LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

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Fall Renewal: Shed Sun-Stressed Skin with Seasonal Fruit Peel

Now that September is here, you’re facing new challenges…and so is your skin.In my native Romania, changing your skincare routine as the seasons shift is as natural as adjusting your wardrobe to the weather. This time-tested skincare tradition is rooted in the holistic practices of Romania’s health spas and reflects our culture’s emphasis on living in harmony with nature.

Exfoliating with Apples: A Traditional Practice That Makes Scientific Sense

At the first hint of fall, my mother and grandmother always began preparing their skin for the long hard winter with homemade masks and scrubs. Like women in other traditional cultures, they relied on seasonal fruits and herbs for ingredients.  So when apple-picking time arrived, they chopped up the extra fruit and used it to make facial masks and scrubs to exfoliate and nourish their sun-damaged skin.

The effectiveness of apples as a topical exfoliant lies in their high malic acid content. This natural fruit acid gently and safely sloughs off dead skin cells, stimulates circulation, and helps open and clear out clogged pores. Apples are also rich in antioxidants and other beneficial phytonutrients that help repair free radical damage, brighten skin tone, and accelerate cell turnover and collagen renewal.

A Perfectly Balanced Recipe for Optimal Conditioning

Today’s best all-natural exfoliating treatments intensify the rejuvenating effects of apples by combining them with other plant-derived exfoliants, such ground walnuts and lactic acid, quince and other vitamin-rich fruits, and circulation boosters like paprika and white tea. To soothe, protect, and hydrate freshly exfoliated skin, masks and peels should also include a balanced mixture of medicinal herbs, humectants, and emollients, such as horsetail, aloe vera, and squalane. For the most dramatic results, I recommend supplementing your homecare treatments with a series of organic enzyme peels in a salon that specializes in natural holistic skin care.

Others agree, by focusing on an exfoliation program in the fall, you’ll not only improve the overall health of your skin but also significantly expand its capacity to absorb moisture. So when the serious cold weather sets in, your skin will be in the prime condition to benefit from a wintertime program of hydration and lubrication.

Image: Matt Banks /

Sorbitol Shows Its True Colors as a Healthful Natural Moisturizer

Sorbitol is a wholesome green skincare ingredient with an image problem. Given its familiar reputation as low-calorie sugar substitute, you might be surprised to see sorbitol turning up on the labels of premium natural skincare products. But don’t be misled by names and superficial impressions. A closer look at both its origins and underlying chemistry, as well as the methods used to extract it for green product developers, reveals this up-and-coming skincare ingredient’s true nature.

A Clean Bill of Health

Known in scientific circles as a sugar alcohol, sorbitol falls into a category that sounds like the height of dietary indulgence. In fact, sugar alcohols like sorbitol are neither sugars nor alcohols, but polyols, a special class of carbohydrates found in plants. Unlike refined sugar or synthetic sweeteners, authentically green sorbitol is derived from sugarcane, sugar beets, fruits, berries, or other plants and purified without industrial-strength solvents. Simple eco-friendly processing methods, such as boiling, and meticulous attention to exacting green manufacturing standards ensure the resulting product is free of naturally occurring and synthetic contaminants and residues.

Pure Green Goodness for Ailing Complexions

In addition to meeting the highest standards of purity and safety, green sorbitol has what it takes to revitalize dry, dull, sun-damaged complexions:

* Superior water-binding capacity This powerful natural humectant attracts moisture from the air, binds it to skin cells, and slows its evaporation. Sorbitol not only keeps your complexion looking firm, fresh, and vibrant by plumping up surface cells, but also promotes healthy cell renewal by ensuring the underlying dermis remains fully hydrated.

* Low-weight organic molecules Sorbitol’s moisture-binding molecules are quickly and easily absorbed into the skin’s deeper layers. As result of chemical similarities between plant-derived sugar alcohols and substances produced by our own bodies, sorbitol is less likely to prove irritating or damaging to sensitive complexions.

* Non-oily lubrication This beautifully balanced emollient leaves skin silky smooth without depositing a greasy film or clogging pores.

