Health

A Catalog of Skin Disorders

Skin Cancer

Cancer is the uncontrolled replication of cells into tumors. These tumors can invade surrounding tissue, spread throughout the body, and are sometimes fatal.

Skin cancer is the most common variety of cancer in humans; it accounts for almost half of cancer diagnosis is in the United States. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five American adults will have skin cancer at some time. About 1 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. Of of those diagnosis approximately 110,000 are for malignant melanoma and 890,000 are for other skin cancers. Unfortunately skin cancer kills about 11,000 people per year.

Skin cancer is cancer in the stratum basil of the epidermis, cancer of the keratinocytes in the epidermis, or cancer in the melanocytes of the epidermis. Basal cell carcinoma is by far the most common type of skin cancer. That accounts for about 75% to 90% of all skin cancer cases. It is a slow growing tumor of epithelial cells in the stratum of the epidermis. It does not metastasize and is not usually dangerous, although if the tumor is left untreated it can become threatening. Basal cell carcinoma has an extremely high survival rate if lesions are removed before they invade deep tissues. It is usually cut out with a scoop blade or a laser. The tumor producing cells can also be killed off with liquid nitrogen or with radiation. Basal cell carcinoma doesn’t spread through the body, so the risk of making the situation worse is nonexistent.

It is important to see a dermatologist once a year for a skin check.

I was recently diagnosed with skin cancer on my upper lip. It was a very scary time.

Burns

The severity of burns is graded by how deep they go, how much surface area they cover, and what part of the body has been affected. Burns are graded in three levels of depth: 1st degree, 2nd degree and 3rd degree.

  • 1st degree burns are sometimes quite painful, but it is only a mild irritation of the superficial epidermis characterized by redness but no blistering. Mild sunburn is perhaps the most common example of a first degree burn. Overexposure to the sun damages cells in the epithelium, setting up an inflammatory response. This leads to pain, heat, redness, and swelling. Sunburns generally heal in three days. Sometimes it can cause flaking and peeling of the skin.
  • 2nd degree burns involve damage to all layers of the epidermis, and possibly some of the dermis as well. Symptoms include redness, blisters that appear instantly, edema, and pain. Second degree burns often lead to permanent scarring.
  • 3rd degree burns go through the dermis or beyond, destroying hair shafts, and even nerve endings. In addition, one of the special problems with third-degree burns is that they tend to contract rapidly, forming a continuing little scar tissue even with quickly executed light skin grafts.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease with occasional acute episodes in which cells and isolated patches replicate too rapidly. Where normal skin cells are replaced in the cells every 28 to 32 days, psoriatic skin cells divide every two to four days. The result is a pile up of excess cells that are itchy, red or pink, and scaly. This condition comes and goes, and presently no permanent cure is available, although it has recently been classified as an immune disorder.

This disease affects six to seven million Americans and is most common in white people. About 150,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. Some cases have a genetic link. It is most commonly diagnosed in the middle years, but it has been seen on tiny babies as well as quite elderly people.

Most people have it in a mild form; only about 20% report their cases as moderate to severe. Plaque psoriasis is a very common condition; most people have at least some of it. It takes the form of raised pink or red patches that grow over a long period of time. They may be itchy, but they are seldom very uncomfortable unless they are in an acute stage, when they can inch and create a severe burning sensation. Most plaques are on the knees or elbows, but they can be found on the scalp, trunk, palms, soles, and even in the mouth. While there are no permanent cures for psoriasis, there has been a lot of research done to help eradicate this disease.

Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex is a viral infection resulting in painful blisters on a red base. They develop around the mouth, genitals, or other areas.

Oral herpes is transmitted through oral or respiratory secretions. Genital herpes is transmitted through mucus secretions during sexual contact. In either case, a person’s first outbreak usually occurs up to 20 days after exposure, and is called primary herpes. A primary herpes outbreak may be very severe or almost unnoticeable.

Most cases of oral herpes are picked up during childhood, and the new carrier may never be aware of his or her infection. In extreme cases, the primary infection may be accompanied by fever, swollen glands, and many painful sores that may last two to six weeks.

Herpes is famous for being contagious. The virus can remain infectious outside of the body for several hours. Most adults in the United States have probably already been exposed to some form of the herpes simplex virus.

No vaccine against herpes has yet been developed. Antiviral drugs suppress viral activity and shorten the duration of an infection, but they don’t prevent future outbreaks. Keeping as healthy as possible between outbreaks is an important way to reduce the frequency and severity of herpes episodes.

Impetigo

Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the skin. It is usually seen in infants and young children. Lesions usually occurred around the nose and mouth, sometimes inside the nostrils or ear canals.

