Health

Your Body Needs Water

Water Splash

It goes without saying that water is very important for your body. Ionized water is what allows your body to absorb nutrients and function normally. Staying well hydrated has many health benefits.

Water, or the lack thereof, makes a big impact on your skin. Dehydration of the skin causes superficial lines which can give the appearance of aging. Dehydrated skin gets a crepe-like effect on the surface. The surface color can also appear dull.

Internally, water is important on a cellular level. Most of the important body processes use diffusion to move hormones, blood cells, and other important things around the body. When there is dehydration in the body, it can cause headaches, impaired vision, and even issues with judgment. Dehydration also causes fatigue.

It is important to drink water to keep the immune system healthy. Water is needed to flush toxins out of the body. Water is important to your kidneys and liver that work constantly to flush the body of toxic and unneeded waste. When your kidneys are dehydrated, your urine is much more yellow when it should be running almost clear. Your heart also needs water to keep blood flow moving well. Blood flow can become resistant when the blood is too thick from lack of water.

So how much water do you need a day? There is the theory that everyone needs eight eight-ounce glasses a day. Some people, however, believe you may need a personalized amount.

One personalized measure uses your weight and a simple formula. Take your weight, in pounds, and subtract a third. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you need each day. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you would need 80 ounces of water. This amount should be adjusted based on how active you are every day.

Benefits of Vanilla

Vanilla Beans

Last week, I wrote about the Vanilla Plant. But vanilla is much more than just a sweet and fragrant flavor. Pure vanilla extract possesses several medicinal properties and can be beneficial for your health in various ways.

  1. Treats Anxiety and Depression

    Certain neurological studies have shown that vanilla extract can have a huge effect on those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. Vanilla scent is specifically helpful for this purpose. For example, sipping water or milk containing vanilla has helped cure people with these disorders.

  2. Assists Weight Loss

    Certain studies have shown that vanilla extract can help people lose weight. Though exercise and diet play a primary role in weight loss, these efforts can be supplemented with the intake of vanilla extract for greater and perhaps faster benefits.

  3. Relieves Nausea

    One of the best benefits of vanilla extract is that it can help calm the stomach in case of a feeling of nausea. All you need to do is add a few drops of vanilla extract to a glass of water and sip.

  4. Treats Cough

    Cough syrups often contain vanilla extract as a flavoring to mask the awful taste. Though further research is needed in this regard, the properties of vanilla extract can relieve symptoms such as pain from a sore throat or from a cough.

  5. Improves Dental Health

    Vanillin in vanilla is similar to capsaicin in chili peppers. This compound has a positive effect on the central nervous system. Vanilla can help fight toothache and infection.

  6. Treats Digestive Disorders

    Vanilla infused herbal tea can relieve digestive problems. A traditional remedy for vomiting and stomach upsets is to boil water with vanilla beans. Its rich aroma is effective in easing bloating.

You might find this surprising, but the benefits of vanilla extend to your skin. It is used as an ingredient in several skincare products like body lotions, lip balms, body butters, and creams to impart fragrance, but it has other skin benefits as well.

  1. Treatment of Acne

    The antibacterial properties of vanilla make it beneficial for the treatment of acne. Vanillin, through its antibacterial effects, helps cleanse your skin, reducing the occurrence of pimples and acne.

  2. Anti-aging Benefits

    Vanilla is rich in antioxidants which prevent and reverse skin damage caused by free radicals. It helps to slow down signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. It is widely used in the cosmetic industry for its fragrance and anti-aging benefits.

  3. Soothes Burns

    Vanilla is used as a traditional remedy to heal burns, wounds, and cuts. Concentrated vanilla extracts or essential oil should not be applied directly on recent burns. However, topical treatments containing vanilla extracts might be helpful.

  4. Promotes Healthy Skin

    Vanilla is a good source of vitamin B, which plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin. The antioxidant properties of vanilla protect your skin from damage caused by the environment.

For a facial masque, all you need to do is slice open five vanilla beans to scrape out its seeds. Add these seeds together with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 drops vanilla essential oil to freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix the ingredients and apply it on your face. Massage for a few minutes and then rinse off with warm water. Then rinse.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that has many uses. Historically, it was commonly used because of its healing properties. It can be used on sunburn, insect bites, rashes, dry skin, and as a base for many beauty products.

