Tag Archives: skin care

Oh My Gourd! Five Ingredients You Need to Use this Fall

When the season’s change, so does your skin. Now that October is here and fall weather is creeping in (love Halloween!), it’s time to repair your skin from summer’s sun damage. We are sharing several articles this month with content around skin care for the fall. As the humidity level drops outside and the heat kicks on the inside, our skin needs extra moisture and reminders to stay dewy, radiant, and soft. These are the five skin-care kick gourd ingredients that will keep your skin looking great all fall and winter long.

PUMPKINS

Each fall without fail, the pumpkin obsession begins – from pumpkin spiced lattes to pumpkin pies, everyone wants a piece of this seasonal treat. This vegetable is not only good for tantalizing your taste buds but also your skin. Pumpkins are rich in enzymes, beta-carotene, amino acids and antioxidants that do wonders for your skin. For pumpkin-perfect moisturized hands this season we recommend Desert Essence Pumpkin Spice Hand Repair Cream. This super-hydrating, fast-absorbing hand cream will restore or maintain softness throughout the winter with the added benefits of jojoba oil and licorice root. If you are a pumpkin fanatic we also recommend stepping up your game with Anadolu Natural’s Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask. This mask will scare away the dry, dull surface cells, all the while resurfacing and exfoliating the skin for a brighter complexion, smoother texture, and more even tone.

YAMS

Why not take the beauty benefits of pumpkin to the next level by adding yams to the mix? Yams have been used in Asian traditional medicine for centuries due to their tremendous healing powers. This root vegetable contains allantoin, a cell proliferate that helps the healing process of damaged skin. For the perfect fall pairing of ingredients, we recommend Jason’s Balancing Wild Yam Pure Natural Moisturizing Crème. This super-hydrating cream is specifically designed to comfort and balance transitional skin. The cooling blend of Licorice and Wild Yam works harmoniously to help increase moisture retention, and boost skin’s elasticity, clarity, and radiance. We could all use a little yam in our skin routine this season.

CRANBERRY

Cranberries add amazing flavor to food, but in addition to your fall menu, this tiny berry adds impressive beauty benefits when used as a body and skin care ingredient. Cranberries are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants that help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. They’re also rich in phytochemicals with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Take advantage of the beauty benefits for the entire body with Jason’s Antioxidant Cranberry Body Wash. This blend of Cranberry Oil and soothing Aloe Vera helps fight oxidative stress while it softens your skin. Just what you need to add to your routine before the holidays hit.

JOJOBA OIL

It’s like a big glass of water for dry skin – 100% pure jojoba oil doesn’t cost all that much and it is extremely powerful. It absorbs quickly, won’t clog pores or make pimples worse, and it’s rich in fatty acids and lipids that are really, truly moisturizing. My fall and winter remedy is to keep a bottle of this within reach when my face, body, or scalp starts to feel dry. Putting a few drops in your shampoo, face or body lotion will do wonders for the overall care of your skin. If you have some serious trouble areas, you can take a little time to massage in jojoba oil directly to the problematic area. If you want your jojoba oil to be effective, we recommend Desert Essence’s 100% Pure Jojoba Oil that is made with pure and natural plant extract which will penetrate and moisturize your skin without leaving any oily residue. One added benefit of this luxurious oil is that it can be used to remove makeup.

LICORICE

Fall is the perfect time to be reminded that what we put in our body is just as important as what we put on it. Licorice Root has been valued for its soothing qualities, rich flavor, and sweetness since the great Kings of Egypt. We recommend Yogi Egyptian Licorice tea that will help with your skin by brightening the appearance, moisturizing, and just plain enjoyable.

How to Transition Your Skin from Summer to Fall

With the Fall in full swing, it’s time to talk skin. The Autumn season brings cooler temperatures (Yay, sweater weather!) and a drop in humidity. All these changes make for dry, stale air and even direr skin. Mix this with heaters kicking on, and it is your skins worst nightmare. Think eczema and dry, itchy, cracked skin. We’ve got some quick tips to add to your routine to help you avoid the itch fest this fall.

Think Thick

Thick moisturizers that is. Say goodbye to the lightweight, oil-free moisturizers of summer. It’s time to bulk up with a heftier hydrator. We recommend heavy creams made with essential oils that help the skin replenish during the colder months. Our top pick is Nourish Organic’s Ultra Hydrating Face Cream, which is also packed with pomegranate to firm and protect the skin from environmental damage and acai to fight fine lines and reduce signs of stress and fatigue.

