Tag Archives: natural ingredients

The Many Benefits of Raw Honey

honey on green table

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

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

Raw Honey Benefits

woman with two jars of honey

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

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

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

jar of honey in a woman's hands

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

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

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

Natural Ingredients To Add To Your Daily Routine

If you subscribe to the long-held belief that ignorance is bliss, it will logically follow that the less ignorant we, as a society become, the less blissful we will be. Case in point: Until not long ago, we were carelessly lying in the sun, eating our McDonald’s, and using doorknobs in doctors’ offices. We now know UV light produces free radicals, our foods are packed with preservatives and artificial ingredients, and just about every surface we touch is swarming with bacteria. What’s next? Our beauty products? According to Dr. Axe, the majority of commercially available beauty products are packed with fragrances, artificial colors, stabilizers and preservatives that can be absorbed through the pores of the skin, leading to a range of potential negative long-term effects on our health, specifically hormone imbalance, and irregular periods. Luckily, there are natural alternatives to ensure your skin remains radiant while your body remains healthy.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar
This inexpensive natural skin care product can help to kill pathogens, such as bacteria, and clear skin problems arising from gut issues. Apple cider vinegar was first used by Hippocrates who believed in its anti-fungal properties as a useful treatment for skin sores and ulcerations. Additionally, ACV contains beneficial vitamins, such as potassium and magnesium, which make it an excellent detoxifier when taken internally.

Raw honey

Raw Honey
Raw honey is known to reduce breakouts and scars, boost hydration, help to heal wounds, and fight allergies. Because raw honey is unprocessed, it is able to keep its nutrients intact, unlike most store bought honey. It has been used to heal everything from dandruff to diaper rash to psoriasis and can be used to treat acne when applied to the skin for ten minutes.

Sea salt

Sea Salt
You may have seen this ingredient popping up on food labels lately as a replacement for regular table salt. Sea salt is packed with nutrients like calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium which it absorbs from salt water. Luckily, these are the same types of mineral found in our skin, which is why sea salt is so effective in balancing, restoring and protecting our skin. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties for removal of dead skin cells, the balance of oil production, maintenance of skin moisture levels and calming of breakouts.

Avocado

Avocado
A much loved fatty fruit, the avocado contains vitamin A, D, and E, all able to penetrate the skin to soothe sunburn, increase production of collagen and treat age spots. It can be applied externally or eaten to reduce skin inflammation and combined with essential oils or honey directly to skin.

Coconut oil

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a plethora of benefits, including the ability to strengthen skin tissue, remove dead skin cells, and protect against sunburn. Research shows that the antibacterial and antioxidant properties of the oil can even fight skin disease and defects in the epidermal barrier. Coconut oil can be used on both skin and hair, to cleanse, moisturize, and heal wounds, and because what we put inside us can effect how we look on the outside, the oil can help keep skin radiant when taken internally to wash away toxins and help with digestive function.

Tea tree oil

Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been used to combat redness, inflammation, and breakouts on skin for centuries. It provides a mild alternative to harsh acne treatments which can cause side effects and dry skin. Tea tree oil contains anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and its phytochemicals make it one of the most effective of the skin care essential oils.

What do you think? Are you ready to scrap your serums and creams for avocados and coconuts? Let us know how you weigh in!

What Makes Argan Oil So Beneficial for Your Skin?

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

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

Argan oil

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

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

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

face serum

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

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

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

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

Natural Ingredients That Stimulate Healthy Cell Formation

These days, when the word “cell” is mentioned, most of us are likely to think “phone.” While many of us may argue that cell phones are vital to our well being, there are other kinds of cells that are probably just a little more important. These are the cells in your body; the fundamental units of life form which all your organs and tissues are made.

Like most of our cell phones, the cells of the body are in constant communication with one another, responding to the signals they receive from your environment. If the cells cannot operate efficiently, tissues and organs can breakdown, resulting in a host of health conditions. In order to keep these cells functioning properly you need to keep yourself well nourished. Here are some healthy ingredients you need to ensure that these very important cells continue to serve you well.

whole grains

Whole Grain
Whole foods contain the fullest variety of nutrients, which makes whole grains one of the most complete food sources for healthy cell formation. The three main parts of the whole grain each serve a different purpose, and provide a different complement of vitamins and minerals. The protective bran guards the sprout from sun damage; the germ contains a high level of micronutrients from the vitamin E family, while the endosperm contains the lowest level of nutrients and serves mostly to provide calories for the sprout. While all three parts are used in whole grain food, refined products, such as white bread, use only the endosperm, or starch component of the grain.

