Tag Archives: vitamin a

Vitamin A Derivatives That Improve Skin Texture, Tone, and Color

As is the case with many of the best discoveries, the use of vitamin A as a wrinkle control agent happened largely by accident. It all began in the laboratories of Dr. Albert Kligman in the 1960’s when the controversial dermatologist began to experiment on prisoners with a vitamin A derivative called tretinoin as an acne treatment. Imagine the delight of the incarcerated men to discover not only the disappearance of their acne, but a noticeable decrease in wrinkles and smoother skin tones!

Woman applying vitamin A on her skin

Vitamin A and its derivatives have often been referred to as the “gold standard of skin care,” a paragon of excellence against which all other skin care products can be measured. If you are thinking of incorporating some vitamin A into your routine, here are some things you may want to know.

Retinoids
Retinoids are also known as the generic term for tretinoin, retin-A, or differin, and are available only by prescription. They are absorbed directly into the skin cells which makes them highly effective against hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and acne.

The downside of this miracle cream is its likelihood to cause skin irritation. Retinoids are often associated with redness and peeling and require adjustment to the dosage to combat these side effects. The key with these products is keeping the applied amount to a minimum. A pea-sized amount should be enough for the whole face, and a larger quantity is unnecessary.

Retinol
Retinol is vitamin A in its pure form and is an over the counter alternative to harsher retinoids. While the conversion to retinoic acid will decrease the potency of the retinol, it should still be effective enough to bring noticeable results. Although retinol may trigger minor irritation, side effects should generally subside over time as the skin grows more accustomed to the treatment.

Retinyl Palmitate
This combination of retinol and palmitic acid is one of the less effective vitamin A derivatives. While it does convert to retinoic acid, the process often takes so long that by the time it is completed, the product has lost most of its ability to affect the DNA of the cell. As a result, you would need a very high concentration of retinal palmitate to have significant effect, and most cosmetic companies who use it as a source of vitamin A usually do not put enough of it in their serums and creams to make a difference.
The bottom line: If retinyl palmitate is not combined with other vitamin A derivatives, it is almost useless.

Retinaldehyde
Retinaldehyde is a potent over the counter form of vitamin A which is commonly perceived to be the closest to retinoic acid without the irritating side effects. However, it is important to take note of content in your product. In order to be effective, a retinaldehyde concentration of 0.05% to 0.1% needs to be present. This is the equivalent of a 0.025 tretinoin. The biggest side effect of retinaldehyde will be the lightening of your purse. Most skin care products containing substantial amounts of the ingredient will be on the high-end side in price, so be prepared to pay for quality.

Other Advice
Be aware that vitamin A is not stable and tends to lose potency when it interacts with sunlight. Creams and serums are therefore best applied at night. Do not use a cleanser with retinoids, as the retinoids depend on contact with skin to achieve full benefit and should not be washed away. When purchasing retinoids, look for packaging that minimizes exposure to air and light which can affect the stability of the vitamin.

Let us know your choice when it comes to choosing Vitamin A derivatives. Which ones work best for you?

Spinach for Healthy Skin

It’s not easy being green. So how is it that spinach carries it off with such aplomb? Sure, spinach has had its defenders over the years, Popeye topping the list, not to mention culinary greats who used the green leafy vegetable to create such dishes as spinach soufflé, spinach lasagna, and countless versions of spinach salad. But, considering its unappetizing appearance, you could say spinach has done very well for itself. Besides being hailed for its high antioxidant and nutrient content, spinach is also receiving props for its ability to help maintain healthy skin. Here’s how you can use spinach to keep your skin smooth and radiant.

Bowl of green spinach

Nutritional Value
Spinach contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which aids skin repair and slows cancer cells.

  • Vitamin A: One cup of cooked spinach contains 943 mcg of this vitamin, which is 105% of the daily recommended allowance, RDA, for men and 135% of the RDA for adult females.
  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant is crucial for skin cell repair and growth. Because vitamin C is not stored in the body, it must be provided by your daily diet. A cup of cooled spinach will give adult men 17.6 mg or 20% of the RDA of vitamin C, while it will give women 23%.
  • Iron: Iron is a component of hemoglobin, which is a protein found in red blood cells responsible for supplying oxygen to the tissues. You can find 6.5 mg of iron in a cup of cooked spinach which is equivalent to 81% of the RDA for men, and 36% of the RDA for women.
  • Magnesium: One cup of cooked spinach will provide you with 157mg magnesium, approximately 49% of the RDA for adult females and 37% for adult males. Magnesium is known for its ability to heal wounds and infections on the skin.