A Must Add to the Mix

Body lotion is a must. When summer humidity ends, the skin may start to feel dry, stretched, and itchy. Like the moisture is being leached from your skin and the air around you. The best way to stop the itch? Load up on hydration – from head to toe. Moisturizers provide both a protective barrier over the skin, allowing it to retain hydration and draw in hydration to the outer skin layer. We like Jason’s Cocoa Butter Body Lotion. This is a daily go-to lotion. Your skin will stay silky soft all winter long and you’ll smell amazing. Too late and already got the itch? Nourish and relief your skin with the Seaweed Bath Co.’s Eucalyptus and Peppermint Body Cream.

End the Daily Grind

It’s time to cut back on exfoliating. As the weather gets colder, it’s best to slow down the exfoliating routine. We recommend using glycolic treatments or a mask once a week to help remove discoloration and skin brought on by the summer sun. We love Anadolu’s Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask packed with AHA, fruit stem cells, vitamin C, plus it is packed with beta-carotene-rich organic pumpkin and manuka honey which help sweep away and dissolve dry, dull surface cells. As for masks we seek hydrating masks like Derma-E’s Hydrating Clay Mask that deeply moisturizes and replenishes dry skin. It contains hyaluronic acid, ‘nature’s moisture magnet’ an ingredient that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water.

A Humidifier Makes a Happy Home

Boost the hydration in your home by adding your own moisturizer to the mix with the help of a humidifier. Turn it on as soon as you put the heat on for the best results.

5 Top Picks to Win the Free-Radical Battle on the Skin

Oxidative stress is a constant in the body…otherwise known as free radical damage. What is a free radical exactly?

It forms when oxygen in your body splits into an individual atom that has an unpaired electron, making it unhappy and very unstable…which sounds like the making of a romantic drama, actually! The unstable atom floats around the body in search of a partner electron, most often stealing them from other stable atoms. Home-wrecker! This triggers a domino effect called the Free Radical Cascade where we now have another unstable atom on the search for an electron, and so on, and so on. Though free radicals are a necessary part of the body’s ability to turn things like food into chemical energy (like when you work out, for example), when they build up it causes havoc…inflammation, cellular damage, and aging. Gasp! This build up interrupts our healthy DNA structure, causing skin cells to regenerate poorly or incorrectly.

This oxidative stress activity can come from normal body function related to poor diet, stress, excess alcohol or smoking, and inflammation but can also be a response to sunlight, air pollutants and toxins in your products and environment.

Never fear…Antioxidants are here! Antioxidant-rich ingredients are such keywords in both optimal diet and topical skin care because they help to deliver the goods to these unstable atoms before they come after your cells, helping to break the cascade and supporting the body from accelerated aging and breakdown. Having a rich supply of antioxidants in your diet and skincare routine, combined with regular exercise, is extremely effective and beneficial.

Here are 5 amazing products with clean anti-oxidant power:

ACURE’s Facial Cleansing Gel not only has an acidic pH to maintain healthy barrier function, which is crucial in protecting against free radicals, environmental pollution, and bacteria, it also has an antioxidant base loaded with highly-targeted superfoods like acai (rich in Vitamin C), pomegranate, and rooibos tea.

Zum Face’s Argan Oil Facial Serum is a luxurious lipid or oil-based serum that contains Vitamin E from nutrient-packed Argan oil, as well as high concentrations of Vitamin A through Carrot Seed, which contains beta-carotene, as well as vitamin B.

Andalou’s Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream contains a goji peptide to smooth and refine texture in the skin but also touts antioxidant-rich resveratrol from grapes, white tea extract, and CoQ10.

The Seaweed Bath Co’s Hydrating Seaweed Bath is loaded with salts from the Dead Sea. These salts contain multiple minerals that not only ward off pro-aging free radicals but also help exfoliate, hydrate, detoxify and soften skin.

Pukka Herbs’ Clean Matcha Green Teaneed I say more? In addition to its impossibly yummy flavor, this tea blend contains powerful matcha powder that cannot only lend up to 10x the antioxidant support of a single cup of loose green tea, it also contains vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, magnesium, rich fiber and chlorophyll. Dandelion Root is also featured, which is one of my favorites for aiding healthy detoxification!

