Tag Archives: skin health

The Best Plant Extracts For Skin

Usually, when we think of the plights of ancient civilization, acne does not top our list. However, that does not mean skincare was not a problem for our forebears. After all, if there was a sun, was there not sun damage and, if there were pregnancies, were there not stretch marks? While we can pretty much assume our forefathers and mothers all battled with skin issues, there is a noticeable absence of the mention of benzoyl peroxide and hyaluronic acid in the history books. So what did our ancestors use to ensure skin health before the advent of “science-based skincare?” Plant extracts. And if they worked back then, shouldn’t they work now?

Let’s take a moment to investigate the best plant-based extracts for your skin that are still available.

Aloe vera

Aloe Vera
This extract has been around since time immemorial. Best known as a remedy for irritation and minor burns, this desert plant is known for its ability to fight bacteria, protect skin cells from damage, soften skin, and rebuild new tissue. Aloe is an ideal ingredient for mature skin and improves collagen levels when ingested or applied topically.

Tea Tree Oil
Ideal for moisturizing and cleansing, tea tree oils reduces sebum production in the sebaceous glands and reduces the amount of bacteria that cause blemishes to form. Its antiseptic properties make it an effective healer, it is known for its ability to safely remove dead cells from the skin and decrease the appearance of wrinkles.

Shea
Shea butter evens skin tone and protects and moisturizes the skin and scalp without clogging pores. Extracted from the nut of the West African karate tree, shea butter is naturally rich in vitamins A and E and helps restore elasticity to the skin and soothe irritation.

Shea butter

Olive Oil
Hailed as a skin care remedy by the ancient Egyptians, olive oil is still regarded as one of the most effective natural oils for skin care. It has been associated with everything from aiding in digestion to acne prevention and anti-aging. The words “Extra virgin” or “cold pressed” on the label should indicate that the olive oil contained within is the purest of all extract and have more nutritional components to improve skin appearance, but beware falsely labelled products!

Avocado
One of the finest extracts found in nature, the oil from the avocado is an extract long found in face masks, bath oils, and cleansing cream. Avocados are rich in vitamin A, which is effective at removing dead skin cells and contain amino acids which protect skin against environmental damage.

Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is known for the ability to reduce scars and is often recommended by surgeons to patients to reduce evidence of surgery incisions. It is credited with boosting collagen in the skin and reducing stretch marks and the appearance of wrinkles and frown lines. Cocoa butter is an active ingredient in most moisturizers and is useful in combatting rough skin where dryness is common.
Cocoa butter

Coconut Oil
Great for both hair and skin care, coconut oil is an effective moisturizer for dry skin and scalp. It can also delay the appearance of wrinkles and has been proven to be effective in the treatments of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. The antioxidant properties of the coconut prevent premature aging and degenerative disease and it is available in a variety of skin care products, such as lotions, soaps, and creams.

Do you know of any plant extracts we haven’t mentioned that do wonders for your skin? Let us know your favorites. We’re all ears!

Tips for Controlling Common Skin Conditions

Dr. William’s Pink Pills For Pale People,” “Dr.Scott’s Electric Corsets and Belts, “Dr. Ayer’s Pectoral Plaster,” “Dr. Watson’s Worm Syrup.” It seems like, since time immemorial, there have been people ready to cash in on the belief that “for every problem, there is a solution.” However, attractive as it the phrase may sound, unfortunately it is not always true, and skin conditions are no exception. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make to make them better. Here is some expert advice on how you can handle some common skin conditions under control.

Under-eye bags

Under-Eye Bags
Under-eye bags are the result of fat that gathers in the lower eyelids, and become more prominent with age. According to Curology founder, David Lortscher, gravity, loss of collagen, and genetic factors are all responsible for the these pillow like protrusions, and the bad news is, they cannot be permanently eliminated and masks and eye creams usually don’t help. However, there are ways of minimizing the puffiness.

According to Lortsher, “proper head elevation during sleep, sleep itself, and decreased dietary ingestion of salt and alcohol are simple lifestyle changes that can help.” He adds, “Topical creams can also reduce swelling.” If more intense treatments are an option, the doctor allows that, “Surgical correction or blepharoplasty can lead to a semi-permanent solution. But, remember, with age and volume loss the under-eye bags can reappear.”

