LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "inflammation"

Skin Aging Secrets: Sugar and Wrinkles, Part 1

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If you aren’t already limiting your intake of junk food for the sake of your waistline, then consider what over-consumption of sugar and highly refined carbohydrates can do to your face. Scientists have established that foods that cause an immediate spike in blood sugar levels contribute to two physical processes linked to skin aging.

Inflammation. Inflammation is a double-edged sword. When we have an infection or injury, the increased flow of blood and immune cell activity that characterizes inflammation is essential to healing. But chronic inflammation is another story entirely. The buildup of free radicals in our tissues that accompanies this immune response leads to the death of healthy skin cells. The resulting breakdown of the collagen and elastin fibers needed for firm, resilient skin shows up on our faces as wrinkles and sagging.

Glycation Excess sugar in our bloodstream can actually attach to the protein and DNA molecules in our tissues. This process, known as glycation, contributes to a host of health problems, including cataracts, stiff joints, and hardening of the arteries. When sugar bonds to the proteins in our skin’s collagen fibers, they become less elastic and begin to tear and crack, causing loose skin and deep wrinkles.

Fortunately, a holistic approach to this kind of skin damage can help you achieve a more youthful appearance. I’ll give you the details in my next blog post.

White Tea Part II: Good for What Ails Aging Skin

As with many components of a healthy diet, white tea benefits our skin not only when we consume it, but also when we apply it topically. The white tea leaf extract in my LaVie Organique™ formulas contain several substances that play an important role in promoting healthy, young-looking skin. In addition to the antioxidant flavonoids I discussed in my last blog spot, white tea also contains alkaloids. Alkaloids are used to treats variety of skin diseases, including psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, rosacea, and squamous cell cancers.

Tea in Lavie Organique

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The alkaloids in white tea include caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. These three chemical compounds, referred to as xanthines, form loose bonds with the flavonoids in tea, increasing their antioxidant effects. In addition to contributing to the repair of free radical damage, xanthines help improve circulation, flush waste products from cells, reduce inflammation, and fight infection. These combined effects promote healthy, young looking skin in several ways.

Scientists have found evidence that topical application of unfermented tea fights photo-aging and skin cancer and works synergistically with sunscreen to boost sun protection. Because chemical reactions between the synthetic compounds in many sunscreens may alter the tea’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, my Day Cream formula combines organic white tea leaf extract with zinc oxide, a powerful natural-mineral sunscreen that is chemically inert.

Skin biopsies have shown that the antioxidants and xanthines in tea also help boost production of collagen and elastin cells. As we age, the rate at which these cells replace themselves slows, causing the network of collagen and elastin fibers that give our skin its shape, texture, and resilience to weaken. The result is sagging, wrinkled skin. While applying products that contain collagen won’t help—collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the epidermis—using treatments with ingredients that promote healthy cell renewal and that our skin can absorb can help improve the appearance of sun-damaged, aging skin.

Exfoliation: Why Less Is Sometimes More

What started decades ago with a humble plastic sponge has become the watchword in skincare. Exfoliation remains the key to the fresh, peach glow of a youthful complexion. But as the range of professional and at-home acid and enzyme peels, scrubs, and mechanical exfoliation devices continues to expand, skincare professionals are seeing the ugly side of the these facial treatments: the raw tomato-red of serious irritation.

The results of over-exfoliation aren’t just painful and unattractive—overaggressive skin stripping can actually do real damage. In addition to acne breakouts, people who get carried away can suffer broken capillaries, excessiveness dryness and scaling, and pigmentation changes—in other words exactly what you’re trying so hard to avoid: the visible signs of aging. The causes for these symptoms are rooted in the skin’s natural defense system—the inflammatory response.

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. Removal of the superficial layer of skin (the stratum corneum) exposes the sensitive new skin underneath to a variety of assaults including bacteria, environmental pollutants, and solar radiation. But that doesn’t necessarily mean exfoliation is bad for your skin—in fact, done correctly, it’s one of best things you can do to revitalize your appearance. I’ll explain more of the hows and whys of exfoliation in future posts, but for now, enjoy the video below about exfoliation.

Scented vs. Unscented: Making Sense of Cosmetic Labels

Have you ever been stuck next to someone whose cologne or aftershave made you literally sick? Well, anyone who thinks you’re exaggerating should read the EPA’s 1991 report on the most commonly used ingredients in synthetic fragrances. Even perfumes that smell fresher than a spring day and cost hundreds of dollars an ounce may contain up to 500 different synthetic chemicals.

According to that EPA study, this industrial witch’s brew of cheap, evil-smelling petrochemicals, solvents, and coal tar derivatives is packed with health perils ranging from skin inflammation, fatigue, headaches, and nausea to potentially fatal asthma attacks, immuno-toxicity, and central nervous system disorders.

