LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "acne"

Pomegranate Seed Extract: The Essence of Beautifully Balanced Skin

Pomegranate seeds and Lavie OrganiqueAmong the many reasons pomegranate seed extract (Punica granatum linn) is now hailed as  an “elixir of youth” is its high content of the remarkable nutrient that bears this exotic super-fruit’s Latin genus name: punicic acid.

A Feast of Phytonutrients in Every Drop

An omega 5 conjugated fatty acid, punicic acid is one of the key elements of a healthy diets. Like gamma-linolenic acid and other plant-derived long-chain fatty acids, punicic acid has demonstrated a variety of positive health effects in laboratory studies, including reducing inflammation, promoting hormonal balance, and decreasing the incidence of skin cancer. Researchers at the University of Michigan have shown that punicic acid also helps regenerate epidermal cells and stimulate collagen and elastin renewal.

Pomegranate seeds are also a rich source of tocopherols: a group of fat-soluble alcohols that exhibit antioxidant properties similar to those of vitamin E. These potent age fighters help strengthen blood vessel walls and cellular membranes, improve circulation, and repair free radical damage. In addition to keeping cells well oxygenated and nourished, tocopherols help skin retain moisture and stabilize the slightly acidic pH of our outmost skin. This invisible natural barrier, or “acid mantle,” helps repel bacteria and other toxic invaders that contribute to acne, fungal infections, and a variety of skin diseases.

Holistic Skin Care: Healthy Practices for Balanced Functioning

Treat your skin to a double dose of natural rejuvenators: Add the fleshy ruby-red seeds of this luscious tropical fruit to your diet and their concentrated extract to your skin care routine, with daily application of LaVie Organique™ Face Cream.
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Image: djcodrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Honey: Sweet Relief for Ailing Skin

The benefits of honey as a skin treatment have been recognized for thousands of years. Long used as a wound dressing by traditional healers, honey also enriched the deluxe face creams and soaps prized by aristocratic beauties in Ancient Egypt, Imperial China and Rome, and 18th-century France.

Nature’s Prescription for Depleted Skin

Today, the effectiveness of honey as a cleansing, moisturizing, and anti-aging agent is supported by scientific studies. According to researchers, honey promotes healing and cell renewal by simultaneously playing five vital roles:

1. Humectant By binding water to cells, honey helps keep skin soft and resilient.

2. Antioxidant Honey contains a mix of antioxidant B vitamins that help repair and prevent free radical damage.

3. Antibiotic In addition to releasing the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, honey contains other antibacterial and anti-fungal agents that help heal acne, bedsores, burns, and diabetes-related infections.

4. Exfoliant By gently sloughing off dead surface cells, honey brightens dull skin and encourages healthy collagen and elastin production.

5. Anti-inflammatory Honey’s natural anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling, redness, and irritation.
For a Radiant, Dewy Complexion, Add a Taste of Honey

This remarkable combination of qualities makes honey the perfect antidote to the many diverse ills that  environmental and age-related stresses can inflict on our complexions. To refresh a winter-weary complexion with a thorough “spring cleaning,” try adding a honey-enhanced facial exfoliation mask to your weekly skin-care regimen.

Whether you’ve got dry, sensitive, acne-prone, or combination skin, this soothing, nourishing food will restore balanced functioning and a natural glow.

Image: Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Christian Meyn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rosehips: Nutrient-Rich Seeds Promote Petal-Soft Skin

Rose bushes are one of nature’s most lavish gifts. While its magnificent blossoms and luscious scent provide a feast for our senses, the plant also offers us invisible riches. Hidden inside its unassuming fruit is one of nature’s most valuable skin foods.

The Inner Beauty of Rosehips

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, the small red fruits known as rosehips contain a treasure trove of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including:

  • Vitamin C Did you know that rose hips contain more vitamin C than oranges and other citrus fruits? An anti-aging powerhouse, this antioxidant vitamin not only helps prevent and repair cell damage caused by UV radiation, but also fights inflammation, boosts cell-turnover and collagen production, lightens brown spots, and brightens skin tone.
  • Vitamin A By accelerating cell turnover, Vitamin A helps combat acne as well as wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Vitamin E In addition to its antioxidant effects, vitamin E promotes circulatory health and helps regulate cellular functioning.
  • Flavonoids/bioflavonoids With its combination of antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergenic effects, this class of phytonutrients constitutes an all-in-one defense system against environmental stressors.
  • Malic acid An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), this gentle yet effective skin  exfoliating compound sloughs off the buildup of dead cells that can contribute to acne and a dull, lifeless complexion.
  • Linoleic (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic (omega 3) acids These essential fatty acids promote smooth, supple skin, heal damaged tissues, and support healthy circulation.
  • Zinc In addition to protecting against sun damage, this vital mineral helps prevent and heal acne and other skin irritations.

