Category Archives: Vine Vera Blog

woman eating yogurt

How Your Diet Affects Your Skin

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

Soda, Candy and Baked Treats

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

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

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

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

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

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

woman refusing cake from her friend

Salty Foods

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

Wondering why?

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

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

Having a serious salt craving?

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

Dairy

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

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

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

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

Is Caffeine Good or Bad?

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

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

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

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

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

Skin-Boosting Foods

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

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

antioxidants working against free radicals

So, where do antioxidants come from?

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

Wondering how much water you should be drinking?

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

Need something a bit more flavorful than water?

Here are a few ideas:

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

fruit infused water

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

How Your Skin Will React to Different Types of Diets

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

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

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

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

    Why?

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

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

How to Eat Healthier

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

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

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

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

woman eating healthy granola bar in office

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

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

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

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

two pots growing on window sill

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

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

1. Cherry Tomatoes

cherry tomato plant growing in a pot

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

Wondering what lycopene is?

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

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

Impressed?

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

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

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

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

2. Spinach

spinach growing in a small pot

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

Wondering how spinach benefits your skin?

The answer is: in so many ways

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

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

It’s easy…

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

Don’t forget…

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

3. Basil

basil growing in a pot

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

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

Here are a few:

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

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

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

4. Chillies

chillies growing in pots

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Garlic Greens

garlic greens

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

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

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

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

Wondering how you would use garlic greens?

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

6. Sprouts

bean sprouts growing in a jar

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

So, what exactly are sprouts?

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

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

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

7. Microgreens

microgreens

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

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

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

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

8. Carrots

carrot growing in a glass

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

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

How long does it take to grow some carrots?

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

Wondering why you would want to grow carrots?

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

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

9. Lemons

lemons

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

How?

Here are a few ideas:

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

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

10. Mushrooms

mushrooms

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

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

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

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

You may be wondering…

“Can I really grow mushrooms on my windowsill?”

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

How?

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

coffee beans and tea leaves

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

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

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

Here’s the deal:

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

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

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

skincare ingredients

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

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

We’re going to focus on the following:

  • Interesting Facts
  • Benefits
  • Potential Drawbacks

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

tea plantation

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

Origins

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

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

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

Interestingly enough:

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits

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

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

Here’s the thing:

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

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

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

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

Anti-inflammatory

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

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

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

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

aloe vera

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

Want to know the best part?

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

Antibacterial

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Control

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

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

It gets better:

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

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

oily vs dry skin

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

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

Exfoliation

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

Guess what:

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

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

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

Potential Drawbacks

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

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

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

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

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

Keep this in mind:

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

Loving Your Skin and the World

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

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

parcel on map

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

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

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

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

 

 

vine vera banner Keratin Treatment For Your Lashes

Keratin Treatment For Your Lashes

From the time they see Minnie Mouse bat hers at Mickey, little girls learn the importance of long, curly eyelashes, and for decades, women have spent time and money in pursuit of the perfect set. While fake lashes provide an attractive option, many are the tales of misfortune as to how a not so well secured set ended up in a someone’s dinner or aperitif. Lash extensions, lash boosting mascaras, and tinting treatments have all been up batted around as options in the past, however, it seems that they have all fallen short in some way or another. Now, a new lash treatment is on the market. The keratin lash lift is the latest thing to take over social, and all other forms of media. Could this be the miracle we’ve been waiting for? Here’s a look at the keratin lash lift and how it works.

How It Works
Elysee Zhadikpur is the most popular name in Los Angeles behind these keratin lash lifts. The makeup artist is considered the “master trainer” for the five step method called Yumi Lashes, created by Swiss permanent makeup artist Sandra Viglino. Here’s a quick run down of how it works: Lashes are “lifted using a “special pigment infusion” which is according to those in the know, a “top secret” keratin formula. The hour long procedure begins with coenzyme Q 10 gel pads placed below the eyes which, according to the company, have anti aging properties. Next, a trained technician brushes the formula through each lash individually until lashes are long, dark, and curled.

Lashes must stay dry for 48 hours following the procedure, and the effects are said to last up to three months. It’s safe to apply mascara after the treatment if you need to, and the treatment will run you about $150.

