Tag Archives: Skin

examination of scalp using UV technology

8 Pre-Treatments to Save Your Scalp

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

1. Pretreatment for Scalp Acne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Pretreatments for a Dry and Itchy Scalp

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

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

So, what actually causes dry scalp?

woman scratching her dry and itchy scalp

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

  • Cold and dry air
  • Aging
  • Contact dermatitis

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

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

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

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

Exfoliating your scalp could also help.

Wondering how to do this?

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

3. Pretreatments for Allergic Contact Dermatitis

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

What exactly is allergic contact dermatitis?

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

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

4. Pretreatments for Scalp Ringworm

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

Wondering what this actually looks like?

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

Ringworm is surprisingly common…

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

So, what are the right treatment options?

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

But what actually causes ringworm in the first place?

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

5. Pretreatments for an Oily Scalp/Seborrhea

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

Do you know what actually causes an oily scalp?

woman with oily scalp

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

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

This tends to affect men more than women…

Why?

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

So, what can you do about it?

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

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

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

6. Pretreatments for Scalp Psoriasis

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

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

These are a few of the symptoms:

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

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

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

There are two main types of psoriasis shampoos out there:

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

Don’t forget…

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

Another pretreatment for scalp psoriasis is…

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

7. Pretreatments for Dandruff /Seborrheic Dermatitis

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

Why?

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

dandruff under a magnifying glass

So what actually causes dandruff?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If none of this seems to be working for you…

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

8. Pretreatments for Scalp Cysts

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

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

What do they look like?

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

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

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

6 different women as they age

How Your Skin Changes Through the Decades

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

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

In Your 20s

young woman smiling

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

Why?

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

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

Sound like a blessing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Your 30s

woman smiling outdoors

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

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

Wondering why this is important?

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

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

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

dark spots on woman's cheeks

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

What can you do about this?

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

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

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

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

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

In Your 40s

woman smiling on sofa

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

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

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

Wondering what cell turnover is?

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

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

Want to know the secret?

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

exfoliation

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

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

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

In Your 50s

woman taking a selfie

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Your 60s

woman smiling in her home

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

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

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

The secret here is…

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

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

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

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

In Your 70s

woman smiling on sofa

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

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

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

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

woman eating yogurt

How Your Diet Affects Your Skin

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

Soda, Candy and Baked Treats

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

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

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

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

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

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

woman refusing cake from her friend

Salty Foods

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

Wondering why?

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

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

Having a serious salt craving?

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

Dairy

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

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

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

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

Is Caffeine Good or Bad?

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

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

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

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

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

Skin-Boosting Foods

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

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

antioxidants working against free radicals

So, where do antioxidants come from?

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

Wondering how much water you should be drinking?

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

Need something a bit more flavorful than water?

Here are a few ideas:

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

fruit infused water

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

How Your Skin Will React to Different Types of Diets

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

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

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

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

    Why?

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

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

How to Eat Healthier

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

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

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

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

woman eating healthy granola bar in office

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

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

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

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

Improving The Look Of Discoloration

Improving The Look Of Discoloration

We live in a world in which our differences define us and make us beautiful. However, some of us are stronger than others. While a few brave souls can carry the flag for their differences, others may buckle under the weight, and feel the need to conform. Skin pigmentations are disorders that cause the skin to appear darker or lighter than normal, and even discolored and blotchy. While they are no indication of any deeper problem, they do affect a person’s outward appearance, and often self-esteem. Here is a little information about skin pigmentation disorders and treatment options.

Skin Pigmentation
Skin pigmentation disorders affect people of all races. They range from disorders such as albinism, which is very rare, to age spots, which are quite common. Melanin is the pigment in the body responsible for the color of our hair, skin, and eyes. It protects the body by absorbing ultraviolet light. Skin pigmentation disorders occur when the body produces too little or too much melanin.

Hypopigmentation occurs when the body does not produce enough melanin. Albinism is an example of lack of pigment which causes individuals to have very light skin, white or very pale hair, and gray or light blue eyes. Vitiligo is another form of hypo pigmentation which causes depigmentation white spots on the skin.

In hyper pigmentation, the body overproduces melanin. Melasma is a mask like discoloration which covers the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. Moles, freckles, birthmarks, and age spots are also an example of hyper pigmentation.

