What is Ayurvedic Medicine? (Plus, Tips to Keep You Balanced)

Has anyone ever said something like, “that’s so vata” or “she’s a pitta” to you? In the healing community, we hear this type of nomenclature a lot. We use it to describe situations or understand people better. It’s helpful because those descriptions relate to a concept and understanding the concepts of Ayurveda can give you a general idea of the type of issue you’re working with.

What is ayurveda?

Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient traditional medicine that is based largely on how the energetics of the environment and situational stressors affect an individual’s energetic makeup and physical being.

It is very complex and takes years of study to fully understand, but the basic approach is that all illness is caused by an imbalance in a person’s bio-humoral state, which are expressed by different doshas.

What do the doshas mean?

Everyone is born with their doshas in the unique balance that is best suited for them.

With the addition of things like stress, environment, the seasons, emotional upsets, and physical turmoil (everything from disease to sickness to accidents or anticipated life changes) the natural balance of a person’s doshas can change or become imbalanced.

How an ayurvedic practitioner works

Ayurvedic Medicine is focused on bringing a person back into their own unique doshic balance.

The Ayurvedic practitioner will start by determining the cause of an illness and then offer different treatments—diet, exercise, herbal formulas, therapies, or new daily practices—to work on reharmonizing a person’s natural doshic balance.

The Doshas

There are three main doshas in the Ayurvedic tradition, Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Each dosha is connected to one or more elements and regulate the physical functions within the body.

Each main dosha is also split into sub-doshas, which is a bit more complicated so we won’t go into that here but it’s an interesting study and makes it easier to pinpoint causes of and solutions to illness.

Pitta

Pitta controls the element of fire, which is related to our thermal energy, metabolic and chemical reactions in the body. Pitta is all about heat and energy, it governs all of the metabolic processes in the body from digestion to enzymatic reactions.

Pitta characteristics

Pitta people strong-willed with high energy and the ability to concentrate for long periods of time. They are very direct, often have a high sex drive, and tend to be great decision makers. While pitta people have great digestion and a strong appetite, thinning hair is a common occurrence.

Pitta imbalance

A pitta imbalance manifests in fiery emotions like jealousy, anger, fear, and guilt. The pitta person can be argumentative and defensive when they’re out of balance.

Physically, you’ll see it turn up in the digestive processes with a feeling of insatiable hunger or thirst, acid reflux, low blood sugar, and sensitivity to spicy foods. Hives, itchy rashes, canker sores, and ulcers are all pitta illnesses.

Tips for Keeping Pitta in Balance

  1. Eat regular meals and don’t skip meals. The pitta focused body is heavy on digestion and nutrient assimilation so focusing on regular meals is important.
  2. Keep a calm, cool head. Spend time laughing and playing.
  3. Eat cooling foods. Pittas tend to be hot and dry (think fire) so these are the people that do well with dairy and food that tends to be cooling like cucumbers and watermelon.
  4. Take time to cool down between activities. Taking a break between activities can be refreshing and allow the body to relax before the next task.

Kapha

Kapha controls the elements of Earth and water and provides stability to the cells and lubrication within the joints. Anything that allows solidity and fluidity in mind or body is kapha. These are things like our bones, adipose tissues, muscles, and ligaments.

Kapha Characteristics

People who identify with kapha are strong willed, strong boned—not necessarily big, but kapha people are often able to build muscle and gain weight more readily—these people are patient, mentally stable, comfortable in a routine, and while they make decisions a bit more slowly than the other doshas do, they do it with purpose and are unshakable in those decisions.

Kapha Imbalances

Kapha imbalances are issues like depression, melancholy, and lethargy. Physically, it shows up with a general feeling of heaviness or fullness, excess salivation and mucus, lack of hunger, or suppressed metabolism. Inflammation, water retention, and cold, wet illnesses.

Tips for Keeping Kapha in Balance

  1. Keep moving! Kapha is slow moving so people who have kapha tendencies should keep moving. Exercise is important for everyone, but kapha people need it even more to keep themselves balanced.
  2. Stay on a routine. Wake up at the same time, have a set exercise schedule, and eat meals at the same time each day.
  3. Experience new things! The routine, while it’s great for the kapha person, can become monotonous and that can slow things down again. Going to new places is a great way to break out of those slow ways.
  4. Stay warm and dry. Kapha people are sensitive to the cold and wet conditions. This is yet another way to look at healing but the easiest way to think about this is cold = slow and wet = heavy, fluid. Since Kapha people experience those attributes easily, cold, damp conditions can exacerbate them.

