Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cosmetic Shelf Life

Expiration dates are nothing more than a guideline for how long your product "should" last. Do you try your best to keep the product applicator clean? Applicators or even container pump spouts can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

At the recent LA Makeup Show my Makeup Artist (MUA) friends were sharing stories of how they've seen some pretty disgusting containers of products. People tend to not think about what they may be putting on their skin. They also tend to not think about how to properly handle these products over long periods of time. All the good MUAs spend a lot of time cleaning brushes. The canvas these artists create their magic on is your skin. They want it healthy.

When it comes to lip products, wash your hands well if you dip your finger tip in a small jar to apply a creme. Better yet, use a q-Tip or other sterile applicator. Avoid repeated dips back into the jar because with each application to your lip you're picking up some bacteria. We can always clean our face but we cannot clean the product in the jar. I suppose this is why some companies have huge amounts of preservatives in their products, particularly Parabens.

Eye Cremes can also be a problem if handled improperly. You can use the same precautions as a lip creme. This is especially true for mascara. Be careful about touching the brush and try to avoid adding water, or worse, using saliva to dampen a dry brush. If you notice, all of these products come in small containers and should not be used more than a few months for this very reason.

At jeune d'age Organics Skincare we hold our inventory in a climate controlled storage area. Never leave a cosmetic product in the sun or an area with excessive heat. And, yes, you should consider keeping some products in the refrigerator if the container lasts a long time and is a natural/organic based product. If the product contains a lot of Parabens, well then, you could probably keep them next to your Twinkies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Benefits of Argan Oil in Skin Care

Argan Oil Benefits For Skin Care
The oil is pressed from the kernel nuts of the Argan Tree (Argania Spinosa). Argan oil is called liquid gold by many European travelers because of the many wonderful properties for the skin. The Berber women of Morocco have used Argan oil for centuries for cooking and as a beauty ingredient. The Moroccan government has taken an active role in replenishing the source of this precious oil as the rest of the world is now discovering the amazing benefits of this liquid gold.

Argan oil is a complex blend of natural compounds like fatty acids (80%), polyphenols, antioxidants, carotenoids and other acids. Benefits of Argan oil for the health and treatment of the skin are:
•    Argan oil fights wrinkles due to premature aging, in particular crow’s feet (wrinkles under the eyes).
•    The presence of Squalene helps keep skin soft. Due to degeneration our skin loses its softness and tightness which are one of the most apparent symptoms of aging. Argan oil fights against these degeneration effects.
•    Because of the abundance of Vitamin E, much more than other natural oils, Argan oil is good for reducing skin irritation and minor ailments.
•    Great as a simple moisturizer in small amounts.
•    Argan oil helps to regulate sebum production and keeps it to a manageable level which makes it just as good for oily skin. Sebum is the substance secreted by sebaceous glands, which keeps the skin wet and protects against dryness. But in excess, sebum is bad for the skin and can cause acne.
•    Argan oil helps to prevent stretch marks on skin made by pregnancy.
•    Argan oil is frequently used in the treatment of skin conditions like Acne, Chickenpox and Psoriasis.
•    Because of the protein content the oil is also very good for the elasticity of skin. It strengthens the protein bonding structures in the skin that works to tighten the skin.
•    Also great for cuticles, the oil gives strength to weak nails. It can also strengthen the delicate skin at the root of nails and makes it smooth.

100% Organic Pure Virgin Argan Oil will be available at ToBetterSkin.com by July 1, 2010!

Applying Argan oil
If you have pure raw Argan oil, only a few drops are sufficient to apply to the whole face. Usually applied by a dropper the oil can be used at night as a moisturizing agent. It is non-greasy and non-oily and absorbs into the skin readily and does not leave any oily feel if used in the appropriate amount. It can also be used as a base for make-up because of its non-oily nature.

For nails, an equal mixture of lemon juice and Argan oil is all that is needed. Dip your nails and cuticles into the mixture for about 10 minutes. The treatment will increase the softness of cuticles and strengthen the nails.

On the scalp, drop the oil into the desired area and rub it in. It can also be used as a conditioner for hair. Use a small amount and run your fingers through your hair.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Benefits of Pumpkin for Your Skin

As a precursor to jeune d'age organics releasing a Pumpkin Masque I thought I'd write a lil' somethin' about Pumpkin and how great it is for your skin. Pumpkin contains more than 100 beneficial nutrients. It’s high in anti-oxidants, in particular beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A and an excellent free radical fighter. It's also rich with Vitamins C and E, and several B vitamins and is high in potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and copper. To top it off protein provides essential fatty acids. Pumpkin is a rich source of enzymes that mimic the benefit of alpha-hydroxy acids. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) increase the rate of cell renewal. If you have any sensitivities to AHAs pumpkin enzymes make a great natural alternative.

Pumpkin is an excellent ingredient for masques as it unclogs pores - removing impurities - and softens the skin. It has great exfoliating properties because of the enzymes but you can add Organic Sugar Cane to make it that much better...more on that in another article.

Putting all this together we get a product that unclogs pores, exfoliates and stimulates cell renewal.

A gentle Toner and protective lotion is important after a pumpkin treatment, actually anytime after exfoliating and cleansing.

Oh, one more thing. I always say "take care of your skin on the inside and out" so go get yourself a slice of Pumpkin Pie! :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Basics of the Skin

On average, you have nearly six to seven pounds of organ covering your body, protecting you from dehydration, oxidation and infection.  This organ, called the skin, has some of the most complex cells of the body. A complete study of this organ can fill as many pages as the novel "War and Peace". This won't take that long.

The two main layers of the skin from the inside out are commonly called the dermis and the epidermis layer. Each is a part of our skin that is not so much a barrier but more of an interface to the environment around us. Our skin health can be maintained by proper diet, lifestyle and by the products we apply topically. Take care of yourself and your skin will take care of you.

The dermis is where the party happens. First is what is sometimes called the hypodermis (subcutaneous) layer with a fatty base that acts as a soft buffer to support nerve endings and blood vessels. This layer attaches to the muscle layer below it. Above that is where all the collagen and elastin is that you hear so much about. Actually collagen is a protein that exists in many forms throughout your body, but in your skin it provides the tear strength to your skin. Elastin provides the...you guessed it, elasticity or the ability for your skin to bounce back to a previous shape when pulled, pushed or pinched. Think of collagen and elastin as the columns that support your outer layer of skin.

The party doesn't stop there, oh no! The dermis houses glands, hair, nerves and blood vessels. It creates a highway for nutrients to the layer above it. Around your hair follicles are stem cells that are the beginning of the conveyor belt for daughter cells that move outward to the upper layer. This is happening continuously and at a specific rate. When the skin is damaged (such as from UV radiation) the rate of cell growth increases. Too slow or too fast and your skin suffers. The result can often become cancerous.

Ever seen what happens to a banana or apple without the skin of the fruit? That's oxidation. The epidermis is the first line of defense to stop or slow the effects of oxidation, infection and dehydration. This outer layer has an acidic level that helps to fight off bacteria and virus. (Please, use a toner to balance your skin pH level after cleansing and washing. It really does help.) If you do without a significant part of your stomach, lung, liver, heart or brain and you may live quite a long time. Some that I know with half a brain do quite well. Do without a significant part of your epidermis and you better kiss your loved ones good bye if you don't get help quick...or your hiney if no one is around.

A little bit about applying skin care products. Pores in your skin are NOT holes that allow your skin to breath, they act as sweat pathways that regulates our body temperature and DO allow topically applied ingredients some access to the dermal layer. But it's not that easy. The ability for a product to absorb depends on a several things. The moisture level of your skin can greatly increase the ability of a product to absorb - the higher the moisture level the better so apply product after bathing or showering. It is especially helpful if the product contains highly moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid. The younger the body the more the moisture content so before you get to the Scooter stage go out and get yourself some moisturizer.

The health, or lack thereof, of your skin can play a large role in product penetration. Not always good. This is why some people have sensitivities to ingredients at times, not healthy enough and your skin may allow more absorption. Diabetics or those with psoriasis can have increased sensitivities due to higher absorption rates.

Lipid or oil based products have a higher rate of absorption through the epidermis but can get backed up at the dermis layer, which has more water content at a neutral pH balance. Think oil and water together. Ingredient concentration can help to overcome some of this separation effect.

Beauty really isn't only skin deep, don't be afraid to smile really big. Smile lines add character, they really do. But take care of that organ that we all like to tan or color with cosmetics:
☞  Exercise helps with circulation. Our skin is full of vessels.
☞  A healthy diet brings the vitamins and minerals to your skin from the inside out.
☞    Keep your skin pH balanced to fight off bacteria, fungus and virus.

☞   Apply products that are good for your skin. There are a lot of articles available to describe the different ingredients and philosophies. Choose what you feel comfortable with and/or consult a dermatologist.
☞   Use additional SPF products that protect you from UV-A and B radiation from the sun.
☞  Antioxidants have been shown to help the skin resist free radicals. Consume them and apply them.

Michael Lamb
jeunedage.com or ToBetterSkin.com

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vitamin B for Skin Health

Vitamin B is made up of thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3 or B4), panthenol (B5), pyridoxine (B6), bioin (B8 or vitamin H), folate (B9), and cobalimin (B12). B vitamins have been show to help promote healthy skin, hair and nails. All are water soluble. Vitamin B3 and B5 are the most common found in skin care products so that's what "B" the focus for this article. :)

B3 has been recognized for its anti-aging potential. Vitamin B3 and B5 is being increasingly used in a number of acne treatments, where its wound healing properties has made it an important ingredient.

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) is the biologically active form of niacin. B3 increases the rate of skin exfoliation and increases moisture barrier repair. Niacinamide helps rosacea patients with increased skin barrier function to reduce skin irritants. Studies have shown it to be useful in increasing synthesis of collagen and lipids while decreasing inflammation. “Already, topical 4% niacinamide has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of papular and pustular acne in a 4% gel, as well as the improvement of skin cancer and its anti-tumor characteristics”1.  Another study shows that Niacinamide use "revealed a variety of significant skin appearance improvement effects for topical niacinamide: reductions in fine lines and wrinkles, hyper-pigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing). In addition, elasticity (as measured via cutometry) was improved." 2

Vitamin B5 (panthenol) reduces water loss through the skin by acting as a penetrating moisturizer. Here's a bonus! Panthenol can help protect the skin against sunburn AND relieve an existing sunburn! Studies show the Panthenol penetrates the skin and converts to Pantothenic Acid. Pantothenic Acid allows for permeation of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, so that all the goodness reaches the dermis where the elastin and collagen fibers are.

Turns out Vitamin B3 and B5 is pretty good stuff in skin care products:
☞   Reductions in fine lines and wrinkles and hyperpigmented spots
☞   Dry skin stays supple and elastic longer
☞   Anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effect
☞   Stimulates skin regeneration
☞   Small wounds, scratches, sunburn and blisters heal better
☞   Combine with other ingredients for relief from eczema, psoriasis, skin inflammation and skin allergies.

1 Dr. Draelos, American Academy of Dermatology.
2 Bissett Donald L., PhD, The Procter & Gamble Company, Miami Valley Laboratories, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Michael Lamb

Vitamin A for Skin Health

This is the first in a series of topics discussing Vitamins for your skin health. Later topics will include botanical ingredients as well as natural compounds such as DMAE, MSM and CoQ10.

Let's go alphabetical starting with A, Vitamin A that is! It's common knowledge that Vitamin A is good for the skin. Many have found relief from acne by applying serums, lotions and cremes containing Vitamin A. There are two common forms found in consumer products. The most potent form of Vitamin A is called Retinol (Retinol Palmitate). This form is found in meat products and vitamin supplements. In higher concentrations Retinol can be quite toxic. The vegetable form of Vitamin A is beta-carotene and is a non-toxic precusror of Vitamin A (sometimes called pro-Vitamin A) that is converted in the body into retinol and stored in the liver.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty let's summarize what collagen is. Think of it as the glue (it's actually a protein) that holds all kinds of body tissue together. It helps to provide the skin with strength, flexibility, and resilience. As people age collagen degradation occurs, leading to wrinkles. Drum roll please...Vitamin A increases collagen absorption for the skin. Wooo hoooo!!!

OK, bear with me on the science stuff for a moment. There's been some debate as to which type of Vitamin A is best. Retinol Palmitate nourishes the skin and assists in the rejuvenation process that maintains a more youthful appearance. But what about beta-carotene? According to research, "topical beta-carotene has been shown to penetrate well into the epidermis and induced a 10-fold increase of epidermal retinyl esters, which demonstrates that topical beta-carotene is converted into retinyl esters by the epidermis and becomes a precursor of epidermal vitamin A."*  Retinyl ester is what Retinol becomes after being fully broken down. Simply put, beta-carotene (the mildest form of Vitamin A) works great in lotions, serums and cremes to increase collagen absorption!

Vitamin A is also a powerful antioxidant because it traps free radicals. Free radicals are a byproduct of normal cell function, pollution, and UV radiation from the sun. The free radical bonds to other molecules causing proteins (remember, collagen is a protein) and other essential molecules to not function as they should. This asserts that many of the changes that occur as our bodies age are caused by free radicals.  Luckily, antioxidants can minimize free radical damage.

Increased collagen absorption and the ability to fight free radicals. Vitamin A packs a one-two punch!

*Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland. 2004 Sep 13

Michael Lamb

Vitamin A, Retinol Palmitate, beta-carotene, betacarotene, beta carotene, pro-Vitamin A, proVitamin A, Retinyl ester, collagen, wrinkles, epidermis, antioxidant, free radicals, skincare, skin care, serum, creme