Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feed Your Skin and Be Beautiful

Research proves that consuming healthy foods can help your skin have a youthful, plump, radiant, glowing appearance. In 2007, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study done by British researchers that examined whether the food people eat affects the way their skin looks—and the answer was clear. More pronounced wrinkles were found in those with a higher intake of bad fats and processed carbohydrates (such as white bread and packaged cookies and snacks), while a diet rich in vitamin C was found to reduce wrinkling later in life. It’s just more proof that food has a lot to do with the beauty of your skin.
Foods that are rich in Vitamin C:
#1: Red and Green Hot Chili Peppers
#2: Guavas
#3: Bell Peppers
#4: Fresh Herbs (Thyme and Parsley)
#5: Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Mustard Greens, Garden Cress)
#6: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
#7: Kiwi Fruits (Chinese Gooseberries)
#8: Papayas (aka: Lechoza, Mamão, Pawpaw)
#9: Oranges and Clementines (Tangerines)
#10: Strawberries
And for topical cosmeceuticals full of antioxidants, preventing premature wrinkles, visit

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Berry Shake a day - keeps Cancer away

We all know there are benefits to healthy eating - but what you may not realize is that a wholesome diet along with exercise and a healthy weight can prevent cancer. Below is a recipe from Dr. Julia Greer that includes some of the best secret-weapon ingredients to prevent cancer. 
The night before preparing this shake, wrap sliced banana in plastic wrap or place in a freezer storage bag and freeze. This recipe's anthocyanins, found in berries, and calcium, found in milk, may help prevent colon and breast cancers.

Makes 2 servings 
1 medium banana, sliced into chunks and frozen
1/4 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
1/4 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries
1-1/2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon 
Table spoon of ground Flax seeds.

In a blender, combine all ingredients except cinnamon. Blend 20 seconds or more until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

Cow's milk can be substituted with Almond or Coconut milk.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekend skin treat. Nourishing Hydration Masque

  • ½ avocado (peeled & pitted)--moisturizing. vitamin-rich
  • 3 seedless grapes--tightening, toning, antioxidant
  • 1 egg--tightening, hydrating and adds protein value
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise--nourishing
  • 1 teaspoon honey--anti-blemishes & anti-wrinkle
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda--ph balancer, gentle cleanser
  • 2 teaspoons apple juice--exfoliating

Puree the avocado and grapes until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend on medium speed for 45 seconds. Apply mixture evenly to face & leave on for 10-15 minutes. Feet up - relax and have some "me" time, gorgeous.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Working With Winter Skin Ailments