Although it is often begins on the head, impetigo can affect the skin anywhere on the body. Red sores with small blisters appear, typically around the mouth or nose. The sores are itchy but not painful. The blisters rupture and are liquid; a characteristic yellow-brown crust that resembles honey develops. Left untreated, the sores heal in about three weeks, leaving no scars.

Mild forms of impetigo can be treated with a topical anabiotic cream. But if the blisters have spread over much of the body, and especially if there are other signs of systemic infection, oral antibiotics are prescribed.

Impetigo can have serious complications, including renal failure, meningitis, and cellulitis, if it is isn’t treated carefully. Impetigo often appears where the skin has been damaged. Any wounds should be cleaned thoroughly, treated with anti-bacterial ointment, and covered. The lesions must be kept clean and dry and crusts removed as soon as possible because the moisture underneath the crust harbors bacteria.

Children with impetigo are encouraged to stay home from school and avoid contact with other children for at least 24 hours after they begin treatment.

Boils

Boils are a large and painful infection that usually occurs one at a time. A cluster of boils connected by channels under the skin is called a carbuncle.

A boil typically begins as a hard painful, red pinkish lump that develops over a day or two. For the next several days it increases in size, and the center of the abscess fills with pus and bacteria. It may grow to the size of a golf ball.

Boils—also called furuncles—are local staphylococci infections of the skin. They often occur at sebaceous glands or hair shafts that are clogged by dirt, dead skin cells, or other debris. They can also begin wherever the skin has been compromised by a cut, scrape, or friction. Boils usually occur in areas where hair follicles are numerous, and where friction, in combination with sweat, can irritate and damage the skin. They are most common in the axilla or groin.

Treatment for boils usually begin with topical antibiotics and hot compresses. It is important never to try to squeeze or pop a boil. It could force the infection deeper or across the surface of the skin.

Unless it is surgically drained, the boil will spontaneously rupture and resolve. Large infections that penetrate into deep layers of the skin may leave a permanent scar.

Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

Glasses with Lemon Water

I love lemon water! I love it not only for its taste but also for its benefits. Most people don’t really know how great lemon water is for you.

Lemons are packed with nutrients such as vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. It’s interesting to realize that they contain more potassium than apples or grapes!

Some of the benefits of lemon water are:

  • gives your immune system a boost with the vitamin C
  • excellent potassium for your heart’s health
  • aids digestion
  • cleans your system by flushing out the toxins
  • helps freshen your breath with citric acid
  • keeps your skin blemish free with antioxidants
  • helps you lose weight because of the pectin fiber in the lemon
  • reduces inflammation
  • gives you an energy boost
  • helps to cut out caffeine
  • helps fight viral infections

Not only are the benefits of lemon water endless, but it’s one of the most substantial yet simple changes you can make for your health.

Ectomorph

If your body type is primarily ectomorphic, you are most likely on the thinner side, with slim shoulders, and a fast metabolism. You find it hard to gain weight. To some this may seem ideal; however, with this body type you can still fall into the category of “skinny fat” or you can have a hard time gaining weight to get the shapely physique you desire.

In order to achieve more muscle mass and definition, it is in an ectomorph’s best interest to eat a dense calorie diet and do workouts that focus on larger muscle groups.

Some examples of food that are both high in calories and high in nutrition are: chicken, turkey, safflower oil, peanut oil, almond butter, dark chocolate, quinoa, brown rice, and tuna steak.

As for workouts, they should be less cardio; and more isometric, strength-based exercises, such as: bench presses, leg presses, calf raises, lying leg curls, and squats. For an ectomorph, it is all about building and maintaining muscle to get their ideal shape.

Although most people are a combination of two or more types, more weight training and repetitive movements with a dense caloric diet will yield you the results you desire.

Twelve Uses for Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a cactus plant that is very well known for its skin healing properties. The plant secretes a clear gel from its leaves that has multiple uses. I have listed twelve ways Aloe Vera can be useful in your life.

Aloe Vera Leaf

  1. It is soothing and can treat burns from hot tools, the oven, or sunburned skin.
  2. It can treat cuts due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, anti-bacteria, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties.
  3. All those “anti” properties above can also help with oral health such as bleeding gums and mouth ulcers.
  4. It can heal skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
  5. It helps with stretch marks by repairing the skin.
  6. It is a moisturizer. It is fast-absorbing and hydrates the skin well.
  7. It helps with the itchiness from insect bites
  8. It improves digestion when taken internally. It helps with issues such as constipation or diarrhea.
  9. It assists in detoxifying the body by absorbing toxins in the intestinal tract, which can speed up the body’s metabolism.
  10. It is high in vitamins and minerals and can naturally increase what the body is lacking.
  11. It not only helps repair dry and damaged hair, but also with building strength in the hair.
  12. It improves elasticity and has antioxidants to battle free radicals which slows the aging process.

