When determining skin type, two different conversations quickly surface. There is the more beauty-focused skin type discussion that refers to how our skin feels, how much oil it produces and how it reacts to products (think: normal, dry, oily, etc.) and then there is the skin type discussion that focuses on how our skin reacts to the sun and its susceptibility to skin cancer symptoms (think: fair, medium, dark, etc.) Both branches of the skin type conversation root back to our genetics.
We are born with the skin we have and cannot do much to change its natural properties. That’s why understanding the nature of our skin — in all its forms — is important for keeping it healthy and looking good.
Below, we take a look at the two kinds of skin type and explain how you can determine and care for your individual type. For our purposes, we are going to refer to the two branches as “sun exposure skin type” and “beauty skin type.” But even though we are dividing them, it’s important to remember that every feature of our skin is intimately connected, and the way our skin reacts to beauty products may be closely related to how it responds to the sun.
Fitzpatrick Skin Type (Sun Exposure Skin Type)
The most widely used system for determining skin type and how it will react to the sun is the Fitzpatrick scale. Created by Harvard dermatologist, Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, in 1975, the scale was developed to determine the response of skin types to ultraviolet light. Dermatologists realized that looking at hair and eye color alone as a way to predict skin sensitivity to the sun was ineffective. They made this scale inclusive by looking at how patients’ skin reacted to the sun and cataloguing responses into a general scale.
The scale is divided into six different skin types. Check out the different indicators for each type to determine which category your skin falls into.
Once you know where you fall on the scale, it’s important to know how to care for your skin type:
Type 1: Type 1 skin types need to be the most careful in the sun. With the least amount of melanin in your skin, you are the most vulnerable to skin cancer. Try to use a sunscreen with a SPF of 30+ and seek shade whenever you are out in the sun. Be sure to check your skin head-to-toe each month for suspicious spots or moles.
Type 2: Type 2 skin types are also very susceptible to skin cancer and should practice precaution in the sun. While your fair skin will tan occasionally, it is good to wear a SPF of 30+ when in the sun and avoid being in direct sunlight for extended periods. Be sure to conduct regular, head-to-toe skin checks each month as well.
Type 3: As a type 3, you may burn at the beginning of the summer but tan easily afterwards. Your medium to olive skin tone is more protected than types 1 & 2 but it still requires a strong SPF of at least 30+ to stay safe. Try to check your skin for moles and spots every month, or at least every three months, to prevent skin cancer.
Type 4: Your medium-brown skin tans easily and rarely burns. You are less likely to get skin cancer, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Use an SPF of at least 15+ every day and avoid direct sun exposure.
Type 5: Type 5 skin tans very easily and seldom burns. Skin cancer is more rare for your skin type, but when skin cancer does occur it is usually detected at a later and higher-risk stage, usually on areas not directly exposed to the sun such as the palms of the hands. Use an SPF of 15+ while outside, and perform skin checks at least every three months to ensure that nothing goes undetected.
Type 6: As the darkest skin type, you almost never burn and tan very easily. But just because you never burn, doesn’t mean you are free of skin cancer risk. Still practice caution and use an SPF of 15+ to prevent damage to skin cells. Like Type 5, you are also more at risk for skin cancer in less exposed skin areas. Check your skin often for any changes or suspicious moles or spots.
Beauty Skin Type
Now that you know how your skin fairs in the sun, it’s time to identify the other factors that define your skin, specifically the skin on your face. While most skin exhibits features of multiple categories, having an idea of how your skin normally behaves will help you know how to care for it and which products to use.
To gain the best idea of which skin type you have, wash your face first and let it dry. Don’t put any products on it for an hour and see how it acts naturally. This will give you a good indication of its true nature.
Normal skin type
Normal skin is not too dry or oily; it falls in that desirable in-between place. Your skin normally has an even tone and a soft texture, with little flakiness. You may get an oily T-zone (the central area of your face including the chin, nose and the part of your forehead above your eyebrows) in hot weather, but generally, this area is oil-free. Lighter lotions and serums are ideal for your skin type because you don’t need much heavy product to keep your skin feeling great.
Dry skin type
Dry skin is characterized by small pores and an overall feeling of tightness. It often has more visible lines, less elasticity and a duller complexion. Moisture is key to caring for dry skin. Use lotions or creams to nourish your skin cells. If your skin feels dry but you still get breakouts, then you don’t have truly dry skin. Your skin may be feeling dry from the products you’re using.
Oily skin type
Oily skin tends to have larger pores, and a shiny, thicker feeling complexion. Blackheads and pimples are more common with this skin type. If you blot your face with a tissue and oil stays behind, then it’s likely that you have oily skin. Cleansing the face often and avoiding heavy creams and emollients is advised for minimizing the appearance of oil.
Combination skin type
While most of us have combination skin to some degree since there are more sebaceous glands around our nose, this skin type is marked by a consistently oily T-zone with dryness in other areas of the face. This is the most common skin type, and people with combination skin should consider using different products for different areas of the face to keep the skin balanced.
Additional Skin Type Factors
There are a few other features that contribute to skin type. It’s good to take these into account as well when figuring out what kind of skin you have.
Sensitive skin reacts easily to products and can breakout in rashes or become itchy. This is more likely in fair to medium skinned people but any skin type can have sensitivities. If you have sensitive skin, avoid harsh products and search for products that don’t clog or irritate the skin.
Skin can also be acne-prone. Acne of all kinds can occur at any age and on any area of the skin. Oily skin types are more likely to have acne but it can occur with all skin types. Consult a dermatologist to find an acne product and care routine that works for your unique skin problems.
Understanding all of the features of your skin may seem like a lot of work, but it is the best thing you can do to care for it properly. Once you understand how your skin responds to different elements, you can zero in on what products, treatments and safety precautions are ideal for you.
What kind of skin do you have? What are the best ways you’ve found to care for it? Let us know in the comments.
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol. It is derived from hemp, a variant of the cannabis (marijuana) plant. Marijuana plants typically contain both THC and CBD, and these compounds have different effects depending on how the plant is grown and processed.
Recently, traditional medical practitioners, as well as holistic health experts, have begun recommending CBD oils and topical salve compounds to treat everything from anxiety, insomnia, and stress to some types of pain, inflammation, seizures, and even acne. This oil has also been proven to be a potent anti-inflammatory.
Unlike the high produced from THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that CBD does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it. Most hemp/cannabidiol products contain little, if any, THC.
In order to be effective as a topical or ingested treatment, CBD has to be safely concentrated. Products containing the CBD compound are now legal in many states in the United States where marijuana is not legal.
In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the prescription use of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil, for treating two types of epilepsy. This has opened numerous paths of study for further pharmacological applications. The long-term results are still under evaluation, but many patients have reported markedly improved results for their ailments without the same side effects of other laboratory-formulated medicines.
So far, researchers have found no significant side effects on the central nervous system, vital signs, or mood – even among people who use high dosages.
CBD treatment options even branch out to cystic, chronic forms of acne, or acne vulgaris, caused by inflammation and overworked sebaceous glands.
How does it work? All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors already present in the human body and brain. The main receptors present from CBD usage include the body’s own innate endocannabinoid system and CB2 receptors, which are more commonly found in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain.
For those considering using CBD oils or topicals, doctors recommend buying only those products derived from organic hemp, processed without harsh solvents and pesticides. If possible, it is a good idea to view the certificates of analysis for each product to see exactly what is included. Ninety-nine percent of cannabidiol oil is available without a prescription and can be purchased online and in health food stores. To reduce inflammation, topical CBD is absorbed through the skin and into the fatty sheath around a painful or damaged nerve. At least one month of consistent treatment is recommended to feel results.
Anyone who is considering using CBD oils or topical creams should talk to a qualified healthcare practitioner beforehand. They can provide information about safe CBD sources, dosages, and local laws surrounding usage.
Though a new wave of body positivity has emerged embracing women of all shapes and sizes, the sentiments surrounding cellulite are largely unchanged – it is still seen as undesirable. Store shelves are lined with products promising to diminish the appearance of dimpling. Medical spas offer treatments boasting longer-lasting results. But, will there ever be a cure?
Cellulite is a modern condition that has created more confusion than answers. Researching basic information about the topic can result in a myriad of conflicting data. Medical professionals believe cellulite is a non-issue, albeit unsightly. Due to the unsightly nature of the condition, spa treatments, creams, and claims on its causes and cures abound.
Cellulite, which is not to be confused with cellulitis or celluloid, has been classified medically with a variety of nomenclature, including adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis, and gynoid lipodystrophy. The suffix ‘ite’ usually refers to inflammation in medicinal vernacular, so the term “cellulite” is technically incorrect; it is, however, widely used and accepted by physicians and the general population.
In basic terms, cellulite is the extrusion of fat pockets through layers of fascia or connective tissue just under the dermis that can be seen through the top most epidermal layer, creating skin puckering and dimpling. This effect often occurs on the hips, buttocks, and abdomen.
Cellulite occurs in most post-pubescent females and among 85 to 98 percent of women, indicating that it is physiological rather than pathological. It can result from a complex combination of factors ranging from hormones to heredity.
