Category Archives: Vine Vera Blog

woman picking out products

11 Unusual Skin Care Ingredients Worth Trying

Those who know their skincare ABC are probably already trained to read the labels and spot ingredients that are relevant to their skin issues and woes, especially when it comes to the naturally-derived holy grails.

But have you heard about some of the lesser known ingredients that can be equally effective in improving the overall appearance of your skin?

Check out our list of unusual skincare ingredients that might be worth a try.

Donkey Milk

donkey galloping in field

Even though donkey milk only recently resurfaced in the sphere of modern beauty products, it has actually been used for cosmetic purposes since the ancient times.

For example, it’s a well known fact that Cleopatra used donkey milk for her luxurious baths, while Hippocrates, the famed ancient Greek physician, was fond of prescribing it for a number skin-related issues.

Nowadays, donkey milk has been increasingly present in cosmetic products, in great part thanks to its rich proteins and fatty acids, which can noticeably improve moisture in the skin.

Moreover, due to its markedly gentle properties, products containing donkey milk could be beneficial for people who suffer from dry skin, flakiness or even eczema.

Sake

sake

Most of us are familiar with sake, the delicious Japanese rice wine we all like to treat ourselves with after a round of sushi.

However, did you know that this liquor is also a powerful multi-purpose skin care ingredient?

And its popularity is on a steady rise, both in Japan and internationally.

Why is that?

Well, for one, it is said that the yeast found in sake is laden with minerals, amino acids and vitamins, all of which can greatly contribute to supple and more balanced complexion.

What’s more, sake essence also reportedly contains powerful enzymes that can act as natural exfoliants without robbing your skin of its natural moisture.

If you want see if this magical ingredient from the East is really all that it’s cracked up to be, you’re in luck: sake extract can now be found in both Japanese and Western skin care lines, ranging from serums to exfoliations to shower gels.

Caffeine

coffee beans

We all know that caffeine is a life-saver for those of us who suffer from insufficient sleep or chronic fatigue, but did you know that this powerful ingredient can also energize your skin care routine?

This all-natural ingredient is chock-full of antioxidants, which are the number one weapon in the battle against fine lines and loss of elasticity in skin.

Due to their effective properties, caffeine-infused products have the power tackle the free radicals that are accelerating the aging processes in your skin and eradicate them. Sounds pretty neat, no?

Moreover, caffeine is a godsend for sleep-deprived individuals as it can successfully reduce under eye circles. Anti-inflammatory properties of caffeine can help soothe your under eye area and eliminate the annoying puffiness you might experience in the AM.

Bee Venom

bee venom

In recent years, bee venom has become one of the most buzzed about ingredients in the world of beauty and cosmetics.

It first gained traction when it was reported that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, used it to achieve that luscious glow she was sporting on her wedding day.

Throughout the history, honey has been used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, due to its incredible antibacterial and moisturizing properties.

Bee venom is said to share some of these skin-boosting benefits, while also being rich in enzymes, peptides and amino acids that can help accelerate cell turnover and increase collagen production.

This is why bee venom-infused skin care products can be a valuable addition to your day-to-day routine if you want to combat premature signs of aging and keep your complexion plump and radiant.

Activated Charcoal

fine charcoal

Throughout the history, activated charcoal has been used for medicinal purposes due to is ability to quickly absorb harmful toxins before they enter the bloodstream.

These same properties have caused activated charcoal to take the beauty world by storm: these days, you will find it in a variety of cosmetic products, from hand washes to rinse off masks.

So, what are these superpowers that activated charcoal possesses?

First and foremost, this potent ingredient is next to unbeatable when it comes to sucking out all the pollutants that are causing your skin to look dull and break out.

Not only can activated charcoal help eradicate all those damaging substances that are harming your skin, it can also help with dehydration and signs of aging.

Activated charcoal and products that contain it are ideal for people who live in big cities, as their skin tends to be more exposed to various toxins due to traffic and pollution.

Algae

algae

The slimy green stuff found at the bottom of the sea (or the top of a lake) might be the least appealing ingredient on this list.