Melasma
Melasma is characterized by dark facial pigmentation. It is triggered by sun exposure, hormone treatments and pregnancy and may last for decades. While melasma research is still ongoing, topical treatments, such as the prescription medication Tri-Luma, are looming on the horizon and experts recommend sun avoidance and protection to keep the condition to a minimum.

Dermatologist checking skin

Stretch marks
Stretch marks appear when the tissue below your skin, called the dermis, tears after being stretched by rapid growth or weight gain. Lortscher explains that, “Stretch marks are difficult to treat because they are actually scars,” and, like most scars, may fade with time, but never fully disappear. But there is hope.

Lortscher says cosmetic fractionated layers offer the “best hope at improving the depressed and thinned texture of the skin and topical tretinoin may help to some extent through its collagen stimulating effect.”

Rosacea
Rosacea is the general term used to refer to the appearance of redness of the face, small, acne like bumps and dilated blood vessels. Rosacea affects the capillaries under the skin surface and, “As you might imagine,” Lortscher says, “there is no topical treatment that will remove these little blood vessels.”

Although rosacea is not completely curable, there are several ways to manage it. One way is to avoid triggers such as sun exposure, spicy foods, stress, and hot showers. Redness can also be decreased by using topical products containing metronidazole, tacrolimus, azelaic acid, and glycol acid.

Woman scratching her arm

Eczema
A catch all phrase applied to most skin inflammation, eczema can be caused by almost anything from stress to food allergies. Although not curable, eczema is easily controllable with topical antibiotics, emollients and steroids.

Keratosis Pilaris
About 50% of the population suffers from the genetic acne- like skin condition known as keratosis pillars. KP is usually found on the thighs and upper arms and consists of dry, rough bumps resulting from the accumulation of dead skin cells, and, as Lortscher says, is,”incurable and persistent, even with treatment.”

Thankfully, alpha hydroxy acids are helpful in sloughing off dead skin cells and allowing them to shed, so glycolic and lactic acids can be effective, as can coconut oil, although coconut oil should not be used on the face. More good news: the condition also tends to go away when the sufferer reaches his or her late 20’s or early 30’s.

What’s Great About the Kitavan Diet

Let’s take a moment to travel to a timeless, magical place; a place where the water is crystal clear and telecommunication is non-existent. A remote idyllic tropical island, of coral reefs, of Skull Caves, Orchid Gardens, and smiling faces. Welcome to Kitava Island, off the coast of Papua, New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. While many find the quaintness of the island its most charming attraction, others may argue that Kitava is way ahead of its time. You see, Kitava, New Guinea may not be a leader in technology, but they do have something far superior and way ahead of the times as compared to most other places in the world. It has the Kitavan Diet.

Kitavan diet

Kitavan Diet
Perhaps the most noticeable thing about the Kitavans is what they don’t have; there is practically no diabetes, acne, cardiovascular disease, dementia, or blood pressure difficulty. What they do have, however, is an abundance of food. But, despite this abundance, they do not suffer from obesity, and they all have low diastolic blood pressure.

Research finds that the good health in Kitava is due to the local foods. Fresh fruit, tubers, coconut, and fish make up a good percentage of the Kitavan diet, with an extremely low consumption of Western food. The diet is also virtually absent of dairy products, coffee, tea, and alcohol, and contains very little margarine, oils, sugars, grain, and cereals. The most commonly eaten tubers are yam, sweet potato, cassava and taro, while banana, papaya, guava, pineapple, watermelon, and mango top the list of fruits. The fat intake is low, and most of the fat that is consumed is saturated fat or omega-3 fat from seafood.

Foods with Low GI
Another thing common to the foods found in the Kitavan diet is their low rating on the glycemic index, a measure of the ability of food with carbohydrates to raise glucose, or blood sugar, levels. A diet rich in high GI foods can tax the body, leading to excess body weight, heart disease, increase of diabetic symptoms, high cholesterol levels, and lack of energy. Tubers, which play a large part in the Kitavan diet, are among the islander’s primary source of carbohydrates and have a relatively low GI rating.

