LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "hormonal balance"

Tips for Taming Hormonal Acne

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

PURSUE INNER EQUILIBRIUM

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAINTAIN BALANCED SKIN FUNCTIONING

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Latest Word on Conquering Acne

Like all the stages in the life of your complexion, acne is more than a collection of symptoms. The blemishes and oily shine you see in the mirror start below the surface with complex changes in the deeper layers of the skin and the body’s internal organs. While using the right topical products can help control these symptoms, putting the wrong foods inside your body can aggravate their root causes. As new research reported in the New York Times makes plain, bad food choices can be as disastrous for your face as they are for your waistline.

The High Price of High-Carb Diets

The studies cited in the article link the risks of refined carbohydrates like white flour and  corn syrup to their immediate and long-term effects on hormone levels. When we indulge in  starchy or sugary treats, insulin surges into our bloodstream. This excess insulin, in turn,  stimulates our oil glands and the buildup of surface skin cells, clogging pores and trapping  bacteria. The weight gain that can result from a serious junk food habit also raises levels of  androgen, a prime culprit in the type of acne associated with periods of hormonal change.

Unfortunately, the cost of those empty calories seldom stops with a few extra pounds and  an occasional pimple. The reason both problems tend to spiral out of control is the stress  hormone cortisol.

Raging Hormones and Out-of-Control Complexions

Scientists quoted in the Times article believe that the stress of being overweight and having  acne may trigger overproduction of cortisol. Heavy daily doses of this hormone take a major  toll on the body. In addition to increasing appetite, sugar cravings, and the buildup of belly fat, elevated cortisol levels can cause a variety of skin problems. A chronic cortisol imbalance not only raises the risk of acne, but also interferes with skin’s ability to heal and renew itself. That sets up your complexion for double trouble: acne breakouts and wrinkles.

Hormonal acne is a frequent and frustrating problem for many women nearing menopause. While there’s no overnight cure for distressing condition, there’s a lot you can do calm the hormonal storms that fuel acne. I’ll share some acne-fighting tips in my next post.

A Few Words About a Disciplined Approach to Skin Care

Lavie Organique Daily Skin RoutineMany of my first-time clients seem mystified by their troubled skin. They claim their skin-care routine is highly disciplined—but for some unknown reason their unruly complexion just won’t cooperate.

When Skin Is Behaving Badly… Try a Little Tenderness

The trouble usually lies in their idea of discipline. To my way of thinking, a disciplined skin-care routine is as much about the quality of the time and attention you devote to your skin as the quantity. Treat your problem skin as you would a naughty two-year-old child—as a delicate living thing that requires constant loving care to thrive. When your complexion acts up, don’t punish its natural ups and downs with harsh treatments. Be gentle and consistent in your approach and sensitive to your skin’s unique needs. The kinder and more nurturing you are toward your skin the more lovable your complexion will become.

Caring for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin: Easy Does It

Follow these 10 rules of natural skin care for a complexion that gets better and better every day in every way.

1.    Don’t go to bed with makeup on. And no matter how exhausted you are, always remove all traces of foundation, blush, and eye makeup so your skin can breathe easily as it repairs environmental damage and restores healthy cell function during the night.

2.    Do wash your face morning and evening. Twice a day is sufficient—any more than that can actually contribute to breakouts by increasing inflammation and irritation, Wash with organic products made from natural cleansing agents including soap bark and phytosterols such as sea buckthorn, as well as rosemary, horsetail extracts. and other plant-derived anti-microbials and anti-inflammatories.

3.    Don’t use synthetic alcohol-based toners that can dry and irritate your skin.

4.    Do tone your skin with gentle plant-based ingredients. Restore your skin’s protective acid mantle after washing with products that contain mild astringents such as white willow, while fighting infection with natural anti-bacterial herbs and botanicals. Use toners that contain natural emollients and humectants such as vegetable glycerin and aloe vera to help control oily shine between washings without stripping away moisture.

5.    Don’t over-exfoliate or scrub your skin. Avoid the irritation and redness caused synthetic chemical peels. Be aware that even some natural scrubbing grains, such as ground apricot kernels, are too abrasive for fragile facial skin.

