6 Crazy Simple Food Tips that Will Make Your Skin Glow

Posted by Ada Hersko on April 21, 2014 0 Comments

Acne is a common nuisance that affects about 85% of teenagers and about 50% of adults. Waking up and finding a big, red spot on your face can really put a damper on your day, leaving you less confident to strive for success. While there is overwhelming evidence for the role of diet in acne and skin health, most dermatologists continue to recommend drugs before considering nutrition. As a result, most people have no idea just how powerful a healthy diet can be at improving skin health. 

With that said, what can you do to get that clean and clear, glowing and healthy skin with nutrition alone? 

1. Reduce your refined sugar intake. Duh, you knew that, but more importantly, learn tricks that can help you balance your sweet cravings. 

High sugar intakes are a large problem we face as a society, even "healthy" beverages have more sugar than you think. Not only is it a factor for just about any chronic disease, especially diabetes, obesity and heart disease, it is also an underrepresented factor for acne. High sugar intakes result in an increase in insulin activity, leading to an increase in the production of both fat and androgen hormones (e.g. testosterone). These increases enhance the excretion of sebum, making people consuming high sugar diets more prone to acne. Refined sugar can be a challenge to remove from your diet but with a little dedication, you'll be on your way to a low sugar diet. In as little as a few days of removing sugar, cravings will subside, making it easier for you to stick to your guns. Still craving something sweet after a meal? There are ways that can help you manage your sweet tooth. For example, fruit smoothies can be a great way to both curb your sugar cravings and amp up your daily fruit consumption! 

2. Eat more fruits and vegetables, but do so by adding more creative plant-based meals into your daily diet, rather than, y'know, just a side of spinach!

We know that fruits and vegetables are important for good health, yet the majority of us don't get enough. Fruits and vegetables are high in many important nutrients, phytochemicals, fiber and antioxidants that make them superior for promoting healthy skin. The antioxidant content in plants, for example vitamin C, E and beta-carotene, are excellent at fighting free radicals. By reducing free radicals, fruits and vegetables effectively reduce signs of aging, acne and inflammation! They are also great for improving insulin sensitivity, further contributing to both diabetes and acne prevention. 

3. Try Ginger and Turmeric? We've heard this before too, but here's how! 

Both ginger and turmeric have long been used for their impressive array of health benefits. They are both extremely effective at reducing inflammation, as well as acting as an anti-bacterial, making them great for maintaining clear and glowing skin. Ginger has a pungent and fresh taste that works great in many recipes. It can be grated on many dishes to give them a nice 'kick'. Like smoothies? Try adding a slice of ginger to your next concoction. Our favorite way to use ginger is making fresh ginger tea: grate ginger into boiling water, steep for about 10 minutes, add lemon and agave and enjoy!

4. Use Green Tea and Get Creative With It! 

The health benefits of green tea are bountiful, extending to improvements in oral health, odor, arthritis, cancer risks, diabetes, heart disease, weight control and blood pressure. Green tea is also excellent at boosting skin health, with documented effectiveness at reducing risks for skin cancer, managing psoriasis and eczema, reducing inflammation, slowing the signs of aging and reducing the incidence and severity of breakouts. Most of these impressive health benefits come from the polyphenols, catechins, which are found in high concentrations in the leaves of tea. These catechins are powerful antioxidants that are useful weapons against free radicals. 

5. Drink More Water! Ok fine, this is definitely Duh.

Water is essential for life yet most of us don't drink nearly enough. Water is important for the health of every cell and organ in the human body, skin included. This can be easily seen in dehydrated individuals, who tend to have less elastic, more wrinkle prone and dull skin. By drinking enough water, your skin will transform to be more vibrant, elastic and healthy all-around. I find the best way to ensure I'm getting enough water is to drink a tall glass with each meal and to carry a water bottle with me for the rest of the day. Don't like plain water? Give your drink a healthy boost by adding orange, lemon or cucumber slices. 

6. Finally we unveil the REAL SECRET: Cut down on Dairy Products!

Dairy is full of the perfect balance of fat, protein, and hormones to help a baby cow gain 300 pounds in a year, which is great for a baby cow, but not so great for us humans. The hormones (the most powerful of these hormones is called insulin-like growth factor-1 or IGF-1) in dairy (even natural, unprocessed dairy) have been strongly linked with a variety of hormone-related illnesses in humans, including acne. 

