Many consumers, both men and women, have probably asked themselves “why exfoliate?” After all, it’s an additional step in one’s skincare routine, so it’s important to know why it can be beneficial for the skin (when done properly).
What does “exfoliate” mean? Broadly stated, it involves rubbing a granular substance on the skin to help remove dead cells from the skin. There are many ways to do this: 1) using a loofah or washcloth; 2) using an exfoliating soap or scrub; 3) using a brush; 4) using a chemical (AHA or BHA) peel or other treatment. Exfoliation can be useful as we get older, when our body’s ability to slough off dead skin diminishes. In order to prevent buildup that can lead to skin dullness and clogged pores, exfoliating is a useful addition to a skincare regimen. It need not be done every day to be effective.
There are pluses and minuses to using the above-mentioned methods to remove dead skin cells. Loofahs are difficult to keep clean, for example, and must be disinfected regularly. They should not be shared. Washcloths should be tossed in the washer regularly, as well, but they are easier to keep clean. Exfoliating soaps are easy to use and often contain natural exfoliants like sea salt, sand, clay, oatmeal, etc. Fortunately, the US banned the use of plastic beads in skincare products recently. There are many more earth-friendly alternatives that one can look for in their products, like jojoba beads, walnut shells, or the items mentioned previously.
Sugar scrubs (like our Body Smoother sold here) are gentler than salt scrubs and help to draw moisture into the skin. Body brushes can also be used for “dry brushing” which can improve circulation overall. Choose the product that best suits your type of skin and your lifestyle.
Perhaps the harshest products for sensitive skin are the chemical peels and other Alpha hydroxy or Beta hydroxy acid treatments on the market. Designed to speed cell turnover, they are often administered in a dermatologist’s office. However, many milder DIY treatments are available. It’s important to follow instructions and not over-indulge in these treatments, as they can still cause irritation. They also make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so a good sunscreen is a must. Treatments containing salicylic acid (a Beta hydroxy acid) can also penetrate skin and help with conditions ranging from acne to keratosis pilaris (those annoying bumps on the backs of the arms, etc.)
If you decide to exfoliate regularly, it’s a good idea to start slowly – say, two to three times a week before bedtime. If you notice any sign of irritation, cut back or try a gentler exfoliating product. Moisturize immediately following exfoliation to soothe and lock in moisture. Use a barrier sunscreen when going outdoors to prevent sun damage. And if you notice any unusual changes in your skin that don’t disappear, see a doctor. If you follow these steps, chances are you will be rewarded with smoother, clearer, and younger-looking skin.
Hair loss treatments are a multi-billion dollar business and a growing concern for both men and women. There are many possible causes of hair loss, but most of them fall into two categories: 1) Hair loss (or alopecia) caused by system-wide medical conditions; and 2) Hair loss caused by environmental factors. As we are not medical professionals, addressing #1 is beyond the scope of this blog post. As for #2, there is much that we can do to address the various environmental stressors that might contribute to hair loss. Moreover, there are a few tips that we can provide that don’t cost a lot, and that may help stem the tide of hair loss that you may be experiencing.
Aside from the conditions that can cause male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness (heredity, autoimmune conditions, metabolic conditions), there are the things that we do to our hair that place stress on the hair follicles. These include such things as tugging and pulling wet hair, hair coloring, blow drying, and pulling hair back into a tight ponytail. These factors affect the hair strands themselves by placing stress on the follicles. Over time, these practices can cause inflammation and weaken the hair shaft. Harsh sulfate shampoos, silicone products, and product buildup could lead to damaged hair and scalp.
The solution is simple; we need to cut down on the amount of stress we place on our hair. If we suffer from dandruff or scalp psoriasis, it’s important to seek treatments that will alleviate these conditions, as well. It’s important to treat our scalps the same way we treat our skin. Avoid harsh chemicals and fragrances that can cause rashes and allergic reactions. There are many sulfate-free shampoos on the market now, and a good rinse with apple cider vinegar can help to eliminate or prevent product buildup in our hair, which can clog hair follicles.
For thousands of years, ayurvedic scalp treatment have been used to stimulate circulation in the scalp to help maintain a healthy scalp. Using coconut or amla oil, and including essential oils of neem, rosemary, or tea tree can help minimize harmful bacteria and nourish the hair, as well. One study found it beneficial to use hair products infused with caffeine to stimulate hair growth.
Exercise and eating a balanced diet that is low in sugar are also helpful, as anything that benefits the rest of the body will invariably benefit our hair and scalp.
To sum up, here are some hair loss prevention tips that can help you maintain healthy hair and scalp:
Avoid mechanically stressing the hair (pulling, wet-brushing, blow-drying, tight ponytails) as much as possible
If you smoke or drink heavily, stop.
Use mild shampoos and conditioners, and rinse hair with apple cider vinegar once a week
Avoid using harsh treatments like perms, relaxers, and hot curlers, which can burn hair follicles
Wear a hair covering and/or barrier sunscreen on your hair and scalp when out in the sun
Try yoga or acupuncture to help relieve stress and bring down stress hormones
Massage the scalp regularly using ayurvedic herbs like Arnica and Ashgawanda (use as directed)
Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes adequate calories and vitamins and is low in refined sugar, which causes inflammation.
Stay active. Not only will it enhance your immune system and improve mood, but it will improve overall circulation.
Finally, if you think there is something wrong, see a doctor. It’s important to rule out any underlying medical condition that may be causing your hair loss. Hair loss can be a scary and embarrassing thing, but with a little effort you can take steps to maintain healthy hair and scalp.
If you are looking for natural remedies for thin, weak nails or for brittle nails, look no further. There are many things that you can do to keep your nails healthy and strong without spending a lot of money on potentially harmful nail treatments.
Weak, thin, or brittle nails can be caused by a number of things. Usually, it results from keeping hands in water constantly. People who wash dishes regularly, for example, may find that their nails are becoming softer and thinner. Wetting and drying of the nail bed can affect its integrity. It’s the reason why dermatologists usually recommend wearing gloves when immersing one’s hands in water for long periods. Gloves can also keep hands and nails away from harsh surfactants and other chemicals that can dry out the skin and nails.
If you don’t like to wear gloves, take the following steps to keep nails healthy:
Avoid harsh detergent cleaners that strip oil from skin and nails, like alcohols and bleaches.
Avoid acetone-based nail polish removers.
Use a moisturizer or barrier balm (like our all-purpose balms here immediately after immersing hands in water or after housecleaning to add targeted moisture and seal it in.
Keep nails cut short to avoid tearing. Don’t cut cuticles.
Avoid over-buffing nails.
Eat a balanced diet.
Take a biotin supplement if needed.
Use a moisturizer and wear cotton gloves overnight to allow the moisturizer to work.
If there are any sudden changes to your nails, see your doctor.
By taking just a few easy steps, you can go a long way towards keeping your nails strong, healthy and beautiful!
You may find yourself asking when you should throw out skincare and cosmetics that you may have been using for awhile. After all, not all products have expiration dates. Naturally-derived products, while more appealing to many, can be even more difficult to determine when it’s past its prime.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate cosmetics, which include most personal care products that we use today. Exceptions to this rule include products that function like drugs (e.g. sunscreens and acne medications). These types of products are regulated by the FDA and, as such, require expiration dates on their packaging. Once they expire, their effectiveness is not guaranteed, and they should be tossed.
Most other products do not require expiration dates, so it’s the consumer’s responsibility to track when a product was purchased, and when it’s no longer safe to use it. As a rule, products in tubes and pumps will maintain their integrity longer than products in jars. Products that come close to the eyes should also be thrown out sooner than other cosmetic products. Product composition is also important. Natural products with little or no preservatives should be refrigerated if they contain water, and will have a shorter lifespan than oil-based products. This is because products containing water are breeding grounds for bacteria and mold. Bacteria and mold, while they may be present, do not grow in oil-based products. However, you should not allow water to enter these products or they will go bad.
Regardless of what types of products are used, here are a few guidelines for knowing when to throw out your skincare and cosmetics products:
Mascara – 3 months
Liquid eyeliner – 3 months
Liquid foundation – 6 months
Cream formulas (water-based) – 6 months
Cream eye shadow – 6 months
Products in pumps – 1 year
Sunscreen – 6 months-1 year (after expiration date, not after opening)
Hair products – 1 year
Nail polish – 1-2 years (or when separation occurs)
Powders – 2 years
Pencil/powder eye shadow – 2 years
Lipstick/Lipgloss – 2 years
Regardless of the products used, it’s always a good idea to use common sense. If a product is causing redness or irritation, itching, or signs of infection on the skin, throw it out! Factors like high heat or dirty fingers can affect a product’s stability. Don’t use other people’s products. If you must use a lipstick or eye pencil, for example, use a knife or sharpener to remove the top layer first. After all, safety should be uppermost in our minds whenever we use a product on our skin. Huffington Post article on makeup expiration dates
In order to make this easier for our customers, we have created labels that can be used to mark the date for a product to be replaced. We will be sending them out with new orders for customers to test. Please let us know if you like the idea! You can visit us on Instagram or Facebook for a sneak-peek. We want to make using skincare as safe as it is uplifting.