Winter is coming. Even though around the country the climates vary, the problems our skin experiences are similar. In the winter your skin deals with a lot of harsh environments, strong winds, cold air, indoor heaters, rain, snow, sleet and an overall lack of a good healthy dose of sunlight. We are left with dry skin that can become chapped and cracked. But have no fear the cures to your skin’s winter ailments are simple. Your skin’s goals this winter should be to moisturize, exfoliate and moisturize again. Keep moisture in mind with all the choices you make in your skin care regime. Your skin functions differently in the winters so you need to change your routines.
Winter is the time of year when you need to put away your foaming and soap cleansers and stock up on crème cleansers. Cleansing crèmes, lotions and milks are very effective cleansers and they do not contain the typical surfactant or detergent ingredients that most cleansing gels contain which can be too harsh on your skin in the winter months.
Put away your astringents and switch to a toner for winter. Your skin needs to be soothed and balanced and not dried out further by an astringent.
Choose heavier crèmes in the winter than you would in the summer months. Feel free to use your heavy eye crème around your lips and entire face. If your skin is itching it is because the dry air of winter is causing the moisture in the top layer of your skin to evaporate quickly. You will need to slather those areas with extra moisture until you feel relief. Never be afraid of using pure oils on your skin in the winter months. A bottle of jojoba oil or olive oil is a great thing to have on hand all winter. During the cold and flu season you should wash your hands liberally but be certain to apply a heavy hand crème every time you wash your hands.
Exfoliate twice per week to remove dead skin cells and allow your skin to absorb the extra moisture you are lathering on. The central heating plays havoc on the sebum our skin normally produces, which makes our skin lose water which should be retained in the lower dermis of the skin. Have you ever wondered about the areas of your skin that looks like your skin is flaking off your body? What happens is that during the winter months there are thousands of dry skin cells ready to be sloughed off the surface and they become clumped together with oil which forms what appear to be flakes. Don’t be flaky, exfoliate! Exfoliate your skin with crème based exfoliates with jojoba beads and your body will soak up the rich oils of a butter or oil based body scrub.
For a simple in home hydrotherapy, start out your day with a hot steamy shower and just as you are finishing switch the water to cold for about fifteen seconds. Repeat the process for two minutes. This hydrotherapy technique will revitalize your skin by stimulating the flow of blood through the skin.
In the Shower and Bath:
One of the greatest times to apply body oil or creme is right after a hot bath or shower, but did you know you can apply any oil, lotion or creme while you are in the shower or bath. You can even use your hair conditioner all over your body for soft and supple skin. The heat and steam from the shower allows your skin to thoroughly absorb moisture. Once you bring your body oil, lotion and creme into the shower try shaving with them. The rich oils protect your skin and give your razor a perfect glide.  After you try it you might never go back to shaving with soap or shaving cream.
Your skin will benefit from following some of the tips of summer, eat healthy whole food, use SPF products and drink plenty of water. But for winter you simply need to remember to moisturize, exfoliate and moisturize again!
This article first appeared in the November/December issue of HK Magazine Online.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekend (and any day) skin treat - Fruit Facial Masque

Many cosmetic companies are now using fruit acids (AHAI’s), vitamins (antioxidants) and enzymes in many beauty products. In organic beauty, only fresh ingredients are used and therefore a highly active and most effective cure can be given. You will be amazed at how something as simple as dabbing some fresh lemon juice on your face every morning can make an vast difference in how soft your skin feels.
Try any of the following fruit acids, but always take care to avoid your eyes.
Lemon juice
Malic acid (apples, vinegar, applesauce, cider)
Lactic acid (buttermilk, yogurt, powdered skim milk, sour cream, blackberries, tomatoes)
Tartaric acid (grapes, grape juice, wine, cream of tartar)
Citric acid (citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruit, and orange)
Glycolic acid (sugar cane)
We all are aware of the fact that fresh fruits are good for health and the core vitamin and the mineral lies in the pulp and the skin of any fruit. And just as they are useful to the body, these nutrients can provide excellent rejuvenating factor for our skin too. If you know the properties of each fruit, you can pamper yourself with an all-natural fruit mask, without spending too much time or money. 

First up:
Carrot Facial masque

  • 1 medium sized carrot (rich in vitamin A)
  • Half a cup honey (anti bacterial)
  • Mashed papaya or banana (contains enzymes, rejuvenating)
  • 2 table spoons of yogurt (mild AHA)
Blend the carrot in a blender along with honey, and papaya or banana. Add yogurt to make a thick paste. Apply all over face for around 20 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. Your face will instantly glow. Have fun.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Magic of Honey for your skin

Honey is great for the skin. It can be used directly on the skin as a mask or added with other ingredients. The following recipes are designed to be mixed and used immediately. Honey will only suspend ingredients for a short period of time. We have retail ready honey spa products at Essential Wholesale for those wishing to create a product line from honey.
There are plenty of reasons to add honey to your beauty regimine for all skin types. Honey is a well known antibacterial and antifungal agent. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Honey also contains powerful antioxidants which fight free radicals. Honey is a humectant, which means it binds moisture to the skin.

Honey Exfoliating Masque
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp poppy seeds
Mix together thoroughly and gently exfoliate in upward circular motion, leave on as masque for up to 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly.

Honey Masque for Dry Skin
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp olive oil
1 egg yolk

Mix together thoroughly, gently apply in upward circular motion, leave on as masque for up to 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly.

