Tag Archives: skin care

coffee beans and tea leaves

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

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

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

Here’s the deal:

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

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

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

skincare ingredients

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

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

We’re going to focus on the following:

  • Interesting Facts
  • Benefits
  • Potential Drawbacks

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

tea plantation

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

Origins

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

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

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

Interestingly enough:

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits

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

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

Here’s the thing:

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

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

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

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

Anti-inflammatory

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

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

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

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

aloe vera

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

Want to know the best part?

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

Antibacterial

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Control

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

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

It gets better:

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

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

oily vs dry skin

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

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

Exfoliation

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

Guess what:

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

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

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

Potential Drawbacks

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

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

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

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

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

Keep this in mind:

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

Loving Your Skin and the World

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

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

parcel on map

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

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

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

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

 

 

7-Trending-Skincare-624x235

7 Trending Skincare Ingredients and Your Skin

Aging, sagging skin? Dull, weary appearance? A face full of breakouts and dark spots? Skin damage from the sun?

Skincare ingredients are all about helping the modern woman (and man) target specific skin concerns. Good lifestyle habits help a lot with maintaining skin elasticity and healthy complexions, but with an ever faster pace of life and changing urban environments, good habits just can’t keep up.

This is why the skincare industry has turned to specific ingredients to target individual skin issues. Check out the top 7 most popular skincare ingredients that are trending right now.

Collagen supplements

A critical protein in the skin’s support network, collagen is the reason for your skin’s natural elasticity. This long chain of amino acids can be found in bones, connective tissue, skin, hair and nails. It provides a soft framework for ‘harder’ minerals like calcium phosphate. As the body ages, however, the loss in collagen also results in wrinkles, sagging skin, and fine lines.

It’s no wonder then that collagen has become a trending ingredient for anti-aging skincare. In order to turn back time and re-supply the skin with its elasticity, the skincare and health industry is now replete with various forms of collagen, most notably:

  • Collagen powder
  • Collagen pills 
  • Collagen drinks
  • Soluble or hydrolyzed collagen (found in skincare ingredients)
  • Collagen injections (found at your nearest dermatologist’s)

Do these really work? This double-blind study certainly thinks so. After 8 weeks of ingesting collagen hydrolysate (CH) composed of specific collagen peptides, it was found that there was a statistifcally significant improvement in skin elasticity in the CH dosage groups, compared to the placebo group. Yes, the elderly population can now regain their youth – or the appearance of it, at least.

You can find collagen powder, pills and drinks in drugstores, specialized online marketplaces, or your local GNC. From $10 a pop, collagen supplements are available to every man and woman, young and old.

Established skincare companies have also incorporated soluble collagen into their list of ingredients. Rated safe on the EWG Cosmetics Database, soluble collagen (also known as ‘hydrolyzed collagen’) is often paired with other ingredients that can more effectively penetrate the skin, in order to maximise the benefits of collagen (topical collagen, without ingredients to support it, will only work on the surface-most layer of the skin). 

Collagen injections are another popular method to re-supply the body and skin network with this protein. This form of collagen treatment is typically marketed to 35-60 year olds, and is used to reduce laugh and frown lines. It’s even possible to plump the lips with collagen injections. In effect, it’s like Botox, but without the bad rep and expressionless faces.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is by no means new to skincare. It has been and remains a relatively popular addition to moisturizers. As an ingredient, it provides a deeper moisturizing effect than many other ingredients thanks to its ability to store moisture.

That alone tends to do a lot for the skin. The extra boost to keeping the skin moisturized helps keep it resilient and healthy even in the face of sun damage. It further helps by ensuring that it is harder for the skin to dry out.

Keeping your skin properly moisturized like that means it will be less prone to other forms of damage as well. This helps you to be sure of maintaining a more even complexion as well as helping any damage already there to heal faster.

Want to know the best part?

All of this makes hyaluronic acid perfect for fighting the signs of aging.

Human skin dries out with age as it is unable to trap as much moisture. This in turn sensitizes it and makes it more susceptible to all forms of damage and irritation. Fighting back against the problem with this kind of moisturizing helps minimize the problem.

Admittedly, you’ll want to pair it with a friend.

VitaminA

Vitamin A supports your skin by encouraging its natural cell turnover rate. This helps to keep your skin looking and feeling healthier.