Vata

Vata controls the element of air and is often referred to as ‘wind.’ It is responsible for the kinetic energy within the body that controls the other doshas so if it has to do with movement, it’s vata. This controls our blood circulation, bodily fluid movement and excretion, respiration, hormonal system and neurotransmission.

Because it is so connected with movement and that movement is vital for the other doshas to function properly, vata imbalance is the most common cause of illness.

Vata Characteristics

Vata people are fast. They make quick decisions, are comfortable with change, and they’re always on the go. They often have a thin build and they lose weight (or don’t gain weight) easily.

The vata in someone is what drives them to new, fun experiences. These are the natural leaders and the people that are open to good, long talks.

Vata Imbalances

When vata is imbalanced, it leads to illness like anxiety, racing thoughts, insomnia, fear, and loneliness. Physically, a vata imbalance can manifest as digestive troubles like diarrhea, irregular appetite, excessive thirst, and cravings for heavy or fatty foods.

Dry, cracked hands, feet, and lips are all physical signs of vata as are cold hands and feet, lack of coordination, stiffness, and muscle aches.

Tips for Keeping Vata in Balance

  1. Low impact Exercise. Yoga, tai chi, and hiking are all great exercises that increase balance and strength along with being relaxing.
  2. Stay warm and moisturized. Have you ever been outside in high winds? It’s chilling and drying. Vata people are sensitive to the cold and tend toward dryness.
  3. Pay close attention to your diet. This is important for everyone, but especially for the vata person because stimulants like caffeine and sugars are so highly available and they can exacerbate the vata tendencies in a person. Eating good fats and heavier foods can help to calm the vata wind.
  4. Meditate. Taking time to slow down, especially when you start to see your vata tendencies rise, can be helpful to quell an impending illness.

Qualities of Mind

This is an additional concept that is pretty complex but I wanted to mention here because it helps to clarify how doshic balances can shift through thought and emotional state with the consideration of the qualities of mind.

These qualities are known as Sattva, Tama, and Raja.

Breaking down ayurvedic qualities of the mind

Sattva is purity, knowledge, and peace. It is considered the closest to divine and virtuosic living. Tama is ignorance and inertia. It is the drive for attachment, greed, laziness, it’s the base and the downtime. Raja brings about action and passion in both of the other qualities. If a person has tendency toward one or the other quality, raja will bring actions connected to that tendency.

maintaining a balance

Just like with the physical body, the balance between the different qualities of mind is unique for each person and if that balance is swayed toward one or the other extremes and/or raja (action) is increased, it can cause a reaction in the body that can affect the doshic balance as a whole.

How does this look in real life?

The way I think of this effect is with an easy example. A kapha doshic person with a tendency towards tama in the mind would be easily susceptible to depression or laziness if raja became imbalanced.

This is because kapha is the slower, more stable dosha but adding in the quality of mind that connects to the slower, lazier parts of their person coupled with an increase in action in the direction of slowing the mind increases the chance of laziness and the kapha person needs to stay active to fight off kapha-type illness like depression or lethargy.

Have we peaked your interest?

Check out The Ayurveda Experience here! Join the community where you can take a quiz to get real advice about your personal doshic balance, enroll in a course to become an expert, or connect with an Ayurvedic practitioner that will help you regain health and balance in your life.

If you want to dive into more personalized tips for your dosha, learn how to eat for your dosha here and get custom skin care tips for your dosha here.

How do you use Ayurveda in your life? Let us know below.

The following post What is Ayurvedic Medicine? (Plus, Tips to Keep You Balanced) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Read This and You Will Never Skip Sunscreen Again

You’ve heard it a zillion times. You’re supposed to wear sunscreen every day, all day, rain or shine. And you certainly wear it when you go to the beach, go for a hike, picnic all day in the sun…

But what about when you’re driving, walking to work, or enjoying brunch on the patio?

