Tag Archives: skin health

woman in grass

What’s a Holistic Approach to Skin Care?

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and is a true reflection of how healthy your body currently is. This means that any skin conditions that you experience could actually be a symptom of something else that is going on within your body.

Rather than simply treating specific symptoms with harsh, chemical-laden products, a holistic approach to skin care addresses any underlying root problems, treating your skin, as well as your body, from the inside out.  

While a holistic skin care approach may not offer the same quick fix that modern skin care provides, it will not only benefit your complexion in the long run, but will also give your overall health a huge boost.

Interested?

Here are a few steps that you can take to care for your skin in a more holistic way…

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

When trying to think and live more holistically, you need to pay attention to the ingredients that you put into your body. By eating a healthy diet that is filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats, your skin will directly benefit, and it will not take long until you notice the improvements. 

So, what exactly should you be eating?

At least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, preferably ones of different colors.

Wondering why this matters?

Because different colored vegetables and fruits contain different antioxidants. For example, red vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, contain beta-carotene, while leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, contain lutein. Both of these are key antioxidants when it comes to skin health.

Another important element to your diet should be healthy fats, which work as an internal moisturizer for your skin. From oily fish to avocados to nuts, there are so many sources of essential fatty acids out there. Many of these also contain high amounts of vitamin E, which is another vital vitamin for the skin.

Do not forget about omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as both of these are essential, but your body is not able to produce them itself. These can be found in oily fish, as well as chia seeds, walnuts, linseeds and more. This is especially important for those who are suffering from inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Different foods can benefit your skin in different ways, so, if you suffer from a particular skin condition, it would be worth researching which foods you should be eating more of. For example, those suffering from hormonal acne should try eating more soya bean products, as these contain phyto-estrogens, which have a similar structure to oestrogen in the female body and help to prevent hormonal fluctuations. 

Have you ever wondered about taking oral supplements for your skin?

This would definitely fall under the holistic approach, as you would be treating your skin from within.

Here are a few supplements to consider:

  • Probiotics – these help to balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut, resulting in happy and healthy skin
  • Fish oil – contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) – another source of essential omegas

It helps to plan your diet and supplements ahead, so you won’t miss out on essential nutrients. Try making a weekly food plan that you can follow loosely. This way, you won’t have to worry about what best to eat when you’re rushing out the door.

planning ahead

Stay Hydrated

There are many who claim that staying internally hydrated makes no difference to your skin’s health and appearance, but this is not true…

Just like every other part of your body, your skin is made up of cells, and these cells consist primarily of water. Without enough water, the cells within your body will not be able to function to their full potential.

How does this manifest in your skin?

Through dry skin, which will feel quite tight and flaky.

Your body loses large amounts of water each day, and you need to be replacing this. Sadly, because your skin is on the outside of your body, water will travel to all of your other organs before it reaches your skin. This means that you really need to be drinking the maximum amount of water each day in order for your skin cells to really stay hydrated

How much do you need to be drinking?

About eight glasses a day. But don’t forget, teas and infused waters also count towards this, while giving you a boost of antioxidants at the same time. 

Avoid Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

Unhealthy lifestyle habits are not only bad for your skin, but also your general health.

Do you smoke?

If so, you are likely aware of what this is doing to the inside of your body, but did you know that smoking is one of the worst habits that you could have for your skin?

Smoking basically suffocates the tissues within your skin, by preventing oxygen from reaching them. This leads to everything from damaged capillaries to an increase in free radicals, resulting in a wrinkled and sallow complexion.

quit smoking

Drinking too much alcohol can also have a severely detrimental effect on your skin. While you do not need to give this up completely, you should still strictly moderate your alcohol intake.

When you do decide to indulge in a drink, here are a few tips to ensure that you cause as little damage to your skin as possible:

  • Clear spirits on the rocks are the best option, as these will not have sugar, salt or anything else added to them
  • Red wine actually contains high levels of antioxidants, and can be good for you when consumed in moderation 
  • Drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink to dilute the amount of alcohol in your body

Regular Exercise

You probably already know that regular exercise is essential in order to maintain your physical and mental health, but did you know that regular exercise directly benefits the skin too?

New research backs this up in a big way, showing that exercise can boost a person’s skin no matter what age they may be.

To begin with, exercise can really help with acne.

How?

It helps to bring toxins to the surface of your skin, preventing them from causing breakouts, so long as you wash them away as soon as you are done working out. Exercise also triggers the body to produce endorphins, which help to decrease the level of cortisol, the stress hormone that can often trigger acne, in your body. 