Historically, the concept and naming of cellulite has only been around for the last century, when a number of early European clinicians all tried their hand at describing and identifying the anatomy and histology of fat. In the 1920s, French physicians Alquier and Paviot described “cell-u-leet” as a “non-inflammatory cellular disorder of mesodermal origin.” In 1973, cellulite became a household term, thanks mostly to Nicole Ronsard’s best-selling book, “Cellulite: Those Lumps, Bumps, and Bulges You Couldn’t Lose Before.” Following this book, the idea of cellulite officially entered culture as a new dermatological condition.
Perhaps it was this new dermatological focus that brought the lumpy, bumpy skin into light. But, more likely, it is a result of the fact that the modern, western woman has been baring more skin in the past century than ever before. In fact, for the first time in a millennium, the ideal female form has moved from a voluptuous, rubenesque body type to one of slender musculature highlighting every flaw. Today, the perception of cellulite has taken on a life and treatment niche all its own.
Cellulite results from many complex events involving the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissues. Most women will develop cellulite at some point in their lives. It does not matter if someone is skinny or full-figured, the skin tissue biology will remain the same. Sub-dermal fat looks lumpy because it pushes against the connective tissue, causing the skin above it to pucker.
More women than men suffer from cellulite. In fact, most men show little to no sign of cellulite dimpling. Cellulite usually appears after puberty and is more prevalent in obese women. It is, however, not harmful to the body. The reason more women than men are affected by cellulite can be found in the biology of the skin and hormones. The sub-dermal collagen tissues in women are formed in rows, which allows fat to be compartmentalized and stretched back and forth, making dimpled skin and cellulite visible. The reasons for this pattern are likely due to women’s anatomical ability to stretch tissues and skin to accommodate a growing baby and widening hips. Men’s sub-dermal biology is formed in an X pattern of cells, criss-crossing the tissues to form a grid that prohibits deep pockets or dimpling of the surface skin layer.
Cellulite will typically appear in two to four stages that increase in severity over time: soft cellulite will appear in patches that do not yet show deep pockets. It is believed that the deep pockets occur when blood and lymph vessels deteriorate and fluid and toxins accumulate. As the fibrous bands wrap around fat cells, the dimpled orange peel or cottage cheese effect will appear.
Without treatment or strengthening and detoxifying exercise, collagen and elastin bands begin to break down while fibrous bands wrap around clusters of fat cells instead of individual cells. This reaction creates a harder, more painful form of cellulite that can easily bruise and produce cold patches of skin where the circulation has been reduced or cut off.
There is increased evidence to suggest that estrogen is the most common element involved in the aggravation and persistence of cellulite. Estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process. The incidence of menstruation, pregnancy, birth control usage, and hormone replacement all seem to support this evidence.
One theory is that decreasing estrogen levels or imbalanced hormones can restrict blood flow to the connective tissue that supports the sub-dermal fat layers. Less oxygen to the tissues creates lower collagen production. Fat cells have also been shown to enlarge as estrogen levels fall.
Decreased oxygen and thinning epidermal skin (flaccidity) can result from many different factors, including age, smoking, genetics, and weight loss. Genetic factors can be linked to a person’s speed of metabolism, distribution of fat under the skin, ethnicity, and circulatory levels. Once the skin loses volume, it becomes less elastic, thinner, and more likely to sag. Underlying fat deposits will become more visible as they protrude through weakening connective tissue, resulting in a dimpling effect.
Smokers may also suffer from increased forms of cellulite. Lack of oxygen to the epidermal cells can cause a breakdown of tissue, deflating, and compression of healthy, plump cells to follow the curvature of the subcutaneous fat cells underneath.
Another possible contributor to thinning skin and cellulite occurs from wearing underwear with elastic bands that are too tight across the buttocks, which can compress skin tissue and limit blood flow, increasing the appearance of cellulite.
Other sources believe a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating patterns will increase one’s chances of gaining weight, escalating fat, forming cellulite earlier, or exacerbating the cellulite already present. Some studies have claimed that a toxic body alone contributes to cellulite production, but traditional medical evidence rejects this notion.
The causes that can potentially increase the appearance of cellulite include poor diet, smoking or a lack of oxygen, fad dieting, slow metabolism, lack of physical activity or sitting for long periods of time, hormone changes, dehydration, total body fat, and the thickness and color of the skin.
HOME AND SPA TREATMENTS
Cellulite is the bane of many women’s body care regimen. It seems, no matter what treatments are used, cellulite refuses to budge permanently. Some swear by the less invasive benefits from regular massages, lymphatic drainage treatments, creams, and wraps, but those treatments alone may not be enough, depending on the level of cellulite.
To date, no quick fix has been found; the most effective treatment evidence so far seems to be in the basics: exercising, eating well, and taking care of the skin and body. Furthermore, regular exercise can stimulate the body’s natural cleansing process. Through sweat and blood flow, healthier tissues can be created that hold up fat stores more easily instead of collapsing into themselves.
There is no limit of creams or serums claiming to magically melt away fat. Most are good for temporarily plumping skin with additional moisture, but that is all. The ingredients promoted for skin tightening and fat breakdown are caffeine, aminophylline, and theophylline. Others include vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts that might not reduce cellulite, but can improve skin tone and texture. Generally, these products require daily or twice daily applications to show any promise, but they may add some value when combined with other treatments.
Any cream containing retinol has been shown to help with wrinkling, dimpling, and some skin indentations, but evidence supports it can never completely remove fat. Twice-daily application of a 0.3 percent retinol cream for six months can potentially thicken the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
The appearance of cellulite is visibly lessened on darker skin. For those with lighter skin, self-tanner may make the bumps and dimples harder to spot. After a light body scrub, first apply self-tanner to the affected areas, then cover the rest of the body. Avoid tanning beds and natural sun exposure as ultraviolet rays will damage the skin and make cellulite more prominent.
Regular massages will boost circulation and improve blood flow. While applying body creams, take a few extra minutes to give these areas a firm massage. Massage improves blood flow and reduces excess fluid, which can also temporarily reduce the dimpled effect. Body scrubs, dry brushing, and showers that switch from hot to cold can also boost circulation.
Endermologie (or lipomassage or endermology) is a specific type of mechanical massage. A machine with low-pressure suction kneads the skin between two spinning rollers. The theory is that the deep massage will break up the connective tissue that causes dimples and increase blood flow. Most studies show that massage techniques, including endermologie, will improve the skin’s appearance for a short time, but offer no long-term benefit. Some experts worry that the suction can cause the skin to slacken prematurely, making it look worse. The treatment is FDA-approved, but it is also pricey and may take several sessions to get results. The benefits are likely to go away without regular sessions.
A body wrap can tighten and smooth the skin and improve its tone and texture for a short period. The effects generally last about a day and costs vary. Beware of slimming wraps that promise to remove inches in hours. They may severely dehydrate skin cells and help with inch-loss within hours, but they will not affect the stores of fat or the permanent cellular skin structures that supports them.
Ionithermie cellulite-reduction treatment focuses on reducing cellulite with ions and various topicals. The treatment claims to reduce the unpleasant appearance of cellulite while detoxifying and slimming the body. This process involves covering the affected area with micronized algae and conductive thermal aroma clay, then wrapping it in plastic before applying an electric current with attached electrodes. The treatment sessions, which take place mostly in beauty salons and spas, last for 30 minutes, but may vary depending on the size of the treatment area. According to many reviews, the treatment is not uncomfortable or painful. The results, however, are mixed and diet and exercise are recommended for best possible results.
Exercise and Diet
Get moving! It is one of the best ways to build strong muscles under those lumpy areas and make skin look more even. It does not matter what form of exercise is chosen, as cardio, walking, yoga, and weight training will improve overall body and muscle tone. Focus on the buttock and quad areas with step-ups, lunges, and squats at least twice a week for an extra cellulite-reducing boost.
Try to eat a diet rich in natural foods filled with all the colors of the rainbow instead of empty fast food calories that are high in fat. Shedding extra pounds can go a long way in reducing the dimpled effect and toning the body.
There are plenty of modern options for body shapers and compression workout gear. These new materials claim to hold muscles in place and improve blood flow, which may or may not help with cellulite.
MEDICAL SPA AND MEDICAL TREATMENTS
Many medical spa treatments and high-end therapies are available for cellulite, but they can be costly. Furthermore, some may work better than others, depending on skin and body type. It is important to be aware of the dangers associated with medical spa treatments. Check for references and medical accreditations or licensing before allowing anyone to perform invasive procedures. Several therapies have been suggested for removing cellulite, but none have yet been confirmed by scientific research.
A 2015 National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) evidence-based review of 67 studies into the effectiveness of different techniques stated, “Most of the evaluated studies, including laser- and light-based modalities, radiofrequency, and others had important methodological flaws…Some evidence for potential benefit was only seen for acoustic wave therapy (AWT) and the 1440 nm Nd:YAG minimally invasive laser.”
