LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "free radicals"

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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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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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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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.


The Perimenopause Paradox Part 1: Crazy, Mixed-Up Skin

Adult Acne and Lavie Organique

Adult Acne: Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

For many women, their 40s and 50s are the worst of all possible times for their skin. They’re facing not only the return of the blackheads and blemishes that plagued their teenage years, but also the steady accumulation of the visible signs of aging. As one of my clients said recently, “Having to deal with wrinkles and acne at the same time just isn’t fair!” The fact that your complexion’s erratic behavior is also perfectly natural doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Nor are the natural processes that cause aging, acne-prone skin simple and predictable.

Among the many complex physical processes that lead to adult acne two stand out:

  • Hormonal havoc. Although female hormones start dwindling during perimenopause, they seldom go quietly. Levels can fluctuate wildly from day to day and week to week to week. The chain reaction that ultimately leads to an acne flare begins with a spike in androgen levels. As androgen levels rise, the dermal sebaceous glands get bigger. The amount of sebum, or oil, produced by these enlarged glands increases as a result.
  • Inflammation. As excess oil pumped out by the sebaceous glands accumulates in pores and hair follicles it combines with dead skin cells, forming sticky clumps. These clumps of organic matter not only clog pores but also serve as a hearty feast for the different species of bacteria that live there. The fatter and happier these bacteria get, the more they reproduce. The resulting boom in the bacteria population inflames the pores, causing pustules and whiteheads to erupt. Other unsightly manifestations of inflammation such as contact dermatitis, rashes, and dry itchy patches may also develop. These factors together with declining cell function often lead to “combination skin” with oiliness and acne in some areas dryness and flakiness in others.

The lines, wrinkles, sags, enlarged pores, and scaly brown splotches that emerge during perimenopause also entail a variety of factors:

  • Free radical damage Decades of exposure to UV radiation, toxins, and other environmental stressors—as well as the accumulated byproducts of normal metabolic processes—impair the functioning of skin cells and speed their death.
  • Sluggish circulation A variety of factors, including diet, genetics, and habits like cigarette smoking, may reduce blood flow to the skin, depriving it of oxygen and other vital nutrients.
  • Diminished collagen and elastin production In addition to contributing to skin cancer and a host of degenerative diseases, free radical damage interferes with the renewal of collagen and elastin cells. The network of protein fibers formed by these cells supports the skin. When the influx of fresh cells needed to  reinforce this supportive network slows, skin starts losing firmness, strength, and elasticity.
  • Decreased cell turnover As dead cells build up on its surface, skin not only looks increasingly lackluster, but also becomes more susceptible to acne.
  • Habitual facial expressions Sooner or later, a lifetime of smiles, frowns, squints, and other outward expressions of thoughts and feelings leaves lasting imprints on our face.
  • Gravity The lifelong pull of Earth’s magnetic core can lead to jowls and sags when skin becomes thin and weak.

That’s the bad news about perimenopausal skin changes. The good news is that the right skin care regimen can help you overcome these challenges. I’ll tell you how in my next post.

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.

Honeysuckle in Lavie Organique: Sweet Relief for Your Skin

Organic Honeysuckle, Found in Lavie Organique

Honeysuckle in Lavie Organique. Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

The luscious scent of honeysuckle isn’t all this delicate bell-shaped bloom has going for it. Lonicera caprifolium flower extract has been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine for almost 2,000 years. Ancient herbalists relied on honeysuckle to treat a host of ailments, including fevers, rheumatism, skin ulcers, sore throats, and appendicitis.

Today’s scientists attribute honeysuckle’s healing effects to its high chlorogenic acid content. A powerful antioxidant also found in coffee, fruits, and vegetables, chlorogenic acid helps fight free radical damage caused by UVA exposure, promote healthy circulation and reduce inflammation, and heal fungal and bacterial infections.

With all these beneficial qualities, its not surprising that honeysuckle has a long and distinguished history as a cosmetic, too. A book about the 19th century Chinese Dowager Empress Cixi describes her applying honeysuckle extract to her face to moisten and firm her complexion.

The honeysuckle extract in my LaVie Organique™ Original Formulas does double-duty as a syngergistic anti-aging ingredient and a safe natural preservative. Like everything else in my professional skincare product line, this fragrant botanical extract contributes to an effective and elegant experience for your skin.

A Holistic Health Hint: In China, honeysuckle tea is a popular health tonic believed to promote longevity, calm worries, and brighten the eyes. For an easy, fresh-from-the-garden version, just steep a cup of the flowers in a quart of water to 10 minutes—and drink to your health!

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.

Fair Trade Raw Shea: Butter Up Irritated Winter Skin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skin Aging Secrets: Sugar and Wrinkles, Part 2

Controlling Diet-Related Skin Damage

A balanced lifestyle is the first step to minimizing the premature aging linked to high blood sugar levels—and to restoring strength and resiliency to the skin’s collagen fibers. Here are a few simple changes you can make that will have a visible impact on your appearance.

Optimize your carbohydrate tolerance. You can have your doctor test how well your body handles carbs or use an over-the-counter kit to check your blood sugars levels yourself. If the results point to diabetes you will need medical supervision for condition. If your results are in the borderline range you should try these strategies to reduce your blood glucose levels.
·      A regular, vigorous exercise routine.
·      Weight reduction.
·      A low-glycemic diet Include more good carbs (whole grains, beans, and vegetables) and stay away from white flour, sugar, potatoes, and other foods that cause rapid swings in blood sugar.
·      A blood-sugar lowering supplement such as cinnamon extract.
·      Add more B vitamins, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants to your diet.

Adopt an anti-aging skin care regimen. High-quality natural skin care products, such as my Lavie Organique™Proprietary Blends contain a potent combination of botanicals, organic extracts, and vitamins that can help repair free-radical damage,  relieve inflammation, and promote collagen renewal.

These ingredients include the following:
·      Antioxidants  from white tea leaf, soap bark extract, and sea buckthorn seed
·      Caffeine
·      Co-Q10
·      Horsetail extract
·      Capsicum from Hugarian chili peppers
·      Lactic acid
·      Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C)
·      Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
·      Pomegranate (Punica granatum linn) seed extract
·      Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)
·      Rose hip (Rosa canina) seed powder
·      Vitamin E
·      White willow bark extract