LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "organic peel"

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.

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.

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.

White Tea Part I: The Perfect Winter Pick-Me-Up

For generations of British subjects and ancient Chinese sages alike, there’s only one certain cure for whatever ails you. When all else fails, have a cup of tea. But does tea deserve its reputation as the perfect holistic remedy? I think it does—which is why my own prescriptions for a happy healthy winter include curling up on the sofa with a mug of hot tea. This year, I’ve also been suggesting my clients try a variety of tea that’s relatively new to the American market–white tea.

White Tea in Lavie Organique

Courtesy of dreamstimefree.com

White tea comes from the immature leaves of the same tea bush, Camillia ginensis, that’s used to make green tea. While we’ve all heard a lot about the benefits of green tea, it turns out that white tea may be an even healthier choice. After harvesting, white tea undergoes only minimal processing. Because it’s left closer to its natural state than green or fermented versions, white tea has a more delicate taste—and a significantly higher concentration of antioxidant flavanoids.

The antioxidant activity of  these plant-derived nutrients plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of our body by

·      enhancing immune response
·      improving cell-to-cell communication
·      regulating estrogen metabolism
·      inhibiting tumor growth
·      repairing free radical damage

Flavanoids also have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergenic effects. Scientific studies indicate that their ability to prevent blood clots may help decrease the risk of strokes. Research also suggests that high flavanoid intake may help prevent heart attacks and cancer as well. With all  these beneficial effects, it should come as no surprise that drinking white tea is also good for your skin.

But it’s not just the physical but also the mental effects of white tea that make it such a potent holistic remedy. In China, tea was originally used as a medicine for improving mood and mental prowess, as well as eyesight and digestive and kidney function. Tea’s association with an alert, yet calm and harmonious mental state persisted in Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Monks in China and other countries where these religions are practiced continue to rely on tea as an aid to meditation. In fact, in Taoist tradition, the very act of preparing and drinking tea has been refined and ritualized as a form of meditation. This link between tea drinking and mental clarity is now supported with scientific studies on the antioxidant properties of flavanoids that show these free radical scavengers can help reduce age-related memory problems, as well as the fatigue, irritability, and sadness associated with depression.

Today’s scientists have also discovered that putting white tea extracts on our bodies as well as in them can also help promote radiant, youthful-looking skin. In fact, white tea leaf extract is an important ingredient not only in my organic peels and Lavie Organique™ Exfoliating Mask but also in  my skin creams and serum. I’ll tell you more about how this organic extract can enhance your skin care regimen in my next blog post.

In the meantime make yourself a nice cup of white tea. But instead of gulping your daily dose of anti-aging nutrients on the run, keep in mind the gentle rhythms of the Taoist tea ceremony, and as you enjoy the taste, imagine the warm, fragrant liquid dissolving your mind and body into the eternal universe.

The Lavie Organique Exfoliating Mask: Putting the Heat on Dull Wintertime Skin

Courtesy of Dreamstimefree.com

Did you know that adding a little spice to your wintertime exfoliation program can do wonders for your skin?  One of the active in ingredients in my signature organic peels  and LaVie Organique™ Exfoliating Mask  is paprika. In addition to vitamin A and other plant-derived  antioxidants, paprika contains capsaicin—the secret of the many pepper-based folk remedies used to treat a myriad of maladies from arthritis to psoriasis.

The hot, sweaty faces of customers at a chili stand or Indian restaurant are living proof of the powerful effects on capsaicin on the skin. Capsaicin is a vasodilator. This class of chemicals relaxes the smooth muscle cells of blood vessels and by widening the vessels, increases blood flow. When a vasodilator is applied topically, it stimulates blood flow in the capillaries that bring oxygen and nutrients to and remove waste products from our skin. University College of London researchers found that topical application of capsaicin increased cutaneous blood flow by as much as 300%.

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror after a vigorous bout of exercise, you’ve seen the amazing boost that increased blood flow gives to your skin. Best of all, with exfoliation products that contain capsaicin as well as enzymes, your skin enjoys the synergistic revitalizing effects of two potent plant-based ingredients. In combination, the ability of each of these organic extracts to promote cell renewal and overall skin health is enhanced, producing results greater than the sum of the effects of each. In other words, what you get is exactly what you want: the fresh glow of healthy, young-looking skin that comes from a balanced approach to skin care.

