Skin Care For Your Everlasting Beauty

In a previous article I talked in general about the secrets of how to get a Natural makeup look. Now I will cover in more detail all you need to know about a good skin care regimen. I will unveil the skin care secrets that will be the foundation of a lifelong healthy, beautiful face. This will create, support and reinforce a solid basis for astonishing looks and healthier skin.

I have to start by telling you that knowing your skin is the first step to a beautiful and healthy skin. We cannot pick the correct skin care regimen without this knowledge. There are four general types of skin: dry, which is generally manifested by a lack of shine, has fine pores, and it has the tendency to develop early wrinkles; oily, which is exactly the opposite, having extra shine and dilated pores, but without the proper skin care regimen, it can develop blackheads, acne and other problems; normal skin is the dreamy skin just perfect and with a balanced grade of hydration; sensitive skin is not that uncommon, and without the correct skin care regimen can lead to serious skin problems where you least want them. This type of skin has reddish appearance, it may itch, peel, and it feels very tight. Finally mix skin, which combine one or various types of skin in different parts of the face generally on the “T” zone (forehead, nose and shin).

We are continually expelling many toxins from our skin through our sweat. When the water of our sweat dries we are left off with those toxins. Over time, these accumulate, and they damage our skin and make it dry. To remove the makeup of the eyes and mouth we need to use a makeup remover that has the same hydration as the tears. The skin around the eyes and mouth is more prone to wrinkles due to the lack of hydration. When removing the makeup, don’t rub your eyes and mouth. Just use soft and slow movements, doing this will prevent wrinkles. Finally, for the rest of your face, use a product that is for your skin type. Apply the cleaner softly to your face for a minute or so to avoid wrinkles. Some homemade face cleaners are: Lemon and yogurt Milk Cleaner, Strawberry milk cleaner, etc.

A good skin care regimen cannot be complete without a tonic that matches your skin type. The tonic eliminates the rest of the toxins and dirt from your skin leaving it fresh. It is preferable to use a non-alcohol tonic. Alcohol based products can produce more problems to the skin because they can give you the false impression of controlling the oil of your skin, but at the end, can produce even more, causing more unwanted acne and oily skin. It is very important to apply the tonic over very clean skin to get the complete benefit from it. Some good homemade tonics are: Rose water, Chamomile tonic, etc.

Our skin is changing constantly and produces new and young cells every day. These will replace the dead cells, but to allow those new cells to reach that superior level of regeneration, we must get rid of our dead ones. That is why exfoliating our skin, the next step in our skin care regimen is so important. When we don’t exfoliate we are just leaving those dead cells blocking the way to the new cell giving our skin a dull and opaque appearance. Exfoliation removes dead cells leaving a free way for the new ones to regenerate your skin and support a youthful look. This rejuvenating effect is the natural result of removing the dead cells stimulating the production of young and new cells. In addition, with a good exfoliation the lotions and treatments for the skin will have a better absorbtion and will work even better at deeper level. Some homemade exfoliators are: oatmeal, salt, etc.

Let’s talk about a good skin care regimen masque. Incorporating this into your skin care regimen will give your skin a boost of beauty; it will help to prolong and support the good health and look of your skin. With the continuous use of the masque the face will recuperate the firmness and will diminish wrinkles. To maximize its effects, exfoliate before using any masque. This will help the masque to penetrate better and work at the molecular level of your skin. Before applying it, heat the masque a little bit in your hand, this way it will work better. Avoid the eye area, there are masques made specifically for the eyes. By following these simple tips, you will always experience the best of your favorite masque. Some homemade masques are made with: clay, egg, etc.

Now let’s hydrate! After giving your skin all these pampering, it is important to hydrate it. The environmental hazards and aging can change the production of collagen. This has the effect of causing loss of hydration giving your skin a dry, dull and unhealthy look. Fortunately, finding a good moisturizer to complete your skin care regimen will solve the issue. The moisturizer’s function is to keep the water molecules and form a protective shield that avoids water evaporation. When we feel that our skin still feels tight and dry, means that you need more water, and that its time to use the replenishing serum. These are an extra hydration to the skin, it’s more watery, and will be absorb by the skin completely. Some of my recommended homemade moisturizers are: coconut crème, honey crème, etc.

To close, remember that a good skin care regimen is the difference between a beautiful, youthful looking skin and the undesired alternative. Do not skip your daily skin care regimen, and the difference will be happily obvious to you… and others!

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Natural Skin Care – Why Bother?

What is Natural Skin Care?

Natural skin care is normally understood to refer to those products characterised by the absence of synthetic ingredients, such as preservatives, petrochemical derivatives, mineral oils, fragrances and harsh detergents.