Actress Kerrueche Tran, who received the lash lift says she believes the treatment is superior to eyelash extensions, which are rumored to be bad for the eyes. As Tran says, “Right now, eyelash extensions are really big, but I heard that … they pull your lashes out and I feel like they look unnatural. So I went with lifts, and ever since, I’ve been loving it.”

vine vera banner Keratin Treatment For Your Lashes

Safety
There is no doubt that keratin treatment yields great looking results, but how safe is it for you? According to Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic research in dermatology at Mount Sinai, “Similar to the way a keratin treatment can change the configuration of the hair on your head, keratin can be applied to lashes and enhances natural lashes without the use of false lashes or glue. When performed by a trained professional, with proper care to ensure no harm to the eye, the procedure should be safe. The only caution would be a potential allergic reaction, which would be difficult to predict. However, if you generally have sensitive skin or eczema, I would stick to mascara.”

DIY Lash Lifts
As often happens with many beauty trends, DIY versions of lash lifts have become popular. Tutorials can be seen on You Tube instructing women on how to use lash glue to stick silicone rods to the eyelids and lift the lashes onto the rods. Eyelash lifting kits can be found on Amazon, some containing perm lotion and other items allowing users to perform their DIY lash lifts. These are accompanied by a glowing review and before and after photos. Proceed with caution.

What do you think of this new innovation? Would you do the lash lift? Let us know how you weigh in on this latest trend.

Six Reasons To Use A Serum

woman examining herself in the mirror

CTM. Cleanser. Toner. Moisturizer. It’s all you need. The three basic steps. Everything else is just unnecessary, right? We’re all into compacting our skin routines, finding products that multitask and cutting out the extraneous, and these can be valuable time-savers. However, the serum may be a rare exception. It’s one of those products that is worth investing a few extra minutes a day for. In fact, if you’re already using a serum, you might even say it’s worth sacrificing a few minutes of sleep for. What is it about this wonder product that makes it such a great investment? Read on to find out.

They’re Powerful
According to Zoe Weisman, director of product development at Advanced Clinicals, it has a lot to do with content. “Serums tend to be more concentrated when it comes to the active ingredient.” That means that whatever the star ingredient in your serum, be it retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid or another noted skin enhancer, a serum is likely to have a more potent dose that your average moisturizer with the same active ingredient. Weisman also advises looking for a product in an opaque bottle with an airtight lid to prevent oxidation. Smiling woman in white at mirror

There’s One For Everyone
If your skin tends to be on the dry side, Weisman suggests investing in a serum with hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin, which will help to plump up lines and fill in depressions. If dark spots are your concern, vitamin C will prevent damage and hyper pigmentation, while vitamin A (retinol) will increase cell turnover and decrease wrinkles.

Layering
Another of benefit of serum is their light weight and easy absorption, which lend themselves to layering. That means you can combine serums to address different problems, or add one under your moisturizer, SPF, or foundation without creating a pile up.

Eye Serums are the New Eye Cream
If you’re looking to compartmentalize your beauty routine, while still incorporating a serum, you may want to give your sticky eye cream its walking papers. “The ideal,” says Weisman, “is a milky serum. You get the light texture and high potency of serum plus the milky aspect that makes it moisturizing.”

Happy woman applying eye serum at mirror

Benefits Go Below the Neck
If you love your serum, why stop at the jawline? There are serums designed for the neck and décolletage. “If you think about it, ” says Weisman, “this is a bad time for necks since we’re always hunched over our phones.” In fact, if you’re really serum happy there are full body serums to soften stretch marks, and smoothen cellulite, and hand serums to moisturize and treat age spots.

Penetration
Penetration. We’re always wondering whether it happens or not. With serums, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Serums’ lightweight formulas absorb better and penetrate more deeply into your skin than moisturizer, so you get better results with no residue.

Why do you love your serum? Let us know what your serum does for you!

The Many Benefits Of Acupuncture

vine vera presents The Many Benefits Of Acupuncture

Cupping, feces face masks, microdermabrasion; with all the latest beauty and health procedures, one more bizarre than the next, it would seem that acupuncture has been relegated to the “Where Are They Now?” files along with the stars of most nineties sitcom stars. While the concept of poking needles in the skin as a way of treating various health issues may have seemed edgy a few decades ago, it now seems rather tame in comparison to some of the newer approaches. However, what comes around goes around, and if something old is discovered to have a new value, it may be worth reinvestigating. Recent studies show that ear acupuncture may help in weight loss. Shall we investigate?