Fats and Cell Formation
The fats you eat have a major influence on your cells. As a matter of fact, they become your cell membranes. Unsaturated fats, like the omega-3s in fish and nuts, are needed to give your cell membranes their shape and the ability to communicate with one another. While trans fatty acids, or saturated fats, also become part of your cells membrane, they are less able to respond to signals and can cause cell membranes to become brittle.

Cereals, vegetables, fruits, and grains also have fats to protect cell membrane from damage. These include tocopherals and are found in highest amounts in wheat germ oil, carotenoids, such as beta-carotene in carrots, vitamin C from citrus fruits, and lycopene in tomatoes.

eggs and meat

DNA
DNA is the part of your cell which stores your genetic information, and it is vital that you take steps to make sure its integrity is not compromised. When the structure of DNA breaks down, the body becomes not only unable to produce proteins for proper cell function, but it may cause mutations that lead to cancer. While fats are an integral part of protecting the DNA, it is also important to maintain adequate levels of protein, choline, inositol, carotenoids, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E.

Healthy DNA also requires an adequate intakes of vitamin B12 and folate, which are involved with repair and replication of DNA. Eggs, meat, fish and dairy are all rich in vitamin B12, while high levels of folate are found in eggs, grains, and green vegetables.

Organic Foods
Since agricultural chemicals are know to damage the function and structure if cells, organically grown foods are recommended to promote healthy cell formation. Studies show that pesticides can overstimulate enzymes which can be a cause of inflammation, and a contributing factor to psoriasis and atherosclerosis,
Organic foods can also minimize DNA degradation. Test tube studies show that agricultural chemicals can lead to genetic mutations leading to the development of cancer and have a negative effect on the production of energy.

Are you keeping your cells healthy? Let us know what you’re eating to keep your cells in tip top shape!

Natural Ingredients That Keep Skin Soft, Flexible, and Resilient

Of course, the modern women knows that wit and ingenuity are our greatest weapons, but we also know its not a bad idea to keep a few tricks up our sleeves for when the going gets tough. Like when it comes to the war against aging skin. That’s when it time to call in the coven for a little witch’s brew. How do you think Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon stayed so young looking for the Witches of Eastwick sequel?

When it comes to magic potions for your skin, nature is your best resource. There are plenty of ingredients bestowed by the good grace of Mother Nature that can keep your skin flexible strong, and resilient.

Coconut Oil
1. Coconut Oil
Not just for monkeys! Coconut oil’s many talents include removing dead skin cells, protecting against sunburns and strengthening epidermal tissue. In fact, research shows that coconut oil can even fight chronic skin disease and curb cutaneous inflammation. You can use this miracle of nature on your hair and skin to remove makeup, cleanse, heal wounds and scars, and prevent razor burns. When taken internally, coconut helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells and wash away toxins, making it indispensable for skin health.

2. Tea Tree Oil
Also known as mealeuca alternifolia, tea tree oil has been used in Australia for hundreds of years to fight inflammation, redness, and breakouts. It is also known as a well-tolerated alternative for people who react poorly to harsh acne treatments. and its hydrocarbons contribute to its anti-bacterial properties. Researchers have found more than 100 different chemical components that are aromatic and capable of traveling through the pores of the skin and mucus membranes, which is why tea tree oil is so effective as a home remedy for acne.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This inexpensive skin product can kill pathogens like bacteria, and clear skin problems resulting from gut issues as well as cleanse the skin and prevent acne. It also contains vitamins like magnesium and potassium, which are can be effective detoxifying agents when taken internally because of their ability to improve liver function and balance gut bacteria.

Raw honey
4. Raw Honey
Bring on the sweet stuff for reducing breakouts, healing wounds, fighting allergic rashes, and reducing scars. This unheated, unpasteurized ingredient keep all of its nutrients intact because it is not subject to processing, like other honey. Honey is also an effective antimicrobial and can be used for dressing burns and wounds, and has been used in treatments to heal dandruff, psoriasis, diaper dermatitis and more.

5. Sea Salt
One of the more recent stars of the nutritional world, sea salt is chockfull of calcium, magnesium and potassium that it absorbs from seawater. because these minerals are the same as those found within the skin else in our body, sea salt is an excellent ingredient that can protect, balance and restore skin. Ir contains anti-inflammatory properties to fight breakouts, remove dead cells, balance oil production and help skin retain moisture.

So what potions are you stirring up this week? We would love to know!

Natural VS Chemical – What You Need to Know

Young woman using skin care products For every good there seems to be an equal and opposite bad. Superman had Kryptonite, Batman had Joker, GI Joes had Cobra, the list could simply go on and on. Each and everything in the world is known to have an opposite match for itself. It’s the same when it comes to skin care products as well. There’s a constant battle between choosing natural versus chemical skin care products and making the choice is not always as easy as you think. To get a clearer picture and to understand which products are best, Vine Vera explains certain facts about both these options.

