Tag Archives: skincare

coffee beans and tea leaves

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

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

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

Here’s the deal:

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

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

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

skincare ingredients

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

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

We’re going to focus on the following:

  • Interesting Facts
  • Benefits
  • Potential Drawbacks

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

tea plantation

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

Origins

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

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

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

Interestingly enough:

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits

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

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

Here’s the thing:

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

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

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

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

Anti-inflammatory

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

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

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

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

aloe vera

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

Want to know the best part?

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

Antibacterial

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

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

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

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

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

Oil Control

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

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

It gets better:

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

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

oily vs dry skin

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

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

Exfoliation

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

Guess what:

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

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

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

Potential Drawbacks

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

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

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

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

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

Keep this in mind:

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

Loving Your Skin and the World

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

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

parcel on map

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

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

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

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

 

 

7-Trending-Skincare-624x235

7 Trending Skincare Ingredients and Your Skin

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

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

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

Collagen supplements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hyaluronic Acid

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

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

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

Want to know the best part?

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

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

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

VitaminA

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

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

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

It gets better:

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

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

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

Kale-Spinach-Peppers

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

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

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

Here are the best greens rich in flavones:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Peppers

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

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

Probiotics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charcoal

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

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

Here’s the deal:

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

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

Loving Your Skin

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

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

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

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

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

 

vine vera Back to School Skincare Tips For Tweens

Back to School Skincare Tips For Tweens

No matter how many times you do it, it’s always traumatic. Going back to school. Never mind the fact that the lazy summer is over and you’re going to have to deal with (pardon the phrase) homework- and (yuck) teachers, but you also have a whole host of other things to think about, like mean kids who are going to make fun of your hair/ outfit/acne. While the hair and the outfit may be your choice, it’s probably pretty safe to say your acne isn’t. So, for all you tweens going back to school this year, here’s a little advice on avoiding and treating acne.

Acne
If you’re a tween, it’s a pretty safe bet you know all about acne, but just in case you’re not sure, here’s the breakdown. Acne is a general term referring to a group of skin rashes that have different causes. In preteens, it’s usually an inflammatory condition of the skin. Acne lesions are usually called blemishes, pimples, spots, and zits, and if you’re a teen or a tween, you probably have them. About 80% of teens have acne, and acne is considered a normal part of puberty.

Causes
The three mean causes of acne are:

  • Overproduction of sebum ( the skin’s natural oil)
  •  Clogged pores from debris of dead skin cells
  •  Bacteria infections in the oil (sebaceous) glands

vine vera Back to School Skincare Tips For Tweens

What worsens acne?

  • Popping and scrubbing: Although it may be difficult, try and resist the urge to pop. Blemished skin does not respond well to rough treatment.
  •  Things that rub skin: Headbands, hats, and anything that rests on the forehead, bangs included, can clog pores and lead to forehead acne.
  • Cosmetics: Cosmetics, hair products, and creams containing oil can also congest pores and lead to acne.
  • Hormones: Hormones produced during puberty are the most common causes of acne. Girls experience a boost in hormone production before menstrual periods, making it common time for breakouts. For boys, increases in levels of testosterone can bring on an increased chance of acne.
  • Stress

Acne Treatments and Avoidance
Cleansing: Keeping skin clean is the most basic and important part of avoiding and treating acne. You can wash with plain old soap and water, but you may want to invest in a mild cleanser formulated for acne prone skin. Cleanse twice daily using gentle motions. Harsh scrubbing can worsen acne by irritating the pores.Exfoliating: Exfoliating removes the layer of dead skin cells, which can clog pores and make acne worse. Exfoliate after cleansing once or twice a week with an acne facial scrub.

Pick Cosmetics Carefully: When buying skin products, look for labels that say “noncomedogenic.” This means they won’t clog your pores. Use oil free cosmetics as often as possible, including an oil free sunscreen.

Medicines
Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is an acne medication that is available in most pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. It kills acne bacteria, opens oil ducts, and help heal blemishes. Begin by using a 2.5% lotion or gel once a day, increasing use to twice daily if needed and tolerated by your skin. If the acne does not improve in 4 to 6 week, consider upping the dose to a benzoyl peroxide with a 5% or 10% concentration. If acne still does not go away, you may want to see a dermatologist who will prescribe a stronger medication.