Sweet potato

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and beta carotene, both known to be powerful antioxidants which protect against aging and cancer. They are also known to increase levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone which offers health benefits to diabetics and pre -diabetics and may also protect against atherogenesis, the abnormal formation of fat deposits within the arteries; this would explain the low incidence of heart disease and diabetes on the island.

Coconuts
Besides having anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, the triglycerides in coconut may promote weight loss. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic disorders found that coconuts increased calorie burn and decreased storage of fat in overweight men. Another study found that the fat consumed in coconut oil could increase the metabolism of fat and calorie expenditure in women.

Coconut

The Kitavan Diet and Acne
In 1990, Swedish general practitioner, Steffan Lindeberg, performed health examinations on more than a thousand Kitavans, age 10 years and older, with 25% of the subjects age 15 to 25 and found not a single case of acne. This is likely attributable to lifestyle and diet, rather than genetic factors, since Pacific Islanders with similar ethnic backgrounds living in more westernized societies were found to have a higher prevalence of acne.

What do you think about the Kitavan diet? Have we got something here? Weigh in with your opinions. We value them highly.

What Makes A Product Noncomedogenic?

Noncomedogenic. N-O-N-C-O-M-E-D-O-G-E-N-I-C. Noncomedogenic. It sounds like the word that stumped the runner up in the fourth grade spelling bee. If you’ve been hearing this word used a lot lately in the cosmetic industry and thinking it sounds impressive, its meant to. But is it, really? Let’s break it down.

Woman squeezing pimple

A comedo is the mildest form of acne, otherwise known as a pimple, whitehead, or blackhead. So technically you could say, “Wow, that’s a rather large comedo on your face.” as a more polite way of saying, “Wow, that’s a really big zit you have.” Non, of course means without, hence, noncomedogenic, when applied to a skin cleanser essentially means the product does not clog pores and will break down excess oils on your skin without stripping necessary moisture.

What Does “Noncomedogenic” Mean?
Although the term “noncomedogenic” sounds scientific, the truth is that the effectiveness of noncomedogenic products has not been proven in clinical trials, nor has it been tested by the FDA. This is not, however, to say that such products are without merit; in fact, there is some evidence that non comedic products can reduce acne. There is, after all, proof that blocked pores can produce acne, and therefore, a product preventing occlusion of pores, may help prevent it. However, some forms of acne may be a result of other causes, such as a high presence of bacteria on the skin, and, in these cases, noncomedogenic goods would not have much effect.

In other instances, products are labelled noncomedogenic, but, in fact can cause skin rashes an irritation.

Woman cleaning face

Chemistry of Noncomedogenic Products
Noncomedogenic cleanser usually contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur or salicylic acid. Some have ingredients to treat acne, and others are simply formulated to not aggravate pimples and clog pores.

Benzoyl peroxyde kills bacteria which causes acne and does not produce oil on the skin. Salicylic acid does not kill bacteria, but does unclog pores without creating additional oil. It also dissolves oil in the hair follicles. Sulfur washes away dead skin cells and excess oil and is also believed to be able to break down blackheads and whiteheads.

Pros and Cons Of Noncomedogenic Cleansers
Noncomedogenic. How bad could it be, right? Anything purported not to clog pores, couldn’t be too bad, right? Well, you be the judge.

Benzoyl Peroxide
If you’ve ever used benzoyl peroxide to treat acne, you probably found it to be effective. However, you will need to use it for a few weeks before you see results, and, if you discontinue use, the acne will return. Also, while you can combat the drying effects of benzoyl peroxide on skin with moisturizer, other side effects are not so easy to deal with. Itching, rashes, burning, and swelling have all been associated with the use of benzoyl peroxide and are best handled professionally.

Woman checking skin

Salicylic Acid
Like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid requires continuous use to see results, as pores will clog up again when the skin is no longer receiving treatment. Although it can cause irritation and stinging, it is usually mild enough to work without causing serious side effects.