Amy Halman is an award-winning skin therapist, speaker and product development specialist. As the owner of EcoBlend Therapies, she connects each client’s diet, lifestyle, body wellness and stress levels to imbalances reflecting on the skin. Utilizing this information, she designs topical, nutrition-packed treatments to feed the skin’s ability to re-engage and optimize. Learn more about her services at ecoblendtherapies.com

Benefits of Rosehip

Aren’t roses beautiful? They’ve been a symbol of love for decades, offering both the color of passion and thorns of pain. They’re one of the few flowers that people know the definition for in the language of flowers.

But as it turns out, the rose is only the beginning. Leave the flower alone long enough and the petals will fall off, revealing little red bulbs. What are these? They’re rosehips! Yeah, roses make fruit. And while a rose by any other name is just as sweet, a rosehip is just as nutritious.

We’ve all seen rosehip in products. It’s very popular, and for good reason. Not only does it have various uses, but people have known about these since the stone age. They weren’t just painting weird little stick figures, they were also discovering that rosehip helps the body inside and out.

Boost Immunity

For such tiny fruit, rosehips are packed and I mean packed with nutrients. Vitamins A, C, E, and traces of B. Minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and more. They aren’t small amounts either. A rosehip bud contains 50% more Vitamin C than an orange. This helps the immune system tremendously with blocking free radicals, which can lead to cancer, diseases, asthma and boost the respiratory system.

Lower Cholesterol

Rosehip contains antioxidants, which are helpful little cells that can, as stated before, block free radicals and lower cholesterol.

Aid in Digestion and Diabetes

Rosehip helps all over the body, from blood to organs to cells. It regulates insulin and glucose in the blood, which is very important for keeping sugar levels steady. If you’re diabetic and prone to spikes/plunges, you might want to try rosehip. As for digestion, it simply eases the process, making it much more comfortable.

Skin Care

Here’s where everyone’s seen rosehip the most. Skincare products are littered with rosehip and for good reason. Due to all that nutrients, rosehip soothes the skin, making it more elastic, and ridding it of wrinkles, scars and other blemishes. Because of its popularity, you’ll have your choice of brands and product types. Like oils? Essential rosehip oil. Like mists? Rosehip mist. The world is your oyster! Or, well, your rosehip.

Some of our favorite rosehip infused brands can be checked out here. 

Navigating Healthy Sun Exposure

This may seem contrary to what we are commonly told, but the sun is actually good for you!

According to vitamincouncil.org, your body is designed to get the vitamin D it needs by producing it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight. Skin synthesizes vitamin D through solar UVB radiation, the factor sunscreen is designed to protect against and the rays that can cause burning.

Vitamin D production is vital to many healthy functions of the body. To list a few:

  • The immune system, which helps you to fight infection
  • Muscle function
  • Cardiovascular function, for a healthy heart and circulation
  • Respiratory system –for healthy lungs and airways
  • Brain development
  • Anti-cancer effects

“People are spending less time outside and when they do go out, they’re typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body’s ability to produce vitamin D. While we want people to protect themselves against skin cancer, there are healthy, moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure that can be very helpful in boosting vitamin D,” says Kim Pfotenhauer, D.O., a researcher on the recent study published by The Journal of American Osteopathic Association.

That being said,  exposure can and should be done strategically. There is no need to tan or burn your skin to get the vitamin D you need. Vitamincouncil.org recommends exposing your skin for a short time (sometimes as little as 6 minutes for the fairest complexions), which will make all the vitamin D your body can produce in one day! According to Pfotenhauer, “a simple walk with arms and legs exposed is enough for most people.” Additionally, Vitamin D supplements can also provide support, if small exposure to the sun is not available.

Check out this source for recommendations on healthy sun exposure for Vitamin D.

Though research now shows that moderate, frequent sun exposure is healthy,  overexposure and intense exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer. With overexposure, you begin to burn and inflammation occurs. The inflammation triggers the skin’s natural melanin production which is what creates a tan. Though a tan seems pretty, it is actually functioning as an umbrella to cover and protect the trauma happening underneath that leads to accelerated aging, hyper-pigmentation, and potentially deadly cancers.

According to esteemed sunscreen expert Brian Diffey, Ph.D., D.Sc., “Apprehension about vitamin D status should not be a reason to withhold sunscreen application during extended periods of exposure to strong sunlight.”

