Are Essential Oils Best for Anti-Aging?

Aging is natural, but can we slow down the process? Today’s market is flooded with thousands of anti-aging lotions and potions. Trying to figure out which one works the best can make your head spin.  As we age, collagen and elastin decrease, causing fine lines and wrinkles to appear. Let’s not forget other factors such as: poor diet, dehydration, stress, toxins, smoking, and excessive sun exposure which aid in premature aging.

The horrifying truth is that your anti-aging skin cream is speeding up the aging of your skin, allowing the sellers to make more and more money off you coming back for more. The product may contain the latest and greatest anti-aging ingredients, but what other harmful chemicals are added to that “fountain of youth” promise in a jar? The results of these toxins are having the opposite effect on your skin by dumping harmful and toxic ingredients into your bloodstream and doing more harm than good.

Still believe in your anti-aging skin cream? In Europe, they banned over 1300 chemicals suspected to cause reproductive harm, birth defects, asthma, endocrine disruptors, cancer, etc. America has ban only 11 of these harmful chemicals. If you want to find out if your beauty cream is safe go to Environmental Working Group (EWG) website. They have done all the research on the toxic and safe ingredients in our everyday products.

For example, look at the word fragrance in your skin care product. The government has allowed hundreds of potential harmful chemicals to hide under this one ingredient. The lack of transparency makes it impossible for you to make an informed choice on what product to purchase.

Stop wasting your time searching through the many false promises of anti- aging in nice packaging and start making more informed choices for you and your family. Add an organic skin care option such as essential oils to your beauty regiment.

Essential oils have aromatic properties which are a safe and have natural ingredients sourced from plants. They are rich in antioxidants that reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and boost the production of collagen.

While most essential oils are too concentrated to be used directly on the skin, you will need to dilute them with carrier oils like sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and many more. Many natural oils are also anti-inflammatory in nature and the fatty acid content helps to improve the skin’s elasticity.

Best Essential Oils for Aging Skin

 Helichrysum oil – One of the best anti-aging essential oils. Its other name is immortelle. It reverses aging and gives the skin a more radiant and firm look. It works on the cellular level to smooth wrinkles and repair skin cells. This essential oil is on the pricier side, but well worth it.

Neroli oil – High in Vitamin C and helps to repair damaged skin cells, improves elasticity and stretch marks, triggers cell growth, tones skin, and even softens scars.

Frankincense oil– Is a sweet and spicy oil that boost the skin’s elasticity, promotes the growth of new cells, and reduces age spots. It also possesses anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties, which helps reduce blemishes and even the skin tone since it balances the skin’s PH

Carrot Seed Oil – Contains apigenin and luteolin which have anti-inflammatory activity, and rich in flavonoids which have an antioxidant effect on irritated skin. It can help smooth your skin and repair damage to the epidermis. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals and carotenoids that protect the skin from sun damage and delay signs of aging. It will also tighten skin and promote cell rejuvenation.

Geranium Oil – Is a common oil in anti-aging products. The fragrance is flowery in nature and has a therapeutic effect on aging skin. It is a natural astringent and anti-inflammatory agent which can tighten the skin. Geranium Oil regulates sebum production and reduces the appearance of pores and scars.

Ylang-Ylang – Rejuvenates your skin. It helps to smooth away wrinkles and fine lines on your face and around your mouth due to its antioxidant properties that protect skin cells. Ylang-ylang contain powerful antioxidants that effectively kill off skin-damaging free radicals. This which helps prevent premature aging caused by overexposure to the sun’s UV rays and the dreaded effects of pollution.

Rose essential oil – Great for dry skin and for boosting your skin’s elasticity. Keeps the skin moist and encourages new cell growth. It reduces inflammation, protects from oxidation and free-radicals. Also, who doesn’t like the smell of roses?

This oil is great for dry mature skin to keep it hydrated, toned, reduce fine lines and inflammation. It can also help heal broken capillaries.

