LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "anti-aging"

Retinoids & Anti-Aging Benefits: Too Much of a Good Thing?

While the anti-aging benefits of retinoid creams get a lot a press, I’ve yet to see an ad that vividly portrays their negative side.  As a practicing aesthetician, however, I see the unfortunate consequences of overusing prescription and over-the-counter vitamin A derivatives every day.

The Two Sides of an Anti-aging Vitamin

Topical retinoids such as retinyl palmitate do, of course, play an important role in anti-aging regimes. Used correctly, retinoids can help firm the skin and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots by stimulating cell turnover and collagen and elastin production. But the same exfoliating action that produces these positive results can cause serious trouble when an overdose of retinoids strips the skin too vigorously.

The scaly, raw complexions of the retinol “junkies” who come to me for treatment speak more convincingly of the dangers of over-exfoliating the skin than the fine-print warning label on their favorite anti-aging cream. By inducing a state of chronic inflammation, excessive doses of retinoids can overwhelm the body’s natural ability to heal itself. In addition to disrupting collagen and elastin renewal, this state of chronic injury increases the skin’s susceptibility to sun damage, infection, and disease.


Restoring Balance to Stressed-Out Skin
My professional training and experience has taught me that the most effective way to counteract the irritation, swollen capillaries, dryness, and other damaging effects of inflammation is an all-natural, holistic approach. To restore the strength and healthy function of the skin’s stratum corneum (the outermost layer), exfoliated skin requires complementary treatment with a synergistic blend of plant-derived anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antibacterials, fatty acids, and moisturizers. The following botanicals are among the most effective for calming, nourishing, and soothing inflamed skin:

* Capsicum pepper (Hungarian chili peppers)
* Avocado oil
* Shea butter
* White tea
*  Aloe vera
* Rosemary

Add a Dose of Kindness to Your Skin Care RegimeIn their zeal to combat the signs of aging, many beauty industry professionals as well as many consumers lose sight of their real goal. The point of an anti-aging regime is to nurture a fresh, youthful appearance—not to attack your skin. Like all living things, our skin needs proper nourishment, hydration—and gentle, loving care—to stay healthy and beautiful.

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / 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

Green Sugar Part 2: Traditional Food of the Goddesses

During a recent visit to India, I was struck by the vibrant energy and youthful appearance of so many of the older women I saw. They looked like walking advertisements for India’s legendary Ayurvedic health and beauty secrets. Despite their aura of mystery, the underlying mechanisms of these ancient treatments are proving to be anything but magical. In fact, the latest scientific research suggests India’s ancient holistic healers may have invented the world’s first anti-aging diet.

A Holistic Diet for Balanced Health

Unlike the typical fad diet, an Ayurvedic eating plan isn’t about temporarily  excluding certain categories of food. It strives instead to permanently sustain the optimal balance of physical tendencies in each individual by including a full range of food types—sour, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent, and sweet—in every major meal.

You have to love a culture that considers dessert essential! In India’s tropical regions, traditional desserts like kheer (rice pudding) are considered one of the best ways to cool the body. The source of this refreshing quality, also gives Indian sweets their intriguingly complex flavor—a little like molasses or brown sugar, yet ultimately indefinable—as well as some surprising nutritional benefits.

Jaggery: The Green Bonuses

Also known as “medicinal sugar,” jaggery is prized through Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean as not only a healthful food, but also a soothing remedy for coughs and other ailments. Produced by cooking sugarcane or the sweet sap of date, coconut, or sago palm trees, jaggery’s golden-brown crystals retain more vitamins, amino acids, and phytonutrients than chemically extracted sugars—and no toxic residues. The purity and wholesomeness of date palm jaggery is particularly revered among Hindus, who consider it a worthy gift for their deities.

How does this shining reputation stand up under modern scientific scrutiny? Compared to refined sugar, jaggery’s  nutritional value looks pretty impressive:

* A motherlode of minerals, including iron, magnesium, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, is packed in every bite. From regulating blood sugar levels and boosting cell metabolism to promoting healthy circulation, these vital nutrients keep all physiological functions in peak form.