The Importance of Micronutrients

When aligning their diets, many people focus on macronutrients but neglect the importance of micronutrients. While macronutrients are the building blocks for overall body composition, micronutrients are vital for your immune system, internal processes, and even make a huge difference in skin health.

One of the most common micronutrient deficiencies is iron. Iron is vital to the process of producing red blood cells, and it is the only deficiency that is prevalent in developed countries.

There are serious diseases, such as scurvy, which are directly related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Vitamin C deficiency can prompt gum bleeding, failure to properly heal skin damage, and irregular hair growth.

Vitamin A plays a central role in skin maintenance and health because it controls cell division, differentiation, and growth. Not only does your skin need and love it, but it also aids your sight as well. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness in infants.

This is why you will see micronutrient heavy foods used as ingredients in many skin and healthcare products. It is also an easy way to know if a food should be consumed or not when dieting. Most foods that are heavy in micronutrients will also help align your macronutrient intake.

The only thing you need to be aware of is natural sugar intake in fruits, which is why they should be used as snacks. But don’t be afraid to load up on vegetables during meals.

The Aroma Sensory Journey

Woman getting head massage.

As an Alpha Esti student performing elemental nature facials, my guests will often comment on how good everything smells. I agree, and I believe that the aroma-therapeutic benefit of an Aveda facial makes for an exceptional sensory experience.

Some of Aveda’s signature aromas are highlighted in The Botanical Kinetics line.

The toning mist and the Botanical Kinetics skin firming/toning agent both contain a calming aroma featuring rosewater.

The Botanical Kinetics liquid exfoliant is enhanced with soothing and familiar aromas of Lavender extract, Witch Hazel extract, Chamomile extract, and Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) extract.

While the use of essential oils are becoming more widely recognized as therapeutic, plant and flower extracts have always been an integral part of Ayurvedic healing practices. According to Ayurvedic traditions, there are essential oils that benefit each elemental nature type:

  • Infinity/air: Typically susceptible to dry skin, anxiety, and hypersensitivity. Avoid sharp or strongly perfumed essential oils. Use warm, energizing oils such as camphor, cinnamon, and cypress; combined with the stabilizing, calming oils such as sandalwood, jasmine, or rose; blended in sesame oil, as a carrier oil.
  • Fire: Prone to inflammatory skin diseases; would benefit from cooling, calming oils; flowery fragrances such as gardenia, jasmine, mint, rose, or sandalwood blended in a cooling carrier like coconut oil.
  • Water/Earth: Typically oily or combo skin types; would benefit from warm, light, stimulating oils such as sage, basil, cedar, pine, myrrh in very light carrier oils.

Over centuries and across cultures, the belief holds that essential oils have the ability to advance wellness, enhance product efficacy, and bring a deeply relaxing sensory experience.

Treating Rosacea with Aveda

Suffers of rosacea know that it can be tricky finding the right products to calm inflammation and reduce redness. Though the cause of rosacea is unknown, it is treatable. At Aveda, we take a synergetic approach to healing and relieving the effects of skin conditions such as rosacea. Our customizable services, treatments, and products address imbalances in a person’s “elemental nature.”

Aveda, steeped in the wisdom of Ayurveda, not only treats the skin topically, but internally. This holistic approach brings the mind, body, and spirit into balance. We do this by coming to understand a person’s “elemental nature”—an imbalance in their constitution based on the elements, similar to doshas in Ayurveda. The elements fire, earth, ether, water, and air are expressed as:

  • Fire: Sensitive, inflamed, irritated skin.
  • Water/Earth: Oily, combination skin.
  • Infinity/Air: Dry, dehydrated, combination skin.

When the skin is out of balance, it may exhibit any of the above traits. Rosacea, being “fire”, is characterized by dilation of blood vessels; redness; and dry, sensitive skin, that may sting or burn, on the nose and cheeks. It appears in adults over thirty. If severe, it is accompanied by papules and pustules. And, in rare cases, rosacea that is not treated may cause permanent effects, such as thickening of the skin or loss of vision. It may also cause knobby bumps on the nose, called rhinophyma. Over time, it can give the nose a swollen, waxy look. But most cases of rosacea don’t progress this far.

