Keeping your skin healthy and nourished is essential for a radiant, youthful complexion, and it can help improve overall well-being. When skin is hydrated, not only does it look better, but it feels better and most people also notice a boost in confidence.
Maintaining your skin can prevent infections and bacteria from entering the body which, ultimately, keep you from looking your best. There are plenty of expensive lotions and serums that repair skin damage and can improve overall appearance, but there are also inexpensive, easy-to-grow natural remedies that can give you amazing results without the risk of side effects.
1. Aloe Vera
This succulent has been used to ease painful burns, typically sunburns, but it can also be used to hydrate and moisturize rough, dry skin. The gel inside the aloe vera plant is high in B complex vitamins, along with vitamins A, C and E. It also contains iron, copper, zinc, calcium and other minerals essential to your health. Simply applying the gel from the plant to your skin can promote healthy cell rejuvenation for a younger looking complexion.
Many women already use lavender for aromatherapy, as its pleasant fragrance can calm stressed nerves and soothe agitation. Along with being able to ease stress and anxiety, the oil from the plant can also improve the health of your skin. Lavender oil contains antibacterial properties which make it an effective astringent. It helps reduce and diminish acne breakouts, along with easing redness and inflammation. Lavender is also an excellent moisturizer that can improve blood circulation to create younger looking skin.
Sometimes referred to as calendula, this cheery bedding plant can be found in most gardens. Marigolds are high in vitamin A compounds, which are extremely effective at hydrating and smoothing rough, dry skin. It also promotes healthy skin cell rejuvenation, and reduces the appearance of facial scars. The bright flowers can prevent your skin from thinning while plumping up fine lines and wrinkles.
The small white and yellow flowers of the chamomile plant are frequently used in relaxing teas, and to treat symptoms associated with the common cold. This delicate plant also contains properties that—when applied to the skin—can brighten and tone dull complexions and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. A cold herbal tea can be used as a refreshing face wash to help promote cell rejuvenation.
Roses have been prized in gardens for centuries, and some varieties have been carefully cultivated for generations. When rose petals are combined with cold water you can use the mixture to soothe irritated rashes and reduce inflammation. Vitamin C in rose petals also provide moisturizing properties, which are essential for preventing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Additional Medicinal Plants
Other garden favorites to grow for skin care include clary sage and tea tree. The astringent properties of sage are excellent at removing blackheads without irritating your sensitive pores. Tree tea has been used in natural beauty products for years and can prevent acne breakouts, along with helping your retain a youthful glow.
Naturally fight the aging process, while improving the appearance of your skin. While most of these medicinal plants are safe and effective, it is always a good idea to consult a dermatologist, or other trusted health care professional, in order to prevent accidental irritations.
Vaileria Dennis is a Health and Beauty expert with 10 years of experience in the beauty industry. She works on behalf of ConsumerHealthDigest.com as a content coordinator for the categories Health and Skin Care Science. She is also passionate about fitness and women’s health. In recent years, she has had the opportunity to learn more about food and nutrition. She is always excited to share her ideas related to beauty tips, healthy recipes and diet plans.
Perfumes, fragrances, eau de toilettes, whatever you want to call them, they are a staple of modern day life. Packed with aromas that mimic and magnify natural scents, they exist to make us smell like wildflowers and feel like movie stars. However, these things all come at a cost.
Sometimes the price of the fragrance can be a barrier; many perfumes are priced well out of the region of many salaries. Some people may have allergies or sensitivities. The small particulates in perfumes can be major irritants for sensitive noses and, as a result, the owners are sometimes left fragrance-less. However, for anyone who can’t afford or can’t go near, perfumes, here are a couple of examples of odd, but effective, natural perfume alternatives.
Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked cookies? You know the one I mean, that soft vanilla aroma which hangs in the air. Vanilla extract, the commonly used baking ingredient, can double as a body fragrance to give the same irresistible smell as a freshly baked batch of cookies. Just splash it on a paper towel and dab it onto your skin. As with all these suggestions though, we recommend you try only a small amount first to ensure your skin doesn’t react to them.
Orange Flower Water
You'll normally find orange flower water is used to flavor Mediterranean and North African cuisine. For those of you that have some sitting in the pantry, a splash or two can offer up a natural, zesty fragrance that is powerful enough to match any traditional perfume product. However, for those of you without, never fear. Many shops sell this enchanting water, but it may take a couple of searches to find it. On the plus side, once you find it, not only can you make yourself smell like a Mediterranean kitchen, you can turn your kitchen into one too.
