Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cranberry: The ninja fruit.

My holiday guide to de-stressing skin continues with the incomparable cranberry:

Cranberries help to rejuvenate the skin and are rich in antocianos, caroteinoids, vitamin a which are the pigments responsible for its color and very high antioxidant properties. They are also rich in vitamin c , helping with collagen production, and delaying cellular oxidation.  This helps to delay the aging process. 
The perfect solution to unwelcome breakouts? Cranberries. The infection fighting, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging fruit is full of Vitamin-C. The moment you step out of your door your skin has to defend itself against the elements, stress, pollution and the occasional looming cloud of cigarette smoke. 
If you can get your paws on some organic cranberry oil, HOARDE IT!  Cranberry seed oil penetrates the skin with ease and is highly moisturizing. It is rich in tocopherols (vitamin E) and other antioxidants that I named above. It possesses the highest quantity of tocotrienols of any other vegetable oil. It also has a unique balance of Omega 3, 6 and 9, that are not found in any other oils. This will most certainly aide in the relief of itchy, scaly,irritated skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. With it's high levels of vitamin A, it is also a excellent choice for acne suffers.
This is why I call cranberry the ninja fruit. It quickly, quietly and effectively does everything you need for super-fab skin. It is sort of like Mother Nature’s apology for the cold air, harsh winds and your in-laws being stuck in your home for another 4 days due to their flight being cancelled. This season, the remedy for blah skin comes from the rich antioxidants and awesome enzymes found in fruits like pumpkins, pomegranates and cranberries! All of which I will be covering in the weeks to come!

All-In-One Cranberry Facial
Makes a face mask, toner, and eye treatment

1 cup of fresh organic cranberries (you can use a whole 12 oz bag if you want to make a larger batch.)
2 green tea, teabags
2 cups of distilled water
Add the cranberries to the water.
Bring to a boil and then quickly reduce your heat to a simmer.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Add the tea bags.

When at room temperature, remove the tea bags. Place in freezer until thoroughly chilled but not frozen. (This is your eye treatment). Strain berries and add to food processor. add some of the liquid. Puree until you get a smooth consistency. Add more liquid if needed., but it shouldn't be. Store remainder in an air-tight tupperware container and refrigerate.

After cleansing your skin, hang your head over the pot for a proper facial steam. 7 minutes. Then apply the cooled, pureed berry mixture evenly. Go lay down somewhere comfy with a towel under your head so you don't stain anything if this facial drips.... Apply chilled tea bags to eyes. You can then take a soft paper towel or cheese cloth and dip it directly into the remaining solution and then apply over your face. (don't forget to tear a little hole so you can breathe). Chill out for 15-20 mins. Rinse your face with cool water.
When you strain out the berries from the solution, pour the liquid into an airtight container. Place in fridge. (This is your toner, use as much as you wish) You can do a compress of this on freshly cleansed skin and leave it on for about 10 minutes or apply as a toner, then apply your moisturizer over it. You'll actually feel the skin tightening slightly with the solution on your skin. Try doing this after you wash your face in the morning or before going to bed. Great antioxidants for your face! Your pores will be less noticible and your skin will feel great! If you don't have green tea, white or red tea is fantastic too! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Holiday stress? Yeah, your skin isn't happy either...

When emotions run high, your skin can and will freak out. Neuropeptides, which make the skin feel sensitive and reactive, are partly to blame. What is a neuropeptide?

 First, a peptide is a compound that possesses at least two amino acids that are linked by a peptide bond, which is a link that forms when two molecules undergo a chemical reaction. Meanwhile, neuropeptides are a specific kind of complex peptide containing up to 30 or 40 different amino acids. Neuropeptides are found throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. The “neuro” in neuropeptides tells us the function of type of this particular peptide. Neuropeptides act as either hormones or as neurotransmitters (NTs). Neurotransmitters are small molecules that send signals from neurons to other cells located across the  junctions, between the cells. Essentially, neuropeptides are like tiny information superhighways for the cells in your body. In terms of inflammation, neuropeptides can be either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. 

Obviously, we want the latter of the two. Studies have shown that stress, (the inflammatory neuropeptide harbinger), increases trans-epidermal water loss in the skin. The upper layers of the skin become dehydrated, cells that were once plump and tightly pressed against one another shrivel and shrink.  The gaps that form between cells invite irritants, suddenly making you a hivey, rashy, or even zity scarefest. Worried about someone making a comparison between the cranberries on the table this Thanksgiving to the spots on your skin? Terrified of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" on your face? YET ANOTHER REASON TO DRINK MORE WATER!!!! In the meantime here's some other tips...


• Take your supplements and eat well. Get the intake of these as much as you can in your diet, but add to it too! Take ALL of the omega fatty acids (in fish, flaxseed, and evening primrose oils), particularly the evening primrose if you are a woman. Helpful hint: double your dose around "that time of the month". This will be your insurance against nasty hormonal breakouts and the need to harm someone. Silica, cranberry and vitamin D³( the D especially if you are an eczema and psoriasis suffer). These are crucial for repair and the care and keeping of good skin generally.

• Avoid things that overstimulate the skin, like retinoids, acids, harsh scrubs, and heavily fragranced products. Use only mild, hydrating cleansers with soothing ingredients, like licorice, willowbark, green tea, red tea or white tea extract. A word about "scrubs"- you are NOT a tub. Do not scrub. Lightly buff. Please.

 • It is somewhat ironic that the time of year, known for wreaking havoc on our skin, has the best fruits and veggies helpful to reversing the damage. SO TAKE ADVANTAGE. Make some homemade facial masks. I will be sharing some on this blog, but I have video tutorials (youtube, my website and fb) and written recipes on facebook too.

• Moisturize. Hyaluronic Acid is wonderful. Humectants are your friend. Humectants draw moisture to your skin. This will help protect and repair that precious outer barrier of your skin. Please read your ingredients, make sure they are good for you. Google, get a cosmetic dictionary, read some of my posted notes on fb. Educate yourself.

• DON'T PICK! (swats hand away from your face) You are spreading the evil bacteria EVERYWHERE. Feel the need to attack any little flake or bump? STOP. Do so by safely smoothing and deep cleansing your skin with a clarasonic facial brush. This way will satisfy your urges and fulfill your needs to get rid of the "ick". Still want to pick? Occupy your hands. Get some stress toys, or buy a new app for your phone and play with it when the need arises.  

• CHILL OUT. Seriously, this is crucial. YOU DO HAVE 10 minutes in your day. Find them. I don't care where. Take a walk, do some yoga or deep breathing exercises. Remember breathing? Oxygen intake? It misses you too! Get in your tub and take an epsom salt bath (drink lots of water while you're doing it.) No tub? Run a hot shower, (but keep your face out of the direct stream of water, protect those capillaries!)  and add a few drops of a high quality essential oil like peppermint or lavender... Still freaked out? Have a glass of a good red wine. 1 glass guys, not the bottle. AND be sure to drink lots of water! I repeat myself, I know...