Are you a tween headed back to school this year? Let us know how you’re addressing your acne problems!

vine vera banner presents Ingredients to Avoid In Your Skincare

Ingredients To Avoid In Your Skincare

Hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, peels, exfoliants, mud, clay, retinol, vitamins A-Z, ceramides, essential oils; sometimes it seems like there are too many skincare ingredients to fit in one product, much less on the human face. Add that to the new layering trend, and, it may even seem like companies are creating more room on the human face for even more products. If you’re confused about which ingredients to look for when you’re looking to buy your next skin care product, maybe you should focus on what not to use. The FDA has only so much say in what goes into and what stays out of your cosmetic products, so for optimal health, you may need to be the one who makes the decisions. Here are some ingredients to avoid in your products to help you narrow it down.

Aluminum
Aluminum is a chemical salt you don’t want to find in your skin care products. It is used for its disinfectant and absorbent properties and is most often found in deodorants and antiperspirants. Recent studies of breast cancer patients detected higher amounts of aluminum is the outer areas of the breast, where deodorant is normally applied. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health showed that the accumulation of aluminum in bodily tissues can lead to bone disease, tissue damage, impaired kidney function, and has also been found in the brains of those suffering Alzheimer’s disease. Opt for aluminum free natural deodorants and antiperspirants.

Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is a compound commonly used for lightening of freckles, melanoma, age spots and discolorations which has been found to increase exposure to UV rays and cause mutations in laboratory studies. The chemical has been shown to cause contact dermatitis, and degeneration of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Doctors warn pregnant women to avoid its use during pregnancy and nursing, and the Environmental Working Group has assigned a hazardous warning to the compound. Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid may be a better choice for skin brightening.

Fragrance
Fragrance can be intoxicating, in more ways than one. Apparently, fragrance can contain up to 200 undeclared ingredients, some of which may be hormone altering preservatives called phthalates, and you may have no way of knowing. Since companies don’t have to give a chemical breakdown of fragrances, it is difficult to tell the exact components of the scent. Problems such as coughing, vomiting, hyper pigmentation, allergies, skin rashes, and dizziness have all been known to occur from the use of synthetic fragrances. A word to the wise: avoid the word “fragrance” on the ingredient label unless it is derived from essential oils.

Parabens
Parabens can include propyl, butyl, methyl, and ethyl parabens. This group of preservatives extend shelf life of cosmetics, and are estimated to be contained in over 90% of all beauty products. A 2006 study of the urine sample of healthy adults showed evidence of parabens in over 90 percent of the participants.

Phthalates
You probably don’t want to find any chemicals used to make plastics in your cosmetic supplies. Phthalates are chemicals derived from oil, often found in product like perfume, hair spray, and nail polish and are often used to help the product cling to the skin, nails, and hair. The fear is that these products may be absorbed through the skin, fingernails, and lungs. Animal studies have shown an association between phthalates and kidney, liver, lung, and reproduction system damage. Human studies have shown abnormal development in male infants whose mothers show high levels of phthalates in their bodies. You may especially want to look out for dibutyl phthalate (DBP) di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and butylbenzylphthalate (BBP) on ingredient lists.

What ingredients are you looking to avoid on your beauty products? Let us know! It may be helpful!

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!

Classic Home Remedies That Just Might Work

vine vera presents Classic Home Remedies That Just Might Work Probably the last thing a teenage girl wants from her mother is advice. Mom wears Mom jeans. Mom wouldn’t know the latest fashion if she saw it on the runway, and she would probably die if she knew about your eyebrow waxing appointment. However, as we get older we come to realize that there is some truth to the saying “Mother Knows Best,” and that may include some things beauty. While you may not find your Mom too eager to apply Punk Rock Purple lipstick or rock some aquarium style nail tips, she may have some, Michelle well, safer suggestions that actually might interest you. Here is some of the best old fashioned beauty advice that may make you the most trendy fashionista of all.

Fresh Cream For Skin
One teenager remembers the advice she got from her Grea-Michelle Duffy says that living on a farm gave her grandma’s sister access to the cream from the top of fresh milk. After 95 years of doing so, she still had “beautiful, soft skin, with barely a wrinkle,” says Duffy.

