin to decline.

Wondering why this is important?

Because collagen and elastin are the main structural proteins that give your skin its firmness, smoothness and elasticity, meaning that all of this will begin to decline from your 30s onwards.

If you have not yet started to use a retinol product, then now is the time to do so. Retinol and retinoids are forms of vitamin A, and have been proven to be the most effective anti-aging ingredient out there. In addition to doing several other wondrous things for your skin, retinol is able to increase your natural production of collagen and elastin.

This is also the time in life when sun damage has really started to accumulate, meaning that you may notice some dark sun spots appearing on your face, as well as your body.

dark spots on woman's cheeks

Dark spots, caused by sun overexposure, begin to show up in your 30s.

What can you do about this?

Well, to begin with, you need to increase the frequency at which you apply sunscreen, because sun exposure is only going to make these dark spots even worse, especially over time.

Did you know that up to 90% of premature facial aging is actually caused by the sun? This means that protecting your face from UV rays could really have a huge impact when it comes to the visible signs of aging that you experience. Studies have shown that those who use sunscreen are 24% less likely to show increased signs of aging, compared to those who do not wear sunscreen. 

Back to sun spots, here are a few other steps that you can take to clear them:

  • Use skin care products that contain plenty of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and green tea, both of which have been proven to help heal sun damaged skin 
  • Use a chemical or enzymatic exfoliant to help slough off the dead skin cells that contain the extra pigment
  • Use a brightening product, such as one containing hydroquinone or kojic acid, the latter of which is a natural brightening ingredient

The 30s are often a decade when people try to make healthier changes in their life, and this could really benefit your skin in later stages. Try to stick to a healthy diet, while making other positive lifestyle choices.

In Your 40s

woman smiling on sofa

If you have not made the best lifestyle choices throughout your life, then your 40s is when this will really begin to be reflected in your skin. For those who smoke, you will start to notice the fine lines around your mouth deepening quite a bit, whereas those who have experienced quite a bit of stress will notice visible furrows in their forehead.

There is still time to change this, whether this means actually quitting smoking or learning a few stress management skills.

One of the reasons why your skin is no longer able to really hold up to all of this is because your cell turnover rate will really start to slow down in your 40s.

Wondering what cell turnover is?

This is the process at which your body naturally sheds its dead skin cells, replacing them with fresh, new ones. Since your body will now not be able to shed these dead skin cells at the rate it used to, these will end up settling on the surface of your skin, contributing to a dull, lacklustre complexion.

Fortunately, stimulating your natural cell turnover process to speed back up is not too difficult…

Want to know the secret?

Exfoliation! Not only does this clear away the dead skin cells sitting on your skin, but it also helps to speed up the rate at which new skin cells travel up to the top layer of your skin.

exfoliation

Something else that will help is the use of a night cream. While your body is asleep, your cells work to heal and regenerate, and this is the time when many new skin cells are created. A quality night cream will contain the necessary ingredients to boost this process.

Retinol is another ingredient that can help with cell turnover, and if you have not already started using a retinol product, now is the time to do so. Take it slow to begin with, and then gradually build this up so that you are using it two to three times a week. 

In your 40s, you will also begin to go through some hormonal changes, and, in terms of your skin, this will cause dryness, and will also make your skin thinner. However, for some women, this can bring about acne flare-ups, which may require the use of benzoyl peroxide treatments to clear.

In Your 50s

woman taking a selfie

Due to a dramatic decrease in estrogen levels, your 50s is when you are likely to go through menopause, and this will have quite the impact on your skin.

Here are a few of the changes that you can expect to experience:

  • Oily skin and adult acne, due to the decreased levels of estrogen no longer able to mask the testosterone in the body
  • Facial hair, caused by the same as above
  • Sagging skin, because one of the roles that estrogen played was to evenly distribute fat cells around the body. Without estrogen, the face, neck, hands and arms end up lacking in supportive fat, resulting in sagging skin with a loss of mobility
  • Thinner skin, as the lack of estrogen means that blood flow slows down, resulting in less nutrients and oxygen delivered to the epidermis, which is the outer layer of your skin
  • More prone to sun damage, due to a decrease in the amount of protective melanin that your skin produces 

Since your skin will be thinner, using rich and thick moisturizers is absolutely essential. Moisturizers are designed to form a thin film over the surface of the skin, meaning that they will help to make up for your thinning epidermis.

You should also pay attention to the ingredients in the other skin care products that you use, especially items such as your cleanser. Make sure that these do not contain any drying ingredients, as these will only end up thinning out your skin even more. You need to be using products that hydrate the skin, as this will help to give it a plumper and brighter appearance.

You will hopefully already be using a retinol product, and, if you are only using this three or four times a week, it is time to increase this to five or six times a week.

In Your 60s

woman smiling in her home

Your skin in your 60s will really reflect the amount of care that you have given it in its earlier years.

For those who have not been treating their sun spots, these will significantly worsen now, and new ones will appear extremely quickly. As always, exfoliation can really help with this, so make sure you keep this up.

Your skin will be lacking in quite a bit of structure by now, due to the decline in collagen and elastin, but there is one way that you can add some definition back to your face.

The secret here is…

Face yoga! While this may sound slightly wacky, many have experienced natural face lifts thanks to face yoga. There are a number of exercises out there to try, as well as video tutorials for those who would like some step-by-step guidance. 

You could also try using skin care products that contain stem cells and growth factors, as this will help your body in producing new skin cells, since your natural skin cell production rate will have declined quite a bit.

While it may sound all doom and gloom, there is a positive side to entering your 60s when it comes to your skin…

Your hormones will have been fluctuating quite a bit over the past 20 years or so, but they will now have finally calmed down. This means that your skin will become much more stable, making it easier to identify and deal with any issues. However, this could also mean that you end up becoming sensitive to skin care products that you have been fine with all your life, so do keep this in mind if you experience any skin irritation.  

In Your 70s

woman smiling on sofa

If you haven’t already, you will likely begin to notice some of your wrinkles developing into even deeper folds as you progress through your 70s. This is due to a further loss of elasticity and plumpness in your skin, since no more estrogen is being produced.

It is important to continue on with an anti-aging skin care routine, as this will contain ingredients to help make these folds less severe.

Keep your skin hydrated as much as possible. If you seem to be applying layer after layer of moisturizer to no avail, try giving your face a spritz with some rose water first, and then applying the moisturizer to your damp skin. This will mean that the extra moisture gets trapped into your skin, helping to plump it up.