Here are a few of the other ways in which regular exercise will benefit your skin:

  • Causes blood vessels to dilate, resulting in a vibrant, energized appearance
  • Stimulates the body to produce more collagen, which is one of the main structural proteins in your skin
  • Encourages the body to sleep better at night, which is the time during which your skin repairs itself
  • Exercising outdoors puts you in the fresh air, boosting your endorphins even more

Quality Sleep Each Night

While you may think that your whole body is resting while you are asleep, this is not at all true…

As mentioned above, the time during which you are asleep is when your skin cells repair and regenerate, and often do this up to three times faster than they do during the day.

It begins at around 9pm, when you start to get sleepy…

Your skin does wind down a little at this time too, making the time between 9pm and 11pm the hours when your skin is best able to absorb topical products.

woman sleeping

Once you go to sleep, your body releases a hormone called HGH, otherwise known as the human growth hormone.

What does this do?

HGH is responsible for speeding up the rate at which your skin cells repair themselves, with cell production doubling, or even tripling, depending on your quality of sleep.

You likely already know whether or not you are getting quality sleep each night, by how tired you are during the day.

If you know you are not sleeping well enough, you need to do something to fix this.

Wondering what you can do?

Here are a few tips:

  • Create a calming bedtime routine, with everything from a hot bath and some chamomile tea to soft music and aromatherapy
  • Remove any electronic devices from your bedroom, as these emit a blue light that suppresses the melatonin in your body, which is responsible for helping you get to sleep 
  • Try breathing exercises to help relax your body and induce sleep 

Minimize Stress

Each time you feel stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, and this can severely affect the skin in a few different ways:

  • Causes glycation, which damages the collagen in your skin, resulting in wrinkles and fine lines
  • Causes dry skin by decreasing the skin’s production of hyaluronic acid and by damaging the skin’s natural protective barrier
  • Causes adrenaline to be produced, which decreases blood flow to the skin, robbing skin cells of essential nutrients
  • Prevents quality sleep, meaning skin cells cannot properly regenerate

So, what can you do about this?

There are so many ways in which you can reduce stress in your life. Give a few of these methods a try:

  • Breathing exercises and meditation
  • Physical activity
  • Socializing with friends and family
  • Having some “me time”
  • Writing your thoughts down in a journal
  • Listen to music
  • Get a massage
  • Spend time with animals
  • Spend time in nature
  • Do something creative, such as cooking or make some art 

woman lying in grass

There are so many other things that could be added to that list, but, as you can see, there are many ways in which you can tackle stress. Rather than letting it fester in your body and continue causing damage to your skin, and so much more, take proactive steps to reduce your stress, and therefore minimize the cortisol in your body.

A Healthy Sex Life

Sex is a natural part of life, and actually brings with it quite a few health benefits, many of which are related to the skin.

Here are a few of the ways in which a healthy sex life could help your complexion:

  • Improves blood circulation, meaning that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the skin
  • Reduces cortisol levels in the body
  • Triggers HGH, the human growth hormone, which boosts skin elasticity
  • Improves the skin’s ability to absorb and make use of nutrients
  • Encourages quality sleep thanks to the oxytocin that floods the brain, therefore helping to boost skin health 

Make Holistic Choices With Your Cosmetics

There are so many skin and beauty products out there that are laden with harmful chemicals, and these are not something that you want on your skin and in your body when trying to care for your skin more holistically.

There are many ingredients out there, from parabens to fragrances, that will do nothing but damage your skin. Take a look at the ingredients lists on the products that you already own, and decide whether or not they are actually benefiting your skin. 

You may be tempted to only opt for completely natural skin care products, but this would not be a good move.

Why?

In an ideal world, you would only be applying the freshest, most natural ingredients to your skin. But, when purchasing skin care products, formulas vary hugely from brand to brand, and just because a product contains natural ingredients does not mean that it will be effective.

Synthetic ingredients are also not always bad. Skin care companies spend years researching into new ingredients, many of which are ones that you would not be able to have access to on your own.

Try to aim for products that are as natural as possible, but do keep your own skin’s needs in mind. For example, if tea tree oil does not seem to be helping your acne, do not be afraid to move on to something stronger.

As you can see, a holistic approach to skin care encompasses every single aspect of your life. By following all of the tips mentioned above, you will be boosting your skin in so many different ways, and will no doubt notice an improved complexion in no time at all.

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.

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.

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.