Aveda brings rosacea into balance in several ways: products, treatments, helpful tips, and recommendations. Aveda’s sensitive line is a great first step to balancing the condition. It has caprylic triglycerides, jojoba, and soy bean oils that leave the skin feeling moisturized without an oily feeling. And it doesn’t have essential oils and fragrances that may irritate the skin. Because rosacea’s elemental nature is fire, removing the product with a cool cloth is recommended.

The deep herbal cleansing clay mask blended with a liquid exfoliant should be used once or twice a month as a gentle refinement. It has herbal extracts of marshmallow root, and red clover leaf in the mask help to sooth and balance skin, while the kaolin clay—the gentlest clay that is good for all skin types—adds minerals to the skin while tightening pores. The liquid exfoliant gently removes dead cells helping to soften skin.

If the skin is very inflamed and irritated, I recommend using Aveda comforting tea as a cool compress daily to help reduce heat and irritation before applying the refinement mask. It contains licorice root that soothes and brightens the skin, helping to even out tone, while reducing redness. It also contains cooling peppermint, which calms inflammation. And, of course, enjoying a cup at home, or after each service, is a relaxing way to help bring down inflammation internally.

Which leads us to addressing external ways of bringing down inflammation.

While applying the compress, recommend that your client avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine, as these things may trigger inflammation. And if they are finding avoiding these things difficult to do, suggest that they keep them to a minimum.

Stress may also trigger rosacea. In the spa, we take our guest on Aveda’s signature “aroma sensory journey,” inviting our guest to enjoy fragrant essential oils, bringing them into a state of relaxation. Your guest may repeat this at home. We offer single note essential oils that may be inhaled directly from the bottle or in the palm of their hand. The single note is blended with oil and can be worn as perfume, worn on skin or in hair, added to other Aveda products, or added to a bath.

As estheticians, using the balancing infusion oil for sensitive skin and the cooling treatment mask is the way to go. Use the balancing oil before the treatment mask to boost its effect. The oat, chamomile, and calendula extracts, along with the borage, sunflower oils, and lecithin, help to heal and nourish the skin. The balancing oil balances the skin, preparing it for the cooling mask, helping it to reduce inflammation. At home, however, if the client isn’t applying a mask, suggest they apply the balancing oil before using the comforting tea cooling compress.

The cooling mask is a combination of the herbal science remedy, a blend of millet seed flour, oat kernel flour, and lavender, combined with the intensive hydrating mask. The main ingredient is aloe. It is an amazing treatment mask that reduces inflammation and redness instantly. If their rosacea isn’t severe and they aren’t experiencing sensitives, the addition of Aveda’s lavender single note intensifies the masks effectiveness. The herbal science remedy isn’t sold to the public. To achieve similar results at home, suggest that they use the intensive hydrating mask. It is gentle enough to allow for daily use, or to use as an overnight treatment, until their inflammation subsides.

If their rosacea isn’t severe and they have no essential oil senstivities, the Enbrightenment line is amazing. It has a number of herbal extracts, and vegetable and essential oils that are known for relieving inflammation, exfoliating the skin, evening out tone, and moisturizing the skin. This line has no alcohol, which is great for those with rosacea, as alcohol may irritate the skin. Be mindful though that the Enbrightenment has salicylic acid and, if the rosacea is irritated, this can aggravate the condition.

Many people have combination skin and, if the person has rosacea with other skin conditions, the treatment and recommendations have to be customized. The use of steam or heat during facials should be minimized or avoided altogether when treating clients with fire elemental natures. Remind your client of this when they are caring for their skin at home.

Whether in the spa or at home, treating rosacea is made easy with Aveda.

Is it Really That Bad to Sleep in My Makeup?

You may have been told that falling asleep without removing your makeup isn’t good for your skin. I’ve learned that is very true!

Why? You’re throwing a “dirt party.” If you don’t remove your makeup at night, the powder, shadows, and cremes you’ve worn for 12+ hours will combine with the dirt, debris, and oil that has accumulated on your face throughout the day. And it will all sit there on your skin, mixing and mingling for another six to eight hours while you sleep.

You’re clogging your pores. And did I mention the oils, dead skin, and grime from your hair that is on your pillow? This will help to push all the dirt and debris right into your pores, leading to blackheads, breakouts, a dull complexion, and overall congestion.

You’re preventing your skin from doing its overnight job, including regenerating and repairing the day’s damage. Your skin behaves differently at night, cell turnover increases, trans epidermal water loss increases, oil production decreases, and blood flow increases. There’s a lot of important work to do, and you need to give your skin a proper cleansing, rehydrating, and an overnight rejuvenation treatment to help the process get done as effectively as possible.

The History of Yoga

Seal Mold from the Indus Valley from about 3000 BC shows a Yoga Pose.