Rosa Canina: The Perfect Rose for Your Complexion

Recent scientific studies of the dried, ground seeds from the fruit of the wild rose variety Rosa canina (“dog rose”) support its efficacy as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent for aging and injured skin. One of the rejuvenating ingredients in LaVie Organique™ Serum, Rosa canina seed powder provides a wealth of skin nutrients that help increase elasticity, reduce wrinkles, and encourage cell renewal.

*I recommend  adding this ingredient to your springtime skin care regime.Try it and see if you agree: When it comes to restoring dry, depleted skin, the fruit of this rose contains the seeds of perfect health. Let me know your results.

Image: Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Perimenopause Paradox Part 2: Skin’s Midlife Crisis Calls for Multifaceted Approach

Perimenopause and Lavie Organique

Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

There’s no magic bullet for perimenopausal skin problems. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept midlife as the beginning of the end of a beautiful, radiant complexion. Like any complex condition, the acne and signs of aging that tend to occur during these years require treatment that addresses not only the visible symptoms that result, but also their underlying causes.

A holistic skin care regime combines gentle, yet powerful topical treatments and healthy lifestyle habits to help you achieve clear, younger-looking skin. This multifaceted approach not only helps restore skin’s strength, resilience, and youthful luster by improving blood circulation, boosting elastin and collagen production, and neutralizing free radicals, but also calms irritated, acne-prone skin with plant-derived organic extracts that promote hormonal balance and fight bacteria and inflammation. I call this treatment plan the HERS program to remind my clients to focus on the fundamentals of caring for their skin during perimenopause.

If perimenopausal skin problems have got you down, give your complexion a boost by following these steps:

HYDRATE Hyaluronic acid is not only more easily absorbed and tolerated by sensitive skin than petroleum-based ingredients, but also offers superior moisture-binding capacity. Holistic Hydrators: Other multi-action plant-based moisturizers include aloe vera,  shea butter, and avocado oil. Botanical skin-care ingredients also contain a variety of beneficial compounds, such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and antibacterials.

ENERGIZE Eat Right: To nurture peak skin health during your 40s and 50s—and beyond—you need adequate daily doses protein; healthy fats such as olive oil; vitamins A, B, and C; and other antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients. Stave off snack attacks with fruits vegetables, yogurt, and other nutritious options—not junk food.Recent research links high blood sugar levels with wrinkles and premature aging.

And remember: most of the foods that are good for the inside of your body can help nourish your skin from the outside, too.

Exercise: Whether you prefer hiking up mountains or stretching in a yoga studio, maintain a regular schedule of vigorous workouts. Working up a sweat several times a week ensures the healthy blood circulation needed to optimize cellular functioning.

Exfoliate: Organic skin care products and salon peels that contain food enzymes such as  fruit acids, lactic acid, and other AHAs are a safe, effective way to revitalize your complexion. A regular exfoliation programs clears clogged pores, boosts blood flow, and strips away dead surface cells to reveal the fresh, glowing skin underneath.

REST/RELAX Be sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night and keep your stress levels in check. Poor stress management and lack of sleep can aggravate the hormonal fluctuations that lead to adult acne.

SUN-PROOF SPF 15 Sunscreen: Apply it liberally every day—all year round. Zinc oxide is a perfect choice for perimenopausal skin. In addition to acting as a highly effective physical barrier to UV rays, this multipurpose mineral is not only non-comedogenic—it actually helps regulate overactive oil glands, as well as heal blemishes.