A Sweet Alternative to Harsh Synthetics

Natural sorbitol is a safe, effective alternative to propylene/ethylene glycol, silicone-based ingredients, PEG compounds, and other widely used synthetic humectants and emollients. But make sure your sorbitol-enhanced beauty products live up to their claims. A thorough background check of popular “natural” skincare lines too often reveals evidence of chemical irritants, manufacturing residues, toxic contaminants, and other potentially harmful substances.

Get an Expert Opinion on the Quality of Your Skin Care

Always choose brands with a proven commitment to product quality, sustainable manufacturing practices, and consumer safety and well-being. Certification by a respected green standards organization, such as the Natural Product Association, officially guarantees that the skincare line you’ve chosen meets the most exacting product requirements in the natural skincare industry.

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Promises, Promises Part 1: The Eye Cream Reality Check

1. True or false?

Today’s scientifically advanced eye creams can banish bags and dark circles instantly—without surgery or Botox.

False: Product claims like these rake in millions from hopeful skincare consumers. And you don’t have to be naïve to fall for the lure of a new scientific discovery (or ancient beauty secret) that promises to change the face of anti-aging skincare forever. After all, a product breakthrough like that could happen. And maybe someday it will. But at this point, the secret formula that magically erases dark circles, crows-feet, and droopy skin is still just a hopeful gleam in the eye of beauty scientists.

2. Does that mean raccoon eyes and wrinkles are forever?

No. And eyelifts, Botox, and laser surgery are not your only options. Several noninvasive skin treatments can significantly refresh and revitalize the eye area. The precise degree of improvement you can achieve depends a variety of factors, including the causes of your symptoms and your commitment to eliminating the major culprits.

3. Which of the following factors can cause the development of dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles around your eyes?
(a) Heredity
(b) Allergies
(c) Rubbing your eyes
(d) Aging and environmental damage
(e) Lack of sleep
(f) Dehydration
(g) Smoking
(h) Eczema
(i) Anemia, kidney disease, or other serious health condition
(j) All of the above.

(j) All of the above. The first 7 items on the list are the most likely causes  of thinning, damaged skin and areas of dark pigmentation under the eyes. Individuals born with fair, delicate complexions are naturally more prone to under-eye rings and signs of premature aging. But inheriting these genetic tendencies doesn’t automatically doom you to looking perpetually tired and old before your time.

The safest least-invasive approach is a three-pronged action plan: (1) Use a high-SPF sun block daily (2) practice healthy lifestyle habits and (3) adopt a gentle, effective skincare regimen. (A good under-eye concealer also helps.) If your symptoms are allergy-related, try an over-the-counter anti-histamine. In rare cases, persistent dark circles may signal anemia, a clotting disorder, or another serious illness. If you’re also suffering from fatigue, unexplained bruising, or other worrisome symptoms, consult your physician.

4. The safest and most effective eye creams contain the following ingredients:
(a) Vitamin A derivatives
(b) Caffeine
(c) Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
(d) Botanical oils and humectants
(e) Vitamin K
(f) All of the above

(f) All of the above. Like vitamin K and caffeine, niacinamide has demonstrated beneficial effects on under-eye discoloration and a variety of other age-related skin problems in numerous medical studies. Vitamin A derivatives such as retinyl palmitate and the powerful antioxidants in natural plant-based complexion care also play an essential role in restoring the strength and resilience of maturing skin. Together with the superior emollient properties and moisture-binding capacity of plant-derived oils and humectants, these valuable nutrients comprise a balanced diet for ailing, exhausted skin.

Good natural sources of these ingredients include the following:
• Green and white teas
• Squalene
• Jojoba oil
• Sea buckthorn
• Shea butter
• Pearl powder
• Aloe vera
• Hyaluronic acid

Remember, complicated, long-term problems can’t be reversed in an instant. But gradual meaningful change is a truly rewarding alternative to the false promise of overnight miracles.

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Are You Getting Burned by Your Sunscreen?

Sunscreen in Lavie Organique Creams

Suncreen in Lavie Organique Creams

The latest research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests that 4 out of 5 of the most popular brands of sunscreen may pose hidden dangers to your health. The Washington-based consumer advocacy organization’s 2010 study cites evidence indicating that a common sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone, may increase the risk of hormonal problems and cancer.