It is a very light fluid that is mostly water. The light viscosity of the gel makes it useful in things like masks, moisturizers, and makeup for people who are sensitive, have acne prone skin, or are concerned with using heavy makeup.

One must be cautious when buying aloe vera to be sure that there is no alcohol or irritants added. Generally, the aloe bought in a store will be modified because aloe naturally contains an irritant called aloin. This is the yellow fluid that lies directly under the surface of the plant. People who are allergic to latex, garlic, tulips, and onions will also commonly be allergic to aloe when the aloin is still present. People who are allergic should be very careful to only use aloe with the aloin removed. This means that if aloe vera makes your skin red, itchy, tight, or dry feeling, it may not be a good idea to continue use.

Aloe is also often taken internally but doctors are pushing people to be cautious of overuse. Many different ailments claim aloe as a solution, however, aloin can wreak havoc internally. Aloe was once used as a laxative but, in 2004, all of those products were pulled off the shelf because it was not FDA approved.

Aspen Bark is a Natural Preservative

Aspen Tree Trunks

Most products need a preservative and many have them. Everything has a shelf life. Not having a preservative makes the product go bad quickly which isn’t beneficial to the retailer or the customer.

The most common preservatives found in skin care lines are parabens. There are a lot of different kinds of parabens, but they are problematic. Research in 2015 links even small amounts of parabens to breast cancer.

Aspen bark extract offers a natural alternative to traditional preservative systems, and it also has some benefits for the skin.

Aspen bark— Populus tremuloides —comes from the North American Aspen. The bark is rich in salicylates, which, for the tree, may function as a defensive mechanism against invading parasites. These salicylates are isolated from aspen bark and used in some cosmetic and personal care products as a natural alternative to more traditional preservatives. It is added to emulsions during the cool-down phase to avoid any destabilization issues. As a secondary benefit, aspen bark extract, a water-soluble powder, can also impart a smooth feel to skin.

Some of its benefits are:

  • It’s a naturally derived botanical extract
  • It’s a water-soluble powder
  • It possesses a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity
  • It has a broad pH range: 3 to 9
  • It’s compatible with a wide range of cosmetic ingredients.

Beauty Ritual for Mind and Body

Woman Puts Makeup on Her Face

We live in a constantly changing environment full of work, family, fitness, and relationships. These rotate around our own clock of time and mostly we rush through life feeling disconnected from ourselves.

But we are made of cells, atoms, and water. Our body works 24 hours a day following our Circadian Rhythm—our internal “clock” linked with the sun. When it is dark, our body releases melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep; and when there is light, cortisol is activated in the body and makes us wake up.

So, what happens when this internal rhythm gets disrupted by stress and work? We lose the connection between our mind and body; our own internal engine starts to wear out, causing fatigue or even sickness.

As simple as it sounds, a way to find a connection with our body is sleeping in a regular way.

The body needs sleep. It is this regeneration time—when cells repair themselves—where our digestive and muscular systems get to rest.

From a skin therapist’s perspective, the evening is the perfect time to prepare your skin for the next day. In that way, you wake up in the morning feeling gorgeous and refreshed.

Choosing the right products for your skin type is essential. What we need for the night are nutrients—food for our skin. The body deserves attention; this is the best time to apply a rich body lotion with some aroma relaxing oil.

Self-massage also helps relax the body and prepare it for the night. Aveda’s Stress-fix body lotion nourishes your body with ingredients proven to reduce feelings of stress: lavender is soothing and calming, while clary sage has healing properties. While nourishing the skin, inhaling pure lavender aroma stimulates the activity of brain cells in the amygdala similar to the way some sedative medications work. It is a perfect way to prepare our bodies for night time. Relaxation before sleeping helps assure a good sleep.

As we wake up, a new day starts!

The morning is the time where our skin needs hydration to keep the skin protected throughout the day. It is a good habit to drink one or two glasses of water to wake up our digestive system.

Washing your face performs a light lifting self-massage. It’s helpful to bring oxygen back to the skin of the face, activate circulation, and flush toxins away via the lymphatic system. It helps you be ready to start your day!

Finding the right products to a beauty routine is key. Choose ingredients that are hydrating and strengthen the skin’s barrier function.