Yoga can be dated back to around 3000 B.C. when pictures of yoga poses were carved in stone. The history of yoga can best be described by four influential periods: the Vedic period, the Pre-Classical period, the Classical period, and the Post-Classical period.

The Vedic period stems from the Vedas—the scripture of Brahmanism—and is about deep spirituality. During this time, Vedic yogis were sought to teach the Vedic people how to live in elevated spirituality. Later, the Vedas were known for the creation and understanding of the Upanishads—a collection of texts in the Vedic language. The Upanishads revolved around the relationship of the brahman and the atman, also known as the relationship between ultimate reality and the transcendental self. The 200 scriptures of the Upanishads lead to the Gita, which is known as the oldest yoga scripture, and incorporates the importance of kind actions and awareness of ourselves and our egos.

In an attempt to normalize yoga and its teachings, the Yoga Sutra was born, marking the beginning of the Classical period. Written by Patanjali, who believed that self and spirit must be separate, Yoga Sutra set forth the theories known to be the eight limbs of classical yoga:

  • Yama—ethical values,
  • Niyama—personal purity and tolerance,
  • Asanas—physical exercise,
  • Pranayama—breath control,
  • Pratyahara—meditation preparation,
  • Dharana—concentration,
  • Dhyana—meditation, and
  • Samadhi—ecstasy.

Although these were thoughtful practices, the physical aspect was often neglected. Later, the physical was found to be extremely important, which led to the Post-Classical period.

The movement, in conjunction with meditation or yoga as we know it, first surfaced for westerners in the 19th century and, with this, some of the original beliefs were altered. Instead of one using yoga to transcend themselves spiritually, we now often use it to focus on the moment—present reality—and then find our peace in that reality.

The evolution of yoga has been minor, but influential to many societies, cultures, religions, and countries, with the main concepts being self-awareness and peace with oneself.

Yoga is truly a lifestyle rather than just a physical or mental practice.

Wellness with Lavender Essential Oils

In my esthetician program, during the intro phase, I was first introduced to essential oils and how the body reacts to them. At the beginning of the day, we would always start off with wellness, with a guided meditation to put us in a positive mood.

Wellness generally means a healthy balance of the mind, body, and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being. Aveda is centered around Ayurveda which is an ancient holistic system of healing that strives to create balance in body, mind, and spirit, which is something I like most about Aveda. Not only are you using the best products but there is a greater balance within them.

I had never done any type of meditation to bring myself into a healthy balance, but I have seen how much it helps in my daily life. I continue to do guided meditations with essential oils at home.

One of my favorite oils to use on myself is Aveda’s essential oil in lavender. I notice most of my clients choose that scent as well during their treatment. Lavender essential oil has a fresh, sweet, floral aroma that is soothing and refreshing. Lavender is an adaptogen, which is a unique group of herbal ingredients to help improve health, and therefore can assist the body when adapting to stress or imbalances. Not only does it help to relax the body and mind but it is also soothing for the skin.

I highly recommend, when you come in to a get a facial, that you choose the lavender essential oil to relax and de-stress during your treatment!

A Story About Acne

Acne is not only a disturbing and time-consuming skin condition, but it can also cause serious emotional and psychological effects. The main causes of acne include hormonal imbalances and genetics; and variables known as promoters include stress, medications, diet, and cosmetics among others. Acne does not happen exclusively to adolescents. It can occur at any age and is equally uncomfortable at age 13 or 50.

This is the story of a person that had acne when he was 29 years old. He briefly tells us how it felt before and after his treatment.

One day I was having lunch with my girlfriend and she pointed out that I had a greasy forehead. Initially I thought this was the result of sweat due to the stress of work. It was after this conversation that I realize that I had an acne problem which needed my attention. I began by asking friends and family for ways to resolve the issue.

Having acne raised signs of insecurity in many ways: I felt it was impossible to be really clean for a working environment. Additionally, having acne distracted me from being productive at work; instead, I was actively thinking about my skin condition and constantly checking if people around me were noticing my acne problem.

After several days feeling this way, I decided to book an appointment with an esthetician for a facial treatment. I had three sessions over the course of four months. There was some improvement in my condition but not nearly as much as I desired.

By searching on the web I discovered there are several grades of acne, each one requiring a different treatment. This analysis encouraged me to seek medical advice. After my first visit, I was prescribed a form of Retin A, although I was only required to take two pills per week. I experienced noticeable improvement within the first three weeks of my medical treatment. Today I am a confident person and I highly value the lessons I learned regarding my skin care routine.