6.    Do use exfoliating products with gentle natural ingredients such as food enzymes, finely ground nuts, and honey that not only accelerate cell turnover and clean pores, but also provide a potent blend of nutrients that fight infection and promote balanced hormonal functioning. Remember: freshly exfoliated skin is drier and more sensitive to sun damage. Make sure you satisfy its craving for extra sun protection, emollients, and hydration.

7.    Don’t use greasy petrolatum-based moisturizers.
Products that contain petroleum jelly and mineral oil will not only clog your pores but also form a greasy film on the skin surface that can prevent the deeper layers from absorbing the nutrition and hydration required for healthy cell function.

8.   Do use a 100% green moisturizer. To restrain unsightly skin eruptions while maintaining a dewy, supple complexion, use a cream  with a balanced combination of ingredients. Botanical moisturizers and emollients such as jojoba seed oil that closely resemble human sebum penetrate the skin without clogging pores. A deeply hydrating product that combines plant-derived anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients with mineral-rich sea salts is ideal for both day and nighttime use. Dead Sea salts, in particular, contain high levels of zinc oxide—a mineral that not only serves as a highly effective sun block but also helps heal acne and control sebum production.

9.    Don’t fuel your skin’s “’roid rage.” Meat and poultry, as well as milk and other dairy products that contain synthetic hormones can push moody skin into a full-blown zit-fit.

10.   Do keep your skin on an even keel with a healthy holistic lifestyle. Combine vigorous exercise, stress reduction techniques, and balanced nutrition to help your complexion stay clear, calm, and collected. Work out 3 to 5 times a week, integrate relaxation time into your daily schedule, and get 7-10 hours of sleep every night.  Be sure to consume plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Stick with healthy oils such as contain omega 3s from nuts, seeds, and avocados, olives, and other plant sources and rely on beans and other legumes or organically raised meat, poultry, and fish for essential amino acids.

In my next post, I discuss the rules for managing dry skin.

Image: Andy Newson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

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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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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.


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.

Sleep: The Beauty Secret You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Sleep and Lavie Organique

Courtesy of dreamstimefree.com

It’s a highly effective 100% natural treatment for a multitude of skin problems—and it won’t cost you a penny. Yet even many skin-care care fanatics think it’s a waste of time. I’m referring to sleep. Deep, restful sleep—at least 7 to 10 hours of it every night—is one of the best ways to ensure a vibrant, youthful-looking complexion.

Our bodies can devote a lot more energy to repairing damage from free radicals, environmental pollutants, infections, and other skin stressors when they’re at rest than when we’re pushing them through our busy daily routines. In fact, scientific studies have shown that the power of sleep to reduce wear and tear on our bodies can help prevent a range of age-related ailments, including heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases, memory impairment, and diabetes. Ongoing research at the University of Chicago on the role of poor sleep quality in type 2 diabetes and other diseases dramatically illustrates the profound impact of sleep on biological aging. Tests performed there showed that healthy young individuals who were deprived of sleep not only developed abnormally high insulin levels, but also suffered a decline in cell functioning similar to that of a 60-year-old.

Our vulnerability to a variety of skin woes from acne flare-ups and under-eye puffiness to premature aging increases when we don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation impairs our immune systems and disrupts hormone levels, interfering with the skin’s ability to fight infection and replace damaged cells with new ones. The decline in cell function caused by lack of sleep also makes it more difficult for skin cells to cleanse themselves of wastes and toxins. Modern science may have increased our understanding of sleep but it hasn’t done much to help us get more of it. In fact, ever since the invention of the electric light, the amount of sleep the average person gets has been decreasing. Unfortunately many factors, including stress, age, and poor health habits can also contribute to insufficient or poor-quality sleep.

One of the best ways to a avoid a major sleep deficit is to “unplug” from the myriad sources of electronic stimulation that provide our evening entertainment. Turn off your cellphone. Don’t sit up half the night surfing the Internet or watching TV shows that assault your senses with nonstop action and blaring commercials. Spend some time really relaxing before you go to bed. Meditate, take a warm bath, or light some aromatherapy candles (warm, familiar scents such as vanilla are particularly restful) and listen to some soothing music. Develop a consistent nightly ritual that tells your body it’s time for sleep.