So let’s talk about effective application:

  • Enough sun exposure could lead to sunburn and even skin cancer regardless of race and skin tone. Everyone should wear sunscreen when in prolonged sun exposure. 
  • The American Academy of Dermatology recommends SPF be applied 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Reapplication every 2 hours is important and even more frequently if you are swimming or sweating. 
  • Sun protection is no longer allowed to claim “waterproof” or “sweat-proof”. Read the application directions carefully for most will say something like, “water resistant up to 40 minutes even after the skin gets wet” which means you still need to reapply every 40 minutes and definitely once you have come out of the water. 
  • A higher SPF number is not always better. Sunscreens with an SPF of 30 will block 97% of the harmful ultraviolet rays. Anything additional has only slightly higher protection and does not make the sun protection last longer. 
  • SPF sprays are rarely my go-to. They are definitely convenient, but an application can be uneven and often not enough.  Additionally, they should never be used on the face. Inhalation of SPF and propulsion ingredients can be potentially harmful. However, if this is your application of choice, it is important to apply a thick layer and rub into dry skin. For face, go to a lotion or stick application.

Last but not least, here are a few of my Soap Hope favorites for great sun protection!

Derma-E Natural Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Spf 30, Face and Body Formulas

This formula utilizes clear, nanoparticle-free Zinc Oxide, for chemical-free broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection without irritating skin or clogging pores. No silicone’s! Plus, it’s fortified with antioxidants like Vitamin C and Green Tea, which are shown to offer an additional layer of UV protection and antioxidant support.

Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen (Unscented)

Known for their solid formulas that support the skin against harsh elements, Badger makes some of the best protection in a simple formulation. Pure Zinc Oxide loaded in a blend of nutritious oils and butters, gives you a healthy, full-spectrum mineral protection with no toxins and no silicones. Not my choice for application to the face but definitely powerful for the body when planning a long day in the sun.

Kiss My Face Mineral Sunscreen Lotion 30 SPF Spray

For those who love a spray application, this one utilizes full-spectrum mineral protection in a pump…no potentially toxic propulsion ingredients! It is also chemical free and loaded with yummy antioxidants to boost the skin’s protection and recovery from prolonged exposure.

Amy Halman is an award-winning, holistic skin therapist, speaker and product development specialist in the natural beauty industry. As owner of EcoBlend Therapies, she is dedicated to a Deeper Beauty Conversation, connecting each client’s unique body wellness, nutrition, lifestyle, stress and energy levels to optimal health of the skin.

Three Steps to Quench Winter Dryness

3 Steps to Quench Winter Dryness

Moisture, moisture, moisture! Where does it go and how can you get it back?

I wouldn’t be doing my job as a healer if I did not clarify that diet is fundamental. The less healthy fats you have in the diet, the worse it gets. In the body, each skin cell is wrapped in a protective fatty membrane that helps to seal in moisture and ward of irritation from chemicals and toxins in our environment. If you don’t have enough fatty acids nutritionally supporting your body, you cannot effectively replenish this protection in the skin. This leads to faster evaporation of moisture from the skin and dryness. This also depletes elasticity, which is what allows your skin to snap back like a rubber band and remain smooth and supple.

Step #1: Eat your moisture-makers!

Loads of beneficial Omega-3s, otherwise know as Alpha-linoleic acids (ALAs) can be found in delicious fatty fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines. Eggs have the perfect balance of omegas (yolk and all) and the perfect touch of useful protein. Grass-fed butter and ghee are fabulous sources of healthy fat without all the antibiotics and toxins. Coconut oil is one of my very favorite cooking oils and sources for healthy fat because of its natural anti-fungal properties, healthy omega ratios and high heat capabilities during cooking. Avocado, hemp, flax and sprouted walnuts are also fat-fabulous!

Another moisture-major factor is to address your environment. Weather, indoor heating, and pollution can really deplete. As your skin’s capillary system works hard to accommodate the blood flow response from extreme cold and heat, higher levels of moisture are lost from the skin in the process. The light, oil-free moisturizer you use in summer may not be the best fit for winter. A refreshing gel cleanser might be a smidge too astringent once the weather turns cooler and you are not producing quite as much oil.

Step #2: Listen to your skin and adjust your regimen based on seasonal needs and environment.

If you are experiencing more depletion in winter months, look for cleansers with a creamier consistency versus a gel. I feel the cleansing step is often the most stripping culprit. Avalon Organics Wrinkle Therapy Cleansing Milk With Coq10 & Rosehip contains soothing components like lavender, arnica, and my favorite…licorice root extract. For moisture, you find rosehip, sunflower seed, borage, and kukui nut oils all in one pump, to deliver high plant-based omega fatty acid content. CoQ10 supports healthy cellular replication and Aloe makes up the base of the product, giving an added boost of nutritional and hydrating efforts. All of this protects the skin’s barrier function and natural oils while deeply cleansing.