Other major issues noted by the EWG researchers are the proliferation of ultra-high SPF sunscreens that provide little UVA protection and the FDA’s long delay in setting new standards for measuring this insidiously deadly form of radiation. Once believed to be harmless, UVA rays are now known to penetrate deeper into the skin and cause greater DNA damage than UVB rays.

State-of-the-Art Damage Control for At-Risk Complexions

According to the EWG, the optimal shield against sun-related skin cancer and premature aging is a physical sun block made from organic minerals, such as zinc oxide. The FDA has rated zinc oxide as a full-spectrum UVA/UVB protectant for category 1 skin types. This category includes the bright white and the pale, freckled complexions of blue- or green-eyed blondes and redheads. Such individuals never tan and require the highest level of sun protection to avoid serious sunburns and long-term health risks.

The benefits of zinc oxide go beyond superior sun protection. This natural mineral’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties are powerful enough to not only reduce acne flares but also scientifically proven speed wound healing.  Yet zinc oxide ointments are so gentle on delicate skin that they’re doctor-recommended for soothing diaper rash, bedsores, and minor burns.

Reinforce Sun-Smart Habits with the First Truly Beautiful Solution to Skin Damage

No one should have to choose between the pasty old-fashioned zinc oxide ointments that only a lifeguard would wear in public and chemical sunscreens that can cause irritation, acne breakouts, and long-term health risks. And now you don’t have to. Today’s 100% natural options combine zinc oxide particles that are invisible to the naked eye with plant-derived moisturizers, organic nutrients, and freshly scented essential oils. These next-generation products offer the first real alternative to last-generation sunscreens—the health benefits of a physical barrier against ultraviolet radiation plus the added value of an elegant, nourishing skin cream you’ll actually want to use every day.

Skin Safety Update: What You Should Know About Risky Ingredients

Exposure to environmental toxins is a major cause of premature aging and serious diseases, including cancer. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to minimize your risk, including eating organically grown foods, avoiding cigarette smoke and industrial pollutants—and choosing skin-care products that meet the highest standards of purity. Here’s why…

Why the Quality of Your Cosmetics Is a Matter of Health

Numerous scientific studies confirm that our skin serves as major port of entry for potentially dangerous topical skin-care ingredients. In fact, many experts believe that swallowing these chemicals is actually less dangerous than absorbing them through our skin. While powerful enzymes often detoxify ingested chemicals in our digestive tract, those that enter our bloodstream through the skin retain their full potency.

Unfortunately the protective barrier formed by our skin isn’t leak-proof. The permeability of the skin’s surface layer varies across different areas of our body. Areas where skin is thinnest, such as our face and neck, are particularly vulnerable to invasive toxins. Both the composition of the topical chemical involved and the structure of an individual’s skin also help determine the amount of that substance that enters the circulatory system. According to one toxicology study, the hairiness of our skin may also affect the rate at which our skin absorbs certain chemicals.

Don’t Let Toxic Invaders Get Under Your Skin!

Unfortunately, many of today’s mainstream skin-care manufacturers—including makers of popular baby-care products—continue to ignore the public health risks of exposure to not only chemical irritants but also “hidden carcinogens.” These silent, potentially lethal invaders include DDT-like pesticides, carcinogenic manufacturing residues, and ingredients that are chemical precursors to carcinogens or that can release cancer-causing agents as they degrade.

Even many so-called “natural” brands fail to live up to their comforting claims. Just because the label boldly proclaims the product is 100% free of the most notorious troublemakers (i.e., parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, and polyethylene gycol) doesn’t mean it’s devoid of unsafe ingredients or harmful contaminants.

As “new, improved” beauty creams and personal care items continue to flood the market, the list of chemical hazards you should be aware of continues to grow.  Here are a few of the less publicized but increasingly prevalent chemical offenders:

  • DEA (diethanolamine)/MEA (monoethanolamine)/TEA (triethanolamine): Already restricted in the European Union, these potential liver and kidney carcinogens are still commonly used in the U.S. and Asia to adjust the pH of cosmetics or to increase the foaming of action of cleansers. Their toxic effects include allergies, eye irritation, and dryness.
  • Silicone-derived emollients: Stay clear of dimethicone, dimethicone copolyol, and cyclomethicone. Manufactured from the same material used for breast implants, these popular lubricants are widely used in skin creams that claim to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and to “lock in” moisture.  What the product makers fail to mention is that this sticky goo coats your face like a layer of Saran wrap, trapping sebum, dirt, and bacteria, while preventing your skin from breathing and releasing metabolic waste.  Research has shown that silicones are stored in our livers and lymph nodes and contribute to the development of cancerous tumors.
  • Midazolidinyl urea: A wide variety of cosmetics, from exfoliants, eye creams, and anti-aging and rosacea treatments to sunscreens and makeup remover, contain this synthetic preservative. Typically derived from ammonia, midazolidinyl urea is currently under study as a possible carcinogen and has been shown to release the potentially deadly chemical formaldehyde during the manufacturing process. Formaldehyde can also cause eczema, blistering, contact dermatitis, and severe allergic responses.
  • Lanolin: Who would imagine the old standby of our mother’s generation could increase our exposure to toxic chemicals? An “organic” oil derived from sheep’s wool, this seemingly harmless natural moisturizer is often contaminated with carcinogenic pesticide residues.
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS): A common ingredient in shampoos, body washes, and other bath products, this industrial-strength detergent is made up of lightweight molecules that quickly penetrate into the deeper layers of our skin. Scientific studies indicate that SLS can accumulate in the brain, as well as in the heart and liver. SLS is so caustic that according to Judi Vance, author of Beauty To Die For (Promotion Publishing, 1998) it not only can impair the functioning of skin cells and hair follicle, but also frequently serves as the chemical irritant of choice in clinical skin-care studies.

A Word to the Wise Consumer

The best way to protect your skin from chemical risks is to choose a skin care provider you can count on to care about your safety. My commitment to the health of your skin and your total well-being ensures every Lavie Organique™ product is 100% free of synthetic irritants and meets the rigorous quality standards of the Natural Products Association.

Image: Andy Newson /

The Truth About Vitamin C Creams

One of the biggest breakthroughs in anti-aging skin care was the discovery of the remarkable power of vitamin C to help restore luster and resilience to aging complexions. This super-antioxidant can do just about everything required to repair and protect damaged skin: reduce wrinkling, fight inflammation, stimulate collagen renewal, lighten brown spots, and brighten skin tone. According to some studies, vitamin C may even serve as a mild photoprotectant that helps boost the effectiveness of sunscreens.

No wonder the skin-care market is flooded with vitamin C anti-aging treatments. With so many choices ranging from inexpensive drugstore moisturizers to deluxe serums and night creams that cost hundreds of dollars an ounce, you may be puzzled about the differences between products.

Are all vitamin C treatments the same? Or does the steepest price tag automatically guarantee the best results?As it turns out, the scientific facts behind vitamin C’s widespread reputation as a miracle skin-care ingredient are more complicated than they appear at first glance.

Vitamin C: The Downside

What’s not to like about a compound that’s proven to repair and revitalize environmentally damaged, lifeless complexions? First of all, topical vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can cause skin irritation and redness. Second, ascorbic acid is highly susceptible to oxidation—the same destructive process that rusts metal and spoils fruit. As a result, ascorbic acid often degrades to the point where it not only fails to reverse free-radical damage, but can actually increase the cell changes that speed premature aging.

Even the longer-lasting stabilized forms of vitamin C used in  many super-expensive anti-aging formulas may oxidize during storage or on the store shelf. Unfortunately, many cosmetic manufacturers take precautions against this risk by adding artificial coloring to their products to mask the telltale yellowing that indicates spoilage.

The Good News: Vitamin C Derivatives

Skin-care scientists have recently discovered several vitamin C derivatives that avoid many of the drawbacks of ascorbic acid, while delivering comparable anti-aging benefits. One of the most effective and easily tolerated of these derivatives is magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Upon application, the skin’s own enzymes convert this more stable compound into active vitamin C.

Maximize Skin Rejuvenation with All-Natural Skin Foods

Research has shown that treatments that combine vitamin C derivatives with other antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene are not only more beneficial, but also gentler on your skin. The reason? In combination, antioxidants have synergistic effects. In other words, the total benefit of a group of antioxidants is greater than the sum of effects of the individual nutrients.

