LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "exfoliation"

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Retin-A the Best Treatment for Wrinkles?

What’s the most effective treatment for wrinkles?

This is probably the question I hear most often from my clients. Before answering, I always examine their skin. Frequently my exams of women over fifty turns up similar results. Their skin is red, scaly, and bone dry. When I ask them if they’re using Retin-A (or another topical formulation of the prescription drug tretinoin) they usually exclaim, “How did you know?”

I know because their skin looks unhappy.

Prescription Retinoids: The Downsides of an Aggressive Anti-aging
Approach
While many dermatologists promote tretinoin and other prescription-strength retinoids as the gold standard in wrinkle reduction, I’ve seen the damage they can do firsthand. There are several reasons these products can actually wrinkles worse:

Excessive inflammation and irritation: Prescription retinoids are a very harsh and invasive anti-aging approach that’s only suitable for complexions that can tolerate strong topical chemicals without developing severe side effects. Their negative impact on sensitive or delicate skin can range from an itchy, blistering rash and other symptoms of eczema to “orange peel” skin, enlarged pores, and spider veins. The long-term effects of these prescription formulas are also a concern. People who apply them every day, year after year are courting chronic inflammation. While it’s true that short bouts of inflammation can stimulate collagen growth, inflammation that persists over the long term actually accelerates collagen breakdown. That means wrinkles, sagging, and other signs of skin aging will appear faster than they would without any treatment.

Dehydration: Tretinoin and similar products can overexfoliate the skin, disrupting its acid mantle. This thin film of natural body oils and perspiration protects our complexion from moisture loss as well as bacteria, pollutants, and harsh weather. Products that strip away this protective film can dehydrate and stress skin cells, impairing the flow of fluids and nutrients that enable them to function efficiently and maintain their plump, youthful shape. This loss of structural integrity and healthy functioning gradually reduces the skin’s strength and resilience. As the skin becomes weaker, it loses its natural resistance to lines and creases from squinting, frowning, and other facial movements and expressions.

Extreme sun sensitivity: Dry, overexfoliated skin is extremely vulnerable to the aging effects of ultraviolet rays. These effects stem from a combination of inflammation, free radical damage, and dehydration that wreaks havoc on skin cells. Cellular damage from UV rays is the number one cause of not only wrinkles, but also skin cancer.

Gentle Alternatives to Aggressive Wrinkle Reduction Treatments
Advanced European skincare offers a safer, more gradual path to a smooth, younger-looking complexion:

 

Maintaining a balanced complexion is the bottom line in wrinkle protection.

Maintaining a balanced complexion is the bottom line in wrinkle protection.

Organic serums and face creams that combine a milder vitamin A derivative such as retinol with vitamin C provide the same benefits as prescription retinoids without damaging side effects. Another plus: the nutrient-rich botanical oils and humectants in high-quality organic serums and creams maximize wrinkle protection by hydrating and nourishing skin cells and sealing in moisture.

A series of organic peels gradually improves the appearance of existing facial lines and other visible signs of aging. In addition to providing these rejuvenating benefits, this approach strengthens the skin’s natural defenses against wrinkle formation. By harnessing the anti-aging power of mild fruit acids, multifunctional antioxidants, and circulatory stimulation, this classic European treatment gently exfoliates old, worn-out surface skin while optimizing cellular functioning and increasing collagen production. The treatment process includes a deeply hydrating mask fortified with natural anti-inflammatories to minimize the risk of dryness, irritation, and extreme sun sensitivity. Even so, it’s important to remember that freshly exfoliated skin always requires extra attention to hydration and UV protection.

Timeless Beauty Wisdom
These pain-free skincare options disprove the popular notion that we have to suffer to look beautiful. While “miracle” treatments come and go, the simple truth remains the same. Happy, balanced skin is the keyto lasting beauty and youthfulness.

Two Natural Homecare Treatments for Lustrous Skin and Hair

If the long, harsh winter has left you with dull, brittle hair and flaky, itchy skin from head to toe, you can restore their health and beauty with a few simple ingredients from your kitchen. The following nutrient-packed recipes will give you a head start on a all-over springtime glow.

Combined with olive oil, salt makes an excellent natural exfoliator for dry, rough skin.

Combined with olive oil, salt makes an excellent natural exfoliator for dry, rough skin.

