Author Archives: Vine Vera Cosmetics

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!

 

Sunbathing Through The Years

The idea of a sun-kissed look has changed over time. While some find a glowing tan to be a healthy look, others are all too aware of the damaging effects of the sun. Read on to find out how perceptions of a tan have evolved throughout the years.

Woman Sunbathing
In early times, many people worked outdoors. The increased exposure to the sun often resulted in significant, painful and even disfiguring burns that left most highly motivated to stay shielded from the sun. Those who had pale, porcelain were envied as this was a sign of wealth and stature. However, after the turn of the 20th century, the wealthy started taking vacations and returning with glowing tans which became the new vogue. Beauty products soon followed suit, to keep up with the new trends.

Sun protection products were first introduced in the 1950’s by Coppertone.  The company claimed their lotions would allow you to tan while protecting you from the sun.  However, as Erika Summers, M.D., a University of Utah dermatologist points our, “They claimed the product let in only the UV rays that promoted tanning and kept out the ones that burned you, which we now know is inaccurate. Simply put, all freckling and tanned skin is damaged.”

The concept of SPF was introduced in the 1960’s. However, the amount added to suntan lotions was very low, around 2-4 SPF. The additives were often thick and oily and didn’t rub into the skin very well.

Woman putting on sunscreen
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, tanning oils became more popular. At the same time, researchers were making progress in figuring out the effects of UV rays and creating sunscreens with sweat and water protection. Despite all of this, the media advertised sunbathing as the best way to take care of your skin. Summers elaborates, “Most of my patients who applied iodine or baby oil to tan have more skin cancers, wrinkles, and sunspots than my patients who did not. The people who practiced good sun protection back then actually have more youthful skin now.”

Finally, in the 1990’s UVA blockers were added to sunscreen and spray and gel sunscreens started getting more popular. SPF’s were also available in everyday products and higher SPF’s were seen more frequently.

Presently, the FDA regulates sunscreen labels to make them easy for consumers to understand. SPF levels are clearly stated on the labels, as is the fact of whether or not the sunscreens are broad spectrum. Vague descriptions like ‘sunblock’ and ‘waterproof’ are no longer used.

Despite all of this, dermatologists still stress covering up as the best way to avoid skin cancer and sun damage. When this is not possible, individuals should wear hats and sun protective clothing and apply a broad spectrum sunscreen daily, that is effective against UVA and UVB rays. Summers adds, “If you are insistent on looking tan, use a self-tanning product that also has an included sunscreen with SPF 30 or above. It is a myth that the self-tanner alone provides adequate protection from the sun.”

Sunburn Soothing Treatments

Woman with sunscreen Regardless of all the information we are given to protect our skin from the sun, sunburns do happen. Either we lose track of time, forget to reapply, maybe even nod off while sunbathing. Well, nobody’s perfect. And, if you do get a sunburn, you need to know that best way to treat it.

At first signs of a sunburn, you should act fast to cool it. If you are near water, you might want to take a quick dip to cool skin… with emphasis on the word ‘quick’! You don’t want to prolong exposure so it’s important to cool skin and then cover up and get out of the sun as quickly as possible. Then follow up by treating skin with cool compresses or ice water, but do not apply ice directly to sunburn. A cool shower or bath can be effective if you don’t stay in the water too long since it can have a drying effect. You also want to avoid harsh soap.

Moisturizing is also an important step in treating sunburn. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends moisturizing while skin is still damp from cooling and then follow up to keep the skin moist over the next few days. Avoid petroleum or oil based ointments which can trap heat and make the burn worse.

You also want to make sure you treat the inflammation as soon as possible. “At first sign of sunburn, taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin can help with discomfort and inflammation,” says Dr. Brackeen, who practices at the Skin Cancer Institute in Lubbock, TX. You can continue with the NSAIDs until the burn feels better. Over the counter cortisone cream, and aloe vera are both topical solutions that will help to this end. It is recommended you wear loose, soft clothing to avoid further skin irritation and stay out of the sun while sunburn is still active.