Honey Facial
1 tbsp warmed honey
Open facial pores with warm steamy wet towel, apply warm honey, leave on for up to 20 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

Honey Body Scrub
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp fine salt

Mix together thoroughly and exfoliate body from the heart towards the outer limbs.
Enjoy and have fun beautiful!

Sensitive and Allergy-prone Skin

For those who suffer from allergies there is a tendency to label a cosmetic ingredient or a cosmetic in general as bad, because of your allergy. I know, because I’ve had my moments as an allergy sufferer in which I want to assume all products that have allergy triggers are bad. But it simply isn’t true. The bad guy in my body really is my immune system and not the allergen.

An allergy is the body’s immune system rejection of a substance. It is caused when the immune system sees a substance as a foreign invader. In reaction to the “foreign invasion” the body sends T-cells (a group of white blood cells) out to fight, which in skin allergic reactions causes redness and irritation. Your risk of developing an allergy to cosmetics isn’t necessarily related to the natural or chemical formulation of a cosmetic, but instead it is related to your parents’ allergy history.

Skin Allergies
Skin allergies are very common, but allergies can impact any area of the body. A skin allergy reaction can appear in the form of a rash, welt or hives. These inflammations of the skin may be in isolated patches or in general areas.

To have an allergic reaction you simply need to have been exposed at least one time to a substance at which time your body identified it as a foreign invader. The next time you are exposed to that substance your body sends out the troops to protect itself and suddenly you have an allergic reaction. Your body has an exaggerated immune response. The same substance will cause absolutely no reaction in non-allergic people because the body sees the substance as harmless, because it is if you aren’t allergic to it. Many times an allergic reaction shows up on the skin whether it was caused by topical exposure or not.

Sensitive Skin
People with red hair, or who have Celtic, Irish, British or Scottish heritage often suffer from sensitive skin, which is characterized by very thin, fragile and pink colored skin.

Sensitive skin is often mistaken for allergy-prone skin. In sensitive skin the blood vessels and nerve endings are closer to the surface of the skin, which causes it to get irritated and redden easily from external or internal irritants. Not only can topical application of a cosmetic cause sensitive skin to redden, but so can eating spicy food, consuming caffeine or alcohol, taking niacin (Vitamin B3), exposure to sun or tobacco use.

Sensitive skin is much more likely to develop reactions and allergies to cosmetics, however many reaction to cosmetics for people with sensitive skin may not be associated with true allergies. It takes special attention to the details of foods and cosmetic ingredients to isolate what is causing simply red irritated skin and what is the cause of a true allergy. Either way anyone with sensitive skin knows that whether it is a true allergy or simply a reaction from sensitive skin it is desirable to avoid the cause of the reaction in the future.

Hypoallergenic Cosmetics
There is no such thing as hypoallergenic cosmetics. It is an oxymoron, because there are absolutely no substances on earth that can be guaranteed to not cause an allergic reaction for some people.  Hypoallergenic really means that it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Common Allergens is Cosmetics and Household Products
Fragrances are a common source of allergic reaction in cosmetics. Again, there simply is nothing on earth, whether man-made or natural that is guaranteed to be hypoallergenic. A commonly unknown cause of allergic reaction to “fragrance free” cosmetics is actually fragrance chemicals. Yes, you read that right. There are often still fragrance oils in fragrance free cosmetics. This is one loophole in the cosmetic law that I would love to see closed. It is perfectly legal to call your product fragrance free and not label it with the term fragrance if, and only if, the fragrance was added to mask the aroma of another chemical in the formulation. 

“The ingredient or mixture of ingredients acting as a masking agent, i.e., covering the undesirable off-odor of a product without adding a discernable odor to it, may be declared by their individual name(s) or as "fragrance" (in lieu of a better designation). A masking agent present in a product at an insignificant level may be considered an incidental ingredient under § 701.3(1)(2)(iii) in which case it need not be declared on the label.” Source: FDA Labeling Manual

Sunscreens contain ingredients that are common allergens, but on the other hand no use of sunscreen can cause sun light allergies. You simply can’t win when you are allergy-prone. One tip that can be given is to apply sunscreen prior to going out in the sun. Hot skin can intensify the reaction.