Egg and Olive Oil Hair Mask

This super-nourishing mask is the perfect all-in-one treatment for the hair and scalp. The protein, fatty acids, and vitamins B-12 and E in the egg yolk strengthen the hair and stimulate its growth. Egg yolks also contain vitamin D and iron, two nutrients that help prevent hair loss. Their rich supply of vitamin A helps relieve the drying effects of winter on the scalp, reducing flakiness and ensuring adequate oil production. Together with the lipids in the eggs, the emollient properties of the olive oil not only soothe parched, itchy scalps but also add suppleness, silkiness, and shine to drab, damaged hair.

1-2 beaten egg yolks (depending on hair length)

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

Mix together the egg yolk and olive oil. After shampooing and rinsing, slowly massage the mask into the scalp and hair. Cover with a shower cap or plastic wrap and wait at least 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. You may need to add a little shampoo to remove the mask.

Salt and Olive Oil Scrub

The coarse-grained kosher salt in this scrub will gently exfoliate dead skin cells, allowing fresh new ones to come to the surface. In addition to smoothing and softening the skin and sealing in moisture, olive oil helps relieve irritation, protect against infections, and heal free radical damage with a potent mix of inflammatories, anti-bacterials, and antioxidants.

The following recipe makes enough of the scrub for about three applications.

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

Mix salt and oil together in a container or Ziploc plastic bag. Apply to damp skin and massage in a circular motion with your hands. Rise off the salt and gently pat dry. No need to apply lotion or cream-the olive oil will leave your skin thoroughly moisturized.

To get your hair and skin in the best possible shape for spring, be sure to include the same nutrients found in these natural homecare treatments in your daily diet. Balanced nutrition-inside and out-is the key to continually renewing the natural beauty of our skin and hair.

Three Fall Skincare Fundamentals for Rejuvenating Your Skin

Why You Need a Balanced Fall Skincare Routine

Like every change of season, the arrival of fall places new demands on our skin while also presenting fresh opportunities to optimize its health and appearance. To help you prepare for the rigors of colder weather and take full advantage of the seasonal foods and renewed energy that fall brings, I recommend making the following seasonal adjustments to your integrated beauty and wellness regime.

Fall is the perfect time to revive radiance by shedding old skin cells. image courtesy of James Barker - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shed your old skin, bring on the new: Get your skin in shape for winter with a fall exfoliation program. A series of professional organic peels will not only help you slough off sun-damaged skin of summer, but also increase your skin’s capacity to absorb moisture. In addition to alpha hydroxy acids from the fall harvest of apples and quince, a traditional European organic peel contains Hungarian paprika to stimulate circulation. This combination of ingredients restores a youthful glow by bringing new cells the surface, while strengthening the skin’s ability to repair and renew itself. To calm, soothe, and protect the delicate new layer of skin revealed by the peel, your aesthetician should apply a mask that’s rich in organic moisturizers and plant-derived anti-inflammatories. Ingredients like aloe vera and white tea not only minimize redness but also help heal UV damage with generous doses of antioxidants. For your homecare routine, choose an organic scrub that contains gentle natural exfoliants such as ground walnuts, fruits, and lactic acid and follow it up with a super-rich night cream. Be sure to consult a qualified aesthetician about the pacing of your exfoliation treatments. A gentle, gradual approach to exfoliation is the key to achieving beautiful results without unattractive side effects. And don’t forget to wear a natural mineral sun block even on gray, cloudy days. Freshly exfoliated skin is particularly sensitive to ultraviolet rays.

Remember your roots: The earth provides the perfect remedy when the colder weather is about to drive us indoors, where our skin will be exposed to dry air and an increased risk of infection. The root vegetables that thrive in fall are packed with minerals and other nutrients from the soil. Increasing consumption of these nutrients now prepares our skin for winter by improving the resilience of the skin’s protective barrier and strengthening its resistance to inflammatory conditions, bacteria, and funguses. High in fiber, root vegetables satisfy hearty fall appetites without adding a lot of calories to a meal. Choose a colorful assortment of seasonal vegetables and roast them with olive oil and herbs for a delicious, restorative dinner. Some of the most nutritious choices are listed below:

  • Beets – High in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and enzymes that bind and neutralize toxic cellular wastes.
  • Yams – A natural source of rejuvenating plant hormones.
  • Onions – Rich in flavonoids that act as anti-bacterials.
  • Parsnips – A good of vitamin C, folate, and other vitamins and minerals that support healthy skin function.
  • Sweet potatoes – High in vitamin A, one of the core active ingredients in anti-aging skin treatments.
  • Carrots – Full of beta-carotene, which helps prevent environmental damage and adds golden tones to the complexion.
  • Garlic – High in allicins with antibiotic and anti-fungal properties; sulfur compounds also benefits skin by promoting circulatory health.