Rhubarb for Wrinkles and Redness
Some people owe their mothers their lives in more ways that one. After being diagnosed with a fatal case of childhood leukemia, Boldijarre Koransky, currently president of Eminence Organic Skincare, took the advice of his mother and grandmother and started eating the foods from their garden. “They fed me organically, biodynamic foods, believing that by providing me with the purest nutrition on earth, I would get better.”

And better he got. Years later, Koronczay is still a believer in the power of the plant. Rhubarb, he says, is “a good source of ascorbic acid and Vitamin C which makes it great for fighting wrinkles.” He also points out that when applied topically, rhubarb’s astringent and disinfecting properties can help to heal blemishes and wounds.

Witch Hazel
If rhubarb doesn’t do the trick, Witch Hazel surely will. It became Kelly Scarpelli’s “favorite astringent because it had natural oils that didn’t dry out her skin,’ and confesses, “After my mom told me Witch Hazel would unclog pores and get rid of blackheads, I used it every day.”

vine vera presents Classic Home Remedies That Just Might Work

Egg White Face Mask
Seeing was believing for Lindsay Troyer Shannon. She says, “My mom whisked one raw egg white and applied it to her face until it dried.” Troyer Shannon says that this application done weekly gave her mom, “the most amazing skin.”

Apple Cider Vinegar
When the greasy buildup from the continual use of shampoo became a problem for Mickey Duncan, her mom set her straight with some apple cider vinegar. “She taught me to use apple cider vinegar to give my hair a good cleaning. The use of apple cider vinegar is recommended once weekly to clear hair of shampoo buildup.

Cod Liver Oil
Dr. Peggy Fuller talks of her childhood cod liver associations. “We all lined up to take it. The taste was not bad to me, but oh, that smell.” Eventually, though, the immune supporting anti oxidants in the gel caps won Peggy over. ” I developed an affinity for it, and believe it lessened my childhood asthma.”

Coconut Oil
Casey Higgins grew up watching mom, Rita, use coconut oil to take off her makeup. When Casey decided to adopt a more holistic life style, she too took up the practice. She just rubs the oil into her skin wherever there is makeup and then wipes it off with a warm wet cloth to clean her face daily.

Shawna Steward learned to listen to her mama back when she was in summer camp. She recalls her mother having to pick her up from the pool, “because I woke up from a nap with throbbing red lobster legs.” When Shawna got home, she found herself sitting “in a tub with about two inches of lukewarm water, draped tea-soaked towels on my legs,” which she let “soak for twenty minutes until they stopped singing.”

Do you have any old fashioned remedies that your mom taught you? Let us know how cool you found out your Mom was when it came to beauty know how.

The Many Benefits Of Acupuncture

vine vera presents The Many Benefits Of Acupuncture

Cupping, feces face masks, microdermabrasion; with all the latest beauty and health procedures, one more bizarre than the next, it would seem that acupuncture has been relegated to the “Where Are They Now?” files along with the stars of most nineties sitcom stars. While the concept of poking needles in the skin as a way of treating various health issues may have seemed edgy a few decades ago, it now seems rather tame in comparison to some of the newer approaches. However, what comes around goes around, and if something old is discovered to have a new value, it may be worth reinvestigating. Recent studies show that ear acupuncture may help in weight loss. Shall we investigate?

Auricular Acupuncture
Auricular acupuncture, aka, acupuncture of the ear, was a discipline first used in France in 1956. When Dr. Paul Nogier began to notice that the pain of a backache could be relieved by burning the ear of the sufferer, he began mapping the ear to locate spots correlating to various bodily systems and organs. The doctor’s strategy entailed envisioning the ear as a curled fetus with the head pointing downward, and he delivered treatment by applying pressure to the spot corresponding to each organ.

The Study
In order to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture treatments in weight loss, researchers compared the Korean standard five point acupuncture treatment with single point stimulation. A control group which received a fake treatment was also used.

The study included 91 Koreans, 75 women, and 16 men, all of whom had a body mass index of 23 or greater. None of them had received treatments for weight control in the past six months. The participants were divided into three groups, the first of which received the five point treatment, the second of which received the one point treatment, and the third of which received the fake treatment.

vine vera presents The Many Benefits Of Acupuncture

The Groups
The first group had needles positioned at five points in the ear corresponding to the Shen-men, stomach, spleen, hunger, and endocrine system, which would remain in place for a week, at which time, the needles would be inserted in the other ear, in a process that would be repeated over the eight week trial.The second group had the same treatment, but only one needle was inserted, at the hunger point.