Causes
While in some cases, there is a clear cause of skin pigmentation disorders, in other cases, it is less clear. Albinism comes from an inherited recessive gene. The spots of hypo pigmentation associated with vitiligo can form as a result of the injury. The light patches from vitiligo do not contain melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for melanin creation. Some researchers believe vitiligo is caused by an autoimmune disorder, while others believe there to be a link between vitiligo and hyperthyroidism or Addison’s Disease, which affects the body’s adrenal gland.

Hyperpigmentation can result from many factors, including overexposure to the sun, poor nutrition, and reactions to drugs. Wounds and scars can lead to the development of dark patches. Melasma can be caused by pregnancy hormones, and usually, resolves itself after a woman gives birth. While moles, birthmarks, and aging spots are usually harmless, some moles can change in appearance or start bleeding, which may indicate skin cancer.

Treatment
Different forms of skin pigmentation disorders require different treatments. Albinos are advised to keep their skin covered, use sunscreens, and avoid excess sunlight. Individuals with albinism need to wear protective sunglasses and may need prescription corrective lenses or even surgery to correct visual impairments.

Vitiligo is usually treated with a combination of prescription photosensitive medications or ultraviolet light therapy used to darken white spots, If the depigmented patches cover over 50% of the body, doctors may use skin bleaching agents, such as monobenzone to lighten skin and even town. Cosmetic concealers and skin grafting are also options.

Hyperpigmentation disorders can be treated by skin lightening cream. Professionals advise avoiding the sun. A dietician may be able to help in cases go poor nutrition. A suspicious birthmark or mole can be surgically removed.

vine vera banner presents Quit Peanut Butter For Better Skin

Quit Peanut Butter For Better Skin

Sometimes, life is cruel. We grow up eating the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches mom packs for lunch, believing it is keeping us healthy. Then someone comes along and makes Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and we believe we have discovered nirvana. A literal peanut butter explosion ensues. We begin to invent new places to put this delicious spread. Peanut butter shows up in ice cream, in pretzels, as fillings in donuts, in cereals, on the ends of celery and carrot sticks it’s a veritable peanut butter breakout; but could the peanut butter breakout be responsible for the breakouts on your skin? New evidence shows a link between peanut butter and acne. Read on if you can bear it.

Omega -6 Fatty Acids
Aren’t these supposed to be good for you? Here’s the breakdown. You may know from looking at the label that peanut butter has a high fat content. Two tablespoons pack a whopping 16 grams. While most of that fat is mono saturated, 31% of it is polyunsaturated, which means it can trigger acne.
Omega-6 fats can cause inflammation. That means that when you get a clogged poor, a sebaceous gland could burst, which will cause your immune system to respond to what it perceives as an internal wound. When your body has an overload of omega-6 it has difficulty fighting inflammation, and that can make for some pimples that can stick around for a while. Try balancing omega-6’s with omega-3s to keep acne problems from becoming chronic/

Peanut Agglutinin
While it may sound like what a person turns into after eating too many peanuts, peanut agglutinins are lectins found in peanuts that can cause digestive problems. After eating, peanut agglutinin enters the blood stream and may well increase intestinal permeability. This means, it opens holes in the intestinal wall to make it easy for food particles to pass into the bloodstream. This may contribute to food allergies, autoimmune conditions, and systemic inflammation, such as “leaky gut,” which makes it difficult for the body to clear clogged pores before they develop into pimples, or full blown acne.

vine vera banner presents Quit Peanut Butter For Better Skin

Aflatoxin
Anything with the root word “toxin” could not possibly be good. Aflatoxin is a toxin created by molds which contributes to kidney and liver cancer, malnutrition, and virtue defects. Peanut butter is one of the most common dietary sources of aflatoxin. Although there is some evidence that the peanut butter making process may reduce aflatoxin by 89%, further studies need to be done to confirm whether or not the aflatoxin in peanut butter is a health concern. However, if aflatoxins are the problems, you’re probably better off with a processed peanut butter than a natural one, as the aflatoxin level tends to go down with increased processing.

Peanut Butter Is Addictive
“No kidding,” you say, as you scrape the last bit out of the jar. Peanut butter is what some might classify as a domino food, which means it may be a challenge to stop eating it. Remember,there are a lot of calories in just two tablespoons, and there’s a lot of tablespoons in a jar.

Sugar and Gluten
Most peanut butter on the market is made with sugar and hydrogenated oils, neither of which are very food for acne. Natural peanut butter may be a better choice, but you may want to put it on top of a banana rather than bread, and you may want to leave off the jelly, which will increase the sugar content.