Pump up your exercise routine with fresh air: Recent scientific studies confirm intuitive wisdom. Exercising outdoors is good for both body and soul. According to a New York Times article, new research has revealed that people who take their workout outside not only exercise longer and harder, but also enjoy the experience more. Best of all, people who walked in the fresh air improved their overall sense of wellbeing. On psychological tests, they scored higher in enthusiasm, pleasure, vitality, and self-esteem than people who exercised indoors. They also reported less tension, depression, and fatigue. The energizing effects of cool weather make fall a particularly inviting time to exercise outdoors. Observing nature’s splendors as you walk, run, or do yoga poses on a brisk fall day is a great way to enjoy a natural high and reinforce your commitment to a disciplined fitness routine. From boosting blood flow to relaxing the mind, the benefits of regular exercise translate into a healthier, younger-looking complexion and a rejuvenated spirit.

Summer Skincare Tips

Regardless of your complexion type, protection should be your chief skincare concern in the summertime. Sun exposure not only increases your risk of skin cancer, but is also responsible for as much as 90% of premature aging.

Sun protection is the key to a healthy summer skincare regime <FreeDigitalPhotos.net>.

Practice Sun Sense

To help minimize environmental skin damage, it’s a good idea to limit sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and loose, tightly woven cover-ups. Try to stay in the shade. While our bodies need sunlight to synthesize vitamin D, 5 to 30 minutes of exposure without sunscreen, twice a week is usually sufficient (read more about sun safety).

Choose the Right Sun Block

Products that contain micronized particles of zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the safest and most effective option. Apply 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours. There’s no such thing as waterproof sun block, so apply a fresh layer of protection immediately after swimming or perspiring heavily

A hydrating organic day cream that contains a mineral sun block protects skin from summertime stresses.

Adapt Your Daily Skincare Routine

Summer weather affects existing skin conditions. Hot temperatures can trigger excess oil production and sweating, which can clog pores and lead to acne flares. Increased dryness from sun exposure can also be a problem. To help your complexion cope with these seasonal stresses, I recommend the following daily skincare practices:

  • Cleanse and tone gently To clear excess oil and impurities from pores without stripping skin of necessary moisture, use organic products with plant-derived cleansers and moisture-binding ingredients. Look for ingredients like soapbark, aloe vera, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid. Powerful natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories including white tea and sea buckthorn help counteract the aging effects of the sun.
  • Modify your exfoliation program Freshly exfoliated skin is particularly vulnerable to sun damage. The best time for an intensive exfoliation program is in the late fall and winter months. During the summer, you can speed up cell turnover by lightly exfoliating your face with a soft sponge and an all-natural cleanser that contains white willow bark.
  • Balance moisture levels An organic day cream that contains a natural mineral sun block not only shields you from sun damage, but also helps regulate oil production. To keep skin hydrated without clogging pores, choose moisturizers made with pure botanical oils. Ingredients such as shea butter and jojoba and avocado oils deliver moisture and age-fighting nutrients below the skin surface, where new cells are forming. Be sure to protect the thin, delicate skin around your eyes with a cream specially formulated for this area. If your skin is very dry, continue using a super-rich organic skin cream at night.

 

Remember: For beautifully balanced skin all year long, always choose skincare products that are 100% free of parabens, petroleum derivatives, synthetic fragrances and preservatives, and other artificial or impure ingredients.

 

How to Live Happily Ever After with Your Neck

Part 2 of a 3-Part Series: Natural Anti-aging Care for the Neck

Paradoxically, the part of the body that needs the most care and attention to remain youthful-looking generally gets the least. Even people who pamper their face with expensive creams and salon treatments routinely ignore their necks.

natural skincare products for the neck

The delicate skin of our neck demands plenty of TLC.

Start Loving Your Neck: Commit to a  7-Point Rejuvenation Plan

Regardless of your age, it’s never to begin a healthy relationship with your neck – or to start looking younger by cultivating a disciplined in-depth neck-care regimen.