Add Avocado To Your Beauty Routine

Flower made of Avocado How often has this happened to you? You’re on a date or in a meeting and you go to the restroom. Check your look in the mirror, and there is, the inevitable food on the face. How long has it been there? Is it that noticeable? What is it? Where is it? On your nose? In your eyebrow? Most of us don’t want to be caught wearing our meals in public, yet, at home, it can be somewhat more acceptable, in fact, even desirable. Avocados can be great in your meals and also on your face, and hair. Here are some ways of incorporating the green wonder into your beauty routine.

Anti-Aging
One thing avocados, a.k.a. alligator pears are great for is anti-aging. Not only can you use the mashed avocado for a mask, but eating it helps to fight aging as well. The antioxidants in the avocado detoxify the body, reducing wrinkles and making skin soft and supple.

Drink the Juice for Skin Health
These days it seems as if no fruit or vegetable is beyond liquefaction, and avocados are no exception. Just mix one with a cup of milk in the blender and – voila- a drink full of nutrients and vitamins. Your skin will thank you for it. Add honey if you like it sweet.

Revitalizes the Scalp
Avocado is also a great treatment for your crowning glory. The fruit can be used to treat dry hair or a dry itchy scalp. Just mash some up and massage it into your scalp and let the proteins and amino acids work their magic. You should find a more comfortable, less flaky scalp, and improved overall hair condition.

fresh Avocado smoothie

Defrizz Hair
Got frizz? Put half a mashed up avocado in the blender, add two tablespoons of avocado oil, and work it into your hair and scalp. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and shampoo. You should find hair immediately less frizzy and easier to control.

Natural Sunscreen
If you’re looking for a chemical free way of guarding againstUVA and UVB exposure, avocado oil works as a natural sunscreen and also soothes sunburnt skin. The high antioxidant content of the avocado protects against free radical damage and can restore the effects caused by overexposure to the sun.

Treats Skin Conditions
The healthy fats and oils in contained in the avocado are a close match for the natural oils in the skin and make great natural moisturizers with calming properties to reduce inflammation. Just mash one up and put it right on your face and neck, and wash it off after 5 or 10 minutes and reap the effects of radiant, beautiful skin.

Bad Breath
Some stuff a stick of gum in their mouths before an up close encounter, others drink avocado juice. Bad breath comes from your stomach, not your mouth. Avocado juice cleanses both mouth and intestines, removing the microbes that cause bad breath.

What is your beauty go to’s? What food do you wear? What do you do with your avocados? Let us know! We love to hear it!

Five Steps To A Great Skincare Routine

There is nothing new about the “less is more” concept. Even before Susie Faux termed the phrase “capsule wardrobe” in the seventies, people have realized the wisdom of quality over quantity and the freedom derived from having less. So why is it that so many people are obsessed with multi-step beauty routines?

Of course, if you have the time and patience, you’re welcome to spend as much of it on skin care as you like, but, if you don’t, there is nothing wrong with keeping it scaled down. Remember, you own your beauty routine, it doesn’t own you. So, if you believe in keeping it short and sweet, here’s are five steps that will help you maximize while you minimize.

Woman cleansing skin

Cleanse
Cleansing skin is the most basic step in a skin routine. It should be done twice daily, once in the morning and once at night, to give skin time to heal and breath without being clogged by makeup and debris.

Cleansing should be done with clean hands. Begin by wetting skin with warm water to open the pores. Apply a cleanser appropriate to your skin type using upward circular motions. Some products will be more effective if you leave them on for a minute or two to allow penetration. Remove with damp cotton pads or by splashing your face with cold water. (Cold water will close up pores.) Pat dry gently with a clean towel.

Tone
Toning restores your skin’s pH balance, which is usually altered during the cleansing process. This step can also make your skin more resistant to bacteria. Some toners will only restore your skin’s pH, others will kill bacteria, still others may contain an extra ingredient to prevent acne. Choose the one that suits your skin, and, if you have sensitive skin, be sure to use a specially formulated toner.

Apply toner to entire face with a cotton pad, taking care to avoid your eyes. Do not rinse off.

Woman moisturizing

Moisturize
Moisturizing is the most important step in the beauty routine, and should not be omitted, even if your skin is oily. There is quite a variety of moisturizing products, such as gels (oily skin), creams (dry/sensitive skin), and serums (normal/oily skin). Some may contain anti wrinkle, and anti acne agents, others may tint, or tan, skin.

Apply moisturizer to the face and neck, after toner has dried, using a circular motion. You may want to follow up with a separate moisturizer targeted toward preventing swelling and aging in the eye area.

Exfoliate
Once or twice weekly, use an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells. Make sure not to use anything too harsh, which can irritate skin and tear skin cells.

