Category Archives: INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT

What Makes Argan Oil So Beneficial for Your Skin?

Argan oil is one of the most sought after culinary and cosmetic oils in the world. Here are some of the ingredients that make this oil so desirable and some of the ways you can take advantage of its benefits.

Argan Oil
Argan oil has been used as a healing oil throughout the centuries to treat skin conditions. The oil owes its healing properties to its high content of vitamin E and A and its wealth of antioxidants, such as omega -6 fatty acid and linoleic acid. Applied topically, the tocopherol from the vitamin E can boost cell production, promoting healthy skin and hair. Here are some of the top cosmetic uses for argan oil.

Argan oil

Night Time Moisturizer
After your nightly cleanser, pour a drop of argan oil in your palm to warm. Massage it into face and neck using a circular motion. Next, apply a drop to your face from the bridge of your nose to your temple using a tapping motion. Continue to use this gentle tapping to place a drop beneath your eyes. You will find the oil absorbs quickly without leaving a residue and that the A and E vitamins will help to reduce fine lines.

Skin Toner
To reap the benefits of argan oil in your toner, add two to four drops of the oil to eight ounces of toner or, follow this recipe to make your own chemical- free version:

Pour a cup of boiling water over a green tea bag and allow to steep for seven to ten minutes. Remove the bag and allow the tea to come to room temperature. Add a drop or two of an essential oil of your choice, add two to four drops of the argan oil and seal in a jar. Use twice daily after cleansing and before moisturizing.

face serum

Improving Acne-Prone Skin
Another benefit of argan oil is its ability to reduce sebum levels and fight acne. The high linoleic acid content can reduce inflammation due to acne while healing damaged skin cells. Simply apply a drop into problem areas, or fight whiteheads by making the skin toner (see above) using a few drops of tea tree oil. The tree tea oil will complement the argan oil with its supply of antioxidants, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Healing Stretch Marks
Argan oil helps restore elasticity to the skin lost to stretching. Warm two to three drops of the oil in your palms and rub on problem areas. The vitamin A and E will prevent stretch marks from forming. If you have already existing stretch marks, massage argan oil and brown sugar to the affected area before bathing. Rinse and reapply the oil to the area before dressing.

Caring for Your Nails
The non-greasy moisturizing agents in this oil make it ideal for treating nails and cuticles. Remove all traces of nail polish from hands and toes and dot a tiny drop into each nail, rubbing into cuticle and nail bed. Allow nails to absorb the oil, then rinse and apply polish as usual. Regular treatment should help your nails grow strong and beautiful, while preventing the formation of painful hangnails.

Have you used argan oil? Are the goats on to something? Their hair is fabulous and their hooves are really strong.

Ingredient Spotlight: Coconut Milk

The incredible taste and texture of coconut milk certainly make it seem like coconut milk would be bad for you. Plus, many people are aware that coconut milk has saturated fats and contains quite a few calories. However, the saturated fats found in coconut milk are actually highly beneficial to your health and can help fight chronic diseases and prevent cardiovascular disease. Keep reading to find out exactly what coconut milk is and three major health benefits that ingesting coconut milk provides.

Coconut milk

What is Coconut Milk?
The name coconut milk is a bit misleading, but it isn’t actually a “milk” at all in the sense that the word milk is generally used. Coconut milk is a liquid found naturally in the coconut “meat” inside of mature coconuts. Coconut milk has a mild coconut flavor and can be used in many recipes as a dairy substitute. Coconut milk is not to be confused with the liquid that first leaks out when you crack open a coconut – that is coconut water. Coconut water has more sugar and electrolytes, but coconut milk is higher in saturated fatty acids from coconut oil.

One of the fats that coconut milk provides is the medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid. Lauric acid is absorbed easily by the body and is used as a source of energy. Although coconut milk does contain many saturated fats, it is not a threat to your cholesterol levels or to your heart. In fact, experts say that coconut milk can help you lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, because it is high in calories, it is best to consume coconut milk in moderation.

Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Coconut milk has multiple benefits to your health, some of which include:

  • Heart Health – As mentioned above, coconut milk does contain saturated fats, but 50 percent of the fats found in coconut milk is lauric acid. This protective fatty acid has been linked to a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. Coconut milk also helps lower your blood pressure and keeps your blood vessels flexible and free from heart disease-causing plaque.
  • Builds Muscle – The medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut milk increase your energy expenditure and provide enhanced physical performance. Those benefits help you to build muscle and because the fats in coconut milk are good fats, they fill you up and can help curb your cravings for snacks and prevent overeating.
  • Prevents Joint Inflammation – Inflammation is one of your body’s main enemies because it plays a role in so many diseases and uncomfortable conditions, one of which is arthritis. Inflammation also decreases your body’s immune function, but coconut milk can help to reduce inflammation. The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk decrease inflammation, and when used in place of refined sugar, can decrease inflammation even more because refined sugar is pro-inflammatory.

Coconut milk, like its relatives coconut water and coconut oil, is considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. Enjoy coconut milk in place of dairy milk, use it to make curries or use it in your morning smoothies for an added boost of healthy fats.

Ingredient Spotlight: Biotin

Biotin is a vitamin that gets a lot of buzz in the beauty industry, but what is it and what does it do? Biotin is a B vitamin that is essential to multiple bodily functions and that does play a role in keeping a healthy and youthful appearance. If you’ve ever been curious about what biotin is and how you can benefit from biotin, keep reading. Learn what biotin is, what the benefits of biotin are and how you can get biotin for your body.

Vitamin B7

What is Biotin?
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that is one of the complex B vitamins. “B complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly,” according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. These key nutrients are responsible for your digestive, cardiovascular, nervous and metabolic functions.

Perhaps more popularly, biotin is a nutrient that plays a role in maintaining the health of your hair, skin and nails. Vitamin B7 is a frequent addition to beauty products aimed at skin and hair care, but there is little research to support the claim that these formulations containing biotin have a significant impact on hair, skin and nails. Some experts believe that biotin is not well absorbed through the skin, so the benefits of topical application may be quite small. Ingesting biotin is recommended, and there are many food sources you can enjoy to get your daily recommended value of biotin.

Benefits of Biotin
Biotin has several important health benefits including:

  • Healthy Metabolism – B7 and other B vitamins are required to convert the food you eat into energy. “All B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body metabolize fats and proteins,” writes the University of Maryland Medical Center.
  • Blood Sugar – The link between biotin and diabetes continues to be studied, but research shows that biotin, particularly when combined with chromium, lowers blood sugar in people with diabetes. Biotin helps too with blood glucose levels because it facilitates the activity of insulin, which is the hormone responsible for balancing blood sugar.
  • Hair, Skin and Nails – High doses of biotin have been shown to treat weak and brittle hair or nails. It is also thought that biotin helps protect your skin from acne, dryness, cracking, rashes and fungal infections.

How to Get Biotin
Because biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, your body does not store it and so you need a constant supply of biotin. Foods that are biotin-rich include:

  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Salmon
  • Cheese
  • Avocados
  • Raspberries
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Cauliflower

You can also take biotin in supplement forms in a wide range of doses.

Biotin, B7, is an important vitamin that not only strengthens your hair, nails and skin, but that also contributes to the proper functioning of several body systems. While you need a constant supply of biotin, it is rare for people that consume adequate calories each day to be deficient in biotin. Additionally, it is rare that biotin levels become so high that they are toxic. Eating biotin-rich foods benefits your body and your beauty.

Ingredient Spotlight: Honey

When most people think of honey, they think of a natural alternative to processed sugar, not their skin. Honey is definitely an ingredient to look for when you select your skin care products. “Raw honey is incredible for your skin thanks to its antibacterial properties and hefty serving of skin-saving antioxidants,” says beauty expert and blogger, Kim Wallace. The use of honey in skin care is well-documented and dates back to the most ancient civilizations. Ayurvedic medicine continues to use honey for multiple skin uses from treating acne to healing wounds and reducing scars. And, honey is not just ancient history, it continues to be used for a variety of dermatological and medicinal purposes today. “Honey is published widely in medical literature for its use on wounds and diabetic sores,” says dermatologist Dr. Doris Day. To find out how you can benefit from skin care products containing honey, keep reading.