What you might not know is that it is in more products than you might think. A lot of talk has been devoted to retinol and retinoids in skincare lately. There are derived from a form of vitamin A.

These ingredients are also particularly promising when it comes to fighting the signs of aging. Encouraging the increased cell turnover rate helps to minimize buildup on the skin. This in turn reduces the rate at which wrinkles form.

It gets better:

The compounds within vitamin A are usable by your skin to help create collagen within your skin. Collagen is highly important due to it being your skin’s primary structural protein. It is, in fact, what fills your skin out and keeps it youthful looking.

Retinol and retinoids also provide a gentle exfoliating effect when applied. This is why most of the products have a light tingle or burn to them. Stay alert to this as using the product for too long could hurt your skin.

Hyaluronic acid and vitamin A derivatives are all wonderful ingredients, but there are others that are currently trending.

Kale-Spinach-Peppers

Natural skincare is an increasingly important topic for many of us. It isn’t even due to the fear of unknown chemicals these days. We’re all simply becoming more aware of the fact that our skin enjoys the complex nature of more natural options.

After all, our modern skincare products are based on compounds we found and refined from nature. They aren’t simply chemicals cooked up in a lab somewhere. It turns out our body and our skin likes the extras that come from the full ingredients from nature though.

The key element here is flavonoids or flavones, a polyphenolic compound that strengthens blood vessels and supports collagen and elastin. By ingesting bright, colorful peppers and dark, leafy greens, you’re adding a critical skincare ingredient to your beauty arsenal.

Here are the best greens rich in flavones:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Peppers

These and other options are being used to create modern skincare products that cultivate your skin’s health on multiple levels. The potential for these natural skincare products is making them highly popular. Don’t rely on products you make at home though.

Products made at home aren’t necessarily in the best proportions to make the most of the ingredients you use. Professionally produced versions offer safe, healthy concentrations of the ingredients to ensure your skin is helped rather than harmed.

Probiotics

We’ve all heard about using probiotics by this point. The basic idea seems sound. You ingest helpful bacteria in some way or eat things that support your own internal biome of bacteria.

This in turn bolsters their population and allows them to do their jobs that much better. It’s an important consideration to make given bacteria are responsible for some much of our health.

Let’s take a quick look at what they do:

  • Defend your body and skin from unknown bacteria
  • Help break down food
  • Play a part in your metabolism

That’s just a few things that bacteria do for you. The crazy part is that we all play host to colonies of friendly bacteria that are so dense that there are more of them than there are cells in our body. So giving them a helping hand is a good idea.

Some trending beauty ingredients favor this approach. The idea is to eat probiotic foods or supplements to help ensure your body is better able to regulate various functions. This helps reduce issues that can lead to unhealthy skin among other things.

Charcoal

Skin staining isn’t really a concern with most preparations of charcoal intended for the skin. These products use ground up versions of it combined with other ingredients. The charcoal is wonderful for helping to clean up the skin though.

Most people who use charcoal find that it provides a noticeable amount of oil control. Excessive oil can also lead to buildup that causes acne. It ends up trapping dirt close to the skin and creating an environment fit for unwelcome bacteria. Charcoal fixes that.

Here’s the deal:

There is evidence to suggest that charcoal is also good for helping to loosen the grime that builds up on your skin too. This allows it to fight both grime and oil buildup at the same time. Not only will this reduce your chances for acne, but it also helps avoid dull skin.

Minimizing these issues is particularly important as we age. Charcoal, like many of our other ingredient choices, is ultimately very good for helping maintaining one’s appearance as one ages. The right ingredients make all the difference.

Loving Your Skin

Taking good care of one’s skin involves watching for improved products more often than any of us would like to admit. After all, our skin always seems to have that one aspect in which it defies us. The right product makes all the difference.

Identifying good ingredients is what we’re all interested in ultimately. It doesn’t take that much effort to stay informed about what’s becoming popular. A little bit more effort will let you see if there is anything to it too.

Avoiding less than perfect skincare treatments helps by ensuring that our skin doesn’t take any extra damage from our own mistakes. Ultimately, the best way to do this involves more than just basic skincare. We need to eat right even if we opt to use natural products.

Eating right provides our skin and the rest of our organs with minerals and nutrients that they need. Skipping out on watching our diets will only serve to hurt our complexion in the long run. The good news is that it is never too late to start eating right for your skin.

Have we missed out on any of your favorite skincare ingredients? Be sure to comment and let us know!