Lavender oil – Can sooth tired, dull skin. Because of its antioxidant properties, this oil is great for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. The free radical scavenging activity of this oil helps to reduce the effects of oxidative stress. Inhaling lavender also has many health benefits, such as reducing stress and helping with insomnia.

Lavender oil has restorative properties which are great for cuts and burns. It also reduces blemishes and heals the skin.

There are so many anti-aging essential oils to choose from such as: Sandalwood, Rosemary, Pomegranate Seed, Myrrh, Patchouli, Clary Sage, etc. Research them all and see what is best for you.

Best Carrier Oils

To get the full benefit from anti-aging essential oils, you should dilute them in carrier oils. Many carrier oils also have antioxidant activities that can help prevent the appearance of aging skin. Natural oils provide deep moisturization to nourish and protect your skin from further damage.

Apricot Kernel Oil

The anti-aging effect of apricot kernel oil is due to its high content of fatty acids and vitamin E. The oleic and linoleic acids help make this an effective skin treatment.

Sweet Almond Oil

Delivers essential nutrients to the skin to combat wrinkles and tighten skin. It will also improve complexion and tone skin.

Jojoba Oil

This oil closely resembles sebum which is what the skin produces to keep it moist. This is one of the best oils for anti-aging. Jojoba oil is a natural emollient that regulates the production of oil in the body. It can improve your overall skin condition and make your skin appear younger.

Jojoba oil contains antioxidants and antibacterial compounds to fight bacteria and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. It can also improve skin texture.

Argan Oil

This oil tightens saggy skin, boosts elasticity and collagen. It also improves the structure of skin cells and gets rid of free radicals.

Pomegranate Oil

This oil is rich in antioxidants. This oil contains bioflavonoids which helps prevent sunburns. It is also rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also promotes faster absorption into the skin when mixed with other essential oils.

There are many other carrier oils to use as well–vitamin E oil, coconut oil, olive oil, evening primrose oil, rosehip seed oil, and avocado oil.

Please note: essential oils are very potent. Make sure you purchase 100% pure essential oils, and dilute them with a carrier oil. Do not use if you are pregnant or lactating. Keep oils away from eyes.

How to mix Essential Oils

Add 12 drops of essential oils per 1 fluid oz of carrier oil.

Recipes

As you can imagine there are many combinations for anti-aging. Here are some to get you started.

Mix 1 oz of carrier oil

4 drops of carrot oil

4 drops of lavender oil

4 drops of geranium oil

Mix the ingredients in an amber bottle and store in a cool dark place. Put a few drops in your hand and spray about three to four squirts of rose water to the mixture. Then spread evenly across your face and neck.

Anti-Aging Essential Oil Mist

Fill a small amber spray bottle with 1 oz rose water

Add 12 drops of any of your favorite anti-aging essential oils

Shake the mixture before spraying

Keep eyes closed and mist over your face for a refreshing anti-aging pick-me-up throughout the day.

We can’t stop aging, but if we take some preventative measures we can have that youthful glow for many years to come. Don’t forget aging is a process and we need to be mindful of what we put on our skin as well as what we put in our bodies. Get plenty of rest, drink a lot of water, and exercise.  Don’t forget to keep your mental thoughts in check.  Positivity goes a long way for your health and anti-aging.

Toxins in Ethnic Beauty Products

Did you know that black women spend more than double the money for beauty products than any other ethnic group? Is it because the products are better? Not at all. Many consumers believe there are more toxic chemicals in ethnic skin and hair care products than our Caucasian counterparts. While the research is inconclusive on the number of toxins comparatively, there are egregious categories within the beauty care products offered for women of color that we can’t ignore.

Let me first say that as a model of color, I can verify that the hair and makeup team used the same products on me as they did anyone else—lead-based lipstick and mercury-filled mascara. So in that instance, I can say we were all equal opportunity targets as canvasses for the toxic chemicals.

Skin Care

But we must look at the fact that some companies market certain products solely to ethnic consumers and pass them off as “safe.” For instance, skin lighteners are geared directly to women of color. These products contain hydroquinone, which is associated with cancer and toxicity of the organs. This chemical is so toxic it’s banned from the European Union and the FDA has proposed a ban for most prescription options. Makes you want to shove it to the back of the shelf, right?