Sulfur
Sulfur has very few side effects, if any, and, although some may find the smell disagreeable, the odor is usually not detectable when mixed with other ingredients.

What do you think of noncomedogenic products? Does the term reassure you? Let us know!

Can Your Pimples Shed Light On Your Gastrointestinal Problems?

Woman checking pimple

“CNotes” started having really bad problems with his skin about 8 months ago. He noticed that his breakouts came in conjunction with hits stomach problems which lead him to believe that his nausea and indigestion may be the cause of his constant breakouts. He wonders if anyone has gone through a similar experience, and says, “There are so many treatments and so much information, I don’t know where to start.”

Well, CNotes, you are definitely not alone. A study investigation 13,000 adolescents found that those with acne were more prone to gastrointestinal problems like heartburn and constipation and that abdominal bloating was 37% more likely to be linked with acne. As for where to start, try here:

Clues that Your Acne Is Caused By Digestion
If you suspect that your digestion may be at the root of your acne problems, here are some clues to look for:

  1. You breakout after eating certain foods.
  2. There is no cyclical pattern to the timing of your breakouts.
  3. You are breaking out mostly on your forehead.
  4. You have frequent stomach aches.
  5. You tend to break out before, during, or after periods of gut problems.

Gastrointestinal Problems and Acne
Keep in mind that skin is an elimination system in your body and that acne is a result of the skin doing its job. Therefore, increased toxicity in the blood can lead to an increase in acne. Diets high in processed foods, sugar and trans fat can create imbalances in the body and acne can be a symptom of this.

drinking water

Lack of digestive juices in the upper GI can also lead to acne. Active digestion starts with the saliva, and if there are not enough digestive secretions to break down the food in the upper GI, food will travel undigested to the lower GI. Undigested fats in food store toxic waste, minerals, and vitamins. If fats aren’t completely broken down, they can get into the liver, intestines and bloodstream, causing the liver to go into overdrive. Eventually this slows down systems that feed the body and the body creates “collateral veins.”

When the liver is overtaxed, the body creates collateral veins to help the blood keep flowing. Collateral veins are extra blood vessels in the intestinal tract that allow the body to bypass the liver and, as a result, unfiltered, impure blood enters your body causing imbalances; acne is among these.

Healing Digestive Problems

  1. Drink Water: Water will help to carry nutrients through your body and flush out toxic buildup.
  2. Keep a Journal of What You Eat: Write down what you eat and how you feel for a wok, noting patterns. Analyze your entries to see if you notice more of less breakouts when you eat a certain food.
  3. Increase Digestion in Upper GI: Consuming bitter herbs can help increase digestion in the upper GI, as can consuming probiotic foods. Lemon balm is a recommended herb and fermented foods likekimchi, yogurt, pickles and sauerkraut are all probiotic.
  4. Heal the Lower GI: Taking demulcent herbs, such as marshmallow, can coat the lining of the intestines that are subject to damage associated with lower GI distress. Herbs that help the liver include burdock and milk thistle.
  5. Keep Track of Fats: Fat is a vital part of building energy in our body, so its important to eat good fats to sustain us.

Do you think your acne is related to your gastrointestinal problems? Let us know how you handle your challenges. Your comments and opinions can help!

Transform Dull Pasty Skin

If you’re looking a little more zombie-like than you would prefer, here are some ways you can transform your dull and pasty skin into something a bit more life affirming.

Smiling woman 1. Exfoliate
When you exfoliate, your skin reflects more light. If you’re younger than 20, your skin cells rejuvenate ever 28 days, but by the time you hit for 20’s, turnover slows to between 30 and 40 days. According to Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “Dead skin cells pile up, diffusing the light and making skin dull. ” Exfoliate at night rather than in the morning for best results and to remove all the dirt and grime buildup from the day.

2. Use a Highlighter
Makeup artist Mally Roncal says a champagne highlighter, “looks good on anyone.” For normal to dry skin, Roncal advises using your fingers for application. “Tap up and down your cheekbones and dab whatever’s leftover on your brow bones, the center of your chin, and the tip of your nose.” If your complexion is on the oily side, you may want to dust some powder formula over those areas with a fluffy brush.