The Perimenopause Paradox Part 1: Crazy, Mixed-Up Skin

Adult Acne and Lavie Organique

Adult Acne: Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

For many women, their 40s and 50s are the worst of all possible times for their skin. They’re facing not only the return of the blackheads and blemishes that plagued their teenage years, but also the steady accumulation of the visible signs of aging. As one of my clients said recently, “Having to deal with wrinkles and acne at the same time just isn’t fair!” The fact that your complexion’s erratic behavior is also perfectly natural doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Nor are the natural processes that cause aging, acne-prone skin simple and predictable.

Among the many complex physical processes that lead to adult acne two stand out:

  • Hormonal havoc. Although female hormones start dwindling during perimenopause, they seldom go quietly. Levels can fluctuate wildly from day to day and week to week to week. The chain reaction that ultimately leads to an acne flare begins with a spike in androgen levels. As androgen levels rise, the dermal sebaceous glands get bigger. The amount of sebum, or oil, produced by these enlarged glands increases as a result.
  • Inflammation. As excess oil pumped out by the sebaceous glands accumulates in pores and hair follicles it combines with dead skin cells, forming sticky clumps. These clumps of organic matter not only clog pores but also serve as a hearty feast for the different species of bacteria that live there. The fatter and happier these bacteria get, the more they reproduce. The resulting boom in the bacteria population inflames the pores, causing pustules and whiteheads to erupt. Other unsightly manifestations of inflammation such as contact dermatitis, rashes, and dry itchy patches may also develop. These factors together with declining cell function often lead to “combination skin” with oiliness and acne in some areas dryness and flakiness in others.

The lines, wrinkles, sags, enlarged pores, and scaly brown splotches that emerge during perimenopause also entail a variety of factors:

  • Free radical damage Decades of exposure to UV radiation, toxins, and other environmental stressors—as well as the accumulated byproducts of normal metabolic processes—impair the functioning of skin cells and speed their death.
  • Sluggish circulation A variety of factors, including diet, genetics, and habits like cigarette smoking, may reduce blood flow to the skin, depriving it of oxygen and other vital nutrients.
  • Diminished collagen and elastin production In addition to contributing to skin cancer and a host of degenerative diseases, free radical damage interferes with the renewal of collagen and elastin cells. The network of protein fibers formed by these cells supports the skin. When the influx of fresh cells needed to  reinforce this supportive network slows, skin starts losing firmness, strength, and elasticity.
  • Decreased cell turnover As dead cells build up on its surface, skin not only looks increasingly lackluster, but also becomes more susceptible to acne.
  • Habitual facial expressions Sooner or later, a lifetime of smiles, frowns, squints, and other outward expressions of thoughts and feelings leaves lasting imprints on our face.
  • Gravity The lifelong pull of Earth’s magnetic core can lead to jowls and sags when skin becomes thin and weak.

That’s the bad news about perimenopausal skin changes. The good news is that the right skin care regimen can help you overcome these challenges. I’ll tell you how in my next post.

Fact or Fiction? 4 Common Myths About Skin Care

Dry skin causes lines and wrinkles.

Dry Skin Does NOT Cause Wrinkles

Does Dry Skin Cause Wrinkles? Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

False: Sun exposure and other sources of free radical damage, as well as habitual facial expressions, are the primary causes of wrinkles and fine lines. However, dryness does accentuate their appearance. High-quality anti-aging skin creams and serums with ingredients such as jojoba, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, CoQ10, and rich supply of antioxidants not only improve the appearance of the skin by plumping up dehydrated skin cells, but actually help repair free radical damage. The best moisturizers also contain a natural sunscreens such as zinc oxide to help prevent wrinkles from developing.

Good old petroleum jelly is the best moisturizer of all.

False: Petroleum jelly, as well as its liquid form, mineral oil, forms a greasy film on the skin that not only clogs pores, but actually repels moisture. This cheap ubiquitous skin care ingredient contains a variety of potential irritants, as well as  impurities that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Natural moisturizers, such as hyaluronic acid and aloe vera, actually penetrate beneath the surface and bind water to skin cells, providing deep, lasting hydration that promotes healthy cellular functioning, as well as a more youthful appearance.

People with oily, acne-prone skin should use alcohol-based cleansers and toners.

Lavie Organique Natural Cleanser

Lavie Organique Facial Cleanser

False: Alcohol can actually make acne worse! It contributes to breakouts by stripping the natural moisture from skin, causing irritation and inflammation. Choose cleansers and toners that address the underlying causes of acne. Natural exfoliators such as white willow bark, herbal antibacterials like rosemary, and ingredients such as white tea that promote hormonal balance to keep your skin clear and glowing.