Powerful ingredients like sodium hyaluronate found in the Aveda Green Science line is ideal for hydration purposes. This powerful ingredient can hold 1000 times its own weight in moisture content in the skin, providing extremely good protection. Other great ingredients are shea butter which is high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant perfect for dry or sensitive skin, and argan oil, which is rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acids that nourish and protect the skin.

Having daily beauty rituals and taking good care of our mind and body can help us reconnect with our selves. Morning and evening rituals help you reconnect to yourself with simply giving attention to what makes you live: your body. This practice can improve your health enormously and make you both happy and more beautiful.

Avoiding Cosmetic Acne

Woman Applying Makeup with Brush

Cosmetic acne is caused or exacerbated by cosmetic products for skin or hair. It can be unsightly and a bother to get rid of. Here are some tips and tricks to help lessen the problem.

When you can, keep your hair off of your face, shoulders, and back. This helps keep the product combined with your hair’s natural oils from clogging your skin’s pores.

When you are in the shower, wash your face, shoulders, and back after you’ve washed your hair. This keeps the hair products that you’ve used from sitting on the skin and clogging the pores.

Sleep with a new t-shirt or towel on your pillow every night. This helps keep a buildup of product and dead skin cells from irritating and clogging your pores.

If you wear makeup, wash your face every night to get it off. If you would also like to focus on skin issues, double cleansing is a great way to fully remove makeup and also treat skin imperfections.

Wash things like beauty blenders after every use. They absorb a large amount of product when used and need to be kept clean so that they will not add dirty makeup and bacteria to your face each time they are used.

Wash cosmetic brushes once a week.

Give your skin time to breathe. During that day when your brushes are drying, try to wear minimal makeup and less hair product to give your hair and skin oxygen. This break is good for your skin as it gives it a break from the cycle of wearing makeup and other products and then stripping it all off later.

Dealing with Rosacea

Cheek Displaying Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic but very common skin condition. Cheeks, nose, chin, eyelids, or forehead become inflamed and red, often with small, red, pus-filled bumps. On some cases skin gets coarser and thicker with a bumpy texture.

Although rosacea can occur in anyone, it tends to be more common in middle-aged women and those with fair skin. If left untreated, it tends to worsen over time. It is also important to know that sometimes it can be confused with acne and, if treated in the wrong way, it can lead to a worse problem.

While there is no cure or proven cause, rosacea can be controlled by avoiding certain triggers:

  • Spicy foods
  • Very hot or very cold showers
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Extreme exercise
  • Stress
  • Sun Exposure
  • Hot foods and beverages
  • Some drugs such as cortisone

Natural Remedies for Rosacea

  • Licorice is a very strong anti-inflammatory. Look for this naturally sourced ingredient on over the counter rosacea ointments or creams.
  • Rosehip seed oil strengthens distended capillaries and reduces redness of the skin due to its astringent qualities.
  • Chamomile , applied in cold compresses, is a terrific anti-inflammatory and skin soother.
  • The feverfew herb in capsule form can be used as an effective anti-inflammatory treatment for rosacea or severe acne.
  • Tea tree oil is a potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Be sure to make a patch test before using it because it’s strong and doesn’t work for everyone.

To minimize rosacea symptoms, avoid the above triggers, protect your face using sunscreen, manage stress levels, eat a proper diet, try out some of the above natural remedies, and use products indicated for sensitive skin: no harsh ingredients, colorants, and perfumes.

If you experience signs of rosacea, see your doctor for a diagnosis and proper treatment.

Why is Vitamin C Important?

Orange and Vitamin C

Time and again, we hear beauty experts praise vitamin C. You probably know that it prevents scurvy—the disease that afflicted sailors on long sea voyages without sources of vitamin C—and you might have heard Linus Pauling’s controversial theory that it helps prevent the common cold. There’s only one catch though—your body doesn’t store or accumulate it. That’s why daily intake is important.

But why do beauty experts feel it is so important for your skin, hair, and nails? Here are some of vitamin C’s beauty benefits:

Skin Benefits

Vitamin C is responsible for creating and maintaining collagen. Specifically, this antioxidant strengthens blood vessels and helps give skin its elasticity. For a vitamin C-rich face mask, blend one kiwi and a half-cup of papaya, and apply the mixture to your face for about five minutes.