You can also assist your skin’s night-time work by incorporating a high-quality all-natural face cream into your evening skin care regime. Make sure the night cream you choose is packed with plant-derived antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and moisturizers. Ingredients such as white tea, rosemary, hops, and horsetail that have a combination of these properties offer the most efficient approach to fighting the effects of aging and restoring a healthy balance to our skin.

Aloe Vera Part 2: Can Aloe Vera Help Your Skin Look Younger?

Ancient herbalists and physicians believed in aloe vera ’s medicinal and rejuvenating qualities—and Mahatma Gandhi swore it was the secret of his strength and endurance. But even centuries of intuition and experience lack the persuasive power of the latest scientific knowledge. As today’s dermatologists and researchers continue rigorously investigating the science behind these claims, they’re discovering that the medical instincts of these long-ago healers were way ahead of their times.

The websites of prestigious institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, now cite evidence that aloe vera helps heal a variety of skin conditions. A number of studies indicate that topical aloe vera treatments help improve psoriasis, seborrhea, and herpes. Preliminary research on aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory properties and role in promoting hormonal balance also look promising.

But how exactly does this plant extract help turn back the clock for aging skin? According to a study by Dr. Ivan E. Danhof, M.D./Ph.D., president of North Texas Research Laboratories, and a retired University of Texas Professor of Physiology, the key appears to lie just below the surface in the skin’s collagen layer. Collagen’s network of protein fibers support the skin’s surface and helps repair blood vessels and tissues. When sun exposure and normal aging gradually weaken this support system, our skin starts to sag and develop lines and wrinkles. Danho’s research shows that aloe vera extract boosts the turnover rate of the fibroblast cells that produce collagen. In his study, fibroblast cells reproduced six to eight times faster than the normal rate. The result? Stronger, more resilient collagen fibers and firmer, younger-looking skin!

The most convincing proof, however, ultimately lies in the product. The Aloe vera 200X in my Lavie Organique™ care system is just one of the plant-based ingredients that work synergistically to balance and support skin health. Try it and see for yourself what my signature blend of traditional wisdom, 21st century science, and European luxury can do for your skin.

Organic Skincare for Sensitive Skin Part 3: Three Top Troublemakers

Parabens, petrolatum, and propylene glycol are the cosmetic industry’s three favorite synthetic additives. From skin cleaners and moisturizers to shampoos, sunscreens, makeup, deodorants, and shaving cream, virtually every beauty and personal care item in your local drugstore contains one or more these substances. In fact you’ll find all three on the label of almost every brand of baby lotion you can buy. That might be enough to reassure most consumers—but do evidence-based studies on these ingredients unanimously confirm their safety and effectiveness?

As it turns out, researchers at an organization specializing in environmental safety have challenged the widespread belief that parabens, petrolatum, and propylene glycol are harmless and even good for your skin. According to the database compiled by the Environmental Working Group, the potential health hazards of these ingredients extend far beyond their tendency to cause allergies and dermatitis. Let’s look at what EWG research reports have to say about each one.

Petrolatum jelly: Researcher classified this widely used moisturizer as a possible cancer risk and raised concerns about potential organ damage and the presence of toxic contaminants.

Parabens: This popular synthetic preservative may interfere with hormonal balance and has been found in the breast cancer tumors of 19 of 20 women studied. Approximately 250,000 beauty and personal care products contain parabens!

Propylene glycol: Evidence from animal studies suggests moderate doses of this petroleum derivative may cause widespread organ toxicity. Emerging concerns include potential damage to natural ecosystems.
In addition its use as a wetting agent in personal care products, propylene glycol is an ingredient often found in antifreeze—does that sound like anything you’d want put on your skin?

You can avoid all these health risks by maintaining an all-natural skin care regime. Every Orginal Formula product—from my daily cleanser, to my weekly exfoliating mask —in the Lavie Organique™ skin care system contains only certified organic and natural plant-derived ingredients. The complete line provides a total solution to the risk of skin and other health problems from exposure to synthetic additives.

In my concluding comments on sensitive skin, you’ll find out why safer and gentler natural alternatives to synthetic moisturizing and anti-agents can also deliver superior results.