* Anti-aging assets The antioxidant compounds in jaggery help counteract free radical damage from aging, sun exposure, and environmental pollutants. Its established use by industrial workers to relieve smoke- and dust-related respiratory symptoms—together with research findings on its effectiveness in preventing coal-induced throat and lung lesions—underscore jaggery’s potential as a healing agent.

The Golden Mean of Anti-Aging: Consume Moderately, Live Longer

As with all of life’s riches, however, moderate consumption is key. Minimally processed plant sugars like jaggery are smart alternatives to highly refined carbohydrates—not an excuse for overindulging an overactive sweet tooth.

Photos Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Green Sugar Part 1: Are All Sweeteners Created Equal?

Sugars and Sweeteners

Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

Physicians, diet experts, and beauty gurus agree: refined sugar is the enemy of graceful aging. If you want to stave off wrinkles, weight gain, fatigue, and age-related diseases, then start by replacing all those empty calories you consume with real nutrition.

A Sweet Life After “White Death”

While this anti-aging prescription might sound like a bitter pill to swallow, a spoonful of nutritional awareness—and a trip to your local Asian market or health food store—can make it a lot easier to take. Today’s expanding green marketplace offers a number of naturally delicious plant-derived sweeteners that ancient holistic traditions and emerging scientific research suggest are not only far less toxic to our bodies than refined sugar, but even beneficial to our health.

The Beauty of Whole-Food Sugar

As for the old saw that sugar is sugar regardless of what you call it, there’s a good deal of evidence that throws that nutritional wisdom into question. Although the jury is still out on claims that honey, molasses, and their more exotic counterparts release energy into the bloodstream more gradually than refined sucrose and high-fructose corn, scientific research does suggest the effect of minimally processed sugars on blood glucose levels is balanced by their green bonuses.

Not only do the simple cooking methods used to produce these more complex sugars leave most of their nutritional content intact—heat derivation is a far safer than chemical extraction. Obviously, the phosphoric acid, sulfur dioxide, and bleaches used to manufacture those sparkling white granules and crystal-clear syrups are anything but pure and innocent.

Why Less Isn’t Always More

But what about no- or reduced-calorie sugar substitutes like aspartame? Confirmed waist-watchers who think artificial sweeteners are the best way to avoid empty calories should consider the other negatives of sugar’s synthetic cousins. From headaches and other side effects to increased risk of cancer and neurological damage, the numerous health hazards of nonnutritive sweeteners are hardly a positive alternative to white sugar’s potentially deadly effects.

And while these chemical concoctions only remind of us of sugar, the traditional Asian sweeteners I’ll discuss in my upcoming spots add a deep, rich flavor that may even surpass it.

Sea Buckthorn Seed: Age-Fighting Might in a Miniscule Package

Sea Buckthorn Seed. This hardy mountain shrub’s nickname, “Siberian pineapple,” suggests its early fans considered its juicy orange berries one of the plant world’s natural wonders. Its Latin botanical name, Hippophae rhamnoides (“shiny racehorse”), probably derives from legends that the mighty steeds of ancient Greece grew swift and sleek on its leaves. Sea buckthorn’s fabled reputation as a super-food for four-legged thoroughbreds persists even today. But its nutritional value isn’t just for horses—nor do its benefits as a dietary supplement and cosmetic ingredient rest on myth and tradition alone.

Sea Buckthorn Seed in Lavie Organique

Science has uncovered the diverse mix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and other nutrients that makes virtually every part of this plant a high-energy health food. The benefits of these compounds alone might explain why the rejuvenating power of sea buckthorn has become a hot topic in the natural skin-care industry. But what’s really driving the anti-aging buzz goes straight to the source of this long-revered medicinal plant’s health and vigor: the tiny seeds that store two major classes of skin nutrients.

Fatty acid The high levels of omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9 oils derived from sea buckthorn seeds support skin health by stimulating circulation, repairing cell membranes, and retaining moisture. Fatty acids also promote a balanced complexion by regulating sebum production in the epidermis.

Phytosterols Plant-derived alcohols, like plant-based fats, offer major anti-aging benefits with none of the negatives associated with their synthetic versions. Because plant sterols are so similar to the natural sterols in human skin, they quickly penetrate the epidermis without causing dryness and irritation. In fact, plant sterols do just the opposite, boosting moisture retention, while reducing inflammation. Research suggests that plant sterols may also help repair sun damage and stimulate collagen renewal.