Hair Health

Vitamin C works to help grow and strengthen hair. To do so, blend a partially-boiled sweet potato, a half-cup of gooseberries, a few strawberries, and half of a small red bell pepper until you get a creamy smooth mixture. Then apply it to your scalp and hair. Leave the mask on for 15 to 25 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.

Nail Health

Because vitamin C strengthens nails and helps them grow, it can help prevent hangnails. Ingesting vitamin C is the best route for nail health, so remember, since your body doesn’t store vitamin C, you have to eat citrus fruits often.

Biohazards in Skin Products

Biohazard Symbol

Here is a list of some common, harmful ingredients that can be found in skin care products.

  1. Phthalates
    (pronounced f-THAL-lates)

    These are added to plastics to make them flexible. They are also used as lubricants in products. They can be found in perfume, hair spray, deodorant, almost anything fragranced, nail polish, insect repellent, carpeting, vinyl flooring, the coating on wires and cables, shower curtains, raincoats, plastic toys, and your car’s steering wheel, dashboard, and gearshift. They are responsible for that “new car” smell.

    Why are they bad?

    Phthalates are known to disrupt hormones, especially in men. They have been linked with many sexual developmental and birth defects.

    Recommendation

    In cosmetics, opt for natural perfumes. Look for products that do not contain synthetic fragrance since most all synthetic fragrance contains phthalates. Instead, try products that are scented with essential oils or are specifically labeled “phthalate-free.”

  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (also called SLS)

    Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant in most products, meaning that it reduces the surface tension between the product and your skin. In many products, it is the foaming agent, which makes it popular for use in toothpaste, shampoos, facial, and body cleansers.

    Why are they bad?

    Although the evidence is controversial, there are many documented links between SLS and cancer.

  3. Parabens

    Parabens are chemical preservatives added to many products to increase shelf life.

    Why are they bad?

    Parabens mimic estrogen in the body, making them endocrine disruptors. While controversy surrounds a 2004 study where parabens were found in breast tumors, many scientists believe that parabens are a known carcinogen, especially when applied directly to the skin. Parabens are easily absorbed and enter our bloodstream intact. This results in a higher probability that they may affect hormonal function.

Wellness

Illustration - Wellness Wheel

Wellness relieves your stress and anxiety while letting in confidence and pure happiness. It is about becoming one with your mind, body, and spirit. It can be expressed through many things like yoga, meditation, dancing, saying positive things out loud, and more. There are so many different dimensions of wellness, but the most important and common ones are social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, and physical wellness. There are different levels of stress that we may go through day to day, hour to hour, and need help to decompress. Each dimension of wellness needs to be addressed to complete wellness and to relieve your stress.

  • Social wellness is the ability to maintain and establish a positive relationship. Whether it be a friend, family member, or significant other, it is important to connect and find that positive balance so that you can be a peace with your inner social wellness.
  • Emotional wellness targets your inner emotions and challenges you to let them out. This wellness pushes you to let out your emotions and express whatever you may be feeling to truly find yourself and be accepting of who you are.
  • Spiritual wellness is the ability to find peace and harmony in your life. Being able to have a belief and have confidence in it is a powerful thing.
  • Environmental wellness means having respect for the environment generally and taking care of your surroundings. This is a good way to have a positive impact on something and to make you feel good about yourself.
  • Occupational wellness involves finding a balance between your career and your personal life. Taking care of your work is a good thing but enjoying your life is important too.
  • Physical wellness is the ability to live without any physical stress or anxiety. Things like stretching and yoga, or even mediation can help with physical wellness but, more importantly, all of the dimensions.

It is important to find time for wellness within your day as well as finding peace within yourself to perform your day with peace and happiness.

Five Skin Vitamins

Five Skin Vitamins

  1. Vitamin A: Also commonly called Retinol, this vitamin is found is almost all topical acne medications. It forces your skin cells to “turn over.” This means fresh new cells are pushed to the surface, leaving your skin rejuvenated. Vitamin A will help reduce wrinkles by firming and tightening the skin. Be cautious because Retinol can be harsh on the skin. Protect that new layer of skin with an SPF of at least 30! Foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, lettuce, and dried apricots are good sources of this vitamin.

  2. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is your key to anti-aging skincare. Not only does it help fight against free radicals, but it also adds density, tightness, and glow to the skin, while eliminating uneven skin tone. Great sources of vitamin C include papayas, red bell pepper, broccoli, kale, oranges, strawberries, and cauliflower.