Solution

Women of all skin colors should keep skin type in mind, not skin color, when we are choosing the right skin care products. Reading ingredient labels and educating ourselves on each product would benefit us more than making purchases based on the marketing on the bottle. Because while ethnic skin may be more prone to hyperpigmentation and lighter skin may be more prone to rosacea, we all have the same basic needs: gentle cleansing, exfoliating, sun protection, and moisture. In addition, a clean diet and exercise are the building blocks to keep any skin looking healthy and young.

Hair Care

The second offending category is hair care. Major toxic chemicals can be found in hair relaxers which more women of color use than Caucasian women. Studies have shown these toxins to cause hormone imbalance, fibroids, cancer, and early puberty. Since the producers of these harmful ingredients refuse to research a healthier option (if there is one) women of color need to take their dollars elsewhere and do their own research for the sake of their health. And certainly don’t be fooled by any relaxer that claims “organic” on the label. It can include a different set of toxic chemicals linked to brain damage, reproductive health problems including infertility and miscarriages, endocrine disruptors, cancer, and more.

Solution

Avoiding the products and treatments altogether is the obvious first choice that would hugely benefit long-term health. Women of color are starting to wear their natural hair and finding it’s fuller with less breakage, which makes for healthier, beautiful hair. However, researching natural options is the next best thing in the quest to remain toxin- free. Regardless of your skin color, if you treat your body well now, it will take care of you in the future.

Daily Tips for Getting Beach Ready

Getting your body in shape for the beach does not have to sound like a chore. Here are a few helpful tips you can do every day to keep those muscles toned.
Brushing your teeth
Hey, you have nothing to do with your legs! Do some leg lifts every time you brush. Back, to the side, and throw in some squats while you brush at night.
Taking out the trash
Instead of walking, do some lunges to the trashcan and back.
Try a stand-up desk
This will allow you to do some leg lifts and get some business done as well
Watching TV
Do some planks. It sure beats snacking on some unhealthy food
Test out your strength
Ask your kids to arm wrestle. Even if they are under 10, they will want to do it over and over again. They will wear you out
Plan plenty of sexy time with your mate
It burns more calories than you think.
While you are cooking
Lift a can of goodness and do several reps. It may not seem like a lot but if you do it every other day, it adds up.
Grocery shopping
If you can, ride your bike to pick up those few items instead of getting in the car.
Always take the stairs
In an office building, airport, mall, etc, get those legs looking as sexy as possible.

What’s so Sweet about Manuka Honey?

You’ve heard of the many benefits of honey for your health, helping with allergies and sore throats. But did you know that Manuka honey is touted as one of the healthiest honeys in the world? As one of nature’s antimicrobial sources, the many uses of this raw honey include: clearing acne, repairing scars and free radical damage, easing sore throats, healing eczema, curing gingivitis and periodontal disease, and treating staph infections.

So what’s so special about it? Manuka honey is made by bees that forage on the flower of the Manuka bush (also known as the tea tree) in New Zealand. Most honey you buy off the grocery shelves is not much different from high fructose corn syrup. Did you just cringe like I did when you saw that? Here we are trying our best to rid our diets of bad stuff and what we’re putting in isn’t much better.

The best local raw honey can be found at a farmer’s market, co-op, or health food store. This honey helps with seasonal allergies as well as some of the healing benefits mentioned above. Some adventurous souls even consider cultivating their own bee hives, although this isn’t an option for most of us. One large differentiating factor of Manuka honey is that the nutritional content is over four times that of regular honey and is marked with a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor.) The UMF is a guarantee that the honey being sold is medicinal quality. It is also the global standard of identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka.