This is a trick many of you with children might have already learned, but for the rest of you I'll go into a little more detail. Baby oil can be found in all sorts of scents, such as lavender and jasmine, but isn’t simply limited to the little ones. A generous dab here and there will give you a gentle, often floral, aroma. This tip is perfect for those with youngsters as you likely have a number of bottles lying around the house. However, given its inexpensive nature, even those of you without children should consider giving it a go. As long as you don’t tell anyone its baby oil, who’s going to know?
Citrus scents are always popular. They appear in perfumes, oils, air fresheners and more. However, if you don’t have any on hand, you can get the fragrance straight from the source. It might sound bizarre—although not surprising—but, by softly rubbing the peel of citrus fruits on areas of your body, such as behind your ears, neck and wrists, you can smell delightful without having to spend a penny.
No matter how intriguing they are, sometimes these perfume alternatives just aren’t a substitute for the real thing. With perfume costing a small fortune these days, perhaps it’s better to look for alternatives to brand name products rather than simply giving up on perfumes altogether. With that in mind, you might want to consider visiting World Class Fragrances. Like big name brands, they offer high-quality products, but unlike those brands, they don’t waste money on elaborate marketing ploys and unnecessary glass bottling.
I like the ideas behind Kahina Giving Beauty and I was excited when the marketing director of a natural skin care and supplement distribution center asked me to try it. The line features handpicked ingredients by women in Morocco, specifically very high quality Argan oil. The line boasts ethically and sustainably sourced raw materials; certified natural and organic formulations that incorporate organic materials whenever possible; recycled and recyclable packaging; and donations to the Moroccan women who work to provide the raw materials. This sounded great to me, so I shelved my Dr. Hauschka for 10 days to give the line a try.
For 10 days I used Kahina Facial Cleanser, Toning Mist, Brightening Serum, Eye Serum, and Facial Lotion. I am 39-years-old with combination skin, a fair complexion and freckles.
I read and reread the ingredients as I am an ingredient hound and must know absolutely what I am putting onto my skin. Here is what I found.
The Cleanser is in a base of aloe vera leaf juice and argan oil, containing bamboo and papaya, which I like. The first thing I noticed was the scent. Yum. It smells of neroli and chamomile. 1 point for Kahina.
The Toner is sticky and advises to avoid contact with your eyes. It is a base of aloe vera juice and rose water with rice seed extract, white tea and glycerin. Pretty good ingredients, but very sticky. 1 point against.
The Brightening Serum is also a base of aloe vera juice, argan oil and glycerin. It smells of rose geranium and frankincense, which I love. It also contains some potent, nourishing ingredients like spirulina and shea butter. It’s also sticky and cautions to avoid spraying into the eyes.
The Eye Serum is a base of water, argan oil and glycerin. It contains the powerhouse sea buckthorn and carrot oil combo I love for sun repair and anti-aging. It smells like ylang ylang and neroli, yum but again TOO STICKY! Take the glycerin out of everything for goodness sakes!
The Facial Lotion is a base of water and argan oil, with glycerin, shea butter, alcohol and beeswax. It smells like honeysuckle. It is light and non- sticky.
I also received a tiny dram, each, of Argan Oil and Prickly Pear Seed Oil. These high quality oils absorb easily into the skin with no residue or stickiness! I enjoyed these very much.
Kahina Giving Beauty smells delicious, has quality ingredients and is definitely ethical, but very sticky! I would recommend this line only to those who can stand having sticky glycerin on their faces all day. If you really want to try something, go for the pure oils.
Shar Veda is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, Yoga Therapist, and herbalist living in Ashland, Oregon. She works with at risk teen-aged girls and offers compassionate health and lifestyle counseling anywhere in the world via Skype and or the good old-fashioned telephone. Shar has had the great gift of studying with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for nearly 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook!
It might surprise you to learn that acne is essentially caused by inefficient skin turnover. If your skin doesn’t renew its cells properly, it can lead to some dead cells staying behind. This prevents oil glands from working correctly, due to these cells blocking pores and causing breakouts. Although you should implement a good skin care regimen (and sometimes medication) to deal with acne flare-ups, food plays an important role in keeping your skin healthy and clear as well.
