Why You Need to Know About Ghee

You’ve probably seen ghee popping up everywhere as a healthy source of fat, but what is it?

Ghee

What is Ghee?
Ghee, very simply put, is clarified butter. Ghee is clarified butter that was produced using either cow or buffalo milk. So, what makes ghee different than butter? The clarification process makes all the difference. A majority of the clarified butters are made by removing milk solids in their early steps, while ghee differentiates itself by continuing to simmer with milk solids to give the final product a distinguished taste. As the butter melts, the milk solids contained within the butter separate and the result is a golden liquid that when cooled will be ghee.

How to Make Ghee
Perhaps the greatest thing about this amazing healthy source of fat is that you can make it in your own kitchen. Sure, many health foods promise that you can make a version in your kitchen (homemade almond milk) but then they end up requiring extensive time, tools and sometimes money. Ghee can be made using products and supplies you already have on hand and is done in less than 20 minutes. To make ghee all you will need is a stick of unsalted butter, a saucepan, a strainer, cheesecloth and a container where you can place the finished ghee. Give your health a boost by following these super simple steps for making ghee.

  • Place the unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Heat the unsalted butter over medium heat until it is completely melted.
  • When the butter is completely melted, reduce the heat to low and allow your melted butter to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You will see foam or bubbles appear on the surface on the melted butter and at the end of the time, you’ll be able to actually see milk solids among the golden liquid.
  • Line your strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and place over the container that you planning on using for ghee and wait about two to three minutes before straining.
  • Strain the butter. You will see the solids that remain in the cheesecloth and the golden liquid in your container is your homemade ghee.

You can purchase ghee from some specialty or health food stores, but it is so easy to make at home that you might as well do it yourself. Plus, making ghee at home is way cheaper than buying it.

Why Eat Ghee?
So now you know what ghee is and how you can make it for yourself, but why would you? As a healthy source of fat, ghee has quite a few exciting health benefits. Some of the most awesome benefits are –

  • Aids Digestion – The components of ghee can actually improve your digestive functioning. Ghee contains butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, which your digestive tract uses for energy and to support a healthy intestinal wall. Additionally, this fatty acid helps reduce inflammation, which is an important part of healthy digestive function.
  • Weight Loss – Okay, so eating ghee by the spoonful will not help you lose weight. While ghee is a healthier option than butter, it is still butter and has a high saturated fat content. Consumed in moderation, however, ghee produced from the butter of grass-fed cows contains linolenic acid which can aid your weight loss efforts.
  • Vitamins – A one tablespoon serving of ghee contains approximately 15% of your daily requirement of vitamin A. Ghee is also rich in other fat soluble vitamins like D, E and K.
  • No Casein – Those who have a lactose intolerance will be pleased to hear that ghee may be a great substitution. The proteins responsible for lactose intolerance, particularly casein, are found in the milk solids. Because ghee separates the solids from the rest of the butter, only healthy butter fats remain in the final product.
  • Enhances Flexibility – Flexibility is a huge asset when it comes to physical activity, especially if you love Pilates or yoga. Ghee has properties that lubricate your joints, which results in an increase in flexibility.

The benefits of ghee are so worth the 20 minutes that it takes to make your own. Not only does this healthy fat benefit your body, but it also keeps for a much longer time than regular butter. In fact, if you store ghee in an air-tight container, it can last for up to three months meaning you don’t have to constantly be melting and simmering your butter. Ghee also makes for a great cooking oil because it has a higher smoke point than regular butter or oils such as olive and coconut. Lastly, you should give ghee a try because it tastes great. Ghee often features a slightly nutty flavor, giving your food natural flavor. With all of these benefits, it’s not hard to see why ghee is making a huge name for itself as a healthy dietary source of fat.

Ingredients that Transform Your Skin

Some people are genetically blessed with great skin, but the rest of us have some work to put into achieving a gorgeous, glowing complexion. Multiple components are important when it comes to having the greatest skin you can. There are lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise, in addition to the products, and ingredients in the product you use, you use on your skin. A healthy, nutritious diet full of vitamins and minerals help purify and improve your skin from the inside while plenty of rest helps keep dullness away from your skin. Avoid smoking and use sun protection to keep premature wrinkles and other signs of aging at bay. These tips are great to help keep your skin healthy, but they are only part of the equation. You also need to use products designed for your skin’s needs. The following ingredients are all found in skin care products and they help to truly transform your skin from lackluster to radiant.