Sometimes it doesn’t show up for a few months or even a few years, but you can be sure that sun exposure will come back to bite you, with increased fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, and discoloration.

Your Daily Routine

The best thing you can do to keep your skin looking youthful is to wear sunscreen. Every. Single. Day. And this isn’t something you haven’t heard before, we’re just here to remind exactly why it’s so important.

To that end, we did a little research to dig even deeper into just what happens when we skip a day of sunscreen.

It’s a little scary.

1—More people suffer from skin cancer than from any other cancer, period.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 65,500 people were diagnosed with it, and just over 9,000 people died from it.

Did you know that by applying sunscreen, you can cut your risk of melanoma—the most dangerous form of skin cancer—in half? According to a 2011 study from Australia, adults aged 25 to 75 who applied sunscreen every day were half as likely to be diagnosed with melanoma after 10 years than those who just applied it now and then.

In addition, those using sunscreen had a 73 percent lower risk of invasive tumors that penetrated beyond the skin’s surface.

Effects of not wearing sunscreen

2—If you have red hair, you’re even more at risk for cancer—and not because you’re fair skinned.

Used to be that scientists thought that redheads were more at risk for skin cancer because of their fair skin. But recent studies have shown that it’s even more dangerous than that.

In 2013, for example, researchers discovered that the MC1R gene mutation, which creates red hair and light skin, also promotes an important cancer-causing pathway. In other words, this particular gene, when exposed to UV radiation, actually promotes signaling that may lead to cancer.

In people without red hair, the MC1R gene helps suppress tumors. In redheads, however, who have a mutated MC1R gene, it lacks this protective property, leaving cells open to damage that can lead to cancer. Researchers estimated that red-haired people have a 10-to-100-fold higher frequency of melanoma.

3—Sunlight continues to damage skin into the nighttime hours.

You may think that once you duck out of the sun, you’re safe, but we now know that’s not how it works.

Yes, UV rays can cause damage to your skin cells immediately, but according to a 2015 study, most of the damage occurs hours after sun exposure. Researchers exposed human skin cells (called “melanocytes”) to UV radiation. The radiation damaged DNA immediately, but even hours later in the dark, the melanocytes were still causing damage.

After digging a little deeper, researchers found that UV light activated two enzymes in the skin that excited melanin in cells—the compound that creates skin pigment or color. That “energy” was transferred to DNA in the dark, causing the same damage that sunlight caused in the daytime.

Though this is cutting-edge research, scientists already suggested a solution—apply sunscreen after sun exposure. So if you forget, it’s never too late to help prevent some skin damage!

4—Just two days of exposure to UVA light damages skin at the molecular level—leading to sagging and bagging.

We all think that going out “just this once” without sunscreen won’t hurt us.

Not true, scientists say.

In 2014, researchers showed that one particular type of UV radiation that we’re all exposed to every day can be particularly dangerous to skin cells. They shined a low level of pure UVA1—which makes up most of the UV light in our atmosphere—onto skin samples from human volunteers. The exposure mimicked UVA levels from strong sun exposure lasting about two hours.

The next day, they took tiny samples of the skin to analyze them. They then repeated the process three more times on each participant.

Results showed after just two exposures, the UVA1 rays caused skin cells to create molecules that break down collagen—that skin protein that keeps our skin firm, smooth, and youthful.

The skin darkened in color a little—tanned—but this did not protect the skin from additional damage from the collagen-destroying molecule at the next exposure.

Remember—UVA light is the kind that comes through even on cloudy days, and is most damaging to skin.

Annmarie Gianni's Sunscreen Product Sun Love

5—Regular sunscreen use can prevent wrinkles and dark spots.

Who doesn’t want to prevent wrinkles? Most of us don’t hesitate to slather on the anti-wrinkle creams, but without sunscreen, we could be spinning our wheels.

In case you weren’t sure that sunscreen would really help, we have evidence now. In a 2013 study, researchers compared skin aging in 900 men and women from Australia between 1992 and 1996. Participants who used sunscreen every day—applying a formula with an SPF of 15 or more to hands, face, neck, and arms—were less likely to have wrinkles and dark spots after 4.5 years than those who didn’t, even if they were middle aged.

