LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "anti-inflammatories"

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.

Fair Trade Raw Shea: Butter Up Irritated Winter Skin

As we head into the coldest months of the year, your skin care regimen should focus squarely on keeping surface and underlying skin cells hydrated and nourished. To counteract the dryness and irritation caused by harsh weather and low humidity, I recommend using super-rich moisturizers and emollients whose structure and function mimic those of human skin.

One of the best of best organic oils for protecting and healing the skin in extreme weather is shea butter. Derived from the seed of the West African shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii), this nutrient-packed fat has been valued throughout this region for centuries as a food-oil, cosmetic, and medicine.

Because its natural lubricants closely resemble the sebum produced by the body’s oil glands, shea butter is a safer, more effective alternative to parabens and other petroleum derivatives. The potent mix of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and healing agents in this plant-derived emollient not only softens surface roughness but also penetrates the skin, boosting circulation in the underlying capillaries and stimulating collagen renewal.

In addition to repairing free radical damage, the antioxidant vitamins A and E shea butter act as natural anti-inflammatories and anti-bacterials, soothing itchiness and irritation. When you add the presence of a natural sunscreen, cinnamic acid, to shea butter’s benefits, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of today’s finest anti-aging creams feature this remarkable natural ingredient.

The Fair Trade raw shea butter in my LaVie Organique™ Day Cream, Face Cream, and Eye Cream is 100 percent free of synthetic chemicals and preservatives and produced with environmentally sustainable methods—so it’s as kind to the Earth as it is to your skin.

Lavie Organique is also a proud supporter of Fair Trade Boston. We donated some of our inventory to help support the initiative of making Boston a Fair Trade City. The video below explains what Fair Trade is from local supporters.

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.

Allergic to Exercise?

I have always been a strong advocate of a regular exercise routine as one of the most important things we can do to maintain not only our health but also beautiful, youthful-looking skin. Of course not everyone is a fan of vigorous physical activity, and those who just can’t seem to get themselves off the couch will sometimes claim they’re “allergic to exercise.”

In fact, this claim is no joke to those who suffer from exercise-induced urticaria. As their bodies start to heat up and sweat during exercise, people with this condition will break out in an itchy red rash or big swollen hives. The main culprit involved in this allergic reaction is histamine—a chemical released from our tissues that causes inflammation and swelling by expanding the capillaries underneath the skin surface. In most cases, taking an over-the-counter anti-histamine can relieve these symptoms.

A related condition, exercise-induced anaphylaxis, is far more serious. Intense physical activity can trigger this life-threatening reaction in people who have been exposed to a food, medication, or other substance they are severely allergic to. Symptoms include swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, and nausea. Anaphylactic reactions require immediate medical treatment.

In addition to taking allergy pills, people with simple urticaria can control their symptoms by adopting the following practices:

·      Exercise in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Avoid working out in extremely humid conditions.
·      Wear loose cotton clothing. Synthetic fabrics often irritate the skin.
·      Wash new workout clothes before wearing. High concentrations of substances such as sizing, dyes, and pesticide residues in fabrics can also result in skin irritation.
·      Use an anti-inflammatory cream. Creams and lotions that contain plant-derived anti-inflammatories such as aloe vera 200X, white willow bark extract, and white tea are all good choices.

I’ll be writing more about the importance of exercise to achieving a healthy holistic lifestyle in my upcoming blog posts.

Sleep: The Beauty Secret You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Sleep and Lavie Organique

Courtesy of dreamstimefree.com

It’s a highly effective 100% natural treatment for a multitude of skin problems—and it won’t cost you a penny. Yet even many skin-care care fanatics think it’s a waste of time. I’m referring to sleep. Deep, restful sleep—at least 7 to 10 hours of it every night—is one of the best ways to ensure a vibrant, youthful-looking complexion.

Our bodies can devote a lot more energy to repairing damage from free radicals, environmental pollutants, infections, and other skin stressors when they’re at rest than when we’re pushing them through our busy daily routines. In fact, scientific studies have shown that the power of sleep to reduce wear and tear on our bodies can help prevent a range of age-related ailments, including heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases, memory impairment, and diabetes. Ongoing research at the University of Chicago on the role of poor sleep quality in type 2 diabetes and other diseases dramatically illustrates the profound impact of sleep on biological aging. Tests performed there showed that healthy young individuals who were deprived of sleep not only developed abnormally high insulin levels, but also suffered a decline in cell functioning similar to that of a 60-year-old.