What are Natural Skin Care Products?

Natural skin care products those that claim to be made with botanical ingredients such as natural oils, fruit acids and fruit extracts. Sometimes these products are also referred to as “green” or “organic.” Most natural skin care products are thought of as being harmless especially when compared to synthetic or “chemical” ingredients. Marketing still seems to be ahead of science with products like these, there are still too few studies available on the subject to definitively prove whether or not these claims are true.  Homemade facial masks and ingredients to make them: oats, cucumbers, etc

What are Chemical Skin Care Products?

Chemical skin care products are composed of synthetic ingredients. Many of these ingredients are created especially to be more potent in their effects on skin. Some chemicals are also known to be extremely harsh for those with sensitive skin. It seems that the biggest cause of irritation in skin care products are the chemicals added to give a fragrance.

The case might seem to be completely against chemical products, but don’t judge these items on their simple descriptions. There are a number of cases where chemical skin care products are known to work wonders while the natural skin care products fail to offer similar benefits. Here’s what you need to know about skin care products.

Self Concerns

Most people have suffered from one chemical product or another in the past. But, more often than not those who experience irritation or other negative reactions have these experiences due to ignorance or a poor choice of product. Some people choose products that are not the correct fit for their skin type or skin issues and do not see the results they would like. Some others may not realize they have an allergy or a skin sensitivity to a specific ingredient. Most skin care products contain many different ingredients in one product, making it difficult for people to recognize the particular thing their skin is reacting too. Natural products are the seemingly more safe and healthy option and people always prefer to choose the safer option. But, it always helps to get expert opinions as there are many cases where chemical skin care products are known to be more effective than the natural ones and vice versa.

It’s not a choice between a safe product and a chemical product

It always helps to keep an open mind when it comes to choosing between natural and synthetic skin care products. There are a number of products that are known to be extremely beneficial for humans and not all concerns are based on the impact on your skin. Some concerns might be environmental as well.

Natural products are not always the safest option

Most people believe that natural skin care products automatically imply safe, but this isn’t always the case. There are plenty of natural products that can cause a great deal of harm to your skin. When you try any product, don’t take its safety as something that is obvious. Acquaint yourself with what the product has to offer and how safe it is for your skin. It is especially important to read and understand ingredient labels. Dermatologists and other skin care experts, suggest looking for products which contain particular ingredients that have been documented to be safe and effective. Know which basic ingredients to look for in your skin care.

Eventually, you need to decide on what product suit you best depending on how effective and safe it is for your particular type of skin, not by basing it on predetermined notions about natural or chemical skin care products.

THE VITAMIN C QUESTION: Ascorbic Acid VS. Ascorbyl Palmitate

Ascorbic Acid is the water soluble version of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful nutrients and antioxidants your body needs, particularly your skin. It has free radical fighting powers that help prevent the appearance of aging as well as fight the damage of toxins. Vitamin C is also the building block to helping your skin produce more collagen, or the main protein structure throughout the body that helps keep skin youthful. The benefits of this antioxidant are great, but there are two types of Vitamin C out there that react differently with your body: Ascorbic Acid and Ascorbyl palmitate. Vine Vera reviews which one is right for your skin?

The most important thing when looking at these two different forms of Vitamin C is to be aware of what kind of molecule each is and how your body processes them. When you understand these things, it’s easier to figure out what will be going on in the skincare product or supplement you choose. The key element you’re looking for is solubility, or rather water-soluble versus fat-soluble. Water-soluble molecules typically leave the body through urine, whereas fat-soluble versions tend to be stored in the liver for longer periods of time.

Ascorbic Acid, or the water-soluble form of Vitamin C, is often used in skincare products, as it is one of the most important foundations for building collagen. It has been the subject of different research studies since it was proven to reduce the effect of ultraviolet rays on the skin and fight photo damage, or “sun spots.” It acts as the first defense against free radicals penetrating the skin. Since it is water-based, this type of Vitamin C is better used for topical applications such as lotions and creams, since it will be able to absorb into skin quickly and can break down faster. This comes as a double-edged sword for skincare. Ascorbic Acid can absorb quickly into the body, but that means it can oxidize fast. If you’re looking at products with this version of Vitamin C, make sure the packaging is opaque and not exposed to excess air. The other difficultly with this water-soluble molecule is that it can’t reach parts of cells that are fat-soluble, making them susceptible to damage. The two main forms of Vitamin C are Ascorbic Acid and Ascorbyl Palmitate

