LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "plant-based"

How Protein Helps Keep Faces Young and Fit

You may think of it as the favorite fuel of bodybuilders, but protein is also one of the secrets of a firm, youthful-looking face. In much the same way that this vital nutrient builds strong physiques, protein helps keep our complexions and the underlying muscles and bones in optimal shape.

The Collagen Connection: Facial Fitness

The most abundant protein in our bodies is collagen. This type of protein makes up the bands of connective tissue that enable skin to stretch without wrinkling and sagging. Collagen is also a major component of muscles, bones, and blood vessels. These tissues tend to shrink and weaken over time as collagen production declines. We can help slow and minimize this tissue erosion by getting enough protein.

Dietary Proteins: Restoring Firmness from the Inside Out

How much is enough? According to the Institute of Medicine, we should get at least 10% and no more than 35% of our calories from protein. The composition of protein we eat is as important as the amount. To form complete proteins, our food intake must supply our bodies with nine essential amino acids. (They’re called essential because our bodies can’t make them on their own.) As the building blocks of proteins, amino acids enable our bodies to perform a variety of critical functions including

  • Cell formation
  • Fluid balance
  • Distribution of nutrients
  • Tissue growth and repair

Complete proteins are readily available from meat, fish, and other animal products. The tradeoff of these foods is their relatively high content of saturated fat. Plant-based proteins avoid this pitfall but many are deficient in one or more of the 9 essential amino acids. For this reason, vegetarians should ensure their diet includes a variety of foods with different amino acids profiles. Getting enough lysine, an amino acid vital to tissue repair, is particularly important. High-lysine foods like tofu, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all excellent choices for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. If you want to include animal proteins in your diet be sure to stick to lean cuts of meat and keep portions small. The key in either case is to maintain a healthy balance of protein sources.

Plant proteins help keep skin firm and moist.

Topical Rejuvenators: The Anti-Aging Benefits of Plant Proteins

Plant proteins also play an important role in topical skin care. One of the best of sources of botanical proteins is quinoa. Although it’s used like a grain in various cuisines, quinoa is actually the seed of a leafy green plant. As a source of all 9 of the essential amino acids, quinoa is the ideal protein for nourishing, repairing, and protecting the skin from environmental damage. In addition to its firming action, quinoa helps bind moisture to skin cells, resulting in a smoother, more supple complexion.

Quinoa is also packed with antioxidant vitamins and minerals. To increase your defenses against aging, I recommend adding this superfood to a total skincare regime that includes a healthy diet, plant-derived organic skincare products, and facial exercises.

 

Mother Knows Best: The 10 Secrets of Naturally Beautiful Skin

In honor of Mothers Day, I’ve distilled my mother’s and grandmother’s beauty advice and my own 30 years of research and hands-on experience into the10 fundamentals of organic anti-aging skin care listed here.

Leaf Lavie Organique1. Commit to a disciplined routine of daily and weekly skin care. A lifetime of youthful-looking skin requires life-long dedication to nurturing skin health.

2. Use only pure, 100% natural skin-care ingredients. Make sure that every product that touches your skin is 100% free of petrochemicals, parabens, and other harsh synthetic ingredients. Skin treatments made from certified organic and natural plant-derived ingredients are not only safer but more effective.

3. Nourish your skin from the inside and the outside. Maximize the rejuvenating effects of antioxidants, vitamins, and other phytonutrients with topical application of products made from the same plant-based health foods you eat.

4. Protect against sun damage. Guard against the #1 cause of skin cancer and wrinkles by avoiding prolonged sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm and using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, every day, all year round.

5. Synchronize your skin care routine with the rhythms of nature. Shift the focus of your skin-care regimen as the seasons change: Concentrate on exfoliation and hydration in the cold weather and on nutrition and sun protection as the days get warmer.

Flower Bud

6. Exfoliate—gently, safely, and effectively. To brighten and revitalize your complexion, add gentle natural exfoliants such as finely ground nuts, white willow bark, and food enzymes to your skin care regimen. (To learn more about the do’s and don’ts of exfoliation, read FAQ…)

7. Optimize microcirculation. Maintain healthy blood flow with a regular exercise program and skin-care products that contain natural circulation boosters, such as paprika, caffeine, and cinnamon.

8. De-stress your mind and body. Minimize the destructive effects of stress hormones on the skin with yoga, meditation, massage, and other holistic relaxation techniques. The serene expression that accompanies a calm spirit also helps slow the development of crows feet, lip lines, and other facial creases.

9. Increase your quotient of restorative sleep. Do whatever it takes to get in the mood for plenty of deep, restful sleep every night. Your skin cells need at least 7-10 hours every night to cleanse themselves of waste and toxins and repair free radical damage.

10. Become an educated consumer. Check out the fine print on product labels, get the facts behind advertising claims, and understand the effects of various cosmetic ingredients on skin function. Skin-care knowledge is the key to gaining power over aging—and over the physical and economic risks posed by inferior products.

PS to Daughters: Sharing goes both ways. Mothers and grandmothers are never too old to learn something new from the younger generation. Give them some uplifting words of wisdom this Mothers Day!

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Chapped Lips: Is Your Favorite Lip Balm a Joke?

In the new movie Greenberg, there’s one joke that I could’ve written myself. Commenting on the cranky title character’s chapstick “addiction,” his friend actually reveals the true cause of Greenberg’s seemingly compulsive behavior: The more you these popular petroleum-based lip balms, the drier your lips get.

Thirsty Lips and Synthetic Moisturizers: A Vicious Cycle

Ironic isn’t it? The very products we rely on to moisten and soothe the fragile skin on our lips do the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to do.

Instead of hydrating and nourishing new cells in the skin’s deeper layers, the main ingredients in synthetic lip balms—petroleum and mineral oil derivatives—merely sit on the surface. In addition to actually repelling moisture, this greasy surface film often contains potentially irritating chemicals such as phenyl salicylate that can irritate and inflame sensitive skin.

Eliminating Chemical Accomplices

Cracking and peeling can be further aggravated by toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain guaiazulene, sodium lauryl sulfate, or other harsh chemicals. In some cases, severe, chronic chapping is related to a medical problem such as an autoimmune disorder, so if eliminating synthetic products doesn’t help, you should consult with your doctor.

Replenish and Revitalize with a Healthy a Dose of Green Medicine

To help your chapped lips recover from the ravages of dry weather and chemical irritants, I recommend trying one of the new green lip balms that have recently become available. But before you take out your wallet, read the label. Many so-called natural products contain the very ingredients you want to avoid. To hydrate, nourish, and restore the youthful luster of your lips, opt for lip balms made with natural beeswax or plant-derived moisturizers and lubricants, such as shea butter; sunflower, grapeseed, avocado, and almond oils; and honey.

I’ll explain the special benefits of honey as a natural skin healer in my next blog post.

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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.

What Exercise Can Do for Your Skin

One of the best ways to multiply the benefits of your all-natural skin care regimen is to maintain a balanced exercise routine. A program that combines aerobic exercise with strength training and stretching promotes beautiful, youthful-looking skin in the following ways:

  • Increasing circulation Improved blood flow to skin cells ensures the delivery of oxygen and nutrients needed  for collagen renewal and flushes away environmental toxins and excess fluids. These actions improve skin elasticity and firmness, reduce puffiness, and give your complexion a healthy pink glow.
  • Reducing stress By decreasing your level of tension and anxiety, exercise helps your facial muscles to relax, softening crow’s and expression lines and slowing the development of new ones.
  • Restoring hormonal balance Exercise helps control acne by keeping the levels of androgens produced by our adrenal glands in check. High levels of these male hormones can over-stimulate the oil glands in our skin, resulting in clogged pores and breakouts.
  • Toning muscles Weight training, Pilates, and yoga  increase of the strength and flexibility of the muscles and connective tissue that support our skin, reducing the visibility of cellulite and creating a toned, taut appearance.

By optimizing the cellular functioning of the skin and its underlying tissues, exercise revitalizes our skin. The fresh radiant complexion that results is not only beautiful to look at, but also visible proof of our skin’s health. This inextricable link between the appearance of our skin and its physiological functioning is at the heart of my holistic approach to skin care.

To be truly effective, the ingredients in your skin care products must go beyond temporarily smoothing and hydrating the skin surface. Unless their active ingredients are also nourishing cells and stimulating their renewal, the most expensive cleansers, toners, and creams in the world will fail to make any significant improvement in the appearance of your skin.

In many respects, the rejuvenating effects of skin care ingredients such as the plant-derived caffeine, hops, horsetail, and other natural circulatory stimulants, AHAs, anti-inflammatories, relaxants, and antioxidants in my LaVie Organique™ product line mirror those of exercise. Both play an essential role in keeping our skin fit, toned, and beautiful for a lifetime.

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.

Rosemary: The Scent of Ageless Health and Beauty

I designed the elegant scent of my Lavie Organique professional skincare products to capture the essence of my balanced, synergistic approach to radiant health and beauty. Just as my special blend of natural and organic extracts works together to restore equilibrium to overstressed skin, the different fragrance notes that scent my proprietary formulas blend in perfect harmony to soothe and refresh your spirit.

Natural Ingredient in Lavie Organique

A Natural Ingredient Found in Lavie Organique

Rosemary leaf (Rosemarinus officinalis) extract lends a tangy evergreen note to the scent of my plant-based formulas—and the healing properties of a time-honored folk remedy. Aromatherapists still treat stress and fatigue with its fragrant leaves, but its medicinal properties been revered throughout history. Ancient Romans believed rosemary improved memory and traditional herbalists have been cooking up rosemary teas to treat headaches and digestive disorders for centuries. Medieval Europeans relied on rosemary to freshen breath and to keep meat from spoiling. In fact, its effectiveness as a natural preservative is borne out by its presence in the tissues of Egyptian mummies that have lasted for thousands of years.

With a history like that, it’s not surprising that today’s scientists are searching for the facts behind rosemary’s fabled reputation. Researchers have discovered that rosemary is not only a natural antiseptic, but also a diuretic that reduces swelling, as well as a possible cancer fighter and liver stimulant. The same anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, such as carnosol and caffeic acid that make rosemary a potential weapon against disease also explain why many of today’s best natural skincare products include it in their anti-aging arsenal.

In 2008,the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed that rosemary extracts complied with its notoriously stringent safety and effectiveness standards for use as an antioxidant. A 2009 press release that announced certification of rosemary extracts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), noted the particular suitability of water-soluble rosmarinic acid for water-based products such as creams, as well as its heat stability, which prevents its antioxidant activity from dissipating at high temperatures.

Like Queen of Hungary Water—one of Europe’s first alcohol-based perfumes and astringents—Lavie Organique Toner also contains rosemary. But without the brandy that 14th century monks who invented it added to Elizabeth of Hungary’s signature cologne. Those monks obviously didn’t know much about the irritating effects of alcohols on sensitive skin!

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.

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.

Cruel Isn’t Beautiful

Many consumers still believe that animal cruelty is the price of human health and safety. However, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act refutes the popular misconception that cosmetics must be tested on animals to comply with FDA safety regulations. In fact, the FDA strongly supports the development of cruelty-free alternatives to animal experimentation.

Lavinia Borcau Quality Standards specifically forbid the use of animal testing to demonstrate product safety or effectiveness. To ensure this cruelty-free development strategy never interferes with the safety and quality of my all-natural skincare line, my exacting product standards require that the Lavie Organique Proprietary Blend of natural and certified organic ingredients comply with both Environmental Working Group and Natural Product Association guidelines.

My belief in the gentleness and effectiveness of natural skincare is rooted in my traditional European heritage. Over the years as I’ve read the results of scientific studies on botanical ingredients and gained hands-on experience with plant-based professional skincare, my instinctive trust in the Old World beauty secrets of my Romanian grandmother has evolved into a firm conviction.

By designing a personal skin care regimen that’s kind to your skin without hurting other living creatures, I’ve also stayed true to my holistic philosophy. As part of the natural world, we’re inextricably connected to the plants and animals that share our environment. By showing respect and caring for every part of this environment, we can achieve a more balanced lifestyle. The result is healthier body and mind—and the natural glow of genuine, lasting beauty.