1. Minimize UVA damage.

(a) Stay out of direct sunlight.

(b) Wear a mineral-based sun block.

2. Handle with care

(a) Avoid soap, alcohol-based astringents, and other harsh skincare products.

(b) Never scrub your neck!

(c) Minimize lines and wrinkles by sleeping on your back.

3. Keep skin super-hydrated with plant-derived humectants and emollients.

4. Control inflammation.

(a) Avoid overuse of retinoids.

(b) Apply soothing natural anti-inflammatories such as green tea, chamomile, and aloe vera.

5. Kick harmful lifestyle habits.

(a) Don’t smoke.

(b) Lower your sugar intake.

(c) Shun yo-yo dieting.

facial massage

Accupressure and massage helps keep skin cells nourished by boosting blood flow

6. Promote optimal cell function and stimulate cell renewal.

(a) Eat a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and proteins.

(b) Use green skincare treatments that comprise the same vital nutrients.

(c) Maintain a balanced exfoliation routine - Find the healthy midpoint between too much and not enough.

(i.) Gently slough off old skin with a soft washcloth or sponge.

(ii.) Use safe, non-irritating but highly effective natural exfoliants such as finely ground tree nuts.

7. Slow age-related tissue atrophy, sagging, and wrinkling

(a) Stimulate circulation throughout your body with a vigorous fitness routine.

(b) Use massage and acupressure techniques to improve blood flow and relax wrinkles.

(c) Restore muscle and bone mass with facial and neck exercises.

Although generations of  women have relied on face and neck exercises to delay and help repair the visible signs of aging, this traditional practice remains controversial among mainstream beauty experts.  In my next post, I’ll discuss the facts behind the opinions of this widely misunderstood anti-aging method.

Saving Your Skin: A 12 Step Approach to Overcoming Pore Paranoia

Do you wish your pores would shrink? Or better still, disappear? If so, then you’re not alone. Judging from media reports, the booming market in ”pore-minimizing” products, and my own experience as a skincare professional, the new obsession that dermatologists have dubbed “porexia” increasingly afflicts people of every age, gender, and complexion type.

Is There a Cure?

Some of the most popular pore treatments may help minimize the visibility of your problem temporarily. But no single topical treatment or invasive procedure has consistently proven safer, more effective, or more lasting than a lifetime program of disciplined natural skincare.

Even the cleanest faces can suffer from clogged pores.

Committed Pore Maintenance: A Lifelong Beauty Recovery Program

The following 12 classic skincare principles offer a comprehensive, commonsense approach to managing anxiety about your pores, while gradually optimizing your complexion’s texture, clarity, and youthfulness.

1. Know the difference between fact and fiction. Pores are nothing more than tiny openings in the skin surface. Their size is a fixed quantity related to the size of the underlying oil glands. These glands are the source of the mixture of sebum (oil) and skin cells that gets trapped inside pores and forms blackheads. The dark side of blackheads has nothing to do with dirt or poor hygiene. It’s the result of oxidation: a chemical reaction between the melanin in the dead skin cells on the blackhead’s exposed surface and the oxygen in the atmosphere.

2. Accept what you can’t change. The size of your pores is largely determined by genetics and your age. At puberty, pores go through their first growth spurt. From that point on, the combined forces of aging, hormonal changes, and environmental stresses on the skin take an increasingly heavy toll. This cumulative damage eventually results in larger, looser pores as the  supportive network of collagen fibers in the surrounding skin weakens and sags.

3. Be careful what you wish for. You’d be in big trouble if your dreams of a pore-less complexion came true. As the skin’s distribution channels, pores allow the healthy flow of two vital bodily fluids: (1) sebum, the natural lubricant that keeps skin moist and supple and (2) sweat, the liquid coolant that regulates body temperature and protects us from potentially fatal heat stroke when the mercury soars.

4.  Kick the quick-fix habit for good. Stop wasting money on miracle ”pore-reducers.” No topical skincare product can permanently constrict pores. The “pore-tightening” effect of alcohol-based astringents and anti-blackhead creams is actually a fleeting optical illusion. Equally deceptive is the bracing “clean” sensation you get from these products. In fact, both the brisk sting you feel and the shiny taut look you see in the mirror and are symptoms of potentially damaging irritation. By stripping off your complexion’s protective acid mantle, these harsh chemical solutions cause a variety of painful reactions, including minor swelling around your pores. This effect, which merely hides what you’re trying to erase, quickly fades. But the price you pay in inflammation, dryness, and increased vulnerability to acne-causing bacteria amounts to beating up your complexion to spite your pores.