This story teaches us a very valuable lesson on how to better address this difficult but very common skin condition. People experience things in many different ways and finding the right solution can sometimes be hard. In mild cases of acne, changing your skin care routine and having facials regularly can definitely improve your skin’s appearance. On the other hand, when experiencing severe cases of acne, is important to consult with a dermatologist. This fine line between knowing if you are experiencing mild or severe acne can save you time and money.

Relaxing Rituals for the Evening

Aveda Lavender Fleurs Oil

After a long day, it can be difficult to unwind. Taking a quiet moment for yourself before bed can be the difference between a sleepless night and a refreshing night of sleep. Here are four bedtime rituals you can practice at the end of the day to maintain wellness and restore balance to your body and mind.

  1. Aveda Lavender Fleurs Oil

    The sweet, earthy scent of Lavender is one of the most calming aromas. Put a few drops of this oil on your pillow case before bed for a relaxing night of sleep. This oil can also be used in a warm bath or mixed in with a lotion.

  2. Nutmeg Face Mask

    Nutmeg calms the mind and is one of the best remedies for sound sleep. Mix equal parts nutmeg with honey. Use as a face mask and leave on for 7 to 10 minutes and then remove. Not only does this mask smell good and relax the senses, it also has hydrating and protecting properties for the skin.

  3. Unplug Yourself

    Studies have shown that you should turn off your electronics at least 20 minutes before bed. The blue light produced by electronics is stimulating to the brain and tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime. A helpful tip is to try to avoid using your phone as an alarm. This might be hard, but it helps avoid middle of the night Facebook sessions and receiving late night texts or calls.

  4. Practice Reflection

    It is easy for anxiety to get in the way of a restful night of sleep. The practice of reflection at the end of the day can help clear your mind and help you let go of any stressful events that occurred during your day. If you keep a journal or just give yourself a few quiet moments to reflect, it can be so important for both your body and your mind.

At Home Skincare—The Lemon Yogurt Honey Mask

Honey is a great cure for acne and other blemishes. Though it can used along with oatmeal as a facial mask, honey itself is also sufficient. A honey mask is especially helpful for those with sensitive skin that can’t tolerate chemical treatments. Without using harsh chemicals, honey cleans out the pores and prevents microbe growth that typically promotes acne. In addition to healing blemishes, honey’s natural properties can lead to a smooth, soft face, its stickiness grabbing dead skin and dust from the surface while also acting as an exfoliant.

For the mask, one would just use honey and apply an even layer on their face. When used frequently, this natural method is able to successfully clear acne, dark spots, and blemishes.

To supplement the honey, lemon and yogurt can also be used effectively. Lemons have two great components actively working to cure acne: citric acid and L-asorbic acid. Citric acid is best for smoothing the skin’s surface while L-asorbic acid dries out oily acne when applied appropriately. Because lemons are incredibly acidic, it’s best to use the juice in small amounts or paired with other ingredients like yogurt and honey. The live cultures and nutrients in yogurt also helps gently cleanse the pores.

The Lemon Yogurt Honey Mask is a combination of milk, honey, lemon juice (from a lemon), yogurt, and lukewarm water. After mixing them together sufficiently, one applies a single layer of the mixture, and eventually rinses it off once it has dried completely. The most successful approach is to apply another layer after each rinse until the entire batch has been used.

Ten Ways to Feel Pretty on an Off Day

We all have those “off” days now and then where your hair just doesn’t look right, or maybe you feel like you have nothing to wear and don’t wanna leave the house. Laying in bed moping all day isn’t the answer! Here are a few tips to help you turn that off day around and leave you feeling pretty!

  1. Wake Up and Put on your Favorite Song: Music has the ability to lift your mood instantly! Make a “Feel Better” playlist that includes all your favorite songs that put you in a good mood.
  2. Go Workout: Working out gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy!
  3. Eat Healthy: When you eat healthy, your body, skin, hair, and mind will thank you. You will have more energy and radiate awesome.
  4. Wash Your Face and Hair: Sometimes the best way to deal with a bad hair/makeup day is to simply start over and pamper yourself to a fabulous face mask and deep conditioner.
  5. Put on Lipstick: Adding some bright red lipstick to your usual makeup routine can just be the pick me up you need!
  6. Treat Yourself: Whether it’s going to the mall and buying a new outfit, makeup, or simply just going to get your nails done, treat yourself to something that makes you happy.
  7. Get Some Coffee: Go to a cute and cozy coffee shop and order your favorite coffee off the menu and grab a good read. Doesn’t that just sound sophisticated?
  8. Think Positive: One of the best ways to feel pretty is to think about all the positive things in your life—your health, family, friends, and accomplishments!
  9. Laugh: Sounds simple, but calling up a best friend and having a good laugh is simply the best! Whoever said laughter is the best medicine was right!
  10. It Ends: Remember every off day eventually comes to an end and tomorrow will be a fresh start!