If you are allergy-prone the very best first step you can take in stopping ongoing reaction is to change your laundry detergent, dryer sheets and fabric softeners. Your clothes comes in contact with a large portion of your body and can commonly be the cause of rashes, hives and welts. Switch to a chemical and fragrance free laundry products.

If you’ve determined your laundry detergent is okay, do a patch test on your shoulder blade. Simply put a dab of product on your shoulder blade and then cover it with a large plaster in order to avoid rubbing of the product off on your clothes. After an hour you should know if there is a reaction.
By Kayla Fioravanti

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What you didn't know about the cellulite.

Until recently cellulite was considered a solely cosmetic condition. Now, research has shown that changes over time in the body's skin structure actually lead to the transformation of fat cells into cellulite. And that falls into a medical condition.

Cellulite develops in five stages, described below:

Stage One

Blood microcirculation, venous flow, and/or lymphatic drainage to the subcutaneous layer are impaired. Reduced blood microcirculation starves and weakens the surrounding tissue, making it more susceptible to cellulite. Reduced venous flow translates to higher fluid retention and pooling of the blood. Reduced lymphatic drainage means that lymph fluids, which normally carry waste away from the cells, are trapped in the area. The septae connective tissue may begin to become more fibrous. In this stage, all of the changes are not visible to the naked eye. There may not be any other symptoms, with the possible exception of cuts and bruises taking longer to heal because of the impaired circulation.

Stage Two

Once circulation is lessened, the capillaries and veins become weakened and leak blood into the surrounding tissue. This increases the pressure in the tissue, and restricts circulation and fluid drainage even more. In this stage, you may notice thicker and more tender skin than normal, as well as discoloration or broken veins. The skin may also bruise more easily. However, there is no appearance of the lumpy cellulite bumps yet.

Stage Three

After a few months of lymphatic fluid build up, the fat tissue become swollen and begin to push against the outer skin In this stage, the first signs of lumps and the "orange peel" look appear.

Stage Four

The stagnant lymphatic fluid cause the fibrous septae to congeal into thicker fibers. Cells starved of oxygen and nutrients may also become incorporated into these fibers, thus adding to the fibers' thickness. These fibers begin to trap and squeeze the fat cells, which press on the surrounding tissue and reduce even more circulation in the area. Because of the lack of circulation, the skin may feel cold to the touch.

Stage Five

Because of the high pressure, blood circulation is re-routed around the cellulite area. Septae fibers continue to grow to an extent that the fat cells are completely trapped. Although fat continues to be stored in these cells, it is not efficiently removed from it (through exercise or diet) because of the poor circulation. In this stage, the thick fibers, trapped fat cells, and stagnant fluids form a huge honeycomb structure called steatomes. This causes large lumps and bumps that are the hallmarks of cellulite.

Aside from the poor blood circulation, excessive cellulite maybe caused:

* On lower portion of stomach. It's thought to be linked to digestive disorders. Indeed, many women with stomach cellulite have irritable bowel, constipation, or liver disorders.
* Neck. Constant stress is thought to increase the likelihood of a cellulite accumulation or fatty lump in the back of the neck. Prolonged stress can manifest in tension in neck muscle, leading to misaligned vertebrae and inflammed tissue. In turn, this inflammation can cause fluid retention which can lead to cellulite formation. Fortunately it's not one of the most noticeble places.
* Upper arm. Cellulite in the upper arm usually occurs in older women, and is usually associated with cellulite in the leg. It is thought to be triggered by reduced venous flow or impaired vein systems in the arm.

The predisposition to cellulite seems to be genetically inherited also, just like a lot of other disorders. Some people simply have more fat cells, weak veins, fragile lymphatic vessels, poor circulation or hormonal sensitivity. And stress can be a cause too. Prolonged stress and the associated increased surge of adrenaline, can actually lead to increased fat storage in the stomach, hips, buttocks, and thighs.