3. Allover Body Glow
To get an all over body radiance, try botanical oils instead of lotion. The lipids found in botanical oils are the same ones that are in your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson recommends coconut oil. “It’s rich in fatty acids, so it gets absorbed really quickly and leaves behind a glow instead of a shine-it looks more like your skin is lit up than lotioned up.”
Roncal weighs in on the importance of an full body shine, saying, “if your face is radiant and your body is ashy, it can look jarring. Your glow will be much more believable if you highlight your body too. However, when it comes to your body, a tinted highlighter is preferable to an untinted, which is easier to blend, while still providing a healthy glow.

Woman exfoliating skin
4. Optimal Skin Care Tips
In addition to exfoliation, there are certain ingredients you should look for to give your skin that extra brilliance.

Ceramides
Although your skin has natural enzymes to slough off dead skin cells, they don’t work as well when your skin is dry. Moisturizers with ceramides can reinforce the natural barrier of your skin and help it to rejuvenate.

Retinoids
Frederic Brandt, dermatologist says, “Your skin reflects light even better when its firm.” He suggests an over the counter or prescription strength retinoid to boost production of collagen.

Vitamin C
Use this antioxidant to brighten skin and help fade dulling sun spots.

Best Exfoliators for Your Skin

For Fair, Dry, and Sensitive Skin
If your skin comes under one of these categories, you should probably go easy on the exfoliation. Your skin type is the type most likely to become irritated and prone to dryness and age spots. Dr. Brandt recommends a lactic peel once a week. Lactic acid is made of fairly large molecules, which doesn’t penetrate as deeply as harsher acids.

For Oily and Combination Skin
If you’ve got combination or oily skin, you require deeper exfoliation than other skin types. Brandt says a cleanser with salicylic acid used daily and a scrub with microbeads used once a weel are the ways to go. “The scrub sweeps aways dead cells so the salicylic acid can clean clogged pores,” he says.

For Normal Skin
Brandt says you should use a glycolic acid peel one a week if you’ve got normal skin. Says he, “it’s one of the most effective exfoliators because it penetrates deeply.”

What do you do when your glow is low? We want to know!

Create A Healthy Glow With Gentle Exfoliation

You’re exfoliating for the first time. The devil inside you says, “Wow, this is great. It looks like I took off about ten years in two minutes. I should do this every day. At this rate, I will look 18 by the end of the week.”

The angel says,”No way, this exfoliation rough stuff. You’re going to scrub your face off.”
Devil: I heard Beyonce’s makeup artist says Queen B exfoliates every day and look at her.”
Angel: You’re no Beyonce. You’re going to scrub your face off.

Exfoliation can be very gratifying, but as with all other things, there can be too much of a good thing and the key is finding that happy medium. You want to make a difference, but if you go too far, your cells will stop regenerating and the effects won’t be as gratifying. Here are some tips for gentle exfoliation for a healthy glow.

Woman exfoliating skin
Rules of Exfoliation

Give Priority to Rough Skin Patches
If you begin to see rough patches, you should follow the advice of Ole Henriksen, the founder of the eponymous skincare brand. Go outside in the daylight with clean skin and bring a mirror. This will help you to understand what is going on and the areas where you might need help. I believe that everyone should be their own skincare expert, and this is an essential step for getting to know your skin. ” Exfoliate concentrating on places in which your skin is dull, uneven, or flaky.

Exfoliate in An Upward Circular Motion
Henriksen says, “I think the biggest mistake people make is being heavy- handed. A little goes a long way- let the exfoliating particles do their job. You just want to facilitate the glide access the face, that way your skin feels great and you don’t over treat it.” Henriksen suggests limited exfoliation to twice weekly, and, if you have frail capillaries, it may be a good idea to apply a face oil before you scrub, for extra protection. Vermen Verallo-Rowell, MD, dermatologist and founder of VMV Hypoallergenics recommends virgin coconut oil, which is inexpensive and safe for all types of skin. If you continue to notice redness and sensitivity, you may want to cut down exfoliation to once a week.

