LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "antibacterial"

Tips for Taming Hormonal Acne

Stubborn cases of hormonal acne warrant the best professional care. But even the most advanced treatments can’t do the job alone. Make sure you’re doing your part by soothing and healing troubled skin from the inside out. Here are some guidelines:

PURSUE INNER EQUILIBRIUM

1. DON’T eat foods that promote hormonal imbalances and inflammation.

  • Refined sugars
  • White flour
  • Processed foods
  • Meat and dairy products that contain growth hormones
  • Trans-fats

2. DO adopt a back-to-nature diet rich in nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods, including

  • Fruits (especially berries, cherries, apples)
  • Vegetables (especially broccoli, spinach and other dark leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • Cold water fish (salmon, cod, mackerel, snapper, sardines)
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Soy products
  • Omega oils (olive oil, avocado oil)
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds)
  • Spices and herbs (tumeric, capsaicin pepper, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary, thyme)
  • Tea (white, green, oolong)
  • Healthy sweets (eat sparingly) – Substitute honey, maple syrup, and molasses for refined sugar; add high-fiber, nutrient-dense ingredients such as dried fruit and nuts; include anti-inflammatory dark chocolate and cocoa.

3. DO keep your weight and stress levels in check with vigorous physical activity, plenty of restful sleep, and regular interludes of relaxation.

Restore clear, healthy skin, with the right balance of pure, plant-derived nutrients inside and out.

MAINTAIN BALANCED SKIN FUNCTIONING

1. DON’T use harsh synthetic ingredients that clog pores, dehydrate skin, or cause inflammation

  • Alcohol-based astringents
  • Soap
  • Petroleum-based products (petroleum jelly, baby oil, mineral oil)
  • Parabens

2. DO calm, hydrate, and protect hypersensitive skin with premium organic skin care.

  • Zinc oxide to help control excess oil
  • Natural anti-inflammatory botanical and herbal extracts
  • Plant-derived anti-microbials (rosemary, aloe vera, white tea)
  • Natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) (shea butter, squalene, aloe • vera and other botanical oils and humectants)
  • Natural vitamin A – Avoid overuse of topical retinoids to prevent harmful levels of inflammation.

Regardless of the acne treatments you’re currently using, I’m confident you’ll find that this integrated health-driven approach to restoring hormonal balance to your skin will optimize the results—and contribute to your total wellbeing.

 

 

5 Reasons to Add Pink Grapefruit to Your Wintertime Health and Beauty Regime

As colder weather sets in, our natural urge to curl up on the sofa with a big dish of our favorite comfort food can often become overwhelming. One of the easiest and most delightful ways to fight off a case of the winter blahs is to add a healthy serving of pink grapefruit  (Citrus grandis) to your diet and your skincare regime.

Pink Grapefruit: It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Get a jump on seasonal stresses this November with the perfect fruit.

Pink grapefruit is a delicious way to consume essential vitamins and minerals and to increase your intake of flavonoids, cartenoids, and other potent disease-fighting phytonutrients. To get these nutrients into your bloodstream without delay, you should eat pink grapefruit (and other fruits, too) at least two hours before or after a meal. While eating this wonderful fruit first thing in the morning is optimal, its healing powers aren’t confined to the breakfast table.

Both the fruit and the essential oil derived from the pink grapefruit’s peel offer a range of therapeutic benefits, including:

  1. A mood-lifting scent—The refreshing fragrance of pink grapefruit peel essential oil helps banish the seasonal blues.
  2. An immune system booster—The high vitamin C content of this nourishing citrus fruit strengthens resistance against colds and flu.
  3. Anti-aging and health benefits—Grapefruit’s antioxidant properties help repair free radical damage, detoxify cells, and improve cardiovascular health. In addition to its potassium soluble and fiber (pectin) content, the pink variety contains lycopene, a vitamin A precursor that according to a Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study may not only help protect artery walls from the damaging effects of cholesterol, but also reduce the risk of stomach, throat, and several other cancers.
  4. A safe, gentle skin toner and blemish fighter—A plant-derived antiseptic, pink grapefruit oil helps control the bacteria and excess oil that promote acne breakouts.
  5. Cellulite relief—In your diet and as a topical skincare treatment, pink grapefruit stimulates lymphatic drainage, reducing the orange peel look of congested tissues.

The Perfect November Pick-Me-Up—Any Way You Slice It

This month is the ideal time to start enjoying the multiple mental and physical benefits of pink grapefruit. As a health food, skincare ingredient, and aromatherapy treatment, it’s an all-natural prescription for a happier and healthier winter.

Add pink grapefruit essential oil to your facial care regime to control sebum without drying your skin.

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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 / 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

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

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.

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.

Beauty and the Beast: A Tale of “Mud-Luscious” Skin Care

If you’ve seen the incredible film Pan’s Labyrinth—in which a young girl visits a gothic underworld teeming with grotesque mud-covered creatures—then you have some idea of what women in my native Romania look like in the throes of their favorite beauty ritual.

Lavinia Borcau's Native Home of Romania

The Romanian Black Sea - Courtesy of Dreamstimefree.com

Every summer as a child I’d see them on the shores of the Black Sea —these dark, gooey “monsters” caked with glistening mud and seaweed. My eyes would pop—especially after they’d shed their “Swamp Thing” skin beneath the waves and bobbed up looking like the mermaids in my fairytale books.

From Monsters to Mermaids
The “magic” in Black Sea mud comes from its high concentration of organic matter and mineral salts. In addition to the essential minerals such magnesium, potassium, bromine, zinc, copper, and calcium that also enrich the highly restorative salts of the Dead Sea, Romania’s volcanic mud contains the antioxidant vitamin B12—a vital player in the formation of red blood cells and our circulatory health.

Famed since ancient times, these therapeutic muds and sea salts remain under investigation by today’s scientists. But evidence from international dermatologic studies confirming their antibacterial properties and positive effects on roughness and inflammation suggest that Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba were definitely on to something.

Mud Packs and Beyond
I highly recommend incorporating the nutrients found in traditional Romanian mud baths into your skin care regime. Luckily, their benefits are now available in more convenient forms. Thanks to hydrating seaweed masks and organic serums and other products that contain marine botanicals and Dead Sea salts, we don’t have to spend our beach time looking like the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms to refresh and rejuvenate our skin!