For Acne
Spinach can be used as a face mask or in juice from to help acne-prone skin. To make the mask, blend spinach and mix with water. Apply it to your face and let sit for about twenty minutes before rinsing. While making the juice requires a bit more effort, it is often the preferred method of obtaining the full benefits of the vegetable. Mix a half tomato with one carrot, one celery, a quarter of a cucumber, held a cup of cabbage, one green onion, half a red pepper, and a handful of spinach. Blend a drink daily.

Spinach juice

Anti-Aging
Spinach is a goldmine of antioxidants. Antioxidants are crucial for destroying damaging free radicals which cause premature aging. The regular consumption of this leafy green will help to slow down skin degeneration and make skin radiant.

Additionally, spinach has a high water content. One cup of cooked spinach provides 5 ounces of water to keep skin cells hydrated and is crucial to cell function. Spinach also contains iron and vitamin C to boost collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein required for muscle and skin elasticity.

Skin Repair
The vitamin A in spinach helps to keep skin toned and smooth, while the vitamin C helps to rejuvenate skin cells. These vitamins, along with iron, also support collagen levels essential for skin repair.

Improves Complexion
Folate and vitamin K are both found in spinach and can reduce the prevalence of dry skin, acne, and stretch marks, minimizing bruising and dark circles. The high vitamin content in the leafy green can also relieve itchy, dry skin, leaving you a radiant complexion.

Mixed spinach

Experts recommend eating cooked spinach as opposed to raw for better nutrition digestion. Cooking spinach also eliminates the effects of oxalic acid, which interferes with the body’s absorption of calcium. Liquid forms of spinach are especially effective when combined with other vegetables.

Spinach Face Mask
To get the benefits of spinach for your skin, try this natural recipe:

Mix five or six fresh spinach leaves with 1 tablespoon of raw honey ( manuka honey is recommended.) Add two tablespoons of lemon juice. Dilute with water is your skin is sensitive to lemon. The mixture will be sticky. Apply mask to clean face. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Repeat for smooth skin tone.

Do you eat your spinach right down to the finish? If so, let us know how your skin is doing! We love to hear from you!

Vitamins in Skin Care Products

Woman buying beauty products

In 1933, a statement was released involving the “study of vitamins” and the “constant development of new and novel methods for their administration.”  The statement went on, “One of these is the application of ointments or creams rich in vitamin containing substances directly to the skin.” It followed that this practice would help to correct, “mild skin morbidities, large pores, lines, wrinkles, sallowness, etc.” Twenty years later, Helena Rubenstein’s released her Lanolin Vitamin Formula with vitamin A.  It would set you back $1.50 for a one month supply and $2.50 for a two month supply. We’ve come a long way since then! Well, whatever your “skin concerns” may look like, there’s probably vitamin for that today.

According to Mary Lupo, MD and professor of dermatology at Tulane University, “the body only delivers only a certain percentage of vitamins to your skin, no matter how much you ingest.” Our bodies do their best, but in order to guarantee that we’re hitting the target, we need to make sure that we help out by putting these vitamins there ourselves.  One of the best ways of doing so is by looking out for certain vitamins in your skin care products.

Vitamin E
Otherwise known as tocopheryl, vitamin E works in several ways to provide antioxidant benefits to the skin.  Although both natural and synthetic forms of the vitamin are beneficial, the natural form is more potent and longer lasting.  Vitamin E helps to protect skin from environmental pollutants and is found often in sunscreen because of its ability to defend skin against UV light.  Pair it with Vitamin C for a one-two punch against aging.

Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 is best for reducing redness and boosting hydration. Also known as niacinamide, vitamin B3 increases productions of fatty acids and ceramides, which are both play major roles in the skin’s protective barrier. Says Leslie S. Baumann, MD and director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute, “As that barrier is strengthened, skin is better able to keep moisture in and irritants out.”  The results of one study showed that moisturizers containing B3 tempered the redness caused by rosacea.  In addition, the wonder vitamin interferes with the transfer of pigment to cells in the skin, decreasing the appearance of dark spots.

vitamin c

Vitamin C
Also listed as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a superstar for diminishing  the look of dullness, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and fine lines. Vitamin C is a proven preservative of skin’s resiliency and helps to smooth and firm skin, while evening out skin tone, increasing hydration  and making it visibly more radiant. Hema Sundaram, MD, advises looking for moisturizers with this vitamin in the list of ingredients and see the benefits for yourself.