Fruit and Milk Enzymes: A Balanced Diet for Your Skin

The transformative power of my salon organic peels and LaVie Organique™ exfoliating mask comes from the ability of enzymes to stimulate cellular activity. But not all enzymes are created equal. The special revitalizing power of the food-derived enzymes malic acid and lactic acid is a case in point.

With the malic acid from the fresh apples and quince in my enzyme peels and LaVie Organic mask, you get far more than safe, effective exfoliation. This remarkable alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) plays a crucial role in cellular metabolism, the cycle of energy production that fuels healthy respiration and circulation. In addition to regulating cell function, malic acid refreshes parched, tired skin with a potent antioxidant cocktail and long-lasting hydration.

To create the ideal balance of nutrients for your skin, I complement the fruit acids in my organic peels with lactic acid  from fermented milk. The ability of this AHA-rich food to smooth rough, wrinkled skin  has been famed since Cleopatra made milk baths the favorite skin pick-me-up of the ancient world’s beautiful people. In addition sloughing off dead skin cells, lactic acid both moisturizes and tones the skin. Its astringent and antibacterial characteristics help prevent acne breakouts by fighting infection and controlling excess sebum production.

In combination, these two enzymes provide a holistic exfoliation treatment that not only removes the worn-out layer of outer skin, but also restores the proper balance of moisture and nutrients to stimulate the growth of fresh, resilient skin cells. Although a series of these peels may be required to achieve optimal results, the investment in time is worth it. You have nothing to lose but the risks of a quick beauty fix, and all the benefits of time-honored all-natural anti-aging solution to gain!

The Three Faces of Exfoliation, Part 3: Enzymes

Enzymes: A Uniquely Effective Approach to Exfoliation

Organic Peel at Lavinia Borcau SalonIf you’re wishing someone would invent an effective anti-aging exfoliation treatment without the side effects of harsh synthetic acid peels, you’ll be glad that nature has already provided the perfect solution—enzymes. The enzymes used in exfoliation treatments come foods we eat such as fruits, vegetables, and milk and contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that speed up cell turnover. While the enzyme approach achieves its effects more gradually than invasive chemical peels, the additional benefits it confers on your skin are more than worth it.

What’s so different about enzymes? Unlike synthetic chemicals, enzymes are familiar to our bodies. Many enzymes are regularly introduced to our bodies through our diet. Some of them are also produced by our own cells and play a major role in the digestion of nutrients, detoxification, and energy production. As a result of this ability to stimulate healthy cellular activity, enzymes are a highly effective way to achieve significant positive changes in our skin.

In the article “Skin Exfoliation,” scientist Diana L.Howard Ph.D., of the International Dermal Institute explains that the AHAs in enzymes exfoliate the skin in a unique way. According to Dr. Howard,  “Some researchers believe the mechanism of action for AHAs cannot be tied solely to stimulation of the skin as measured by traditional cell renewal techniques.” She notes that studies suggest that AHAs may disrupt the “glue-like bonds” between dead skin cells, “causing a burst in skin exfoliation.” Howard points out that “it is often said that AHAs affect the skin from the inside out because of the suggestion that they influence corneocyte [dead skin cell] cohesion at the lower layers of the stratum corneum [outermost skin]. The result is a thinner stratum corneum, which is more flexible and compact, reflects more light and overall gives the skin a more youthful appearance.”

But the unmatched revitalizing power of enzyme peels and masks doesn’t end there. The special properties of some enzymes also contribute greatly to healthy functioning of the skin. In my next post I’ll explain the unique benefits of the natural enzymes used in my salon organic peel program, as well as in my LaVie Organique™ exfoliating mask.

Can an Apple a Day Keep Age Spots Away?

Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

While freckles or age spots may bother us, in the majority of cases, they’re perfectly harmless. As I explained in my last post, blotchy areas of darkened skin are most often the result of an interaction between solar radiation and the type of melanin cells we’ve inherited. Facial hyperpigmentation may also signal natural hormonal changes. Melasma, “the mask of pregnancy,” is one such benign condition that occurs in approximately 65% of expectant mothers. Nevertheless it’s important to be aware that not all brown spots are normal. Some may indicate serious health problems.