Image courtesy Shutterstock
5 Skin-Clearing Nutrients
You should also know what foods to eat more of! There are certain nutrients that help to make skin much clearer and they work in different ways to achieve this. Some of the best acne-fighting foods include:
1. Zinc-Rich Foods
Adding zinc to your diet can help you in your battle against acne. The reason is that zinc makes your skin less appealing to bacteria that cause breakouts and it also soothes skin irritation after pimples strike. Common sources of zinc include meat, poultry and oysters. If you’re vegetarian you will need to choose non-animal, zinc-rich foods, such as fortified cereals and dairy or take a zinc supplement.
Since acne is really just a form of inflammation, you want to eat foods that are anti-inflammatory. Omega-3 foods can be found in sources such as fatty fish like salmon, flaxseed and walnuts. If you don’t get enough omega-3s from your diet, consider supplements as well.
3. Clean Foods
The trend of clean eating, which basically involves eating foods that are in their natural state without being processed, is highly beneficial to clearer skin. Research has found that teens in the Kitava island region do not show signs of any acne problems because they eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables, while including little to no refined foods, such as white flour and sugar, in their diet.
Try to get in as many daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables as you can since they contain a variety of nutrients and antioxidants to give you healthier skin. When shopping for fresh produce, choose fruits and vegetables with the richest color as these have the most antioxidants!
4. Vitamin C
Foods that contain high levels of the antioxidant vitamin C, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, are great for skin because they strengthen the walls of cells. This prevents horrible scarring from occurring after breakouts, helping you achieve stronger and clearer skin.
5. Vitamin E
This is another must-have antioxidant. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, whole grains and vegetable oils (be sure that they are not highly processed so that you get the most benefit). Vitamin E helps skin heal after a breakout, while keeping it moisturized.
Image courtesy Shutterstock
More Tips for Clearer Skin
Start a Food Diary
There isn’t always a one-size-fits-all approach to beginning an acne-preventing diet. That’s why it’s important to keep track of what you’re eating. For instance, some people find that after eating dairy their skin breaks out. This is because the hormones in dairy are thought to lead to sebum production. By keeping a record of what you eat on a daily basis you can see first-hand what foods may be irritating your skin and avoid them in future.
Throw in Some Spice
Don’t forget about herbs and spices! Turmeric is a great example of a spice that’s especially good for blemish-prone skin. It contains an antioxidant known as curcumin which helps fight inflammation. Aside from sprinkling it on foods, you can also use turmeric, topically, by mixing it with olive oil and then applying it to your blemishes.
When blemishes are zapping your confidence and making you want to hide away, reaching for foods that encourage a clearer complexion can help you face the world with more beautiful skin.
Female hair loss is an emotive issue and a worrying time for anyone who experiences this problem, but there more options than ever before to help you do something positive and find a long-term solution.
Effective treatments, like hair transplant and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), are performed on a regular basis by specialists such as Longevita. These promising and pioneering techniques are a real breakthrough in the fight against female hair loss.
Photo by Fotolia/Monkey Business
Menopause and Hair Loss
Hair loss is not one of the primary symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause, but it is definitely one of the most emotive aspects linked with this change in the life cycle.
It is believed that hair loss during menopause is becoming more common due to the fact that more women are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, due to work and family pressures. This can lead to loss of hair as result of the menopause itself combined with these other aggravating factors, and the condition is known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium.
The positive point to consider when talking about menopausal hair loss is that the effects are only permanent in a minority of patients, but the effects of the condition can lead to other issues such as depression, so it should be addressed if it occurs to you.
Other Common Causes for Female Hair Loss
Telogen Effluvium can also occur during pregnancy, as a result of extreme weight loss or for a number of other reasons.
Hair loss may continue for 6 weeks to 3 months after each trigger episode, such as extreme stress, and your doctor should be able to advise you on what may have caused the symptoms and possibly provide some assistance in dealing with the cause with appropriate medication. The medication won’t tackle the hair loss itself, but may help resolve or lessen the cause, and in turn the symptom.
Another point to consider is that hair loss can be hereditary. If androgenetic alopecia is in the genes on either side of the family, this can be a valid reason for why you are experiencing hair loss.
Thyroid disease is another known cause. If your body does not produce enough, or too much, thyroid hormones, a bout of hair loss may be trigger. This may also affect your skin and nails.
Other possible causes include Lupus, which is when your body’s immune system attacks your healthy tissues; or having an iron deficiency, known as anemia, can also lead to hair loss amongst other things, such as extreme fatigue and regular headaches.