All products with the word natural or organic are free of synthetic chemicals.

False: Many popular brands with an earth-friendly image contain all kinds of nasty substances, including synthetic colors and fragrances, alcohol, parabens, propylene glycol, and coal tar derivatives. Read the fine print on the back of the label, and if you’re not sure what the words mean, do some research on the manufacturer. The purest, safest products are made by companies with a true commitment to green living.

What Exercise Can Do for Your Skin

One of the best ways to multiply the benefits of your all-natural skin care regimen is to maintain a balanced exercise routine. A program that combines aerobic exercise with strength training and stretching promotes beautiful, youthful-looking skin in the following ways:

  • Increasing circulation Improved blood flow to skin cells ensures the delivery of oxygen and nutrients needed  for collagen renewal and flushes away environmental toxins and excess fluids. These actions improve skin elasticity and firmness, reduce puffiness, and give your complexion a healthy pink glow.
  • Reducing stress By decreasing your level of tension and anxiety, exercise helps your facial muscles to relax, softening crow’s and expression lines and slowing the development of new ones.
  • Restoring hormonal balance Exercise helps control acne by keeping the levels of androgens produced by our adrenal glands in check. High levels of these male hormones can over-stimulate the oil glands in our skin, resulting in clogged pores and breakouts.
  • Toning muscles Weight training, Pilates, and yoga  increase of the strength and flexibility of the muscles and connective tissue that support our skin, reducing the visibility of cellulite and creating a toned, taut appearance.

By optimizing the cellular functioning of the skin and its underlying tissues, exercise revitalizes our skin. The fresh radiant complexion that results is not only beautiful to look at, but also visible proof of our skin’s health. This inextricable link between the appearance of our skin and its physiological functioning is at the heart of my holistic approach to skin care.

To be truly effective, the ingredients in your skin care products must go beyond temporarily smoothing and hydrating the skin surface. Unless their active ingredients are also nourishing cells and stimulating their renewal, the most expensive cleansers, toners, and creams in the world will fail to make any significant improvement in the appearance of your skin.

In many respects, the rejuvenating effects of skin care ingredients such as the plant-derived caffeine, hops, horsetail, and other natural circulatory stimulants, AHAs, anti-inflammatories, relaxants, and antioxidants in my LaVie Organique™ product line mirror those of exercise. Both play an essential role in keeping our skin fit, toned, and beautiful for a lifetime.

Keep It Moving: Circulation and Skin Health

Lavie Organique in Daily Use

Daily Routine with Lavie Organique

One of the most important benefits of many of the plant-derived ingredients in my Lavie Organique™ Original Formulas is increased blood flow to the skin. The reason is simple. Optimal circulation is fundamental to beautiful, young-looking skin.

In many natural and holistic healing systems, healthy circulation has long been regarded as the key to total body wellness. Both Ayuvedic and traditional Chinese medicine use herbs and botanicals that boost circulation to treat not only wounds and skin diseases, but also a full range of health problems from liver and kidney ailments to depression and impaired memory.

As with many of the treatments developed by early practitioners of intuitive, experience-based approaches to healing, the role of stimulating botanicals can be explained by scientific facts. By transporting oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissues and flushing out excess fluids and waste products, improved blood flow helps boost cell renewal and restore proper function to the skin and other bodily organs.

Skin care products that contain circulation boosters such as caffeine, cinnamon, paprika, rosemary, and white tea frequently provide additional beneficial effects. For example, many of them act as antioxidants, antiseptics, and anti-inflammatories that work in synergy to not only optimize blood flow to the skin, but also its pH level and balance of moisture and sebum.

In addition to a balanced skin care regimen, there are a number of other behaviors you can adopt to improve blood flow to the skin and maintain the overall health of your circulatory system.

1. Don’t smoke! Nicotine constricts blood vessels, starving the skin and other organs of oxygen and vital nutrients.

2. Exercise. A regular exercise program is a great way to ensure your skin stays properly nourished and to optimize conditions for collagen renewal.