5. Slough off the old; bring out the new. By gently sloughing of dead surface cells, a disciplined exfoliation routine accelerates the emergence of fresh skin cells and stimulates collagen production. Daily exfoliation with a washcloth or sponge and weekly or monthly applications of scrubs or masks that contain finely ground walnuts, organic fruit acids, or other natural exfoliators will gradually minimize the visibility of your pores by reducing the buildup of oily clogs and improving the strength and resilience of the surrounding skin. The autumn months are the ideal time to jump-start your pore recovery program. (Read more about the benefits of a seasonal exfoliation program…)

Regular exfoliation is the foundation of a healthy pore maintenance plan.

6. Keep it clean. Never go to bed without washing off your makeup—no exceptions. Although their manufacturers claim mineral-based make-ups are safe and gentle enough to wear overnight, the majority of these so-called “all-natural” products include ingredients like bismuth oxychloride, a synthetic derivative of natural minerals that tends to collect in oily pores. These impacted particles can aggravate acne symptoms and irritate sensitive or allergic skin. Other ingredients, including certain types of natural minerals, pose additional risks. For instance, those glittering particles of mica in highlighters may light up your cheekbones, but they can also cause tiny abrasions in thin, fragile skin.

7. Easy does it. Too much of a good thing can make a bad situation worse. Avoid over-washing, over-exfoliating, and overzealous use of retinoids, acne medications, and other pore-minimizing solutions. In addition to causing serious inflammation and increasing susceptibility to infection, treatments that over-strip the skin surface can upset the delicate moisture balance of healthy skin. To compensate for their drying effects, oil glands often go into overdrive, adding the insult of acne symptoms to the characteristic redness and flaking of a seriously injured complexion. The temptation to over-treat the target of a painful fixation is understandable.  But the temporary relief of your anxiety about a minor flaw isn’t worth the price you’ll pay in serious and highly visible skin problems. Try to remember, your skin is not the enemy. Like every bodily organ, your skin needs intelligent care and handling to perform its vital role in your health and appearance.

7. Don’t try this at home. The urge to take the problem of clogged pores into your own hands is particularly dangerous. Do-it-yourself blackhead removal can lead to infections, scarring, and permanently enlarged pores.

8. Get professional help. Aestheticians are specially trained to remove blackheads without causing infections or scarring. To prepare your skin for pore extraction, aestheticians typically lightly exfoliate and steam your face. Contrary to popular belief, the practice of steaming has nothing to do with opening the pores. Because the tissue surrounding the pores consists of skin rather than muscle cells, it’s impossible for pores to expand or contract in response to temperature changes. The actual purpose of steaming is to loosen the contents of clogged pores. To extract the clog, the aesthetician then presses gently on the surrounding skin with tissue-wrapped fingers. A good skincare salon can also advance your pore-minimizing goals with a customized program of exfoliating masks or microdermabrasion.

Shea butter and other organic moisturizers hydrate skin without clogging pores. Image: africa / FreeDigitalPhotos

9. Go natural. Like synthetic alcohols and harsh detergents, petroleum-based moisturizers not only irritate sensitive skin, but also magnify pore problems. The greasy film these products form on the skin’s outer surface can block pores and actually repel moisture. Our skin tends to absorb plant-derived oils and humectants more readily because their chemistry and molecular structure closely resemble those of human sebum. This natural kinship is the reason that organic skincare products are the best option for maintaining healthy pores. Plant-derived moisturizers such as aloe vera, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid are not only deeply hydrating, but  also non-comedogenic (i.e., they don’t clog pores or increase acne and blemishes).

10. Use protection. Free radical damage from sun exposure is one of the prime suspects in premature pore enlargement.

11. Perform a searching a lifestyle inventory. Your diet, exercise routine, sleep habits, and stress level all play a crucial role in maintaining the clarity and refined texture that characterizes healthy, youthful skin.