More specifically, those who used daily sunscreen showed 24 percent less skin aging than those who only used it now and then or not at all. All participants benefited, even those up to 55 years of age.

“We now know that protecting yourself from skin cancer by using sunscreen has the added bonus of keeping you looking young,” said lead study author Dr. Adele Green.

Do you apply sunscreen daily? What helps you remember? Let us know in the comments!

 

Sources:
“Daily Sunscreen Use Cuts Melanoma Risk in Half, Study Says,” Skin Cancer Foundation, http://www.skincancer.org/news/sunscreen/daily-sunscreen-use-cuts-melanoma-risk-in-half-study-finds.

Adele C. Green, et al., “Reduced Melanoma After Regular Sunscreen Use: Randomized Trial Follow-Up,” Journal of Oncology, January 20, 2011; 29(3):257-263, http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/29/3/257.long.

M.C. B. Hughes, et al., “Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging, A Randomized Trial,” Annals of Internal Medicine, June 4, 2013; 158:781-790, http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1691732.

Juxiang Cao, et al., “MC1R Is a Potent Regulator of PTEN after UV Exposure in Melanocytes,” Cell, August 22, 2013; 51(4):409-422, http://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/abstract/S1097-2765(13)00583-2.

Sanjay Premi, et al., “Chemiexcitation of melanin derivatives induces DNA photoproducts long after UV exposure,” Science, February 20, 2015; 347(6224):842-847, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6224/842.abstract.

Frank Wang, et al., “Dermal Damage Promoted by Repeated Low-Level UV-A1 Exposure Despite Tanning Response in Human Skin,” JAMA Dermatol., 2014; 150(4):401-406, http://archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1782131.

The following post Read This and You Will Never Skip Sunscreen Again was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

7 Easy Ways to Build Ayurvedic Practices Into Your Daily Life

Health fads, nowadays, cycle in and out of style too fast to keep track. Each trend takes its turn in the limelight, providing just enough theories and evidence to get us hooked…until the next saving grace takes its place on all the wellness blogs.

It is incredibly hard to determine which health and wellness practices we should incorporate into our lives and which don’t hold merit.

back to the basics

That is why I went back to the basics. I was tired of hearing about a new cure-all every other month so I started searching for wellness beliefs that had a history. This lead me to Ayurveda, what is thought to be the oldest healing science.

what is ayurveda?

Ayurveda revolves around the belief that our health and wellness are reliant on a mental, physical, spiritual and emotional balance. Ayurveda originated in India over 5,000 years ago and has been passed down through the generations as the “Science of Life,” guiding the wellness practices of entire civilizations.

the doshas

Within the Ayurvedic practice it is believed that we are all made of up three energies, or doshas, known as vata, pitta, and kapha. We are born with a blueprint of our doshas and although we contain all three, most of us have one or two doshas that are stronger.

There are assessments to help you determine which dosha is strongest within you.

staying balanced

In our day to day lives it is easy to lose track of what truly matters and keep a balance. We all have stressors that pull our energy in one direction or another, whether it is a demand for physicality, a mental exhaustion, or an emotional draining from the world around us.

7 Ways to Build Ayurvedic Practices Into Your Day to Day

There are Ayurvedic practices you can incorporate into your everyday life to help you stay balanced. Some practices are more time consuming but offer a greater impact on your wellness, while others are simpler and easier to fit into any schedule.

Ayurveda calls for detoxifying the body to start your day. There are Ayurvedic practices that focus on every part of your wellness to start you off on the right foot every morning.

1. Get a full night’s rest

It is believed that the body resets and detoxifies between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, so it is recommended you go to bed early rather than sleep in late. In Ayurvedic practices one should wake with the sun to create a synchronicity with the natural world. This will prevent a clogging of energy that leads to poor communication, a tired body and a bad mood.

2. Morning routines are key

Start your mornings the same way—with 8 ounces of water and a nice poop. The water will activate your organs, readying you for the day. And by pooping as early as possible you don’t allow the toxins in your waste to linger in your body.

3. Cleanse through hygiene

Oral hygiene is a large part of Ayurveda. Good Ayurvedic practices are tongue scraping to remove toxins that build up in the mouth and promote healthy digestion. From there brush your teeth with herbal toothpaste and then gargle with salt water.