Honey

Cleanse
There are around 180 compounds found in honey and enzymes in raw honey can be used to cleanse your skin. These enzymes clean deep into your pores to keep them clear and clean. Additionally, the antibacterial properties of honey are especially beneficial in cleansers formulated for acne-prone skin. Using a cleanser that includes honey for acne-prone or sensitive skin is helpful because you receive the amazing levels of clean, while still retaining your skin’s moisture and without aggravating your skin at all.

Exfoliate
As you age, your skin’s natural exfoliation slows down and it becomes increasingly important to exfoliate your skin. Dead skin cells accumulate and build up on the surface of your skin leading to a dry, rough and dull complexion. The enzymes and acids, like gluconic acid, in honey gently break apart dead skin cells and remove them from the surface of your skin. With the dead skin cells no longer sitting on top of your skin and clogging up the surface, new and healthy skin cells can be revealed for a healthy, even and radiant appearance.

Moisturize
Honey is a natural humectant, which means that it is able to draw moisture from the surrounding air and bring it into the skin. Humectants ensure that moisture reaches the appropriate layers of skin and that this moisture is then retained in the skin for long-lasting hydration. Look for a moisturizer or face mask that contains honey to seriously increase the moisture levels in your skin. Don’t forget to treat your lips and choose a lip balm that contains honey to keep your lips hydrated for hours.

Treat
Perhaps the most famous uses for honey are those that use honey as a treatment. One of the most popular dermatological applications for honey is in the treatment of acne. Due to the antibacterial properties of honey, it is able to reduce pimple-causing bacteria and it does so without further irritating the skin. Honey also has anti-fungal properties that are beneficial for acne-prone skin and its high antioxidant content means that it acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, reducing redness and swelling caused by breakouts.

Honey has a long history of use, both for cosmetics and as a medical treatment, and the reason for this history is that honey is a serious multi-tasking skin care ingredient. If you suffer from dry spots, rough and dull skin or breakouts, skin care products containing honey can help solve your skin problems. You don’t have to have dry or troublesome skin to benefit from this incredible ingredient, the antioxidant properties of honey make it an excellent addition to any skin care routine.

Ingredient Spotlight: Centella Asiatica

Ancient Ayurvedic, African and Chinese medicine have all used centella asiatica for centuries to treat a wide range of health concerns including issues from skin conditions to infertility. This plant has been studied for years and some recent research indicates that centella asiatica can have some significantly positive effects on both your overall health and the health of your skin. Find out more about what centella asiatica is and what benefits this plant has for your health below.

Centella Asiatica leaf

What is Centella Asiatica?
Centella asiatica is also commonly referred to as gotu kola, Indian pennywort, brahmi or spade leaf and is a creeping annual plant with tiny reddish-pink flowers. This annual tends to grow in a spherical shape close to the soil and is frequently found in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. Centella asiatica, or just centella, contains potent phytochemicals, vitamins A, B, C and D, flavonoids and amino acids, as well as minerals including zinc, calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, selenium and sodium.

History of Centella Asiatica
For centuries, centella asiatica has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes including the treatment of skin conditions like minor burns, dermatitis and psoriasis. The leaves and stems of centella asiatica are used in traditional Chinese, African and Ayurvedic medicine. Centella asiatica has been referred to as the “elixir of life” and is mentioned in some folk legends for helping a sage live to more than 200 years. England usually refers to centella asiatica as pennywort and it was used as one of the earliest medicines for leprosy. France recognized centella as a pharmaceutical agent in the 1800s and used this plant to treat diarrhea, dysentery and female health problems like infertility.

Medicinal Benefits of Centella Asiatica
Taken internally, centella asiatica is considered to be an effective treatment for fever, dysentery and hepatitis. Recent research suggests that centella asiatica is also able to reduce or relieve depression and anxiety and can provide a mood boost. Additionally, by increasing blood flow to the brain, centella asiatic is thought to help improve memory function. Studies also indicate that centella asiatica may have a positive effect on Parkinson’s Disease, however the FDA has not yet recognized centella asiatica as a medicine.