  3. Vitamin D: Our bodies do not naturally create it. In fact, to produce vitamin D ourselves, we need to have direct exposure to sunlight or UV rays. Research has shown that sufficient levels of vitamin D in the skin help minimize acne, boost elasticity, stimulate collagen production, enhance radiance, and lessen lines and the appearance of dark spots. This vitamin can be found in foods like salmon, fortified cereals, milk, eggs, mushrooms, and tuna.

  4. Vitamin E: This vitamin is essential to keeping your skin moisturized and is also an antioxidant known for neutralizing free radicals, protecting your collagen, and repairing your skin. Our bodies naturally create vitamin E, which is secreted on the surface of our skin as an oily substance seven days after consuming a vitamin E rich food. It creates a protective layer on our skin’s surface. Vitamin E rich foods include tofu, spinach, nuts, avocados, shrimp, olive oil, and cooked broccoli.

  5. Vitamin K: Vitamin K helps control blood clotting and helps your circulatory system, which is one of the main causes of puffiness under eyes. Applied topically, it can also help with popping veins. It may also contain retinol which thickens the skin and helps bulk up the translucent layer under the eye. Great sources of vitamin K include kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and collard greens.

Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is proving to be a spice that not only adds flavor to various dishes but can also cure many infections and diseases. Several research studies are being conducted in various parts of the world about the benefits of cinnamon for diabetes, hair loss, cholesterol, memory, arthritis, skin, and more.

A topical application of cinnamon with honey has been used get rid pimples, ringworms, eczema, and other skin infections. This is a wonderful spice!

  • Anti Aging

    Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin. This means that using cinnamon can stimulate blood vessels and bring blood to the surface of the skin.

    Use a mixture of three drops essential oil of cinnamon and two tablespoon olive oil or petroleum jelly. Apply this mixture to fine lines on the skin, taking care to avoid the eyes. The skin soon plumps out and fine lines become less visible. This can even be done to plump up lips and can be used as an alternative to lip gloss.

    Moreover, cinnamon used on the skin seems to increase collagen levels for up to six hours after it is applied. Breakdown of collagen causes the skin to lose elasticity and increases signs of aging. Cinnamon seems to increase collage expression on the skin through cinnamaldehyde, its main chemical component. Topical cinnamon creams could be used to activate growth factors IGF-1 and improve collagen expression.

  • Acne Treatment

    Cinnamon is said to help with treatment of acne and pimples. Mix one tablespoon of cinnamon powder and three tablespoons of honey and apply on pimples. Leave this paste overnight—or for twenty minutes—before washing with warm water. Acne scars can dry out and skin can get rejuvenated. This paste can also de-clog pores and bring oxygen and blood to the surface. However, because of the possibilities of skin irritation, this should not be used more than once a week. Additionally, cinnamon has antiseptic properties. If you have an open cut or wound, just dust a pinch of cinnamon over it. Bacteria will be killed and the wound heals faster.

The next time you are searching for a quick masque with multiple benefits, make sure you feature cinnamon.

Swimming: A Real Work Out

Hair Splash in PoolI was part of a competitive swim team for six years. Not only did I make some of my best friends on the team, but, in a few months, I was in the best shape of my life. Swimming offers something no other aerobic exercise does: the ability to work your body without harsh impact to your skeletal system. Your body is lighter in the water—the deeper you are submerged, the less weight your body needs to support. When submerged up to your neck, 90% of your weight is supported by the pool. The pool is also the perfect place to work stiff muscles and sore joints, especially if you’re overweight or suffer from arthritis.

Unlike exercise machines in a gym—like a bicep curl or a bench press—that tend to isolate one body part at a time, swimming puts the body through a broad range of motions that helps joints and ligaments stay loose and flexible. The arms move in wide motions, the hips are engaged as the legs scissor through the water, and the head and spine twist from side to side. Plus, as you reach forward with every stroke, you’re lengthening your body, which is more efficient to move in the water and also helps give you a good stretch from head to toe.

To improve your flexibility beyond swimming, you might also want to finish your pool workout with a series of gentle stretches. The support of the water should help you maintain positions involving tricky balance such as a quadriceps stretch. Swimming truly is helpful for everyone and every body type.

