LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "antioxidants"

The Truth About Vitamin C Creams

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

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

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

Vitamin C: The Downside

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

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

The Good News: Vitamin C Derivatives

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

Maximize Skin Rejuvenation with All-Natural Skin Foods

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

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

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

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Restoring Radiance to Dull, Dry Complexions

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

TLC for Thirsty Skin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Combination Skin: Help for Confused Complexions

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

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

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

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

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

The Organic Gem: Precious to Human Health?

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

Ancient Wisdom Confirmed by Modern Science

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

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

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

The Magic Endures

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

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

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Mother Knows Best: The 10 Secrets of Naturally Beautiful Skin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flower Bud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.