Centella asiatica is frequently used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis because it contains antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Minor wounds and burns also benefit from centella asiatica because it increases blood flow to the affected area, raises the level of antioxidants in the wound and encourages collagen synthesis.

Skin Benefits of Centella Asiatica
Beyond being able to treat skin conditions, centella asiatica has some awesome skin benefits. When applied topically, centella asiatica has a tightening and toning effect on the skin and it is often found in anti-aging creams meant to keep skin firm. Because centella asiatica encourages collagen synthesis, it also helps fight fine lines and wrinkles. Another skin condition that centella asiatica provides positive benefits for is cellulite because in addition to increasing blood flow to the area it also delivers antioxidants to the area, minimizes inflammation and acts as a diuretic. These actions help to smooth and detoxify any areas of the body that are affected by cellulite.

Whether you call it brahmi, centella asiatica or pennywort, this annual plant has significant benefits to your internal health and to your skin. Look for this ingredient in lotions, creams or other products meant to tone and firm to see the anti-aging benefits mentioned above. You can also enjoy centella asiatica in supplement form, or as a tea infusion to achieve a greater level of health both inside and out.

Ingredient Spotlight: Licorice Root Extract

Black licorice candy is pretty polarizing, you either love it or your hate it and the idea of slathering licorice all over your face may be incredibly unappealing to you. Before you discard licorice root extract, you should know that the candy contains very little actual licorice and that this plant extract is a highly beneficial skincare ingredient. Find out what licorice root extract is, what the skin benefits are and how you can use it as a part of your healthy skin routine.

Licorice Root Extract

What is Licorice Root Extract?
Licorice root extract is derived from the roots of the plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, which is a legume that is related to beans and peas. This plant is grown mostly in Greece, Turkey and Asia and was widely used in ancient Chinese medicine for its impressive health benefits. Although this is a flowering plant, it is the root that is harvested for its health benefits, which includes benefits to your skin.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that peeled licorice is available in powdered or dried forms. Licorice root is available as capsules, tablets and liquid extracts. The root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant produces a syrupy liquid that contains beneficial plant sterols, which benefit your skin by promoting elasticity while also fighting inflammation and new wrinkles from forming.

In addition to being used for skin care, licorice is also used in the form of traditional remedies for issues such as bronchitis, stomach ulcers and sore throats, as well as several infections caused by viruses, such as hepatitis.

Skin Benefits of Licorice Root Extract
Licorice root extract is used to treat a variety of skin conditions. The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology states that licorice root extract is effective in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, rosacea, drug-induced eruptions and psoriasis. Researchers believe that it is the anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root extract that enables it to help with these conditions. Inflammation is a way for your body to protect itself by trying drive irritants and infections out. As this happens, you experience symptoms like redness, itching and swelling. Because licorice root extract fights inflammation, it soothes your skin and reduces redness and swelling.

The other primary use for licorice root extract is the lightening of skin and skin problems. Products designed to lighten skin and lessen the appearance of things like sun spots and post-acne scars generally contain hydroquinone, which is a harsh chemical. The ingredient responsible for licorice root extracts skin lightening ability is the active compound glabridin. “Glabridin is an active ingredient containing five flavonoids that act to depigment, or lighten, skin while blocking an enzyme that causes damaged skin to darken,” according to the LiveStrong Foundation.

Licorice root extract also contains antioxidants that fight free radical damage. Another ingredient in licorice root extract, licochalcone, is helpful in regulating your skin’s oil production, so oily and acne-prone skin (some acne is due to overactive oil glands) may benefit from the use of this ingredient.

Licorice root extract is a versatile skin care ingredient that can help with acne, inflammation and hyperpigmentation. Quality formulation is key when you want to incorporate this ingredient into your skin care routine. You can find licorice root extract in cosmetics as well as cleansers, toners and moisturizers. You can find licorice root extract in our Vine Vera Vitamin C Cleanser along with other amazing antioxidants and ingredients.