To get all the medicinal benefits, purchase a honey that lists a UMF of 10+ which indicates its concentration of beneficial compounds and antioxidants. The higher the number, the stronger the antibiotic effect. ·

10-14 Supports natural healing and bacterial balance

15+ Superior levels of phenols that are highly therapeutic depending on what you are trying to heal

Keep in mind if there is not a UMF or a number listed, then the honey is not the real deal. The rating guarantees you are receiving all the nutritional benefits such as: vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron, amino acids, magnesium, zinc and much more.

Good news for acne sufferers. Manuka honey also contains higher levels of enzymes that create natural hydrogen peroxide which in turn works as an antibacterial. Manuka honey’s antimicrobial and healing properties can help by oxygenating pores to draw out bacteria and reduce inflammation and redness. It also works wonders for eczema.

Apply the honey on affected areas for a few minutes per day, then wash off and pat dry.

Manuka honey mask

Manuka honey repairs cellular damage, helps heal scarring, works as a humectant drawing moisture into the skin and hydrating without making it oily, and also inhibits enzymes that destroy collagen. It also repairs free radical damage, and helps to protect against further damage. This will improve skin tone and texture. Honey, together with natural hydrogen peroxide – helps to stimulate new cell repair and growth.

  • Use as a face mask – mist face with rosewater to help spread the honey easier, and leave on your face for 15-20 minutes. 

When you need your beauty sleep, put Manuka honey in warm milk at bedtime to help release melatonin into the brain for a good night’s rest. There are so many health and beauty benefits of Manuka honey, from face mask to hair masks to sleep aids to detox drinks, so take internally and externally to receive the most benefits of this amazing jar of sweetness.

Astaxanthin: Nature’s Most Powerful Antioxidant

Are you looking to reverse the signs of aging, prevent dry wrinkled skin, age spots etc…

Astaxanthin is a small miracle supplement plastic surgeons don’t want you to know about.

It is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants, which neutralizes multiple free radicals that protect our skin, organs, body tissue and cells against oxidation, inflammation, and damage. It is also a carotenoid with naturally occurring pigments that gives salmon and flamingos a beautiful pink color. Astaxanthin is the reason salmon have the strength and endurance to swim up stream. This gives them the best endurance of all sea creatures. This is why it can improve our athletic abilities.

Astaxanthin has been shown in clinical studies to increase and retain moisture in the skin, improve elasticity, and decreasing fine lines and wrinkles. It also reduces DNA damage.

2. Astaxanthin has UV-blocking properties, which protects the skin against sun-related damage, and reduces the signs of aging. This is a natural sunscreen. It also crosses the blood-brain barrier and protects against blindness, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

3. Astaxanthin is a supernutrient, it is 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins and 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid, 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene, and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E.

5. Astaxanthin has been proven to increase blood flow, and helps your skin to have better circulation. Increased circulation has various benefits, including increased cell turnover, amplified elasticity, and increased water retention.

There have been no adverse reactions found for people taking astaxanthin. Check with your doctor first, but experts say taking 4-6mg per day will give you all the health benefits you need. This supplement will help you look younger and have healthier looking skin.

Make sure you purchase natural Astaxanthin from Marine algae and not the synthetic lab-made kind. The label will read “naturally colored” or “wild” which is more potent then the synthetic variety.

Jojoba Oil and the Countless Beauty Benefits

Jojoba oil is a liquid wax, not really an oil as one may think. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant, an American shrub. Being a waxy substance, it works to lock in moisture and has vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, selenium and many more nutrients. All those vitamins keep your skin smooth, soft, and elastic, which help to prevent deep wrinkles from forming.

Jojoba oil is also an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, reduces oil production, and contains iodine. All the qualities needed to help combat acne and unblock pores. It is so structurally close to the secretion of oil your skin naturally produces, that it balances your skin’s oil production. This is good news for those oily T-Zones.

This miracle oil, rich in antioxidants encourages new cell growth, balances the skin’s pH, absorbs deep into the skin layers, and provides all day moisture for the skin. It even heals eczema and sunburns, and diminishes stretch marks and scars.

Add Jojoba oil into your beauty regimen:

 Jojoba oil is wonderful at removing make-up, especially waterproof mascara.