Typically, natural skin care products are made using natural ingredients such as plant oils, essential oils, herbal and floral extracts (both aqueous and waxy), that have been prepared in the “old fashion way”, without chemical processing or modification. Sometimes, ethically produced animal derivatives, such as beeswax, may also be present in natural skin care (1).

Natural skin care made with approved organically produced raw materials and practices can be organic certified by the relevant organic organizations.

Unfortunately, there are numerous products in the market that claim to be either natural or that are cleverly marketed for their singular botanical extract or vitamin, amongst a dense cocktail of synthetic ingredients. These are the “pseudo-natural” products (1). To help clarify if a skin care product is really natural, it is recommended to read the ingredients section in the label.

Why is natural skin care better than synthetic?

Products that are made from ingredients that have been extracted naturally from sustainably maintained plants and crops manifest the essence, the energy, the qualities and the benefits of the source raw material, in ways that synthetics ingredients do not.

Simply put, the geographical location, the soil and the water the plants are grown in, as well as the sun exposure, the seasons and harvesting times contribute to the mature plants and crop yields in unique ways.

These factors cannot be mimicked in the laboratory or controlled nurseries, as the natural exposure to the environmental conditions facilitates development of subtle differences in the plants. These are then reflected in the quality of the extracted oils, as well as on their specific composition, properties and benefits.

Besides, synthetic ingredients are produced in laboratories using scientific, yet often hazardous processes involving the use of carbon dioxide, propylene glycol or hexane based methods. Although these chemical agents may only be present is trace amounts in the final synthesised ingredients, it is unclear what effect they might have as they accumulate in our bodies, over a prolonged period of exposure (2).

Of course, some of the natural extracts and oils may also be affected or destabilised by the natural extraction methods used in their preparation. For these reasons manufacturers of natural skin care products give great consideration to the sourcing of their raw materials and how natural ingredients are prepared from the latter.

What is Special About Plant Oils?

Plant oils are made up of complex mixtures of different fatty acids (lipids). It is the specific mix and ratio of these fatty acids that determines the unique character of any oil. In addition to the main lipid fraction, there are also other very important bioactive substances such as the phospholipids, phosphatides, phytosterols, phytoestrogens, isoflavones and vitamins. These bioactives are known as the unsaponifiable fraction of the oil. They normally are present is small amounts and are unique signatures of the oils (3).

To demonstrate how the oil composition determines the difference in functional properties, the typical fatty acid profile of apricot kernel and borage oils as described in Kusmirek (3) are compared below.

1 – Apricot kernel oil is a mixture of 58 – 74% of oleic acid, 25 – 30% of linoleic, with the remainder 4 – 7% composed of palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic and alpha-linolenic acids. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 0.5 -0.75%.

2 – Borage oil is a mixture of 30 – 40% linoleic acid, 8 – 25% gamma linolenic acid, 15 – 20% oleic acid, 9 – 12% palmitic acid, 3 – 4% stearic acid, 2 – 6 % eicosenoic acid. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 1%.

Apricot kernel oil is a great nourishing and emollient oil that is easily absorbed. These properties are attribute to the high percentages of oleic and linoleic acids. Furthermore, apricot kernel oil is also an excellent source of vitamin A, present in the unsaponifiable matter.

Borage oil is known for its nourishing and penetrating properties attributed to the presence of linoleic and oleic acids, but in addition the high content of gamma-linolenic acid confers its regenerating and firming qualities.

The differences in the properties of apricot kernel and borage oils, as well as those of other oils not discussed here, demonstrate the importance to blend various plant oils for optimal skin care, so that the skin is adequately fed, continuously hydrated, smooth feeling and equipped to regenerate efficiently. These are essential to promote a healthy skin glow, regardless of age.

But, even if the synthetics oils were to reproduce the exact mixes and ratios of plant derived fatty acids and unsaponifiables, it would be nearly impossible to mimic into the synthetic oils the contribution from the energy that is held in the plant, from which the equivalent natural oils were extracted. Thus, natural ingredients are different from their synthetic equivalents.

What about essential oils and other botanicals?

Essential oils are concentrated extracts of aromatic and other volatile plant substances, sometimes containing growth factors known for their regenerative properties. They are the source of the scents of nature and may be used to add scent to natural products. Because of their concentrated nature and high cost to produce, only small amounts of essential oils are used in natural skin care. Besides, as essential oils may be irritating to the skin, they should never be used undiluted.