12. Maintain a balanced perspective. According to professional makeup artists and well-known dermatologists, porexia is particularly common among models and movie stars. This seemingly counterintuitive phenomenon makes sense in a crazy kind of way. The fewer serious skin problems you have, the more likely you are to fret about the ones nobody else can see. If your pores look like massive craters—especially if you’re staring at your nose in a magnifying mirror—the problem may lie not in your skin but in your distorted self-image. Instead of comparing yourself to the illusion of perfection we see in the media, try to remember that you don’t need makeup tricks, special camera lenses, or digital wizardry to minimize any flaw, regardless of its size. The natural radiance of a vibrant spirit and confident smile puts every face in its best light.


Exfoliation: Start Winter with a Fresh Face

Although no single product or technique can erase decades of skin damage overnight, professional exfoliation treatments can jump-start the recovery process. By sloughing off rough, dry surface skin and stimulating cell turnover, a series of organic peels or micro-dermabrasion sessions will gradually and safely achieve dramatic improvements in your skin’s texture, tone, and elasticity.

Organic enzyme masks safely remove dead skin cells.

A Quick Refresher Course

As I’ve noted in earlier posts, the best time to intensify your exfoliation routine is in the fall and early winter months when the strength and duration of sunlight declines. The tender young epidermal cells exposed by exfoliation are especially vulnerable sun damage. In addition to extra protection against environmental stresses, these emerging skin cells require proper nourishment and gentle restorative care. For detailed guidance on this topic, read the exfoliation series in the blog’s October 2009 archives.

In the meantime, here are a few basic tips:

Exfoliation Dos and Don’ts

* DO educate yourself about the best organic exfoliants. Check out my posts on the skin benefits of seasonal fruit peels and other food enzymes to learn more.

* DO consult a knowledgeable aesthetician about the frequency and methods best suited to your skin type.

* DON’T overdo it. Caustic synthetic chemical peels and abrasive scrubs can cause excessive inflammation and irritation. By overstripping, scratching, or otherwise weakening the outer epidermis, overexfoliation also makes it easier for infections and environmental toxins to penetrate the surface and damage delicate new skin cells. To prevent this, be sure to research the safety of the ingredients in the exfoliation treatments you choose.  Even some natural exfoliants such as coarsely ground apricot pits and nutshells pose serious risks. And remember: even the gentlest exfoliation treatments can cause dryness and irritation unless you replenish newly exposed skin cells with moisture and vital nutrients.

My next several posts will take us deeper into my multilevel approach to beautifully balanced wintertime skin.

Fall Renewal: Shed Sun-Stressed Skin with Seasonal Fruit Peel

Now that September is here, you’re facing new challenges…and so is your skin.In my native Romania, changing your skincare routine as the seasons shift is as natural as adjusting your wardrobe to the weather. This time-tested skincare tradition is rooted in the holistic practices of Romania’s health spas and reflects our culture’s emphasis on living in harmony with nature.

Exfoliating with Apples: A Traditional Practice That Makes Scientific Sense

At the first hint of fall, my mother and grandmother always began preparing their skin for the long hard winter with homemade masks and scrubs. Like women in other traditional cultures, they relied on seasonal fruits and herbs for ingredients.  So when apple-picking time arrived, they chopped up the extra fruit and used it to make facial masks and scrubs to exfoliate and nourish their sun-damaged skin.

The effectiveness of apples as a topical exfoliant lies in their high malic acid content. This natural fruit acid gently and safely sloughs off dead skin cells, stimulates circulation, and helps open and clear out clogged pores. Apples are also rich in antioxidants and other beneficial phytonutrients that help repair free radical damage, brighten skin tone, and accelerate cell turnover and collagen renewal.

A Perfectly Balanced Recipe for Optimal Conditioning

Today’s best all-natural exfoliating treatments intensify the rejuvenating effects of apples by combining them with other plant-derived exfoliants, such ground walnuts and lactic acid, quince and other vitamin-rich fruits, and circulation boosters like paprika and white tea. To soothe, protect, and hydrate freshly exfoliated skin, masks and peels should also include a balanced mixture of medicinal herbs, humectants, and emollients, such as horsetail, aloe vera, and squalane. For the most dramatic results, I recommend supplementing your homecare treatments with a series of organic enzyme peels in a salon that specializes in natural holistic skin care.

Others agree, by focusing on an exfoliation program in the fall, you’ll not only improve the overall health of your skin but also significantly expand its capacity to absorb moisture. So when the serious cold weather sets in, your skin will be in the prime condition to benefit from a wintertime program of hydration and lubrication.

Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Image: Dino De Luca / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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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Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net