Use a toner to support healthy acidity in the skin, hydration and optimal product penetration. Your skin is best at a more acidic 4-5.5 pH. Those natural sweat and oil secretions in the skin create your natural barrier function, called the acid mantle. Even water can be too alkaline and strip the skin! So the best action is to fortify with a refreshing, hydrating blast of toner after cleansing and before applying your moisturizing products. Andalou Naturals Clementine + C Illuminating Toner works to acidify the skin while delivering loads of humectants, which pull moisture from the air into the skin. Additionally, you get the added benefit of vitamin C to boost radiance and help protect the skin from pollution, weather elements, and other free-radical attacks.

Add a humidifier to the room. Indoor heating is the worst at drying the skin and moisture resources. A good humidifier can be an inexpensive way to put a bit more moisture back into the air and help to alleviate dry skin, chapped lips, nose bleeds and other pesky cold-weather conditions. It’s even been known to reduce some snoring! Just be sure to clean them properly and refresh the water often.

Most heavy moisturizers tend to have a very fat molecular structure. The crazy thing is, those fat molecules are often too big to penetrate the pore! That means, your “nourishing cream” is simply sitting on the surface, hydrating dead skin cells, but never efficiently delivering nutrients to where your skin can actually use it to balance and change its moisture concentration. That’s why many folks have used the same heavy cream for years and their skin is still dry!

Step #3: Heavier isn’t always better!

Look for hydrators and moisturizers that absorb readily but embody powerful nutrition to support the way the skin is functioning and retaining natural moisture. One of my favorites is ACURE’S Incredibly Clear Mattifying Moisturizer. It penetrates easily and relies on the power of essential fatty acids from argan oil and lilac extract, in combination with powerful plant cultures like chlorella, clinically proven to support moisture, cellular rejuvenation and optimal collagen and elastin.

Add nutrient-dense face oils like Avalon Organics’ Intense Defense Antioxidant Oil With Vitamin C to your moisturizer. I call it cocktailing in its highest form! Before applying your favorite lotion or cream, add 2-4 drops of this oil to create a more beneficial boost to the skin’s moisture value and support system. Apricot, raspberry and argan oils, all rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, absorb quickly to reinforce the skin’s natural lipid barrier and lock in moisture. Absorbable vitamin C protects the skin against environmental stressors.

As an added treatment while you sleep, layer on ACURE’s Magical Wonderfluff Hydrating Booster Mask before going to bed. With gardenia and argan extracts and a concentration of high omega-rich oils, you get a light-weight treat that replenishes while supporting more rapid turnover and healthy collagen regeneration.

 

5 tips for your best bath ever

About a year ago, I moved into an apartment in a great location, with updated appliances and lovely neighbors.

The *only* outstanding issue is that there’s no bathtub. This was almost a deal breaker, but I’ve managed somehow over the last 10 months to go without.

However, any chance I get to use a bath when I’m staying at a hotel or friend’s house, you’d better believe I take the time to soak for awhile.

There really isn’t anything like a good bath, and we’re going to talk about a few ways to make your next soak in the tub something to sing about.

1. Mood Lighting

Please don’t just flip on the light switch and hop on in. Bath time means taking time to relax, so skip any kind of overhead light and light some candles.

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Indigo Wild’s Lavender Zum Glow candle

Aim for some aromatherapy and try scented candles: lavender aromas help soothe anxiety and promote relaxation. Indigo Wild’s Zum Glow candle has a fresh and floral aroma, perfect for a stress-free evening.

If you don’t have scented candles, low lighting or unscented candles from your grocery store work, too. The key here is no harsh lighting and a calm environment.

2. Music

Music can greatly impact your overall mood and energy, and it’s a great way to set the tone for a relaxing bath. I have a go-to playlist that I use, but music services like Pandora and Spotify offer playlists based on occasion/atmosphere.

The physiological effects of music have been researched extensively. “Dr. Frank Lipman, founder and director of Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in New York City and a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, recommends musical time-outs as a way to calm your body and brain with soothing rhythms and to slow down your heart rate and help you breathe easier.”

Check out the Cool, Calm, and Collected playlist on Spotify for a mix of mellow and modern tunes as your background music:

3. Recipe for Relaxation

There are a ton of choices out there for bath “additives.” From bath salts to oils to bath bombs and bubbles — these can take a bath from boring to totally blissful. Add to your water while you fill up the tub and soak with your favorite aroma surrounding you.