Rose oil

Roses
The essential oils derived from roses are another ingredient that can really help transform your skin. Rose essential oil contains beneficial vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants. Additionally, rose essential oil has very emollient properties, which adds moisture to your skin. Rose essential oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties which help fight redness and irritation and the benefits don’t stop there. It is thought that rose essential oil is also a way to treat acne because it has antiseptic and astringent properties as well. Rose essential oil can be found in a large variety of products, but one of the most common products to feature this ingredient are facial masks. From clay to gel masks, rose essential oil makes the process of using a face mask a bit more luxurious (plus it smells good!).

Green tea.

Resveratrol
Of course we’re mentioning our favorite skin care ingredient, but there is more to why we picked this than the fact that we love it. Resveratrol, like green tea, has incredibly antioxidant properties that fight free radical damage and help prevent premature signs of aging. Resveratrol not only fights free radical damage, but it actually prevents damage from free radical oxidation. There’s still more (see why we love this antioxidant so much?); resveratrol stimulates fibroblasts, that increase healthy collagen production, and stimulates the synthesis of collagen. Collagen really is a component for transforming skin because it plumps and smooths out fine lines and wrinkles while also giving the skin a more youthful look and feel. Resveratrol can be applied through wine masks, or through our extensive range of skin care products.

Green Tea
Green tea isn’t just a delicious drink, it can also help transform your skin. The antioxidant properties in green tea benefit your skin greatly. Antioxidants, like green tea, fight damage caused by environmental factors and free radicals. The specific polyphenols in green tea that benefit your skin are called catechins. Catechins are an excellent way to relieve inflammation in your skin. Green tea is available in a large array of skin care products from face masks to moisturizers.

Great skin requires an ongoing commitment to engage in healthy, beneficial behaviors. The products you choose will vary depending on your specific needs, but the ingredients listed above really do have the power to transform so-so skin into younger looking, more radiant skin.

Skin Care Rehab

You’ve had a stressful week; work has been crazy, you’ve been taking care of your home and you are aching for the weekend when you can enjoy a night out with the only concern being what activity sounds the most fun or relaxing. You just want to shake off the stress and let your hair down. And so that’s what you do; good for you for taking time for yourself. However, it is possible to go a little overboard on your night out and your liver and kidneys aren’t the only organs in your body affected by too much drinking and eating unhealthy food favorites. Your skin, the largest organ of your body, is also greatly affected by your nights out and these good times can leave your skin looking grey, blotchy, tired and old. Vine Vera has you covered with skin care rehab both for when you return home at night and for extra care the next day.

Woman drinking water

Immediately After a Night Out
You probably already do this before heading to bed after a night out, but it is important enough to mention again. Be sure to drink plenty of water to help reduce any bloat from salt or sugar. Not only does water help reduce bloat, it also helps your skin to look healthier from the inside out. Bonus points for drinking a glass of warm water with lemon before bed as lemons add extra detoxifying properties.

Chances are you have a nightly skin care ritual that seems completely unnecessary and overwhelming after a long night out. Resist the urge to just fall into bed and take some time to cleanse your skin. This is especially important if you have been wearing makeup. If you can’t be bothered to do your regular routine of cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturizing, at least be sure to cleanse. If you absolutely cannot stand the idea of a full face wash, at least use some cleansing water to remove all the dirt, makeup and grime before you hit the sheets. Before you slip under your covers, add moisture back into your skin with a moisturizer. A sleeping pack with ingredients like hyaluronic acid is perfect for replenishing skin after a night out.

Woman washing her face.

The Next Morning
You probably took aspirin the night before, and you may be grabbing for it in the morning as well. Aspirin doesn’t just help your headache, it can benefit your skin after a big night out. If you are in a rush in the morning, you’ll want to skip this but if you have time an aspirin mask is a great way to reduce irritation, inflammation and even out blotchiness. Crush one aspirin and mix with a small amount of your usual toner. Apply to skin, focusing on red and uneven colored patches, then rinse off after five minutes or so.