And yet, so many brands, including the super-fancy ones, are using algae in their skin care lines.

There must be a good reason for this, right?

Absolutely. Research shows that algae (and seaweed) can help improve your complexion in many different ways.

First, algae are packed with Vitamin E, as well as humectants, both of which replenish your skin with moisture and help lock in the hydration.

Next, this marine ingredient is rich in Vitamins B and C, which can help brighten up dull skin tone and reduce signs of aging.

Finally, goodies found in algae, such as magnesium and zinc, will help form a protective shield for your skin and keep it safe from environmental pollutants.

Yuzu

yuzu

Yuzu (or yuja in Korean) is a citrus fruit that grows in East Asian countries, namely Japan, China and Korea.

It is similar to grapefruit, only smaller in size.

In the East, yuzu has been used for all sorts of purposes, mostly because of its stress-relieving fragrance and aromatic flavor.

Recently, yuzu’s popularity as a skin care ingredient has been on the rise as well. This is in great part due to its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be incredibly beneficial for people who have dry, sensitive and irritation-prone skin.

Moreover, yuzu is packed with vitamin C, which can be of great help in combatting hyperpigmentation and evening out skin tone.

When these benefits are taken into consideration, it is no wonder that products containing this all-powerful fruit just keep popping up on drugstore shelves.

If you want to test out the powers of yuzu, you can try out one of the many K-beauty products (like ampoules, serums and moisturizers) which contain this sensational citrus.

Birch

birch bark

Once a favorite subject in the works penned by the American poet Robert Frost, these days it is the skin care aficionados who are singing words of praise to birches.

This tree species, which mostly grows in northern Europe, has become all the rage in the beauty world due to its amazing, multifold cosmetic benefits.

Namely, birch sap (also known as birch water) is rich in amino acids, minerals, antioxidants and proteins, making it a potent agent in reducing inflammation, but also soothing the skin and replenishing it with moisture.

This is why products containing birch water are generally recommended to people whose skin is prone to irritation and breakage.

As obscure as birch sap in form of beauty treatment may sound, it is not unusual to find it on the ingredient list of many skin care products. This forest-derived remedy was pioneered by the Korean brand COSRX, but it can now be found in skin care lines put out by a variety western brands, including Origins and Dr. Hauschka.

Snail Mucus

snail roaming on freshly-rained ground

A king among wacky skincare ingredients, snail mucus has long been popular on the Korean beauty market, where in recent years it even reached cult status among cosmetics enthusiast.

Stroll through the aisles in one of Korea’s many skin care shops and you will notice all sorts of products branded with snail slime, including serums, moisturizers and toners.

This sudden rise in products containing slime essence is not unfounded, either.

Mucin, substance found in slime that snails excrete from their body, is said to be chock-full of nutrients that can instantly boost your skin’s moisture levels, but also slow down signs of aging.

Among these skin-charging goodies are proteins, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, all of which can sooth the skin and promote hydration in the cells.

So, it’s no wonder that more and more women are curious to try out this unusual skin care substance.

However, if you are still feeling too squeamish to commit to an entire packaging of snail slime-infused product, you can always ease yourself into it by trying out a mucin-enriched sheet mask.

Licorice

licorice

Licorice, a root derived from a legume of the Latin name Glycyrrhiza glabra, has been used since the dawn of time in both East and West due to its intense medicinal properties.

Its value as a skin care ingredient was first noticed by Geishas, who used this natural remedy to brighten up their complexion and remove dark spots.

Today, the power of licorice as a cosmetic ingredient is becoming more and more recognized on the beauty market.

Due to this ingredient’s calming and gentle properties, products containing licorice root (such as serums and masks) can be a great natural alternative for people whose skin tends to be on the more sensitive side.

Moreover, licorice extract can also be powerful for reducing dark spots, melasma and improving the overall texture of the skin. This is why licorice-infused products can be incredibly beneficial for people who suffer from hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.

Bamboo

bamboo forest

Bamboo is tree-like grass species which has the ability to grow anywhere, but is mostly associated with East Asia.

