LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "plant-derived"

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.

Fair Trade Raw Shea: Butter Up Irritated Winter Skin

As we head into the coldest months of the year, your skin care regimen should focus squarely on keeping surface and underlying skin cells hydrated and nourished. To counteract the dryness and irritation caused by harsh weather and low humidity, I recommend using super-rich moisturizers and emollients whose structure and function mimic those of human skin.

One of the best of best organic oils for protecting and healing the skin in extreme weather is shea butter. Derived from the seed of the West African shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii), this nutrient-packed fat has been valued throughout this region for centuries as a food-oil, cosmetic, and medicine.

Because its natural lubricants closely resemble the sebum produced by the body’s oil glands, shea butter is a safer, more effective alternative to parabens and other petroleum derivatives. The potent mix of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and healing agents in this plant-derived emollient not only softens surface roughness but also penetrates the skin, boosting circulation in the underlying capillaries and stimulating collagen renewal.

In addition to repairing free radical damage, the antioxidant vitamins A and E shea butter act as natural anti-inflammatories and anti-bacterials, soothing itchiness and irritation. When you add the presence of a natural sunscreen, cinnamic acid, to shea butter’s benefits, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of today’s finest anti-aging creams feature this remarkable natural ingredient.

The Fair Trade raw shea butter in my LaVie Organique™ Day Cream, Face Cream, and Eye Cream is 100 percent free of synthetic chemicals and preservatives and produced with environmentally sustainable methods—so it’s as kind to the Earth as it is to your skin.

Lavie Organique is also a proud supporter of Fair Trade Boston. We donated some of our inventory to help support the initiative of making Boston a Fair Trade City. The video below explains what Fair Trade is from local supporters.

Allergic to Exercise?

I have always been a strong advocate of a regular exercise routine as one of the most important things we can do to maintain not only our health but also beautiful, youthful-looking skin. Of course not everyone is a fan of vigorous physical activity, and those who just can’t seem to get themselves off the couch will sometimes claim they’re “allergic to exercise.”

In fact, this claim is no joke to those who suffer from exercise-induced urticaria. As their bodies start to heat up and sweat during exercise, people with this condition will break out in an itchy red rash or big swollen hives. The main culprit involved in this allergic reaction is histamine—a chemical released from our tissues that causes inflammation and swelling by expanding the capillaries underneath the skin surface. In most cases, taking an over-the-counter anti-histamine can relieve these symptoms.

A related condition, exercise-induced anaphylaxis, is far more serious. Intense physical activity can trigger this life-threatening reaction in people who have been exposed to a food, medication, or other substance they are severely allergic to. Symptoms include swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, and nausea. Anaphylactic reactions require immediate medical treatment.

In addition to taking allergy pills, people with simple urticaria can control their symptoms by adopting the following practices:

·      Exercise in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Avoid working out in extremely humid conditions.
·      Wear loose cotton clothing. Synthetic fabrics often irritate the skin.
·      Wash new workout clothes before wearing. High concentrations of substances such as sizing, dyes, and pesticide residues in fabrics can also result in skin irritation.
·      Use an anti-inflammatory cream. Creams and lotions that contain plant-derived anti-inflammatories such as aloe vera 200X, white willow bark extract, and white tea are all good choices.

I’ll be writing more about the importance of exercise to achieving a healthy holistic lifestyle in my upcoming blog posts.

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.

Keep It Moving: Circulation and Skin Health

Lavie Organique in Daily Use

Daily Routine with Lavie Organique

One of the most important benefits of many of the plant-derived ingredients in my Lavie Organique™ Original Formulas is increased blood flow to the skin. The reason is simple. Optimal circulation is fundamental to beautiful, young-looking skin.

In many natural and holistic healing systems, healthy circulation has long been regarded as the key to total body wellness. Both Ayuvedic and traditional Chinese medicine use herbs and botanicals that boost circulation to treat not only wounds and skin diseases, but also a full range of health problems from liver and kidney ailments to depression and impaired memory.

As with many of the treatments developed by early practitioners of intuitive, experience-based approaches to healing, the role of stimulating botanicals can be explained by scientific facts. By transporting oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissues and flushing out excess fluids and waste products, improved blood flow helps boost cell renewal and restore proper function to the skin and other bodily organs.