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Rose and Sandalwood Fizzy Bath Bomb from Hugo Naturals

The Rose and Sandalwood Bath Bomb from Hugo Naturals fizzes pleasantly when it’s in the water, and you’ll come out of your bath smelling fantastic.

Bath time is also ideal for an overall body scrub, to slough away dead skin and help moisturize it. Take an extra five minutes and apply the scrub after you’ve soaked for a bit — you’ll come out feeling like a whole new person.

4. Hair and Face Pampering

Since you’re taking the extra time, a long bath soak is a great opportunity for a weekly face mask or deep conditioning treatment.

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Pacifica’s Vital Immersion Deep Hydration Mask

The warm water helps to relax your skin and loosen any oils or dirt in your skin and pores — perfect for a deep (but not harsh) clean.

Pacifica’s Vital Immersion Deep Hydration Mask delivers lipids and antioxidants to your face, making this mask from Pacifica your secret weapon for damaged, dry skin.

5. A Fantastic Follow-up

Be sure to finish off your bath experience by toweling off lightly (no need to rub the skin vigorously – just pat yourself dry) and applying a nutrient-rich moisturizer.

bgr0041.t1Lotions are typically water-based, so your best best for super soft skin is a body butter.

Body butters and balms are perfect after a bath – they’ll help to retain all of the moisture after you’ve soaked for a while. Badger’s Cocoa Butter Body Balm is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients, and I find that it has no trouble keeping my dry skin soft for hours afterward.

 

Do you have a go-to routine for bath time? Feel free to share below!

 

 

The Hot Topic of Inflammation

There’s a burning topic (pun intended) of conversation these days, if you follow any health trends or new diets.

The topic is, of course, inflammation. Especially in the last few years, the symptoms and complications from inflammation have been discussed extensively, and recent medical research has brought the condition into more of a public discussion.

And the reason is pretty clear — we all experience inflammation, as it’s our body’s response to fighting off infection or disease.

It’s why your ankle might swell up when you sprain it, or when your throat feels sore and irritated when you’re sick. Inflammation is often characterized by redness, swelling, pain or discomfort, and some immobility.

Inflammation can fall into two categories – acute or chronic.

Acute inflammation might be triggered by something like a sprained ankle. Inflammation is the body’s reaction to harm or injury. Plasma and white blood cells are delivered to the damaged tissues (through your blood) to start the process of healing.

Prolonged, or chronic, inflammation “leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation.”

Chronic inflammation is typically a symptom associated with autoimmune diseases, allergies, and conditions like osteoarthritis.

“Whether acute or chronic,” explains Dr. Scott Walker, family physician, “inflammation is the body’s natural response to a problem, so it makes us aware of issues that we might not otherwise acknowledge.”

Chronic inflammation has been linked with mood disorders like depression in recent research studies.
Chronic inflammation has been linked with mood disorders like depression in recent research studies.

There are long-term side effects, however, with chronic inflammation, and recent studies have even found links between inflammation and our emotional health.

“Immune components, such as proinflammatory cytokines and brain-reactive antibodies, can induce changes in neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine function related to psychiatric disorders,” reports the study. In other words, conditions that trigger inflammation (like lupus or other auto-immune diseases) are also known to induce symptoms associated with mood disorders.

So how do we prevent inflammation?

As always, start with your diet. What we nourish ourselves with plays a key role in how our body responds to injury or infection.

“Anti-inflammatory food components, such as omega-3, protect the body against the possible damage caused by inflammation,” explains nutritionist Ximena Jimenez.

Try adding some of the following foods to your menu!

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  • Fish  — A great source of omega-3, specifically in salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Avocados — Who doesn’t love guacamole? “Avocados have great anti-inflammatory properties,” says nutritionist Laura Flores. Avocados contain antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols, all of which reduce inflammation.
  • Healthy cooking oils — Olive oils contain omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Cruciferous veggies — Broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and other green, leafy vegetables get the name “cruciferous” because of the shape of their leaf patterns. They contain a pretty extensive list of nutrients and vitamins, including the compound sulferophane, which helps to block enzymes that trigger inflammation in the tissues.
  • Nuts and seeds —  Walnuts are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, as are a number of different types of seeds (like chia, pumpkin, and hemp seeds).
  • Watermelon — When it’s in season, watermelon is perfect for cooling the effects of inflammation. Watermelon contains lycopene, “a cellular inhibitor for various inflammatory processes.” The summer melon also contains choline, which has been found to keep chronic inflammation down.
  • Herbs and spices — Don’t forget to spice things up, either! Ginger, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, cayenne, cloves and nutmeg all have compounds that slow the process of inflammation — and they’ll add flavor to your next dinner recipe.