 Use as a hot oil treatment for your hair – it helps unclog hair follicles, increase hair growth, treat dandruff, prevent split ends, and adds shine

 Use in place of your day or night moisturizing cream

Be sure to use pure organic Jojoba oil, not diluted with other oils. With a very long shelf life, Jojoba oil does not need any help keeping your skin healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Ceylon Cinnamon: The True Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon has been hailed as the “true cinnamon” or the “real cinnamon”; that possesses outstanding health benefits. Unfortunately, this cinnamon, which is native to Sri Lanka and sourced from the plant Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, is rather unknown to most people.

What most of us consume is not the real cinnamon but Cassia cinnamon, which comes from a different plant called Cinnamomum Cassia (commonly known as Chinese cinnamon.)

Cinnamon has many health benefits such as antimicrobial, boosts brain and nerve function, anti blood clotting, calms inflammation, high amounts of fiber, calcium and contributes to a healthy colon. Cinnamon has trace minerals that can help metabolize fat and carbohydrates, helps neutralize free radicals (keeps the skin looking young), helps with PMS, and smelling cinnamon can boost the all-important brain activity.

So what’s the big deal if you consume one over the other? A naturally occurring substance coumarin has blood-thinning properties depending on the amount that is present. The coumarin level in Ceylon “true” cinnamon is quite small, while Cassia cinnamon is notably up to 1200 times higher. If you consume coumarin over a prolonged period of time, it can have a negative impact on the liver and kidneys. It is hard to tell if the cinnamon powder has been made from the Ceylon “true’ cinnamon versus the Cassia cinnamon, but most bottles of cinnamon available at the grocery store are of the Cassia variety.

The real cinnamon has a pleasant, sweet aroma that you can’t wait to bake with. The Cassia has a harsh, pungent smell that is quite distinctive. Go online and research Ceylon cinnamon to find the best place to purchase. It can be found in spice stores or natural health food stores as well. Add one teaspoon of cinnamon to your yogurt, honey, warm water, etc…

As for the cinnamon sticks, there are several ways of determining whether you are getting the real deal.

Real

Thin and paper-like textured bark that forms multiple layers when rolled up.

Fragile, easily broken.

Delicate, sweet with subtle notes of clove

From Sri Lanka

Fake

Uneven, thick bark that forms only a few layers when rolled up.

Difficult to grind to powder with an electric home kitchen grinder.

Pungent, full-bodied taste.

Primarily sourced from China

Himalayan Salt is Essential to Health

Salt gets a bad rap.

In the world of salt, not all salts are equal. Natural Himalayan salt is not the same as table salt, which is refined, processed and turned into a chemical made up of over 95% sodium chloride. This form has no nutritional value, and makes it hard for the body to metabolize. When this happens, excess fluid builds up and can cause many health issues and unsightly cellulite. You already know about blood pressure problems, but did you know that many diseases are caused by mineral imbalances in your body’s cells?

Pure salt, like Himalayan salt, contains minerals that are essential to health. Himalayan salt is mined from toxin-free caves, not processed. In raw form, your body recognizes the salt as an identical match to its own make up. It is one of the most nutritious foods you can feed your body, and is crucial for proper biological support and function of cells.

You may still see the name sea salt on some white refined salt, but it does not mean it is pure, natural salt. It may not have the same nutritional value. Here’s a test for your salt: if the salt is white, start looking for pink or light brown. Himalayan salt has a beautiful pink color that is made up of over 80 minerals and trace elements. You won’t regret making this simple change today.

Beautifying morning drink:

1 – 8oz glass of warm lemon water and Himalayan salt

1 Teaspoon of HS and 1 small lemon or ½ large lemon

Lemons have multitude of vitamins and minerals, while Himalayan salt boosts mineral and trace mineral levels. This combination has antioxidant and detoxifying properties.

Be sure to rinse your mouth with pure water after drinking this so that the acid from the lemon doesn’t stay on your teeth!

