LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "circulation"

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.

Reading the Skin

A crucial part of my training as a licensed esthetician in my native Romanian was learning to look at the skin as a “mirror” that reflects an individual’s overall health and well-being. As a result, I often recommend changes in diet and other aspects of my clients’ lifestyle or even a visit to their physician when my evaluation of their skin reveals signs of a physiological imbalance, stress, or a medical condition.

The various skin characteristics that I evaluate include its coloration. Unusual changes in coloration may be linked to physical problems ranging from pigmentation disorders and nutritional deficiencies to a variety of serious diseases. To help you become more attuned to the important health messages conveyed by our skin, I’ve outlined the major types of coloration problems and their possible causes below.

Whiteness—The causes of extreme paleness include iron deficiency anemia, circulatory congestion, respiratory problems, various genetic conditions, and vitiligo, a pigmentation disorder that may be triggered by severe sunburn, emotional distress, and other types of stress or trauma. In addition to causing self-consciousness and embarrassment, vitiligo may in some cases indicate an autoimmune disorder, genetic syndrome, or disease. Decreased pigmentation may also be a side effect of some drug treatments.

Blue or purplish coloration—This skin tone is linked to cyanosis, a serious condition caused by impaired circulation. Cyanosis indicates a lack of sufficient oxygen in the blood. People with asthma and other respiratory problems may also have bluish skin.

Yellow skin—Jaundice , or yellowing of the skin, is a symptom of serious gallbladder or liver problems that should be investigated by a physician.

Orange tone—The causes of orange skin range from eating too many carrots or other foods with high levels of beta carotene to a genetic condition that leads to excessive iron levels in the blood.

Redness—A variety of skin conditions including rashes, rosacea, and dermatitis can cause redness. In other cases, redness occurs when a rapid heartbeat causes swelling of the capillaries, bringing a rush of blood to the skin. Excessive consumption of alcohol or spicy foods, as well as some types of hypertension, can also redden the skin.

Skin darkening—Many cases of increased pigmentation result from free radical damage caused by sun exposure and environmental toxins. Some cases of skin darkening may indicate a serious health problem such as Addison’s disease or scleroderma.

As you can see, a number of the conditions I’ve outlined are related to what we eat and to the functioning of our circulatory system–two aspects of wellness that have long been a major focus of holistic medical traditions. A recent study by British researchers on healthy skin color has now lent additional weight to the importance of eating foods rich in antioxidants and maintaining circulatory health. Participants in the study used a software program to optimize the skin tones of faces displayed on a computer screen.

The results showed that the complexions the participants considered the healthiest and most attractive looking typically displayed a balanced combination of two skin tones: the golden pigmentation gained from eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and the rosy glow provided by healthy blood flow and oxygen levels in the skin. Although this particular study was limited to Caucasian skin, the skin tones of all races display similar variations in brightness and tone. To me, these research findings are yet another example of how modern science is deepening our understanding of traditional intuitive approaches to “reading” the skin for clues to internal health.

Facial Massage: A Touch of Traditional Healing to Complexion Care

A Facial Massage with Lavinia Borcau

A Facial Massage at Lavinia Borcau Day Spa

Speaking of the long-standing focus on healthy circulation  in holistic medical traditions, another time-honored way of optimizing blood flow to the skin is now steadily gaining popularity in U.S. spas—facial massage.

In Europe, where I was trained, mastering traditional facial massage techniques is an essential step in an esthetician’s education. The European approach to massage incorporates many aspects of acupressure, shiatsu, and other holistic therapies used to treat stress, migraine  headaches, PMS, sinus pain, and neuralgia.

Massage has been a an accepted treatment since medicine began. In many great civilizations of the past—including ancient China, Japan, Greece, Persia, and India—the practice of massage was regarded as an important method of maintaining wellness. In the Ayurvedic tradition, massage is believed to stimulate digestion, flush out toxins, and rejuvenate the body.

The results of recent research on the effectiveness of massage suggest it is a useful adjunct to medical care. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine cites scientific studies indicating that massage is effective in reducing heart rate and blood pressure, relieving pain, and improving health. Similar beneficial effects were found in a study of physiological and psychological stress in acute-care nurses.

An expert facial massage should be a regular part of your skin care regimen and is included in my European facial treatments.  It’s a simple, safe and effective way to relax facial lines and bring a fresh, healthy glow to the complexion, while treating yourself to a delightfully refreshing experience.