Our vulnerability to a variety of skin woes from acne flare-ups and under-eye puffiness to premature aging increases when we don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation impairs our immune systems and disrupts hormone levels, interfering with the skin’s ability to fight infection and replace damaged cells with new ones. The decline in cell function caused by lack of sleep also makes it more difficult for skin cells to cleanse themselves of wastes and toxins. Modern science may have increased our understanding of sleep but it hasn’t done much to help us get more of it. In fact, ever since the invention of the electric light, the amount of sleep the average person gets has been decreasing. Unfortunately many factors, including stress, age, and poor health habits can also contribute to insufficient or poor-quality sleep.

One of the best ways to a avoid a major sleep deficit is to “unplug” from the myriad sources of electronic stimulation that provide our evening entertainment. Turn off your cellphone. Don’t sit up half the night surfing the Internet or watching TV shows that assault your senses with nonstop action and blaring commercials. Spend some time really relaxing before you go to bed. Meditate, take a warm bath, or light some aromatherapy candles (warm, familiar scents such as vanilla are particularly restful) and listen to some soothing music. Develop a consistent nightly ritual that tells your body it’s time for sleep.

You can also assist your skin’s night-time work by incorporating a high-quality all-natural face cream into your evening skin care regime. Make sure the night cream you choose is packed with plant-derived antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and moisturizers. Ingredients such as white tea, rosemary, hops, and horsetail that have a combination of these properties offer the most efficient approach to fighting the effects of aging and restoring a healthy balance to our skin.

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.

White Tea Part I: The Perfect Winter Pick-Me-Up

For generations of British subjects and ancient Chinese sages alike, there’s only one certain cure for whatever ails you. When all else fails, have a cup of tea. But does tea deserve its reputation as the perfect holistic remedy? I think it does—which is why my own prescriptions for a happy healthy winter include curling up on the sofa with a mug of hot tea. This year, I’ve also been suggesting my clients try a variety of tea that’s relatively new to the American market–white tea.

White Tea in Lavie Organique

Courtesy of dreamstimefree.com

White tea comes from the immature leaves of the same tea bush, Camillia ginensis, that’s used to make green tea. While we’ve all heard a lot about the benefits of green tea, it turns out that white tea may be an even healthier choice. After harvesting, white tea undergoes only minimal processing. Because it’s left closer to its natural state than green or fermented versions, white tea has a more delicate taste—and a significantly higher concentration of antioxidant flavanoids.

The antioxidant activity of  these plant-derived nutrients plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of our body by

·      enhancing immune response
·      improving cell-to-cell communication
·      regulating estrogen metabolism
·      inhibiting tumor growth
·      repairing free radical damage

Flavanoids also have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergenic effects. Scientific studies indicate that their ability to prevent blood clots may help decrease the risk of strokes. Research also suggests that high flavanoid intake may help prevent heart attacks and cancer as well. With all  these beneficial effects, it should come as no surprise that drinking white tea is also good for your skin.

But it’s not just the physical but also the mental effects of white tea that make it such a potent holistic remedy. In China, tea was originally used as a medicine for improving mood and mental prowess, as well as eyesight and digestive and kidney function. Tea’s association with an alert, yet calm and harmonious mental state persisted in Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Monks in China and other countries where these religions are practiced continue to rely on tea as an aid to meditation. In fact, in Taoist tradition, the very act of preparing and drinking tea has been refined and ritualized as a form of meditation. This link between tea drinking and mental clarity is now supported with scientific studies on the antioxidant properties of flavanoids that show these free radical scavengers can help reduce age-related memory problems, as well as the fatigue, irritability, and sadness associated with depression.

Today’s scientists have also discovered that putting white tea extracts on our bodies as well as in them can also help promote radiant, youthful-looking skin. In fact, white tea leaf extract is an important ingredient not only in my organic peels and Lavie Organique™ Exfoliating Mask but also in  my skin creams and serum. I’ll tell you more about how this organic extract can enhance your skin care regimen in my next blog post.

In the meantime make yourself a nice cup of white tea. But instead of gulping your daily dose of anti-aging nutrients on the run, keep in mind the gentle rhythms of the Taoist tea ceremony, and as you enjoy the taste, imagine the warm, fragrant liquid dissolving your mind and body into the eternal universe.