The third group believed that were receiving the five point treatment, but the needles were actually removed right after insertion; however, the group was not notified of the removal and the surgical tape remained to prevent the participants from discovering the truth. All three groups were assigned restricted diets and asked not to exercise during the trial.

The Results
Of the participants who completed the study (24 dropped out) those who received the five point treatment showed a 6.1% reduction in BMI by the middle of the trial, the one point group showed a 5.7% reduction and the group that received fake treatment showed no change at all. The researchers conclude: “Both five needle acupuncture treatment generally used in Korean clinics and one-needle treatment at the hunger point appears to be effective in reducing body weight in the short term.”

Let us know what you think. Would you consider acupuncture as a way of achieving your weight loss goals?

Sometimes You Shouldn’t Feel the Burn

vine vera banner presents Sometimes You Shouldn't Feel the Burn

“Ya burnt!” It’s one of the latest things milennials say when they think they’ve sassed you. You don’t want to get it from your teenage son, and you definitely don’t want to get it from your skin care products. Sure, we all like the tingling feeling that let’s us know our skin care products are doing their jobs, but we definitely don’t want the redness, peeling, and flaking that comes from applying harsh products daily, and sometimes its hard to tell the difference. How can we tell when ‘its working” turns into “ya burnt?” Here is a little insight from the pros.

The Burn
Lucille White, MD and Houston dermatologist says, “No pain, no gain is a terrible motto when dealing with your face, ” and Karyn Grossman, MD warns that daily stinging and flaking “are signs of chronic inflammation.” Grossman warns that this can lead to an array of other issues, such as tightness, dryness, and an increase in sensitivity.

However, here’s the confusion. Some proven care ingredients, such as retinoids and acids sting as they work. In these cases, a short period of stinging may be par for the course. So how can you tell when it’s gone too far?

Scrubs and Exfoliants
The word acid may be a clue as to whether or not the burning is a cause for concern. According to Dr. Grossman, any product with glycolic, lactic, alpha-hydroxy, or salicylic acid may cause some tingling. “The sensation could be because of their acidic pH or the concentration of the acid,” she says. She also warns that the feeling should be intermittent. Daily tingling could be problematic. Bottom line: if your peel stings, it’s probably ok, but your cleanser shouldn’t, and neither should most scrubs. Unless it has been formulated to be “energizing”, scrubs with microbeads and grains shouldn’t sting.

Face Cleansing Brushes
Using a face cleaning brush should not feel any rougher than using a washcloth. Grossman says, “The machine is doing all the work. All your hands should be doing is gently holding it to your skin. Don’t do that and scrub.” You should not be applying pressure on the brush, or work your hand in a scrubbing motion, simply hold it to your skin and let it do the work for you. Anything additional, and White says, “You’re scrubbing off too much of your skin.”

Using A Toner
Toners should not sting. Grossman says, “Alcohol evaporates quickly and feels so cooling.” While you may feel a tingling if your skin is inflamed from acne or other skin issues, you may feel a tingling, but otherwise, you may not feel anything at all. If you do feel some stinging, you may want to do a quick check of the ingredients, to see if the toner contains any acid. If that’s the case, the sensation may be completely normal.

Zit Zapping
When it comes to acne prevention, it usually comes down to one of two ingredients: salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. While salicylic acid might sting, especially if you apply it to a picked pimple, benzoyl peroxide should not. However, benzoyl peroxide may parch skin which can cause peeling over time. Using too many acne ingredients can always be a recipe for dry, tight, or flaky skin. If you experience such irritation from your acne fighting products, you may want to try using a more calming formula with anti microbial ingredients.

What do you think? Can you tell when the tingling sensation may be too much of a good thing? Let us know your experiences.

Dissolving Fillers To Reveal Natural Beauty

woman getting filler-dissolving treatment

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

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

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

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

woman receiving filler dissolving enzyme

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

Cost
The procedure commonly starts at $400 per treatment.

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

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

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

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.