Sometimes referred to as radiofrequency systems, these treatments show promise for reducing cellulite with a combination of therapies, including massage, liposuction, or light therapy. Direct laser treatments work by inserting a small probe under the skin, which is then fired, breaking up the fatty tissue. The laser’s light or heat can liquefy fat, cut connective tissue to loosen puckering, boost collagen growth, and increase skin tightening. Increased blood flow and reduced fluid retention are also claimed. Recipients of the treatment can expect a 75 percent improvement in the reduction of cellulite. Swelling and minor pain are typical side effects and results can last from six months to one year. The most popular lasers are FDA-approved, like Cellulaze, but can be expensive and may require several visits. Long-term effects are unknown with most modern lasers.
Acoustic Wave Therapy
Also known as lipotripsy, acoustic wave therapy uses a handheld device to create sound or shockwaves to stimulate metabolic processes and improve connective tissue elasticity. This treatment promises fat reduction and body contouring. Results vary and it can take several sessions.
Subcision is a minor surgical procedure used for treating depressed cutaneous scars and wrinkles. It is also called subcutaneous incisional surgery. Unlike lasers, subcision uses a special hypodermic needle or blade to slice through the cellulite bands underneath the skin. Stabilized-guided subcision systems use vacuum-assisted control of both the depth and area of tissue release for precise and reproducible results. As it cuts the connective bands, the tissue underneath moves up to fill the space under the skin, removing the appearance of cellulite. About 20 to 30 individual cellulite dimples are treated during an average one-hour session. Results may last for two to three years, but data on its success is limited. These treatments are not recommended for loose skin patients or those with orange peel stage 1 cellulite.
Carboxytherapy, a non-surgical cosmetic treatment, injects gaseous carbon dioxide below the skin through a needle into the subcutaneous tissue. It claims to kill fat cells, stimulate blood flow, improve the skin’s elasticity, and reduce the appearance of cellulite. It has also become a popular treatment for stretch marks. It has not been clinically tested nor is it approved by the FDA. Side effects include bruising and mild discomfort after the procedure.
TREATMENTS TO CONSIDER CAREFULLY
Often called mesotherapy, this procedure is performed by injecting various chemicals into the fat layer below the skin to encourage breakdown and make cellulite less noticeable. The chemicals used include phosphatidylcholine, aminophylline, hormones, herbal extracts, vitamins, and minerals. There is little proof these treatments help. There have been many cases of botched injections that result in infection, swelling, rashes, and lumpy skin.
Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, includes laser-assisted liposuction and ultrasonic liposculpting; it is designed to remove localized pockets of fat sub-dermally through a suction tube. This procedure is ideal for people who are unable to achieve a slimmer body shape despite a healthy diet and exercise routine. This fat removal procedure is often used on the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. Many cases, however, have proven that it can actually make the remaining dimpled fat look worse.
This treatment is also called body shaping and claims to reduce the appearance of cellulite. This non-surgical alternative to liposuction freezes and destroys fat cells, but leaves the top skin layer intact. Within a few weeks of treatment, the dead fat cells are naturally broken down and flushed out of the body through the liver. The FDA has certified it as a safe medical treatment, but certain side effects, such as pain, swelling, and redness, affect the skin in a similar way to frostbite. In some men, hyperplasia occurred, reversing the fat cells from smaller to larger. Three treatments are recommended and may take three to four months to see results.
ON THE HORIZON
The more one looks into the condition of cellulite, the more conflicting information there seems to be. Research on cellulite and its treatments can easily be found in general medical journals. A variety of tests and diagnostics have been documented for evidence of abnormality or toxicity that would require treatment, but usually finding little-to-none.
What does seem to be prevalent for medical concern is the number of unregulated anti-cellulite treatments being performed today. Doctors and researchers repeatedly stress the importance of caution in the use of these creams and treatments and implore patients to do their homework and ask questions first.
According to the United States National Library of Medicine, “No existing treatments, including weight loss, exercise, massages, wraps, creams, supplements, or surgery, have yet been shown to get rid of cellulite. Liposuction is not recommended for cellulite, and may even make it look worse. New treatments, such as laser, are being developed for cellulite. Many people seek treatment for cellulite because they are bothered by how it looks. The problem is not harmful to your health, however. Most health care providers consider cellulite a normal condition for many women and some men.”
It is likely that dermatologists will become more interested in studying and treating this condition in the coming years and that the skin care industry may develop more effective treatments due to the increasing revenue stream. The consensus is that cellulite can never be completely removed. For now, the most effective results seem to be found through exercise, maintaining overall health and wellness, and the occasional laser or spa treatment.
Rachelle Dupree has over 20 years of experience in marketing, media, and communications. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and marketing and a second degree in graphic design. She studied with a Denver-based herbalist and naturopath for four years, combining her marketing knowledge with her love of natural remedies. She currently contracts as a marketing and communications director for Vivoderm Natural Skincare and various design clients.
The Name Game: Discovering the Difference Between Toners, Astringents, Hydrosols, and More
The difference between toners and astringents, and knowing which ones work best, can be confusing, as there are a myriad of products on the market listed as toners, astringents, mists, hydrosols, floral waters, and, more recently, micellar cleansing water.
The main difference between toners and astringents is the alcohol content. Toners and astringents can both be used to improve the surface of the skin through various ingredients. Toners typically help to remove traces of oil, perspiration, or makeup from the skin, while an astringent may be alcohol- or chemically-based and is used to deep clean the skin and close pores. Herbal toners are best for clients with normal-to-sensitive skin, while standard astringents work best on oily-to-combination or acne-prone skin.
Today, there are countless varieties of formulas available; so, professionals can customize their clients’ facial experience. Spend time researching herbal and plant ingredients to understand their efficacy and best uses for client skin types. Besides herbal varieties, today’s toners can also contain a myriad of vitamins, acids, and vegetable or fruit extracts. They can be applied in both spray form and topically. Depending on the formula and use, sprays can be convenient and easy for use on-the-go, while topical versions may be best applied during home care routines.
Many skin care products containing acids or SPF can disrupt normal pH balance. Using a toner after daily cleansing helps restore the disrupted acid mantel quickly. In addition, many skin toners help keep moisture locked in and can be used on-the-go when there is no time to wash the face. Spritzing the face on a hot summer day or a refreshing mist after a long plane ride or workout can be very satisfying. Facial toners and astringents also remove embedded oil and dirt, creating the appearance of smaller pores. Toners can reduce or remove harmful minerals and chlorine that may be present in tap water.
Due to their typically gentle formulas, which are created to soothe and tone the skin, skin toners and astringents have few side effects. Excessive alcohol base may be the main culprit for irritation and allergic reactions. Ask clients if they have any issues with herbal- or plant-based ingredients. Choosing products that are sulfate-free and paraben-free also helps prevent the skin from breaking out or drying excessively.
BEST ACTIVE INGREDIENTS, TONERS, AND ASTRINGENTS
Many of today’s toner formulas do not contain alcohol and can be calming for irritated or sensitive skin. Clients suffering from rosacea or any dermal sensitivities would do best with non-alcohol-based, herbal toners containing soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as chamomile, marshmallow, aloe vera, rose, comfrey, or calendula. Look for brands with as few ingredients as possible to keep allergic reactions or redness to a minimum.
Skin toners and astringents are also ideal for clients with acne-prone or oily skin. They can be based with isopropyl alcohol or include a reduced amount of alcohol or any other natural astringent, such as witch hazel or tea tree oil. Herbal blends best suited to acne contain willow, lavender, or citrus fruit extracts to reduce oil and tighten pores, as well as soothing herbs to reduce redness and inflammation.
Antioxidants aid cell regeneration and the repair of skin tissues. Vitamin E (tocopherol), lycopene (which is found in tomatoes), green tea, resveratrol (found in berries), grape seed, and niacinamide (vitamin B3) are all excellent ingredients to look for to boost antioxidant power. They can also hydrate the skin and improve overall texture.
Vitamins A, B, C, and E help to slow the aging process and are key components in cellular regeneration. Toners containing vitamin C and citrus extracts will also help brighten and lighten skin.
Trace amounts of essential oils may be added to the best skin toner products for fragrance purposes, while others are added for their therapeutic benefits. The most common essential oils include lavender, geranium, rose, and chamomile for their antimicrobial and inflammation-reducing properties. A lesser known essential oil, helychrysum, is a super skin healer for burns and scrapes.
While toners are generally used as an evening skin care step to deep clean skin and prepare for additional moisturizers or serums, facial mists can be used throughout the day to help keep skin hydrated and refreshed. Some facial mists contain thermal or mineral water to deliver fortifying minerals that balance pH levels and protect the skin. Moisturizing or hydrating facial mists contain a water base and additional hydrating ingredients, such as essential oils, botanical extracts, or glycerin to help lock in moisture. Facial mists are good for all skin types and can be used to set makeup and give skin a dewy look. They are perfect on-the-go and ideal for keeping in a handbag or at work.
Sourced from deep underground springs, thermal water is steeped in skin-fortifying trace elements and minerals, like calcium and selenium (an antioxidant), and is an excellent anti-inflammatory treatment for very sensitive skin.