Ingredient Spotlight: Palmitoyl Tripeptide – 1

The fight against anti-aging is endless and the ingredients used are constantly evolving. One of the most buzzed-about ingredients of late has been peptides. These molecules are found naturally in the body, but can also be produced synthetically. Vine Vera investigated just what peptides really are and why palmitoyl tripeptide – 1  is such a powerful anti-aging ingredient.

Skin care serum

What are Peptides?
Peptides have the same chemical structure as proteins, but the chains of amino acids that comprise peptides are shorter in length than other proteins. These chains of amino acids can be either found naturally or manufactured synthetically. According to skin-care experts, most peptides used in cosmetics are synthetic in nature because engineering gives chemists greater control over stability and effectiveness when it comes to skin care.

Why Your Skin Needs Peptides
During the aging process, your body slows the production of collagen which results in saggy skin, fine lines and wrinkles and damaged or weakened skin. Peptides are a cell-communicating ingredient that send the signal to your skin that damage has occurred. When your skin receives this message, collagen production is stimulated so that there will be collagen to heal your skin. This is a naturally occurring process, but as stated above, synthetic peptides are able to send these signals to your skin as well. When you apply a skin-care product featuring a peptide, your skin believes it has suffered a loss of collagen and must make more to heal itself. Peptides also act as a moisture-binding skin-care ingredient, which is part of why topically applied peptides help your skin appear more supple.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide – 1
The various forms of peptides act upon the forms of collagen found in your body and your skin. The most abundant form of collagen in your body is collagen I, the collagen primarily responsible for repairing your skin. Collagen III is found alongside collagen I and works much in the same way, though it is not as tough as collagen I. Palmitoyl tripeptide – 1 mimics the relationship between the growth factors involved in the skin’s healing process and the production of collagen. Essentially, palmitoyl tripeptide tricks your skin into producing more collagen to repair your skin, improve elasticity and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Palmitoyl tripeptide – 1 is an incredible skin-care ingredient to combat aging, but like most skin-care ingredients it works more effectively when used in combination with other anti-aging ingredients. Research on exactly how peptides work and how to maximize their potency is still being conducted, but the potential power of peptides is promising. When used as part of a good skin-care routine, palmitoyl tripeptide – 1 can help your skin repair damage by stimulating collagen production. The results is younger, smoother and stronger skin.

Ingredient Spotlight: Royal Jelly

Royal jelly. The name evokes something that is indulgent and luxurious. This skincare ingredient has been around for some time, but recently it’s started attracting a lot of attention among the cosmetic industry. If you’re wondering whether this is something that could benefit you, keep reading to learn more about what royal jelly is and what it does.

Royal jelly

What is Royal Jelly?
Royal jelly is the name for the white, creamy secretion that comes from the throat glands of honeybees. The purpose of this thick, paste-like secretion is to feed and nurture queen bees, allowing them to become fertile and live longer lives. A queen bee has an average lifespan of anywhere between three to five years. In stark contrast, the average worker honeybee lives only around six weeks. The significantly increased lifespan of queen bees is the driving force between using royal jelly as a cosmetic ingredient to prevent aging.

What is in Royal Jelly?
Royal jelly contains over 100 nutrients, chief among them amino acids essential for human health. B vitamins, biotin, niacin, folic acid and other minerals are also found in royal jelly. The high amino acid content is what many believe to be the most important ingredient in terms of skincare.

Amino acids are a component of collagen, which helps keep your skin looking younger and firmer. Royal jelly, which is about 13% protein, is gaining popularity as an anti-aging cosmetic ingredient both by natural and organic skincare companies and mainstream industry leaders. The main pu

What Does Royal Jelly Do?
While your lifespan probably won’t be increased by royal jelly like the queen bee’s, there may be some benefits to including this in your skincare routine. Most commonly, royal jelly is used to combat signs of fine lines and wrinkles, but it can also be used to help minimize the appearance of stretch marks. Royal jelly also helps boost your skin’s natural elasticity and firmness. it appears to be useful for all skin types, and oily people may be particularly pleased by the results of using royal jelly. Royal jelly can have normalizing effects on the fat secretions of skin glands, which will reduce oiliness

The fats in royal jelly are suspended as a natural emulsion, making them a great moisturizing ingredient. Not only does the skin receive moisture and hydration as a result of the fats in royal jelly, theses fats can also reduce irritation and inflammation of the skin. In addition to all of these skin benefits, royal jelly has antibiotic and fungicidal properties as well.