While healing from a sunburn, you want to drink plenty of fluids. “Burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, so you may become dehydrated,” explains Brackeen. Rehydrate by drinking extra liquids including water and sports drinks that will replenish electrolytes at the first sign of burning and as skin heals.

woman with sunburn
Seek medical help if there are signs of severe blistering over a large portion of your body. You may also want to see a doctor if you are experiencing fever, chills, wooziness or confusion. Do not scratch or pop blisters as this may cause infection. Signs of infection include red streaks or oozing puss.

Although skin will heal from a sunburn, the skin has still been damaged. Repeat sunburns put you at a risk for skin cancer and premature aging so prevention is really the best route. Covering exposed skin, limiting sun exposure, and using an adequate amount of broad spectrum sunblock with a sufficient SPF are all key in avoiding sunburn. The SCF offers, “Remember how bad this sunburn felt, then commit to protecting yourself from the sun every day, all year long. Learn from the burn.”

Aloe Vera Cure All

Aloe Vera
Aloe vera. It’s in most of our medicine cabinets and used in our favorite skincare products. But did you know that in Chinese medicine it is recommended in the treatment of fungal diseases and has widespread use in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries? In fact, the manufacturing of aloe vera extracts is one of the largest botanical industries in the world. Find out what it can do for you.

Soothes Rashes and Skin Irritations
Sure, when we have a rash or sunburn, aloe vera may be the first thing we reach for. But did you know that numerous reports have explored the role of topical aloe vera and its effectiveness in treatment of psoriasis, surgical wounds and burn remedies yielding astonishing results?

A 1996 study done at the Department of Clinical Physiology in Sweden tested 60 patients with chronic psoriasis and found results when part of the group used aloe vera vs. others who used a placebo. Those who used aloe vera came up with a cure rate of 83% with no relapses reported in a 12 month follow-up. Also, a systematic review of 40 studies was performed in 2009 showing that the oral administration of aloe vera in mice can heal wounds, decrease the number and size of papillomas (small growths on skin) and reduce the incidence of tumors by more than 90% in the liver, spleen and bone marrow. The studies also show that aloe vera effectively treats genital herpes, cold sores, dermatitis, frostbite, burns and can be safely used as an antifungal and antimicrobial agent.

Aloe Vera
Moisturizes Hair and Scalp

Aloe vera is also a great hair and scalp moisturizer. It’s nourishing properties and tons of vitamins and minerals will keep hair strong and healthy. It’s antibacterial and antifungal properties help with dandruff and the gel’s enzymes can rid the scalp of dead cells and promote regeneration of skin tissues around the hair follicles. Unlike many shampoos and conditioners, aloe vera is free of chemicals that can damage hair and cause skin irritations.

Treats Constipation
Aloe latex is a fluid derived from the inner lining of the leaves of the aloe vera plant. This juice has a natural fiber that aids digestion and improves bowel movements. Experts recommend drinking two ounces of aloe vera juice daily when constipated.

Boosts Immune System
The enzymes present in aloe vera break down what we eat into amino acids which turn the enzymes into fuel for every cell in the body, allowing the cells to function properly. Bradykinase, an anti-inflammatory mediator found in aloe vera, stimulates the immune system and kills infections. Since zinc is an important component in aloe vera, it could also help those with a zinc deficiency. Other vitamins present in aloe vera include Vitamin C which protects the body from cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and skin wrinkling; and Vitamin E which reduces free radical damage, fights inflammation and helps naturally slow the aging process.