Fruit-based face mists are more complex than simple infused water. For mature skin, moisturizing blends of coconut milk and coconut water help feed clients’ skin with potassium and vitamin C.
In hot weather, a moisturizing face spray with botanical extracts and essential oils can soothe and refresh heat-stressed skin of all types, including oily skin. Clients should use them liberally, as needed.
Do not let a mist or spray dry completely on the face if it does not contain a moisturizing ingredient. As water dries on the skin, it evaporates and draws out trace amounts of the skin’s existing moisture. Unless they are applying moisturizer immediately afterward, inform clients that they should spritz the face, wait a few seconds, then pat off the excess.
Hydrosols are the condensate result of steam distillation of plants or flowers produced when creating a natural essential oil. The top floating layer of essential oil is removed and the remaining 90 percent of the water is considered hydrosol.
The terms floral water, herbal water, toilet water, and aqua vitae are commonly interchanged with hydrosol, but beware: the two products can differ vastly depending on the manufacturer. A pure hydrosol is solely plant-based and food grade, meaning it is edible. Typical floral waters found in supermarkets, drug stores, or ethnic food shops may contain non-organic ingredients such as alcohol, chemically produced fragrance, or man-made food dyes. Most often they are infused with essential oils, and cannot be considered a true hydrosol. Pure hydrosols contain some of the same aromatic molecules as essential oils, but in a much lower concentration. They are typically clear and colorless and have a light, trace aroma of the original plant or flower.
Additionally, being organic, a true hydrosol does not have the extended shelf life of a formulated floral water and can turn rancid or lose its scent with time. It is always best practice to refrigerate any pure, natural skin care products and check frequently for color and scent changes.
MICELLAR CLEANSING WATER
The latest skin care trend is micellar cleansing water. A large number of skin care manufacturers have recently added this new product to their repertoire. Unlike toners or astringents, this cleansing water is made up of micelles – tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules – suspended in soft water. The concept is that micelles are attracted to dirt and oil, so they are able to draw out impurities without drying out the skin. Thus, micellar cleansing water is marketed as a face cleanser and makeup remover but is not a toner or astringent.
There are many products available on the market when it comes to moisturizing and cleansing. Professionals can better come to understand the difference between toners, mists, astringents, and hydrosols by learning about the benefits, contraindications, and ingredients of each. This knowledge will then empower professionals to make the best choices when it comes to stocking their spas and recommending products to clients.
Rachelle Dupree has over 20 years of experience in marketing, media, and communications. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and marketing and a second degree in graphic design. She studied with a Denver-based herbalist and naturopath for four years, combining her marketing knowledge with her love of natural remedies. She currently contracts as a marketing and communications director for Vivoderm Natural Skincare and various design clients.
Many aestheticians and spa owners today are looking to new trends and technology to increase their client base and services. In light of the growing organic lifestyle preferences, why not look to ancient remedies. as well? Aromatherapy and treating ailments with essential oils is a practice thousands of years old that has seen a resurgence of popularity in the last few decades. A lesser-known component of the essential oil making process is called a hydrosol.
Many have never heard of hydrosols or may have confused them with cheaper, adulterated versions of flower waters. Incorporating natural hydrosols and essential oils into salons or spa treatments can offer exciting, new options to clients and increase revenue streams.
WHAT IS A HYDROSOL?
Hydrosols are the condensate result of steam distillation of plants or flowers produced when creating a natural essential oil. The top floating layer of essential oil is removed and the remaining 90 percent of the water is considered hydrosol.
Hydrosol is a chemistry term meaning “water solution.” In Latin, “hydro” – meaning water – and “sol” – meaning solution. The terms “hydrosol” and “herbal distillates” are most common to the United States. In France, the top producer of modern fragrances, the term changes to “hydrolait,” meaning water-milk. The terms, floral water, herbal water, toilet water, and aqua vitae are commonly interchanged with hydrosol — but, beware. The two products can differ vastly depending on the producer. A pure hydrosol will be solely plant-based and food grade — meaning edible. Typical floral waters you may find in supermarkets, drug stores, or ethnic food shops may contain non-organic ingredients such as alcohol, chemically produced fragrance or man-made food dyes. Most often they are infused with essential oils —which is not the same thing as a true hydrosol. Pure hydrosols will contain some of the same aromatic molecules as essential oils but in a much lower concentration. They are typically clear and colorless and have a light, trace aroma of the original plant or flower.
Data on hydrosol pH varies, but most can be found in the 3 to 7 range; three being more acidic and seven being close to neutral, depending on the plant used. Additionally, being organic, a true hydrosol will not have the extended shelf life of a formulated floral water and can turn rancid or lose its scent after a time. It is always a best practice to refrigerate any pure natural skin care products the same way food would be refrigerated, and check frequently for color and scent changes. Hydrosols with a pH under 5.0 should last up to two years and over 5.0 pH will be good for 12 to 18 months.
There is evidence of essential oil distillation as long as 5,000 years ago. As stills developed over time, the distillation process became more efficient and more common. One very famous compound or co-distillate was “Eau de Me`lisse de Carmes” or Carmelite water. This recipe dates to sometime between the 14th and 17th centuries and is still shared amongst herbalists today.
According to Washington botanist Ann Harman, “Though sources disagree on the origin of this distillate, many agree on its medicinal value and ingredients. It included lemon balm, angelica root, nutmeg, lemon peel, cloves, and coriander seed, distilled in orange water and (grape) spirits. It was sold for centuries, which seems to indicate its value as medicinal water. There are literally hundreds of recipes for waters and their uses up to the late 1800s. Many were included in the official pharmacopoeias of the time.” Over time, these natural medicinal waters were forgotten and not commonly used in standard cosmetic brands due to the sheer amount of plant-based materials that would be required and shelf life concerns.
METHODS OF APPLICATION
Today, hydrosols and essential oils are most commonly used in natural or organic skin care treatments and aromatherapy practices.
True hydrosols should be considered essential oil distillates that are pure and natural, and only distilled from non-sprayed plant material and contain no additives. For some plants that are highly prone to fungus or bacteria, a very small amount of natural food grade preservative may be used. As such, they can safely be incorporated into many spa and facial treatment options. Again, remember to always refrigerate any organic or plant-based products to keep them from spoiling.
Pure hydrosols can be made from any number of flowers or plant leaves such as roses, peppermint, orange blossoms, and lavender. They can be used in just about anything cosmetic or edible, including lotions, toners, lip balms, tinctures, room sprays, and even cocktails or desserts!
The highest quality essential oils come from the same steam distillation process that produces the hydrosol. Steam-distilling is an intensive process that requires many pounds of a plant product. For instance, over 60,000 freshly picked roses will yield only one ounce of pure rose essential oil.
Pure essential oils can also be formed by cold pressing or water distilling plant and flower parts. They can be extracted from the bark, stems, leaves, roots, and petals of herbs or flowers. Distilled essential oils have been employed as medicines or topical treatments since the invention of distillation in the 11th century. The shelf life for most essential oils is about 12 months.
Due to the large amounts of plants used to produce small amounts of oil, essential oils should never be ingested. In contrast, hydrosols are much less potent and contain a much smaller portion of volatile oils as wells as trace organic compounds not found in the oil. They can be incorporated into a myriad of treatment options with much less risk. For internal or food-based uses, confirm if any preservatives have been used before ingesting.
Every liter of hydrosol contains between 0.05 and 0.2 milliliter of dissolved essential oil. For instance, herbal tea’s water to plant ratio is only 0.08 to 1 while hydrosols are at a ratio of 1 to 1 and can be considered a “supercharged” version of tea. In contrast, a pure essential oil will be 80 to 100 percent pure plant oil, sometimes infused in a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or jojoba, but containing no water.
TRADITIONAL AND SPA USES
Hydrosols are extremely versatile when used externally — from facial toners and masks, to compresses or hair rinses, and body lotions or room sprays. Some of the most commonly used fragrances are orange blossom, lavender, rose, rosemary verbenone, lemon balm, peppermint, geranium, and roman chamomile. Spa treatments can incorporate hydrosols into all phases of facials – from steaming to toning to mixing dry facial masks, as well as baths and full body steams.
Neroli (citrus aurantium), also known as orange blossom, is a fruity-floral with uplifting hints of citrus. It has astringent properties that are beneficial for oily skin. It naturally tightens and tones skin while reducing the size of pores. It is antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory and can be an effective treatment for acne, rosacea, and inflamed skin. Neroli can also be used for cooking. Middle Eastern cultures have used orange blossom for centuries in their sweets, sorbets and beverages. Add a few aromatic drops to an herbal tea for clients to enjoy.
Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is a popular essential oil and may already be a part of spa or facial treatment options. Lavender oil is considered “universal” for its calming, healing, and antiseptic properties. Add a new dimension by including this floral astringent hydrosol in new ways. Lavender hydrosols are good for every skin type. It has a pH level of 4.5, which is just above neutral. It has cooling properties that help heal heat rash, sunstroke, and burns. Add lavender hydrosol directly to cotton pads as a refreshing toner or combine with chamomile to alleviate rashes. Relieve tension headaches and stress by adding it to a cold compress. Another use is to add half a teaspoon of lavender hydrosol to hot or iced tea for a refreshing zing.