Synergy explains why eating oranges will do a much better job of keeping you healthy and youthful-looking than vitamin C tablets. The dosages in synthetic vitamin C supplements are typically far too high for our bodies to use and, in some people. may even cause unpleasant side effects, such as stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.

Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are designed by nature to replenish depleted skin cells with the perfect balance of  ascorbic acid and other complementary nutrients. That’s why plant-derived face creams are such a safe and efficient way of capitalizing on the rejuvenating effects of vitamin C.  The best choice? A 100% green vitamin C cream that not only feeds your complexion a healthy blend of phytonutrients, but also provides the added risk protection of natural preservations to retard spoilage.

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Restoring Radiance to Dull, Dry Complexions

Although the fundamentals of a disciplined skin-care routine are the same for every skin type, their specific application should be tailored to your individual complexion challenges.

TLC for Thirsty Skin

Like an oily, acne-prone complexion, dry, itchy, flaky skin requires a holistic wellness regime to restore and maintain the proper level and efficient flow of sebum. In addition to supporting skin health from the inside, you should cleanse, tone, exfoliate, moisturize, and nourish your complexion on the outside with safe, effective all-natural skincare products to normalize cell function, encourage collagen and elastin renewal, and protect against environmental damage. Above all, your daily and weekly skin-care program should focus on your dry complexion’s two most urgent needs: hydration and lubrication.

To optimize the health and appearance of dry skin make sure you…

Handle with care. Use lukewarm or cool water and a gentle touch to wash your face. Dry skin also tends to be sensitive, so stay away from products that contain synthetic fragrances, alcohols, moisturizers, and preservatives.

Apply liberal amounts plant-derived humectants and emollients to your skin while it’s still damp to lock in moisture. Botanical humectants and. lubricants, such as aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and squalene, that closely resemble the components of human skin will keep your complexion soft, moist, and supple throughout the day.

Drink enough water—but don’t overdo it. As a general rule, eight 8-ounce glasses are sufficient to flush out toxins and ensure healthy cell function. According to the latest research, drinking water will not cure dry skin and consuming excessive amounts can be dangerous.

Use a humidifier in the winter. Low humidity is a major contributor to parched, cracked skin.

Consume enough healthy fats. Monosaturated fats from sources such as olive oil and avocados, as well as omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts, and seeds are vital skin foods. Rich in vitamin E, anti-inflammatories, flavenoids and other age-fighting nutrients, these beneficial oils are one of the keys to radiant, youthful skin.

Use an extra-rich face cream at night. Gently massage your face with a luxuriant face cream enriched with botanical oils, healing herbs, and natural antioxidants, and silk amino acids before bed to soothe, revitalize, and restore resilience to your skin as you sleep.

Talk with your doctor if your dry skin is persistent and severe. Dry skin may be a sign of a medical problems, including eczema, psoriasis, a vitamin B or A deficiency, a genetic syndrome, allergies, or an underactive thyroid. Reduced oil production is also a side effect of certain medications.

Combination Skin: Help for Confused Complexions

If you’re troubled by dry, flaky patches and breakouts give your skin the extra help it needs to recover and thrive. For an informed approach to your complexion’s erratic behavior, see my “Crazy, Mixed-Up Skin” post. For a personal consultation, please feel free to send your questions to the blog or contact me by email at, or phone at (617) 734-5523. I look forward to hearing from you!

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A Few Words About a Disciplined Approach to Skin Care

Lavie Organique Daily Skin RoutineMany of my first-time clients seem mystified by their troubled skin. They claim their skin-care routine is highly disciplined—but for some unknown reason their unruly complexion just won’t cooperate.

When Skin Is Behaving Badly… Try a Little Tenderness

The trouble usually lies in their idea of discipline. To my way of thinking, a disciplined skin-care routine is as much about the quality of the time and attention you devote to your skin as the quantity. Treat your problem skin as you would a naughty two-year-old child—as a delicate living thing that requires constant loving care to thrive. When your complexion acts up, don’t punish its natural ups and downs with harsh treatments. Be gentle and consistent in your approach and sensitive to your skin’s unique needs. The kinder and more nurturing you are toward your skin the more lovable your complexion will become.

Caring for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin: Easy Does It

Follow these 10 rules of natural skin care for a complexion that gets better and better every day in every way.