If you are looking for a scrub that won’t harm your face with harsh beads, Henriksen recommends mild jojoba beads, adding that, “you want to be sure …that the beads are perfectly round spheres.”

Exfoliating brushes may be a good tool for some, but you should keep a close watch on your skin’s reaction to this treatment and limit use if irritation occurs.

Follow with A Hydrating Moisturizer
To make sure your skin retains moisture, you follow up your exfoliating routine with a good thick moisturizer. Wash your face with warm water and pat it dry with a towel. Apply a cream or anti -aging serum before hitting the hay. Your morning you will thank you.

Exfoliation techniques
Exfoliate At Night
Night is the time when your skin is most receptive to treatments, especially when it comes to speeding cell turnover. This is the best time for the application of topical treatments with retinol and vitamin C.

If You Overexfoliate
If you overdo it, not to worry, just give your skin a break for about a week, Use a cleanser with Vitamin C or green tea that is free of drying agents. You can tone down redness with an over-the-counter cortisone cream.

What rules for exfoliation do you follow? How do put the “X” in exfoliation? Let us know!

Try These Ingredients To Brighten Skin

Why would anyone want “bright skin?” As a civilization, we are obsessed with reversing the effects of time, especially with regard to our skin. As we age, the skin that we were born with becomes darker, due to exposure to the sun and light. Although we may never hope to return our skin to the state from whence it came, there is promise of returning it to a healthier, simpler state, before the evil sun did its damage.

Woman with bright glowing skin

Skin brighteners defend skin against post- inflammatory hyper pigmentation, or any type of inflammation on the skin, specifically, blemishes from acne. Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD and senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation says,” When the acne resolves, sometimes the skin stains, which is causing too much pigment to be released. That’s a common issue where a skin brightener may help. In addition, skin brighteners help target age spots and brown spots, which are caused by ultraviolet rays.”

The Ingredients
Although most brighteners contain similar ingredients, they may work entirely differently depending on the formula. Here are some ingredients found in most skin brighteners and what they do.

Hydroquinone
While it may be 50 years old, “prescription hydroquinine is still the gold standard in bleaching,” according to Pearl Grimes, professor of dermatology at UCLA . The drug works to fade spots and block enzymes used to create new ones, and can lighten skin blotches in about four to six weeks when used in combination with a nonprescription retinal or retinoid.

Azelaic Acid
If your skin tends toward redness, this ingredient is for you. Often used as a treatment for rosacea prone skin, it “only targets melanin, so it doesn’t lighten healthy skin,” says Jeannette Graf, assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai school of Medicine.

Woman with glowing skin
Melazyme
This enzyme has come a long way from its original purpose of whitening paper. Melazyme is the only ingredient capable of dissolving melanin on the surface of the skin. (Other enzymes impede the melanin production, blocking pigments from the surface of the skin.) The mushroom derived ingredient usually works within four weeks, as compared with the one or two months it takes for most brighteners to take effect.

Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is a white powder used often used in Japan as a natural treatment for reduction of skin discoloration. Studies by the American Academy of Dermatologists have shown its clinical ability to fight hyperpigmention by limiting the tyrosinase, the protein which produces melanin. Kojic acid is also an antioxidant, suitable for sensate skin.

Alpha Arbutin
Alpha arbutus is one of the most effective skin lightening ingredients available and has been proven to work on all skin types. The chemical properties inhibit tyrosinase from producing melanin, which is responsible for creation of pigment and outperforms all other bleaching agents. Alpha arbutus is found in a powder form and is pure and water soluble.

Beta Arbutin
Often referred to simply as Arbutin, beta arbutin, or bearberry extract lightens skin by inhibiting activity of tyrosinase. It is no as strong as its alpha counterpart, but has been used to treat skin pigmentation and brighten skin.

What do you know about brighter skin? Do you have any secrets to share? We love to hear them!

Best Ingredients For Face Masks

It has been said, ” Behind every mask, there is a face, and behind that a story.” What story is your face telling? Is it the story of dryness, or of oiliness, or is it is a combination of both. Do you want to change that story? It all revolves around finding the right mask. When it comes to choosing the right mask for your skin type, it’s all about the ingredients. You need to know what is in your mask and what that means for you. Here are some of the best ingredients to look for in a mask and what they do.