Scents of orange and lavender can also be used as room aromatics or spritzers to help to reduce anxiety and improve client’s mood.
For stiff muscles, aches and pains, add peppermint (mentha piperita) hydrosol to a hot or cold body compress during a massage treatment. Peppermint has many beneficial properties –internally and externally – including stimulating digestion, reducing motion sickness, treating bad breath, reducing acne, and detoxifying the liver. The aroma of peppermint has been shown to enhance memory and increase alertness.
Rose (rosa damascena) hydrosol is a gentle balancer internally and an excellent humectant for dry, mature skin. It is gentle enough to be used directly as a soothing facial spritzer or toner to reduce inflammation and redness. It can also be combined with other skin-healing hydrosols such as chamomile and lavender. For added astringent properties, add two parts witch hazel.
Instead of champagne or wine, treat clients to a fun, fizzy drink. Gently heat the preferred hydrosol over low heat and add a little bit of honey (to taste). Mix half-part hydrosol to mineral water or sparkling soda and stir it until mixed. Add ice and a fresh sprig of mint, orange, or a lemon slice as a garnish.
As with any natural or organic products, it is advisable to only purchase hydrosols from a qualified herbalist and certified organic farm or distiller. Always check for quality and know botanical names to ensure safety and efficacy.
“Photo-aging” is the term used to describe the damage that is done to the skin from prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV radiation The amount of photo aging that develops depends on different factors such as a person’s skin color and their history of long-term or intense sun exposure. Studies have shown that repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen. The sun also attacks our elastin causing the skin to become loose, wrinkled, and leathery.
young lady applying sunscreen at the beach
Ultraviolet radiation penetrates the layers of the skin. Both UVA and UVB rays cause damage leading to wrinkles, lower immunity against infection, aging skin disorders, and cancer. However, they appear to damage cells in different ways.
UVB rays are the main cause of sunburns, and primarily affects the outer skin layers. UVB is most intense at midday when sunlight is brightest. Slightly over 70% of the yearly UVB dose is received during the summer. Only 28% is received during the remainder of the year.
UVA rays penetrate more deeply and efficiently. The intensity of UVA rays is less dependent on the time of day and season of the year than UVB rays. For example, you receive only about half of your yearly UVA dose during the summer months, with the balance spread over the rest of the year.
Almost all dermatologists and doctors agree, sun protection products should be worn year round. It is important to apply sunscreen diligently during the summer months as it is most intense at this time. But just because you’re a mountain dweller, don’t think you can avoid the sun’s rays there either. UV rays are almost twice as harsh at higher altitudes. Combined with the reflective snow surface, high altitude sun can damage skin at a surprisingly fast rate and cause just as much damage as sun burns on the beach.
Sunscreen Product Facts
Broad spectrum only should be used.
SPF is only related to UVB protection and does not provide a reference to the UVA protection in the product.
All sunscreens will have UVB protection, which is reflected in the SPF.
If skin sunburns in 10 minutes, a properly applied sunscreen SPF 15 means they will burn in 150 minutes
Physical screens reflect light whereas chemical screens absorb UV converting the energy into heat
SPF15 blocks 87.5% of UVB and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB.
If you are looking for the best all around protection against UV rays, Zinc Oxide is your best choice. Zinc has a superior ability to protect your skin from UVA radiation. So, it is the natural, organic star of the skin care products available today. Zinc may leave a slight ‘white-cast’ on your skin, but considering the alternative chemical-laden, inflammatory or allergy-inducing options for sun protection today, zinc is an excellent choice for sensitive skin. Scientists are currently working on a “micro-fine” version of zinc to eliminate this effect without changing the power of the sunscreen itself.
Anti-Acne, Sun protection SPF 15
Always look for a sunscreen product that is dual-spectrum, meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the rays that cause wrinkles and skin aging, while UVB rays produce tans and burns. Applying sunscreen to not only the face but body is important. Sunscreen should be applied daily and even multiple times during the day depending on your outdoor activities. Sun protections no lower than SPF 30 should be applied to the face and body.
Many may also be unaware they can EAT for sun protection! Natural anti-oxidants from fresh berries, green tea, spirulina and many other foods act as natural barriers to the harmful effects of the sun.
The Sunscreen Product Debate – Potentially Harmful Ingredients of Sunscreens
You may be wondering, “How effective are sunscreens in protecting the skin against UVA and UVB rays from the sun? How harmful are their ingredients? Do sunscreens damage more than they protect?” Many have reported the very ingredients in sunscreens that offer sun protection, have also been found to have adverse side effects
While the debate between whether sunscreens are safe or not continues, chemical watchdog, the Environmental Working Group reported 84% of sunscreen products are harmful to consumers.
The bottom line is this. It is up to you as the informed consumer to research all skin care and sunscreen products you use, not only for efficacy but for safety as well. You only have one body, do your best to protect it and treat it well. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and take necessary precautions and measures to increase your natural sun protection factor and avoid future skin damage.
We all know that hydration is crucial and that drinking plenty of water optimizes the functions of the body. What some people forget is that the body needs not only to be hydrated from the inside but also from the outside. With the summer sun sapping moisture from your skin, it’s the perfect time to introduce ultra-moisturizing shea butter treatments into your skincare regimen.
Shea butter comes from nuts of karite trees, which are only found in the wild in the savannah regions of West and Central Africa. It is said Cleopatra used to smooth shea butter onto her body to counteract Egypt’s scorching climate. Centuries later, people around the world turn to this versatile skincare ingredient for all manner of applications from soothing scrapes to treating parched hair.
closeup of shea butter and shea nuts
Shea trees can live for 300 years, but they produce nuts only once annually. It takes about 15 to 30 years for karite trees to bear high-quality fruit that is later crushed and boiled to obtain a yellowish-colored fatty extract. According to the American Shea Butter Institute (ASBI), this product, which is rich in vitamins A, E, and F, is a superior moisturizer that contains remarkable healing properties for a variety of skin ailments, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. It is also used to fortify and protect cell membranes, fade scars, minimize the appearance of stretch marks and wrinkles, improve hyperpigmentation, offer natural protection from harmful ultraviolet rays, and even relieve sinus problems. Shea butter is known as one of the most effective skin healers and moisturizers ever created. Originally used by African healers thousands of years ago, shea butter remains one of nature’s most potent skin rejuvenators and hydrators.
The ASBI recommends using the cold pressed shea butter that does not contain chemicals or preservatives. The ASBI classifies products as A, B, C or F. Class A is premium shea butter while class F is poor quality shea moisturizer. Pure shea butter is also edible and has long been used for cooking in many parts of Africa. Unrefined 100 percent shea butter is available at health food stores throughout the US.
This deeply nourishing product also has a low melting point, and it penetrates quickly when it comes in contact with the skin without leaving behind any greasy residue. Shea butter’s ease of use and myriad benefits have made it extremely popular and a darling on spa menus. Shea butter is high in oleic acid – a deeply moisturizing essential fatty acid that comprises the trademark thick texture. It’s also an ideal carrier for essential oil blends and mixes well with other oils such as fractionated coconut, jojoba and safflower.
While shea butter is effective on the body, it can also help people put their best faces forward and be a saving grace for those with troubled skin. Studies have shown it to be a natural anti-inflammatory agent. It decreases any acne flare-ups while naturally hydrating the skin, hence normalizing the sebum production to avoid future outbreaks – leaving the skin less oily.
Shea butter works well on all skin types, even sensitive skin. In addition, it boasts cinnamates and other compounds that may help inhibit enzymes that contribute to the inflammatory response.
The delicate and wrinkled eye area can benefit greatly from using shea butter to plump the skin around the eye area and help erase crow’s feet. Because the eye area does not have many oil glands, the skin around the eyes easily dehydrates without the ability to reproduce oil. The use of shea butter in eye cream provides a rich and healing source of hydration to penetrate the neglected eye area, keeping it supple and helping it retain moisture.
Also look for shea butter in your all over body creams and body butters. Shea butter and Coca Butter is used to help skin of all types heal and regain moisture levels and leave a silky finish. In addition to treating the delicate eye area, lips and lip lines can also be improved with shea butter. Not only does shea butter nourish the skin but it is also used to treat troubled tresses. Warm shea butter can be applied to the shaft of the hair to heal, protect, and penetrate every strand to make hair shinier, softer, and stronger. This treatment is perfect for people with dry, damaged, or over-processed hair as it promotes restructuring of the hair shaft. It’s beneficial to those who have been exposed to the sun and ocean, or extreme elements that are damaging and drying to the hair.
No matter what your outdoor preference is this summer –whether it is swimming, hiking or simply sunning – be sure to include versatile shea butter in your skin care treatment plans!
You can find almond oil in many natural skincare products today. Vivoderm uses Almond Oil in most of its natural facial lotions and body creams. The Vivoderm Chamomile Body Butter is a thick, rich all-over skin hydrator, perfect to protect your skin against for the cold, dry weather of winter.