Another Ayurvedic practice is Shat Kyria which is simply splashing the face with water in the morning. It is then recommended to follow this up with Neti Kyria, a cleansing of the nostrils. You can do this easily with a neti pot.

There are Ayurvedic practices you can incorporate into your life throughout the day as well to maintain awareness and help you focus on balance.

4. Warm up with Abhyanga

Abhyanga is the practice of massaging the body with warm body oils to tone, relax, and warm the muscles. You can perform self-abhyanga by rubbing warm, herbal oils in different patterns across the body.

5. Bend and Breathe

Yoga and Pranayama are a large part of Ayurveda. They go hand in hand. If you can squeeze even just a few sun salutations or your favorite pose into your day it will help you focus. Follow it up with Pranayama, a meditative breathing exercise.

Ending your day with Ayurvedic practices will help you refocus and center yourself for everything to come when you wake up.

6. End with some bubbles

Ending the day with a bath is an Ayurvedic practice that is believed to promote good health by helping you relax and giving you the space to meditate on your day.

7. Use food as fuel

Everything that goes into our body either helps or hurts us. In Ayurveda it is recommended to eat three meals a day, starting with a light breakfast and making lunch the largest meal so your body has time in the day to digest and harness the energy. End your day with a light dinner filled with natural foods and vegetables to fuel your body and mind.

After making just a few Ayurvedic practices a part of my life, I noticed I was able to be more present, focused and energized throughout the day. But don’t take it from me, there’s 5,000+ years of experience for you learn from.

 

The following post 7 Easy Ways to Build Ayurvedic Practices Into Your Daily Life was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Jade: Skin Benefits and Home Ritual Uses

Gold has a price; jade is priceless

– Chinese proverb

In the West, precious gems such as diamonds or rubies represent the highest ranking status symbols. However, in China, it is Jade that has been a symbol of status, spirituality, purity, and health for over 9,000 years.

The value Chinese culture places on jade cannot be understated. Respect for this stone has been seen throughout history and remains prized to this day for its durability, purity, color, hardness, and most of all, for its beauty and powers.

history of Jade

Mined and worked in China since the Stone Age, Jade has been crafted into a wide assortment of applications. It has been formed into beads, jewelry decorations, artwork, statues, musical instruments, furnishings, healing talismans as well as tools and weapons for battle.

Archaeological mining has even discovered wealthy members of society entombed in Jade Suits. These unique suits were made of sheets of jade sewn together with gold wire or silk thread, forever showcasing the status of the buried.

a revered stone

In addition to being a status symbol and a material formed into coveted items throughout history, Jade is revered for its many physical and spiritual healing properties. The belief that jade possesses healing powers has survived through generations and it is this belief that attracts many towards it.

Jade is most well known for its magnificent light green color, however, this stone can be found in varying shades of black, blue, purple, red, brown, yellow or white. Each color of jade is believed to bring diverse healing, meaning, and power but the stone’s central meaning is said to be rooted in calm wisdom, healing and protection, ultimately blessing whatever it touches.

Read on to discover jade fun facts, why jade has been a beauty and wellness staple for centuries and what you might expect if you incorporate jade into your home care rituals.

How does Jade Form?

Surprisingly, Jade is a mineral rock name that is shared by two different silicates – Nephrite and Jadeite. What we call Jade is not a single polished and cut crystal, such as in the case of diamonds or rubies— it is a stone made up of one of these mineral combinations and formed from interlocking micro-crystals.

Though they are both referred to as Jade, they have some distinctions.

Nephrite Jade

Nephrite Jade was the first Jade discovered in China. This form was used and carved since ancient times and became known as traditional jade. Nephrite has been mined so thoroughly overtime that the original deposits in China are now all but depleted.

Jadeite Jade

Jadeite Jade is denser and easier to work with making it the form more recently preferred by Chinese artisans and prized by the Chinese people. It is hard and lustrous, rarer than Nephrite, and usually more expensive.

Though they have different compositions, hardnesses, densities and crystal structures, both are exceptionally tough stones, similar in appearance, and equally valuable in metaphysical properties.

Both occur in the beautiful green shades we’ve come to recognize as jade and no matter the mineral composition, it is a prized and respected stone.

Where is it found?