Next, follow your normal morning care routine for cleansing and toning. Exfoliation is an important part of skin care rehab because it gets rid of dirt, debris and dead skin cells resulting from your night out. A gentle chemical exfoliant, like an AHA or BHA liquid, is a great way to effectively exfoliate your skin while still being gentle. For a bit more oomph during your exfoliation, pick up some exfoliating cotton rounds from any local store (Target, Wal-Mart or drugstores) and use the exfoliant on the exfoliating side of the cotton pad.

Woman applying moisturizer.

Finally, it’s time to seriously moisturize the skin. You can use your regular moisturizer, but for maximum impact look for a product, specifically a serum, that is packed with antioxidants to repair damage. You can just apply as you normally would, however, you can also help revive your face by massaging the serum or cream into your face. A facial massage helps to soothe tired muscles, can help fight signs of aging and ensures that your moisturizer (whether it is a serum or cream) is fully absorbed into your skin.

If you’re applying makeup, using light-reflective products help add radiance to your skin. A light-reflective concealer can work wonders under your eyes and down the center of your nose. Light-reflective powder is perfect for setting the concealer to keep your eyes bright.

You definitely deserve a night out after all that you do! Your schedule is crazy busy and it is incredibly important to take some time for yourself with friends or your partner to just have some fun. And if you have a little too much fun, keep your skin looking great with these skin care rehab tips.

Foods that Fight Bloating

At some point or another you’ve experienced the discomfort of bloating. It can happen for a variety of reasons to ingesting too much salt, poor digestion or when you get your period. No matter what the reason is, bloating is seriously uncomfortable. While you may not be able to prevent bloating from ever happening again, you can take a proactive approach to reducing the bloat by choosing to add certain foods to your diet.

Lemon water

Water with Lemon
Okay, water isn’t technically a food but when paired with lemon, it can be incredibly beneficial to your health. When you’re bloated the last thing you want to do is add any more anything to your stomach whether it is a liquid or a solid. However, your body retains water so that it doesn’t become dehydrated, meaning that adding water is a great idea.Squeeze half of a lemon into warm water to aid the digestion process and reduce the amount of sodium in your body.

Celery

Celery
Celery has been used for years as a digestive aid because it contains chemicals that are recognized for their ability to decrease fluid retention. This crunchy green vegetable has a high water content and contains detoxifying properties helping to flush toxins out of your body while decreasing bloat.

Watermelon

Watermelon
The juiciest fruit of the summer, watermelon is not only a nostalgic and delicious treat, it helps your body fight bloating. Earlier, we mentioned that while you may not want to add liquid to your body, increasing your water intake helps reduce bloating. Eating watermelon helps to remove bloat because the fruit is composed of 92% water. It is also high in potassium, and the relationship between potassium and sodium is important when it comes to fighting bloating.

Cucumber water

Cucumbers
Again, this is something that you can add to your water if you’d like to help reduce the amount of bloating. Or, you can eat it just as it is. Cucumbers have long been used on the eyes as a way to treat puffiness and you can use cucumbers to decrease the bloat you feel. Cucumbers contain quercetin, an antioxidant, that reduces swelling. This flavonoid antioxidant inhibits the activity of enzymes responsible for inflammation.

Bananas

Bananas
Speaking of potassium, bananas are another sweet way to take the bloat away. Potassium is responsible for regulating the level of sodium in your body. Because of this, if bloating is related to sodium, bananas are a great way to fight bloating.

Yogurt

Yogurt
This may come as a surprise since, generally speaking, dairy is definitely something you want to avoid when you’re feeling bloated. However, if you eat yogurt with probiotics, you help to normalize the digestion process, which in turn helps you avoid bloating.

Bloating is definitely uncomfortable and unwanted. To help keep bloating at bay be sure to monitor your sodium intake and drink plenty of water. You can make drinking water more flavorful, and more powerful in fighting bloating, by adding slices of lemons, cucumbers or bits of watermelon. Experiment with different flavor combinations, or eat a bit of yogurt to help you fight bloat in a totally tasty way.

Quick Fix Skin Care Ingredients

You’ve planned the perfect night out and you want to look your best. From manicures and pedicures to facials and scrubs, getting ready for a big night out is an event all on its own. Unfortunately, no matter how much you primp and prime yourself for a big night out, there are sometimes skin emergencies that happen at the worst possible time. Getting a huge zit right in the middle of your forehead, chipping your nail polish or having your eyelashes lose their surl are all things you do not want to happen right before you step out the door. Luckily, Vine Vera has the best quick-fix solutions for those awful last-minute skin emergencies.