Auricular Acupuncture
Auricular acupuncture, aka, acupuncture of the ear, was a discipline first used in France in 1956. When Dr. Paul Nogier began to notice that the pain of a backache could be relieved by burning the ear of the sufferer, he began mapping the ear to locate spots correlating to various bodily systems and organs. The doctor’s strategy entailed envisioning the ear as a curled fetus with the head pointing downward, and he delivered treatment by applying pressure to the spot corresponding to each organ.

The Study
In order to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture treatments in weight loss, researchers compared the Korean standard five point acupuncture treatment with single point stimulation. A control group which received a fake treatment was also used.

The study included 91 Koreans, 75 women, and 16 men, all of whom had a body mass index of 23 or greater. None of them had received treatments for weight control in the past six months. The participants were divided into three groups, the first of which received the five point treatment, the second of which received the one point treatment, and the third of which received the fake treatment.

vine vera presents The Many Benefits Of Acupuncture

The Groups
The first group had needles positioned at five points in the ear corresponding to the Shen-men, stomach, spleen, hunger, and endocrine system, which would remain in place for a week, at which time, the needles would be inserted in the other ear, in a process that would be repeated over the eight week trial.The second group had the same treatment, but only one needle was inserted, at the hunger point.

The third group believed that were receiving the five point treatment, but the needles were actually removed right after insertion; however, the group was not notified of the removal and the surgical tape remained to prevent the participants from discovering the truth. All three groups were assigned restricted diets and asked not to exercise during the trial.

The Results
Of the participants who completed the study (24 dropped out) those who received the five point treatment showed a 6.1% reduction in BMI by the middle of the trial, the one point group showed a 5.7% reduction and the group that received fake treatment showed no change at all. The researchers conclude: “Both five needle acupuncture treatment generally used in Korean clinics and one-needle treatment at the hunger point appears to be effective in reducing body weight in the short term.”

Let us know what you think. Would you consider acupuncture as a way of achieving your weight loss goals?

Your Guide To Making Summer Stains Disappear

vine vera banner Your Guide To Making Summer Stains Disappear

Quick! What do these things all have in common: ice cream, the beach, hiking, hot dogs, hamburgers, berries, and sweat? If you guessed all things to do with summer, you’re half right! What is the other half? All things likely to cause stains. Summer brings with it not only its own unique set of activities, but its own unique set of stains caused by those activities, and that could be bad news for your white crop top. But have no fear, for every stain, there is a solution. Here are some of the ways you can help keep your summer clothes stain free.

Ice Cream
What’s summer without ice cream, and what’s ice cream without a big chocolate stain on the front of your shirt? Don’t let run away scoop get in the way of your summertime pleasure. Rinse with cold water, apply a stain pretreatment, fill a sink with cool water, and a few drops of detergent, and let soak.

Berries
Ah, the berries of summer. A vast array of colorful fruits, all with a potential to do some heavy damage to your pastels. Don’t abandon your antioxidants! Use a spatula or knife to scrape off excess. Apply a formula of 1/2 teaspoon dish soap, and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide and rinse.

Ketchup
Ketchup is the world’s most popular condiment and most likely to end up on your shirt. Don’t let it dampen your barbecue fun. Pretreat with stain remover. If any of the stains remain, use a clean toothbrush or eye dropper to apply white vinegar to lighten it.

Dirt
With summer comes the opportunity to get out in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, the great outdoors is full of dirt. Don’t let dirt keep you from getting your vitamin D! Wait for the stain to dry. Scrape off excess. Dilute a gentle detergent with water and rub it on to form a lather. Rinse. If the stain remains, apply a solution of one part vinegar, and one part water to lighten it.

vine vera banner Your Guide To Making Summer Stains Disappear

Underarm Yellowing
Nothing like a good workout in the summer to yellow the underarms of your favorite white shirt. Don’t let a sweat stain stop you from getting in your daily aerobics! For a fresh stain, apply some shampoo. If the stain is older, make a paste by mixing four digestive enzyme tablets with 1 tablespoon of water, and let sit for an hour.

Mustard
If you’re headed out to the ball game this summer, a hot dog may seem like a great idea until the mustard drips on the seat of your pants. Don’t let mustard stains keep you from rooting for your favorite team. Just flush the stain with some white vinegar, apply a dish soap solution using one tablespoon clear soap and ten ounces of water and let sit for fifteen minutes.