When you consider the full gamut of nutrients and phytonutrients from antioxidants through zinc packed inside every sea buckthorn seed, the growing reputation of the concentrated seed extract as an anti-aging powerhouse seems only natural. But as with any botanical skin-care ingredient, the quality standards observed by its growers and manufacturers make all the difference. To ensure you get all the synergistic benefits and none of potentially toxic effects of shoddy production practices, choose only certified organic sea buckthorn extract.

The Truth About Green-Speak & Organic Anti-Aging Treatments

Lavie Organique Products in Basket

Lavie Organique Products in Basket

Is today’s greener beauty industry walking a new walk? Not according to consumer advocacy groups. Apparently most “green” cosmetic companies continue to play fast and loose with the facts—they’re just cloaking their deceptions in more politically correct language.

As a holistic skin-care provider and educator, I’m highly aware of the challenges my clients face in trying to see through the seductive camouflage of Earth-friendly hype. My concern with this issue was one of the reasons the producers of Lifetime’s Balancing Act thought their environmentally aware viewers would connect with my approach to natural skin care and organic anti-aging treatments.

Like my client base, the show’s target audience comprises a highly educated and influential consumer demographic. This generation of green consumers shares their predecessors’ disenchantment with corporate misbehavior, as well as their activist spirit. But today’s burgeoning green marketplace has a lot more financial clout. And with so many more products options available, these economically empowered green shoppers can afford to be demanding.

Unfortunately, the slickest hucksters in the beauty industry keep coming up with clever new ways to fool the public. Even smart green shoppers who religiously read the label of every product they buy can be taken in by fuzzy terminology and deceptive language.

Take the word organic, for example. It certainly sounds safe, healthy, and pure. But in fact, organic can mean whatever manufacturers want it to mean, including “containing crude-oil derivatives”! The reason? As long their “organic” ingredient is a “carbon-based chemical,” it meets one of the half-dozen or so dictionary definitions of the o-word—and as a result, cunning corporate wordsmiths are legally entitled to use it.

That’s why consumers who prefer to protect their skin from potentially toxic ingredients should look for a statement confirming their beauty products are 100% free of petrochemicals, parabens, and other synthetic ingredients. The term certified organic offers additional quality assurance, because it indicates that the product contains plant-derived extracts that have been grown and manufactured according to strict third-party standards.

And don’t be surprised if a label or product description doesn’t clearly specify every single ingredient. You may need to do some online sleuthing to get the whole story.

Never settle for anything less than total transparency, accountability, and commitment to quality, safety, and effectiveness. You–and your skin–deserve the best of everything in holistic beauty and health.

Coming Soon to Lifetime TV…

This week’s mail delivery included a wonderful surprise package that I can’t wait to share with you: a preview of my upcoming appearance on Lifetime TV’s popular morning program The Balancing Act.  This lively, informative show is dedicated to introducing women to lifestyle options that empower their total well-being and success.

I was invited to speak to viewers about my approach to anti-aging skin care after one of the show’s producers came across the Lavie Organique™ Web site. “Your commitment to balanced, holistic treatments and organic ingredients really spoke to us!” she said. “Helping women achieve health, harmony, and success in every aspect of their lives is what our show is all about.”The people I met during the filming of my segment in Lifetime’s Florida studios couldn’t have been nicer—and best of all, their concern about the total health and wellness of their audience proved to be as genuine as my own.

My conversation with a Balancing Act senior producer was particularly telling. As a beauty-industry veteran, her eyes had long been opened to the relationship between what goes on in company boardrooms and what happens in cosmetic labs and manufacturing facilities. “Most cosmetic companies care a lot less about the art and science of beauty,” she said, “than they do about profits.”

Her words could’ve come from my own mouth. In the wake of so many product scandals, buyers have good reason to beware of companies that cut corners and inflate claims to fatten their wallets.  But figuring out which products can be trusted isn’t always as easy as it looks—especially when it comes to the increasingly diverse options entering today’s “green” marketplace.

The current controversy over the safety of the Toyota Prius is a case in point. Of course, the merit of the class-action lawsuit against Toyota is still undetermined, but as a recent New York Times article notes, the marketplace repercussions–for Toyata and the hybrid car industry as a whole–are already undeniable. Clearly, many green consumers are frustrated, angry, and confused.