Reading about all of these skin care changes can be quite frightening, but, while a part of your aging process is down to genetics, the majority of it is actually related to your lifestyle. From your diet to your commitment to sun protection, by taking care of your skin from an early age, you will be able to maintain a healthy, youthful complexion for far longer.

woman eating yogurt

How Your Diet Affects Your Skin

The food that you eat has a direct impact on the health and appearance of your skin, meaning that a change in diet may be all you need to improve your complexion. From the foods that you should avoid to the way in which different types of diets will affect your skin, this guide will help you to nourish your skin with the foods that you eat.

Soda, Candy and Baked Treats

From sugar-topped cupcakes to tall glasses of fizzy soda, these sweet treats have quickly become a large part of the average person’s diet.

You probably already know that these are no good for your health, but do you know how they affect your skin?

These foods contain simple carbohydrates, such as refined sugars, and these raise insulin levels, which then creates inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation then begins to break down your collagen and elastin, which are the two proteins that give your skin its strength and suppleness. 

The sugar itself also attaches to important proteins within the body, resulting in everything from sagging skin to a dull complexion.

If all of that wasn’t bad enough, there’s more…

Sugar intake has been linked to acne breakouts, because the spike in insulin levels that they create also trigger an increase in oil production. There are several studies out there that show that those who consume a diet low in simple carbohydrates experience significantly less breakouts.

woman refusing cake from her friend

Salty Foods

Just like sugar, salt is another ingredient that has found its way into everyday meals and snacks, and while it may be great for intensifying the taste of certain foods, too much salt is really bad for your skin.

Wondering why?

Salt causes your skin to hold on to water, and not in a good way, meaning that you end up puffy and bloated rather than hydrated.

Even if you do not usually sprinkle extra salt over your meals, you should still check the ingredient lists of all of the foods that you buy, as you will likely be surprised at the amount of salt they contain.

Having a serious salt craving?

Try snacking on some raw nuts instead, as these will not only help to satisfy your cravings, but will also nourish your skin.

Dairy

Dairy products alter the way in which your body regulates testosterone and estrogen, two hormones that play a huge role in your complexion.

Dairy can also increase the levels of androgen within the blood, which then leads to excess oil production, resulting in breakouts.

However, this does not mean that you have to completely avoid dairy…

Moderation is key in this case, especially since dairy products are a great source of other nutrients. Try to stick to just one or two servings of dairy a day, and opt for raw dairy products, rather than processed, whenever possible.  

Is Caffeine Good or Bad?

There are two opposing schools of thought when it comes to whether or not caffeine is good for you, and there are studies to back both of these up.

On one hand, some believe that caffeine can cause dehydration, while also triggering the release of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that is definitely not good for your skin, as it can lead to breakouts, and a breakdown in collagen. 

However, there are also multiple studies out there to back up the many health benefits that caffeine can have. These include:

  • The possibility of reducing chronic age-related inflammation
  • Could potentially prevent skin cancer
  • Protects against Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Boosts the memory
  • Increases stamina during exercise

However, the key here is to remember that everything should be in moderation. Excessive caffeine consumption will most likely lead to negative effects for both your overall health as well as your skin.

Skin-Boosting Foods

While there are some foods out there that can pretty much immediately cause a negative reaction in your skin, there are others that will quickly help to boost its health.

Antioxidants are really important when it comes to your skin, especially as you age. These are compounds that are able to neutralize free radicals within the body, which would have otherwise caused a breakdown in collagen and elastin, resulting in accelerated skin aging. Studies have shown that those who have higher levels of antioxidants in their skin enjoy a much smoother skin texture. 

antioxidants working against free radicals

So, where do antioxidants come from?

Colorful fruits and vegetables are a huge source of many different antioxidants. Generally, the darker and deeper the color of the fruit, the more antioxidants it will contain.

However, if you want to get more specific, these are some of the most beneficial antioxidant-filled foods out there, along with their rough antioxidant count per serving:

  • Wild Blueberries – 13,427 antioxidants, or Farmed Blueberries – 9019 antioxidants
  • Goji Berries – 25,000 antioxidants
  • Black plums – 4873 antioxidants, or Prunes – 7291 antioxidants
  • Red grapes – 2016 antioxidants, or Raisins – 2490 antioxidants
  • Pecans – 17,000 antioxidants
  • Artichokes – 9400 antioxidants
  • Kidney Beans – 8400 antioxidants

In addition to consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, you should also be including a variety of nuts and seeds in your diet.

Why?

Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which do everything from regulating oil production to hydrating the skin to preventing wrinkles.

Fatty fish is another great source of these fatty acids, and these include varieties such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Fish is also high in protein, and since the building blocks of your skin are made from proteins, quality protein sources are important to maintain skin health. 

However, try to limit your intake of fish to two to three meals a week, as too much fish can also have negative health effects, due to the mercury and pollutants found in many of them.

Of course, there is still one extremely important part of your diet that has not yet been mentioned…

This is your fluid intake, because your skin cells, as well as the rest of your cells in your body, depend on water in order to survive and thrive.

Wondering how much water you should be drinking?

The general advice is eight glasses a day, but this could be more or less depending on everything from the climate you live in to the amount of exercise you do to your age and general health.

Need something a bit more flavorful than water?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Tea – black tea, as well as herbal teas, are just as hydrating as plain water
  • Fruit-infused water – try adding slices of fruit, such as citrus fruits and berries, to your water
  • Homemade fruit and vegetables juices – these still do need to be limited, as they can be high in sugar
  • Coconut water

fruit infused water

While some store-bought fruit juices can be good, the majority of these contain so much sugar. If you do tend to drink quite a lot of these, try diluting them with water, as this will help the juice to better hydrate your body.

How Your Skin Will React to Different Types of Diets

If you are already following a specific type of diet, or are thinking of doing so, it is important to understand how they can affect your skin:

  • A Vegetarian/Vegan Diet – Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming increasingly common, largely due to the health benefits that they bring. By excluding animal products from the diet, most vegetarians and vegans tend to eat more fresh produce and whole grains, resulting in a higher intake of antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.

    However, the fat intake of your diet should still be monitored, as your skin needs healthy fats to thrive, so make sure you are including plenty of oils and seeds in your diet.
  • High Protein/Low Carb – Many carbs out there, such as white bread and pasta, really damage the skin, so cutting these out of your diet is always a good plan, especially when they are replaced with whole grains and healthier sources of carbs.

    However, a high protein diet also tends to include a large amount of meat, and this can lead to an increase in free radicals within the body, accelerating the aging process. 
  • Low Fat – There are so many people out there who try to limit their fat intake as much as possible, and while consuming less saturated fat is always a good thing, your skin does need good fats in order to thrive.

    Why?