Skin Care for Inflammation

You’ll often find natural skin and beauty products with ingredients like oatmeal and honey as soothing agents for red, irritated skin.

Oatmeal, for instance, has widely been used to help ease severe skin conditions, or for those unfortunate enough to encounter poison ivy. Colloidal oatmeal is found in a number of different lotions — but you can make your own at home if you have some breakfast oats in the pantry!

Here’s a great DIY video we found:

“Its many functional properties make colloidal oatmeal a cleanser, moisturizer, buffer, as well as a soothing and protective anti-inflammatory agent,” reports a 2007 medical study.

 

What natural remedies have you employed to help with inflammation? Feel free to comment below!

 

 

The 7 Products You Need in Your Natural Skin Care Routine

The skin on our face is typically the most exposed part of our body. Harsh winter air, UV rays, and the natural processes of aging can damage skin and slow down cell renewal.

But there’s still hope! You can ensure that your skin is getting the nourishment and protection that it needs by incorporating these natural products into your skin care regimen.

1. The Right Cleanser

Washing away the day’s impurities is essential to your skin’s health. Leaving behind any grime and dead skin on your face can lead to breakouts and further skin damage.

Choosing a cleanser, though, is no easy task! You’ll want to find a product that is effective enough to wash away impurities, but not so harsh that it strips away all of your skin’s natural moisture and oils.

Sensitive Facial Cleanser by Acure Organics
Sensitive Facial Cleanser with Argan Oil and Probiotics

The Sensitive Facial Cleanser from Acure offers a hydrating, soothing solution for even the most sensitive skin types.

Probiotics, enriching argan oil, and omega fatty acids make this cleanser a gentle but seriously nourishing solution.

“It’s the perfect mix between a gel and a cream cleanser,” says one Acure customer, “[it] doesn’t leave skin with a residue and removes every bit of makeup, even smudge-resistant liquid liner and mascara. Very gentle and soothing, doesn’t leave my skin sensitized or raw afterwards. This is definitely a new staple in my face care routine!”¹

“The facial cleanser doesn’t leave skin with a residue and removes every bit of makeup, even smudge-resistant liquid liner and mascara.”

2. A Gentle Toner

Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner by Acure Organics
Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner

Some might not consider this step of facial care to be entirely necessary, but we’re big fans of toners.

Applying a toner after you cleanse helps to balance out skin tone and soothes any irritation.

The Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner from Acure restores balance in your skin, and removes any excess oil from your face, without overdrying it.

3. Moisturizers

Moisturizers are a no-brainer. They deliver vitamins and nutrients, and lock in hydration for your skin, keeping it healthy and nourished. Who wouldn’t want that for their skin?

Picking the right moisturizer can be a chore, though — there are a lot of different options, and finding the right one for your skin’s needs means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Oil Control Facial Moisturizer by Acure Organics
Oil Control Facial Moisturizer with Lilac Stem Cell

Acure’s Oil Control Moisturizer does just what it says. Combat oily skin and help prevent future breakouts by applying after you wash and tone. The moisturizer contains Lilac Stem Cells, which help to reduce acne lesions and protect against more irritation. The Chlorella Growth Factor renews damaged skin cells, and improves your skin’s tone and texture.

Gotu Kola Stem Cell Day Cream by Acure Organics
Day Cream with Gotu Kola Stem Cell

To support cell renewal and skin elasticity, try Acure’s Gotu Kola Stem Cell Day Cream. It goes on smoothly, absorbs quickly, and protects your skin from free radicals and environmental damage.

4. Night Creams

Night Cream by Acure Organics
Night Cream with Argan Stem Cell + 2% CGF

Our bodies undergo repair while we sleep, and we can help boost this restorative process by using products that benefit cell renewal and deliver extra hydration.

Acure’s Night Cream contains Moroccan Argan Oil, which moisturizes and feeds your skin. Chlorella Growth Factor strengthens the elastin fibers and collagen in your skin, so you’ll wake up looking refreshed (even if you’re not feeling it).

5. Masks and Scrubs

These kinds of products should not typically be used on a daily basis, but including them once or twice a week in your routine will help boost the effectiveness of your existing regimen.