Always consult your doctor if you are suffering from poor health or start to notice hair loss, so that you can address the symptoms and find a resolution for your hair loss problem through other specialist sources, if necessary.
Remedies for Female Hair Loss
Whatever the cause may be, losing your hair can cause great anguish and a loss of self-esteem. Many women, quite understandably, wish to take positive action to resolve the problem and feel normal again.
Lotions and Other Topical Treatments
These can be applied directly to the scalp and may help in some cases. Permanent hair loss, however, requires hair replacement procedures to remedy the situation.
Specialists in the field can offer the latest technology and methods such as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), which are used in combination to treat most cases.
FUE is a hair transplant method that does not require any removal of the scalp, as individual hair follicles are carefully removed from the back of the head (known as the donor area) and subsequently transplanted into the areas of the head where the baldness and hair loss has occurred.
Only hair—no skin—is removed during the process and results have shown that a FUE hair transplant combined with PRP will often give the patient the best possible results after treatment has concluded. This is just one example of private treatment that may be able to save you a substantial amount of money, should you seek treatment at a specialist centre outside of the United Kingdom.
Ozgur Taskaya is the Marketing Manager at Longevita, Turkey’s leading medical travel company. Stay in the loop on the latest health, beauty and wellness breakthroughs on Twitter.
Everyone has a favorite type of soap, but whether you’re exclusively loyal to antibacterial body-wash or an advocate for plain soap bars, it’s worth our time to analyze which are the healthiest options.
From the look, texture, and feel, all soaps are substantially different and do not offer the same health benefits when it comes to long-term skin care. From antibacterial and scented to organic, soap has a clear purpose and may be used to clean a variety of things—vehicles, pets, children and even ourselves. In a society that fears germs, we always want the most potent product to cleanse with. But would we clean our bodies with the same substance we use on our dishes?
Photo courtesy Castile Soap Bar
Antibacterial soaps have active antimicrobial ingredients added to them. These chemicals are typically non-organic and are specifically designed to kill bacteria and microbes. One of the main ingredients in antibacterial soaps is triclosan, an ingredient that is nearly ubiquitous in liquid hand soap. Unfortunately, triclosan has been linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and may disrupt thyroid function (even with low levels of the ingredient). There is also early research indicating triclosan can interfere with the skeletal and muscular systems. Interestingly, antibacterial soaps are not any more effective than plain soap and water at removing bacteria and microbes. The FDA has completed a series of studies over the past 40 years that looks into the efficacy of antibacterial soaps and the use of triclosan. The USDA concluded that the ingredient is not as effective as manufacturers claim.
Chloroxylenol is another chemical compound commonly used in antibacterial soaps and cosmetic products. It’s used in hospitals and households for disinfection, sterilization and wound-cleansing. But excessive use of soaps containing chloroxylenol may lead to dehydration of skin cells, itching and rashes. The manufacturing process of soaps containing this ingredient is highly polluting to our world.
Antibacterial soaps do kill bacteria and microbes, which may be a great option when treating a mild—and temporary—skin infection. However, if antibacterial soaps are not as effective as advertised, and may actually pose a health risk, then we must reconsider their daily use as a simple and desirable cleansing product.
Who would not be delighted to discover and experience a new fragrance in their soap? There is an extraordinary variety of smells available, from warm lavender to bold calendula. Olfaction, or the sense of smell, is significantly more acute in humans than any other sense. That is why we remember certain scenarios, settings and events easier when encountering a familiar smell. Our lavender soap may indeed paint a vivid image in our minds of strolling through lush lavender fields. Even though scents themselves don’t add any cleaning power to our soaps, they are nice to experience. However, many aromatic essential oils—pure botanical oils derived from nature—can contain antimicrobial properties, including lavender and tea tree oil. But not every scent used to accent soap is derived from natural sources.
Sad to say, most commercially available soap bars and body washes are artificially scented. Surprised? Hope not! Manufacturers may cut costs by using chemicals and artificial fragrances (or phthalates) rather than actively growing and harvesting their own natural ingredients and extracts. Most of these products are also loaded with preservatives (yes—soaps do expire) and questionable ingredients. This leads to an ever-growing need for hydrating lotions, skin nourishment and other forms of moisturizers. In the noble effort of maintaining our long-term health without exposing ourselves to harmful side effects, we must actively select soaps that are scented with natural ingredients only—not chemicals.