Using Natural Moisturizers

Moisturizers are necessary in every beauty routine. However, not every moisturizer is for every skin type and sensitive skin can become irritated by some chemicals that are present in moisturizers. That’s why it’s a good idea to look in to natural alternatives for moisturizers including shea butter, olive oil and castor oil and more.

shea nuts

Shea Butter
Shea butter is an all-natural vitamin A cream that serves as a superb moisturizer with healing properties for the skin. The vitamin A can improve skin conditions such as skin allergies, insect bites, sunburns and frostbite while offering unparalleled moisturizing properties. This is due to the fact that the moisturizers in shea butter contains the same moisturizers produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It is inexpensive yet effective at reducing flaking, redness and peeling.

olive oil

Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil helps hold in your skin’s natural moisture and prevents it from drying out. It is recommended to apply it to your skin before going to bed at night. Because its chemical composition is similar to that of human skin, your skin will absorb it easily. It contains vitamins A and E which help repair sun and environmental damage and it is good for almost any skin type. Its polyphonic compounds reverse free radicals which can cause premature aging.

castor oil

Castor Oil
The fatty oils in castor oil can penetrate through skin layers to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. This will soften and repair skin while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It works especially well on crow’s feet and dark circles around the eyes. It is recommended that you put it on your face after washing it before going to bed. It will soak into skin as you sleep.

aloe vera

Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is another great natural moisturizer. Effective for men of women, when used topically, aloe vera can slow the signs of aging. This is due to the fact that it increases collagen, therefore increasing the skin’s elasticity. Nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamins E and C will keep skin plump. It cleanses and softens skin without leaving it greasy or clogging pores.

avocados

Avocado Oil
Avocado oil has some amazing benefits for your skin when used as a natural moisturizer. It is one of the most penetrative of all natural plant oils, so it is believed to penetrate through the epidermis into the dermis layer of the skin. Once there, it helps increase collagen production in the layers of the dermis. A good extra virgin olive oil is especially useful for flaking, dehydrated, sun damaged faces.

coconut

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is full of saturated fats that help the skin stay moisturized. The fats also aid in preventing moisture loss through the skin’s pores. It increases hydration and reduces water loss in seriously dry skin and leaves skin feeling nourished and smooth. It can also be used to moisturize hair and scalp or will leave your skin looking hydrated after shaving your legs.

So, have you used any of these natural moisturizers for you skin, and, if so, how have they worked for you? What natural moisturizers do you use that don’t appear on this list? We’d love to hear from in the comments section.

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

natural tea tree oil
The pharmaceutical industry is growing rapidly with new advances constantly emerging. But with side effects and chemicals in question, it’s nice to know that there is one ingredient that is all natural, can be found in many kitchen cabinets and in many skin care products, and can help with illnesses and other unpleasant conditions. That ingredient is tea tree oil.

Acne
Tea  tree oil is considered one of the most effective remedies for acne. One study found it to be just as potent as benzoyl peroxide without negative side effects such as peeling and redness.

Hair
Tea tree oil can also be beneficial for the hair and scalp. It is effective on dandruff and can even be used to remove lice. To make a shampoo, mix several drops of the oil with coconut milk, aloe vera gel and essential oils like lavender oil.

Tea tree oil Cleaning
Tea tree oil also makes a great household cleaner. It has antimicrobial properties that can kill bacteria. Mix the oils with water, vinegar and lemon juice and use it to clean your bathroom and kitchen areas.

Psoriasis and Eczema
Because tea tree oil can reduce inflammation, it can also be effective in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema.

Toenail Fungus and Ringworm
Because tea tree oil is effective against parasites and fungal infections, it’s useful in the treatment of toenail fungus, athlete’s foot and ringworm. Put the undiluted oil directly on the effected area with a clean cotton swab.

Mold
Mold grows in many homes, often without the owners being aware of it. You can buy a diffuser and diffuse tea tree oil in the air around your home to kill mold and other bad bacteria. You can also spray tea tree oil cleaner onto your shower curtains, laundry machine, dishwasher or toilet to kill mold.

Deodorant
Tea tree oil can eliminate body odor. Its antimicrobial properties destroy the bacteria that causes odor. Make a homemade deodorant by mixing tea tree oil with coconut oil and baking soda.

Cuts and Infections
Tea tree oil mixed with lavender essential oil can help treat wounds. Make sure to clean the cut with water and hydrogen peroxide if necessary. Then apply tea tree oil and cover the cut with a bandage.