Brightening Facial Scrub by Acure Organics
Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub

Revive dull skin with this Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub. It’s great for ALL skin types, and incorporating this into your weekly routine will leave skin feeling fresh, bright, and new.

“I’ve never used a scrub that made my face feel so good after using this one. It’s very effective, and strikes the perfect balance between working and still being gentle. I use this everyday before I use my cleanser,” said one Acure customer.²

“I’ve never used a scrub that made my face feel so good after using this one…I use this everyday before I use my cleanser.”

6. Facial Oils

It seems counter-intuitive to use oil on our skin – doesn’t oil encourage breakouts or unwanted shine?

Marula Oil by Acure Organics
Marula Oil for All Skin Types

But treating the face with oil provides your skin with the vitamins and nutrients that it needs, without stripping away any of your skin’s moisture.

Acure’s Marula Oil treatment uses 100% pure wildcrafted marula oil. Widely known for its anti-aging properties, marula oil is often referred to as a “miracle oil” for its extremely potent moisturizing and nourishing agents. Even better – it’s great for all skin types!

Your Ideal Facial Care Routine

Now more than ever, there is an overwhelming array of beauty products available for your facial care routine. Finding what works best for your skin type and its specific needs – and keeping your regimen consistent – will help to ensure that you maintain healthy skin and a fresh, happy face.

Acure Ultimate Natural Skin Care Collection

You can purchase the entire collection of natural skin care products from Acure here!

¹http://www.acureorganics.com/product-p/047.htm

²http://www.acureorganics.com/Brightening-Facial-Scrub-p/012.htm

Brands We Love: Indigo Wild


“Any more natural and you’d be naked.” (Indigo Wild)

Irreverent, provocative, tongue-in-cheek. Call them what you’d like, but the folks at Indigo Wild have genuine personality.

“You can’t appeal to everyone,” explains Indigo Wild owner and president, Emily Voth, about their company’s “wild” culture.

Their Zum Bar soaps have been on Soap Hope shelves since we first started, and Indigo Wild’s collection of quality, natural skin care is still one of our top selling brands.

It’s a pleasure to work with individuals and companies that are so passionate about the work that they do, and if you’re familiar with Indigo Wild, you’ll know that the same passion extends to the products they create.

Indigo Wild: A Passion for Natural

Emily had been working in the corporate world for several years when she started to recognize how disenchanted she felt with her career.

“I wanted to do something I cared about,” says Emily. “I’d been working in that environment for so long, but I looked up at one point and just thought, ‘Is this it?'”

She’d cultivated an interest for aromatherapy and herb gardening, and her yoga instructor suggested turning one of her passions into more of a business.

“So I started sneaking my lunch into the library, researching everything I could; I started testing and making soaps, and gave those to my friends to try out,” she said.

Her husband helped her out (he designed the Indigo Wild logo on a napkin) and they prepared to set up shop at her local farmers market. Her soap bars were a huge hit.

“We sold out of everything,” she said.

She gave herself six months to get the business going, and did freelance work to help generate an income. Not the easiest route to take, but Emily couldn’t give up the idea. “I had to start something where I felt more like myself.”

But that’s just where things began.

Building a Culture that Cares

This kind of tenacious, self-motivated spirit has carried through Indigo Wild’s overall company culture, as well.

tina-production“It takes a special kind of person to work here. You can’t teach passion or train people to be motivated,” says Emily.

 

And it’s the company’s authenticity and passion for creating such quality products that has brought them so much success.

Building a culture where the employees are not only allowed, but encouraged, to fly their freak flags has helped to establish Indigo Wild as a nationally recognized natural brand. They’ve been recognized in numerous publications, like InStyle and Rachael Ray’s Everyday.

A Recipe for Success

Indigo Wild natural goat's milk soap
The ever-popular Frankincense and Myrrh Bar by Indigo Wild

Indigo Wild’s bar soaps use goat’s milk — which is why they have the adorable goat on all of their bars and products.

Goat’s milk is naturally moisturizing, pH balanced for skin and hair, and full of vitamins that our skin craves.

Combining such wholesome ingredients with aromatherapeutic essential oils makes the Zum soap bar popular with our Soap Hope customers — and it’s now carried in stores all over the U.S. (and Canada!).

Indigo Wild is also dedicated to several worthy causes, including a local dog rescue group and programs that support breast cancer survivors.

It’s that sort of commitment to product and making an impact that makes us proud to carry Indigo Wild here at Soap Hope.

 

Here are a few of our favorite Indigo Wild products!

 

 

Image credit: Indigo Wild