The Power of Lemon Water

When people try to find cures for certain conditions, or just try to prevent problems and reinforce their existing health, usually their first thought is to buy expensive products. I don’t blame them; this is an understandable response to our massive consumption of goods and services. But there are natural and simple solutions that are not only cheaper, but also have amazing benefits. Our bodies will be extremely thankful in the long run.

One example is lemon water. Drinking lemon water is an easy and tasty substitute to more caloric beverages. And the reduction in calories is just one of its many benefits.

Lemon is a popular fruit for its therapeutic properties. By drinking a glass of warm lemon water each morning, you provide your body with all the goodness lemon can bring to our health. Here is a list of its incredible benefits:

  • Maintains your immune system because of its high concentration of vitamin C. Vitamin C supports our bodies by fighting the terrible effects of free radicals. Free radicals are well known to be harmful to us in many ways and accelerants of the aging process.
  • Contains fiber, which is very beneficial for digestion and colon health.
  • Boosts your metabolism and prepares your body to receive nutrients throughout the day.
  • Balances the pH level in the body. Our bodies need to maintain a balanced pH to better fight disease-causing microorganisms.
  • The potassium content in lemon helps people having heart problems and helps nourish brain cells.

These are plenty of powerful reasons to start packing your mornings with this healthy and simple option. Lemon’s cleansing and healing effects will have positive and visible results on your overall health in the long run. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

DIY Brightening Face & Body Scrub

Lemon, Sugar, Olive Oil, Honey are the ingredients of this scrub.

I know we can always buy scrubs at a store for convenience but it’s always fun to do it yourself from time to time. And also, a lot of times, you don’t really find that one scrub or product you are looking for. So here is a quick and easy lemon and sugar face and body scrub for you to try.

This is what you’ll need:

  • ½ fresh lemon
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of organic honey
  • 1 medium-sized Tupperware bowl with lid

Add lemon juice and olive oil into a bowl. I like to use glass Tupperware as it makes for easy storage.

Add the honey and whisk or stir quickly until the ingredients bind together into a medium thick consistency.

Add in the sugar and mix. If you sense that there is not enough sugar to get the scrubbing done, add a bit more. Again, this is a personal preference.

You can add or subtract the amount of olive oil and honey that you use depending on how thick you want your scrub to be. I would keep the lemon to the juice of one half of a freshly cut lemon for every ½ cup of granulated sugar.

Benefits of the Ingredients:

  • Lemon—A natural source of Vitamin C; an ingredient commonly used to lighten sun and age spots and even out skin tone; A natural astringent that tightens pores and brightens the complexion.
  • Sugar—A natural exfoliator; a natural source of glycolic acid which evens out skin tone, cleans pores, and improves overall skin texture by removing dead, dull skin cells.
  • Olive Oil—High in Vitamin E which soothes and heals skin; a natural moisturizing ingredient often used for its anti-aging benefits.
  • Honey—A natural source of anti-oxidants making it a perfect ingredient for age prevention; a natural humectant so it locks water into the skin keeping the complexion hydrated; the antibacterial properties benefit acne-prone skin by reducing breakouts.

Well, now that you’ve gotten the ingredients and the great benefits, I hope you try it and enjoy making it. It sure saves you a whole lot of money!

Balancing Morning Rituals

Aveda Blue Oil

No matter how busy or fast-paced life may get, it is important to take some time out of your morning for yourself, to get centered and ready to take on the day ahead. Even if you have just a few minutes, a little bit of wellness can change the nature of your entire day. Here are some quick, stress-free rituals for the morning.

  1. Blue Oil Balancing Concentrate

    This Aveda blend of peppermint and chamomile helps to relieve stress and increases your energy level. Rub a few drops of this oil into the palms of your hands. Cover your mouth and nose with your hands and take three deep inhalations. This is the perfect ritual for those on-the-go and can also be used on the skin for a cooling sensation that helps with muscle relief.

  2. Camel Pose

    Camel pose is a yoga pose that opens up the air passages in your lungs and gives you a deep back stretch. This is perfect to do just as you wake up. To perform this pose, sit on your knees. Reach your hands back and hold your ankles. Arch your back and lean your head back. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.

  3. Drink a Glass of Warm Lemon Water

    Drinking a glass of water in the morning is a great alternative to tea or coffee and helps to rehydrate your body. Lemon also helps digestion and the warmth of the water will help calm and warm the body.