In countries like China and Japan, it has been used for centuries as a powerful medicinal tool with anti-bacterial and soothing qualities.

Recently, bamboo’s healing capabilities have been gaining more traction in the world of beauty and skin care, too.

Namely, bamboo’s anti-inflammatory properties make this ingredient a welcome addition to beauty regimen of anyone who has sensitive or damaged skin.

Moreover, bamboo extract is said to contain lots of antioxidants, which are crucial when it comes to reducing or eliminating fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.

And with this, we complete our list of some of the most curious ingredients that have been gaining the attention of beauty enthusiast around the world.

If you tend to stand firmly in the conservative skin care camp, this roundup has probably helped cement the fact that beauty experimenting is not for you and that you would rather stick to the good ol’ tested stuff.

On the other hand, we may have tickled your curiosity and prompted you to go out and try some of these cosmetic obscurities. Who knows, perhaps it turns out that it was birch sap or donkey milk your skin has been aching for this entire time!

examination of scalp using UV technology

8 Pre-Treatments to Save Your Scalp

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

1. Pretreatment for Scalp Acne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Pretreatments for a Dry and Itchy Scalp

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

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

So, what actually causes dry scalp?

woman scratching her dry and itchy scalp

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

  • Cold and dry air
  • Aging
  • Contact dermatitis

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

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

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

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

Exfoliating your scalp could also help.

Wondering how to do this?

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

3. Pretreatments for Allergic Contact Dermatitis

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

What exactly is allergic contact dermatitis?

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

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

4. Pretreatments for Scalp Ringworm

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

Wondering what this actually looks like?

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

Ringworm is surprisingly common…

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

So, what are the right treatment options?

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

But what actually causes ringworm in the first place?

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

5. Pretreatments for an Oily Scalp/Seborrhea

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

Do you know what actually causes an oily scalp?

woman with oily scalp

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

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

This tends to affect men more than women…

Why?

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

So, what can you do about it?

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

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

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

6. Pretreatments for Scalp Psoriasis

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

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

These are a few of the symptoms:

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

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

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

There are two main types of psoriasis shampoos out there:

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

Don’t forget…

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

Another pretreatment for scalp psoriasis is…

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

7. Pretreatments for Dandruff /Seborrheic Dermatitis

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

Why?

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

dandruff under a magnifying glass

So what actually causes dandruff?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If none of this seems to be working for you…

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

8. Pretreatments for Scalp Cysts

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

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

What do they look like?

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

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

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

6 different women as they age

How Your Skin Changes Through the Decades

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

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

In Your 20s

young woman smiling

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

Why?

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

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

Sound like a blessing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Your 30s

woman smiling outdoors

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

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

Wondering why this is important?

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

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

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

dark spots on woman's cheeks

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

What can you do about this?

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

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

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

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

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

In Your 40s

woman smiling on sofa

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

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

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

Wondering what cell turnover is?

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

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

Want to know the secret?

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

exfoliation

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

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

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

In Your 50s

woman taking a selfie

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Your 60s

woman smiling in her home

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

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

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

The secret here is…

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

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

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

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

In Your 70s

woman smiling on sofa

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

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

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

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

woman eating yogurt

How Your Diet Affects Your Skin

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

Soda, Candy and Baked Treats

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

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

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

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

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

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

woman refusing cake from her friend

Salty Foods

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

Wondering why?

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

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

Having a serious salt craving?

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

Dairy

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

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

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

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

Is Caffeine Good or Bad?

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

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

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

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

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

Skin-Boosting Foods

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

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

antioxidants working against free radicals

So, where do antioxidants come from?

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

Wondering how much water you should be drinking?

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

Need something a bit more flavorful than water?

Here are a few ideas:

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

fruit infused water

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

How Your Skin Will React to Different Types of Diets

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

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

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

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

    Why?

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

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

How to Eat Healthier

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

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

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

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

woman eating healthy granola bar in office

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

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

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

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

two pots growing on window sill

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

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

1. Cherry Tomatoes

cherry tomato plant growing in a pot

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

Wondering what lycopene is?