Wine
Summer and wine were meant to go together. Wine and your clothes, not really, If you’re carefree lifestyle is taking its toll on your clothes, never fear! For red: Coat the stain with salt, boil some water, and stretch the fabric over a bowl. Pour the boiled water onto the spot from a foot above. For white: Run cold water on the stain, spray with dish soap solution (one tablespoon clear soap, ten oz water), and dab with detergent.

Got summer stains? Let us know how you deal with them! We want to know!

The Many Benefits of Raw Honey

honey on green table

Do you ever yearn for a simpler time? A time when you could eat your breakfast of cereal, milk, and orange juice unaware of the possible health dangers? In a world where food that you once thought nutritious is now regarded as possibly fatal, and foods that were once considered dangerous are now hailed as superfoods, it’s hard to tell what’s what. So let’s check on the status of good old honey. Honey has been used as a folks remedy throughout history. How does it measure up to today’s standards?

Honey
If you are a fan of honey, you will be pleased to hear that its reputation remains untarnished. It is still a very popular food, and unpasteurized honey is even used as a medical treatment for wounds in some hospitals. However, when honey is manufactured, it is heated. While this improves the texture and color, and removes excess crystallization, it also destroys much of the honey’s beneficial properties. That’s why you may be interested in the many benefits of raw honey.

Raw Honey Benefits

woman with two jars of honey

Source of Antioxidants
Raw honey has antioxidants called phenolic compounds, and some types of honey are just as potent as fruits and vegetables when it comes to protecting the body from cell damage by free radicals. Honey can help to prevent the oxidative effects of free radicals such as aging and cancer, and the polyphenols in honey may also help prevent heart disease.

Antibacterial and Antifungal
If you have hydrogen peroxide in your bathroom cabinet, it may come as a surprise to hear that it also can be found in honey. Raw honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which kills unwanted fungus and bacteria. Hospitals in Europe have been able to fight Staphylococcus aureus, an antibiotic resistant bacteria, using Manuka honey. Different types of honey have varying degrees of antibiotic qualities.

Heals Wounds
Honey’s germ killing properties also make it useful in medical settings for the treatment of wounds, and researchers believe that these properties go beyond honey’s natural hydrogen peroxide content. Studies have shown Manuka honey’s ability to decrease time in which wounds heal and reduce the probability of infection. However, you should know, this Manuka honey is medical grade before you begin slathering your store bought honey on open cuts.

jar of honey in a woman's hands

Packed with Phytonutrients
Phytonutrients are plant compounds that help to protect the plant, often shielding it from UV radiation, and may do the same for humans. Phytonutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and since honey is derived from plants, it too is rich in phytonutrients. However, it should be pointed out that these nutrients disappear when honey is processed.

Helps Digestion
Honey has been proven as an effective treatment for Helicobacter pylori, which is a common cause of peptic ulcers which often occur in the digestive system. One or two teaspoons of honey taken on an empty stomach may soothe pain and assist in healing.

What do you use raw honey for? Let us know what you know about this sweet healer.

Scar Treatment Options

woman checking skin in mirror

In movies, good guys scar in a fashionable attractive manner, usually in the form of a pale line strategically placed to make the character look rugged and cute at the same time. However, life is not a movie and we don’t all get so lucky. While some of us may have the good fortune of possessing the perfect scar, others of us spend our lives trying to visualize ourselves scar-free.

Although there is no method for scar removal as yet, there is hope; there are ways to lessen the appearances of scars, and you may even end up turning your less than perfect scar into something straight out of a movie. Here’s a look at scars, what they are and options for treatment.

What Is A Scar?
Scars are natural parts of the healing process of the body, usually resulting from wound repair in the skin and other tissues. Scars can be the results of diseases, accidents, surgeries, or skin conditions, such as acne.

How Do Scars Form?
Scars form when the dermis, a thick, deep layer of skin is damaged. The body forms new collagen fiber to mend the damage, but the new tissue is of a different texture and quality than the original. When the damage has healed, a scar forms.

Hypertrophic to Keloid scars
Although most scars are pale and flat, sometimes the body overproduces collagen and the scar is raised. These kinds of scars are most common in dark-skinned and younger people.

Pitted scars
Other scars have a sunken appearance. These scars result when underlying structures supporting the skin, such as fat and muscle, are lost. Pitted scars are communal the results of surgery or acne.