Retinol
Retinol, or Vitamin A, more commonly, is probably the gold standard of ingredients for skin, providing benefits to combat everything from bumps, rough texture, wrinkles, and fine lines  According to Doris Day, MD and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at University Langone Medical center, “There are more than 700 published studies on retinoids.  They’re tried and true ingredients.  Anyone who wants younger looking skin should use one.”

Vitamin K
If you want younger, brighter looking eyes,  you may want vitamin K. One study concluded that daily use of vitamin K in an eye cream over four months lightened under eye circles significantly, but because of the retinol content in the cream, it was unclear which vitamin was responsible. However, Dr. Berman says the retinol may ease Vitamin K’s ability to be absorbed by skin and prevent darkness.

Let us know what vitamins your skin has been taking and how they’re working for you.  We love to get your comments and suggestions.

Nutrients You Might Be Missing from Your Vegan Diet

woman with salad
No matter what your take on veganism is, you have to give vegans credit. They gave up cheese for this. That means they can’t walk into the Cheesecake Factory and order a slice of White Chocolate Mousse. They can’t walk into a Pizza Hut and order the stuffed crust. They can’t munch on cheese doodles while watching the game, they can’t get a cheeseburger at MacDonald’s and they can’t eat those cheese doodles stuffed with more cheese. So good for them, you may say. Who needs to put all that junk in their bodies? Well, while it’s safe to say most of us could live safely, and probably for a much longer time, without ever eating the aforementioned for the rest of their lives, there is some proof that a vegan diet may be lacking in certain nutrients and not just cheese. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you get what you need while maintaining the lifestyle you choose.

Vitamin B 12
Known as the energy vitamin, your body needs B 12 for blood formation, energy production, reproductive health and DNA synthesis. Signs of Vitamin B12 deficiencies include fatigue, impaired function of the brain and megaloblastic anemia. It has also been associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders like an Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
If you are a hardcore vegan, Nori Seaweed and tempeh both contain small amounts of vitamin B12. If you do not eat these foods regularly, you should take a B-12 supplement to make sure you’re getting all the energy you need.

Woman with vitamin D3
Vitamin D3
You may have heard of Vitamin D3 as the steroid hormone you get from sun exposure. However, what you may not know is that it’s also involved in the machinery of all the cells and tissues in your body and is crucial for disease prevention Although sun exposure is the best way of getting Vitamin D, researchers are now finding that some foods contain some pretty meaningful amounts of it. It is estimated that the average adult in the central United States gets about 1,500 – 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D from food; specifically meat, egg yolk and fatty fish. However, even if you do eat these foods, most of your vitamin D does come from sunlight and, if you are not a fan of the sun, without a Vitamin D supplement, deficiency is all but guaranteed. So if sun is not your thing,make sure to stock up on the D supplements.

Animal-Based Omega-3 DHA
Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega 3 fat found in animals like krill and fish necessary for heart health and brain function. In addition, pregnant women with DHA deficiencies put their children at risk for developmental problems. Although plant based omega-3 fats can be found, it takes a combination of them to get a sufficient amount of DHA. If you’re determined to get your DHA from plants, try combining hemp and flax with krill oil, an animal based omega-3 with an antioxidant 48 percent more potent than fish oil. It is also sustainable and eco- friendly.

Heme Iron
Although iron is found in plant and animal foods, heme iron is found only in meat, usually red meat. The iron found in plants is not absorbed well by the body, which can increase the risk of anemia for vegetarians and vegans. If you need to supplement with heme iron, a safe form is carbonyl iron, as opposed to the often toxic ferrous sulfate.

Sulfur
Meat and fish are the only ways to get the amino acids you need to produce protein. Without animal protein, you increase your risk of sulfur deficiency. Sulfur is vital for the activity of enzymes and proteins. If you don’t have a sufficient amount, it can affect joints, bones, metabolic processes and connective tissue. A 2012 study showed that low intake of sulfur by vegans and vegetarians can result in increased risk of heart attack and cardiovascular diseases. If you are a staunch adversary of meat, seek your sulfur in coconut and olive oil. If you are looking to supplement, Methylsufonylmethane or MSM is the organic form of sulfur, naturally found in plants.

If veganism is part of your way of life, let us know about it. Do you miss cheese? We want to hear your struggle.