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

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

Impressed?

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

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

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

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

2. Spinach

spinach growing in a small pot

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

Wondering how spinach benefits your skin?

The answer is: in so many ways

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

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

It’s easy…

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

Don’t forget…

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

3. Basil

basil growing in a pot

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

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

Here are a few:

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

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

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

4. Chillies

chillies growing in pots

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Garlic Greens

garlic greens

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

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

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

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

Wondering how you would use garlic greens?

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

6. Sprouts

bean sprouts growing in a jar

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

So, what exactly are sprouts?

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

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

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

7. Microgreens

microgreens

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

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

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

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

8. Carrots

carrot growing in a glass

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

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

How long does it take to grow some carrots?

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

Wondering why you would want to grow carrots?

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

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

9. Lemons

lemons

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

How?

Here are a few ideas:

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

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

10. Mushrooms

mushrooms

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

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

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

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

You may be wondering…

“Can I really grow mushrooms on my windowsill?”

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

How?

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

coffee beans and tea leaves

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

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

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

Here’s the deal:

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

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

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

skincare ingredients

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

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

We’re going to focus on the following:

  • Interesting Facts
  • Benefits
  • Potential Drawbacks

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

tea plantation

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

Origins

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

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

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

Interestingly enough:

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits

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

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

Here’s the thing:

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

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

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

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

Anti-inflammatory

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

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

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

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

aloe vera

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

Want to know the best part?

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

Antibacterial

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Control

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

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

It gets better:

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

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

oily vs dry skin

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

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

Exfoliation

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

Guess what:

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

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

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

Potential Drawbacks

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

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

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

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

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

Keep this in mind:

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

Loving Your Skin and the World

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

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

parcel on map

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

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

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

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

 

 

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.

Vine Vera - Five Treatments You Need To Detox Your Skin

Five Treatments You Need To Detox Your Skin

No matter how much care you may take of your skin, it is still going to be exposed to impurities and toxins, which is why skin detoxes are essential.

What exactly is a skin detox?

The methods vary, but, basically, it is a way to cleanse your skin of all of these harmful impurities, while stimulating a healthier environment in which your skin can thrive. With results ranging from a boost in collagen and elastin production, to an increase in cell turnover, a  skin detox is something that everybody should be doing on a regular basis.

1. Daily Dry Brushing

One of the easiest ways to detox your skin is by dry brushing it every day.

Wondering what dry brushing is?

It simply involves rubbing a dry, soft-bristled brush over your skin in a particular way, and has a number of different skin-boosting benefits.

To begin with…

Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for eliminating all of the waste that your cells produce. The lymphatic system is easily prone to congestion, and, when this happens, it means that toxins end up building up in your body, leading to everything from inflammation to illness.

Dry brushing also increases blood flow and circulation, leading to a healthier complexion and a boost of energy, while exfoliating the skin at the same time. 

For those who have cellulite, you may find that dry brushing is able to help reduce this. While there is not much hard scientific proof to back this up, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there showing that this may be yet another benefit that dry brushing has.

So, what kind of dry brush should you buy?

There are many choices out there, and you may even want to purchase a couple of different ones. While long-handled brushes are great for hard-to-reach areas, such as the middle of your back, brushes with a shorter handle will fit into your hand with more ease, making it quicker and easier to brush your skin.

Now that you have your dry brush, it is time to learn how to use it….

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Begin at your feet, brushing the bottoms of your feet and slowly moving up your legs. Use long, smooth strokes, and always brush towards your heart, because this is where the lymphatic system drains
  • Slowly move up your body, brushing each section about ten times
  • When it comes to your stomach and back, you can use circular motions instead of long strokes
  • Finish with a shower

Make sure that you do not brush too hard. Remember that dry brushing should never hurt.

Don’t forget…

Your dry brush will need to be washed every week or so, in order to cleanse it of the dead skin cells that will have accumulated in it. You will also need to replace your brush every six months, or even just each year, as the bristles will wear down over time.

Is there any reason you should not use a dry brush?

Sadly, yes. If you suffer from dry skin or eczema, dry brushing may only exacerbate your condition. 