3. Eat foods high in iron. Low iron intake can cause in iron-deficiency anemia. This condition involves a detectable drop in the number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to skin and other tissues in our body. Even the strictest vegans can help protect themselves from this type of anemia  by paying close attention to their dietary habits. In addition to eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables, beans, tofu, nuts, and dried fruits, it’s also important to avoid overconsumption of certain salts, minerals, and other substances, such as calcium, antacids, and caffeine, that when consumed in excess can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb iron. Signs of anemia may include extremely pale, thin skin, as well as cracks at the sides of the mouth and sores on the tongue. Some conditions, such as heavy menstruation, can result in anemia despite a diet rich in iron. It’s a good idea to have your doctor check your blood count from time to time to determine whether you need an iron supplement.

4. Be aware of symptoms and causes of poor circulation. Vascular disease as well as diabetes and hypothyroidism can result in decreased blood flow to the skin. Persistent symptoms of these diseases—including swollen legs and feet, puffiness of the face, chronic sores on the mouth, feet, and legs, acne breakouts, and extremely dry skin—should be checked out by your physician.

White Tea Part II: Good for What Ails Aging Skin

As with many components of a healthy diet, white tea benefits our skin not only when we consume it, but also when we apply it topically. The white tea leaf extract in my LaVie Organique™ formulas contain several substances that play an important role in promoting healthy, young-looking skin. In addition to the antioxidant flavonoids I discussed in my last blog spot, white tea also contains alkaloids. Alkaloids are used to treats variety of skin diseases, including psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, rosacea, and squamous cell cancers.

Tea in Lavie Organique

Courtesy of dreamstimefree.com

The alkaloids in white tea include caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. These three chemical compounds, referred to as xanthines, form loose bonds with the flavonoids in tea, increasing their antioxidant effects. In addition to contributing to the repair of free radical damage, xanthines help improve circulation, flush waste products from cells, reduce inflammation, and fight infection. These combined effects promote healthy, young looking skin in several ways.

Scientists have found evidence that topical application of unfermented tea fights photo-aging and skin cancer and works synergistically with sunscreen to boost sun protection. Because chemical reactions between the synthetic compounds in many sunscreens may alter the tea’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, my Day Cream formula combines organic white tea leaf extract with zinc oxide, a powerful natural-mineral sunscreen that is chemically inert.

Skin biopsies have shown that the antioxidants and xanthines in tea also help boost production of collagen and elastin cells. As we age, the rate at which these cells replace themselves slows, causing the network of collagen and elastin fibers that give our skin its shape, texture, and resilience to weaken. The result is sagging, wrinkled skin. While applying products that contain collagen won’t help—collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the epidermis—using treatments with ingredients that promote healthy cell renewal and that our skin can absorb can help improve the appearance of sun-damaged, aging skin.

The Beauty of a Holistic Skin Renewal Regime

The Enjoyable Fragrances of Lavie Organique

The Citrus Scents of Lavie Organique Exfoliating Mask

Like all my skin care products and salon treatments, my signature organic peels and LaVie Organique™ Exfoliating Mask are based on my holistic philosophy. I believe that every skin treatment should address the needs of your skin as a whole. For example, if the SPF 15 sunscreen you use causes acne breakouts, or your toner irritates or dries out your skin, you’re simply trading one skin problem for another one instead of actively promoting healthy, beautiful skin.

A Balanced Formula for Peak Functioning

An exfoliation treatment that does the job of stripping away damaged skin cells but nothing more defeats the purpose of your wintertime skin care regime. When skin is subjected to raw, windy weather and low indoor humidity, the last thing you want is dry, irritated skin. That’s why my exfoliation treatments contain a combination of active ingredients that work in harmony to stimulate cell renewal while restoring the moisture and nutrients needed for optimal functioning. The synergy of this special combination of fruits, herbs, teas, and other plant-derived ingredients is the key to the perfect balance of effectiveness and gentleness my Lavinia Borcau proprietary formulas offer. Each of these botanical extracts delivers important benefits, but used in combination their effects complement and enhance each other. The result is whole that’s more than the sum of its parts—in other words, a total solution to all the environmental and physical stresses that can damage and age our skin.

A Total Skin Care Solution

But a truly holistic skin care regimen doesn’t end with what we put on our bodies; it’s also about what goes in our bodies and what goes on in our mind and our hearts. In the coming weeks, I’ll be telling you more about my holistic approach to looking your best all through the winter and beyond…