Foods To Make You Feel Beautiful

Beauty Foods

  • Olive Oil

    Extra virgin olive oil belongs in the kitchen and on your skin. Apply it directly to your skin; it’s got tons of vitamin E and good fats to give your skin all the moisture it needs.

  • Water

    Drinking water for skin hydration is a topic that is highly debated, so let’s break it down. Your skin is an organ and is made up of cells. Those cells (like most cells) are mostly made up of water. Without that water, cells and organs would not be able to function. You lose lots of water daily, naturally, so it’s important to rehydrate your body and your skin when that hydration is lost. The truth is that water will mostly likely reach all your other organs before it reaches your skin, so definitely make sure to drink a couple of extra glasses a day.

  • Avocados

    A fan of avocados? Great! These fruits are full of vitamins C, E and monounsaturated fats—great for locking in moisture and promoting over all skin health.

  • Fish

    Salmon, herring, trout, sardines, and mackerel all contain lots of omega-3s. Fish fats help to protect skin from the sun, reduce inflammation, and strengthen your skin’s cells.

  • Carrots

    Next time you take a trip to grocery store, steer towards some yellow and orange veggies. The reason certain veggies take on this color is because they have the antioxidant beta-carotene in them. This particular antioxidant helps to fight off the sun rays and other environmental aggressors and help prevent or soothe dry skin.

  • Spinach

    Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale contain iron, omega-4s, and vitamins A, B and E. All of those not only help your skin’s overall health, but help give your immune system a nice boost.

  • Fruits

    The majority of fruits contain lots of vitamin A and C which helps to replenish your skin’s nutrients and promote collagen production.

  • Nuts

    In just one nut you will find omega 3s, vitamins A, B and E, minerals, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants. Therefore, eating nuts throughout the day helps give your skin hydration, promote elasticity, protect you against free radical and pollutants, and regenerate cells.

  • Eggs

    Eggs have very high levels of protein which is great in aiding cell regeneration. They also contain sulfur and lutein, both of which help to promote skin hydration and elasticity.

Five Essential Oils to Benefit Your Life

Oils in Bottles

The use of oils to treat various issues has been around the since Ancient Egyptians in 1500 B.C. The Bible also referencing remedies using oils. The oils can help with conditions from depression to fatigue, from skin issues to muscle tension.

There is an oil for almost everyone. Oils can have a healing effect mentally, emotionally, and physically. These five oils can benefit your life in a natural, easy, and effective way through the natural healing properties they possess.

  • Lavender is very versatile. Well known for its calming effects, lavender also works on cuts, bruises, and skin irritations. It can reduce stress hormones in your blood. Just add a few drops to your next warm bath or to your pillow for a good nights rest.
  • Tea Tree oil derives from Australia and is for topical use only. It is a natural antiseptic with many uses. Used as a natural deodorant by many, it also helps treat blemishes by dabbing onto skin with a cotton ball. It can be used for fungal infections such as athletes foot. It can be added to your shampoo to naturally prevent lice. The next time you’re camping, bring tea tree with you for ticks. A couple of drops on the tick and they will usually unlatch.
  • Peppermint is excellent for stimulating the mind and creating mental alertness. It is said that inhaling peppermint oil can improve mental alertness. Peppermint can be taken internally and it can help with indigestion by mixing a few drops into a glass of water.
  • Frankincense is one of the oils that has been around for thousands of years. Referenced in the Bible as a gift brought to Jesus, it was valued in ancient times because of its healing properties and uses as a perfume. People across North Africa and the Arab world still believe in the power of Frankincense and use the oil to help treat arthritis. As time has gone on, the rest of the world has been discovering its uses for depression, inflammation, immunity, alertness, and the healing of minor cuts and bug bites. Add a few drops to your next warm bath to ensure deep relaxation.
  • Lemon oil is probably one of the best known oils, and for a good reason. Adding a few drops to warm water in the morning can be a great and natural way to detoxify your body and boost mental alertness. It can also increase focus and concentration with its uplifting properties. Not only does it work from the inside, but also on the outside of the skin to help clear acne. Your pets will love you too by adding a few drops on the back of their neck to help keep fleas away and give them a nice fresh scent.

There are many more essential oils that have proven to provide positive effects on people for thousands of years. Explore these natural products and see how they can benefit your life.