2. Detox Baths

When you take a bath, your skin is exposed to all that is in the water for quite a bit of time, meaning that the ingredients that you put into your bath can actually have quite a big effect on your skin.

So, what exactly does a detox bath involve?

The most popular type is an Epsom salt bath.

Its name is a bit misleading, because Epsom salts are not actually a salt…

They are actually a naturally occurring mineral compound, known as magnesium sulfate. When this enters your body, it helps to regulate over 300 biochemical reactions, and also acts as a toxin repellent, flushing toxins out of your cells.

You may be wondering…

Can’t I just take a magnesium sulfate supplement instead?

You could, but it would not be as effective when it comes to your skin, as it would have to pass through your stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and liver, before it can even enter your bloodstream.

However, by being absorbed directly through the skin, it is able to bypass all of these obstacles, and make its way into the bloodstream much quicker.

Ready for a soak?

All you need to do is mix together one cup of Epsom salts with two cups of baking soda. Add this to a hot bath, while the water is still running, and mix it in well. Do not be alarmed if the water appears cloudy. For some extra fragrance, you could even add in around ten drops of an essential oil, many of which will have their own skin-boosting benefits.

Don’t have any Epsom salts to hand?

There are many other ingredients out there that you could also add to a bath to help detox your skin:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Ginger
  • Sea salt
  • Bentonite clay (see below)

When it comes to how long to soak for, try to limit yourself to around 15 minutes. While it may be tempting to soak in the warm water for longer, this will only have a drying effect on your skin, and may end up doing more harm than good.

3. Bentonite Clay

bentonite clay

Also known as monmorillonite, bentonite clay is formed after volcanic ash has weathered and aged, and consists of a number of different minerals, including:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium 
  • Silica

Bentonite clay has actually been used as a detoxification aid since ancient times, but modern science has now backed up its incredible abilities.

How does it work?

When bentonite clay is mixed with water, it creates a negative electrical charge. The toxins in your body, whether this may be chemicals or toxic metals, have a positive electrical charge, meaning that they are attracted to the clay. Working just like a sponge, the clay soaks up all of these toxins, and then eliminates them from the body.

In addition to detoxifying your skin, bentonite clay can also rebalance your skin’s pH level by providing it with the trace minerals that it may be missing.

So, how exactly do you use bentonite clay?

The easiest way is with a face mask. You can find face masks that contain the clay, as well as other ingredients, or you can simply use the clay on its own to create your own mask.

All you need to do is mix it with some water and then apply a thick layer to your face, giving it around 20 minutes to dry.

Then, simply rinse it off with warm water.

You can use this treatment weekly, either on your whole face, or as a spot treatment on certain areas of troubled skin.

Bentonite clay can also be used as a detox bath.

How?

Just mix a couple of cups of powdered clay into your bath, and then soak in this for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Did you know that you can also eat bentonite clay?

Just mix it with a bit of water and either drink it straight, or mix it in with a smoothie or another drink. This will help to detox your body from within, which your skin will also benefit from. However, make sure that you purchase a food grade bentonite clay if you want to do this, as you need one intended for human consumption.

4. Double Cleansing

Cleansing is something that everybody should be doing at the end of each day, as this is so important for removing all of the toxins and impurities that settle on the surface of your skin.

However, double cleansing takes this one step further…

It began as a trend in Asia, but, thanks to its quick effects, it is now a technique that is used by people all over the world.

So, what exactly is double cleansing?

It basically involves the use of an oil-based cleanser first, followed by a water-based cleanser.

You are probably wondering…

What’s the point of this?

Well, the oil-based cleanser melts down and removes any makeup and sunscreen remnants, as well as excess sebum. This allows the water-based cleanser to properly enter your pores, removing any sweat, pollution, dirt, or other toxins that may have settled within them.

Now that your pores have been properly cleansed, this means that any other skin care products you apply afterwards will be able to penetrate your skin’s layers so much more effectively.

One of the best parts of double cleansing is…

It can be used be people with all skin types. However, if you suffer from acne, you may need to use a specialized cleanser as part of the routine.

