Sugar! Sugar?

Yes, it tastes good and we know we should avoid it….but here is what sugar does to you:

  • causes insulin resistance
  • feeds cancer cells
  • causes varicose veins
  • feeds candida yeast
  • compromises your immune system for hours after you eat it
  • wrinkles your skin
  • ages your body
  • causes inflammation
  • fluid retention
  • raises your triglyceride levels
  • depletes nutrients in the body

Do I have your attention now?  Please think twice about eating sugar laden goodies.  Try putting stevia or xylitol in your tea.  You can even bake with xylitol.  You can find these sugar substitutes in your local health foods store.  This is a good step toward better health and better skin.

*Information about sugar was taken from “The Truth About Beauty” by Kat James.

Inexpensive Indulgence

Epsom Salt Bath

Add two cups of Epsom Salt to the water in your bathtub; soak for at least 12 minutes, three times weekly. For an extra treat, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a refreshing scent.

Dissolved in a bath, Epsom Salt is absorbed through the skin to replenish the body’s levels of magnesium. Studies indicate this may help to relieve stress in a number of ways, including:

  • Raising the body’s level of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
  • Offsetting excess levels of adrenaline generated by pressure and stress; magnesium ions relax and reduce irritability by lowering the affects of adrenaline.
  • Helping to regulate the electrical functions that spark through miles of nerves.
  • Lowering blood pressure.

Researchers have found that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in the cells. Experts recommend soaking with Epsom Salt at least three times a week to look better, feel better and have more energy.

*This information was taken straight from the Epsom Salt Council Website

Getting back the glow

When I stopped using harsh products I immediately noticed a glow to my skin.   Now, I suffer from adult acne so I still see some blemishes.  That is something I have to work on internally with my food choices and supplements.  But, now that my skin is not as dried out, my makeup goes on so  much better!  My skin is not as flaky or red as it used to be.  Let me explain why this has happened.

The skin’s outer layer is the stratum corneum.  This outer layer contains most of the skin’s antiaging, antiwrinkling, and antibacterial protection, and it is the skin’s primary sunscreen.  To optimize your skin’s function and ecology you must recover and maintain the stratum corneum.   We harm this layer when we use too many alpha hydroxy acids and harsh products daily on our skin.

The skin also has something called the hydrolipid barrier which retains water.  It is the skin’s waterproof seal that is broken by harsh product regimens.  This barrier is the primary defense against foreign substances, drying, and wrinkling.

The skin’s acid   mantle is made of sweat, mature skin cells, bacteria and sebum.  It is the optimum surface skin environment.  The acid mantle is a naturally low-pH skin surface.  It protects against bacteria.  It can easily be destroyed by harsh skin products.  We must restore the acid mantle in order to control our skin problems.

How do we recover the skin by restoring the natural protection and ecology our skin was meant to have?  The first step is to be careful with exfoliating.  Do not over do it!  Next, you must stop using products with irritating ingredients.   Cleansers with sodium lauryl sulfates can cause the skin to become dry and sensitive.  There are effective ways to cleanse the skin without stripping it.  Cleansers containing natural antimicrobial essential oils can help to normalize sebum production without harming the skin’s natural barrier.    Moisturizers with polysorbates or other emulsifiers can dry out the lipid barrier.  Using an oil that is similar to our own sebum is the answer to this.  Jojoba, apricot kernel, sweet almond, squalene, and emu are good ones to try.

Try this for a week and see for yourself!

Ingredients to stay away from

The campaign for Safe Cosmetics has an excellent brochure out called “Unmasked 10 Ugly Truths Behind the Myth of Cosmetic Safety.”  I would like to share 7 ingredients they recommend to stay away from.  This information is straight from their brochure.

These 7 ingredients are known to cause harm and are in many personal care products.

Mercury– Often listed as thimerosal on ingredient labels, mercury is a possible human carcinogen, and a human reproductive or developmental toxin.  Found in some eye drops, ointments, and mascaras.

Placenta– Produces progesterone, estrogen and other hormones that can interfere with the body’s normal hormone functions and can lead to serious health problems- like breast cancer – when used in cosmetics.  Sometimes used in hair relaxers, moisturizers and toners.