 

vine vera banner presents Your Skin and Thyroid Disorder

Your Skin and Thyroid Disorder

Blood tests aren’t meant to be fun, and no one wants to hear bad news when it comes to his or her health. We prefer to hear that all our organs are functioning properly, none of our minerals are deficient, and we have no diseases, communicable or otherwise, and we certainly don’t want to hear that something is wrong with our thyroids. Thyroids are the master gland of the metabolism, and when the thyroid is not doing its job at its optimal level, that can affect every aspect of your health, from your brain chemistry to your heart health, to your weight, to your energy levels, to your skin. If you’ve been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, the symptoms may seem undesirable, but they are also very often treatable and preventable. Here is one tip for treating and preventing the effects of thyroid issues on your skin.

Hashimoto’s Disease and Your Skin
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition which increases a woman’s likelihood to have rashes, hives, dull, dry skin, premenstrual acne, and facial swelling, especially if her thyroid levels are imbalanced and she is not absorbing vitamins correctly. Women with the condition often report feeling like their skin is aging prematurely, a symptom associated with the dryness that results from hyperthyroidism and its related nutrient deficiencies. Other, see breakouts that they haven’t experienced since their adolescence due to hormonal imbalance, toxicity, and increased food sensitivity.

Often, those with such symptoms will attempt to self-medicate, using personal care products, which may contain toxins that exacerbate the problem. Personal care products can often act as endocrine disruptors, which can cause hormonal imbalance by mimicking or blocking hormonal activity in the body, affecting estrogen levels and other bodily hormones. This activity can trigger skin breakouts, and even autoimmune thyroid disease, which can lead to weight gain, birth defects, and even early menopause. A recent study shows that women with greater exposure to PCB’s and phthalates found in personal care products went through menopause two to four years earlier than those with fewer exposures.

vine vera banner presents Your Skin and Thyroid Disorder

Recommendations
If you are suffering from thyroid related skin issues, here are some alternatives to chemically enhanced care products:

  • If you have dry or dull skin, check your thyroid hormone levels (TSH, Free T3/ Free T4.) If you have an under active thyroid, you may want to discuss the possibilities of taking prescription medication, switching from your current medication, or increasing or decreasing the dosage of the medication you are currently taking.
  • Avoid plastic when storing or heating food. Consider Ball Mason Jars or glass storage containers, which do not contain hormone disrupting toxins.
  • Don’t use antibacterial soaps or toothpaste which contain triclosan. Peribiotic tooth paste is free of fluoride and triclosan, and also contains probiotics for healthy mouth flora.
  •  If you’re suffering from breakouts, you may want to consider an elimination diet or food sensitivity testing to figure out the cause.
  •  Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, for safety and toxicity profiles on personal care products.

Are you suffering from skin issues caused by a hypothyroidism? Let us know how you’re treating them and if you have any advice for handling the condition.

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.

Dissolving Fillers To Reveal Natural Beauty

woman getting filler-dissolving treatment

From the time we saw Bruce Springsteen drag her on the the stage in the “Dancing InThe Dark” video, the nation fell in love with Courtney Cox. We watched her grow up as the charming, if high-maintenance Monica on “Friends,” and then the naughty older lady on “Cougartown.” However, we began to notice a small change, at this time. Was Courtney’s face looking a bit stiffer? Her lips perhaps a little too plump? Had our girl been dabbling in facial fillers?

If you’re a Courtney fan, you may have heard of her latest brave decision to break ties with her facial fillers, in a decision that may be gaining popularity. If you’re thinking of following in Courtney’s footsteps, here’s a little info on dissolving facial fillers.

Why Filler Dissolves
Hyaluronic acid filler, which is usually injected in the lips and cheeks, come from a molecule that already exists in the skin to provide moisture. New York Plastic surgeon Dr. David Shafer says, “The only difference is in the laboratory, they connect them by chemical bonds, that’s what makes it stay in shape when it’s in your body. But over about eight months to two years, your body starts to metabolize it and break apart those bonds and then you just absorb it like you would normal, natural hyaluronic acid.