Key Anti-Aging Ingredients

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just click a button and magically stop our aging in its tracks? Well, of course, that would be amazing but unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury. We DO however have the ability to consume a number of ingredients that will help us slow down the aging process and look our best over time!

Woman applying sunscreen

First and Foremost. Sunscreen.
Sunscreen is easily overlooked and passed by day after day. Many of us think that sunscreen is only necessary when we are going to be in the sun for extended periods of times. But, we are so, SO wrong. Sunscreen should be part of your daily “getting ready” routine. Yes, that means before your makeup and before you leave your house for a “normal” day that may not even include any outside time. The sun’s harmful rays have a way of getting to our skin even in very short amounts of time. Using sunscreen daily helps prevent and slow the development of wrinkled, aged skin. As a result, your skin appears smoother and has a healthy glow rather than the leathery look the sun can cause.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are the Next Best Option to Save Your Skin!
How would an acid prevent aging?!? Well, not all acids are bad for the human body. Alpha-hydroxy acids or AHAs have been around for quite some time but recently there has been more attention brought to them for their lasting effects on keeping your skin young! AHAs are found in nature, specifically in fruit and milk. These acids work to break apart the intercellular glue that holds old skin cells on the epidermis. Without this happening, your skin looks finer and brighter. That’s not it! Alpha-hydroxy acids also work to increase the production of collagen and elastic, both necessary for healthy looking skin. This leaves your skin feeling oh-so-soft because it allows your skin to retain more moisture. Be sure to apply your sunscreen before going into the sun if you are planning on introducing AHAs to your beauty regime. AHAs can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun but are TOTALLY worth the anti-aging benefits.

Retinol formula

Retinol AKA Vitamin A
Retinol is one of the most effective ingredients that has a way of telling cells how to act like an un-aged, healthier, younger skin cell. In other words, retinol is able to stop free-radical harm within skin cells that ultimately results in aged, wrinkly skin. Just as Alpha-Hydroxy Acids, it also has the ability to increase collagen production for smoother skin. But wait, that’s not all! This vitamin will literally decrease the appearance of discolorations on your skin from previous sun damage. Remember when you are shopping for Retinol products to stick to products that are in an opaque, closed container as sun exposure can break down the vitamins. In addition, start with a small mix of retinol and your normal moisturizer. Retinol creams can be known to aggravate skin so it is best to gradually introduce it into your daily routine.

The Spot Remover: Hydroquinone
For those who are looking for a way to look younger by banishing those darn dark sunspots from years of sun damage, you might want to try hydroquinone. Skin bleaching is a controversial topic so this product should be used with caution. A small amount will go a long way. This product will virtually fade hyperpigmentation by stopping the enzymes that increase melanin production.

Best Ingredients for More Youthful Skin

The ingredients you put onto your skin have a significant and direct impact on your appearance. If you’ve been looking in the mirror and seeing skin that appears dull, rough, dry or lackluster, it’s time to add some serious anti-aging ingredients into your skin care routine. However, there are so many products with even more ingredients and it can be a little daunting to know what ingredients really are the best when it comes to achieving more youthful looking skin. Read below to find out the top five best ingredients for more youthful skin and why they are the best.

Woman holding a vitamin capsule

Retinol
Retinol is the purest form of vitamin A and it is one of the most beneficial ingredients to keep your skin looking young. Retinol is a cell-communicating ingredient that essentially tells your skin cells to look and act younger. It stimulates collagen production, activates cellular metabolism for more rapid cell turnover, fades the appearance of sun or age spots and reduces fine lines. By communicating with your cells to perform all of these tasks, retinol gives your face a firmer, younger and more even appearance.

Green tea

Antioxidants
Free radical damage is one of the most significant causes of aging and unfortunately, there are types of free radical exposure that you can’t avoid such as the sun, oxygen or pollution. What you can do is to look for skin care products that contain an array of antioxidants to fight free radical damage. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, green tea extract and vitamin E. Vitamin C is a favorite among dermatologists because this antioxidant boosts your skin’s natural defenses against sun damage and also encourages collagen production.

Hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid
Hydrated skin is an important part of a youthful appearance, and hyaluronic acid is one of the greatest skin care ingredients for adding moisture to your skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it is able to draw moisture from the air and hold that moisture into your skin, and hyaluronic acid is so powerful that it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Hyaluronic acid makes your fine lines and wrinkles become significantly less noticeable because as it holds water, it plumps the appearance of your skin.