And last, but not least. Smoking. Everyone knows that smoking is a health hazard. But it is not widely known that cigarette smoking can also lead to cellulite. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals or highly charged oxygen molecules that are very damaging to vein and capillary walls, causing inflammation and leaking. Furthermore, cigarette's nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and can also cause small blood vessels to constrict, and thus reduce microcirculation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

FDA allowable active ingredients in sunscreens

UV filter Other names Maximum concentration
p-Aminobenzoic acid PABA 15% (USA, AUS); 5% (EU)
Padimate O OD-PABA, octyldimethyl-PABA, σ-PABA 8% (EU, USA, AUS); 10% (JP) (Not currently supported in EU and may be delisted.)
Phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid Ensulizole, Eusolex 232, PBSA, Parsol HS 4% (USA, AUS); 8% (EU); 3% (JP)
Cinoxate 2-Ethoxyethyl p-methoxycinnamate 3% (USA); 6% (AUS)
Dioxybenzone Benzophenone-8 3% (USA, AUS)
Oxybenzone Benzophenone-3, Eusolex 4360, Escalol 567 6% (US); 10% (AUS, EU); 5% (JP)
Homosalate Homomethyl salicylate, HMS 10% (EU, JP); 15% (USA, AUS)
Menthyl anthranilate Meradimate 5% (USA, AUS)
Octocrylene Eusolex OCR, 2-cyano-3,3diphenyl acrylic acid, 2-ethylhexylester 10% (USA, AUS, EU, JP)
Octyl methoxycinnamate Octinoxate, EMC, OMC, Ethylmethoxycinnamate, Escalol 557, 2-ethylhexyl-paramethoxycinnamate, Parsol MCX 7.5% (US); 10% (EU, AUS); 20% (JP)
Octyl salicylate Octisalate, 2-Ethylhexyl salicylate, Escalol 587, 5% (EU, US, AU); 10% (JP)
Sulisobenzone 2-Hydroxy-4-Methoxybenzophenone-5-sulfonic acid, 3-benzoyl-4-hydroxy-6-methoxybenzenesulfonic acid, Benzophenone-4, Escalol 577 5% (EU); 10% (US, AU, JP)
Trolamine salicylate Triethanolamine salicylate 12% (USA, AUS)
Avobenzone 1-(4-methoxyphenyl)-3-(4-tert-butylphenyl)propane-1,3-dione, Butyl methoxy dibenzoylmethane, BMDBM, Parsol 1789, Eusolex 9020 3% (US); 5% (EU, AUS);10% (JP)
Ecamsule Mexoryl SX, Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid 10% (EU, AUS)

*Source, Wikipedia,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pomegranate - a Cosmeceutical Ingredient

Pomegranate fruits have been cultivated since historic times as symbols of fertility, royalty,
hope and abundance. Its herbal use dates back to more than 300 years. Celebrated in art,
mythology, religious texts and literature for centuries. Some have suggested that it was
pomegranate, not an apple that led to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of
Eden. The pomegranate probably originated in Iran and Afghanistan and was brought to
China a century and a half before the Christian era. The pomegranate tree leaf, in the
Zoroastrian religion is considered as the representative of the vegetable world which
supplies sustenance to man and much used in rituals and domestic observances.

Pomegranate is freely sold in the United States as a fruit juice. Grocery store pomegranate
juices are not usually standardized and a large part of the price you pay goes to cover the
cost of shipping the heavy glass bottles, which contain mostly water. A recent profusion of
pomegranate nutraceutical products, "standardized to 40% ellagic acid," has appeared in
the marketplace. The beneficial neutraceutical properties of Pomegranate are due to the
synergy among the various pomegranate fractions and phytochemicals and not simply the
concentration of ellagic acid. It is considered undesirable to design and engineer
pomegranate nutraceutical products to maximize the concentration of a single
phytochemical. UK-based Reading Scientific Services (RSSL) has now developed a reliable
test based on ellagic acid, which can be used to indicate the pomegranate concentration.
Ellagic acid is a dimer of gallic acid and an extremely common plant phenolic with anticancer
and antioxidant benefits.