Woman with frizzy hair.

Hair Problems
Frizzy Hair – You spent time styling your hair before going out so you want it to look its best. Factors like the humidity and wind can definitely affect how your hairstyle holds. Most likely, now that you’ve left the house you aren’t carrying a styling cream or frizz tamer. In a pinch, use a hand cream to tame flyaway hairs and frizz.

Oily Hair – Who wants to wash their hair every day? Not only can it be a chore, but it also isn’t that healthy for your hair. So, you decide to skip the hair washing only to discover at the very last moment that you are out of your dry shampoo. In a pinch you can totally use baby (talcum) powder. Sprinkle a small amount at your roots and work through just like you would dry shampoo. Fair warning, if you have dark hair this will take a bit of work to be sure the powder is evenly distributed throughout your hair. For help controlling how much powder is in your hair, grab a clean makeup brush, pick up some powder and apply at the roots. Continue to work the powder in like a normal dry shampoo.

Woman applying eye cream.

Skin Problems
Unexpected Redness of Pimples – The last thing you want to do when a zit pops up at the last minute is squeeze it. This will only aggravate and irritate your skin further. Eye drops are an excellent item to have handy in this situation. For maximum benefit, place your eye drops in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, or a few in the freezer if you’re super rushed, and dab it onto the problem area. To keep your skin as clean as possible, squeeze your eye drops onto a cotton bud and hold that to your zit or red areas.

Puffiness Under Your Eyes – Getting plenty of beauty rest the night before your big event is ideal, but if you find that you haven’t gotten enough and it shows under your eyes, it can be a total bummer. The quick-fix for this sounds pretty gross, but trust us, it works. Keep a tube of Preparation H hemorrhoid cream handy for this issue. Use a bit under the eyes before concealing. Be sure to use a light reflective concealer or powder to further brighten up your under eye area.

If you find that your nail polish has chipped, grab a toothpick and use it to apply polish directly in the chipped area. Alternatively, you could simply paint over the nail with a quick coat of glitter nail polish so the chip is unnoticeable. When eyelashes fall flat but you don’t have a curler with you, grab a spoon. Place the spoon under a lamp or a hand dryer to warm it slightly. Next, place the spoon over your eye and curl lashes around the spoon. It isn’t quite the same effect as a curler, but it will definitely help out in an emergency situation. If you find yourself facing a last minute beauty problem, try not to stress about it, remember nobody’s perfect and don’t let a minor imperfection ruin your big night.

Ingredient Spotlight: Zeolite

Zeolite

The skin care industry is constantly changing as new ingredients are discovered or experts find new ways to use old ingredients. When it comes to constantly evolving ingredients, anti-aging ingredients lead the pack. New ingredients designed to eradicate fine lines and wrinkles, increase collagen and add radiance to your face are being discovered and formulated all the time. It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing beauty industry and it can be even more difficult to know which of the new ingredients will be the most beneficial for your skin. Vine Vera wants to help you keep up with the latest and greatest in skin care ingredients, and to understand which ones may be the best suited to your particular skin type and concerns.

Zeolite
You may not have heard about this anti-aging ingredient yet, but you will want to take note. One of the hardest things to fight against is all of the damage done to your skin by everyday pollutants and toxic chemicals. Zeolite is a skin care ingredient that helps absorb the toxins, free radicals and ions from your skin while still maintaining the delicate pH balance of your skin.

Zeolite is formed when molten rock from far (200,000) below the earth’s surface and volcanic lava and ocean water combine. The result of lava meeting water is the mineral zeolite. The crystalline structure of zeolite has highly concentrated levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, sodium and potassium, all of which are helpful in the fight against aging. Perhaps the most incredible aspect of zeolite is its ability to stimulate skin regeneration and regulate the flow of oxygen. Both of these abilities restore luster and radiance to your skin, helping it to look younger naturally.