The Three Faces of Exfoliation: Part 1

With so many exfoliating treatments on the market, how should you go about choosing one? The answer depends on a variety of factors—particularly your skin type. Although the number of products is endless, most of them fall into one of three categories. Let’s start with a look at the pros and cons of the hands-on approach:

Manual or Mechanical Exfoliation

For routine exfoliation, I recommend a gentle daily cleanser with a mild exfoliant such as white willow bark. A natural alternative to salicylic acid—an ingredient in many acne medications—this powerful but safe botanical extract is also an anti-inflammatory that stimulates and purifies the skin while also calming irritation.

You can use your fingers to massage your cleanser into the skin. If your complexion is very robust, you may want to use a washcloth or sponge to increase the exfoliating effect. But remember to be gentle—the last thing you want to do it over-abrade your skin. And remember to wash your washcloth or sponge with hot, soapy water after each use. Stay away from stiff complexion brushes or loofahs—which are not only too rough, but also tend to trap bacteria and product residue that can cause breakouts and infections.

At the high-tech end of this approach, there are a number of vibrating complexion brushes. These vary in quality and can be as expensive as $200. The best ones can help keep a healthy complexion glowing, but individuals with acne, rosacea, or fragile skin with broken capillaries, should steer clear of this type of device. Your complexion should be handled with the utmost care.

What about facial scrubs?

First of all, check out the ingredients. The good, the bad, and the ugly sides of exfoliation ultimately reside in the various type of scrubbing grains used in these products. Many types of granules are so large and jagged that they can cause microscopic lacerations on the skin surface. Surprisingly, the grains used in some types of all-natural scrubs are the worst offenders. Ground apricot pits as well as crushed nutshells, for instance have been cited by the Environmental Working Group  as potential skin-health hazards. As a natural alternative, finely ground nutmeats such as almonds or walnuts combine gentleness and safety with the restorative benefits of antioxidants.

To supplement these daily and weekly methods of hands-on exfoliation as you’re preparing your skin for winter, you might want to try a course of professional microdermabrasion treatments. Performed by an experienced professional with state-of-the-art equipment, microdermabrasion is far safer and more effective than at-home methods. A good esthetician understands exfoliation is not an end in itself—the delicate layer of new skin that’s revealed needs to be soothed, moisturized, and replenished with nutrients. And don’t forget to protect your baby-fresh skin! A good sunscreen with at least SPF 15 will help keep your complexion rosy instead of red.

Here’s a great video from Dr. Schultz’s Dermtv.com on how often you should exfoliate. Enjoy.


Rosemary: The Scent of Ageless Health and Beauty

I designed the elegant scent of my Lavie Organique professional skincare products to capture the essence of my balanced, synergistic approach to radiant health and beauty. Just as my special blend of natural and organic extracts works together to restore equilibrium to overstressed skin, the different fragrance notes that scent my proprietary formulas blend in perfect harmony to soothe and refresh your spirit.

Natural Ingredient in Lavie Organique

A Natural Ingredient Found in Lavie Organique

Rosemary leaf (Rosemarinus officinalis) extract lends a tangy evergreen note to the scent of my plant-based formulas—and the healing properties of a time-honored folk remedy. Aromatherapists still treat stress and fatigue with its fragrant leaves, but its medicinal properties been revered throughout history. Ancient Romans believed rosemary improved memory and traditional herbalists have been cooking up rosemary teas to treat headaches and digestive disorders for centuries. Medieval Europeans relied on rosemary to freshen breath and to keep meat from spoiling. In fact, its effectiveness as a natural preservative is borne out by its presence in the tissues of Egyptian mummies that have lasted for thousands of years.

With a history like that, it’s not surprising that today’s scientists are searching for the facts behind rosemary’s fabled reputation. Researchers have discovered that rosemary is not only a natural antiseptic, but also a diuretic that reduces swelling, as well as a possible cancer fighter and liver stimulant. The same anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, such as carnosol and caffeic acid that make rosemary a potential weapon against disease also explain why many of today’s best natural skincare products include it in their anti-aging arsenal.

In 2008,the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed that rosemary extracts complied with its notoriously stringent safety and effectiveness standards for use as an antioxidant. A 2009 press release that announced certification of rosemary extracts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), noted the particular suitability of water-soluble rosmarinic acid for water-based products such as creams, as well as its heat stability, which prevents its antioxidant activity from dissipating at high temperatures.

Like Queen of Hungary Water—one of Europe’s first alcohol-based perfumes and astringents—Lavie Organique Toner also contains rosemary. But without the brandy that 14th century monks who invented it added to Elizabeth of Hungary’s signature cologne. Those monks obviously didn’t know much about the irritating effects of alcohols on sensitive skin!