Grapes in a vineyard

Resveratrol
Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes, blueberries, cranberries and Goji berries and also in wine and some nuts. High-quality skin care products also harness the power of resveratrol to fight signs of aging. Resveratrol features a number of potent antioxidant properties and helps keep your skin looking young. It also helps protect against further environmental damage by fighting off free radicals.

Milk

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Exfoliation is a crucial step in maintaining youthful-looking skin and alpha-hydroxy acids are incredible for this purpose. Alpha-hydroxy acids are generally derived from fruit or milk sugars. Some common alpha-hydroxy acids are lactic acid and glycolic acid. These acids exfoliate your skin by gently dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. This allows for the dead skin cells to be sloughed away from the skin to reveal smoother, more even skin and can also help reduce the appearance of pores.

Not all skin care ingredients are created equal. Some, like the five above, are seriously powerful anti-aging ingredients that provide your skin with a more luminous and youthful appearance. When selecting skin care products, always check the ingredient list to see how high on the list these anti-aging superstars are. The closer to the beginning of the list, the higher the concentration of each ingredient in the product. Choosing well-formulate, quality skin care products that contain these five best ingredients for more youthful skin will keep your face looking young and radiant.

Why Retinol is so Important for Anti-Aging

Retinol, while not a new skincare ingredient, is everywhere and pops up in products from potent antioxidant serums to foundations. The reason that retinol is everywhere? Because it works. Retinol is an incredibly effective skincare ingredient that fights the signs of aging and encourages skin to act in a younger, healthier way. Find out just what retinol is and why it is so important for anti-aging below.

Vitamin A chemical formula

What is Retinol?
Retinol is just another name for vitamin A and it can be broken down into more potent compounds that are referred to as retinoids. “Retinol is an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell,” explains skincare expert Paula Begoun. Retinol is somewhat of an umbrella term and the vitamin A molecule is broken down into many derivatives of vitamin A that are known as retinoids. In a paper published on PubMed Central, a service of the US National Library of Medicine, the authors state that “retinoids are very well known to influence a variety of cellular processes, such as cellular growth and differentiation, cell surface alterations and immune modulation.” It is the influence that retinol and retinol derivatives have at the cellular level that are responsible for the immense anti-aging benefits of these ingredients.

How Does Retinol Counteract Aging?
“Retinol is an antioxidant, and thus can help interrupt the free-radical damage process that cause skin to look and act older. This action helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production,” says Begoun. In order to actually influence cell behavior, retinol has to undergo a process of breakdown and conversion. “Before retinol can successfully go to work in skin, it must be converted into it’s active form – all-trans retinoic acid. Once retinol has been applied to skin, enzymes in the skin break it down into all-trans retinoic acid, which then goes on to help regulate cell function,” notes Begoun.

As you age, the effects of sun damage become more visible and apparent in the forms of discoloration or sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles and larger pores. Retinol, when converted to retinoic acid, is able to influence cells that fight against these signs of aging. Although retinol can’t reduce large pores caused by genetics, it is able to decrease pore size that occurs as a result of sun damage. In addition, retinol promotes an increase in substances that enhance and improve the skin’s structural elements, meaning your skin is strengthened, and retinol is also helpful at stimulating collagen production which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol is available in a variety of forms and can be found in cosmetic products that are readily available. There are also prescription strength retinol products that are used both for acne and aging. Before beginning a retinol regime, it’s important to know that retinol can cause sensitivity and irritation and it often takes some time before your skin gets used to this ingredient. Consulting with a dermatologist or doctor is a great way to know what concentration of retinol would be most beneficial. While there is no single ingredient that magically solves aging concerns, when retinol is used with other quality ingredients and products, it is an incredibly effective ingredient that helps skin look and act younger.

Why Retinol is Everywhere

Seriously you can’t shop for skincare products without seeing the word retinol plastered on nearly every package and ingredient list. What’s so great about retinol that it is everywhere in the skincare world? Well, we’re about to tell you. Below, find our five favorite reasons why retinol really is everywhere.

Retinol formula

What is Retinol?
Retinol, also known as vitamin A, is one of the most effective cell-communicating ingredients, which means it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell.