Remove makeup and massage the exfoliator gently into your face using an outward circular motion for about thirty seconds. Remember, gently is the key word here! If you’re using an exfoliating wash cloth, soak it in warm water and rub it in small circles on your face. Be sure to target creases by your nose and other areas on which blackheads tend to develop.

Face mask

Face Mask
Peel off masks are the best option for unclogging pores, and are the best for oily or acne prone skin. Those with dry skin will benefit most from moisturizing masks.

Choose a natural, mild mask. Keep applications down to once a week or less; frequent applications will result in over cleansing your face. You can make your own, in the interest of keeping it natural, or use a store bought one, following directions on the package.

What do you think of the five-step skin routine? Is less more, or is more more? Let us know what you think?

The Skincare Products You Need To Manage Summer Breakouts

It’s summer and you’ve just had your first official breakout of the season. You calculate that with treatment, most of the pimples will go away in four to seven days, with at least another week for the scars to disappear. You figure that by that time, you most definitely will have broken out again, and that by the time it takes for the first set of scars to heal, you should probably have a whole new round to contend with, and by the time those goes away, summer will probably be over.

Acne can be a drag no matter what season it is, but the sweat and friction of summer sure doesn’t make it any easier to contend with. If you are determined to spend at least part of the season breakout free, here are some of the best skincare products for managing summer breakouts.

Woman checking skin

Accutane
Accutane is the only treatment for acne that results in long-term remission of acne symptoms. It was originally discovered in 1979 when patients treated with the drug reacted by showing significant to permanent clearing of acne symptoms. It was originally given only to people with severe acne, but has become more recently prescribed for less severe cases. It is controversial because it is known to cause lifelong side effects to the user.

How It Works
While how Accutane works on a cellular level is still much of a mystery, there are four known ways that it affects the development of acne:

  • It reduces the size of the skin’s oil glands by 35-58% and reduces the amount of oil produced by these glands by about 80%.
  • It decreases the amount of acne bacteria that lie in the oil of the skin.
  • It hinders the production of skin cells inside the pore, which prevents pores from becoming clogged.
  • It is an anti-inflammatory.

2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is second only to Accutane as an effective treatment for acne. It is the only medication capable of penetrating the skin and delivering oxygen. Because acne related bacteria cannot live with oxygen present, benzoyl peroxide can kill 99.9% of the bacteria almost immediately. Generous application is recommended.

Woman smiling

Oil Free Acne Wash
An oil free acne wash can be used as a regular cleanser for acne prone skin. Its active ingredient is salicylic acid which helps to get rid of existing acne, while preventing future breakouts from happening.. Acne washes are usually noncomedogenic, which means they won’t clog pores and many contain soothing ingredients to prevent over-drying and irritation.

Spot Acne Treatment
Spot acne treatment is the traditional acne treatment is used dry pimples without drying your whole face. It penetrates pores to kill acne bacteria and help to prevent new ones from forming. The active ingredient is spot treatment is benzoyl peroxide, which can irritate skin in large amounts. Look for treatments containing about 2.5 % benzoyl peroxide for minimal dryness and redness. Spot treatment is usually oil free and noncomedogenic.

Spot Eliminating Gel
This on the spot treatment can be used to clear breakouts and prevent emerging ones. Gels are a newer technology and alternative to cream treatment. They are generally preferred because of their clear color and, many claim, superior formula. The active ingredient is salicylic acid, and the gels often claim faster action than their lotion counterparts, which contain benzoyl peroxide. These gels are noncomedogenic as well.

If you’re suffering summer acne, we hope this has been helpful. Let us know how what you’re doing to manage your summer breakouts this year,

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!

Would You Try These Innovative Skincare Ingredients

Americans have been accused of being vulnerable to the lure of the exotic. Of falsely attributing other cultures with possessing some ancient wisdom or magic that we, as Americans, are simply unable to harness. Like the belief in the the superiority of Asian skincare. Skeptics will argue that this is just another example of Americans being overly impressed by the foreign. However, if you consider that the Japanese published a “Capital Beauty and Style Manual” in 1813 that included directions for making an early sheet mask with kimono silk and flower water, it may seem that there is reason to think the Asians may know a thing or two about the subject.

If you are among those who are not entirely convinced that the Asian skincare routine is without merit, here are some of the more (and less) unusual ingredients topping the list of Asian beauty products you may want to get more familiar with.

Bee venom

Bee Venom
Bee venom is known to help skin produce collagen and elastin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Bees are reportedly not harmed in the process of extraction.