5. A Skin Detoxification Diet

Most people tend to only look at ways in which they can detox their skin externally, but a skin detoxification diet can have just as much of an impact as all of the methods listed above.

How long should you follow a detoxification diet for?

The minimum is two weeks, but the rest is completely up to you. The longer you follow the diet, the healthier your skin, and overall health, will be.

So, what exactly do you need to be eating?

Well, let’s begin with what you should not be eating

Refined sugar is the first thing, as this causes your insulin levels to spike, which then leads to inflammation. As you are already likely aware of, inflammation is a big no-no when it comes to your skin, as it can lead to everything from acne and blemishes to premature aging.

You should also stay away from soy, especially if you are prone to acne.

Why?

Because soy contains phytoestrogens, which can cause hormonal breakouts.

If you drink a lot of coffee, this is something else you may want to consider cutting back on. While coffee does contain a number of antioxidants, it can also have a dehydrating effect on your skin.

Now on to what you should be eating

Start your day with a glass of lemon water, as this will help your body and skin to detoxify first thing in the morning, and will also give your metabolism a boost, setting yourself up well for the rest of the day.

Healthy fats are also essential, and these can include:

    • Avocados 
    • Flax seeds
    • Walnuts
    • Chia seeds
    • Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring

healthy salmon salad

Of course, leafy greens are also a must, and you should be trying to add a portion of these to every meal. There are so many different leafy greens out there, so try to include a wide variety of them in your diet, from spinach, kale and lettuce to collard greens, mustard greens and chard.

Wondering how they help with detoxing your skin?

It is all down to their chlorophyll, which helps to rid the body of toxins, while purifying the blood and increasing oxygen content.

Other vegetables that are great for detoxing the skin include:

    • Garlic – unclogs any build-up in your arteries
    • Beets – purify the blood and cleanse the liver
    • Broccoli sprouts – contains phytochemicals that stimulate detoxification enzymes
    • Sea vegetables – contains alginic acid which draws out toxins from the digestive tract
    • Artichokes – aids in toxin removal while regenerating liver tissue, therefore strengthening the liver’s natural detoxification process

Herbs are also important, especially parsley and cilantro. The chemical compounds in these herbs actually bind to the toxins in your body, pulling them away from your blood, tissues and cells, and then eliminating them from your body. 

While following this diet, you need to also make sure that you are not using any harmful chemicals topically, as they will prevent the diet from working to its full effect.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and can easily become clogged up with toxins. By following these skin detoxification treatments, you will be helping to cleanse your skin, as well as your body, of any waste, which will soon have your complexion looking better than ever.

food sources of magnesium

Here’s Why Your Skin Needs Magnesium

As the fourth most prevalent mineral found in every cell within the body, it should come as no surprise that magnesium is required for so many different bodily functions. In fact, your body uses magnesium in over 300 different enzymatic reactions.

When it comes to your skin, magnesium serves a number of different purposes, from clearing stress-related acne breakouts to preventing wrinkles, making it essential that you are providing your body with the required amount of magnesium each and every day.

Magnesium Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are directly linked to the health of your skin.

How?

Each time you feel stressed, your body releases the stress hormone, known as cortisol, which basically puts people into fight or flight mode.

However, when the body experiences chronic stress, cortisol levels begin to really build up, which then triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.

The result?

Clogged pores, inflammation, and, ultimately, acne.

In addition to causing acne, stress can exacerbate other skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea, and can also accelerate the visible signs of aging.

You’re probably thinking…

What does this have to do with magnesium?

Well, one of the incredible properties of magnesium is that it is a relaxation mineral, and supports adrenal function. Whenever cortisol is released into your body, your kidneys release some magnesium, as the mineral has the ability to regulate and reduce the effects that cortisol has on the body. This then minimizes the detrimental effects that stress can have on your skin.

However, when chronic stress is experienced, it does not take long for magnesium levels to begin running low…

When this happens, your blood vessels tighten and your blood pressure is raised, both of which end up magnifying the effects of stress.