What is better than a product directly made from Mother Earth? The healthiest soaps are typically bars made from vegetable oil blends such as castile soaps or pure organic soaps. For foaming soaps, liquid castile soap is slightly more costly but far healthier for the skin. In addition to being available in liquid form, castile soap is also available in bar form—an exciting option. The term “Castile Soap” originates from the Castile region of Spain, where the soaps were stricly made from olive oil. Today, castile soaps have evolved and now refer to any soap made from the saponification of vegetable oils. Castile soaps don’t contain harmful antibacterial ingredients, cleaning agents or neurotoxins disguised as fragrances or artificial colors.
Any pure organic soap is also an option to castile soap. Organic soap ingredients may include olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, sweet almost oil, jojoba oil, glycerine, deionized water, sodium hydrate and natural extracts (for scents or exfoliation). These soaps provide a refreshingly natural and clean feeling. They typically don’t have an overpowering scent as they contain no chemicals or unnatural additives. Organic soaps simply smell pleasant and get you clean without over-drying your skin. At the end, the lather rinses away completely and leaves your skin feeling fantastic! Indeed, there is something special about the perfect soap: a beautiful lather and a smooth feeling without sacrificing long-term health.
Have you tried any castile soap or organic soap before? If so, let us know what you think.
Audrey Lefebvre has been practicing holistic health-care in Florida for the past four years. She currently assists with patient care at the offices of doctor Ron N. Shemesh, and is a featured blogger and presenter for Castile Soap Bar. To learn more about her, holistic living and castile soaps, visit Castile Soap Bar.
I love using natural beauty products. I live for lotions, lip balms, moisturizers and facial cleansers enriched with organic, nourishing ingredients. But if I’m being totally honest, natural deodorants have always eluded me. As someone who sweats a lot (TMI? Sorry.) I’ve had a difficult time committing to natural deodorants on a regular basis. (Read “Why You Should Use Natural Deodorant.”) Thankfully, my job has allowed me to try and discover a number of natural deodorants that I really like. A few have even become staples for me on low-impact days. (Read “Natural Deodorant Options” for a list of the deodorant products I am currently digging.) The natural deodorant that I’ve been enjoying most recently is Primal Pit Paste’s Thyme & Lemongrass Natural Deodorant Stick.
Primal Pit Paste’s Thyme & Lemongrass Deodorant Stick Ingredients
Before I dig into this natural deodorant stick, here is a full list of its ingredients:
Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Organic Beeswax, Aluminum Free Baking Soda, Essential Oils
That’s it folks! This is as natural as it comes—all of the ingredients listed on this product are easy to pronounce and zero of them have been flagged on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, so use the product to your heart’s content.
Primal Pit Paste offers an array of natural, handcrafted deodorant products, from sticks and creams to extra-strength blends. But I chose to review this particular paste stick for one main reason: It smells amazing! It’s infused with thyme and lemongrass essential oils, two natural antiseptics that are great-smelling and wonderfully healing oils for deodorants. I love citrus-smelling anything, so this “pit paste” had already won me over with its scent alone.
The working ingredients in this stick deodorant include arrowroot powder, baking soda, shea butter and coconut oil. Arrowroot powder is a great thickening agent; baking soda has natural antibacterial properties that kill odor-causing bacteria and neutralize the smell of sweat; and shea butter and coconut oil are antimicrobial ingredients that soothe skin.
The product can be a little difficult to apply without knowing what needs to be done: You can’t just start rubbing it under your arm, as it needs to use your natural body heat to soften up. Place the stick directly on your armpit and let it sit for five to 10 seconds. This will soften it, making it easier to apply. Two to three swipes are all you really need to use. Just make sure that the blend feels soft enough to apply or it will leave small chunks under your armpits that are sure to show up on your clothing. If this is something you worry about happening, just use your fingertips to fully wipe the deodorant blend into your skin.
Even though I still sweat just a little with this product (a natural process that your body needs to go through anyway), my sweat didn’t stink. So if you love anything citrus-scented and are looking for a natural deodorant, try this 2-ounce paste stick for $11. Visit their website to buy it online or find it at a store near you. You’ll smell great all day long! Primal Pit Paste also offers paste sticks in Lavender, Orange Creamsicle, Lemonade, Primal Spice, Coriander Sage, Royal & Rogue, Jacked-Up Jasmine and Unscented.
Gina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients.