LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "plant-derived"

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.

 

Spring Cleaning: Freshen Up Skin with a Greener Diet

In my native Romania, our springtime health and beauty routine includes eating plenty of green salads. The antioxidants in lettuce, spinach, and other greens cleanse our body of free radicals—unstable molecules produced by environmental toxins, inflammation, and other stresses. Free radicals ultimately lead to cellular damage, aging, and disease. By neutralizing these harmful molecules, plant-derived antioxidants promote the growth and repair of skin cells.

The antioxidants in green salads support skin cell growth and repair. Image: zole4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Green Beauty: Arugula and Walnut Salad

The arugula in this salad is packed with the antioxidant vitamins A and C. In addition to stimulating collagen renewal, these vitamins reduce inflammation, one of the prime causes of visibly aging skin. The addition of walnuts provides another healthy serving of antioxidants from omega-3 oils. Omega-3s help prevent wrinkles and improve skin texture by reversing free radical damage, stimulating blood circulation, and stabilizing hormone levels. The vitamin E in the walnuts and the shallot also helps nurture smooth, supple skin.

1 large shallot, chopped1/4 cup walnut oil or olive oil1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar3 cups arugula1 cup walnuts
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, and chopped shallot in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the arugula and walnuts in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing, and toss.

 

Revive Tired Skin with Extra Helpings of Anti-aging Nutrients

The stresses of winter can leave skin looking dull and worn-out. To restore the bloom of health to your complexion, make sure your skincare products contain hearty doses of nutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are some of the most important all-natural and organic ingredients to look for:

  • Apples
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 oils (from sources such as olive oil, walnuts, and avocado oil)•
  • Pomegranate seed
  • Sea buckthorn seed
  • Soap bark
  • White tea

 

Refresh your complexion this spring with antioxidant-rich apples and walnuts.

 

Sorbitol Shows Its True Colors as a Healthful Natural Moisturizer

Sorbitol is a wholesome green skincare ingredient with an image problem. Given its familiar reputation as low-calorie sugar substitute, you might be surprised to see sorbitol turning up on the labels of premium natural skincare products. But don’t be misled by names and superficial impressions. A closer look at both its origins and underlying chemistry, as well as the methods used to extract it for green product developers, reveals this up-and-coming skincare ingredient’s true nature.

A Clean Bill of Health

Known in scientific circles as a sugar alcohol, sorbitol falls into a category that sounds like the height of dietary indulgence. In fact, sugar alcohols like sorbitol are neither sugars nor alcohols, but polyols, a special class of carbohydrates found in plants. Unlike refined sugar or synthetic sweeteners, authentically green sorbitol is derived from sugarcane, sugar beets, fruits, berries, or other plants and purified without industrial-strength solvents. Simple eco-friendly processing methods, such as boiling, and meticulous attention to exacting green manufacturing standards ensure the resulting product is free of naturally occurring and synthetic contaminants and residues.

Pure Green Goodness for Ailing Complexions

In addition to meeting the highest standards of purity and safety, green sorbitol has what it takes to revitalize dry, dull, sun-damaged complexions:

* Superior water-binding capacity This powerful natural humectant attracts moisture from the air, binds it to skin cells, and slows its evaporation. Sorbitol not only keeps your complexion looking firm, fresh, and vibrant by plumping up surface cells, but also promotes healthy cell renewal by ensuring the underlying dermis remains fully hydrated.

* Low-weight organic molecules Sorbitol’s moisture-binding molecules are quickly and easily absorbed into the skin’s deeper layers. As result of chemical similarities between plant-derived sugar alcohols and substances produced by our own bodies, sorbitol is less likely to prove irritating or damaging to sensitive complexions.

* Non-oily lubrication This beautifully balanced emollient leaves skin silky smooth without depositing a greasy film or clogging pores.

A Sweet Alternative to Harsh Synthetics

Natural sorbitol is a safe, effective alternative to propylene/ethylene glycol, silicone-based ingredients, PEG compounds, and other widely used synthetic humectants and emollients. But make sure your sorbitol-enhanced beauty products live up to their claims. A thorough background check of popular “natural” skincare lines too often reveals evidence of chemical irritants, manufacturing residues, toxic contaminants, and other potentially harmful substances.

Get an Expert Opinion on the Quality of Your Skin Care

Always choose brands with a proven commitment to product quality, sustainable manufacturing practices, and consumer safety and well-being. Certification by a respected green standards organization, such as the Natural Product Association, officially guarantees that the skincare line you’ve chosen meets the most exacting product requirements in the natural skincare industry.

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Truth About Vitamin C Creams

One of the biggest breakthroughs in anti-aging skin care was the discovery of the remarkable power of vitamin C to help restore luster and resilience to aging complexions. This super-antioxidant can do just about everything required to repair and protect damaged skin: reduce wrinkling, fight inflammation, stimulate collagen renewal, lighten brown spots, and brighten skin tone. According to some studies, vitamin C may even serve as a mild photoprotectant that helps boost the effectiveness of sunscreens.

No wonder the skin-care market is flooded with vitamin C anti-aging treatments. With so many choices ranging from inexpensive drugstore moisturizers to deluxe serums and night creams that cost hundreds of dollars an ounce, you may be puzzled about the differences between products.

Are all vitamin C treatments the same? Or does the steepest price tag automatically guarantee the best results?As it turns out, the scientific facts behind vitamin C’s widespread reputation as a miracle skin-care ingredient are more complicated than they appear at first glance.

Vitamin C: The Downside

What’s not to like about a compound that’s proven to repair and revitalize environmentally damaged, lifeless complexions? First of all, topical vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can cause skin irritation and redness. Second, ascorbic acid is highly susceptible to oxidation—the same destructive process that rusts metal and spoils fruit. As a result, ascorbic acid often degrades to the point where it not only fails to reverse free-radical damage, but can actually increase the cell changes that speed premature aging.

Even the longer-lasting stabilized forms of vitamin C used in  many super-expensive anti-aging formulas may oxidize during storage or on the store shelf. Unfortunately, many cosmetic manufacturers take precautions against this risk by adding artificial coloring to their products to mask the telltale yellowing that indicates spoilage.

The Good News: Vitamin C Derivatives

Skin-care scientists have recently discovered several vitamin C derivatives that avoid many of the drawbacks of ascorbic acid, while delivering comparable anti-aging benefits. One of the most effective and easily tolerated of these derivatives is magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Upon application, the skin’s own enzymes convert this more stable compound into active vitamin C.

Maximize Skin Rejuvenation with All-Natural Skin Foods

Research has shown that treatments that combine vitamin C derivatives with other antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene are not only more beneficial, but also gentler on your skin. The reason? In combination, antioxidants have synergistic effects. In other words, the total benefit of a group of antioxidants is greater than the sum of effects of the individual nutrients.

Synergy explains why eating oranges will do a much better job of keeping you healthy and youthful-looking than vitamin C tablets. The dosages in synthetic vitamin C supplements are typically far too high for our bodies to use and, in some people. may even cause unpleasant side effects, such as stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.

Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are designed by nature to replenish depleted skin cells with the perfect balance of  ascorbic acid and other complementary nutrients. That’s why plant-derived face creams are such a safe and efficient way of capitalizing on the rejuvenating effects of vitamin C.  The best choice? A 100% green vitamin C cream that not only feeds your complexion a healthy blend of phytonutrients, but also provides the added risk protection of natural preservations to retard spoilage.

Image: Daniel St.Pierre / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Restoring Radiance to Dull, Dry Complexions

Although the fundamentals of a disciplined skin-care routine are the same for every skin type, their specific application should be tailored to your individual complexion challenges.

TLC for Thirsty Skin

Like an oily, acne-prone complexion, dry, itchy, flaky skin requires a holistic wellness regime to restore and maintain the proper level and efficient flow of sebum. In addition to supporting skin health from the inside, you should cleanse, tone, exfoliate, moisturize, and nourish your complexion on the outside with safe, effective all-natural skincare products to normalize cell function, encourage collagen and elastin renewal, and protect against environmental damage. Above all, your daily and weekly skin-care program should focus on your dry complexion’s two most urgent needs: hydration and lubrication.

To optimize the health and appearance of dry skin make sure you…

Handle with care. Use lukewarm or cool water and a gentle touch to wash your face. Dry skin also tends to be sensitive, so stay away from products that contain synthetic fragrances, alcohols, moisturizers, and preservatives.

Apply liberal amounts plant-derived humectants and emollients to your skin while it’s still damp to lock in moisture. Botanical humectants and. lubricants, such as aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and squalene, that closely resemble the components of human skin will keep your complexion soft, moist, and supple throughout the day.

Drink enough water—but don’t overdo it. As a general rule, eight 8-ounce glasses are sufficient to flush out toxins and ensure healthy cell function. According to the latest research, drinking water will not cure dry skin and consuming excessive amounts can be dangerous.

Use a humidifier in the winter. Low humidity is a major contributor to parched, cracked skin.

Consume enough healthy fats. Monosaturated fats from sources such as olive oil and avocados, as well as omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts, and seeds are vital skin foods. Rich in vitamin E, anti-inflammatories, flavenoids and other age-fighting nutrients, these beneficial oils are one of the keys to radiant, youthful skin.

Use an extra-rich face cream at night. Gently massage your face with a luxuriant face cream enriched with botanical oils, healing herbs, and natural antioxidants, and silk amino acids before bed to soothe, revitalize, and restore resilience to your skin as you sleep.

Talk with your doctor if your dry skin is persistent and severe. Dry skin may be a sign of a medical problems, including eczema, psoriasis, a vitamin B or A deficiency, a genetic syndrome, allergies, or an underactive thyroid. Reduced oil production is also a side effect of certain medications.

Combination Skin: Help for Confused Complexions

If you’re troubled by dry, flaky patches and breakouts give your skin the extra help it needs to recover and thrive. For an informed approach to your complexion’s erratic behavior, see my “Crazy, Mixed-Up Skin” post. For a personal consultation, please feel free to send your questions to the blog or contact me by email at info@laviniaborcau.com, or phone at (617) 734-5523. I look forward to hearing from you!

Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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Image: djcodrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Retinoids & Anti-Aging Benefits: Too Much of a Good Thing?

While the anti-aging benefits of retinoid creams get a lot a press, I’ve yet to see an ad that vividly portrays their negative side.  As a practicing aesthetician, however, I see the unfortunate consequences of overusing prescription and over-the-counter vitamin A derivatives every day.

The Two Sides of an Anti-aging Vitamin

Topical retinoids such as retinyl palmitate do, of course, play an important role in anti-aging regimes. Used correctly, retinoids can help firm the skin and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots by stimulating cell turnover and collagen and elastin production. But the same exfoliating action that produces these positive results can cause serious trouble when an overdose of retinoids strips the skin too vigorously.

The scaly, raw complexions of the retinol “junkies” who come to me for treatment speak more convincingly of the dangers of over-exfoliating the skin than the fine-print warning label on their favorite anti-aging cream. By inducing a state of chronic inflammation, excessive doses of retinoids can overwhelm the body’s natural ability to heal itself. In addition to disrupting collagen and elastin renewal, this state of chronic injury increases the skin’s susceptibility to sun damage, infection, and disease.


Restoring Balance to Stressed-Out Skin
My professional training and experience has taught me that the most effective way to counteract the irritation, swollen capillaries, dryness, and other damaging effects of inflammation is an all-natural, holistic approach. To restore the strength and healthy function of the skin’s stratum corneum (the outermost layer), exfoliated skin requires complementary treatment with a synergistic blend of plant-derived anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antibacterials, fatty acids, and moisturizers. The following botanicals are among the most effective for calming, nourishing, and soothing inflamed skin:

* Capsicum pepper (Hungarian chili peppers)
* Avocado oil
* Shea butter
* White tea
*  Aloe vera
* Rosemary

Add a Dose of Kindness to Your Skin Care RegimeIn their zeal to combat the signs of aging, many beauty industry professionals as well as many consumers lose sight of their real goal. The point of an anti-aging regime is to nurture a fresh, youthful appearance—not to attack your skin. Like all living things, our skin needs proper nourishment, hydration—and gentle, loving care—to stay healthy and beautiful.

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Spring Ahead! Why It’s Time to Freshen Up Your Skin-Care Regime

For my mother and grandmother and generations of Romanian women before them, the first day of spring has always signaled an important transition in their natural skin-care regimes. According to our Old World beauty traditions, the season of planting and cultivation is also the perfect time to concentrate on nurturing and renewing our skin.

Spring Training for Your Skin

As members of a culture strongly in tune with the rhythms of natural world, Romanian women believe in shifting the focus of their skin routine in synchrony with the changing seasons. After our wintertime exfoliation program, has sloughed off the accumulation of dead cells on the skin’s surface, we turn or attention to the delicate new skin cells that have emerged. Like the tender young seedlings in our spring garden these new skin cells require a strength-building diet to achieve and maintain robust health.

The Care and Feeding of Skin Cells

According to recent scientific research, a diet rich in superfoods, such as blueberries, nuts and seeds, green and white teas, avocados, and peppers, can help prevent premature aging and restore healthy cellular functioning in all the tissues and organs of the body, including our skin.

Superfoods That Perfect Form and Supercharge Function

The same amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that we consume to boost skin cell health from within can also beautify and strengthen our skin from the outside. Skin care products made from certified organic extracts and natural plant-derived ingredients are a safe, effective solution to the damage that environmental stresses and the passage of time inflict on our complexions. In my upcoming posts, I’ll discuss some the specific nutrients that will help you not only shape up your skin for spring but also keep it in the pink all year-round and at every age.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net







The Truth About Green-Speak & Organic Anti-Aging Treatments

Lavie Organique Products in Basket

Lavie Organique Products in Basket

Is today’s greener beauty industry walking a new walk? Not according to consumer advocacy groups. Apparently most “green” cosmetic companies continue to play fast and loose with the facts—they’re just cloaking their deceptions in more politically correct language.

As a holistic skin-care provider and educator, I’m highly aware of the challenges my clients face in trying to see through the seductive camouflage of Earth-friendly hype. My concern with this issue was one of the reasons the producers of Lifetime’s Balancing Act thought their environmentally aware viewers would connect with my approach to natural skin care and organic anti-aging treatments.

Like my client base, the show’s target audience comprises a highly educated and influential consumer demographic. This generation of green consumers shares their predecessors’ disenchantment with corporate misbehavior, as well as their activist spirit. But today’s burgeoning green marketplace has a lot more financial clout. And with so many more products options available, these economically empowered green shoppers can afford to be demanding.

Unfortunately, the slickest hucksters in the beauty industry keep coming up with clever new ways to fool the public. Even smart green shoppers who religiously read the label of every product they buy can be taken in by fuzzy terminology and deceptive language.

Take the word organic, for example. It certainly sounds safe, healthy, and pure. But in fact, organic can mean whatever manufacturers want it to mean, including “containing crude-oil derivatives”! The reason? As long their “organic” ingredient is a “carbon-based chemical,” it meets one of the half-dozen or so dictionary definitions of the o-word—and as a result, cunning corporate wordsmiths are legally entitled to use it.

That’s why consumers who prefer to protect their skin from potentially toxic ingredients should look for a statement confirming their beauty products are 100% free of petrochemicals, parabens, and other synthetic ingredients. The term certified organic offers additional quality assurance, because it indicates that the product contains plant-derived extracts that have been grown and manufactured according to strict third-party standards.

And don’t be surprised if a label or product description doesn’t clearly specify every single ingredient. You may need to do some online sleuthing to get the whole story.

Never settle for anything less than total transparency, accountability, and commitment to quality, safety, and effectiveness. You–and your skin–deserve the best of everything in holistic beauty and health.

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.