In contrast to oils, floral/herbal waters are the aqueous extracts from flowers/plants. Naturally produced oils and aqueous extracts are made through distillation, steaming, or infusion techniques. These are slow and often inefficient processes that add to cost. But, the products generated using non-synthetic approaches are much safer and healthier than those extracted with the use of artificial methods.

Is there a problem with the variation in natural ingredient batches?

The quick answer is NO!

Certainly, naturally produced ingredients show “batch variation”, but this is part of nature, demonstrating the cycles of change. These are natural bio- rhythms, and as with everything in nature sometimes there is abundant sunshine, other times there are only clouds. Naturally, these weather changes affect the growth patterns of the plants.

This means that periodically some of the natural ingredients may contain a slightly higher or lower percentage of one or even several of the components, but over a period of time, these variations balance out. The key point is that the overall effect of using natural ingredients is still beneficial in the long run.

Supporters of the mainstream cosmetic industry object to this variation associated with natural ingredients. Instead they advocate that synthetic ingredients are a far better option to manufacture any products, including skin care. They argue that synthetic ingredients are scientifically controlled, exacting, standardised and can be made in a totally reproducible manner. But, at the end of the day…they are not natural!

What about preservatives, stabilisers and emulsifiers?

Sure, preservatives and stabilisers extend the shelf-life of any product, natural and synthetic (1,2,4). Because of this recognition European and USA organic and regulatory organisations have approved the use of certain preservatives for which there has been long standing accumulation of safety and toxicity data, e.g. blends of dehydro-acetic acid. These preservatives were designed to replace the paraben family of preservatives in the personal care products. Though natural products ought to have the minimal necessary amounts of preservatives.

Without a doubt, preservatives such as the parabens, the phenol derivatives and the denatured alcohols are extremely effective, as they increase the product shelf-life almost indefinitely! But, they are also known to interfere with hormone balance and can be allergenic (1,2). Clearly, they are not health promoting substances. As they are readily absorbed by the skin and are long lasting, their long-term effects on distal organs are unknown, and thus undesirable.

Interestingly, vitamin E is a powerful natural anti-oxidant, as well as a fantastic natural preservative for oil blends and emulsified oils (2). Extracts of rosemary and oregano are also considered natural preservatives because of their anti-bacterial properties (2). However, these are not frequently used as they impart a strong scent and may give rise to some skin irritation. This is an example of where caution has to be exercised with natural substances. Though these occurrences are more the exception than the rule.

Alginic acid obtained from brown algae is sometimes used as a stabiliser (4). But, allantoin, an extract from comfrey root is a more suitable natural stabiliser for skin care preparations (2).

Emulsifiers are substances that help to prevent the parting of the of oil and water fractions in a cream or lotion. In natural skin care these include lethicin and the wax cetearyl alcohol (1,2,4). Lecithin is extracted from soya beans and is known to soften the skin and help penetration of the skin care product. Cetearyl alcohol is a mix of the high melting point cetyl and stearyl fatty acids derived from either animal or plant fats. In natural skin care it is preferable to have plant sourced cetearyl alcohol. Apart from its great emulsifying properties, this fatty acid mix facilitates maintenance of skin hydration.

So, what’s he take home message?

Regardless of some of the limitations of natural skin care, the natural ingredients in these products are still far more beneficial than those that are completely synthetic. Synthetics are unable to reproduce the unique heterogeneous and nourishing character of the natural extracts and oils, as discussed above.

Technology aside, it is also clear that there are major financial gains for manufacturers to use mostly, if not strictly synthetic ingredients. The cost of producing natural skin care products is of necessity higher than that of synthesising vast quantities of easy to make and use synthetic ingredients. Compared to their equivalent natural counterparts they afford versatility on the production line, on the shelf-life, as well as on profitability.

These attributes of scientifically designed skin care in the 20th century satisfied the increasing market desire for youth elixirs. However, since the 1960’s growing conscious awareness of what was in our food, demand for natural and organic products increased. This requirement extended to the personal care sector also. Indeed, the natural and organic cosmetics market has been the fastest growing sector of the personal care products since the late 1980’s.

Fortunately nowadays, the driver is not purely for skin care that makes you look good, but for products that can achieve this goal with respect for human beings and the environment.

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Skin Care Tips: My Top Ten List

The right skin care tips can make the difference between having so-so looking skin and having the type of skin that makes you the envy of everyone you encounter. If you are thinking that these skin care tips are all about buying expensive products, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Having a daily skin care routine that you follow religiously, as well as good overall health habits will make the difference between rough, dull-looking skin, and a smooth, fresh-looking complexion, no matter what your skin type is. It doesn’t take a lot of time to implement these tips, but consistency is the key.