The Benefits of Rice Water

Bowl of Rice and Rice Water

Rice water is rich in minerals and vitamins that make it fantastic for both skin and hair. What’s more, this beauty secret has been utilized by flawless-skinned Japanese Geishas for centuries. Rice is rich in a complex of B vitamins called “inositol” which helps promote cell growth, slows down the aging process, and stimulates blood flow.

Rice water can tighten pores, bringing an abundance of radiance to the face and body. Furthermore, rice water is moisturizing and contains antioxidant and UV-absorbing properties. It also has the ability to bind to naturally occurring copper in the skin, thereby preventing the formation of melanin (hyper-pigmentation) and age spots. Moreover, the soothing nature of rice water makes it an effective remedy for rashes and other irritating or painful skin conditions.

In a dermatological study at Brussels University, patients with atopic dermatitis—chronic inflammation of the skin—saw a 20% improvement after taking 15-minute baths filled with rice water twice a day.

Not only is rice water great for the skin, but it is also great for your hair. Rinsing or washing your hair with rice water improves manageability and protects it from future damage. In addition, the amino acids in the rice water strengthens the hair roots, adds volume and sheen, and makes hair silky smooth.

Now that you know about the benefits of rice water, your next question is probably: “How do I make it?” It’s super easy to make:

  1. Boil some rice, preferably organic rice boiled in distilled water.
  2. Pour the excess water in a lidded glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Once cooled, the rice water will be a potent ingredient for crystal clear skin and super-shiny hair.

Who knew that something we usually pour down the drain could be so beneficial?

Use Your Lymphatic System to Reduce Cellulite

Female Lymphatic SystemCellulite is a particularly unattractive disorder of the subcutaneous tissue. Typically, it is caused from an excess of toxins stored in the fatty tissue. It presents as a rippling or cottage cheese appearance typically in the thighs and buttocks and can be difficult to get rid of. Women are especially prone to cellulite because we store more fat; it can be seen on even the thinnest of women.

For ladies who seek to improve the appearance of stubborn cellulite, it’s all about harnessing the power of your lymphatic system.

First, good old fashioned cardiovascular activity is a great way to get the lymphatic system moving in order to move those toxins out of your body. Running is an excellent way to accomplish this; it gets your heart rate up high enough to increase circulation, thereby increasing the movement of lymph. Any time you’re raising your heart rate and doing cardio exercises, you are helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Another approach is through massage therapy. Having a Swedish massage helps to drain toxins and move the lymph–which carries fat–out of your system. If you are fortunate enough to receive massage on a regular basis, it can tone muscles as well as remove toxins that are sitting below the skin. Not only is massage relaxing and beneficial to the nervous system and muscular tissue, but it is a healthy way to eliminate waste products in the body. Be sure to drink plenty of water following a massage in order to expedite the removal of wastes.

A third way to improve the appearance of cellulite is via dry brushing. Dry brushing uses a brush or gloves on dry skin in light sweeping motions to help the lymphatic system to do its job. Start on the legs or arms and always brush towards the heart. This practice can be done daily, and is a beneficial practice for anyone looking to detoxify.

Treating Keratosis Pilaris

Arm with Keratosis PilarisEveryone wants smooth, healthy skin. If you’re bothered by pesky little bumps that feel rough to the touch, you’re not alone. Those bumps might be keratosis pilaris — check with your doctor or dermatologist to be sure. While the bumps are harmless and painless, they can be difficult to treat.

This condition is common in children and young adults and can sometimes resolve itself by early adulthood. It is important to have a skin specialist or dermatologist examine your skin to make a concise diagnosis.

If you run your hand along the back of your arm and it has a bumpy or rough texture, you could have keratosis pilaris. The bumps are often in patches and can resemble a “goose-like flesh” or “chicken skin”. They appear white and are somewhat hard to notice from a quick glance. They are most commonly found on the back of your arms, although they can also be found on the cheeks, thighs, and buttocks. They can become red, but are not painful, and are generally not itchy or cause any kind of discomfort.

These bumps can also become inflamed, and can scar if they are picked at or scratched. Keratosis pilaris is caused from the build-up of keratin under the skin’s surface. The keratin develops a scaly plug that blocks the hair follicle at the opening. The result is bumpy skin.

If you have keratosis pilaris, you want to know how to get rid of the problem. While keratosis pilaris is not curable, you can lessen the appearance and signs. It can be challenging to treat, but you can usually reduce the appearance of the bumps and redness over time.