Jade has been sourced from around the world. During prehistoric times, the key known sources of Jade were found in China, India, and Korea.

To date, this prized mineral has also been found in Canada, Maori (New Zealand), Mesoamerica (Guatemala) and even though archaeologists have discovered found jade all across Southeast Asia, today, upwards of 70% of the worlds Jade is sourced from Burma.

How is it used?

Jade has been used in all of these ways:

Physical Objects

  • beads
  • jewelry
  • decorations
  • artwork
  • statues
  • masks
  • furnishings
  • tools
  • weapons for battle

Spiritual Healing

  • burial tombs
  • musical instruments
  • talismans
  • promote material abundance
  • instills peace of mind and alleviates anxieties

Physical Healing

  • skin care [use of jade roller + gua sha tools]
  • helps detox the body
  • soothes the bones and relaxes joints and muscles

facial tools jade roller

Skin Effects

Jade has been formed into tools for the skin for centuries. Gua Sha and Jade Roller tools are both carved from jade and used to help boost vitality and beautify the look of skin.

what to expect from using jade

Jade has been formed into tools for the skin for centuries. Gua Sha and Jade Roller tools are both carved from jade and used to help boost vitality and beautify the look of skin. Through unique movements connected to these tools, you can soothe and detoxify skin, reduce the appearance of inflammation/puffiness, help to refine pores, and alleviate other signs of aging.

These effects combined with the healing properties of the jade stone can lead to a clearer, firmer, smoother complexion. Beautiful, luxurious tools that make us feel better and look younger, who doesn’t want that?

Identify Fake Jade

With the resurgence of Jade as a coveted stone for its beauty and healing properties, the availability of Jade has appeared to double overnight. If you look, you can find an abundance of jade on Amazon and other online sources.

Numerous physical objects and skin tools are now being advertised as made of Jade and sold over the internet for enticingly low prices.

not all of these are jade!

However, not all stones that are sold as jade are real jade. Sadly, to capitalize on the demand for this precious stone many factories have mass produced colored glass to look like jade and other manufacturers have mastered the art of replicating jade by dying and chemically treating other types of stone like marble, serpentine, aventurine and quartz.

In order to access the suggested healing benefits of jade, you need to acquire the real stone with mineral content mirroring Nephrite or Jadeite jade. So, if it’s made of Australian jade, Malaysian jade, or mountain jade, it’s fake and won’t give you the benefits you seek.

There are only 2 types of jade: jadeite and nephrite.

How to source

To increase your chances of purchasing an authentic jade, seek a source that certifies the jade as Type A, documents treating the jade stone in natural plum juice (not harsh chemical treatments) and only uses natural wax, like beeswax, to polish the stone.

 a stone that’s stood the test of time

Jade is a beautiful stone with a long historical reign as a healing tool. It has stood the test of time and is still valued for a magnitude of benefits. Most recently this mineral has resurfaced in the form of popular skin healing tools, the gua sha and jade roller.

Its only challenge is identifying fake duplicates flooding the market. Like cubic zirconium diamonds, fake jade may look pretty and can meet your basic needs, but to gain access to the innate healing abilities of this mineral stone, I suggest you spend some time to find a quality source you trust then rest easy knowing you’re treating your skin well from the outside in.

How do you use jade? Let us know in the comments below.

References:
The History of Jade: The Emperor’s Stone
Jade
Jade Meaning
Jade History and Lore
The Meaning of Jade in Feng Shui and Alternative Healing
Your On-Line Guide to The Healing Energies, Metaphysical Properties, Legendary Uses and Meaning of Jade
Jade Symbolism
This Chinese Facial Tool Is the Secret to Better Skin in 2018
IS YOUR JADE ROLLER FAKE? THE TRUTH ABOUT THE INSTAGRAM SKINCARE TREND

The following post Jade: Skin Benefits and Home Ritual Uses was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Helichrysum: Skin Care Uses and Benefits

Helichrysum, or Immortelle, is a beloved ingredient in the clean skin care industry. And with a name like Immortelle, its hard to believe this plant has anything but magical properties.

This botanical powerhouse is full of our favorite things: antioxidants, flavonoids, hydration, and soothing properties. Conventional skin care products use several different synthetic ingredients to achieve the anti-aging benefits that are all found in this one plant.