Vitamin A (Retinol)
One of the more common additions to our list, Vitamin A is an antioxidant that fights damage from free radicals and increases production of collagen to help protect against wrinkles, aging, and sun damage.

Vitamin B
(Niacinamide) B vitamins such as niacinamide, or B3, are known to possess skin brightening properties. They can be used to decrease redness from acne and even out skin tone.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C, including L-ascorbic acid, can improve skin tone as well as protect skin from UV rays. Store in an opaque container to prevent degradation due to light and heat.

Aloe Vera
This ancient plant has been used for centuries to soothe and hydrate. Apply it to sunburns for quick relief or as a soothing balm after shaving.

Pear on wheat

Arbutin
This hydroquinone derivative is found in wheat and pears. It is a safe and natural way of limiting the production of melanin and brightening skin.

Ferment
Use fermented products like yeast, rice or pitera to boost skin elasticity and prevent aging.

Green Tea
Another recommendation from the “Capital Beauty and Style Manual,” green tea has antioxidant properties which can decrease inflammation an fight the effects of carcinogens and age.

Honey and Royal Jelly
It’s back to the bee hive for some anti-inflammatory and and antiseptic properties to prevent acne and dryness.

Milk
Whether from cow’s or donkeys, milk is a great moisturizer and brightener.

Rice

Rice
Another,”I told you so” from the ancient Manual, rice as been used for centuries in Asian culture as a toner or scrub to even skin tone.

Snail
Asians swear by snail secretion filtrate as a moisturizing ingredient. It is associated with reducing redness acne and repairing skin damage.

Syn-ake
This is a synthetic snake venom said to be similar to botox in its ability to fight aging. It is known to firm skin and improve elasticity.

Yogurt
The lactic acid in yogurt can exfoliate the skin, while the zinc can reduce the production of oil and sebum, known to block pores.

Let us know if which of these ingredients you have tried, or would consider trying. We’d love to know!

Foods That Are Killing your Complexion

Woman drinking juice

You look in the mirror, and there it is: a new zit. You do a quick mental inventory of the foods you’ve eaten in the last few days to determine the culprit, but it doesn’t take you long to determine; it’s that candy bar you ate the other day. How you tried to forget about that dietary blunder. You didn’t even list it in your food journal. But now, here it is, getting its revenge in the form of a large pimple that will probably taunt you for the next two weeks.

You know that you are what you eat and your skin is one of the biggest reminders. Although some foods are hard to resist, pimples are a high price to pay. But, forewarned is forearmed. So, in the spirit of forewarning, here are some foods that may be causing those complexion killers.

Canned Soup
Although it may make a cheap, quick lunch, canned soup contains bisphenol and sodium which can make skin retain water, causing it to become dry, swollen, and inflamed. Bone broth is a gut soothing option which can help to heal the stomach lining without making your skin break out in the process.

donuts

Processed Carbohydrates
Processed carbohydrates include all those foods we love like white bread, cereals, and baked goods. Unfortunately, these dietary staples break down and transform into sugar, which is bad news for your health and your skin. Seed and almond flour crackers are low in sugar and high in fiber and may save you from acne woes.

Juice
Another high-sugar bandit, juice is no friend to the acne-prone. Try a high protein smoothie with healthy fats instead.

Canned Tuna
While it may be accessible and cost effective, canned tuna may not be your healthiest seafood option. Dr. Lipman says, “It lacks the nutrients found in wild fish and is often farmed, causing mercury toxicity. ” Canned wild salmon is a safer source of omega-3s and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Woman eating pizza

Cheese made from Cow’s Milk
Pizza eaters be warned. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, MD, “Dairy is a brilliant trigger for skin issues like acne, as all dairy products come from lactating organic cows. Organic cows are filled with cow’s hormones, which can trigger hormonal acne in humans.” If you can, try replacing the dreaded zit inducer with lactose free cashew cheese or nutritional yeast, although they may not work as well as mozzarella on pizza.

Soda
Soda is a veritable cocktail of skin no no’s, from its high sugar level to its chemical content. Soda increases insulin levels and can interfere with the production of healthy bacteria. The result? A plethora of skin issuers ranging from eczema and rosacea to acne. Kombucha is a probiotic rich alternative, which would be a less “inflammatory” option.

Coffee
Caffeine in coffee can dehydrate skin. If you can sacrifice the jolt, consuming hot water with a hint of lemon can hydrate skin and reduce inflammation.

Are there any foods worth suffering zits for? Let us know what you think! And good luck keeping your complexion clear and lovely!