For those who prefer to minimize their daily dose of toxic industrial waste products, unscented products seem like the logical, healthful alternative. It’s also logical to assume that words like scent-free, unscented, and fragrance-free on a product label signal safety from chemical irritants. But consumers who make this assumption are making the same mistake as Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. In the backwards, baffling world of cosmetic labeling, words can mean exactly what product manufacturers choose them to mean.

The fact is, the FDA has never presented any legal definition of these terms in their compliance guidelines. As a result, manufacturers of fragrance-free products can and do use equally dangerous masking ingredients to hide the nasty chemical smell of their raw materials. So, unless you’ve researched every single ingredient on the product label, you have no way of knowing whether you’re choosing a truly scent-free alternative or merely the lesser of two evils.

Thanks to today’s burgeoning green revolution, however, you can choose a third alternative that’s not only safe for sensitive skin, but also a delight for the senses. In my next post, I’ll explain why all-natural plant-based scents and organic extracts are the best of all possible fragrances.

An Eye-Opener on Coffee: It’s Not Just for Drinking Anymore

The latest scientific research on coffee not only gives latté lovers reason to celebrate—it’s uncovered a potent new plant-based skincare ingredient.

You may already know about coffee’s high antioxidant levels—which are equal or higher than most fruits. Researchers believe the power of antioxidants to repair damaged cells is why coffee drinkers appear to have a lower risk of heart disease and skin, liver, and colon cancer. According to a study by Harvard Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of coffee’s antioxidants, quinine, can also help fight diabetes by increasing the body’s insulin resistance and regulating glucose metabolism.

But if you think a cup of decaf is a safer, healthier way to raise your daily dose of antioxidants, recent research on caffeine may surprise you. Studies have shown that in moderate doses, America’s favorite pick-me-up isn’t just harmless—it’s actually good for you. In fact, one of coffee’s cancer-fighting antioxidants, caffeic acid, comes from caffeine. That’s why caffeine is starting to pop up on sun block labels. In addition to repairing cellular damage, caffeine also appears to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, control asthma attacks, cure headaches, and even prevent cavities!

Many of these health bonuses are linked to caffeine’s effect on inflamed arteries and veins. By constricting blood vessels, caffeine decreases inflammation. A diuretic, caffeine also reduces swelling by flushing excess blood and lymph from skin tissue. This multi-action combination of properties explains the growing use of caffeine in cellulite and facial treatments to boost performance.

Mounting scientific data and years of hands-on experience have convinced me that caffeine helps repair and rejuvenate the thin, delicate skin around our eyes. This area is the first place to show the damage that age, environmental toxins, and poor health habits can do to our appearance. For the red, puffy eyelids and dark circles that can afflict young and old alike, this powerhouse ingredient provides the perfect all-in-one solution. Derived from pure Colombian coffee, the caffeine in myLaVie Organique™ Eye Cream meets my exacting Quality Standards. This pure plant-derived extract works in synergy with my proprietary blend of certified organic and natural botanical ingredients to nurture and revitalize the eye area. It’s a balanced health drink for your skin that will bring a smile to your face when you see the results.

Organic Skincare for Sensitive Skin—Part 1

Do you have sensitive skin? A great many of my clients—with all different skin types and a wide variety of symptoms—complain of this condition. The fact is, skin sensitivity is a popular, loosely defined term used to describe various forms of dermatitis. What all forms of dermatitis have in common is inflammation—our body’s natural defensive response to a disease or an injury or irritant.

The symptoms of dermatitis can range from mild redness and stinging or itching to painful hives and other severe rashes. The causes of this condition also vary. In some cases, the client may require medical treatment for a potentially serious skin disease such as eczema or psoriasis or specific skin allergies. In most cases, however, the client’s symptoms indicate dermatitis, a rash caused by exposure to harsh chemicals.

So what’s the best way to care for your sensitive skin? Gently and safely! Start by reading the label on every product that comes in contact with your skin. That includes detergents and fabric softeners, as well as shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath, shower gels, and body lotions. If a product contains any alcohol, alcohol derivatives, or other synthetic chemicals, keep it away from your skin! I’ll be going into more detail about the most common and harmful of these irritants in later posts.

Above all, be especially vigilant about the ingredients in the products you put on your face. Many popular sun blocks, cleansers, toners, and moisturizers can cause rashes, breakouts, and other complexion problems.

I also recommend my clients choose products with certified organic and natural plant derived ingredients for their daily and weekly skin care regimen. With my LaVie Organique™ product line you’re assured that only the purest and safest of natural and organic herbal and botanical ingredients touch your skin. But playing it safe, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice effectiveness. Lavinia Borcau natural skincare products combine the gentleness of nature with the power of 21st century science to provide the dramatic results that many synthetic skin care products promise—without any of the painful aftereffects they so often deliver.