LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "skin care regimen"

Honey: Sweet Relief for Ailing Skin

The benefits of honey as a skin treatment have been recognized for thousands of years. Long used as a wound dressing by traditional healers, honey also enriched the deluxe face creams and soaps prized by aristocratic beauties in Ancient Egypt, Imperial China and Rome, and 18th-century France.

Nature’s Prescription for Depleted Skin

Today, the effectiveness of honey as a cleansing, moisturizing, and anti-aging agent is supported by scientific studies. According to researchers, honey promotes healing and cell renewal by simultaneously playing five vital roles:

1. Humectant By binding water to cells, honey helps keep skin soft and resilient.

2. Antioxidant Honey contains a mix of antioxidant B vitamins that help repair and prevent free radical damage.

3. Antibiotic In addition to releasing the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, honey contains other antibacterial and anti-fungal agents that help heal acne, bedsores, burns, and diabetes-related infections.

4. Exfoliant By gently sloughing off dead surface cells, honey brightens dull skin and encourages healthy collagen and elastin production.

5. Anti-inflammatory Honey’s natural anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling, redness, and irritation.
For a Radiant, Dewy Complexion, Add a Taste of Honey

This remarkable combination of qualities makes honey the perfect antidote to the many diverse ills that  environmental and age-related stresses can inflict on our complexions. To refresh a winter-weary complexion with a thorough “spring cleaning,” try adding a honey-enhanced facial exfoliation mask to your weekly skin-care regimen.

Whether you’ve got dry, sensitive, acne-prone, or combination skin, this soothing, nourishing food will restore balanced functioning and a natural glow.

Image: Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Christian Meyn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Perimenopause Paradox Part 1: Crazy, Mixed-Up Skin

Adult Acne and Lavie Organique

Adult Acne: Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

For many women, their 40s and 50s are the worst of all possible times for their skin. They’re facing not only the return of the blackheads and blemishes that plagued their teenage years, but also the steady accumulation of the visible signs of aging. As one of my clients said recently, “Having to deal with wrinkles and acne at the same time just isn’t fair!” The fact that your complexion’s erratic behavior is also perfectly natural doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Nor are the natural processes that cause aging, acne-prone skin simple and predictable.

Among the many complex physical processes that lead to adult acne two stand out:

  • Hormonal havoc. Although female hormones start dwindling during perimenopause, they seldom go quietly. Levels can fluctuate wildly from day to day and week to week to week. The chain reaction that ultimately leads to an acne flare begins with a spike in androgen levels. As androgen levels rise, the dermal sebaceous glands get bigger. The amount of sebum, or oil, produced by these enlarged glands increases as a result.
  • Inflammation. As excess oil pumped out by the sebaceous glands accumulates in pores and hair follicles it combines with dead skin cells, forming sticky clumps. These clumps of organic matter not only clog pores but also serve as a hearty feast for the different species of bacteria that live there. The fatter and happier these bacteria get, the more they reproduce. The resulting boom in the bacteria population inflames the pores, causing pustules and whiteheads to erupt. Other unsightly manifestations of inflammation such as contact dermatitis, rashes, and dry itchy patches may also develop. These factors together with declining cell function often lead to “combination skin” with oiliness and acne in some areas dryness and flakiness in others.

The lines, wrinkles, sags, enlarged pores, and scaly brown splotches that emerge during perimenopause also entail a variety of factors:

  • Free radical damage Decades of exposure to UV radiation, toxins, and other environmental stressors—as well as the accumulated byproducts of normal metabolic processes—impair the functioning of skin cells and speed their death.
  • Sluggish circulation A variety of factors, including diet, genetics, and habits like cigarette smoking, may reduce blood flow to the skin, depriving it of oxygen and other vital nutrients.
  • Diminished collagen and elastin production In addition to contributing to skin cancer and a host of degenerative diseases, free radical damage interferes with the renewal of collagen and elastin cells. The network of protein fibers formed by these cells supports the skin. When the influx of fresh cells needed to  reinforce this supportive network slows, skin starts losing firmness, strength, and elasticity.
  • Decreased cell turnover As dead cells build up on its surface, skin not only looks increasingly lackluster, but also becomes more susceptible to acne.
  • Habitual facial expressions Sooner or later, a lifetime of smiles, frowns, squints, and other outward expressions of thoughts and feelings leaves lasting imprints on our face.
  • Gravity The lifelong pull of Earth’s magnetic core can lead to jowls and sags when skin becomes thin and weak.

That’s the bad news about perimenopausal skin changes. The good news is that the right skin care regimen can help you overcome these challenges. I’ll tell you how in my next post.

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.

Skin Aging Secrets: Sugar and Wrinkles, Part 2

Controlling Diet-Related Skin Damage

A balanced lifestyle is the first step to minimizing the premature aging linked to high blood sugar levels—and to restoring strength and resiliency to the skin’s collagen fibers. Here are a few simple changes you can make that will have a visible impact on your appearance.

Optimize your carbohydrate tolerance. You can have your doctor test how well your body handles carbs or use an over-the-counter kit to check your blood sugars levels yourself. If the results point to diabetes you will need medical supervision for condition. If your results are in the borderline range you should try these strategies to reduce your blood glucose levels.
·      A regular, vigorous exercise routine.
·      Weight reduction.
·      A low-glycemic diet Include more good carbs (whole grains, beans, and vegetables) and stay away from white flour, sugar, potatoes, and other foods that cause rapid swings in blood sugar.
·      A blood-sugar lowering supplement such as cinnamon extract.
·      Add more B vitamins, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants to your diet.

Adopt an anti-aging skin care regimen. High-quality natural skin care products, such as my Lavie Organique™Proprietary Blends contain a potent combination of botanicals, organic extracts, and vitamins that can help repair free-radical damage,  relieve inflammation, and promote collagen renewal.

These ingredients include the following:
·      Antioxidants  from white tea leaf, soap bark extract, and sea buckthorn seed
·      Caffeine
·      Co-Q10
·      Horsetail extract
·      Capsicum from Hugarian chili peppers
·      Lactic acid
·      Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C)
·      Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
·      Pomegranate (Punica granatum linn) seed extract
·      Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)
·      Rose hip (Rosa canina) seed powder
·      Vitamin E
·      White willow bark extract

Facial Massage: A Touch of Traditional Healing to Complexion Care

A Facial Massage with Lavinia Borcau

A Facial Massage at Lavinia Borcau Day Spa

Speaking of the long-standing focus on healthy circulation  in holistic medical traditions, another time-honored way of optimizing blood flow to the skin is now steadily gaining popularity in U.S. spas—facial massage.

In Europe, where I was trained, mastering traditional facial massage techniques is an essential step in an esthetician’s education. The European approach to massage incorporates many aspects of acupressure, shiatsu, and other holistic therapies used to treat stress, migraine  headaches, PMS, sinus pain, and neuralgia.

Massage has been a an accepted treatment since medicine began. In many great civilizations of the past—including ancient China, Japan, Greece, Persia, and India—the practice of massage was regarded as an important method of maintaining wellness. In the Ayurvedic tradition, massage is believed to stimulate digestion, flush out toxins, and rejuvenate the body.

The results of recent research on the effectiveness of massage suggest it is a useful adjunct to medical care. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine cites scientific studies indicating that massage is effective in reducing heart rate and blood pressure, relieving pain, and improving health. Similar beneficial effects were found in a study of physiological and psychological stress in acute-care nurses.

An expert facial massage should be a regular part of your skin care regimen and is included in my European facial treatments.  It’s a simple, safe and effective way to relax facial lines and bring a fresh, healthy glow to the complexion, while treating yourself to a delightfully refreshing experience.

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.

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 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 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.