Skin care products that contain circulation boosters such as caffeine, cinnamon, paprika, rosemary, and white tea frequently provide additional beneficial effects. For example, many of them act as antioxidants, antiseptics, and anti-inflammatories that work in synergy to not only optimize blood flow to the skin, but also its pH level and balance of moisture and sebum.

In addition to a balanced skin care regimen, there are a number of other behaviors you can adopt to improve blood flow to the skin and maintain the overall health of your circulatory system.

1. Don’t smoke! Nicotine constricts blood vessels, starving the skin and other organs of oxygen and vital nutrients.

2. Exercise. A regular exercise program is a great way to ensure your skin stays properly nourished and to optimize conditions for collagen renewal.

3. Eat foods high in iron. Low iron intake can cause in iron-deficiency anemia. This condition involves a detectable drop in the number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to skin and other tissues in our body. Even the strictest vegans can help protect themselves from this type of anemia  by paying close attention to their dietary habits. In addition to eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables, beans, tofu, nuts, and dried fruits, it’s also important to avoid overconsumption of certain salts, minerals, and other substances, such as calcium, antacids, and caffeine, that when consumed in excess can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb iron. Signs of anemia may include extremely pale, thin skin, as well as cracks at the sides of the mouth and sores on the tongue. Some conditions, such as heavy menstruation, can result in anemia despite a diet rich in iron. It’s a good idea to have your doctor check your blood count from time to time to determine whether you need an iron supplement.

4. Be aware of symptoms and causes of poor circulation. Vascular disease as well as diabetes and hypothyroidism can result in decreased blood flow to the skin. Persistent symptoms of these diseases—including swollen legs and feet, puffiness of the face, chronic sores on the mouth, feet, and legs, acne breakouts, and extremely dry skin—should be checked out by your physician.

The Beauty of a Holistic Skin Renewal Regime

The Enjoyable Fragrances of Lavie Organique

The Citrus Scents of Lavie Organique Exfoliating Mask

Like all my skin care products and salon treatments, my signature organic peels and LaVie Organique™ Exfoliating Mask are based on my holistic philosophy. I believe that every skin treatment should address the needs of your skin as a whole. For example, if the SPF 15 sunscreen you use causes acne breakouts, or your toner irritates or dries out your skin, you’re simply trading one skin problem for another one instead of actively promoting healthy, beautiful skin.

A Balanced Formula for Peak Functioning

An exfoliation treatment that does the job of stripping away damaged skin cells but nothing more defeats the purpose of your wintertime skin care regime. When skin is subjected to raw, windy weather and low indoor humidity, the last thing you want is dry, irritated skin. That’s why my exfoliation treatments contain a combination of active ingredients that work in harmony to stimulate cell renewal while restoring the moisture and nutrients needed for optimal functioning. The synergy of this special combination of fruits, herbs, teas, and other plant-derived ingredients is the key to the perfect balance of effectiveness and gentleness my Lavinia Borcau proprietary formulas offer. Each of these botanical extracts delivers important benefits, but used in combination their effects complement and enhance each other. The result is whole that’s more than the sum of its parts—in other words, a total solution to all the environmental and physical stresses that can damage and age our skin.

A Total Skin Care Solution

But a truly holistic skin care regimen doesn’t end with what we put on our bodies; it’s also about what goes in our bodies and what goes on in our mind and our hearts. In the coming weeks, I’ll be telling you more about my holistic approach to looking your best all through the winter and beyond…

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.

The Three Faces of Exfoliation, Part 2: Chemical Exfoliation

The Unappealing Side of Chemical Exfoliation

Twenty-five years ago, the discovery of the bonus benefits of the acne treatment tretinoin (Retin-A) launched a revolution in skin care. Since then the use of synthetic vitamin A derivatives and other chemical exfoliants as anti-aging treatments has swept the beauty industry. At last, there were products and procedures that could dramatically improve the appearance of aging skin. In addition to Retin-A and related skin care products, more extreme versions of chemical seemed to promise a quick fix for every skin problem from acne and oily skin to age spots, warts, and wrinkles. But as with so many “miracle” products, the powerful effects of these chemical treatments come with risks.

Vitamin A Derivatives: A Word of Caution

The active ingredient in tretinoin and its over-the-counter cousins, the various retinol facial treatments retinol, is a vitamin A byproduct that induces a light chemical peel by introducing high doses of vitamin A into the skin. These products can cause severe irritation when used improperly. Women who are pregnant or nursing are warned not to use them because of the link between high doses of vitamin A and birth defects. Many women with sensitive skin find the redness and flakiness caused by these products too unpleasant to tolerate.

A Choice for an Organic Life

The Lavie Organique Product Line

At the right dosage level for your skin type, however, this powerful antioxidant does help restore a more youthful appearance by exfoliating worn-out surface skin cells and promoting cellular renewal in the underlying epidermal layer. With a natural form of vitamin A such as the retinyl palmitate in my LaVie Organique™ Original Formulas, you’re assured of the anti-aging effects of a plant-derived free radical scavenger without the risk of looking and feeling like you have a major case of sunburn.

Synthetic Chemical Peels: What Price Beauty?

Synthetic chemical peels are sometimes referred to as “lunchtime facelifts.” The implication is that you can radically change your appearance quickly, painlessly, and without any downtime. But even light peels with alpha hydroxyl acid (the active ingredient in many acne medications) or synthetic glycolic acid may cause flakiness, redness, and scabbing that can mar your appearance for days or weeks—and the deeper your go beneath the skin’s surface the higher the cost in pain and suffering. A medium trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can cause blistering and severe redness that may make you want to hide your face longer than you’d anticipated. With a deeper peel, the potential are more serious. In fact, the risks of this type of peel are equivalent to the dangers of surgery. This invasive procedure uses phenolic acid, a coal tar-derived industrial solvent and known carcinogen, also known as carbolic acid. Sedation and heart monitoring with an electrocardiograph are required. Recovery time usually takes three or four months and patients generally require strong medication to endure the deep throbbing pain.

The fact is, both TCA and phenol achieve their effects by inflicting a second-degree burn on your face. The severity of this injury to your skin poses serious risks including heart arrhythmias, shock, and infection. And in some cases the final result of all this painful damage can leave you with a ghostly white or brownish complexion.

As a European, I was schooled in a different approach to beauty. We prefer to incorporate a program of gradual, milder exfoliation into our holistic skin care regimen to achieve lasting results over time. I’ll explain more about this approach in Part 3 of “The Three Faces of Exfoliation.”

FAQs: The When, Where, Why, and How of Exfoliation

The When, Where, Why, and How of Exfoliation : FAQ

How often should skin be exfoliated?

Lavie Organique Exfoliating Mask

Use Lavie's Exfoliating Mask for your Weekly Routine.

That depends on a variety of different factors, including your skin type, your age, and the method of exfoliation method you’re using. Your best bet is to consult an experienced skincare professional. As a general rule, however, you can safely exfoliate with an at-home mask once a week. For salon peels and microdermabrasion, I typically recommend a once-a-week program of 5-6 treatments.

When should exfoliation be avoided?

If you have sunburn or an open wound, you should wait to exfoliate until healing is complete. Individuals with serious skin diseases should check with their dermatologist before beginning an exfoliation program.

At what age should a regular exfoliation program become part of my skincare regimen?

The rate of skin cell turnover is the major deciding factor. In very young, healthy skin, cell turnover is usually quite rapid. But by the time we reach the age of 30, the outer layer of our skin has begun to thicken from a buildup of dead skin cells, resulting in a dull, lifeless complexion. In some people, including smokers and individuals with a lot of sun damage, this process can start much earlier. Young people with acne can also benefit greatly from routine exfoliation.

What is the best time of year to have professional exfoliation treatments?

Autumn Skincare

Courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

Fall is the optimal time to shed brown spots, rough scaly patches, fine lines, and other signs of aging, sun damage, and stress with a series of head-to-toe exfoliation treatments. Too much sun can irritate tender, freshly exfoliated skin, so you should wait till summer is over to begin an intensive program.

What kind of products should I use to protect my skin after at-home and salon exfoliation?

Proper aftercare is the key to reaping the full benefits of exfoliation. To keep fragile new skin moist, nourished, and free from irritation, you need powerful sun protection such as zinc oxide, and a daily cleanser,  toner, day cream, and nightly face cream  of the highest quality. Read the label of all your skincare products! Harsh synthetic chemicals, parabens, and other petroleum and mineral oil derivatives can seriously irritate your skin. Products made from certified organic and natural plant-derived ingredients ensure the right combination of potent antioxidants, rich moisture, and gentleness and safety you need for optimal results.

Which methods of at-home and salon exfoliation are the safest and most effective?

This question deserves a detailed answer. I’ll discuss various methods of exfoliation in my next post.