Oral Health
Because tea tree oil kills bacteria and reduces inflammation, it’s a great ingredient for a toothpaste or mouthwash. It can reduce bleeding gums and tooth decay. Mix tea tree oil with coconut oil and baking soda for a great homemade toothpaste.

 

Healing Your Skin With Soybean Oil

soybeans with a bottle of soybean oil

With all the strange chemicals that can be found in skin care products, it’s nice to know that there are some natural components that can also be beneficial. Within the past 10 years, soybean oil has become more and more popular in its use in skin care products and its abilities to keep skin looking beautiful. Find out how to use soybean oil to your advantage and see what it can do for your skin.

Soybean oil is made up of small molecular structures that allow it to penetrate the top most layer of skin, the epidermis. From there, it nestles into your skin’s cellular structure, stimulating the synthesis of elastin, collagen and other proteins. This is key in cell growth, regeneration and the reversal of abnormal cell functions.

Soy is rich in essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, lecithin and antioxidants all of which can nourish your skin when applied topically.

  • Through its antioxidant properties, Vitamin E promotes regeneration and healing. It is useful for moisturizing skin, keeping it smooth and healthy.
  • Essential fatty acids help moisturize the collagen below the skin surface while lecithin maintains the elasticity of the skin, smoothing fine lines and preventing premature aging.
  • Soybean oil has an overall effect of correcting pigmentation brought about by hormonal changes and the damage caused by sun exposure. It can be effective at removing skin blemishes caused by acne.
  • The antioxidant properties in soy oil are great for improving skin as they protect skin cells from free radical damage, reducing aging effects and wrinkling.

Studies have proven the effectiveness of soybean oil on skin. A placebo controlled trial studied 65 women with moderate facial photodamage. At the end of a 12 week period, the results showed these women to have reduced blotchiness, dullness, and fine lines, and an improvement in overall skin tone, texture and appearance.

The oral administration of soybean oil may also be beneficial to the skin. A study was conducted involving 80 postmenopausal women who were given a placebo or two tablets containing soy extract as well as other beneficial extracts including those from grape seed, tomato, white tea, vitamins C and E, chamomile and zinc. The active group had significantly greater facial improvement, including a reduction of wrinkles, sagging, under eye circles, and mottled pigmentation, after a 3 and 6 months of treatment. Of course, the setback here is the inability to be able to single out soy as the specific contributor to these benefits as opposed to the other extracts.

The overall conclusion of the studies is that use of soy and soy extracts when applied topically seem to have scientific support. Preliminary studies on the impact of dietary soy and skin health show that there is justification for continued research in this area.

Soy should be used as a facial moisturizer only in its pure or organic form. It is mild and does not cause skin irritations. Although it contains estrogens, these are not the type that will go into your blood stream, it will simply help cells rejuvenate.

Have you used soybean oil for skin health? Are you happy with the results you’re getting? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Protecting Your Lips

woman applying lip balm

When we think of health care and beauty, many of us overlook our lips. In fact, 70% of beach goers who slather on sunscreen products will overlook their lips. However, in a study conducted at the University Of Texas Medical Branch Department Of Dermatology, researchers evaluated the knowledge of ultraviolet light as a risk for lip cancer and found that many beach goers were unaware of these risks. Read on to find out what sun damage can do to your lips and how you can keep your lips moist and healthy.

When it comes to skin cancer, ultraviolet rays are the most pertinent risk factor. Because lips don’t have melanin, they are highly vulnerable to sun damage caused by exposure to UV. The Mayo Clinic warns that the sun’s UV rays can affect the production of collagen on your lips leading to the formation of wrinkles on or around the mouth as an early aging sign.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying an SPF lip balm every day, even on cloudy days, and reapply every two hours. Drinking water often will also help in protecting lips from sun damage as well as keeping them soft, smooth and hydrated. Here are some other tips for you in finding a lip balm product that will protect your lips:

  • Stay away from shiny lipsticks that have high gloss with little or no color as they will attract UV rays. You’re better off with a matte product.
  • Buy lip products that have a base of paraffin, petroleum jelly or beeswax. Beeswax. These will stay on your lips longer and seal moisture longer than thinner glosses and balms.
  • If your lips become dry and start to peel, use sugar and olive oil to exfoliate lips and remove accumulated dead skin cells.