What is Helichrysum?

Helichrysum, or Immortelle, comes from a flowering plant in the daisy family, Helichrysum italicum.

The word helichrysum comes from the Greek word helios, or sun, and chrysos, or gold—in reference to the golden yellow flowers of the plant. Immortelle, is also a name in reference to the flowers, which blossom for a long period of time.

Where is helichrysum found?

The Helichrysum plant commonly grows in the Mediterranean, where it is native to, and prefers  rocky, sandy environments. Historically, the dried helichrysum flowers were used In Ancient Greece as offerings to the gods in Ancient Greece, and in Medieval Europe as potpourri.

Today, helichrysum is commonly harvested in Croatia and around the Mediterranean. The dried shoots and leaves are used as seasoning in Mediterranean dishes, and the essential oil is a popular skin care ingredient.

Internal uses of Helichrysum

Historically, helichrysum has been used in herbalism for a myriad of internal conditions. Please note that this is the dried plant matter, and NOT the essential oil, as essential oils should not be ingested.

Helichrysum has been used internally for stomach issues: upset stomach, loss of appetite, and gallbladder and liver disorders such as gallstones.

Skin Care uses and benefits

Helichrysum is a darling of the natural skin care world. When used in skin care products, it is typically used in essential oil form.

It is rumored that the name Immortelle is also in reference to the plant’s incredible anti-aging benefits. Helichrysum is an emollient, moisturizing oil that can help reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and even the appearance of skin tone and texture.

environmental stressors

Stocked full of antioxidants, this oil can also help protect against environmental stressors. Antioxidants help revive the skin to it’s full radiance by working their magic on the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage.

This oil is ideal for taking care of sun exposed skin, as it is incredibly soothing and rejuvenating.

Who should use helichrysum?

It is gentle enough for even those of us with sensitive skin, making it an accessible ingredient for all skin types.

A huge draw to immortelle is that it can serve dual purposes, by both moisturizing while still working effectively on oily skin. Those with oily skin may find it works to reduce the appearance of oil build ups while still delivering the moisture the skin needs. This oil works on reducing the appearance of blemishes, which can come hand in hand with oily skin.

Aromatherapy Uses

In aromatherapy, helichrysum essential oil is typically utilized in a diffuser or mixed with carrier oils a natural stress-reliever.

The aroma is grounding, warming, and comforting, and mixes well with other stress relievers such as lavender or frankincense.

How to use Helichrysum

To use helichrysum essential oil for skin, mix with any of your favorite carrier oils to dilute. After diluting, perform a small patch test on an insensitive part of your body and watch for any type of reaction before using more widely.

You can use helichrysum in your skin care routine, or apply to any other areas of the body experiencing dryness.

For other calming uses, try adding a few drops to a bath or to your favorite massage oil. And of course, helichrysum is lovely in a diffuser

Have you used helichrysum for skin care benefits? Let us know in the comments below.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24239849
https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-64/immortelle
http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue105/hg105-feat-helichrysum.html?ts=1551996461&signature=86704a04c6e18bc07254c604436dc5c5
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=helichrysum+acne

 

The following post Helichrysum: Skin Care Uses and Benefits was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

The Dangers of Chemical Household Cleaners, Plus a Natural, 3-Ingredient, All-Purpose Spray That Smells Like Summer

You probably thought that keeping your home clean is a no-brainer for staying healthy, but the scary truth about commercial cleaning products reveals that the opposite may be true.

No, we’re not knocking hygiene – of course you should keep your home clean. However, research has shown that the products the majority of Americans are using to do so are highly detrimental to their health, causing side effects such as hormone disruption, skin irritations, and even cancer. (1)

Read on to discover how the familiar household cleaning products in your life can be harming your health, and what you can do about it.

Chemical Household Cleaners Hiding in Your Cabinets

Almost all household cleaners (and even some so-called “green” cleaners) are filled with toxic chemicals that have been shown to have damaging effects on your body.

This is true even if you clean with gloves on your hands to avoid touching cleaners directly – the fact remains that the surface will still have the residue of chemicals you’ll touch later. Not to mention, many sprays and wipes fill the air with chemical fragrances and particles that land on your skin, in your eyes, or are inhaled (scary news for your lungs as well).