Peanut Butter Alternatives
If you’re looking to cut down on the PB intake, cashew and almond butter are healthy alternatives, although they have yet to appear in Reeses products.

What do you think of these findings? Are you ready to cut down on the peanut butter? Let us know what you think.

food sources of magnesium

Here’s Why Your Skin Needs Magnesium

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

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

Magnesium Reduces Stress and Anxiety

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

How?

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

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

The result?

Clogged pores, inflammation, and, ultimately, acne.

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

You’re probably thinking…

What does this have to do with magnesium?

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

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

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

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

Magnesium Improves Sleep

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

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

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

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

So, how can magnesium help?

In a number of ways…

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

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

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

What is melatonin?

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

Magnesium is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

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

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

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

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

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

Magnesium also targets skin inflammation directly…

How?

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

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

Magnesium Helps the Gut to Thrive

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

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

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

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

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

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

bacteria in human gut

Are you wondering how magnesium actually affects the gut?

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

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

Magnesium Helps to Fight Insulin Resistance

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

What exactly does insulin do?

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

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

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

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

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

How Much Magnesium Do You Actually Need?

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

So where do you actually get magnesium from?

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

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

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

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

10 foods high in magnesium

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

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

This is where magnesium supplements come in…

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

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

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

Choosing a Magnesium Supplement

magnesium supplement

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

Magnesium supplements are not all created equally…

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

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

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

Wondering how much you need to take?

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

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

Topical Magnesium

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

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

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

How?

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

How much should you be adding to your bath?

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

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

Avoiding the Things That Inhibit Magnesium Absorption

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

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

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

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

Six Reasons To Use A Serum

woman examining herself in the mirror

CTM. Cleanser. Toner. Moisturizer. It’s all you need. The three basic steps. Everything else is just unnecessary, right? We’re all into compacting our skin routines, finding products that multitask and cutting out the extraneous, and these can be valuable time-savers. However, the serum may be a rare exception. It’s one of those products that is worth investing a few extra minutes a day for. In fact, if you’re already using a serum, you might even say it’s worth sacrificing a few minutes of sleep for. What is it about this wonder product that makes it such a great investment? Read on to find out.

They’re Powerful
According to Zoe Weisman, director of product development at Advanced Clinicals, it has a lot to do with content. “Serums tend to be more concentrated when it comes to the active ingredient.” That means that whatever the star ingredient in your serum, be it retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid or another noted skin enhancer, a serum is likely to have a more potent dose that your average moisturizer with the same active ingredient. Weisman also advises looking for a product in an opaque bottle with an airtight lid to prevent oxidation. Smiling woman in white at mirror

There’s One For Everyone
If your skin tends to be on the dry side, Weisman suggests investing in a serum with hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin, which will help to plump up lines and fill in depressions. If dark spots are your concern, vitamin C will prevent damage and hyper pigmentation, while vitamin A (retinol) will increase cell turnover and decrease wrinkles.

Layering
Another of benefit of serum is their light weight and easy absorption, which lend themselves to layering. That means you can combine serums to address different problems, or add one under your moisturizer, SPF, or foundation without creating a pile up.

Eye Serums are the New Eye Cream
If you’re looking to compartmentalize your beauty routine, while still incorporating a serum, you may want to give your sticky eye cream its walking papers. “The ideal,” says Weisman, “is a milky serum. You get the light texture and high potency of serum plus the milky aspect that makes it moisturizing.”

Happy woman applying eye serum at mirror

Benefits Go Below the Neck
If you love your serum, why stop at the jawline? There are serums designed for the neck and décolletage. “If you think about it, ” says Weisman, “this is a bad time for necks since we’re always hunched over our phones.” In fact, if you’re really serum happy there are full body serums to soften stretch marks, and smoothen cellulite, and hand serums to moisturize and treat age spots.

Penetration
Penetration. We’re always wondering whether it happens or not. With serums, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Serums’ lightweight formulas absorb better and penetrate more deeply into your skin than moisturizer, so you get better results with no residue.

Why do you love your serum? Let us know what your serum does for you!

Scar Treatment Options

woman checking skin in mirror

In movies, good guys scar in a fashionable attractive manner, usually in the form of a pale line strategically placed to make the character look rugged and cute at the same time. However, life is not a movie and we don’t all get so lucky. While some of us may have the good fortune of possessing the perfect scar, others of us spend our lives trying to visualize ourselves scar-free.

