Tag Archives: Skin

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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 Pretreatments That Save Your Scalp

Pretreatments That Save Your Scalp

The scalp; it’s a largely ignored part of the body. Why should this be? One factor may be that it is usually hidden by the hair. Out of sight, out of mind, correct? Another factor may be that we are not quite sure how to characterize the scalp. When it comes to categories of beauty care, does the scalp come under skincare or hair care? It is skin, after all, but we aren’t all that concerned about treating it the way we treat skin on the face, on the other hand it effects our hair, and we do care about how our hair looks. While experts would probably agree that the scalp is skin rather than hair, they would probably also have to recognize the fact that the scalp does play a large part in the way our hair behaves, and it is thus important to keep it healthy. So, with that in mind, here is a look at some scalp treatments, to keep your hair (and scalp) healthy.

Oily Scalp
If you’re battling with an oily scalp, you may not need to look further than your shower. Medicated shampoos containing selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, coal tar, or salicylic acid and can be some of the most readily available treatments for an oily scalp.

Coal tar and selenium sulfide containing products which slow down the death and regeneration of the skin cells on the scalp and reduce inflammation and itching. If a fungus is the cause of the oiliness, products with zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide are recommended. Products with salicylic acid, on the other hand, reduce the amount of oil on the scalp.

No matter which treatment you use, make sure to work the cream or shampoo thoroughly into your scalp, building up a good lather and let it sit three to five minutes before rinsing. Because some agents in the shampoo may dry out hair, you may want to follow with a conditioning treatment to restore moisture to the ends.

vine vera banner Pretreatments That Save Your Scalp

Dry Scalp
Dry scalps can often lead to hair that looks dull and lifeless, and an itchy, flaking scalp. Again, medicated shampoo may be your answer. Look for products containing salicylic lactic acid, coal tar, or urea. Coal tar reduces skin rejuvenation which lead to less dryness and fewer flakes. Salicylic acid work in a similar way, and can be used in conjunction with coal tar for tough problems. Salicylic acid shampoos softens dry patches of skin, so that they can be shampooed away, however, salicylic acid can be overly drying, so be sure to use a moisturizer with it. Products with urea and lactic acids also reduce scaly patches and flakes. Be sure to work all products into the scalp and let them sit for three to five minutes before rinsing.

Chronic Scalp Psoriasis
If you’ve done it all and nothing’s worked, you may want to visit your dermatologist, He or she can prescribe strong topical creams and shampoos that can make hair less oily, or help to stop the irritation of a dry scalp. Many of these may contain the same ingredients as over the counter formulas, but in a higher concentration.

Vitamin D3 analogs are another option for persistent scalp problems. These are prescription strength topical treatments for patchy, dry skin, They may take longer to work than treatments with steroids, but some versions can be safely used for up to a year. Other prescribed treatments, include tazarotene, a derivative of Vitamin A or anthralin. Phototherapy, or light therapy, is another option for scalp psoriasis. This treatment involves the application of ultraviolet rays to the scalp to clear up psoriasis. Repeat treatment is usually required.

If you’re treating your hair with chemicals, you may want to consider these treatments as a means of keeping your scalp healthy. Let us know how it goes for you.

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.

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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.

vine vera banner presents This Is Why Your Skin Needs Magnesium

This Is Why Your Skin Needs Magnesium

When it comes to vitamins, you know the major players: Vitamin C, calcium, the B vitamins, the list goes on. Then there are the vitamins which we seem to hear about a lot less, like magnesium. We may get our daily dose of magnesium in multivitamins, but we never seem to go out of our way to make sure we’re getting it. Why is that? Is magnesium just a wingman? A back up to the real stars of the show? It may surprise you to know that magnesium does a great job on fighting almost all the underlying causes of acne all by itself, which should probably qualify it for some top billing. Here are some of the ways magnesium can benefit your skin.

Fights Stress and Anxiety
Acne does tend to explode in times of stress. Stress causes the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which help us to act quickly when we’re in danger, and may be good is the situation is temporary, but in states of chronic stress, the hormones don’t switch off, causing the build up of cortisol, leading to the production of more sebum, and clogging pores.

Magnesium is a relaxation mineral which supports your adrenal function, so when cortisol is released, magnesium dampens the effect of the hormones, therefore helping to manage acne.

Improves Sleep
You may know that the skin does most of its restorative work when we sleep, which is why it’s so important to the skin that we get our eight hours in. Too little time in the sack will increase stress, and cortisol levels, worsening insulin resistance, decreasing immune function, and making it difficult to fight acne bacteria. Magnesium helps muscles relax. It synthesizes serotonin, which is a precursor for melatonin, the sleep hormone. Studies of elderly patients taking 500 mg of magnesium daily for eight weeks all showed a boost in melatonin levels as compared to a placebo group. Plus, serotonin also boosts the immune function to help high P.acnes bacteria.