Grown in the wilderness of Brazil, the tree and bark of the bitter almond tree (Prunus amygdalus amara) was used for tanning, while the fruit and nut was used for cooking and frying. In those times, nuts were sorted out and the bitter ones were used for ethenic oils in perfumeries and for the creations of industrial usages.
Due to the bitter acid of the nuts and the potential harm of constipation that was caused by the acid, especially in children, trees were cultivated to create a higher percent of sweet-tasting almonds. The almond trees originally started in minor Asia and then moved to China, the Mediterranean region, Spain, Malaga, Valencia, Island of Mallorca, southern France, southern Italy, Messina, Greece, North Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, southern Russia, and the United States.
Bitter almonds (Geren amygdalus amara) consist of 30 to 50 percent fatty oils; 20 to 30 percent egg white; three to five percent sugar; two to three percent emulsion, lipase, and enzymes; and two to four percent amygdalin acid glycoside, which is converted into choline, asparagine, and vitamin C. Sweet almonds (Amygdalus dulcis) consists of 30 to 60 percent fatty sweet almond oil, 20 to 30 percent glucose, 10 percent saccharose, and two to three percent emulsifying and enzymatic properties. It is used in food, cosmetics, cough syrup, and other pharmaceutical preparations. A very small amount of bitter almond oil is still used in the bakery, pastry, candy, and liquor industries as it enhances and stimulates the taste of many products. In the preparation of food, almond oil can be used in salads and for cooking. A small amount of almond oil is often used to enhance flavors.
In the cosmetic industry, almond oil has many positive usages, including skin conditioning and enhancing the feel and penetration of facial creams, body lotions, hand and foot care, fragrance ingredients, soaps, cleansing products, hair care products, bath oils, sun tanning products, and makeup. The development of skin and body care products has unlimited possibilities with which to use almond oil to create a large variety of personal care products.
For corrective purposes, almond oil – as a carrier oil – is a neutral oil, therefore, it is used in many supplement recommendations. For muscle soreness and leg cramps, almond oil can be combined with a few drops of birch, borage, eucalyptus, evening primrose, ginger, lavender, peppermint, or wintergreen oils and rubbed on the ache or pain. To ease cramps in the calf muscle, rub the blend on the calf and flex the foot several times.
Blending lavender and chamomile oils with almond oil as a carrier can offer relief against sunburn. Almond oil as a carrier for chamomile oil is a remedy for many unpleasant occurrences.
Almond oil as a sedative is used in the pharmaceutical profession due to the following amino acids: alanine, magnesium, phenylalanine, and vitamin F. It is soothing and mollifying as a medicinal substance. Used internally, almond butter is tolerated by diabetics.
In many cases, the end price of a product determines the quality of the product. The purified almond oil used in cosmetic manufacturing is produced by grinding the kernel and pressing the oil out, whereby the bulk can be dried and used as abrasives in face and body masks or sold as sweet almond meal or sweet almond seed powder.
To take advantage of sweet almonds, there are several water-soluble extractions available: sweet almond flower extract, sweet almond bark extract, sweet almond bud extract, sweet almond fruit extract, and sweet almond fruit water. A sweet almond leaf cell extract was found to be a highly potent antioxidant skin protector. For hair conditioning, a combination of sweet almond protein and oil is very effective. One of almond oils biggest benefits is that it keeps the skin and hair looking great. It is considered a mild hypoallergenic oil that is safe for sensitive skin. When using the oil directly on the skin, which is done in some instances, it is wise to warm the oil to body temperature before use for better penetration into the skin. By combining almond oil with different essential oils, not only is the power of these oils tripled, but it also enhances the penetration since almond oil is considered an essential carrier oil in the skin care industry.
Folklore has offered many ideas and usages for the nut, which, of course, were never medically proven and registered. A few of these usages include helping to control ultraviolet radiation damage due to unprotected outdoor activity, helping to treat psoriasis and eczema, delaying general signs of aging, treating dark circles under the eyes, and helping with earaches in children.
Almond oil has a light, pleasant feel, but many people will reject the direct use of the oil as it leaves an oily look and feel to the skin.
There are nearly 20 different almonds worldwide. With the improvement of technologies and harvesting, processing techniques for California almonds are now used all over the world. California sweet almond oil can be blended with other oils or used by itself in major cosmetic production with unlimited benefits.
Author: Dr. Dieter Kuster. Originally published in Dermascope Magazine, Dec 2016
Herbology, which is also known as herbalism and herbal medicine, is the study and use of plants for medicinal purposes. Herbology and botanical studies can incorporate many different paths, including basic herbal pharmacology, physiology, nutrition, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and flower essences. Modern herbalists can use all or some of these options to heal a wide variety of traumas, diseases, and infections.
Most modern medical and pharmacological practices can trace their roots to ancient herbalism or traditional medicine in some form or another. In India, the practice of Ayurveda dates back thousands of years and emphasizes plant-based treatments, hygiene, and body-mind balance. Egyptian papyri dating back to 1550 B.C.E. have also been found to document medicine with a catalogue of useful plants and minerals. The Chinese and Greeks developed their own versions of herbal pharmacology around the first century C.E. with extensive herbal prescriptions and a new focus to treat the cause of diseases rather than the symptoms. In the Middle to Dark Ages, medical treatments became a strange combination of folklore, religion, and herbalistic practices that may or may not have been effective.
Modern invention and the scientific method took over many industrialized nations in the 18th and 19th centuries and quickly pushed aside traditional medicine and herbalist practices. Only those nations that did not develop economically stayed rooted in the old ways of healing. Herbalists were soon considered antiquated and their herbal treatments were passed over for chemical compounds and prescriptions. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 25 percent of modern drugs used in the United States have been derived from plants.
As a result of the rush to modernize society, many people in the new millennium are seeing destructive repercussions, including a prevalence of diseases and toxicity that did not exist before. The desire to return to how it was before has fueled a new interest in natural systems and the health benefits of organic living, sustainable farming, and herbalism.
Methods of Practice
Today’s certified or master herbalists will likely have been trained in one of the hundreds of professional schools or apprenticed under a licensed tutor or mentor. Most students focus on specific regional areas to become expert and their training should include in-depth botanical studies of native and non-native plants, diagnosis and treatment of conditions, and preparation and dispensation of herbal medications. Cultivating, harvesting, prepping, and storing are key factors to learning the best methods of preserving medicinal properties. Remedies can be prepared and administered as tinctures, salves, ointments, essential oils, teas, compresses, capsules, or tablets.
Herbal treatments can also be used alone or in combination with standardized scientific methods to supplement treatments, depending on the condition and diagnosis. While the debate about science versus nature continues, it is up to the individual to determine the method of treatment that is most beneficial for them.
by Rachelle Dupree, marketing and communications director for Vivoderm Natural Skincare
O c t o b e r 2 0 1 6 | D E R M A S C O P E
Lavender is a hardy, fragrant shrub that has narrow leaves and grey-blue flowers and can grow to a height of three feet. While the aroma of lavender can be found throughout the entire plant, essential oil can only be obtained from the flower. Originally grown in the mountains of Europe, in poor but well-drained soils, lavender is now grown worldwide. However, the primary aromatherapy producers are France, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Russia.
The word lavender often conjures wonderful images of purple colored fields in the south of France. Sometimes referred to as the Swiss army knife of herbs, lavender has been used throughout history. The Persians, Greeks, and Romans all used lavender to disinfect their sick rooms. The term lavender is derived from the Latin word ‘lavare,’which means to wash. With its many cleansing capabilities, lavender was the Romans’aromatic and medicinal choice for scenting their bathwater and making ointments to heal the body.
During the Great Plague, lavender was part of four thieves’ vinegar, a mixture that was said to be used with great success by grave robbers in order to avoid contracting the deadly disease. It also has a long history in the development of modern aromatherapy. Maurice Gattefosse’s observation of the dramatic healing effect of lavender oil when he burned his hand in a laboratory accident led him to research essential oils in greater depth. Dr. Jean Valnet used lavender oil to treat serious burns and war injuries when he was a French army surgeon. The medicinal use of lavender, especially in essential oils, continues today with good reason.
There are many different varieties of lavender, some of which are considered more important because of their specific properties. The most common plants are spike lavender (Lavandula spica), French lavender (Lavandula stoechas), and true lavender or English lavender (Lavandula officinalis or Lavandula angustifolia).
To truly understand lavender, its chemistry needs to be explored, including linalyl acetate – an ester that is anti-inflammatory – and linalool, an alcohol that gives lavender its antiseptic properties. When buying lavender for clinical uses, true lavender 40/42 is required, with the numbers representing the required minimum percentage of these two particular pieces of chemistry. In comparison, Bulgarian lavender has a gentler aroma and has linalyl acetate and linalool in percentages of 38/40. It is important to know the country of origin of any of the essential oils being used in the spa because its location of growth, climate, harvesting techniques, and distillation temperature all determine its chemistry and, therefore, its properties.