Stretched skin
Scars appearing as stretched skin occur when the skin stretches rapidly, as in during pregnancy or when skin is under tension while healing.

woman receiving dermabrasion treatment

Scar Treatment Options
While scars cannot be removed completely there are some ways of minimizing their appearance:

  • Topical Treatments
    Although many commercial skin care products such as vitamin E and cocoa butter cream claim to heal scars, they are not effective and should be avoided.
  • Surgery
    There is no specific surgery that can guarantee scar removal, but there are surgical procedures which can be used to change the shape of a scar, or diminish its appearance. In the cases of keloid or hypertrophy scarring, surgery is not recommended because there is a possibility of recurring scars, and even more severe scarring as a result of the surgery.
  • Steroid Injections
    Repeated steroid injections can help to flatten the scars appearance, thus softening the look of keloid or hypertrophic scars.
  • Radiotherapy
    Low dose radiotherapy can be used to prevent the recurrence of hypertrophic and keloid scarring, however, it is only recommended in extreme cases because of its association with long term side effects.

woman receiving dermabrasion treatment on legs

  • Dermabrasion
    Dermabrasion is the removal of the skin’s surface using special equipment. While it may be useful on a raised scar, it may not be as effective when the scar is sunken.
  • Laser Resurfacing
    Dermabrasion’s laser manipulating cousin, traditional dermabrasion involves removing surface layer of skin with the use of lasers. More modern types of lasers may be able to work on the collagen in the dermis without skin removal. This advancement would require less down time than the more conventional resurfacing methods.
  • Filler Injections
    Fillers can be used to raise sunken scars to match the level of the surrounding skin. However, it is to be noted, that the effects of fillers are temporary and may need to be repeated regularly.

What is your experience with scar treatment? Let us know what you recommend.

Beware These Bleaching Ingredients In Your Skincare Products

woman with good skin

One would like to think that society is moving forward; that we are beyond the point of endangering our health for our beauty; that we have come a long way from the days of using white lead to lighten our faces (as the ancient Romans did) or lead sulfate to remove our freckles (Rome circa 15th-18th century). But maybe we’re not as forward thinking as we would like to believe. While the days of full face whitening may be over, many women still use skin bleachers to fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots., and some of these products contain harsh chemicals. Here is a list of some of the chemicals you may not want to see on your skin cream label:

Hydroquinone
If you use skin lightening creams, you may have noticed this ingredient popping up on the label. Hydroquinone is a melanin inhibitor that works by preventing the production of skin pigments. Although it may look as if it is working in the beginning, long-term danger may await. Hydroquinone has been known to cause permanent skin discoloration, and has hence been banned in many countries.

Mercury
Mercury is another ingredient that often looms large in skin lightening products. However, while it may serve to lighten your skin, it may also be doing damage to your kidneys. Mercury in skin products can cause scarring, discoloration, and rashes, and has also been found to break down the skin’s resistance to bacteria and fungus.

Steroids
Banned in most countries without a prescription, topical steroids can cause skin thinning and fungal infections, and long term use can even lead to serious internal diseases. Steroids have also been associated with folliculitis and rosacea.

woman reading labels

Parabens
These preservatives are most often used to extend the shelf like of beauty products, but they have also been found to be carcinogenic. Parabens have not only been associated with an increased cancer risk, and they can also interfere with the endocrine system. Reports show that paraben can have an estrogen-like effect on the body which may disrupt the reproductive system.

Phthalates
Similar to paragons, phthalates are also carcinogenic in nature and should especially be avoided by pregnant women.

Fragrances
They smell lovely, but they may not leave your skin that way. Fragrances can be highly toxic and have an adverse effect on the central nervous system, possibly leading to irritability, hyperactivity, and depression.

Natural Alternatives
So now that you’re sufficiently scared of your skin lightening treatment, you may be wondering if there are natural alternatives, and the good news is; yes, there are! Plant testing has revealed a number of all-natural ingredients that suppress melanin production without the side effects of chemicals. Look for products including such ingredients as licorice, mulberry extract, arbutus, kojic acid, Emblica and vitamin C next time you are looking for a pigment reducer for effective results without the negative side effects.

What natural products do you use for hyperpigmentation? Let us know how you’re staying safe while looking gorgeous!