How Do You Use Royal Jelly?
Royal jelly is used topically and the most common skincare products that include royal jelly in their ingredient lists are moisturizing creams, lotions, soaps and other cleansers. The problem with these products tends to be that the formulas are not able to prevent the natural deterioration of royal jelly over a longer period of time. Additionally, the royal jelly concentration in these products is usually quite low. Unprocessed royal jelly is available refrigerated, frozen or freeze-dried and sometimes the royal jelly is blended with either honey or beeswax. If you purchase royal jelly in this way, you can simply apply the royal jelly directly to your face as a face mask or add it to your own lotions and moisturizing creams.

Does Royal Jelly Work and Is it Safe?
While some swear by the anti-aging abilities of royal jelly, others remain unimpressed by all of the hype. There is very little scientific study and fact that shows one way or the other whether royal jelly is effective.

Royal jelly is a natural product, but that does not necessarily mean that it is safe to use. Obviously people allergic to bees and bee venom should steer clear of royal jelly to avoid adverse reactions. However, there have been some studies that indicated people who had other allergies or asthma were at a higher risk for having an adverse reaction. Royal jelly may also cause contact dermatitis when used topically. Lastly, royal jelly may interfere with some medications so if you are taking any medicine, prescription or otherwise, it is highly recommended that you check with your medical professional before use.

Royal jelly may be an excellent addition to your skincare regimen, but if you have any of the above risk factors, you definitely want to check with your doctor before using royal jelly. Experts recommend doing a patch test prior to use to be sure that your skin won’t react. Simply apply a small amount of royal jelly, or a product with royal jelly in it, to a small area of skin and wait 24 hours before checking to see if there is any reaction or not. If your skin is normal, then you can start using royal jelly to help with the effects of aging along with receiving other great skin benefits.

Ingredient Spotlight: Squalane

Checking out ingredient labels on skin care product With winter approaching, you may notice that your summer skincare products aren’t quite doing what you need them to. It’s pretty universal that skin gets drier the colder the weather gets. From freezing temperatures and lack of moisture outside, to hot air inside, it can be really difficult for your skin to achieve a good balance. What most of us need during winter is added moisture, but not everybody can use the exact same ingredients or product formulations, but there is one ingredient that seems to come close to being perfect for everyone.

What is Squalane?
Squalane is an oil that occurs naturally in the body in addition to vegetable oils (most notably olive oil) and in certain shark livers. Squalane and squalene are related: Squalene is the non-hydrogenated form of oil from shark livers. The reason most beauty products use squalane rather than squalene is that the latter has a tendency to oxidize quickly after exposure to the air. Squalane is purified oil that is appropriate for use on even the most sensitive skin.

What is Squalane Used For?
Squalane occurs naturally in the body, however, production of this oil significantly slows down during the aging process. Your levels of squalane peak around the age of 20, and then begin a rapid decline.

Most commonly, squalane is used as a moisturizing agent in cosmetics. Perhaps the most appreciated benefit of using squalane as a moisturizer is that although it is an oil, it has absolutely no oily feel and fully penetrates your skin rather than just sitting on top of it. It is thought that squalane is most beneficial if you experience dry skin or mild eczema because the oil is non-irritating and is fragrance free. But, just because you wouldn’t classify your skin as dry doesn’t mean you can’t make use of this wonderful ingredient. Squalane oil is non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t cause your pores to clog. If you have oily skin and are hesitant to try an oil, then squalane oil is perfect for you because it moisturizes without the signature heavy, oily feeling.

While squalane is most famously used as a moisturizing agent, it is a powerful antioxidant as well and several recently conducted studies have shown that it may be effective at combating the signs of aging. Because squalane is able to penetrate deeply into the skin, it is thought that this oil helps diminish and reduce the amount of fine lines and wrinkles and age spots that you experience. Additionally, squalane may help prevent future damage from free radicals and ultraviolet (UV) light.