For example, a dry and hot summer will create a higher percentage of esters than a damp summer would. Furthermore, Alpine lavender is always higher in esters than plants grown at lower altitudes. Alpine lavender also has a more camphorous smell, but it is more useful for treating respiratory conditions. The chemistry of this oil is also unique in a different way.
It not only has the ability to have its own action enhanced by other oils, but, in turn, it also heightens the action of the oils it is mixed with. In the process of custom blending oils for a client, lavender should be considered in most blends for its ability to bring a blend of oils together in their action and aromatic odor.
USING LAVENDER IN THE SPA
Of all the essential oils used in clinical aromatherapy, lavender is undoubtedly the most versatile, with a wide range of properties from analgesic to antiseptic. It is an essential oil that should be in every first aid kit in every spa. As a sedative, lavender is very effective;
when used as an inhalation at night, it will aid in sleep. A small amount of lavender oil can be massaged onto the throat to relieve a cough. The sedative action of the oil will calm the cough. Lavender will also relieve many forms of headaches if massaged onto the temples. For best results, combine it with peppermint and eucalyptus in a cold pressed oil and gently massage it onto the temples and the back of the neck.
Another popular use for lavender is in the relief of muscle and joint pain. Because it is considered an analgesic, it is best used in a massage treatment or in a bath and should be combined with other analgesic oils, such as rosemary, black pepper, clove, and peppermint. Muscle pain, menstrual pain, and arthritic pain can all benefit from the application of the oil, resulting in reduced inflammation and the calming of the central nervous system. As an antiseptic, it is also soothing and anti-inflammatory, thus making it very useful for many skin conditions. Its delicate aroma also lends itself to being blended in creams and lotions, usually in a dilution of one percent to two percent.
In the spa, lavender is very valuable in the treatment of acne. As an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, it not only inhibits the bacteria causing the infection, but also calms the redness associated with acne. Furthermore, it can be blended with ylang ylang to help reduce sebaceous flow. Lavender can also help in many cases of eczema and blends well with chamomile and peppermint to calm the skin. When using lavender for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, be sure to use it in low dilutions of less than one percent.
One of the most important properties of lavender is its ability to restore unbalanced states, whether of mind or body, to a place in which healing can occur. With summer just around the corner, consider lavender for its insecticidal properties. When combined with oils such as lemon, citronella, eucalyptus, and tea tree, it makes a great mosquito repellant, as well as a lotion for the treatment of insect bites. Lavender can also be used to alleviate sunburns and sunstrokes when prepared in a light lotion, cold compress, or cold gel.
It has been used for centuries to protect clothes and linens from moths. When combined with oils such as myrrh, lemongrass, and tea tree, lavender can be used as fungicidal for the treatment of athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.
MIND AND SPIRIT
Lavender oil is useful for relieving stress. Stress that becomes counterproductive on a physiological level involves either the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic hyperfunctioning is triggered more by physicalstress while parasympathetic hyperfunctioning is caused more by emotional stress. Lavender oil will inhibit both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system functions. By selectively inhibiting either sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous excess, lavender can assist responses to unproductive stress of any kind.
Salvatore Battaglia quotes Peter Holmes as suggesting the use of lavender in acute crisis situations dominated by sudden, unpredictable, and spontaneous features. Holmes also states that lavender can promote personal renewal in every way by washing away past habits and opening clients up to new possibilities. (1) It helps by producing inner acceptance of a painful situation, easing fear, and creating the strength that allows people to move on.
Lavender has been the focus of many clinical trials and is being used in hospital wards as a massage oil, a vapor to help dispel anxiety, and an alternative to orthodox drugs to help patients sleep. Gabriel Mojay equates lavender with Virgo, the astrological sign. He speaks of the characteristics of Virgo to include oversensitivity and inhibition, using lavender to “calm the nervous anxiety that results in shyness and embarrassment.”(2)
Lavender should be used wisely because, while a small amount is calming, too much can be stimulating. Always remember that as popular as lavender is, it is not everyone’s favorite aromatic oil, but if it is blended well with other oils, clients will greatly benefit from its amazing, medicinal properties.
1 Battaglia, S. (2003). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Brisbane: International Centre
of Holistic Aromatherapy.
2 Mojay, G. (1999). Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance
with Essential Oils. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Author Trish Green, director of sales and marketing for Eve Taylor North America, has been an educator for 40 years. She is an international speaker, educating aesthetician across the United States and Canada. As a CIDESCO aesthetician and a homeopath, she specializes in the wellness approach in her aesthetic practice, offering a unique approach to the treatment of clients in the spa.
(Excerpts from April 2016 issue of Dermascope magazine, featuring the Vivoderm Anti-Aging Mask).
Milk has been used throughout history to care for the skin. Many people are familiar with Cleopatra’s fabled milk baths and, as it turns out, numerous other noble women throughout history followed suit. These women realized the youth-preserving benefits that milk provided the skin. Milk is immensely rich in nutrients, including proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and, of course, the ingredient that is responsible for its cell-regenerating abilities: lactic acid.
Today, lactic acid is used in aesthetics and skin care to deliver a host of benefits to the skin and correct signs of aging, acne scarring, dehydration, discoloration, and more.
What is Lactic Acid?
L-lactic acid is a keratolytic alpha hydroxy acid that is also known as ‘milk acid.’ It is gentler than glycolic
acid and provides exfoliation without provoking irritation. It also softens the skin, increases desquamation, stimulates cell regeneration, improves the skin’s texture, and has natural brightening abilities.
(Chemical / Technical Details)
Lactic acid is also chiral in that it contains two optimal isomers. Essentially it has two parts: a left-handed part and a right-handed part. This is why lactic acid is often accompanied by an ‘L.’ This letter denotes the
chirally-correct molecule of the acid is being used. The ‘L’ form is absorbed more easily by the skin and increases the overall performance.
The body naturally produces lactic acid during normal metabolism and exercise. When the demand for energy spikes in the body, such as during strenuous or power workouts, glucose is broken down and oxidized to pyruvate, which then stimulates the production of lactate. This process is beneficial because it helps ensure energy production is maintained. Even during rest, lactate continues to be produced as a result of metabolism in red blood cells that lack mitochondria.
Some research has even shown lactate to play an important role in early-stage development for brain metabolism and as an energy source for the brain in the metabolism of neurons.
L-lactic acid is an important alpha hydroxy acid that may be used in peels, facials, and homecare regimens to help correct the signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, some acne and acne scarring, uneven tone and texture, and more.
While many alpha hydroxy acids are derived from fruit, lactic acid is most-commonly derived from fermented milk or sugar (or yogurt) and is considered a non-toxic, active, and organic substance.
Common Uses for Lactic Acid
Although L-lactic acid may be used to help correct numerous skin issues, it is particularly beneficial in the treatment of aging. It also works well for sensitive skin and skin of color, which may be more prone to dryness, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and discoloration. Acid selection will, of course, always vary by person and should be chosen based on specific skin type and goals.
In treating aging skin, L-lactic acid really shines. It stimulates cell turnover and collagen production to firm sagging skin, sheds pigmented cells, brightens the overall tone, and delivers hydration beyond the surface. Because of its exfoliating capabilities, this acid allows for more efficient penetration than other pro-youth ingredients.
It also increases dermal and epidermal thickness, thus revealing more firmness and less fine lines and wrinkles. While lifting epidermal cells, lactic acid stimulates the synthesis of collagen and hyaluronic acid at the cellular level, resulting in smoother and younger-looking skin. In the treatment of acne, L-lactic acid helps to loosen follicle impactions, reduce corneocyte cohesion, and thicken the corneum layer. It also helps stimulate cell turnover and tissue regeneration while delivering important hydration and brightening benefits.
For hyperpigmentation and other sun-induced discolorations, L-lactic acid is beneficial for many skin types and provides exfoliation and skin-brightening support. It is also gentler than glycolic acid and typically does not induce skin irritation.
When properly used, L-lactic acid is an invaluable tool in the treatment room and at home to correct the visual signs of aging, effectively treat acne, and brighten and even the skin tone. Taking a daily milk bath is not necessary, but a daily dose of lactic acid will provide many benefits for your skin.
Anti Aging Facial Mask
Vivoderm Natural Skincare
Due to current increases in USPS Priority shipping costs and increased security needs, Vivoderm is now offering multiple ways to pay and ship your orders.
USPS First Class
Customers now have the option to choose a lower cost, first class shipping. This first-class option is also now trackable online – to avoid lost or misplaced orders. First-Class Mail® is a fast, affordable way to send lightweight packages – saving the customer up to 50% in shipping costs. NOTE: First class parcels can be NO HEAVIER THAN 13OZ. Most orders will arrive in 1-3 business days, depending on location. If your order contains multiple items weighing more than 13oz, the shipping with automatically default to USPS Priority / Flat Rate.
All orders over $60 still ship for free!
Vivoderm uses every security method available to make sure your data is safe. To add to our customer security efforts, we now offer PAY WITH AMAZON.
Pay with Amazon makes it easy for current Amazon customers to pay on the Vivoderm site using information already stored in your Amazon account.