A topical retinoid therapy using Vitamin A can promote cell turnover and keep the follicle from getting plugged. A topical exfoliant or medicated cream containing alpha-hydroxy acids and moisturizers can soften the dried out skin and remove dead skin cells. Green tea also helps reduce the visible redness and bumps associated with irritated dry skin and keratosis pilaris.

Being consistent with your skin care will help keep your keratosis pilaris under control and replenish a smooth skin finish. Before trying medical grade products to treat this skin disorder, I would definitely recommend trying just a simple exfoliating scrub; this alone can do wonders for your skin tone and texture.

When using an exfoliating scrub, apply generously to the affected area and rub in with your hands in an upward motion to slough away dead skins cells more effectively. Do this one to two times weekly and apply a moisturizer after to keep the skin hydrated.

Skin Foods

StrawberriesBeing in the Esthetics program, my focus is on skin care. We spend many hours learning about the skin on different levels. We study skin diseases and disorders. We study the various types of skin based on hydration, or lack thereof. We spend a lot of time learning about ingredients and products to put topically on the skin to address and balance each person’s unique issues.

It’s also very important to treat the skin from the inside out. It’s important for the skin to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. But what are good foods and herbs that can enhance and beautify the skin?

Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keeps the skin supple and smooth and help to fight age related damage.

Per serving, strawberries have more anti-aging vitamin C than oranges or grapefruit. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age related dry skin than those who don’t. Vitamin C fights free radicals, which damage cells and breaks down collagen, leading to fine lines. You can also apply a berry mask for smoother, more hydrated skin.

Olive oil is another powerhouse for the skin. It has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. You can use it topically to soften skin and create more radiance. It is also wonderful as a lipgloss or for rough patches of skin that may occur on the elbows or knees.

Another excellent addition to the diet is green tea. It is filled with antioxidants. There are studies that show drinking green tea may reduce your risk of skin cancer. Green tea contains tannins which act as an astringent. When applied to the skin it can reduce puffiness. You can use this feature of green tea on your eyes: chill damp tea bags in the fridge and put on eyes for 10 to 15 minutes.

Stay aware of what we put both in and on your body.

Benefits of Lemon Water

Lemon Splashes in Water on Black

Lemons are with filled with nutrients, including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Because of how hard lemon juice can be on the enamel of your teeth, it’s important to dilute it with water of any temperature (lukewarm is recommended). Drink it first thing in the morning, and wait 15 to 30 minutes to have breakfast. This will help you fully receive the benefits of lemon water, some of which are listed below.

  1. Reduces inflammation

    If you drink lemon water on a regular basis, it will decrease the acidity in your body, which is where disease states occur. It removes uric acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation.

  2. Aids in digestion

    Lemon juice not only encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract, it helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating.

  3. Suppresses hunger

    Lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in fighting hunger cravings.

  4. Cleanses your system

    It helps flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function, stimulating your liver.

  5. Keeps your skin clean and clear

    The antioxidants in lemon juice help to not only decrease blemishes, but wrinkles too! It can also be applied to scars and age spots to reduce their appearance and, because it’s detoxifying your blood, it will maintain your skin’s radiance.

  6. Boosts your immune system

    Vitamin C is very important for our immune system and lemon juice is full of it. The level of vitamin C in your system is one of the first things to plummet when you’re stressed, which is why it is recommended to take extra vitamin C during especially stressful days.

  7. Excellent source of potassium

    Lemons are high in potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function.

  8. Freshens your breath

    It helps relieve toothaches and gingivitis. Because the citric acid can erode tooth enamel, don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking lemon water. Wait a bit until the citric acid has been diluted from your teeth.

  9. Gives you an energy boost

    Lemon juice provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and it also helps reduce anxiety and depression. Even the scent of lemons has a calming effect on your nervous system.

  10. Helps you cut out caffeine

    Replacing your morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water can do wonders! You will feel refreshed, and no longer have to deal with that afternoon crash. Plus, your nerves will definitely be thankful.

  11. Helps fight viral infections

    Warm lemon water is the most effective way to diminish viral infections and the sore throats they cause. Plus, with the lemon juice also boosting your immune system, you’ll also help fight off the infection completely.