This rising tide of consumer uncertainty is what makes The Balancing Act such a timely show. Its mission. like my own, is to help you choose safe, environmentally friendly products and holistic lifestyle practices based on facts–not hype,  I’ll have more to say about this topic and  in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, you can see a preview of my Balancing Act segment on natural and organic skin care below or watch it at Lavie Organique™ .

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.


Putting Healthy Color in Your Skin: The Beauty of Phytonutrients

Oranges and Lavie Organique for your skin

Oranges and Skin Health. Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

One of the best ways to keep your complexion in the pink is also one of the simplest. Head straight for the produce section of your local supermarket and load up your cart with oranges. And while you’re at it, pick up plenty of greens, yellows, whites, reds, blues, and purples, too.

The Glow That Keeps Going: No Blushers, Bronzers, or Pink Tattoos Required

Each of the various pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant hues is made up of a different collection of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are antioxidant compounds that protect plants—and the people who eat them—against the free radical damage caused by excessive sun exposure, infections, and other environmental stresses.

The Brighter the Better
To help defend your skin against free radical damage, you need to regularly consume adequate doses of a full range of phytonutrients. That means your daily diet should include fruits and vegetables in each of the different color families. And whether you’re choosing peaches or tomatoes, always go for the most richly colored pieces in the produce bin. High-intensity color signals a high concentration of phytonutrients.

A Full Spectrum of Skin Benefits

Phytonutrients go to work beneath the surface of the skin to combat the visible effects of aging. By promoting the strength and suppleness of the collagen and elastin fibers in the underlying dermis, these energetic free radical fighters help stave off the wrinkles, lines, sags, and enlarged pores that can make us look old before our time. Phytonutrients also help skin retain its youthful firmness by increasing the stability of cellular membranes. Another key benefit is their ability to improve blood flow to the skin.

Include a varied palette of plant pigments in your diet to nourish your skin with these vital phytonutrients:

  • Polyphenols (flavonoids) such as the anthocyanidins found in the deep blues and purples of fruits like grapes and blueberries enhance circulatory health. Other flavonoids including those found in red peppers also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Carotenoids including beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene protect against the harmful effects of UV radiation. Yellow/orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes; leafy greens like kale and spinach; and tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables are good sources.
  • Allicin and quercetin are two of the important phytonutrients found in healthy white foods including garlic, apples, and onions. In addition to their antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, these compounds help boost collagen production.

To take full advantage of the rejuvenating power of phytonutrients, revitalize your complexion with a steady diet of plant-based organic skin care products. Any way you slice it, a healthy daily dose of these plant-derived nutrients is the perfect meal for your  skin.

Honeysuckle in Lavie Organique: Sweet Relief for Your Skin

Organic Honeysuckle, Found in Lavie Organique

Honeysuckle in Lavie Organique. Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

The luscious scent of honeysuckle isn’t all this delicate bell-shaped bloom has going for it. Lonicera caprifolium flower extract has been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine for almost 2,000 years. Ancient herbalists relied on honeysuckle to treat a host of ailments, including fevers, rheumatism, skin ulcers, sore throats, and appendicitis.

Today’s scientists attribute honeysuckle’s healing effects to its high chlorogenic acid content. A powerful antioxidant also found in coffee, fruits, and vegetables, chlorogenic acid helps fight free radical damage caused by UVA exposure, promote healthy circulation and reduce inflammation, and heal fungal and bacterial infections.

With all these beneficial qualities, its not surprising that honeysuckle has a long and distinguished history as a cosmetic, too. A book about the 19th century Chinese Dowager Empress Cixi describes her applying honeysuckle extract to her face to moisten and firm her complexion.

The honeysuckle extract in my LaVie Organique™ Original Formulas does double-duty as a syngergistic anti-aging ingredient and a safe natural preservative. Like everything else in my professional skincare product line, this fragrant botanical extract contributes to an effective and elegant experience for your skin.

A Holistic Health Hint: In China, honeysuckle tea is a popular health tonic believed to promote longevity, calm worries, and brighten the eyes. For an easy, fresh-from-the-garden version, just steep a cup of the flowers in a quart of water to 10 minutes—and drink to your health!