In addition to using magnesium to help lower stress, you should back this up with other stress-relieving methods too, whether this may be a workout or eating foods that lower the cortisol in your body. 

Magnesium Improves Sleep

Your skin needs quality sleep every night in order to thrive, with the time that your body is sleeping being when your skin really works to heal and regenerate itself.  

After all, it is referred to as beauty sleep for a reason…

Without sufficient sleep each night, here are a few of the skin issues that you may experience:

  • An increase in inflammation, which leads to the breakdown of collagen, the protein that gives your skin its structure and firmness
  • Poor water balance, leading to dryness and accelerated aging
  • Increases cortisol in body, meaning it has the same effects on your skin as stress does  
  • Exacerbation of existing skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and acne

So, how can magnesium help?

In a number of ways…

To begin with, as mentioned above, magnesium helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which in itself is enough to really help many people finally experience some quality sleep.

Magnesium also helps the muscles in the body to relax, which, as you would imagine, makes quality sleep much easier.

Another one of magnesium’s roles is in the synthesis of serotonin, which is the precursor of melatonin.

What is melatonin?

A hormone that your brain produces, which controls your sleeping and waking cycles. Studies have shown that those who take magnesium supplements have higher levels of melatonin in their bodies than those who do not.

Magnesium is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

There are many ingredients out there that are touted as being anti-inflammatory, but what exactly does this mean?

Well, inflammation is the way in which your body naturally fights off attackers, whether this may be bacteria, chemicals or even foods. In the short run, this is a good thing, but chronic inflammation is becoming increasingly common, and this is where the problems begin. 

Here are a few of the skin issues that inflammation can cause:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Premature aging, in the form of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin 

Magnesium has been proven to significantly reduce inflammation within the body, which would then help to reduce any skin issues that have been brought about by inflammation.

Magnesium also targets skin inflammation directly…

How?

Well, one of the ways it does this is by inhibiting e-selectin, which is a molecule that is responsible for inflammation within the skin. When your skin is damaged, it is e-selectin that sends inflammation to the site of damage, but, in the case of chronic damage, which can be caused by anything from sun exposure to smoking, e-selectin never stops working.

Magnesium can help with this, and therefore minimize and prevent the angry red lesions that e-selectin causes.

Magnesium Helps the Gut to Thrive

Many people do not realize that the health of their gut can have a direct impact on their skin…

Here are a few of the skin issues that poor gut health can cause:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Rosacea
  • Dry Skin
  • Psoriasis
  • Facial Redness

In addition to boosting immune function, mood and energy levels, improving the health of the gut has been scientifically proven to lead to clearer skin.

However, science has also proven that a magnesium deficiency will lead to noticeably lower concentrations of good bacteria in the gut.

There is an ideal balance required between good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut, and, without the right amount of magnesium in your body, this gets completely thrown off.

bacteria in human gut

Are you wondering how magnesium actually affects the gut?

To begin with, magnesium is key when it comes to activating the enzymes responsible for breaking down the food that you have eaten, meaning that, without enough of it, poor digestion will be experienced.

Magnesium is also important when it comes to controlling the contraction and relaxation of the bowel. Without enough magnesium, your bowel will be slower at emptying, which will then cause even more problems for the good bacteria in your gut.

Magnesium Helps to Fight Insulin Resistance

Just like cortisol, insulin is a hormone that is good in small doses, but detrimental to your skin when around for longer periods of time.

What exactly does insulin do?

It basically controls your blood sugar levels, keeping this low. It takes any excess glucose in your blood and helps to convert it into energy, rather than allowing it to become toxic to the body.

However, modern-day diets often contain far too much sugar, resulting in the body producing way too much insulin…

This then results in your cells becoming resistant to excess glucose, meaning that it is no longer converted into energy. The long-term result of this is diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

When it comes to the skin, insulin resistance increases the amount of oil that your sebaceous glands produce, which quickly leads to clogged pores, acne and inflammation.