Honey
Honey
Not for nothing did Cleopatra spend her days applying this golden delight to her skin. Honey has loads of antioxidants to fight damage caused by free radicals that lead to skin cancer and aging. It also has antiseptic properties to fight acne. Oily or dry, your good to go!

Oats
What better to go with honey than oats? It is with good reason that oats are a commonly found ingredient in all skin products. They cleanse pores to unclog dirt and bacteria making for great exfoliation, and also can be soothing to skin affected by sunburn or other inflammatory conditions.

Aloe Vera
There’s very little this miracle plant can’t do. It is a great ingredient to look for in facial masks because of its ability to soothe sunburn and combat effects of aging. In addition, aloe vera is a known moisturizer and acne reducer.

Avocados Avocado
Great for you inside and on the surface, avocado is loaded with healthy fats to hydrate skin. It offers the antioxidant power of vitamin C needed for the creation of elastin and collagen for structure and firmness and carotenoids to improve skin’s density and tone.

Mint
The antiseptic properties of mint are what makes it so beneficial in face masks. It unclogs pores to leave skin cleansed and tingling and is also effective in preventing breakouts.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E plays a vital role in the production of healthy collagen and elastin in the skin, preventing sagging and wrinkling, Additionally, it offers skin protection against free radical damage caused by the oxidation of fats in skin cells which causes skin to age.

Clay or Mud
Clay and mud are known for their ability to pull impurities from skin, which is great for all skin types. It can also be an effective way of reducing breakout and adding moisture.

We hope that the story of your face is a happy one. We’d love to hear all about your favorite facial ingredients and why you love them!

Your Four Part Beauty Regimen

The ears of the skin care obsessed will most definitely perk up when they hear of a new beauty product comes from the East. To many, the word “eastern” is enough to validate any snail bee oil cleanser or mineral infused canola honey serum on the market, hence the preoccupation with ten-step Korean skin care regimen. Those of us seeking the ancient secrets of the east will shudder at the thought of anything less than the double cleanse of the ten-step, or going to sleep sans ceramide gel.

Yet, there is something to be said for simplicity and not all of us have the time, space, and correct variety of applicators to devote to ten different products. For those of you who consider getting out of the house in a timely fashion while staying beautiful among your priorities, we bring you the four step beauty regimen.

Woman cleansing face

1. Cleanse
Cleansing is a key component and the most basic part of any skin care routine. Cleansing should be done twice daily, in the morning and the evening to wash away debris left by makeup and other impurities that form on your skin during the day and while you sleep. Dampen skin with warm water and apply cleanser to your cleansing brush or fingertips. Rub it gently into your neck and face in a circular motion until a thick lather begins to form. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

2. Tone
This step will help to keep your skin’s pH level regulated and will open pores, helping your skin prepare to receive treatment. Toning should follow cleansing in both the a.m. and p.m. Just splash some toner on your palm or on a cotton pad and massage over your face and neck to bring out that inner radiance.

Woman treating skin
3. Treatment
Treatment generally refers to toners, serums and exfoliants and application instructions differ with formats. As with cleansing and toning, skin treatment should be done day and night. although you will want to be careful about overusing exfoliants. In general, treatment products should be applied evenly using upward strokes. Look for treatment products with Vitamins A, C and E and hyaluronic acid for anti-aging results.

4. Moisturizer
Moisturizer is vital for the hydration and vitalization of the complexion. Eye cream should be applied in a tapping motion using the ring finger, beginning at the inner eye and moving to the outer area and gradually forming a circle around the eye.

For the rest of the face, chose a moisturizer with SPF or add an SPF to protect skin from UV rays. Use a pea sized drop of lotion and cream and spread in to your cheeks, chin and throat in a circular motion moving upward and outward. Go for something lightweight that your skin can easily absorb. If you are applying SPF separately, layer it over your moisturizer during the day, giving the moisturizer adequate time to set.

And remember, if you still want to to go ten step, feel free! Just let us know how it goes. Tell us all about your beauty routine. We love to hear it.