The famous Nurse's Health Study examining health habits of 47,000 nurses found that those who drank more milk as teenagers had much higher rates of severe acne than those who had little or no milk as teenagers. What's even more shocking is that it wasn't the fat in milk, but skim milk that had the strongest risk for acne. 

In addition, milk and dairy products cause an insulin spike in humans that cause the liver to produce even more IGF-1, leading to even more acne! 

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On a Budget? Here's How to Improve Your Skincare Routine Without Splurging

Posted by Ada Hersko on August 04, 2013 0 Comments

Polishing up your skincare routine doesn't need to involve spending more time at the sink or money at the store. Before we get to the good stuff, let's quickly make sure you understand why you do what you do to your face. By understanding what each step of your skincare routine is trying to achieve, you'll understand how just slightly improving the step will make a big impact on your regimen's results. After all, we want to get the most out of those 5 minutes at the sink each morning and night, right?

Here's the nitty-gritty:
1. Cleansing is doing just that; it's rinsing and washing the day's makeup, oil, dead skin and grit off your face. If left on your skin overnight, it would clog your pores and create build-up on the skin's surface forming a rough texture, dullness and potentially breakouts. Cleansing is the first step in getting your skin prepared to receive your treatment serums.
2. Toning is important because it helps restore your skin's pH balance and also removes any cleanser residue, remaining makeup, dead skin cells, oil and dirt. Think of it as an extension of cleansing; again, you're preparing your skin to accept the next steps of your routine.
3. Applying treatment serums are critical to achieving any goals you may have with your skin (think: aging gracefully, lightening hyperpigmentation, clearing acne, calming rosacea, etc.). Serums are loaded with active ingredients and formulated in a way that they can be carried into the skin to go to work. 
4. Moisturizing replenishes moisture that's been lost and also seals in the moisture that's already in your skin. Adding moisture is key for leaving your skin feeling soft and looking hydrated.

And on to the good stuff:
1. Cleansing: Use warm, never hot, water while cleansing. Hot water can dry out your skin. Also, be careful not to use too much water with your cleanser, it dilutes your cleanser making the active ingredients less effective. What I suggest is to either use a makeup remover to remove your makeup first or splash the majority of your makeup off just using water. Once the water is running fairly clear, grab about a nickel sized amount of your cleanser in your already moistened hands. Create a lather (if your cleanser lathers) and apply it directly to your dampened face. Move the cleanser around for at least one minute in gentle circle motions. By letting your cleanser sit on your face for at least a minute, it gives the active ingredients in the cleanser time to work their magic. Otherwise, you're just rinsing the money you spent on the cleanser down the drain.

Another cleansing improvement you can make that won't affect your long term budget, but will cost a bit more upfront, is to use an active cleanser in the P.M. (this will prepare your skin more effectively for your next skincare steps) and a gentle cleanser in the A.M. (this will leave your acid mantle -- your skin's natural barrier against environmental elements -- in place to help protect you during the day).

2. Toning: Use cotton pads or gauze, as opposed to cotton balls, with your toner. Cotton pads remove remaining dead skin, dirt and oil, and this better prepares your skin for your treatment serums. Using cotton pads or gauze also prevents excess product usage, thereby saving you money every time!

3. Applying Treatment Serums: To get the most out of your treatment serums, make sure you're using them correctly. Apply your anti-oxidant serums in the A.M. to protect your skin during the day and then apply your exfoliating and peptide-rich serums in the P.M. to nourish and renew your skin overnight. Also, always remember to apply treatment serums them in order of thinnest consistency, first, to thickest, last. If you do it this way, you'll be sure to get the best results. Otherwise, the thicker serums will block the thinner serums from penetrating your skin -- which would just be waste of your hard earned cash.

4. Moisturizing: Apply your moisturizer using upward, lifting motions. This will help fight the effects of gravity. Additionally, to make your moisturizer more effective, let it sit for a few minutes prior to applying makeup so that it can fully penetrate. Don't be afraid to use your moisturizer with SPF both morning and night if you only have one. Another suggestion to improve the health of your skin, is to switch out your daily body lotion with one that contains SPF when it runs out. By doing this, you're sure to be protected daily from sun exposure on your body as well as your face.