Although there is no method for scar removal as yet, there is hope; there are ways to lessen the appearances of scars, and you may even end up turning your less than perfect scar into something straight out of a movie. Here’s a look at scars, what they are and options for treatment.

What Is A Scar?
Scars are natural parts of the healing process of the body, usually resulting from wound repair in the skin and other tissues. Scars can be the results of diseases, accidents, surgeries, or skin conditions, such as acne.

How Do Scars Form?
Scars form when the dermis, a thick, deep layer of skin is damaged. The body forms new collagen fiber to mend the damage, but the new tissue is of a different texture and quality than the original. When the damage has healed, a scar forms.

Hypertrophic to Keloid scars
Although most scars are pale and flat, sometimes the body overproduces collagen and the scar is raised. These kinds of scars are most common in dark-skinned and younger people.

Pitted scars
Other scars have a sunken appearance. These scars result when underlying structures supporting the skin, such as fat and muscle, are lost. Pitted scars are communal the results of surgery or acne.

Stretched skin
Scars appearing as stretched skin occur when the skin stretches rapidly, as in during pregnancy or when skin is under tension while healing.

woman receiving dermabrasion treatment

Scar Treatment Options
While scars cannot be removed completely there are some ways of minimizing their appearance:

  • Topical Treatments
    Although many commercial skin care products such as vitamin E and cocoa butter cream claim to heal scars, they are not effective and should be avoided.
  • Surgery
    There is no specific surgery that can guarantee scar removal, but there are surgical procedures which can be used to change the shape of a scar, or diminish its appearance. In the cases of keloid or hypertrophy scarring, surgery is not recommended because there is a possibility of recurring scars, and even more severe scarring as a result of the surgery.
  • Steroid Injections
    Repeated steroid injections can help to flatten the scars appearance, thus softening the look of keloid or hypertrophic scars.
  • Radiotherapy
    Low dose radiotherapy can be used to prevent the recurrence of hypertrophic and keloid scarring, however, it is only recommended in extreme cases because of its association with long term side effects.

woman receiving dermabrasion treatment on legs

  • Dermabrasion
    Dermabrasion is the removal of the skin’s surface using special equipment. While it may be useful on a raised scar, it may not be as effective when the scar is sunken.
  • Laser Resurfacing
    Dermabrasion’s laser manipulating cousin, traditional dermabrasion involves removing surface layer of skin with the use of lasers. More modern types of lasers may be able to work on the collagen in the dermis without skin removal. This advancement would require less down time than the more conventional resurfacing methods.
  • Filler Injections
    Fillers can be used to raise sunken scars to match the level of the surrounding skin. However, it is to be noted, that the effects of fillers are temporary and may need to be repeated regularly.

What is your experience with scar treatment? Let us know what you recommend.

Hibiscus Extract For Your Skin

vine vera banner presents Hibiscus Extract For Your Skin

Botox. When its good its very good. It seems hard to contest the fact that, when done properly, botulism injections can solve a lot of aging problems. We’ve all seen those middle-aged women whose Botox injections have spared them from a lot of the common age-related complaints, and it seems like they’ve uncovered the Fountain of Youth. Then, we think of the expense, the horror stories, the looks of permanent surprise, and think it may be better to stay slightly more mature looking. But, what if you found out there was such a thing as the “Botox Flower.” Could it be possible that there was a natural substitute for something so, well, unnatural? Let’s take a look at Hibiscus extract and what it can do for the skin.

The Botox Plant
Not only is the hibiscus beautiful, it is also useful.The hibiscus earns its nickname from its reputation for increasing skin elasticity. The extracts from the stunning plant inhibit the activity of the enzyme elastase, responsible for breaking down skin’s elastin, which mimics the effects of Botox in its ability to firm and lift skin.

Evens Skin Tone
Hyperpigmentation refers to the appearance of discoloration or age spots that form on the skin as it ages, usually due to a number of variables, including genetics, exposure to ultraviolet rays, and excess production of melanin. The hibiscus contains organic acids, including malic and citric acid, which is responsible for the plant’s exfoliating properties, helping to boost turnover of cells for a more even skin tone.

vine vera banner presents Hibiscus Extract For Your Skin

Antioxidant Loaded
The word antioxidant has become common jargon in the beauty and health world lately. Antioxidants are the powerful naturally occurring ingredients with the astonishing power to fight free radicals and spare skin from the damaging effects of pollution and ultraviolet radiation. The Hibiscus is rich in anthocyanosis, which function as antioxidants as well as astringents. Not only do anthocyanosis prevent oxidation, they minimize the appearance of large pores, and have an anti-inflammatory effect, offering soothing relief for irritation, making hibiscus ideal for those with sensitive skin.