What Zeolite Does
As a detoxifying agent, zeolite provides a variety of skin care benefits, including:

  • Exfoliation
  • Removes heavy metals (in the water) from your skin
  • Fights free radical damage
  • Deeply cleans pores
  • Maintains the pH balance of your skin
  • Calms and soothes redness and irritation
  • Protects from environmental pollutants
  • Removes toxic matter from your skin
  • Clears and prevents blackheads, whiteheads and other pimples

Essentially, zeolite keeps your skin looking and functioning its best. The ways in which you can use zeolite as anti-aging skin care vary. One of the most frequent products in which zeolite is used is cleansers. This enhances the effectiveness of your cleanser and adds anti-aging power to your cleanser. Another popular skin care product that contains zeolite is the face mask. Face masks are available in a variety of types and target different problems with the skin. Zeolite can be used in a face mask to purify and detoxify your skin.

So is zeolite right for your skin? The answer is most likely, yes, though there are bound to be exceptions. As  natural mineral, zeolite deep cleans and unclogs pores revealing healthier, clearer skin. However, what zeolite does not do is cause any unnecessary redness, irritation or drying, so it is suitable for all skin types. Look for this anti-aging superstar when you want to amp up your skin’s level of clean and clear.

Ingredient Spotlight: Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is a nutrient rich balanced oil that can be used for a ton of purposes from cooking to skin care. Sunflower oil contains a blend of vitamins A, D and C in addition to high levels of vitamin E. Perhaps the most beneficial components of sunflower oil are the concentration of vitamin E and linoleic acid. Linoleic acid

Sunflower oil

Sunflower Oil
The sunflower is native to America and was one of the first crops to be grown on American soil. It was not until a Russian Czar, Peter the Great, that sunflower oil was prized for its numerous health benefits. Peter the Great was such a fan of sunflower seeds that he is known to have planted an impressive two million acres each year. Besides being a bright, cheerful flower, sunflowers produce two kinds of seeds; those that produce oil and those that do not. The black seeds of sunflowers are the seeds responsible for oil production. When initially expelled, the liquid is almost amber in color, though once the oil has been processed it is a light yellow color. One of the main reasons that sunflower oil is used for consumption is the mild, pleasant taste that the oil has.

Body Benefits
Most often when people think of oils and application on the skin, they associate the oil with moisture. Sunflower oil does work incredibly well as a moisturizer due to its high vitamin E content. The vitamin E in sunflower oil does not just add moisture to the skin, it also holds moisture in the skin keeping it hydrated for longer. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that fights and protects against free radical damage in addition to protecting collagen and elastin in your skin. With the added levels of collagen, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles lessen.

Sunflower oil is also an anti-inflammatory which helps with the reduction of redness and irritation on your skin. Because sunflower oil also has antibacterial properties, it is thought that sunflower oil is also helpful at reducing acne. Sunflower oil, due to its light texture and consistency is great for use around the eyes. When applied in the eye area, sunflower oil helps to reduce fine lines.

Sunflower oil being poured in a salad.

Know that you know all of the skin benefits of sunflower oil, it’s time to learn how to use you. You can apply sunflower oil directly to your skin without any dilution. Sunflower oil is most effective when applied to damp, slightly warm skin so the perfect time to apply sunflower oil is immediately after a bath or shower. Alternatively, you could add a bit of sunflower oil to your bath to really let the vitamin E soak into your skin. Sunflower oil is safe for use even around delicate areas, such as the eyes. If you aren’t a big fan of oil on your skin, you can add a few drops to your favorite lotion or eye cream and still receive the skin benefits. It may be a good idea to keep sunflower oil on hand now, especially with the impending colder months creeping closer.

All About the Merlot Grape

Merlot is often the first thing people think of when they think of red wine, and there is a good reason for that. In America, Merlot is the second most popular red wine, following Cabernet Sauvignon. It isn’t just the United States that enjoys this grape considering that the Merlot grape is the second most widely planted wine grape worldwide (again, it is surpassed only by Cabernet Sauvignon). Merlot is not only a delicious, dry red wine, it is also thought to have some health benefits when consumed moderately.

Grapes in a vineyard

Origins
The earliest record of the Merlot grape was found in the notes of a Bordeaux official in the year 1784. The note regarded how wine made from the Merlot (then referred to as Merlau) was one of the best wines produced in the Libournais region of France. In 1824, the name Merlot was explained in a document on Medoc wine stating that the Merlot grape was named after the blackbird. There are two speculations as to why the grape was named after the blackbird. One explanation claims that the grape was named after the blackbird (Merlau) because the birds loved to eat the ripe Merlot grapes from the vine while the other implies that the grape was named after the blackbird for it’s intense dark blue color.