If you are still young and have that perfect skin of youth, be aware that your looks are fleeting. If you don’t take the time to properly care for your skin now, in 10 or twenty years down the road, you will clearly see the signs of neglect, and so will everyone you meet. Smoking, tanning and a poor diet will leave you with a skin looking like a pair of beat-up shoes. No one wants that, so plan to take good care of your skin now. If you are older, you can’t turn back the hands of time, but good skin care can help arrest the signs of aging.

To follow are some great skin care tips to keep you looking fresh and lovely, no matter what your age is.

1) Stay away from smoking, and drinking to excess.

It’s fine to have the occasional glass of wine or a cocktail, but excess drinking can age you fast. Both cigarettes and booze contain toxins that are terrible for your skin. Smokers are well-noted for having premature aging due to constantly pursing their lips around a smoke, and the deadly toxins in cigarettes. Smokers will generally form wrinkles at a much younger age, and those that hit the bottle hard will develop early wrinkles and have blotchy skin.

2) Use sun protection.

This cannot be stated enough: Excess sun exposure will give you wrinkles and skin that looks more akin to your leather furniture than fresh and dewy. While some people think they just cannot be without a “golden glow” from tanning, their skin will eventually pay the price.

Get into the habit of applying a moisturizer with built in UV protection everyday, not just on sunny days. During the summer when the sun is most intense, make sure to use sunscreen on any exposed areas of the skin, and be sure to cover up when the sun is at its peak at midday. Not only will this keep your skin looking younger for longer, it will also help protect you from getting deadly skin cancers.

3. Hydration– It can’t be stated enough that this is one of the most important keys to healthy skin.

Your beverage of choice should be water, not sodas or coffee, if you want beautiful skin. You must drink water consistently throughout your day as well. A sip of water now, but nothing for hours afterwards leads to dehydration. Water flushes out impurities, helps keep the skin moisturized from the inside out, and also helps you to control your weight.

4) Getting enough sleep is crucial for great skin.

Not only does lack of sleep show on your skin, it also affects your overall health. If you are overtired, you are not at your most productive anyway, so why not call it a night, and get the rest you need?

Getting adequate sleep will help to reduce your stress levels and give your skin time to regenerate during your sleeping hours.

5) Exfoliating to remove dead skin cells reveals a fresher-looking complexion.

Your skin renews itself by producing new skin cells and pushing old, dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. Exfoliation removes these dead skin cells, and reveals more lustrous skin hiding beneath old dull skin cells. Dry skin should not be over-exfoliated; once or twice a week is ample for that skin type. Oily and normal skin can take more frequent exfoliation; perhaps 3-4 times weekly. Make sure to use an exfoliant that is appropriate for your skin type, and don’t over-do it. Your skin is delicate, so don’t scrub at it like it’s the kitchen sink.

6) Throw out old skin care products.

Nearly all skin care products have a “use-by” date, and it is important to adhere to it. The ingredients in these product break down over time and being exposed to the air. If you see lotions or creams separating, or you notice a funky smell from any of your skin care products, get rid of them pronto. They are likely contaminated with bacteria, which can lead to skin irritation and break-outs.

7) Limit sodium intake.

Too much sodium dehydrates you, leaving you with wrinkly, aged-looking skin.

8) Keep it clean–Cleanse your skin morning and night.

A creamy cleanser is best for dry-to-normal skin types, while oily, acne prone skin may benefit from an anti-bacterial cleaners. One of the best things you can do for your skin is to remove all traces of makeup before going to sleep at night. This avoids contaminating your pillow, leading to breakouts.

9) Use a toner that is right for your skin type.

Toners remove any lingering traces of make-up and oil from the skin. This enables your moisturizer to penetrate the pores more effectively, and do a better job of keeping your skin moist and healthy. If your skin is on the dry side, skip the toner on your cheeks. Instead, just stroke it on with a cotton ball to the oilier areas of your face; the forehead, nose and chin.

10) Use the right moisturizer for your skin type and use it faithfully.

Oily skins need an oil-free, lightweight moisturizer, while mature skin that tends to be on the dry side can benefit from a rich moisturizer, particularly at night. Avoid moisturizers with artificial fragrances or colorants.

If you have very dry skin, you may benefit from moisturizers known as “humectants” as they draw in additional moisture from the atmosphere to soothe dry skin.

11) Move it.

Exercise brings blood and nutrients to the surface of the skin, and sweating removes impurities, so it is fantastic for your skin. Just remember to shower promptly when you are finished to keep your pores from being clogged by sweat. This will prevent outbreaks and rashes.

If you follow these skin care tips, you are well on your way to the type of skin that will be the envy of all of your friends, no matter what your age.

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