Purifies the Complexion
In addition to reducing the appearance of age spots, the exfoliating malic and citric acids in the skin can make for a fresher, smoother, younger looking complexion. By sloughing off dead skin cells, and promoting the growth of new ones, the acids can decrease the look of aging while decongesting pores to keep acne blemishes to a minimum. Also, because the acids in hibiscus extract are organic, they won’t strip skin of its natural oils like synthetic forms of the acids are likely to do, resulting in a supple, glowing complexion.

Moisture Boost
Of course, no “botox plant” worth its salt would be complete without some moisturizing properties. Hibiscus is high in mucilage content, which is a sticky plant produces the substance that aids in the storage of food and water, and also makes a fantastic natural skin moisturizer. The mucilage in the hibiscus helps skin to retain moisture, staying hydrated longer and keeping skin from excessive dryness and flaking.

What do you think? Have you tried hibiscus extract? Is hibiscus the “Botox Plant?” Let us know!

Antioxidants and Skin Care

Woman eating orange

Are antioxidants the new religion? Since the superpowers of the oxidation fighters were revealed, we follow groundbreaking news about antioxidants on social media with the same rabid enthusiasm that we follow the Brangelina divorce or the newest celebrity posts on Instagram. Antioxidants are our lifeline against aging, judging from the amount of attention antioxidants are getting, this attribute may be more valuable than reservations at the Ivy. So for those of you for whom the latest skin care breakthrough headline is more enticing than the latest celebrity baby bump reveal, here is some eye opening information on antioxidants and skin care.

Vitamin C and E and Selenium
According to research, vitamins C, E, and selenium not only protect skin against sun damage and skin cancer, they may actually reverse wrinkles and discoloration associated with the aging process. Karen E.Burke, MD, PhD attributes these results to the ability of this trio to speed up the natural repair system of the skin and prevent further damage. The doctor recommends supplements containing 400 international units of vitamin E, 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 100 to 200 micrograms of selenium daily to reap the glorious benefits of this healthy triumvirate.

Woman at mirror

CoEnzyme Q10
CoEnzyme Q10 is an antioxidant which occurs naturally in the human body, promoting cell growth and protecting against cancer. Age-related decreases in the levels of CoQ-10 in the body are thought to be associated with aging, and a study published in the Biofactors Journal found proof that applying 0.3% concentration of the antioxidant may help to minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Applied topically, this antioxidant may be able to aid the skin in the prevention of sun damage. A study found subjects who applied a 3%-5% concentration of alpha-lipoic acid to their skin, starting at a rate of once every other day and gradually increasing to daily application, showed noticeable improvement in changes in the skin brought on by the sun.

Retinoic Acid
If you’ve been doing your homework, you already know that retinoic acid is the active form of vitamin Q in the skin, and is also typically referred to as the “gold standard” in skin care. Used topically, retinoic acids, often branded as Renova or Retin-A, effectively treat age spots, wrinkles, and rough skin caused by the sun’s rays. A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science revealed findings that retinoic acid treatment reduces the appearance of wrinkles by restoring the elastic fibers responsible for keeping skin firm and tight. Although dermatologists once believed that use of this antioxidant increased skin’s sensitivity to the sun, they now believe that it actually protects the skin from further damage. However, because high concentrations of retinoic acid have been associated with peeling and redness, Burke recommends starting at a low concentration (0.01% in gels and 0.1% in creams) and applying it every two to three nights to introduce it slowly to the skin.

Asian woman with cup of tea

Flavonoids (Green Tea and Chocolate)
We saved the best for last. Research suggests that the flavonoids in green tea can protect from inflammation and cancer, and a German study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank cocoa with a high level of flavonoids had smoother, softer skin than those who drank a lower flavonoid version of the liquid chocolate. Although the results so far seem promising, Burke says more research needs to be done to prove the effectiveness of flavonoids and to determine the best dose, but, in the meantime, you are more than welcome to experiment.

Are you a believer in antioxidants? Let us know which ones you are most faithful to and why. We love to learn from you!