Helps The Gut
Gut imbalances have a negative impact on acne. Magnesium helps break down food, so a magnesium deficiency can lead to poor digestion. This makes bad bacteria thrive and good bacteria die out. Magnesium helps the parasympathetic nervous system function better which improves digestion and allow the gut and micro flora to function properly.

Fights Insulin Resistance
Insulin is good in small doses, but when our bodies produce too much of it, the cells become resistant to glucose, which can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and opens the body up to acne related problems. Sebum production increases and inflammation worsens. Magnesium has been proven in studies to lower insulin resistance. One such study showed that pre diabetic individuals were able to decrease their metabolic markers for insulin resistance by 71% by increasing the amount of magnesium in their diets.

Anti Inflammatory
One study of more than 3000 post menopausal women showed that increased magnesium intake reduced three biomarkers for inflammation. Magnesium is also a precursor to vitamin C, helping vitamin C express itself as an antioxidant in the skin to fight inflammation. It also assists in Vitamin D activation, also vital to your skin.

Magnesium is responsible for inhibiting e selection which directs inflammation to your skin to help the healing process. Although this is usually a good thing, when skin is chronically damaged e selection is never turned off and acne lesions result. Therefore, magnesium helps the body shut off inflammation to skin and decreases the outbreak of acne.

Have you tried magnesium for your acne problems? Has it worked for you? Let us know for experiences with magnesium.

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!

Developing A Skin Care Routine Based On Your Skin’s Needs

Woman at mirror

When it comes to relationships, you know you need to consider the needs of your partners in order form a loving, solid, lasting relationship. But what about when it comes to your skin? Your skin has needs too. Are you listening to your skin? What is it trying to tell you? Are you giving it the attention it requires to perform at its peak and feel special and adored at all times? When it comes to developing a skin care routine, you need to take the needs of your skin into account in order to form a nurturing, healthy bond. Here are some tips for determining the right way to meet the needs of your skin for a more fulfilling relationship.

Simple Routine
An essential routine should be followed by everyone, regardless of skin type. A good general morning routine should consist of a cleanser, followed by and exfoliant, and topped off with a hydrating moisturizer with a built in SPF. An evening routine is basic repeat of the morning, only the SPF component of the moisturizer is not required. Daytime and nighttime moisturizers can be applied around the eyes as a substitute for eye cream, but if an additional eye cream is used, choose one with sunscreen for daytime application and one without sunscreen for the night, as with the moisturizer.

Woman using toner

Advanced Routine
If a specific skin issue needs to be addressed, such as signs of aging, uneven skin tones, large pores, and breakouts more advanced action may be called for. If this is the case, your routine may look something like this:

  • Cleanser
    A gentle cleanser should be applied first to remove debris and allow your skin to receive the maximum benefits from your other products.
  • Toner
    Toners contain replenishing ingredients to hydrate and refresh the surface of the skin after cleansing. They also smooth and calm skin, minimizing redness and the appearance of dry patches. Those will oily skin will notice tightening of the pores after repeated toner usage.
  • Exfoliant
    Exfoliants remove dead skin build up for noticeable skin renewal and elimination of dullness. Choose products with AHAs to exfoliate the skins surface, and BHAs which go deeper to penetrate oil that can clog pores and worsen the appearance of deep wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Acne Treatment (If Needed)
    If acne is an issue, a topical treatment with benzoyl peroxide is recommended to kill bacteria and prevent new blemishes from appearing. Use after exfoliation with AHAs and BHAs for maximum benefit.
  • Skin Lightening (If Needed)
    If dark spots and discoloration are a problem, skin lighteners with hydroquinone can fade spots within 8 to 12 weeks of use. Ongoing use will help to maintain results, as will the use of a broad spectrum sunscreen.
  • Serum
    Serums are packed with antioxidants and anti aging ingredients to help protect your skin from environmental damage. Apply twice daily to keep skin looking young and radiant.
  • Anti-aging Moisturizer (With Sunscreen For Daytime, Without For Night)
    Every skin type can benefit from a good moisturizer. When used daily, moisturizers, whether in cream, lotion, or gel form, work to hydrate skin keeping it plumped and noticeably younger.
  • Targeted Solutions
    Targeted solutions are optional products that can be used as an extra step to calm or hydrate skin, absorb an excess of oil, or address a certain issue, such as those related to aging. Examples of targeted solutions include facial masks, lip care, and mattifiers.

What do you do to make sure the needs of your skin are being met? Let us know! We love to hear from you!