  4. Seven Minutes of Exercise

    Exercise in the morning is very important because it releases stress relieving hormones called endorphins. Recent studies show that seven minutes is just enough to get your energy up without making you groggy for the rest of the day.

Implementing just one or all of these rituals into your morning routine can give you a fresh start to your day and help your body and mind feel revitalized.

The Truth About Cellulite

Everyone I ask has a different theory about cellulite. Some say is genetic, while others argue it only depends on how healthy your diet and exercise regimens are. The truth is that all these factors affect your body’s reaction to cellulite but, unfortunately, this uncomfortable condition affects the majority of women and is considered “a disease of the connective tissue initiated by cyclic hormones of the menstrual cycle.”

Cellulite appears when collagen fibers that bind fat to the skin stretch and tear, allowing fat cells to expand. This condition might be worsened by factors such as: the stress hormone cortisol (very common nowadays), gender differences in fat storage (women can store more fat than men), metabolism in the top layer of fat, and the structure of connective tissue in these areas. In other words, depending on how our bodies react, cellulite can appearing in our thighs, hips, and buttocks as soon as our hormones start new processes.

The purpose of this “not so easy to understand” explanation is to make people realize that there are multiple causes of cellulite and that the solution to it needs to also be “multiple.” This means that if you have heard that topical caffeine, for example, is very good to fight cellulite, it needs to be accompanied with other ingredients to be able to see fast and noticeable changes in your skin, otherwise it can be a lost battle.

Here is a useful list of ingredients that can help fight cellulite:

  • Topical Glycyrrhetinic Acid: targets fat storage in response to stress; derived from licorice root.
  • Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum): reduces swelling and inflammation, and improves circulation.
  • Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica): stimulates collagen production to strengthen the support structure, reduce inflammation, and improve blood vessel tone.
  • Topical Caffeine: has anti-inflammatory qualities and helps in drawing excess fluid from fat cells to improve the skin’s appearance.

Although these ingredients will be very helpful in cellulite reduction, is very important to remember that a healthy diet, increased water intake, and regular exercise are also key factors in controlling the appearance of cellulite in our bodies.

Which Chakra Are You?

Certain groups of people are very knowledgeable as to what chakra is and the purpose and benefits from these body mists.

Aveda has five different chakra scents:

  1. Grounded
  2. Nourished
  3. Intention
  4. Harmony
  5. Expressive

Someone had to explain to me that, after smelling all five scents, the one that smells most pleasant to you is the one that you need most.

  • Chakra 1 is located below the stomach. This one helps one feel more grounded to take care of our basic needs. This one will help those who need to slow down.
  • Chakra 2 is located in the stomach. This one helps those feeling disconnected to themselves.
  • Chakra 3 is located above the stomach. This is where we set our intentions and desires. This one will help with feelings of impatience and anxiety, or with mental blocks.
  • Chakra 4 is located in the center or the heart. This is connected to feeling empathy and love for others around you. This one will help those who feel unconnected to people or depressed.
  • Chakra 5 is located in the throat. This one helps those in need of help expressing themselves or getting into their creative mode.

I personally like all of the chakra scents, they all smell natural and earthy. For some, they may smell too strong or “unfeminine.” But I think everyone should give chakra a try. It works similarly to aroma therapy. So go to your closest Aveda shop and find out which chakra you are.

Skin Care Tip: Wear Sunscreen

If I could emphasize one skin care tip to everyone, it would be to apply sunscreen! I come across many people who ignore this task, carefree since they are youthful and have beautiful skin.

Primarily because I love the sun, I am a huge advocate of sun protection. In order to continue enjoying the warm kisses of the sun while still slowing down the aging process, I make sure I always apply some type of broad-spectrum sunscreen on my face and my body. And don’t forget the ears!

There are two types of sunscreens: a physical sunscreen that reflects the sun’s rays, and a chemical sunscreen that absorbs the rays and scatter them. I lean more towards natural products, so my preference is to use a physical sunscreen. However, any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen.

For sunscreen to be effective, it should be applied at least 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. In addition, it should be re-applied. For many women, re-applying is difficult, since they’re already wearing makeup. However, the makeup also acts as another barrier against the sun. If you will be having prolonged sun exposure without reapplying, throw on a big, fashionable hat. Also remember to apply sun protection even on cloudy, overcast days because the UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds.

I like to kill two birds with one stone, so for the last few years, I’ve been using tinted moisturizer with a minimum of 15 Sun Protection Factor (SPF) which gives me protection and light coverage. For more coverage, you can use a facial moisturizer with SPF and apply your favorite foundation over it. Protect your face and skin now, so that years from now, you’ll need to do less work to maintain your beauty!