Here are some benefits for your body:

-Increased energy, detox cells, boost immunity, balance pH levels

-Rich in vitamin C, minerals and fiber

-Promotes better digestion and bowel movement

-Increases your hydration levels which can alleviate muscle cramps

-Hormone balancing

-Boost potassium which will flush out any excess sodium

-Detoxes liver, freshens breath, fights inflammation

-Clears skin and may reduce cellulite

Stevia: Not All Sweetness is Bad

I want to confess right off the bat that my snacking preferences tend toward salty instead of sweet. That doesn’t exempt me from challenges, of course. Sodium has its own challenges, but I want to address sugar.

The “sweet tooth” epidemic is very well documented in health and wellness circles. Part of it starts with the high fructose corn syrup that is in EVERYTHING from childhood snacks to even the most inconspicuous of items like prepared potatoes or crackers or chicken nuggets. Then the problem spreads into overdosing of sugar in our meals and drinks (yes, even the ones prepared at home). Because we get so used to the sugar, nothing tastes the same when we drop it from our diets. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we admit that sugar has become an addiction.

Our bodies react to the sugar in different ways. Some bodies store it as fat far from our important organs as possible (in the thighs, hips, or back). Some people have digestive issues because of it. Some have re-occurring acne. Whatever your reaction, your body is telling you about what it needs. Less fake sugar and more natural foods. The “real” foods are the best. The outside ring of a typical grocery store is what you want to stick to, slipping into the aisles only for things like seeds or oils, etc.

People think that just because I was a runway model, I must never have sugar in anything. I do eat sugar on occasion, especially for instances like birthdays and hoildays. But I’ll use stevia instead of sugar or other substitutes. Stevia is actually the name of a plant. And it is quite a bit sweeter than honey, agave, or sugar. So when I substitute stevia in a recipe, I use a conversion chart to guide me. Check out this article from Livestrong if you’re getting started. Stevia is sweetness without the calories or carbohydrates, so your body processes it like a plant instead of sugar. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s a start to a new and healthier lifestyle.

Leave a comment with your experiences with stevia and substituting it for sugar. How has it worked for you? How has it changed your body and sugar intake?

Unfiltered Water and Cancer

My beautiful friend Annalee* died of cancer a few years ago.

It’s a story we’re all too familiar with. A story that you have probably experienced in your own world. The uninvited, much-hated thief of life comes creeping in to steal another friend, another father, sister, grandparent, spouse. Billions of dollars (and other currency as well) have been spent around the world in an attempt to eradicate this disgusting guest from our existence. One success for every hundred losses. The odds aren’t in our favor. But for my friend, Annalee, her doctor suggested that perhaps she could have prevented her type of cancer. No, not with sunscreen, but with a water filter on her shower.

I can hear your protests already, using the same logic that sprung to my lips during that time. “There’s no way it was the water. Our government filters it.” or “Cancer from good hygiene? How is that possible?” and so we go screaming and crying and denying as our friends die from something we never thought possible. Most of us wouldn’t dream of drinking water straight out of the tap anymore. Certainly occasions like the recent Flint, Michigan water scam had us all cringing and checking our faucet filters twice. People were dying from city and county-filtered water.

Several studies conducted over the past twenty years have shown that the levels of chlorine and the other 2100 toxins in our public water can be at potentially damaging levels if inhaled and absorbed. Our skin is porous and absorbs more into it than we think. There’s little that we can control about the chemicals and toxins in our air and public society. But if you knew you could potentially prevent cancer from your family by a simple shower filter, wouldn’t you do it?

The great news is that shower filters have become more popular in the past decade than before which means prices have dropped considerably and the average Joe like you and me can afford to have one or two in their home. But even if the cost now is worth a double-take to you, wouldn’t it be worth every penny if you could keep your family from the cost and devastation of cancer later in life?

If you want a place to start on research, check out the sited article posted in Jan 2016 from Reactual.

Perhaps you aren’t ready to make that step yet. Do more research. Find out what others are discovering in their world. But don’t exit from here and do nothing. Your life could depend on it.

*Name changed to respect privacy