Characteristics
Merlot wines tend to have a smooth, velvety texture with a rich blend of flavors. The flavors and aromas produced from the Merlot grape can include:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Black cherries
  • Plums
  • Chocolate
  • Cassis
  • Truffles

Some Merlot grapes produce flavors that tend towards a slightly earthier flavor. Merlot grapes flourish in cooler climates and soils that are composed of clay and limestone. The Merlot grape is the most commonly planted grape in France, with 62% of vineyards in the Bordeaux region dedicated to this grape.

Server pouring wine in a restaurant.

Health Benefits
A four ounce glass of Merlot has no fat and just under 100 (it has 98) calories. Additionally, there is less than one gram of sugar in a four ounce glass, making Merlot a light choice for an alcoholic beverage. The other major health benefit that comes with Merlot is the polyphenol compound found in the skin of red grapes: resveratrol. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that provides a wide array of health benefits from the a radiant, glowing complexion to fighting cancer. While resveratrol is still being studied by scientists and researchers, it is thought that this antioxidant may be a key component in proactively providing important health benefits. For instance, resveratrol is thought to increase your LDL (good cholesterol) levels. Resveratrol is also thought to reduce blood clotting, which in turn decreases your risk of heart attacks or strokes. It isn’t just internally that resveratrol provides benefits, your skin receives the antioxidant power of resveratrol as the compound fights free radical damage leading to fewer signs of premature aging.

Merlot grapes are not used merely for the production of Merlot wines. In fact, the early history of Merlot grapes suggest that originally the most frequent use of the Merlot grape was to produce red wine blends. Whether you choose a red wine blend or a lush, rich Merlot, the Merlot grape features exciting aromas and flavors. The bonus health benefits of Merlot grapes make drinking red wine a pleasurable experience for your entire body, however, it is important to remember that the health benefits of resveratrol are positive only when wine is consumed moderately, as excess drinking negates any health benefits received. For information on what foods pair well with Merlot, visit the Resveralife blog.

Top Summer Skin Care Ingredients

Woman enjoying the summer sun

Like your wardrobe, your skin care products most likely rotate depending on the season. For some, this is not a problem at all and changes in climate do not affect the skin at all. But, for most of us, a change in season requires products that target the specific skin concerns associated with that season. Perhaps the most common problem associated with summer skin is oil production. The rise in temperature can actually melt the sebum that is in your pores, making your skin look like an oil slick. The other major concern associated with summer skin is the level of sun protection. You should definitely be using sun protection year-round, but it is a must have for the summer months. Vine Vera has rounded up the most important ingredients to look for to keep your skin looking its best during the hotter months.

Woman applying sunscreen.

SPF
Okay, we already said it but it bears repeating, you should be using an SPF all year long not only in the spring/summer. But, with the sun being out for longer periods of time, it is especially important that you use a product that contains SPF. Depending on the type of sunscreen you prefer (chemical versus physical) the SPF ingredient you should look for will change. The most common, and beneficial, SPF ingredients to look for in summer skin care products are titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone and oxybenzone. Often, products contain a mixture of many SPF ingredients in order to provide broad-spectrum coverage. For summer, try looking for a mattifying sunscreen to help control your oil production. A great way to make sure you don’t forget your SPF is to buy a moisturizer with SPF of 25 of higher built in.

Salicylic acid molecule.

Beta Hydroxy Acid
Using a BHA (salicylic acid) can help minimize the amount of oil clogging your pores. A BHA exfoliant penetrates the pore and removes built-up skin cells that also clog your pores. This helps cut down on breakouts experienced during the summer. If properly formulated, BHA exfoliants can also drastically reduce, or eliminate, blackheads while also fading discoloration from sun damage or post-acne marks. This is a product that is great year-round for those with oily skin, but benefits those with normal to dry skin in the summer as well. Aim to use your BHA exfoliant two to three times weekly. There is one caveat that comes with using a BHA: though removing skin cells helps reduce breakouts, it also does remove a bit of added sun protection as it reveals new skin. This means that it is even more critical to be using a product with SPF.

Aloe vera plant on a wooden table.