Overall: To ensure you keep your neck and décolleté looking as good as your smiling mug, always start at your forehead and work downward all the way to your neck and then décolleté. No one wants a wrinkly, aged neck and décolleté.

Now that you know how to better your already existing routine, here's an insider tip to help you improve your routine even more by having it customized to your skin and goals: Set up a skin consultation with a licensed aesthetician in your city. Spas typically offer this service complimentary. Expect a 15 minute discussion while the technician analyzes your skin under a magnifying lamp and then gives recommendations on the types of products you should be using. That way when you run out of the products you're currently using, you can change over to products that are perfect for you.

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7 Tips For Natural Skin Care

Posted by Ada Hersko on January 16, 2013 0 Comments

Skin care, once thought of as expensive and time-consuming, can actually be a surprisingly easy, effective boost to your health and confidence. There are several ways to take care of your skin, including diet, exercise, cosmetics, and the use of natural skincare products. Simple products and choices can elongate your skin’s youthful appearance and prevent future problems. Good skin care can simple. From proper cleansing to using the right skincare solutions, here are a few healthy tips:

1. Hydration

The appearance of our skin is affected by our digestion. Many common skin conditions like rosacea and psoriasis have possible root causes in digestive issues. Regular daily hydration – specifically water - is the most effective way to combat problems in digestion. Water cleans out the cells in your body, removing the bacteria and waste that infects your skin. Drinking the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day will speed the process of cell-cleansing and will lead to better skin cell content.

2. Fiber

The best source for regulating digestion is dietary fiber. While many people lack fiber in their normal diet, it is one key factor that can help your digestive system work properly and make your skin look better. Men and women should consume an average of 30 grams of fiber per day for their digestive system to operate optimally. The average person only consumes about a third of that.

An easy way to increase fiber in your diet is to add snacks like seeds, nuts, and dried fruits. Food sources such as oats, flaxseed, peas, beans, apples, carrots and citrus fruits also boost your fiber and power up your digestive system.

3. Exercise

Exercising helps blood circulation and creates perspiration which allows you to sweat, secreting excess waste that sets in your skin. Exercising tightens skin tone and helps the texture of the epidermis. The circulation restores the natural glow that your skin possesses which is usually dulled by the sedentary skin. Exercising will have you feeling more energetic and confident, helping esteem and eliminating stress.

4. Avoid Sun Over-Exposure

The UV rays can be very damaging to your skin; it is important to protect yourself from the sun if you are outdoors for long periods of time. The sun is the leading cause of wrinkles, age spots, dry skin, and skin cancer. The sun is the hottest in the middle of the day and when the rays are most damaging.

Sunscreen is a must: apply sunscreen before you go outside so it has time to seep into the skin providing you with the most protection. Wear sunglasses when it’s bright out -- the UV rays are one of the top reasons for impaired vision. Over time, the sun damages the eyes even when not looking at the sun.

5. Exfoliation

Exfoliating is a process that should be performed daily to ensure healthy, more youthful-looking natural skin. The first step is choosing the proper product for your skin. There are many different cosmetics but there are some that contain ingredients that can be harmful to the very goal you are trying to achieve.

Using natural skin care products is a good way to ensure safe, healthy results. Natural sea salts and dead-sea salts are great for exfoliating the body and natural sugar scrubs are a little less irritating for the face. Some products contain hemp seed oil, and avocado, apricot, jojoba or Vitamin E oils as added natural emollients. When cleaning and exfoliating skin use warm, not hot, water.

Water that is too hot will extract the moisture from your skin leaving it rough and less healthy than before. Use a circular motion when washing your skin because the rounded movement opens the pores allowing you to clean hidden dirt. When drying your skin pat it, do not wipe it. Patting will allow some of the remaining water to seep into your body and help with the moisturizer you apply following the cleansing.

6. Moisturizing

Daily use of moisturizing natural skincare products is one of the easiest and most important ways to care for your skin. When bathing or showering, many people find ordinary soaps drying to the skin. Shower gels infused with skincare oils such as hemp seed, vitamin e, or natural vegetable-based glycerins soften as they clean. Try to avoid products that use either Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate, as studies have shown damaging and even toxic effects with long-term use.