Pay with Amazon saves you from:
• Having to create and remember yet another password
• Typing out payment and shipping information
• Wondering if your personal information is safe and secure
And of course we still offer standard credit card payment options through our secure server or through PAYPAL.
We hope these changes will making your shopping experience with Vivoderm more enjoyable!
Dermascope magazine featuring The Vivoderm Anti Aging Daily Moisturizer January 2015.
“The Anti Aging Daily Moisturizer by Vivoderm is a new, oil-free facial moisturizer infused with comfrey, aloe vera and vitamin E to erase wrinkles and fine lines and heal aging skin. This gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer is super lightweight and ideal for normal to combination skin types. It provides potent natural ingredients for skin moisture and balance. St. John’s Wort and Rosemary supply anti-aging and antioxidant benefits while sage and grape seed soothe and tone the skin.”
Twelve Days of Leaping Bunny ran on December 1214 through a Leaping Bunny web link posted through their social media sites. Each promo unveiled something special each day exclusive to Leaping Bunny fans and followers. Vivoderm was featured on December 12 with our travel kit promo and online store discounts.
The founder and creator of Vivoderm Natural Skincare, Dr. H. Adhami, was recently featured in the November 2014 issue of DERMASCOPE MAGAZINE, in response to questions about the cause and treatment of severe to moderate acne – specifically a teen with severe acne and scarring.
EXCERPT: “I do not recommend her to use any topical products with acids. Acids will gradually destroy the top layer of the skin, in turn making the skin thinner, destroying the collagen, and worsening the scarring. I recommend natural products such as masks, containing powerful healing, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory herbs such as oregano, cumin and marshmallow.”
VIVODERM is nominated again! Each year, The Les Nouvelle Esthetique & Spa Educational Committee selects four nominees—based on rave reviews from LNE & Spa readers and attendees of The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa—for each of 38 categories to honor outstanding products and equipment in the world of esthetics and spa.
Vivoderm Facial Zinc Cream
Votes start November 7 and will end December 8 at midnight EST (one vote per category per IP address per day).
PLEASE show your support and use the following link to cast your vote for the VIVODERM ZINC REPAIRING FACIAL CREAM in the WELLNESS category: http://www.lneonline.com/wellness/
This week marks the official start of fall. This might make some of you happy and others sad. So as the summer draws to a close, we transition from hot, humid days, to cooler, dry temperatures. Our summer clothing will go to the back of the closet and slowly be replaced with cozy sweaters and boots. And like our clothing, our skincare products should also be rotated to reflect the changing climate and needs.
One of the best transitional skincare ingredients is COCONUT OIL. Many of you may have been using this wonderful oil all summer for light hydration and summer sunning. The unmistakable aroma of coconut embodies the summer experience of relaxation, while the silky texture feels like pure indulgence as it sinks into your skin.
Coconut Oil provides excellent healing and hydration for skin all year round
COCOS NUCIFERA, as the coconut is scientifically known, was believed to have originated in the tropics of the South Pacific, but managed to spread across the globe thanks to its very useful ability to float. Over time and across the oceans, the nut washed ashore to other similar climates, allowing the natives to use the seed, nut and palm for numerous dietary, medicinal and practical purposes. The coconut fruit offers more than just a relaxing experience. As one of nature’s most nourishing fruits, coconut can revitalize skin from the outside and inside.
Used in combination with other rich emollients, coconut oil, provides the perfect base for your skincare needs in cooler weather. Using coconut oil in your diet, helps to strengthen the connective tissues in the skin and keep it pliable and smooth. You can get the beneficial antioxidant properties by using coconut oil in your salad dressing or cooking as wells as drinking coconut water. Both help the skin prevent infection, increase radiance and fight free radicals.
Coconut oil contains mostly fats, which make it ideal for skincare treatments. Acting as an emollient that naturally softens, restores and moisturizes. It also helps protect the skin for the aging effects of free-radicals.
BENEFICAL PROPERTIES OF COCONUT OIL
Forms a protective barrier against moisture-loss and re-hydrates the skin cells
Prevents brittle, dry hair, hydrates the scalp and limits breakage
Helps heal chronic dermatitis and psoriasis – reducing inflammation and itching
Reduces scarring caused by acne or skin eruptions
Eliminates dead skin cells and reduces flaking, improving the quality and appearance of skin
Modern biochemists also consider coconut oil to be an antioxidant due to its stability and resistance to oxidation and free radical formulation. Extra virgin coconut oil is the preferred ingredient in the Vivoderm skincare products for dry to extremely dry skin, such as our INTENSE MOISTURIZER, CHAMOMILE BODY BUTTER AND ANTI AGING EYE CREAM.
As the temperature cools, the humidity drops and pulls more moisture from your skin than in the summer months. Re-hydrating is crucial to keeping your skin soft and plump.
HYDRATE YOUR SKIN
After each bath or shower, be sure to re-hydrate your skin with an all-over body butter or lotion; this will prevent dry flaking and scaling skin. Include a super-rich, facial moisturizer and eye cream to your skin care routine each time you wash your face to reduce wrinkles, dryness and flaking and your skin will glowing in no time.
One of the questions we hear the most in the skincare industry is, “Do I still need a facial moisturizer in the warm, summer months?”
The answer is undoubtedly “Yes!”
You want to pay attention to texture and formulations, but ALL skin types – even oily skin – still need to hydrate and moisturize in the summer.
And don’t forget, there IS a difference between body lotions and facial creams – never mix the two. Heavier formulations of body creams could cause your delicate facial skin to break out or hyper-react.
Let’s break down some of the most common skin types and what types of moisturizer or facial cream to use.
1. NORMAL SKIN
Most normal skin reflects the changing seasons, loosing hydration and becoming more dry in the winter months and slightly more oily or hydrated when the summer comes.
Excessive indoor heating, warm baths and less humidity during winter months will require heavier, richer facial creams usually blended with a base of oil. So, alternatively, normal skin will require a lighter moisturizer. Look for water-based versions or vitamin-rich serums or ceramides. Ultra-light facial lotions will absorb well into the skin while limiting excess oil production. Water-based lotions should included natural ingredients calm sun-damaged inflammation, such as chamomile, Calendula and Aloe vera. Also look for Vitamins E and A for natural anti-aging properties.
2. COMBINATION / ACNE-PRONE SKIN
Similar to normal skin, but oily in the T-zone, combination skin may require using two different moisturizers if your skin type is very unbalanced. Stick with the same water-based moisturizer on the whole facial area as for normal skin, but use combinations of herbal properties for the oiler-T-zones of the forehead, nose and chin. For instance, on the normal-skin areas of the cheeks and neck, use the lighter formulations with natural anti-redness and sun-healing herbs mentioned above like Aloe vera and Calendula or Oatmeal. Then for the T-zone, choose herbal ingredients that help keep excess oil and breakouts in check – like lavender, rosemary and green tea.
3. OILY SKIN
Despite the false myth that oily skin doesn’t need any additional moisture – the opposite is actually true. Even oily skin responds with more balanced oil production when you ADD moisture. Choose a lighter Vitamin infused serum or herbal formula that does double duty for oil production and anti-aging including Vitamin E, A, C and Rosemary.
4. DRY SKIN
To keep flakiness and wrinkles at bay, dry skin types still demand a heavier version of facial moisturizer for summer – a richer cream vs. a light lotion or serum. You might continue to use the same brand or formulation from your winter skincare routine, but spritz your face first with a refreshing toner or witch hazel to help dilute the cream and increase absorption. Choose herbal formulas that help your skin fight free-radicals and sun damage with natural Zinc Oxide and Vitamin E and C.
And as always, NO skin care facial routine would be complete without SPF or sun protection. The Vivoderm Zinc Repairing Facial Creamcombines natural Zinc Oxide sun protection with an oil-based moisturizer and natural herbs to provide 15 SPF coverage for your daily routines. For longer sun exposure, use a higher SFP, like 50-60 when possible.
DERMSTORE Spring 2014 Product Features the Vivoderm Intense Moisturizer and a double package of our Anti-Aging Mask two-package deal.
“Struggling with extremely dry skin? The Vivoderm Intense Moisturizer offers instant relief, utilizing the repairing soothing and moisturizing powers of chamomile, aloe vera, coconut oil and antioxidants to keep your skin smooth supple and hydrated for up to 12 hours. (1.6oz) $43.95″
” The ultimate potion to add to your weekly routine. The Vivoderm Anti-Aging Mask! This 100% natural treatment addresses fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone with powerful botanicals like rosemary, mint and green tea. Just mix it with water, yogurt, aloe vera or any of your favorite oils! (3 pieces).”
See Vivoderm’s Anti Aging Mask in “TAKE A LOOK” Dermascope Magazine for May 2014!
“Vivoderm’s 100% HERBAL ANTI AGING MASK uses actual pulverized herbs along with natural proactive enzymes and vitamins to regenerate skin, reduce age spots and discoloration, boost vitamin intake and provide nutrients and antioxidants to the skin. The powdered mask can be custom-blended with natural ingredients of your choice to enhance the effectiveness. Mask kit comes with a ceramic mixing bowl and wooden scoop.”