Lead Acetate– This compound of lead is  a known human reproductive and developmental toxin.  Prohibited from use in cosmetics int eh European Union.  Found in some hair dyes and cleansers.

Petrochemicals– These byproducts of crude oil (appearing on labels as petrolatum, mineral oil and paraffin) may contain known  or suspected human carcinogens as well as harmful breakdown products or impurities from manufacturing processes, which are not listed on the ingredient labels.  Found in some hair relaxers, shampoos, anti-aging creams, mascaras, perfumes, foundations, lipsticks and lip balms.

Phthalates– These plasticizing chemicals are probable human reproductive or developmental toxins and endocrine disruptors.  Two phthalates often used in cosmetics (dibutyl adn diethylhexyl) have been banned in the European Union.  Found in some nail polishes, fragrances and hair sprays.

Hydroquinone– A possible carcinogen and probable neurotoxin and skin sensitizer, hydroquinone can also cause a skin disease called ochronosis, which leaves irreversible black-blue lesions on skin.  Found in some skin lightening products and moisturizers.

Nanoparticles– Extremely tiny particles which are largely untested and unlabeled in personal care products, capable of being absorbed directly into the bloodstream.  Found in some eye shadows, bronzers, sunscreens and lotions.

It is also interesting to know that the FDA bans 10 ingredients and the European Union now bans more than 1,100 chemicals from personal care products because they may cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive problems.  I don’t want to scare anyone, just please be aware of what you are putting on your body.  Nobody uses just one product.  Small amounts of these products day after day can accumulate in our bodies.  Be aware!  Check your products!  Find alternatives.

Why exfoliate?

Exfoliating removes dry, dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.  Gentle, consistent exfoliation is essential to aid in cell turnover, revealing a fresher, smoother complexion.  You skin will more easily accept healing hydration from a toner, facial steam, mask or moisturizer.

If your skin has been looking dull and uneven, you need to exfoliate!  Gentle exfoliation can also help acne by getting rid of dead skin cells that can trap oil and bacteria and cause more break outs.  But remember, you do not have to be aggressive.  A mild, gentle approach is important when exfoliating.  It can be as simple as a homemade oatmeal or baking soda scrub  or a yogurt mask.  Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Clay Masks

At one time I didn’t give much thought to clay masks.  I didn’t think they were that great.  After much reading and using them on my clients I have changed my mind.  Clay is extremely mineral rich, which is why it is so good for the skin.  As it dries, it actually raises the temperature of the skin, encouraging toxin and excess sebum removal.   All clay masks gently exfoliate as they tighten, stimulate circulation, remineralize and soften the skin.  Because you can custom any clay mask, it is gentle enough to be used by anyone.  If mixed with water, a clay mask makes a great overnight pimple treatment.  The clay absorbs excess oil during the night and aids in the healing of blemishes.   Avoid clay masks if you have very dry skin since they draw oil from the skin.

Here are some different clays to try:

White Clay- best for sensitive, mature and delicate skin, gentle enough for everyone to use

Green Clay- sometimes called French green clay, best for oily, acneic and combination because it aids in reducing sebum production

Red Clay- best for normal skin

Fuller’s Earth Clay- best for oily and acneic, has skin lightening ability

So, please do not overlook a clay mask.  Clay can be blended with milk, honey, eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, lemon juice, aloe vera, herbs and essential oils to really make a custom mask just for your particular skin type.  I hope you get a chance to try one for yourself!

Yogurt Mask

A yogurt mask is a wonderful inexpensive indulgence!  This is my all time favorite mask.  Yogurt comes in cow sheep or cow varieties.  You can buy full-fat, low-fat or nonfat.  Try and purchase raw yogurt, if it is readily available.  Yogurt acts as a mild, nonabrasive, bleaching exfoliant.  It contains lactic acid, which helps dissolve dead-skin cells.  It leaves behind soft, evenly toned skin.  It can be used on all skin types!*

Apply a thin layer of yogurt over your entire face.  Relax for up to 40 minutes (if you have the time, if not 15 is good).   Rinse your face and apply toner and/or moisturizer.  You will see how soft your skin is.

Enjoy!

*Information from the book”Organic Body Care Recipes” by Stephanie Tourles.