However, studies have shown that those who increase the amount of magnesium they are consuming are able to lower their metabolic markers for insulin resistance by an impressive 71%. There are many other studies on this subject out there, with another one showing that magnesium was able to significantly prevent type 2 diabetes from developing.

How Much Magnesium Do You Actually Need?

When it comes to the amount of magnesium that you actually need, recommendations vary quite a bit, with some professionals saying around 300-400mg per day, while others say 800-1000mg per day.

So where do you actually get magnesium from?

Well, historically, magnesium was found in high concentrations in the soil, which meant that it made its way into the food that people would eat.

However, the soil that is used to grow our food today has been severely over-farmed, and is seriously depleted of magnesium.

Of course, magnesium can still be found in small amounts in certain foods, such as:

  • Dark, leafy greens – the darker, the better
  • Oily fish – such as sardines and mackerel
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate

10 foods high in magnesium

However, keep in mind that today’s food really only contains magnesium in tiny amounts.

For example, in order to consume your daily requirement of magnesium, you would need to eat more than 33 cups of spinach every day, or over 22 cans of sardines.

This is where magnesium supplements come in…

Unfortunately, in today’s world, this is really the only way to ensure that your body is obtaining its required amount of magnesium each day.

Even if you do not take any other supplements, magnesium is one that you really should consider. As you will have read above, this is a mineral that is so vital when it comes to the various daily functions within the body.

While it is usually better to opt for whole foods that contain the nutrients that you need, this just is not possible when it comes to magnesium, making supplements essential.

Choosing a Magnesium Supplement

magnesium supplement

There are so many different types of magnesium supplements out there, and it can be really difficult knowing which one you actually need.

Magnesium supplements are not all created equally…

The biggest factor that they vary in is how bioavailable they are to the body.

Here are a few of the most common magnesium supplement types:

  • Magnesium Oxide – inexpensive but can have a laxative effect
  • Magnesium Citrate – budget-friendly and more bioavailable than magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium Sulfate – also known as Epsom salts, these also provide sulfur, which is great for soothing aching muscles
  • Magnesium Chloride – highly bioavailable
  • Magnesium Glycinate – optimum bioavailability

Wondering how much you need to take?

As mentioned above, the guidelines vary quite a bit. Some people experience great results with just 250mg a day, whereas others need about 700mg a day to notice a difference.

Your best bet is to start off with a low dose, and then gradually increase this. You cannot really go overboard with taking too much, and it would be really difficult to cause magnesium toxicity, but, as always, exercise common sense.

Topical Magnesium

In addition to consuming magnesium, you can also apply it to your skin topically.

There are many skin care products out there that are formulated with magnesium, or, alternatively, you could use a magnesium oil. Since this is quite a concentrated product, it should not be applied to the face. Instead, apply it to a part of your skin that encourages absorption, such as your inner arm, and then let it soak in.

Epsom salts are another great source of magnesium, and you can absorb this mineral through your skin.

How?

By taking a soak in an Epsom salt bath. Your skin will absorb just the right amount of magnesium that your body needs, and you will also be gaining the benefits of sulfur. Baths with Epsom salts have been proven to be an even better source of magnesium than consuming supplements, making this a method definitely worth trying.

How much should you be adding to your bath?

The recommended amount is around two cups for a well-filled bath, and you should soak in this for 10 to 15 minutes. While it may be tempting to indulge in the bath for a little longer, do not forget that leaving your skin to soak in hot water for so long will bring about its own detrimental effects. 

To boost the amount of magnesium that enters your skin during the bath, try giving your skin a dry brush beforehand.

Avoiding the Things That Inhibit Magnesium Absorption

While magnesium absorption is something that happens naturally, there are certain things that can inhibit this, and therefore leave you more magnesium-deficient than you would have thought.

Eating foods that have been laden with pesticides is one of these things, as is drinking water that contains fluoride.

Prescription drugs are also best avoided when possible, as is dairy, soda and sugar.

With around 80% of Americans being deficient in magnesium, this is a mineral that you need to take extremely seriously. The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are so varied, so it is well worth trying out a magnesium supplement and seeing how this could not only benefit your skin, but also your overall health.

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!