Here are some other tips on how to keep lips looking healthy:

  • Stop Licking Your Lips: Robert Brodell, M.D., a dermatologist from Warren, OH, warns that licking your lips can damage the protective barrier and dry out the lips. The saliva’s digestive enzymes break down this barrier. Opt for a lip balm instead.
  • Use A Humidifier: It can replace moisture in dry indoor air and keep lips and skin hydrated.
  • Limit Your Use of Matte Lipsticks: They can dry your lips extremely, which is why they should be used sparingly when lips are chapped. Try alternating them with hydrating lipsticks or add a moisturizing lip balm layer underneath.

Here is a guide to treating common problems associated with your lips:

  • Cut in the Corner of the Mouth: Keep lips hydrated and apply hydrocortisone cream to affected area.
  • Wrinkles Around Lips: Apply creams with anti-aging ingredients like retinol. Chemical peels can be helpful as well.
  • Thin lips: The best option for thin lips is a collagen injection, which costs about $300 and can last up to six months. Consumers should be aware of possible side effects including excessive swelling and temporary redness of the lips.

What do you do to keep your lips looking luscious? Let us know in the comments section below.

All About Goji Berry Extract

If the gorgeous Victoria’s Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr can’t stop talking about a beneficial super fruit, you should probably listen up. Celebrities such as Miranda Kerr and Madonna credit goji berries gush about these tiny, scrunched up bits of fruit and there is a good reason. Vine Vera decided to do some digging on goji berries to find out whether this fruit deserves the hype.

Goji berries in a wooden spoon.

What are Goji Berries?
The goji berry is a miniscule fruit that is roughly the size of the tip of your pinky finger in it’s raw form. Typically, raw goji berries are hard to find in the United States and instead are more common in Asian and European countries. Goji berries are interesting because they are considered to be both a fruit and a herb. Due to this, they a characterized by a slight sweetness though with the aftertaste of an herbal nature. They are consumed mainly either raw, dried or as a juice. However, the simplest way to enjoy goji berries is in a dry extract. So why eat goji berries? Because goji berries are packed with antioxidants such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1, B2 and B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • 21 minerals including calcium, iron and zinc

Goji Berries and Your Health
It is true that goji berries are full of essential vitamins and minerals, and increasing your intake of these items is beneficial to your body. However, be sure to proceed with caution when it comes to other health claims made regarding goji berries. Used in traditional Chinese medicine, the goji berry is sometimes credited as being an antioxidant that is capable of reducing the risk of cancer but there is no scientific research to back up this claim. Additionally, there are individuals who may actually find that adding goji berries to their diet is harmful rather than beneficial (those taking blood thinners or on medication for diabetes or blood pressure), so it best to consult with a doctor prior to going crazy with goji berries. Though not all of the claims made of goji berries are true, goji berries are a powerful antioxidant with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. There has been some general research saying that feelings of calm and well-being increase, sleep quality improves and that goji berries do help with weight loss.

Closeup of goji berries.

How to Add Goji Berries to Your Diet
As previously mentioned, goji berries can be eaten in its raw form, as dried berries, as juice or as a dry extract. The easiest way to add goji berries to your diet is using goji berry extract. Goji berry extract is available in supplement form and sometimes as an additive to herbal teas. When purchasing goji berry extract, or regular goji berries, be sure to comparison shop prior to purchasing because many suppliers significantly increase the price of these berries.

Goji berry, and the extract of goji berries, can be a healthy addition to your diet. However, if you already are taking prescription medications, it is best to consult with your doctor before adding goji berries. Try a supplement for a convenient, easy way to receive the health benefits of goji berries.