Dissolving Fillers on Purpose
If you don’t want to wait for your filler to dissolve, there are ways to speed the process. In the past four years doctors have begun to inject an enzyme that helps to break down the chemical bonds in the hyaluronic acid. “it’s breaking apart the gel under the skin and your body just absorbs it like it would your own natural hyaluronic acid.

woman receiving filler dissolving enzyme

What Is It Like?
Dissolving filters is a relatively quick process, in which the enzyme is injected into the area where the filler is using a small needle. Shafer says, “it’s not a painful procedure. Usually patients say they feel a little bit of warmth or tingling in the area as the enzyme is working.” Some results are noticeable immediately, while others take 24 hours to work completely. A follow up appointment is recommended two days after the first to see if the procedure was effective, and take additional steps if necessary.

Cost
The procedure commonly starts at $400 per treatment.

Fillers that Can’t Be Dissolved
While the enzyme is a great way to dissolve hyaluronic acid fillers, other fillers won’t response immediately. Those whose injectables are Radiesse, which is made out of hydroxyapatite, or Sculptra, which contains collagen stimulating particles, may just have to wait it out. Radiesse fillers last about a year to a year and a half, while Sculptra lasts 2-3 years.

Get It Right the First Time
Just because fillers are reversible, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in some consideration before you get them. Dr. Schafer says, “Fillers and Botox can make really nice changes for people, they just have to be done conservatively. If it’s getting to be too much or not looking natural, I’m going to tell people ‘no.'”

What do you think of getting fillers dissolved? Good move or bad? Let us know where you stand on the issue.

Beware These Bleaching Ingredients In Your Skincare Products

woman with good skin

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

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

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

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

woman reading labels

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

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

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

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

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

Vitamin B for Youthful, Radiant Skin

vine vera banner presents Vitamin B for Youthful, Radiant Skin

The vitamin B complex. It may be fair to say it’s the vitamin complex that puts the ‘B’ in beauty. Sure Vitamin A is the “gold standard” when it comes to aging, and vitamin C and E are both powerful antioxidants, but when it comes to strengthening skin, hair, and nails, you can’t really beat the B vitamins. Let’s have a look at this beautifying octet and see why B vitamins are so essential for youthful skin, healthy hair, and tough as nails.

Vitamin B
First thought to be one vitamin, later found to be eight, the B vitamins work together to keep our bodies working like the well-oiled machines they are. B1, B2, B3, B5, B7, B8, B9 and B12 all perform slightly different functions that help provide nutrients to our bodies and prevent everything from memory loss to migraines. However, lately vitamin B has been coming into attention from the beauty world, with a large number of studies showing how vitamin B’s inclusion in face creams can be a key component in the prevention of aging.

Nicotinamide, a vitamin B-3 derivative, in particular, has been shown to help the upper layer of skin retain moisture, with less dryness, flakiness, and fine lines, and has demonstrated skin brightening properties when added to moisturizers.

B Vitamins For Skin
Dull and unhealthy skin and certain chronic skin issues have all been associated with a vitamin B deficiency. B-12 regulates pigment location and production which can prevent darkening of the skin on certain parts of the body related to hyperpigmentation. Vitamin B3 can be used to minimize the appearance and degree of severity in some skin conditions, and B5 can help with acne by breaking down oils.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, supplementing with B5 can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels to promote healthy skin indirectly, and can, more specifically help to prevent acne by breaking down the oils in these compounds. Vitamin B5 has also been linked with a fast healing of wounds, especially when combined with vitamin C.

B Vitamins For Hair
B vitamins metabolize food, which means nutrition goes to the whole body, hair follicles included. B1, B2, B3, and B5 deficiencies can all result in weak hair follicle cells, and lack of B9, or folic acid, can slow cell division in follicles, slowing down growth.

Vitamin B7 or biotin, otherwise know as the “beauty vitamin” can help maintain strength, tone, and texture of hair and can even prevent hair loss caused by poor thyroid health and biotin deficiencies. Biotin can also be used to treat cradle cap in infants.

B Vitamins For Nails
Strong nails require a number of B vitamins to stay healthy. Vitamin B12 or riboflavin helps with iron absorption necessary for nail health, too little of which results in white, thin, brittle nails, and even abnormal nail growth. B12 also plays a role in the formation of red blood cells, hence the prevention of anemia, one of the symptoms of which is unhealthy nails. Vitamin B9, or folate, helps with the development of new cells, which contributes to nail growth.