Why Retinol is Everywhere

  • Retinol Rejuvenates Your Skin – As you age, your natural levels of collagen drop and your production slows considerably. Retinol helps to promote new collagen production which results in a more plump and youthful appearance. “Retinol is an antioxidant, and thus can interrupt the free-radical damage process that causes skin to look and act older. This action helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production.” A 2007 study published in The Archives of Dermatology indicated that participants who applied a product with .4 percent retinol concentration to one arm for 24 weeks had dramatic improvements to their skin and biopsies revealed that the arm treated with retinol had more building blocks (such as collagen) that make skin more resilient and smooth than the untreated arm.
  • Retinol Stimulates Cell Turnover – Exfoliation is essential for healthy, radiant skin and retinol is a skin care ingredient that helps you skin cells turnover to reveal healthier skin. Improved skin cell turnover results in a smoother, more even complexion and it helps other skin care products work more effectively. With proper exfoliation, products are able to fully penetrate your skin, which enables them to provide maximum benefits.
  • Retinol Controls Acne – Acne can occur at any age and it can be more difficult to clear your adult acne than it was when you were younger. Part of why adult acne may be more stubborn is that your skin and the components that keep you skin smooth and clear begin to work differently as you age. One contributing factor to acne is the accumulation of dead skin cells and other debris is trapped in your pores. Because retinol is stimulates cell turnover and exfoliates your skin, dead skin cells and debris are removed from your skin and your pores are unclogged.
  • Retinol Can Reduce Pore Size – Okay, so before you fall in love with the idea of poreless skin, that’s not possible. Your skin will always have some pores and when it comes to pore size due to genetics, retinol will not be effective. However, if you have large pores as a result of sun damage or clogging, retinol can help to reduce their size with consistent use. Your pores stretch when follicular keratin, a part of the pore lining, builds up and retinol communicates with these cells to remind them to function properly which results in improved pore functioning. Over time, as your pores work properly, it’s entirely possible to see a reduction in pore size.
    Retinol Improves Overall Skin Appearance – Retinol is a skin care ingredient superstar because it not only functions as an anti-aging and anti-acne ingredient, it generally improves the all around appearance of your skin. Retinol can also address skin issues like eczema, decrease discoloration and sun spots, reduce fine lines and re-texturize the face for a smoother, more even complexion.

Retinol is, as we mentioned, widely available in skin care products and retinol products do not require a prescription. When selecting your retinol products, look for containers that are dark colored, because all forms of vitamin A deteriorate when exposed to light. If you are just introducing retinol into your skin care routine, note that it can be irritating to your skin so it’s best to start slowly. Begin by using your retinol product once every other day and monitor how your skin handles retinol. If you don’t experience irritation, go ahead and use your retinol products daily. Once you start making retinol a part of your skin care routine, you will completely understand why retinol is everywhere.

Skin Care Ingredients to be Thankful For

Clear, glowing, healthy skin is something that you should definitely give thanks for. Most of us are in constant pursuit of younger looking, healthier skin and there are some skin care ingredients that are superior to others. We’ve listed our four favorite skin care ingredients and why you should be thankful for them.

Hyaluronic Acid formula

Hyaluronic Acid
You can’t go to any skin care or beauty blog without reading something about hyaluronic acid. While some skin care ingredients are just hype, hyaluronic acid deserves every bit of praise that it gets. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally in your body that is responsible for cell renewal and maintaining skin’s elasticity and moisture levels. When you apply hyaluronic acid topically, this amazing skin care ingredient creates a moisture barrier for your skin. In doing so, hyaluronic acid “traps” moisture into your skin, and the hyaluronic acid molecule can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. In addition to major moisture, hyaluronic acid makes your skin smoother and helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by plumping the skin up.

Retinol
When it comes to anti-aging, retinol truly is one of the best skin care ingredients you can use. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that fights fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dullness, sagging skin and can help with acne. This powerhouse works by increasing the rate of cell turnover while also gently exfoliating to get rid of any dry, dead cells on the surface of your skin. Retinol also stimulates cellular repair deep in your skin, which helps boost your levels of collagen and elastin. When using retinol, be sure to look for packaging that is airtight and opaque, or very dark because air and light can degrade retinol making it far less effective.

Red wine

Resveratrol
It’s not secret that we absolutely adore resveratrol as a skin care ingredient, but there are so many great reasons for our love affair with this potent antioxidant. Resveratrol’s antioxidant power fights against oxidative damage and helps repair old damage from free radicals. This protection against free radical damage is essential for young, healthy looking skin because free radicals actually damage collagen and they activate an enzyme that breaks down the collagen and elastin in your skin. Resveratrol also has anti-inflammatory properties so your complexion looks even and radiant.