1.    Don’t go to bed with makeup on. And no matter how exhausted you are, always remove all traces of foundation, blush, and eye makeup so your skin can breathe easily as it repairs environmental damage and restores healthy cell function during the night.

2.    Do wash your face morning and evening. Twice a day is sufficient—any more than that can actually contribute to breakouts by increasing inflammation and irritation, Wash with organic products made from natural cleansing agents including soap bark and phytosterols such as sea buckthorn, as well as rosemary, horsetail extracts. and other plant-derived anti-microbials and anti-inflammatories.

3.    Don’t use synthetic alcohol-based toners that can dry and irritate your skin.

4.    Do tone your skin with gentle plant-based ingredients. Restore your skin’s protective acid mantle after washing with products that contain mild astringents such as white willow, while fighting infection with natural anti-bacterial herbs and botanicals. Use toners that contain natural emollients and humectants such as vegetable glycerin and aloe vera to help control oily shine between washings without stripping away moisture.

5.    Don’t over-exfoliate or scrub your skin. Avoid the irritation and redness caused synthetic chemical peels. Be aware that even some natural scrubbing grains, such as ground apricot kernels, are too abrasive for fragile facial skin.

6.    Do use exfoliating products with gentle natural ingredients such as food enzymes, finely ground nuts, and honey that not only accelerate cell turnover and clean pores, but also provide a potent blend of nutrients that fight infection and promote balanced hormonal functioning. Remember: freshly exfoliated skin is drier and more sensitive to sun damage. Make sure you satisfy its craving for extra sun protection, emollients, and hydration.

7.    Don’t use greasy petrolatum-based moisturizers.
Products that contain petroleum jelly and mineral oil will not only clog your pores but also form a greasy film on the skin surface that can prevent the deeper layers from absorbing the nutrition and hydration required for healthy cell function.

8.   Do use a 100% green moisturizer. To restrain unsightly skin eruptions while maintaining a dewy, supple complexion, use a cream  with a balanced combination of ingredients. Botanical moisturizers and emollients such as jojoba seed oil that closely resemble human sebum penetrate the skin without clogging pores. A deeply hydrating product that combines plant-derived anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients with mineral-rich sea salts is ideal for both day and nighttime use. Dead Sea salts, in particular, contain high levels of zinc oxide—a mineral that not only serves as a highly effective sun block but also helps heal acne and control sebum production.

9.    Don’t fuel your skin’s “’roid rage.” Meat and poultry, as well as milk and other dairy products that contain synthetic hormones can push moody skin into a full-blown zit-fit.

10.   Do keep your skin on an even keel with a healthy holistic lifestyle. Combine vigorous exercise, stress reduction techniques, and balanced nutrition to help your complexion stay clear, calm, and collected. Work out 3 to 5 times a week, integrate relaxation time into your daily schedule, and get 7-10 hours of sleep every night.  Be sure to consume plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Stick with healthy oils such as contain omega 3s from nuts, seeds, and avocados, olives, and other plant sources and rely on beans and other legumes or organically raised meat, poultry, and fish for essential amino acids.

In my next post, I discuss the rules for managing dry skin.

Image: Andy Newson /

Pearl-Powered Skin Rejuvenation: Ancient Magic or Modern Scientific Wonder?

One of civilization’s oldest anti-aging secrets is making a comeback in today’s international beauty industry. The growing number of advanced skin-care treatments that now incorporate pearl powder offer modern women an  age-fighting weapon once reserved for the ancient world’s royals and aristocrats.

The Treatment of Choice for History’s Beautiful People
Palace physicians in Ancient Egypt, Mezo-America, China, and Japan prescribed elixirs made from crushed  pearls to ensure the health and longevity of their rulers. The most famous medical book of Ming-dynasty China, Ben Cao Gang Mu, recommends pearl powder as a cure for sunburn, rashes, and fungal infections. Geishas in 18th-century Japan came to rely on pearl powder’s fabled restorative powers to prevent irritation and scarring from their lead-based face paint and to nurture a flawless porcelain complexion.

In  21st Asia, pearl-powder health tonics and cosmetics still represent the highest standard of care and luxury. Like their ancient counterparts, today’s herbalists, holistic healers, and traditional Chinese physicians continue to prescribe both the ingestion and topical application of finely milled pearls to reduce inflammation and scarring, heal acne, repair wrinkles, and promote hormonal balance.