Sources
While the body usually produces its own vitamin B, food sources include fish, meat, and vegetables. Fish has the highest B content, with salmon, tuna, trout, and cod topping the list. Lamb, poultry, eggs meat, and dairy are also good sources of Vitamin B and certain fruits, vegetables and legumes also rank high on the list. Avocados, pomegranates, and berries are all high in Vitamin B, as are green leafy vegetables, potatoes, and squashes. Soybeans, lentils, and kidney beans also have high concentrations of the vitamin.

What do you think? Does Vitamin B complex put the “B” in beauty? Let us know!

The Benefits Of Resveratrol

Wine and grapes

If you are a follower of Greek mythology, you may know that Greek gods were superior immortal exceptionally beautiful beings believed to have powers over controlling the world or some aspect of it. You probably also know that the Greek gods drank a lot of wine. Did anyone ever make a connection between the two? Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound found in red wine and grapes. It is said to promote longevity and offer a range of health benefits from promoting weight loss to combatting cancer. Could it help us achieve god-like status? You be the judge. Here are some of the benefits of resveratrol.

What Is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant produced by some plants as a natural defense against stresses of the environment and is theorized to be able to do the same for humans. Antioxidants are compounds which have been shown to neutralize free radicals which cause aging, cancer, and heart disease. Although Japanese knotweed tops the list of plants with the highest content of resveratrol, a large amount is found in the skin of grapes. Resveratrol protects the grapes against sun damage and fungi disease, making red wine, produced with the grapes, a source of the antioxidant, although in an albeit small amount.

Woman drinking wine

Resveratrol and the French
Resveratrol is thought to be the cause of low rates of heart disease in France. Even with the French habits of smoking, coffee drinking, and the consumption of a high-fat diet, the incidence of heart disease remains low in the French population. The theory is that the resveratrol in the red wine the French consume counteracts the effects of poor health habits, and also contribute to the longevity of the French people.

How Does It Work?
Resveratrol helps to protect cell DNA and reverses the damage caused by free radicals leading to cancer, and aging.

Woman pondering

Benefits

  • Skin Care
    Research indicate that resveratrol can fight skin damage caused by UV light. A study publishes in the FASEB found that when directly applied to skin, resveratrol can protect against the effects of aging caused by sun exposure.
  • Weight Loss
    Scientific finding show that resveratrol can stimulate the production of adiponectin, which is a hormone throughout to fight obesity and insulin resistance. Animal based and test tube studies show that the compound can help to speed metabolism and slow down the formation of fat cells.
  • Brain Health
    A study published in the journal Neurology in 2015 showed that individuals suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease demonstrated small improvements in their self maintenance abilities after taken resveratrol supplements daily for a year.
  • Cancer
    A report from the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reveal a number of studies suggesting that resveratrol may have anti cancer properties. A study on cell cultures revealed that resveratrol helped to slow the progression of breast cancer in its early stages, and prevented estrogen from reacting to DNA molecules and forming compounds associated with the beginnings of cancer.

Have you taken resveratrol or used it in your skin care products? Let us know what you think. Is resveratrol the new miracle antioxidant?

A Moisturizer For Skin and Hair

Woman touching face

Today, many of us won’t touch a product unless it lists hyaluronic acid, retinol, or any of the other scientific-sounding ingredients that seem to be revolutionizing the face of skin care, and your own, these days. However, while much of this stuff has proven quite effective, there are still those of us who prefer natural ingredients, that have grown out of the same earth as we have. Shea butter is a natural ingredient used for centuries. In fact, Cleopatra was said to have used it in her beauty regimen, and they say Marc Anthony was not hard on the eyes. Here are some of the ways shea butter can be used as a moisturizer for skin and hair.

For Skin

  1. Healing
    Shea butter contains fatty acids and plant sterols which do not convert into soap as easily as other nut oils and fats, which makes it a great healer for skin. Raw shea butter has been known to help treat skin rashes, and peeling after tanning and is effective on everything from scars, frostbite, athlete’s foot, stretch marks, arthritis, to insect bites.
  2. Antioxidants
    Shea butter consists of plant antioxidants, like vitamin A and vitamin E and catechins, which protect cells from damage by the environment and free radicals, and cinnamic acid esters to prevent skin from sun damage.
  3. Anti-Aging
    In addition to preventing sun damage, shea butter can stimulate the production of collagen, the protein building block of skin. The vitamins E and A lend their moisturizing powers, keeping skin supple and preventing premature wrinkles.
  4. Skin Elasticity
    As mentioned earlier, shea butter is non-saponifiable, which means it does not convert easily into soap. This and its vitamin F content make it vital in the maintenance of skin elasticity and tone.