Ascorbyl Palmitate is the fat-soluble form of Vitamin C. Although it does have elements of water solubility, the fact that it is mainly fat-soluble means that it is more moisturizing and tends to have a longer-lasting effect than Ascorbic Acid does. It is able to target the membranes deeper and be stored for longer in the body and doesn’t oxidize as quickly as its water-soluble counterpart. Ascorbyl Palmitate’s fat solubility is the reason why it is more commonly used in Vitamin C supplements as opposed to Ascorbic Acid. Another benefit is its partnership with other vitamins such as A and E to make sure that they’re able to fight free radicals together at full strength. Although you need this important nutrient in your diet and topical skincare applications, Ascorbyl Palmitate has concentrated power and is only good in small doses. If you use too much, it may hurt more than help your skin.

Since they each react differently in your body, both Ascorbic Acid and Ascorbyl Palmitate are required in maintaining healthier skin. There are many benefits to both of these versions of Vitamin C ranging from UV protection to free radical repair, so these two versions of it can work together to give you what you need. This antioxidant is something that the body doesn’t make naturally but needs in various topical creams and dietary supplements, so don’t hesitate to get these ingredients into your skincare routine.

What is your favorite Vitamin C product to help your skin? Abby, the author of “Twist Me Pretty” talks about her favorite products from the Vine Vera Vitamin C Collection here.

 

Sources:

Samuels, Lawrence MD. “Keys to Unlocking the Benefits of Vitamin C.” Skin Inc. November 29, 2012. Web. April 22, 2014

<http://www.skininc.com/skinscience/ingredients/Keys-to-Unlocking-the-Benefits-of-Vitamin-C-181434171.html>

 

“Asorbyl Palmitate.” Truth in Aging. n.p. n.d. Web. April 22, 2014

<http://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/ascorbyl-palmitate>

 

“Vitamin C.” Paula’s Choice Skincare. n.p. n.d. Web. April 22, 2014

<http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/anti-aging/_/vitamin-c>

 

 

Caffeine: A Natural Ingredient

vine vera

You more than likely know caffeine as the stimulant found naturally in chocolate, coffee, and tea. You probably also know that it is added to various substances such as medication and soda. In small amounts, caffeine can give you the jump start you need in the morning or throughout the day. In large amounts, caffeine can be bad for the body, causing headaches and shakiness.

However the latest buzz regarding caffeine is not for your insides, but for your outsides. This stimulant can be added to your skin care products for a resoundingly positive effect on your skin, ranging reducing problems from redness to puffiness. With its many attributes that make it an anti-aging agent, dermatologists are researching the best ways to utilize this exciting ingredient.

If you want to get technical, caffeine is a white crystalline xanthine alkaloid found in various leaves, seeds and fruit.  For plants, caffeine is a naturally-occurring pesticide as well as a reward for desirable pollinators. For humans, caffeine is a stimulant commonly extracted from tea leaves and coffee beans for consumption.  There are many pharmaceutical uses for caffeine, as well as many newly researched dermatological uses. It is not only a powerful antioxidant, but has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties as well, all of which are extremely beneficial to the skin.

vine vera Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Caffeine

Inflammation is actually a response to outside stimuli such as irritants, damaged cells or pathogens.  It is a physical manifestation of the body’s attempt to rid itself of these harmful entities and to then begin the process of healing.

Many people believe that inflammation and infection are the same thing. In actuality, infection is the cause of inflammation. If an infection is present, the body’s defense mechanism is to try and flush it out, which causes the corresponding inflammation. There are five classic symptoms: swelling, heat, pain, redness and loss of function.

Although inflammation most of the time is a sign of your body working properly, inflammation can be painful and irritating. If your face becomes easily flushed and irritated, you will want an anti-inflammatory on hand to decrease your symptoms. Since caffeine has natural anti-inflammatory properties, many luxury skin care lines such as Vine Vera incorporate caffeine into its products, like the Resveratrol Eye Collection Dark Circle Eye Cream.

Anti-Aging Properties

Caffeine also has a direct anti-aging effect on your skin. The caffeine in topical skin care products constrict the blood vessels, essentially tightening your skin and reducing the signs of aging. After using a caffeine-rich skin care product, you will see a noticeable difference in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Caffeine will also help in reducing puffiness and those dark circles under your eyes.

With caffeine’s anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, it is easy to see why the skin care community is so excited about this ingredient, not to mention why this natural ingredient is in Vine Vera skin care products. Learn about more of the natural ingredients found in Vine Vera skin care products and see how we can help beautify your skin the right way.