AHA/ BHA
Alpha-hydroxy acids are organic acids that are typically derived from sugar cane, milk and apples and pears. Sugar cane is responsible for glycolic acid, milk for lactic acid and apples and pears for malic acid. These acids work on the surface layer of your skin to gently exfoliate and brighten dead, dull skin. BHA refers to salicylic acid, which is derived from plant sources. Salicylic acid also is responsible for gentle exfoliation, but it penetrates far more deeply than AHAs do. BHA actually gets down into your pores to clear them of oil, dead skin cells and other debris. AHAs are most frequently used by those with drier skin while BHA is used commonly among those with oily or acne-prone skin.

Quality ingredients equal quality skin and these ingredients are truly skin care superstars. Using products that contain these amazing ingredients, like our Vine Vera Collection skin care, will help you to achieve the healthiest, most radiant skin possible and that’s something you should certainly give thanks for.

What are Carotenoids?

The food you eat does so much more than taste good. One of the most amazing ingredients you can add to your diet are carotenoids. These antioxidant promote eye and skin health as well as providing protection from certain cancers. Our comprehensive guide tells you just what carotenoids are, what they do for you and how you can add some to your diet.

Carrots on a wooden table

What are Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are plant pigments that your body converts into vitamin A. These plant pigments are responsible for the bright red, orange or yellow hue found in fruits and vegetables and are a class of plant pigments known as phytonutrients. Brightly colored red, orange and yellow are not the only fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids. In fact, kale is one of the greatest sources of dietary vitamin A but the chlorophyll in the plant masks the signature red, orange or yellow color of the vegetable. Generally speaking for both bright vegetables and dark, leafy greens, the deeper in color the fruit or vegetable is, the higher the concentration of carotenoids is.

Carotenoids include:

  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Gamma-carotene
  • Cyptoxanthin
  • Beta-zeacarotene
  • Lycopene
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Lutein
  • Capsanthin
  • Canthaxanith

Of these carotenoids, the highest concentration of vitamin A is beta-carotene but the others are just as important. Even those carotenoids that are not converted into vitamin A in the body like lycopene, lutein and capsanthin, are beneficial to your health in that they have incredible cancer-fighting powers. There is ample research to suggest that lycopene, while not a source of vitamin A, helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

What do Carotenoids do?
While some carotenoids are effective at fighting cancer, they are also a valuable preventive tool. Research regarding beta-carotene, the carotenoid with the greatest amount of vitamin A, shows that those who eat foods rich in beta-carotene have a lower risk of developing lung cancer, even among smokers. The study also indicated that the maximum benefits were seen when beta-carotene was provided in the form of plants and vegetables as opposed to taking a vitamin A supplement. In fact three research studies that involved 169,000 participants, of whom many were smokers, the beta-carotene supplement actually increased rates of lung cancer. However, lutein, lycopene and alpha-carotene showed significant protection against lung cancer.

Experts believe that the variation in carotenoid protection is dependent upon when you take carotenoids. For instance, if you take beta-carotene prior to cells undergoing any pre-cancerous changes, beta-carotene reduces the likelihood that mutations will take place due to the antioxidant actions this carotenoid provides. Conversely, taking a beta-carotene supplement after the mutation of cells suggests that beta-carotene may protect the mutated cells from being destroyed by your body.

In addition to fighting cancer, carotenoids that are converted into vitamin A provide your body with important health benefits. One of the most important uses for vitamin A is eye health. The old maxim that carrots are good for your eyes really is rooted in fact. Vitamin A is essential for eye health and preventing vision loss. Your heart also received health benefits from carotenoids, particularly when combined with vitamins E and C. The carotenoid beta-carotene has also been shown to protect the skin against environmental damage and toxins due to its antioxidant properties.

How do you get Carotenoids?
Now that you know why it is so important to get carotenoids into your body, you probably want to know how you can do that. Some of the very best dietary sources of carotenoids include:

  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Beef liver
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggs

Eating a diet rich in carotenoids is an excellent thing to do for your overall health and you can easily incorporate these foods into your diet. While experts recommend dietary carotenoid as the most beneficial for your body, there are certainly dietary supplements available if you are concerned you aren’t receiving enough from your food. Stock up on these fruits and veggies to keep your eyes, heart and cells healthy in addition to getting the healthiest skin of your life.