Woman combing hair

For Hair

    1. Dry Scalp
      Got flakes? Try shea butter. It’s an effective treatment for dandruff or a dry itchy scalp. Shea butter is easily absorbed into the skin, so you don’t have to worry about greasy residue or clogged pores. Once penetrated, its vitamins A and E work to repair breakage, soothe dryness, and mend split ends.
    2. Moisturizer
      Shea butter can be used as a natural substitute for your conditioner. Its presence of A and E vitamins make it effective in locking moisture in without added weight and greasiness. Shea butter is widely used in the treatments of curly hair because of its emollient properties, It can also restore moisture loss caused by chemical treatments, such as perms and straighteners.
    3. Hair Protection
      Not only can shea butter protect your skin against free radicals, it can protect your hair as well. The small amount of SPF contained in the cream provides sufficient protection from sun damage caused by UV rays, and can actually repair preexisting damage as well. This is because shea butter coats the shaft of the hair to protect it from heat tools and other damaging materials. This is especially beneficial to frequent swimmers looking to protect hair from chlorine and to those with colored or processed hair.
    4. Hair Softener
      Brittle, dry hair? Shea butter to the rescue. Because of its non-greasy texture, shea butter can help control the spread of excess oil in the scalp and make hair soft and silky. Shea butter should be applied generously twice a week for moisturizing and improving hair texture and growth.

Do you use shea butter? Let us know which one of its myriad of applications you find most beneficial and how it is working for you.

Summer Skin Care Saviors

Girl on hammock

When Helena Rubenstein famously said, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones,” one might stop to think if that held true for the makeup mogul in the long lazy days of summer. When it was too hot to lift a finger, was Helena still lifting hers to extract hot rollers from her hair, or to apply that final coat of mascara? While the modern woman may not take Rubenstein’s words completely literally, she will understand the wisdom behind them. While the heat of summer may provide a good excuse to take a snooze on an outdoor hammock, it certainly is not an excuse to abandon your skincare, maybe just lighten up on it a little. Here are some great summer skincare tips for doing just that.

Lightweight Moisturizer
While the winter cold and dry inside air require the protection of heavy creams, the humidity of summer gives you a little more leeway. Melissa Pilang, MD, explains, “During the warmer seasons, lighter moisturizing lotions will likely provide enough moisture for the skin, while heavier and creamier formulations may lead to clogged pores and breakouts. The best summer products are the ones that contain hydrating ingredients, like resveratrol, which fights radical damage, and hyaluronic acid.

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are particularly important in the warm weather when the UV rays are strongest. Tsippora Shainhouse, Beverly Hills MD, says, “Not only can too much sun lead to direct DNA damage, but it can also break down collagen and elastin, due to UV-induced free radicals.” Avoid free radical damage by applying an antioxidant serum after cleansing your face in the morning and top with sunscreen.

Woman applying sunscreen

SPF
Of course, the lazy days of summer suffer no lack of intense sunshine. While the application of SPF should occur every day, it becomes even more vital during the summer months. Dr. Dendy Engelman warns, “Incidental sun exposure, even for only ten to fifteen minutes a day, adds up over time and can cause significant sun damage, photo-aging, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.” She suggests the use of a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of at least 30 (ideally 50) to reduce accumulation of UV damage associated with aging and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Reduce Retinol
Even though retinol works wonders on wrinkles, it can actually make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which can be somewhat counter productive. According to Joel Schlessinger, MD, “Retinol boosts cell turnover, which means it eliminates dead skin cells and replaces it with new ones, and these healthy, new cells are more sensitive and prone to burning from the sun’s rays.” Don’t fret, however, you don’t have to completely abandon your precious retinol in the summer months, just cut the frequency to one or two times a week and wear enough sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat to reduce sun exposure to your face.

More Astringent Cleanser
More humidity means more sweat and more sweat means more shine. However, you can control both shine and sweat with the use of a slightly more acidic cleanser. S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, says, “Spring days become much warmer in the afternoon than the morning. Your cleanser should keep your skin clean and sweat-free throughout the day, which a more acidic cleanser is likely to do.”

How are you changing your skin routine on these warm, lazy days. Let us know what your favorite summer skincare go to’s are!