Aloe
Even if you are diligent with your sunscreen use, applying with plenty of time to sink in and reapplying every two hours, a burn is a possibility. Aloe is an excellent ingredient for soothing sun- burned skin. That isn’t it’s only purpose though. Aloe is a natural anti-inflammatory and may help wounds heal more quickly. You can go straight to the source for your aloe needs, or, you can look for moisturizers with aloe or grab some aloe vera gel for sunburn relief.

Though your skin care needs are likely going to change from season to season, you don’t have to overhaul your entire bathroom counter. A few products with beneficial ingredients is all you need to help your skin deal with a change in climate. And we’ll say it again, even though it’s listed on here as a top summer ingredient, you should use an SPF every day of the year.

Product Pairs to Avoid

At Vine Vera, we’ve discussed multiple times what skin care ingredients are beneficial to your skin. In our last post, we talked about quality skin care ingredients that work better together; some pairs are just meant to be. Not all skin care ingredients play nice with each other though. You probably have a counter or drawer full of products. It can be so tempting to keep buying the newest, most advanced skin care in hopes of attaining a flawless face. The problem with this is that every product will have its own list of ingredients and they may not work effectively on your skin when paired with another product and set of ingredients. Trying to figure out exactly which ingredients work together and those that don’t can be an overwhelming and exhausting task. That’s why we’ve put together lists of the best combinations and the worst. The following ingredient pairings are ones that you want to steer clear of to see maximum results from your skin care products.

Orange and milk

Vitamin C + Alpha Hydroxy Acids
The combination of these ingredients won’t cause adverse effects or counteract the effectiveness of the other, but it is still a combination skin care experts advise against. Vitamin C is found in the majority of anti-aging skin care products and rightly so. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that enhances skin tone, approve the appearance of spots caused by sun damage, reduce and prevent marks due to acne and it stimulates collagen production, which leads to decreased wrinkles and fine lines. Truly, vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to skin care ingredients. Alpha hydroxy acids, typically citric, glycolic or lactic acid, are also a very beneficial treatment against wrinkles, though in a different way. AHAs are generally used in an exfoliating way to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The problem with combining the two is that both of these ingredients is that both of them are acidic ingredients. Vitamin C is incredibly pH sensitive and AHAs can alter the pH levels of vitamin C, thus reducing or eliminating any antioxidant benefits from vitamin C. In addition, because these two are acidic, used together they can be incredibly irritating to sensitive skin.

Resorcinol + Hydroquinone
Though both of these ingredients are designed to decrease and treat hyperpigmentation, they don’t tend to work well together. Hydroquinone has been used as a skin care ingredient, particularly in the United States, for decades. Hydroquinone inhibits two skin enzymes: tyrosinase and homogentisic acid oxidase. Resorcinol is a newer ingredients in skin lightening products and also inhibits the above enzymes. Based on that, you would think that they would do double duty and work perfectly together, but they don’t. Pigment accumulates in the skin when homogentisic acid oxidase is inhibited. In dark-skinned individuals, the combination of these has been shown to actually permanently darken the skin rather than lighten it. It is important to note that this is a rare occurrence and is not a necessary cause for concern in people with lighter complexions, but it’s best to play it safe and pick one or the other.

Niacinamides and Sirtuins.

Niacinamides + Sirtuins
Some skin care pairings are shrouded in questions as to whether or not they are true. The combination of niacinamides and sirtuins has empirical research proving that these ingredients should not be mixed. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and has multiple skin benefits. This ingredient helps to hydrate and soften your skin while also reducing the appearance, or preventing further, fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, niacinamide helps to prevent and treat age spots on your skin. Sirtuins turn off unnecessary gene expression, thereby conserving energy within your skin cells. A 2005 study by Johns Hopkins University found that niacinamide inhibits the sirtuins activity. In a way, it makes a lot of sense: niacinamides want to increase your cell metabolism while sirtuins want to decrease the metabolism. If you wanted to use both ingredients on your skin, make sure that you use them on alternating days or only one at night and the other during the day as using them at the same time will negate the effectiveness of the individual ingredients.

Of course, you want to achieve the best results possible with each and every one of your skin care products. Unfortunately, not all ingredients get along with each other and they can work against your skin. Though each is beneficial for your skin in its own way, sometimes, there can be too much a good thing.