A dark spot with irregular borders could, for instance, be a malignant melanoma. Among the many other serious diseases associated with hyperpigmentation are Addison’s disease, lupus, scleroderma, and diabetes. Any change in skin pigmentation that comes on suddenly or looks unusual warrants a visit to your physician. If your areas of hyperpigmentation are the natural, normal kind, does that mean you just have to live with them? The fact is age spots are a stubborn—but far from hopeless—problem. While increased melanin production is the best-known contributor to the development of age spots, another culprit is implicated as well.

Known as the “age pigment,” lipofuscin is make up of oxidized fat and other dark-colored wastes that accumulate in our cells as we grow older. Sun exposure and an unhealthy lifestyle also contribute to and hasten the buildup of these free radicals in aging cells. Scientific studies, including one on the effects of grape seed extract on lipofuscin formation, suggest that flavonoids, as well as vitamin E, and other antioxidants can help repair this damage.

Contains Apples & Appleseed

So what’s my prescription for age spots? An all-natural skin care regime that includes plant-based antioxidants and exfoliants and a mineral sunblock. With my full range of LaVie Organique™ skin care products—from the gentle daily cleanser to the revitalizing mask you get all that and more: sun protection from the soothing sea salt zinc oxide, the gentle exfoliating action of ground walnuts; pure, unprocessed tocopherol (vitamin E); anti- inflammatory flavonoids, such as eucalyptus leaf oil and white tea—and the most famous folk remedy of all time—apples.

The remarkable organic compound that makes apples the perfect health food for your skin is malic acid, a potent antioxidant that’s also an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). In my salon’s signature organic peels as well as in the LaVie Organique Exfoliating Mask, this double-duty skin rejuvenator helps refine the skin’s texture and restore a more uniform tone by stripping away the damaged outer layer of skin.

Take advantage of the power of a professional skincare regime—at home or in the salon—and see for yourself what an apple a day can do for your skin.

An Introduction to Skin

Your Skin.
It is one of the largest organs in your body, covering 12-20 square feet. Your skin reflects beauty and sensuality, and provides the sense of touch and pleasure. Your skin even shows emotions as you grow pale with fear of red with embarrassment. Your skin provides protection from the environment, and helps to regulate body temperature either by using the contraction of fine muscles in the deep layers of the skin to retain heat – we’ve all had “goose bumps” – or by using sweat to cool.

We can enjoy all these important functions of the skin as long as it is nourished well and maintained properly. Just like any other organ, the skin derives nourishment from food and may be damaged by toxins. Toxins result as the byproducts of normal biological activity, but they may also be ingested as chemicals. Your skin is a reflection of how efficiently nutrients are being supplied to the body and how efficiently waste is being removed. Your skin reflects your diet, and waste products that are retained in the body. Your skin not only conveys your physical health, but also your emotional, mental, and spiritual states. Because the skin exfoliates and replaces itself about every 27 days, a healthy skin can be obtained fairly quickly with care and attention. Local work. Professional skin care treatments include facials, organic peels, microdermabrasion combined with an effective in-home skin care regimen – a daily and weekly routine which includes masks, serums, creams, etc.

To begin to understand the method of obtaining beautiful skin, we need to understand more about the skin’s properties. We hear a lot in natural healing circles about how it is good to maintain an alkaline environment in the body. While this is true of the blood, the skin is naturally acidic on the surface. One way the body maintains its internal alkaline environment is by displacing acid to the skin. The acid forms a waterproof protective barrier for the skin.

In addition, much of your skin has hair follicles nurtured by sebaceous glands, which secrete a fatty substance called “sebum.” It is the combination of oily sebum and acidic perspiration from sweat glands that make up the acid mantle. The acid mantle protects in several ways:

- It serves as a protective layer.
- It prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi on the skin.
- It protects from harsh elements such as sun and wind.
- It creates a healthy glow by retaining moisture in the skin.
- It waterproofs the skin and hair.

A key idea to understand is that your skin is naturally acidic. The acid mantle provides protection from the elements and retains moisture.