Is There any Danger in Using Squalane?
At present, there are no reported side effects associated with using squalane. However, there is an environmental concern regarding squalane that has been harvested from shark livers. To avoid this, select squalane that is derived from vegetable oils, most commonly olives. If a product does not specify what the source of the squalane is, play it safe and avoid it (if you have an objection to using shark livers to harvest the oil).

Where can you Find Squalane?
Beauty companies are rapidly taking advantage of this healthy skin ingredient, so be on the lookout for it to be listed among the ingredients on labels. If you are interested in going straight to the source, you can purchase pure squalane oil from various places such as health and whole foods stores, or even online at Amazon.com.

Beauty labels, like all labels, put the ingredients that have the largest concentration in the formula first and then the ingredients follow in a descending order. To make sure you’re receiving all the benefits of squalane, look for formulations that don’t place squalane at the tail end. Perhaps one of the greatest things about squalene oil is that it is an inexpensive option for skin care. Simply pick up a bottle of pure squalane oil (most bottles retail for anywhere from $10-$30, although there are certainly more expensive options as well) and make a custom moisturizer. Add a few drops of squalane oil to your favorite moisturizer to receive maximum moisture. Be prepared and meet winter weather head on by stocking up on moisturizing agents, like pure squalane oil, now.

Ingredient Spotlight: Acmella Oleracea Extract

The quest for youthful looking skin seems never-ending. Serums, creams, lotions and potions all promise to keep your skin looking radiant, and there certainly are some skincare products with quality ingredients and formulas that really do deliver results. Some choose to go a bit bigger in the battle against aging and look towards plastic surgery or other cosmetic procedures to maintain a bright, beautiful appearance. Now, you may be able to skip traditional cosmetic procedures for aging, like BOTOX, and use skincare products that contain acmella oleracea extract. This plant extract has been used for years for medicinal purposes, but it is now being looked at as an alternative treatment for anti-aging.

Oleracea plant

What is Acmella Oleracea?
This plant is a small, tender annual that can grow from 12 to 15 inches and spreads about two feet wide. The leaves of the acmella oleracea plant are a dark, bronzey green on top but paler underneath. The oval shaped flowers of this tree are a bright yellow with a single orange-red center. Also known as toothache plant, acmella oleracea has been long used as a treatment for toothaches because it has analgesic effects. While you can chew on the leaves for relief from a toothache, you can also use an extract of the plant. It is the extract of this plant that is used for cosmetic purposes as well.

What Does Acmella Oleracea do for Your Skin?
When applied topically, the extract of this plant relaxes facial muscles and reduces muscle tension. In turn, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are much less pronounced. Wrinkles caused partly by muscle tension, ease and relax when exposed to the extract, providing a smoother, more even complexion. Some people have claimed that this extract is an excellent natural solution to aging because it lacks the invasiveness of BOTOX. Acmella oleracea extract is also a much more cost effective alternative to procedures like BOTOX.

The extract contains analgesic alkylamides known as splinthol. It is the splinthol in acmella oleracea extract “paralyzes” facial muscles. To be most effective, the extract is applied topically in products. The formulation of skincare products containing acmella oleracea must be of quality ingredients that are able to penetrate the skin easily. As the extract penetrates the skin it inhibits contractions in subcutaneous muscles.

Does it Work?
Although there is still ongoing research regarding acmella oleracea, the answer as to whether it is effective seems to be yes. A clinical study revealed that 75% of patients reported seeing significantly smoother skin the day after initial application. Currently, there are patents in the works to develop this anti-aging extract as a safe, natural and cost efficient alternative to BOTOX.

In the quest against aging, there seems to constantly be a new miracle product,  ingredient or procedure that promises youthful skin. Acmella oleracea extract is a promising ingredient in the fight against aging. To achieve the best results from any anti-aging product, you must be taking good care of your skin keeping it cleansed and hydrated. If you are interested in anti-aging, be on the lookout for skincare products that contain this wonderful plant extract.