Whether it be an all-natural after-bath or shower skin oil spray, a moisturizing skin lotion or skin butter, daily skin moisturizing will offer protection from the elements, anti-aging properties, and will give skin a feel-good healthy glow.

7. Natural Ingredients

When looking at skincare products try to shop for those containing natural oils and botanical extracts. Popular moisturizing skin care ingredients include hemp seed oil, argan oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, apricot oil, coconut oil, vitamin e, and shea butter. It should be noted that not all synthetic chemicals are necessarily bad or unsafe.

Many naturally-based skin care products require a few chemical compounds to work effectively, maintain stability, and to preserve shelf-life. However, one should try to avoid skin care products that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, or artificial dyes.

Conclusion: Natural skin care is a key part in benefiting your outer appearance. Apply these simple tips and you will soon have smoother, brighter skin that leave you feeling healthier and more confident!

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10 Steps to a Perfectly Clean Face

Posted by Ada Hersko on January 06, 2013 0 Comments

Did you know that you have a great deal of control over the texture, clarity, suppleness and long-term health of facial skin just based on how and how often you cleanse? Whether you’re young or old, man or woman, you can do your skin a big favor by cleansing correctly.

Cleansing is arguably the most important part of your basic skincare routine. Proper cleansing gets rid of old surface skin cells, dirt and dust, grime, make-up and bacteria, and keeps skin pores free of clogs and able to breathe freely.

Cleansing also aids circulation and prepares the skin to receive topically applied nutrients and lipids.

Here are some tips for proper facial cleansing from the 5,000-year-old healing tradition of Ayurveda:

1. Cleanse twice a day, no more. Unless you have exposed your skin to excessive dust, grime or pollution, twice-a-day cleansing is more than adequate for any skin type. Cleansing too often strips your skin of precious natural oils. Not cleansing regularly, particularly before you retire for the night, may lead to build-up and eruptions.

2. Choose a cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type. Do not use soap on facial skin: it can be too harsh and drying and damage skin over time. A too-rich cleanser can clog pores, while a too-dry cleanser can irritate the skin. A cleanser for dry skin should contain nourishing herbs and oils. One for oily skin should include herbs that balance oil production and support clarity. Sensitive skin benefits from an ultra-gentle, fragrance-free, non-irritating cleanser.

Traditional ayurvedic cleansers are made fresh with natural ingredients such as ground oats, lentils or chickpeas, complexion enhancing or clarifying herbs such as turmeric, Amalaki, Neem and sandalwood, emollients such as milk, cream yogurt or honey, and floral or citrus waters for pure healing fragrance. You can make your own by mixing the dry ingredients to last a week or two and blending the mix with milk or cream right before use. Otherwise, look for a natural cleanser that’s gentle and fortified with skin-friendly herbs.

3. Always cleanse with tepid water. Hot water dries and damages skin over time, and cold water won’t dissolve and take away embedded dirt and grime as well as lukewarm water.

4. If you use sponges or washcloths, make sure they are clean and soft. They are not necessary for effective cleansing: your fingertips can do just as good a job.

5. Wash your hands thoroughly before you cleanse your face, or you will be working dirt into facial skin. Use a headband to secure hair away from the face.

6. Start by splashing tepid water on your face and neck.

7. Apply the cleanser with your fingertips or a soft sponge, using gentle circular massaging strokes and moving upward on the face and neck. Do not scrub too much…gentle massaging strokes are enough to help improve circulation as well as loosen grime and old surface skin cells. Too much scrubbing will stretch skin and irritate it, especially the delicate skin around the eyes.

8. Rinse with lots of tepid water. Don’t forget to rinse off cleanser from the neck and hairline. Cleanser residue can clog pores and attract dirt.

9. Gently blot off excess water with a soft towel. Do not scrub dry or drag towel along skin.

10. Follow immediately with a water-based toner and a moisturizer appropriate for your skin type to seal in surface moisture and offer nourishment when skin is receptive.

Note: This ayurvedic information is educational, and is not intended to replace standard medical care or advice.

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