    Good fats help your body to absorb antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins, while strengthening your cell membranes. So, while you should continue limiting your intake of animal fats, do not avoid the fats found in nuts and oils, as these will do so much good for your complexion.
  • A Raw Diet – As you would imagine, those who follow a raw diet eat foods that have not been cooked, while some do eat cooked foods as long as the temperatures have not risen above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The main diet here would consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, sprouted grains and beans and, in some cases, raw eggs, meat, fish and unpasteurized dairy.

    While this diet does contain so many nutrients, since they have not been lost through the cooking process, it can cause a deficiency in vitamin B12, as well as an increased risk of foodborne illnesses due to the raw meats.

How to Eat Healthier

It is easy enough to read about how you should be improving your diet, but actually putting these intentions into action can be much more of a challenge.

To begin with, focus on the things that you should be eating, rather than the foods that you should not be eating. For example, when it comes to leafy greens, try to find some that you really enjoy. If you hate kale and cabbage, give spinach a try.

Begin by adding one extra fruit or vegetable serving into your diet each day, and slowly build this up. While fresh vegetables do often tend to be best, frozen vegetables can sometimes be quite beneficial too, as these are often frozen quickly after being harvested, meaning that they retain a large amount of nutrients.

If you tend to snack a lot throughout the day, try placing some healthy snacks, such as nuts or granola, around your home and office, and even in your car, so that you are less tempted to reach for junk food.

woman eating healthy granola bar in office

One effective way to cut back on snacking is by eating a breakfast that is high in protein, as this not only helps to keep you feeling full for longer, but will also slowly release energy throughout the day.

If you do not already plan out your meals for each week in advance, then this is something else that could really help you. All you need to do is set aside half an hour a week to plan your meals, before creating a shopping list. If you really wanted to go the extra mile, you could spend some time preparing a few ingredients in advance, such as chopping onions or mincing garlic, so that the hard work is already done when you need to cook a meal at the end of a long day.

For those who eat meat every day, you could consider having one meat-free day a week, as this will help to cut back on the unhealthy animal fats that you consume. Vegetables can make a great main course, and can be cooked in so many exciting ways, so try to spend more time experimenting with this.

It can often be much healthier, and more convenient, to stick to an unhealthy diet, but this will only have negative effects when it comes to your skin, as well as your overall health. If you have noticed that your complexion has been lacking lately, try paying some extra attention to your diet, as this could be an easy way to solve your skin problems.

two pots growing on window sill

10 Skin-Boosting Foods You Can Grow on Your Window Sill

Nothing beats the taste and quality of food that you have grown yourself, and the higher nutrition levels that you will find in these ingredients can do wonders for your body. Even if you do not have a garden, here are 10 skin-boosting foods that are so easy to grow on a sunny windowsill.

1. Cherry Tomatoes

cherry tomato plant growing in a pot

Tomatoes are fantastic for the skin, primarily because they are packed with lycopene.

Wondering what lycopene is?

It is an extremely powerful antioxidant, with thousands of studies backing up the way in which it can protect the skin from UV damage. Research has shown that those who eat a diet rich in tomatoes tend to enjoy 33% more protection from the sun’s UV rays.

Although tomatoes alone are not an adequate substitute for sunscreen, since they only have an SPF of about 1.3, they can still greatly magnify the effects that your standard sunscreen has

Impressed?

If so, it may be worth learning how to grow your own tomatoes at home, because nothing compares to the taste of a freshly picked tomato off the vine.

Since you need to be mindful of space, you would be best off opting for a dwarf variety, such as cherry tomatoes. Here are a few other varieties worth considering, with each one having its own unique taste:

  • Pretty Patio
  • Red Cushion
  • Early Salad
  • Tiny Tim

Since cherry tomatoes are quite small, they do not require a large pot, and you can opt for a small to medium sized container instead. Alternatively, try growing them in a hanging basket, as these enable them to be high off the ground, meaning that they will take up far less space. 

2. Spinach

spinach growing in a small pot

Spinach does not require much space to grow, and only needs a few hours of sun each day, making it perfect for your windowsill.

Wondering how spinach benefits your skin?

The answer is: in so many ways

  • Anti-Aging – spinach contains a high amount of vitamin A, which is known for being one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients out there, because it speeds up cell turnover, maintains skin health, and slows down the aging process.
  • Skin Repair – everything from UV rays to pollution can damage your skin, but spinach contains plenty of vitamin C, which helps your skin cells to heal and repair themselves
  • Dark Circles – dark circles under the eyes can be frustrating to deal with, but the vitamin K found in spinach is great for clearing these
  • Hydration – spinach is quite a moisture-rich food, making it great for keeping the skin and body hydrated

Wondering how to have a never-ending spinach supply on your windowsill?

It’s easy…

Simply grab a shallow planter – 6inches deep is all you need. Then, sow some spinach seeds, keep the soil moist, and then sit back and watch your greens grow.

Don’t forget…

The more you harvest your spinach leaves, the faster they will grow, so make the most of them once they reach an adequate size.

3. Basil

basil growing in a pot

With over 80 different nutrients found in basil, it is a surprise that this humble herb is not being touted as the next superfood.

There have been plenty of studies carried out on this ingredient, all of which point to the incredible benefits that basil can have for the body and skin.

Here are a few:

  • Antibacterial properties make it great for fighting bacteria and acne
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • A great source of vitamin A
  • High in magnesium, which can help to regulate the skin’s oil production
  • Also contains significant levels of vitamin K, vitamin C, iron and manganese

If you have already had a look at some of the basil seeds and plants out there, you are likely already aware of the sheer variety available. There are over 60 varieties of basil that you can grow, each with slightly different appearances and tastes, although they will all contain similar nutritional levels.

This is an easy herb to grow on your windowsill, requiring nothing more than a small pot and regular watering. 

4. Chillies

chillies growing in pots

No matter where in the world you live, you should be able to grow chillies on your windowsill, as long as the area is relatively warm, and receives sunlight. This is a beautiful plant to grow, as the chillies are so colorful and ornamental as their shades transform, and the flowers that come before this are a delight to look at.

Many people do not realize that just a tablespoon of chilli contains 108% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, an antioxidant that does so much for the skin.

Here are a few of the other skin, as well as general health, benefits that chillies can have:

  • Contains B vitamins and folic acid, both of which are great for the skin
  • Helps to fight infections
  • Maintains a healthy circulation
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Improves cognitive function

If you are new to growing plants, you may be best off buying a mature chilli plant from a garden center, and simply potting this up in a container of your choice for your windowsill.

However, if you have a green thumb, you should definitely sow your own chilli seeds, as this gives you so much more choice over the varieties that you can choose. From tiny vibrant purple chillies to elegant electric yellow chillies, you could even choose a variety based on the color scheme and décor of the room that it is to go in.

5. Garlic Greens

garlic greens

While it is possible to grow actual garlic bulbs on your windowsill, garlic greens, which are also known as garlic scapes, are a much quicker, and easier, alternative. This is basically garlic in a younger form, before its cloves have had time to mature.

When it comes to the skin, garlic greens are an antiseptic, and are also anti-inflammatory, making them effective at helping with a wide range of skin conditions.

This is an easy one to grow, if you follow these steps:

  • Purchase some fresh garlic cloves, and then plant each clove into some soil, with its pointed side facing upwards
  • Keep the soil moist, but do not over-water
  • In a few days, you will see a green shoot emerging from each clove
  • Once the shoot is long enough, harvest it by cutting off a few inches from the top

Wondering how you would use garlic greens?

You could either use them to garnish dishes, or allow the leaves to replace garlic gloves in just about any recipe

6. Sprouts

bean sprouts growing in a jar

Sprouts are likely to be one of the healthiest foods that you will ever grow, as they are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrients. In many cases, the nutrients contained in sprouts far exceed those that you will find in mature vegetables.

So, what exactly are sprouts?

Sprouts are basically seeds that have only just sprouted, meaning that sprouts can come in so many different varieties. You could create sprout versions of any plant out there, from sunflowers to coriander to carrots to beans.

While sprouts do require a bit of care and attention to grow, there are plenty of step-by-step guides online that will walk you through this. 

Don’t forget, if you are a big fan of sprouts, you can stagger the way in which you grow them, as this will mean that you will have fresh sprouts to enjoy each and every day.

7. Microgreens

microgreens

Microgreens are the next step on from sprouts, in that this is what the sprouts would look like if they had been able to continue growing. Just like with sprouts, these mini greens are usually much more nutrient-dense than their adult alternatives.

When it comes to growing microgreens, there is no reason as to why you cannot grow multiple seed varieties all together, as this will give you even more nutrients, as well as more flavor.

To give your skin a bit of a treat, these are some of the microgreens that you should consider growing:

  • Broccoli and kale – broccoli and kale sprouts and microgreens contain high levels of sulforaphane, which can significantly protect the skin from UV rays, while reducing redness and repairing skin damage
  • Arugula – high in vitamins A, C and K
  • Purple Cabbage – Especially high in vitamin A
  • Radish – high in vitamins, as well as many skin-boosting minerals, such as zinc, selenium, phosphorous, calcium, omega 3 and potassium
  • Pak Choi – improves skin tone and reduces blemishes and discoloration

8. Carrots

carrot growing in a glass

While standard, long carrots require quite a bit of depth in order to grow, there are many round and globe varieties out there that are perfectly suited for growing on a windowsill, and will taste far sweeter and richer than store-bought versions.

Carrots are a vegetable that you are best off growing from seed, and this can be done in just about any size of container, although keep in mind that the size and shape of your container will have a direct impact on the size of your carrots.

How long does it take to grow some carrots?

Usually just under a month, so it will not be long before you are enjoying your first harvest.

Wondering why you would want to grow carrots?

This root vegetable is packed with beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A once it is in your body. As mentioned above, vitamin A can help with a number of skin issues, from speeding up cell turnover to minimizing wrinkles and fine lines.

While you may think that eating carrots raw is best, the beta-carotene becomes much more bio-available when it is cooked, so do not be afraid to experiment with the many cooked carrot recipes out there.

9. Lemons

lemons

Lemons are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that can do wonders for your skin. In addition to enjoying the benefits of vitamin C when consuming a lemon, do not forget that this is an ingredient that can also be used topically on your skin.

How?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Contains citric acid that can lighten and brighten skin tone
  • Applying lemon juice to lips will exfoliate them
  • Mixed with tea tree oil, lemon juice can be a great toner
  • Lemon juice is antibacterial, making it great for blackheads and acne

Lemon plants can take two to three years to produce fruit, but, fortunately, two or three year old lemon plants are easily available at most garden centers. The plant itself is relatively easy to look after, but keep in mind that citrus trees enjoy moist air, so give them a mist with a water spray every once in a while.

10. Mushrooms

mushrooms

Mushrooms are a common ingredient all over the world, but many people do not realize just how fantastic mushrooms are for the skin.

In fact, there are now so many studies out there that back up some of the many benefits that mushrooms can have:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties that can help with acne, eczema and rosacea
  • Rich in vitamin D, selenium and antioxidants, all of which protect the skin from environmental damage
  • Improves skin tone
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Heals oxidative stress
  • Some mushrooms can enhance the layer of fat beneath the skin, resulting in a smoother and plumper complexion

In fact, mushrooms are so powerful that you will now find their extracts in many topical skin care products, from serums to creams.

You may be wondering…

“Can I really grow mushrooms on my windowsill?”

Well, technically, the answer is no, but you can still grow them in a cool and dark area of your house.

How?

Your best bet, if you are new to growing mushrooms, is to purchase a mushroom-growing kit, as this will provide you with everything that you need, as well as clear instructions to follow.

coffee beans and tea leaves

Surprising Facts About Coffee, Tea, and Their Uses In Skincare

Novel skincare ingredients have a way of turning up in a variety of places. The real question is frequently if they have any truth behind their inclusion in a product. A surprise ingredient is interesting, but if it doesn’t help, why include it?

Many companies rely on this sort of novelty ingredient to capture the imagination of potential customers. Coffee and tea are two particularly popular additions to products these days. It actually isn’t that odd if you look at it closely.

Here’s the deal:

Tea and coffee both possess positive benefits for your skin when used properly. These benefits can help you work towards overall healthy skin. The catch is that the ingredients also have a flip side where they’re not as good for your skin.

That’s true of most skincare ingredients. Learning how to use ingredients the best way is ultimately what the skincare industry is about. We learn about how to best incorporate ingredients for maximum benefit.

Admittedly, it tends to be a fairly opaque process to most people. Those outside of the industry tend to be left wondering how we know something is good for skin or what exactly it does. This is particularly true for novel skincare ingredients.

skincare ingredients

Images like this are often used to advertise products, but tell us nothing about their true content.

That’s why we’re going to take a close look at some of the interesting facts surrounding tea and coffee in this post. It will let you know what they can do for you and some of the more novel aspects of the ingredients.

We’re going to focus on the following:

  • Interesting Facts
  • Benefits
  • Potential Drawbacks

This will help us all stay focused and ensure we know what we’re looking at at any given time. Let’s get started.
Interesting Facts
Both coffee and tea enjoy the reputations for being among the world’s favorite drinks. So many of us rely on coffee as a way to wake up in the morning that it is hard to overstate the appeal. Tea’s varied flavors make it equally popular.

We often don’t know much about them beyond that though. They’re simple drinks we buy or prepare regularly. That’s a shame given they’re actually fascinating if you take a moment.

For instance:

Coffee “beans” are actually seeds extracted from berries rather than independently grown beans. The name bean is applied to them because other beans are also seeds, but typically share a more recognizable look.

Tea’s different varieties are equally interesting. We here people recommending white, green, or black teas with some regularity, but what do those mean?

The names actually tell you when the leaves were plucked from the tea shrub. White teas are plucked when the shrub is blooming with new leaves and flowers while green tea is made from fully grown leaves. Black tea is made from aged and fermented green tea leaves.

Those are far from the only interesting things about them either. Let’s look at where they come from next.

tea plantation

This is what tea looks like long before it reaches your cup or skincare product.

Origins

While most of us have an idea of where coffee and tea are grown these days, we don’t always know where they came from before the modern era. All plants started somewhere and that affects a lot about the plants as well as the culture surrounding them.

Tea, for instance, is one that many of us already know started. China is its home as much as it is the cultural center of tea drinking in many ways. This is particularly important to remember thanks to England also enjoying a reputation for tea drinking.

Most experts place the tea shrub as developing in southeast China. There people eventually came to cultivate the plant and develop the various preparations we take for granted today.

Interestingly enough:

Black tea is comparatively popular in the West thanks to its comparative long-lasting nature. It stays both usable and fully flavored for far longer. As a result, this is what was traded to Europeans first.

Coffee is a bit harder for people to pin down though. We’re so used to talking about where the best coffee comes from that we’ve forgotten where it started. It wasn’t Columbia or Hawaii.

The coffee plant has been traced back to Africa. Culturally and biologically, coffee has its roots around Ethiopia and Sudan. That’s not where most of us end up thinking about when we think of coffee though.

It feels like a historical joke in some ways, but it is the truth. We can trace coffee back to the general area and Arabic countries for the earliest roots. The end result is the drink we enjoy today.

All of these facts have dealt with the past of coffee and tea rather than the now though. That’s worth looking at too.

The Benefits

Not only great as drinks, coffee and tea are also beneficial for skincare.

Countless little nutrients are available from them as well as potential perks from the compounds in each of the raw ingredients. It is simply a matter of extracting them properly. That’s where professionals come in.

Here’s the thing:

Almost every one of us has heard of one of the major benefits of both coffee and tea for your skin lies in their potential as an antioxidant. The idea is only surprising if one is relatively new to skincare.

This potential as an antioxidant is highly important to skin health. It helps to protect the skin from various signs of aging as well as helping counteract potential lingering low grade damage. There is more to talk about than that though:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Exfoliation
  • Oil Control
  • Anti-bacterial properties

All of these benefits are worth talking about and often end up being overlooked. That’s why we’re going to take a good look at where these benefits come from and what they can do for you.

Anti-inflammatory

Perhaps the best to look at in detail are the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of each compound. These are what help them boost the skin’s healing properties the best. In turn, this is what makes them particularly valuable.

Green tea extract is particularly known for these properties in skincare circles. That’s why you’ll find it on the ingredient list of a variety of products. Both of these properties are thanks to the tannins found in coffee and tea.

Tannins are a collection of compounds that naturally occur within a variety of plant life. These compounds are protective in nature, but that protective nature isn’t exclusive to the plants themselves.

We appear to be able to make use of these tannins both through imbibing or eating them and through application on the skin. Imbibing them is part of where the antioxidant-rich nature of coffee and tea comes from though.

aloe vera

Regardless, tannins have a noticeable anti-inflammatory property whether they’re in coffee, tea, or red wine. These properties allow them to help soothe the skin and reduce overall levels of irritation. This in turn allows the skin to repair itself better.

Want to know the best part?

This same property allows you to get control of inflammation induced redness in the skin as well. In effect, it helps you to smooth out complexion problems. That’s all before we get to the potential anti-bacterial properties as well.

Antibacterial

Antibacterial properties are an important part of skincare products. As much as we share our skin with friendly bacteria, we also have to deal with the constant attempts of less than friendly bacteria to colonize our skin.

Our friendly bacteria tend to do what they can to protect our skin, their home, to ensure they’re healthy too. The downside of all of this is that the interaction of each set of bacteria sometimes causes us problems. Acne, for instance, is typically born of this conflict.

Antibacterial products tends to be a fairly broad spectrum approach that kill most of the bacteria in the area. That allows your skin’s natural healing processes to clean up the area as well as ensure your products work that much better.

Tea and coffee-based products offer this benefit. It makes them particularly well-suited for acne control and healing products. Admittedly, these benefits aren’t necessarily as pronounced as formulated products for the same reason.

Both of the previous benefits ride along with another, though.

Oil Control

Tannins are interesting in that their potential to help is clearly there, but it is paired with a potential for harm as well. They tend to dehydrate the skin if you’re not careful. That’s what a lot of warnings around them lean on.

The truth is this can help work in the favor of some skin types. Topical application can help to reduce the overall amount of oil on the skin. While they can’t reduce the amount your skin secretes, preventing it from building up and clogging your pores is possible.

It gets better:

This benefit is relatively easy to use and typically fairly prevalent in most products utilize tea extracts or coffee extracts. That allows them to help minimize the chance for a dull complexion as well as supporting healthier skin.

It isn’t perfect though. Generally this means needing to make sure you stay on top of properly moisturizing your skin to ensure it doesn’t get too dry. Abusing any of these products could dehydrate your skin if you’re not careful.

oily vs dry skin

Your sebaceous glands do what they can to protect your skin, but sometimes go overboard.

That will in turn cause a surplus of oil that can cause many potential skin problems. So make sure to maintain good moisturizing practices when using products including coffee or tea. The good news is the right preparations can extract yet another benefit.

Exfoliation

Not every ingredient is suitable for exfoliating. Sometimes the chemical properties aren’t quite right or the ingredient isn’t the right level of gritty to do the job properly. In this case, you generally aren’t going to find tea being used as anything other than an anti-inflammatory.

Guess what:

Things are entirely different when it comes to coffee. Those fond of the drink are already aware that there are varying ways to grind the beans to get them to the right consistency. Some of those consistencies are perfect for use in body scrubs.

These products allow the ground coffee to shine by providing more or less comfortable exfoliation. You can also temporarily smooth out rougher areas of the skin too. Think of it as a quick, if temporary fix, for cellulite and similar issues.

Don’t ever use coffee-based exfoliating products on your face though. The grounds are almost never smooth enough to avoid harming the skin. Stick with your body and your should be fine.

Potential Drawbacks

We’ve touched on some of these as we’ve gone, but it is worthwhile to give these their own space. Coffee and tea-based ingredients are incredibly good when targeted well, but like all ingredients they have their downsides.

The predominant downside is the potential for drying out your skin that we touched on above. While this can be good for oil control in some cases, it can also damage and sensitize your skin if you’re not careful.

Similarly, we need to stress that most of these benefits are from when the products are used in proper products. Applying tea or coffee soaked things to your face isn’t going to do your much good. It could hurt your skin if you’re not careful.

You’ll also wanted to be mindful that these benefits are largely from topical use. The antioxidant benefit is one of the few things you can get from drinking coffee and tea. However, this comes with a few caveats.

Many of us like to add sugar or other flavoring agents to our coffee and tea. This can be a problem if you drink too much of either with this ingredients. Ingredients such as creamers, sugars, and dairy products can all aggravate the skin if you take in too much.

Keep this in mind:

Coffee and tea are a healthy addition to most diets. All we need to do is remember that they are best enjoyed in moderation. This is similar to knowing when and how often to use products using coffee and tea as ingredients.

Loving Your Skin and the World

Your skin does a lot for your body. That’s probably why you pamper it so much. Remembering this and being more selective about the ingredients in your skincare products is a way to show you care.

Coffee and tea aren’t the weirdest skincare ingredients out there, but they remain relatively novel. We recognize their names on a product label compared to more complex ingredients with more obscure names.

parcel on map

Skincare ingredients come from around the world to support all sorts of skin types.

Just like our skin, someone cared a lot about those ingredients and spent time figuring them out. They have a long history too. Their histories and what they can do for us are all interesting facts.

Some facts are just more usable than others. Hopefully you’ve learned a few things from this article and you’ll have a greater appreciation for your next cup of coffee or tea. After all, now your know a bit about them and their potential.

It makes it all the more fitting that they can help you live up to your own in so many ways.

 

 

7-Trending-Skincare-624x235

7 Trending Skincare Ingredients and Your Skin

Aging, sagging skin? Dull, weary appearance? A face full of breakouts and dark spots? Skin damage from the sun?

Skincare ingredients are all about helping the modern woman (and man) target specific skin concerns. Good lifestyle habits help a lot with maintaining skin elasticity and healthy complexions, but with an ever faster pace of life and changing urban environments, good habits just can’t keep up.

This is why the skincare industry has turned to specific ingredients to target individual skin issues. Check out the top 7 most popular skincare ingredients that are trending right now.

Collagen supplements

A critical protein in the skin’s support network, collagen is the reason for your skin’s natural elasticity. This long chain of amino acids can be found in bones, connective tissue, skin, hair and nails. It provides a soft framework for ‘harder’ minerals like calcium phosphate. As the body ages, however, the loss in collagen also results in wrinkles, sagging skin, and fine lines.

It’s no wonder then that collagen has become a trending ingredient for anti-aging skincare. In order to turn back time and re-supply the skin with its elasticity, the skincare and health industry is now replete with various forms of collagen, most notably:

  • Collagen powder
  • Collagen pills 
  • Collagen drinks
  • Soluble or hydrolyzed collagen (found in skincare ingredients)
  • Collagen injections (found at your nearest dermatologist’s)

Do these really work? This double-blind study certainly thinks so. After 8 weeks of ingesting collagen hydrolysate (CH) composed of specific collagen peptides, it was found that there was a statistifcally significant improvement in skin elasticity in the CH dosage groups, compared to the placebo group. Yes, the elderly population can now regain their youth – or the appearance of it, at least.

You can find collagen powder, pills and drinks in drugstores, specialized online marketplaces, or your local GNC. From $10 a pop, collagen supplements are available to every man and woman, young and old.

Established skincare companies have also incorporated soluble collagen into their list of ingredients. Rated safe on the EWG Cosmetics Database, soluble collagen (also known as ‘hydrolyzed collagen’) is often paired with other ingredients that can more effectively penetrate the skin, in order to maximise the benefits of collagen (topical collagen, without ingredients to support it, will only work on the surface-most layer of the skin). 

Collagen injections are another popular method to re-supply the body and skin network with this protein. This form of collagen treatment is typically marketed to 35-60 year olds, and is used to reduce laugh and frown lines. It’s even possible to plump the lips with collagen injections. In effect, it’s like Botox, but without the bad rep and expressionless faces.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is by no means new to skincare. It has been and remains a relatively popular addition to moisturizers. As an ingredient, it provides a deeper moisturizing effect than many other ingredients thanks to its ability to store moisture.

That alone tends to do a lot for the skin. The extra boost to keeping the skin moisturized helps keep it resilient and healthy even in the face of sun damage. It further helps by ensuring that it is harder for the skin to dry out.

Keeping your skin properly moisturized like that means it will be less prone to other forms of damage as well. This helps you to be sure of maintaining a more even complexion as well as helping any damage already there to heal faster.

Want to know the best part?

All of this makes hyaluronic acid perfect for fighting the signs of aging.

Human skin dries out with age as it is unable to trap as much moisture. This in turn sensitizes it and makes it more susceptible to all forms of damage and irritation. Fighting back against the problem with this kind of moisturizing helps minimize the problem.

Admittedly, you’ll want to pair it with a friend.

VitaminA

Vitamin A supports your skin by encouraging its natural cell turnover rate. This helps to keep your skin looking and feeling healthier.

What you might not know is that it is in more products than you might think. A lot of talk has been devoted to retinol and retinoids in skincare lately. There are derived from a form of vitamin A.

These ingredients are also particularly promising when it comes to fighting the signs of aging. Encouraging the increased cell turnover rate helps to minimize buildup on the skin. This in turn reduces the rate at which wrinkles form.

It gets better:

The compounds within vitamin A are usable by your skin to help create collagen within your skin. Collagen is highly important due to it being your skin’s primary structural protein. It is, in fact, what fills your skin out and keeps it youthful looking.

Retinol and retinoids also provide a gentle exfoliating effect when applied. This is why most of the products have a light tingle or burn to them. Stay alert to this as using the product for too long could hurt your skin.

Hyaluronic acid and vitamin A derivatives are all wonderful ingredients, but there are others that are currently trending.

Kale-Spinach-Peppers

Natural skincare is an increasingly important topic for many of us. It isn’t even due to the fear of unknown chemicals these days. We’re all simply becoming more aware of the fact that our skin enjoys the complex nature of more natural options.

After all, our modern skincare products are based on compounds we found and refined from nature. They aren’t simply chemicals cooked up in a lab somewhere. It turns out our body and our skin likes the extras that come from the full ingredients from nature though.

The key element here is flavonoids or flavones, a polyphenolic compound that strengthens blood vessels and supports collagen and elastin. By ingesting bright, colorful peppers and dark, leafy greens, you’re adding a critical skincare ingredient to your beauty arsenal.

Here are the best greens rich in flavones:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Peppers

These and other options are being used to create modern skincare products that cultivate your skin’s health on multiple levels. The potential for these natural skincare products is making them highly popular. Don’t rely on products you make at home though.

Products made at home aren’t necessarily in the best proportions to make the most of the ingredients you use. Professionally produced versions offer safe, healthy concentrations of the ingredients to ensure your skin is helped rather than harmed.

Probiotics

We’ve all heard about using probiotics by this point. The basic idea seems sound. You ingest helpful bacteria in some way or eat things that support your own internal biome of bacteria.

This in turn bolsters their population and allows them to do their jobs that much better. It’s an important consideration to make given bacteria are responsible for some much of our health.

Let’s take a quick look at what they do:

  • Defend your body and skin from unknown bacteria
  • Help break down food
  • Play a part in your metabolism

That’s just a few things that bacteria do for you. The crazy part is that we all play host to colonies of friendly bacteria that are so dense that there are more of them than there are cells in our body. So giving them a helping hand is a good idea.

Some trending beauty ingredients favor this approach. The idea is to eat probiotic foods or supplements to help ensure your body is better able to regulate various functions. This helps reduce issues that can lead to unhealthy skin among other things.

Charcoal

Skin staining isn’t really a concern with most preparations of charcoal intended for the skin. These products use ground up versions of it combined with other ingredients. The charcoal is wonderful for helping to clean up the skin though.

Most people who use charcoal find that it provides a noticeable amount of oil control. Excessive oil can also lead to buildup that causes acne. It ends up trapping dirt close to the skin and creating an environment fit for unwelcome bacteria. Charcoal fixes that.

Here’s the deal:

There is evidence to suggest that charcoal is also good for helping to loosen the grime that builds up on your skin too. This allows it to fight both grime and oil buildup at the same time. Not only will this reduce your chances for acne, but it also helps avoid dull skin.

Minimizing these issues is particularly important as we age. Charcoal, like many of our other ingredient choices, is ultimately very good for helping maintaining one’s appearance as one ages. The right ingredients make all the difference.

Loving Your Skin

Taking good care of one’s skin involves watching for improved products more often than any of us would like to admit. After all, our skin always seems to have that one aspect in which it defies us. The right product makes all the difference.

Identifying good ingredients is what we’re all interested in ultimately. It doesn’t take that much effort to stay informed about what’s becoming popular. A little bit more effort will let you see if there is anything to it too.

Avoiding less than perfect skincare treatments helps by ensuring that our skin doesn’t take any extra damage from our own mistakes. Ultimately, the best way to do this involves more than just basic skincare. We need to eat right even if we opt to use natural products.

Eating right provides our skin and the rest of our organs with minerals and nutrients that they need. Skipping out on watching our diets will only serve to hurt our complexion in the long run. The good news is that it is never too late to start eating right for your skin.

Have we missed out on any of your favorite skincare ingredients? Be sure to comment and let us know!

 

Improving The Look Of Discoloration

Improving The Look Of Discoloration

We live in a world in which our differences define us and make us beautiful. However, some of us are stronger than others. While a few brave souls can carry the flag for their differences, others may buckle under the weight, and feel the need to conform. Skin pigmentations are disorders that cause the skin to appear darker or lighter than normal, and even discolored and blotchy. While they are no indication of any deeper problem, they do affect a person’s outward appearance, and often self-esteem. Here is a little information about skin pigmentation disorders and treatment options.

Skin Pigmentation
Skin pigmentation disorders affect people of all races. They range from disorders such as albinism, which is very rare, to age spots, which are quite common. Melanin is the pigment in the body responsible for the color of our hair, skin, and eyes. It protects the body by absorbing ultraviolet light. Skin pigmentation disorders occur when the body produces too little or too much melanin.

Hypopigmentation occurs when the body does not produce enough melanin. Albinism is an example of lack of pigment which causes individuals to have very light skin, white or very pale hair, and gray or light blue eyes. Vitiligo is another form of hypo pigmentation which causes depigmentation white spots on the skin.

In hyper pigmentation, the body overproduces melanin. Melasma is a mask like discoloration which covers the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. Moles, freckles, birthmarks, and age spots are also an example of hyper pigmentation.

Causes
While in some cases, there is a clear cause of skin pigmentation disorders, in other cases, it is less clear. Albinism comes from an inherited recessive gene. The spots of hypo pigmentation associated with vitiligo can form as a result of the injury. The light patches from vitiligo do not contain melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for melanin creation. Some researchers believe vitiligo is caused by an autoimmune disorder, while others believe there to be a link between vitiligo and hyperthyroidism or Addison’s Disease, which affects the body’s adrenal gland.

Hyperpigmentation can result from many factors, including overexposure to the sun, poor nutrition, and reactions to drugs. Wounds and scars can lead to the development of dark patches. Melasma can be caused by pregnancy hormones, and usually, resolves itself after a woman gives birth. While moles, birthmarks, and aging spots are usually harmless, some moles can change in appearance or start bleeding, which may indicate skin cancer.

Treatment
Different forms of skin pigmentation disorders require different treatments. Albinos are advised to keep their skin covered, use sunscreens, and avoid excess sunlight. Individuals with albinism need to wear protective sunglasses and may need prescription corrective lenses or even surgery to correct visual impairments.

Vitiligo is usually treated with a combination of prescription photosensitive medications or ultraviolet light therapy used to darken white spots, If the depigmented patches cover over 50% of the body, doctors may use skin bleaching agents, such as monobenzone to lighten skin and even town. Cosmetic concealers and skin grafting are also options.

Hyperpigmentation disorders can be treated by skin lightening cream. Professionals advise avoiding the sun. A dietician may be able to help in cases go poor nutrition. A suspicious birthmark or mole can be surgically removed.

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Healthy Drink Choices

Don’t like water? You’re not alone. Sure, you know water is one of the best things you can put in your body, that your body is comprised mostly of water, that it helps you lose weight, and flushes toxins from your system, but the bottom line is: you don’t like it, and given the choice, you would probably never drink it. The good news is; you don’t have to. While the eight glasses a day rule is still the way to go, there are other ways to stay hydrated if you simply can’t bring yourself to gulp down the H20. Here are some liquids that provide hydration, and some other nutrients, too, when you’re thirsty for something a little more interesting than water.

Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate has been getting a lot of buzzes lately for the antioxidant kick it packs. Research has shown the juice may prevent heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.

Low Fat Milk
Although there has been something of an anti dairy backlash lately, low-fat milk is still considered a healthy option. It’s an excellent source of vitamin D, calcium, protein, and other micronutrients essential for your health. Low-fat varieties are better choices because they have a lower saturated fat content than whole milk.

Green Tea
Green Tea may be a better choice than coffee when it comes to that daily kick. Green tea is packed with energizing nutrients and antioxidants, and just enough caffeine to get you going without the midday crash.

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Orange Juice
While most versions on the market are processed with sugar, not much beats a cup of fresh squeezed OJ to start your morning off on the rich foot. The vitamin C and quercetin in orange juice has been associated with the relief of seasonal allergies, so you’ll want to keep your juicer on hand when pollen season comes around.

Beet Juice
It may not be the easiest thing to find in grocery stores, but if you can find a juice bar that serves beet juice, it may be worth making the extra effort. Beet juice can lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to the brain, to slow the progression of dimension, and keep your liver health with high magnesia, iron, and calcium levels.

Hot Chocolate
Perhaps the most sinful beverage on the list thus far, the high magnesium level in cocoa is a great way to soothe menstrual cramps. However, it comes with a price. In order to get the magnesium, you’ll need to make your own. Just mix hot chocolate with raw cocoa powder, and add almond milk, honey or maple syrup, if it needs some extra sweetness.

Kale Juice
Drinking your veggies still a strange concept to you? Kale is packed with minerals and vitamins that help with everything from bowel regulation to bone health. Again, you’re best off rolling up your sleeves and making your kale juice in the comfort of your own kitchen. Bottled varieties tend to pack in the sodium.

What are you drinking to keep your body healthy? Let us know.

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Solutions For Sparse Brows and Lashes

Times were, unruly brows were unacceptable. Indeed, one only need observe the silver screen starlets of the 1920’s to see a study in perfectly arched, stenciled on brows, and so help the lady with an errant hair on her face. How times have changed! With the 80’s came Brooke Shields, and with Brooke came dramatic eyebrows and lashes. These days, models are owning their unibrows, and celebrities are proudly speaking of their unibrow pasts, and pity the poor women whose brows and lashes are on the sparse side. However, if you find yourself follically in the eye area, there are a plethora of steps you can take to bring yourself into the hairy millennium. Here are some steps you can take you build up your sparse lashes and brows.

Longer Lashes
Nutrition: B vitamins, especially biotin, can help boost hair growth on your head and lashes. The best way to increase your biotin intake is by eating foods such as liver, yeast, bananas, carrots, and egg yolks.

The Right Mascara: If your lashes are sparse, you may want to pass on the waterproof mascaras. The ingredients that bind the mascara to your lashes can be too harsh for daily use, and the effort that it takes to remove the mascara can wreak havoc on your lashes. Double layer mascara to increase volume, use a lash serum to condition lashes, and a primer to increase the effects of the mascara.

False Lashes: Well manicured false eyelashes are available at a variety of price points. You can opt for whole strips, or you can choose separates, which allow a more precise application.

Eyelash Extensions: Eyelash extensions are the latest way to get long natural looking lashes. The process can take a few hours, but the results are beautiful, thick lashes that can last for weeks.

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Thicker Brows
Vaseline: Hair needs to be hydrated and nourished in order to grow. Vaseline creates a sealing barrier to lock in moisture and speeds up the skin’s recovery process. Clean and dry your brow area and apply vaseline over it three to four times a week.

Oil: Like Vaseline, oil creates a barrier to keep moisture in; however, it also increases circulation and stimulates cellular metabolism to promote hair growth. Coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, or castor oil are all brow thickening options. Just slather on before bed time, and wake up on the way to fuller brows.

With Eyebrow Growth Serum: As with eyelashes, serums are available to promote brow growth. Packed with vitamins, botanicals, and peptide complexes, these serums are formulated to support the hair’s natural renewal.

Makeup: Determine the best eyebrow shape for your face. Use a brow pencil to draw a line beneath your brow and to fill in sparse areas using hair like flicks. Next, take an angled brush and a similarly colored pressed powder to define brow shape. Avoid filling the inside corners too darkly, to making the end points harsh. End by brushing through with a spooler to pick up excess powder, and blend for a natural look. Apply a concealer under the arch for increased definition.

What are you doing to enhance the look of your brows and lashes? Let us know how you’re thickening and darkening for increased eye drama.

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Big Fruit With Big Health Benefits

Part of the beauty of fruit is that most of it comes in the perfect serving size. One apple is equal to one serving of an apple, one banana is equal to one serving of a banana, and so on. These fruits require little preparation, it’s simply a case of peeling and eating. Moving along in the world of produce, however, the category of the “big fruit.” comes into play. This phenomenon is mostly intended for sharing or for being eaten in more than one serving, which means it requires a little more elbow grease, but the nutritional benefits may be worth the extra work. Here are some of the big rewards of the big fruits, which may make them worth the big deal of energy.

Papaya
There is a good reason that the papaya tree is known as “The Tree of Good Health” in Costa Rica and Mexico. The papaya is packed with nutrients that protect against cancer and enzymes that can aid in healthy digestion. The fruit packs more than three times the body’s daily requirements in vitamin C, and vitamins A, E, and K give it a powerful kick of antioxidants. With a resume like that, it’s little wonder that Christopher Columbus dubbed the papaya the ‘fruit of the angels.”

Jack Fruit
Although a number of calories in jackfruit may be high, the source of these calories makes it a better option than other highly caloric foods. Jackfruit contains no cholesterol and no saturated fats which make it a good source of energy, and also 25% of the daily requirement of the powerful B6 vitamin, which we love so much. Its high concentration of vitamin C makes it efficient in fighting free radicals and increasing the function of the immune system, and its fiber content makes it helpful in food digestion.

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Watermelon
The name says a lot. Water melon is over 90 percent water, making this fruit an ideal summer hydration, and like its namesake, it also provides a plethora of health benefits. Watermelon is great for the skin because of its vitamin A content. Researchers believe that the content of the amino acid L-citrulline in water melon can improve muscle soreness, and its water and fiber content help to prevent constipation and promote digestive health.

Cantaloupe
Bursting with flavor, the cantaloupe is very low in calories and rich in health promoting polyphenolic derived compounds and vitamins for optimum health. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, a powerful antioxidant essential for healthy vision and the maintenance of healthy skin and mucosa. The zeaxanthin found in cantaloupe is an antioxidant capable filtering of UV light, protecting against macular degeneration, and the loupe’s high potassium concentration helps control blood pressure and heart rate.

What is your favorite big fruit with big benefits? Let us know!