The specific trienoic fatty acid and a major component of Pomegranate Seed Oil is Punicic
acid. Punicic acid potently inhibits prostaglandin biosynthesis and contributes to the total
anti-inflammatory potential of pomegranate. Chemical name 9Z, 22E, 13Z-octadeca-9, 11,
13-trienoic acid.
In recent years there has been an increase in use of botanicals with antioxidant properties
as skin photo protective agents. Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) fruit has been
extensively used in traditional medicine in various parts of the world. Pomegranate fruit possesses strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a rich source of many
phenolic compounds, which include flavanoids such as anthocyanins, anthocyanidins,
catechins and other complex flavanoids, ellagitannins and hydrolyzable tannins such as
punicallin, pendunculagin, punicalagin, gallagic and ellagic esters of glucose. Whole fruit
extract has been standardized to provide the biologically active punicalagins that are unique
to pomegranate. Studies have shown that pomegranate juice possesses antiproliferative,
antiatherogenic, antiinflamatory and antitumoriogenic effects. These effects of
pomegranate-derived products appear to be attributable to its free radical scavenging and
antioxidant properties.

Win the War against Dry Skin

The main cause of dry skin (Xerosis) is exposure to factors that strip away essential, protective lipids from our skin. There are also medical reasons for dry skin such as certain drugs, hypothyroidism or diabetes which should be evaluated and treated by your doctor. But for the 100 million of us that suffer from the other common causes of dry skin, here are some tips to help protect the largest organ of our body.

With every change in the season, there’s a new battle that you need to fight to keep your skin in good health. And the toughest of these is fighting dry and hard skin, which is usually seen during winters. And well, it’s not just the weather that makes your skin dry and cracked; there could be several other reasons behind the problem such as poor eating habits, malfunctioning subcutaneous oil glands, thyroid malfunction and side effects of prescription drugs.

The intensity of the dry skin problem may vary, and if the problem is mild, a regular application of some basic moisturizer may be quite enough way to prevent the skin from drying out. However, when your dry skin problem is a little on the extreme, and you experience cracking of the skin, then you need to think beyond the regular moisturizers and cold creams. Whatever be the severity of the problem, make it a golden rule to never use hot water to wash your face and to never rub the towel on your skin. Be gentle to your skin and always pat it dry, because vigorous rubbing can irritate and damage the skin. And while your skin is still damp, apply some moisturizer to your skin. This will help to lock in the moisture in the skin tissues before it evaporates into the air. Cleansing and moisturizing are two activities which must take place one after the other. And when you apply the moisturizer, be sure to apply it around your eyes and on your throat, because most women tend to ignore these areas. To cleanse your skin, go in for the mildest of the cleansers, and preferably one which has a neutral pH balance as these are less likely to contain skin irritating detergents.

And before you finally crash for the day, make it a habit to cleanse and moisturize your face and you’ll be glad to see soft and moisturized skin when you get up the next morning. And lastly, milk is known to offer a lot of relief in dry skin problem, so how about pampering your skin with a milk bath at least once a week.

You are what you eat. Eating foods rich in Vitamin E and F such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and salmon or taking omega rich supplements will result in a visible difference to your dry skin within 6 weeks.

A high carb, high sugar diet, on the other hand, will increase your cortisol or stress hormone levels triggering the inflammatory response that leads to dry, sensitive skin.

Stop the hand-sanitizer epidemic! The main antiseptic ingredient in anti-bacterial hand sanitizers is 70% or more ethyl alcohol which can dry and irritate skin. Many people don’t even wash their hands anymore opting instead to use sanitizer. At a minimum, choose one that also contains glycerin and aloe.

Use sunblock everyday all year round. UVA and UVB rays are always there. They don’t disappear as the seasons change or when daylight savings time kicks in. In fact, snow reflects 85% of UV radiation compared to 2% from grass (known as the Albedo Effect) so applying a 30 SPF sunblock is essential to protect your skin from oxidative stress. This leads to an inflammatory response in the skin resulting in more wrinkles and drier skin.