The Organic Gem: Precious to Human Health?

To modern skeptics, the long-ago belief that the lustrous perfection of a marine mineral could be directly transferred to human skin sounds like primitive magical thinking. But is it?

Ancient Wisdom Confirmed by Modern Science

Not according to the latest scientific research. Advances in molecular biologists have revealed  a “bone-deep” kinship between pearls and people. Neither an animal, a vegetable, nor a true mineral, pearls are an organic substance produced by a piece of genetic coding that virtually mirrors the DNA sequence that regulates calcium metabolism in our own bodies.

This genetic link may explain the superior bioavailability of pearl nutrients. Studies show that the minerals, antioxidants, and proteins in pearls are even more readily absorbed and used by human tissues than those in plants.

European and Chinese medical research suggests that pearl powder can accelerate collagen and elastin renewal by providing essential amino acids, repairing damaged cells, and improving the overall health of our circulatory, endocrine, and immune systems. Emerging evidence also supports pearl powder’s reputation as a remedy for dull, uneven skin tone. Scientific studies attribute these effects to an enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD), that supercharges our body’s power to reverse free radical damage.

The Magic Endures

That adds up to a wealth of value from one source, but it’s all not your skin will get from today’s best pearl powder skin-care products. In skin creams, the exceptionally fine texture and soothing, restorative action of pearls provide the perfect level of gentle, effective exfoliation your skin needs every day to maintain the pearl-like luminosity of youth.

For the full benefit of this elegant organic ingredient, make sure everything in your pearl-enhanced skin cream is equally pure and natural.

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Mother Knows Best: The 10 Secrets of Naturally Beautiful Skin

In honor of Mothers Day, I’ve distilled my mother’s and grandmother’s beauty advice and my own 30 years of research and hands-on experience into the10 fundamentals of organic anti-aging skin care listed here.

Leaf Lavie Organique1. Commit to a disciplined routine of daily and weekly skin care. A lifetime of youthful-looking skin requires life-long dedication to nurturing skin health.

2. Use only pure, 100% natural skin-care ingredients. Make sure that every product that touches your skin is 100% free of petrochemicals, parabens, and other harsh synthetic ingredients. Skin treatments made from certified organic and natural plant-derived ingredients are not only safer but more effective.

3. Nourish your skin from the inside and the outside. Maximize the rejuvenating effects of antioxidants, vitamins, and other phytonutrients with topical application of products made from the same plant-based health foods you eat.

4. Protect against sun damage. Guard against the #1 cause of skin cancer and wrinkles by avoiding prolonged sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm and using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, every day, all year round.

5. Synchronize your skin care routine with the rhythms of nature. Shift the focus of your skin-care regimen as the seasons change: Concentrate on exfoliation and hydration in the cold weather and on nutrition and sun protection as the days get warmer.

Flower Bud

6. Exfoliate—gently, safely, and effectively. To brighten and revitalize your complexion, add gentle natural exfoliants such as finely ground nuts, white willow bark, and food enzymes to your skin care regimen. (To learn more about the do’s and don’ts of exfoliation, read FAQ…)

7. Optimize microcirculation. Maintain healthy blood flow with a regular exercise program and skin-care products that contain natural circulation boosters, such as paprika, caffeine, and cinnamon.

8. De-stress your mind and body. Minimize the destructive effects of stress hormones on the skin with yoga, meditation, massage, and other holistic relaxation techniques. The serene expression that accompanies a calm spirit also helps slow the development of crows feet, lip lines, and other facial creases.

9. Increase your quotient of restorative sleep. Do whatever it takes to get in the mood for plenty of deep, restful sleep every night. Your skin cells need at least 7-10 hours every night to cleanse themselves of waste and toxins and repair free radical damage.

10. Become an educated consumer. Check out the fine print on product labels, get the facts behind advertising claims, and understand the effects of various cosmetic ingredients on skin function. Skin-care knowledge is the key to gaining power over aging—and over the physical and economic risks posed by inferior products.

PS to Daughters: Sharing goes both ways. Mothers and grandmothers are never too old to learn something new from the younger generation. Give them some uplifting words of wisdom this Mothers Day!

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