Here are four of the most common chemicals in popular cleaning products, and their effects.

spray bottle

1. Phthalates

Phthalates are a class of chemicals found most commonly in fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, countertop sprays, and even toilet paper. Outside of household products, phthalates are used in industrial materials as plasticizers, varnishes and coverings (yikes!).

The man concern surrounding phthalates is that they act as endocrine disruptors that affect your thyroid. Endocrine disruptors mess with the normal function of hormones, which can have detrimental effects on your entire body, especially for newborns and children. Studies have found that phthalates can cause premature breast development in girls and genital development in boys, and can also reduce sperm quality in adult men. (2)

2. Triclosan

Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical also found in chemical household cleaners and beauty products. Like phthalates, it has been shown to disrupt hormones – estrogen in particular. Studies show that its effect on estrogen and estrogen receptors could cause it to encourage the spread of estrogen-dependent cancers, as well as interfere with thyroid function. (3, 4)

3. 2-Butoxyethanol

2-butoxyethanol is another ingredient found in surface and window cleaners that has extremely harsh side effects. According to the EWG, it can cause respiratory irritation when inhaled, as well as cause skin irritation.

In addition, it also depresses the central nervous system and causes genetic defects, reproductive toxicity, pulmonary edema, and cancer. (5)

4. Ammonia

Ammonia is another very common ingredient in chemical household cleaners (hence why hospitals are always associated with an ammonia smell). Studies show that it can be extremely irritating to your lungs, exacerbating respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis. (6)

In addition, other studies reveal ammonia is particularly harmful to your brain, where it can interfere with its energy pathways and cause harm to brain cells. (7)

Creating Natural Disinfectants for Safer Cleaning

It’s always scary and disheartening to read about the negative effects of some of the products you may have been using for years. Luckily, there are natural options you can switch to right away that are just as effective as commercial cleaners, but without the harmful side effects.

We crafted this 3-Ingredient, All-Purpose Spray for you to use around your home to clean countertops, your shower, your bathroom, and to use as an air freshener. Here’s a breakdown of the three ingredients it contains, and how they work:

Lemon and orange essential oils

Essential oils are 100 percent natural extracts from plants, fruits, barks, grasses, and leaves that have been used for hundreds of years for their benefits. The lemon and orange essential oils in the recipe below are proven antibacterials that are effective against potent bacteria strains like E. coli and Staph. (8) As a bonus, they also smell amazing without the addition of chemical fragrance.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) or white vinegar

You can use either apple cider vinegar or regular white vinegar for the third ingredient in this natural, all-purpose cleaner. Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a natural disinfectant due to its ascetic acid content, which effectively kills some of the strongest of bacteria like tuberculosis. (9)

3-Ingredient, All-Purpose Spray That Smells Like Summer

Now, we know it’s summer: the windows are open and the light of longer days is flooding in, so it only makes sense that you want your home to be sparkling and clean. Luckily, now you can clean with peace of mind using a 100 percent natural, all-purpose cleaner. And with only three ingredients, it only takes a few minutes to shake up!

Check out the 3-Ingredient, All-Purpose Spray below that will keep surfaces clean and shiny, without jeopardizing your health.

Ingredients:

5 drops lemon essential oil and 5 drops orange essential oil
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider or white vinegar

Instructions:

Combine water, vinegar, and lemon and orange essential oils in a small spray bottle and shake to combine. Spray on surfaces as needed. This spray can be stored at room temperature.

Tip: For more all-natural recipes, check out these 9 DIY cleaning products that every home needs.

What are your natural cleaning go-to’s? Share with us in the comments!

 

The following post The Dangers of Chemical Household Cleaners, Plus a Natural, 3-Ingredient, All-Purpose Spray That Smells Like Summer was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

See What People Are Saying About Our Jade Stone Roller

The launch of our Jade Stone Roller serves as our first foray into creating skin care tools. We’ve been dreaming up this launch for a while now, took time to meticulously source our jade and craft a high quality, functional and beautiful tool.

What makes our jade stone roller so special?

The Annmarie Skin Care signature Jade Stone Roller is made with an ethically-sourced jade, a timeless stone that has been formed into facial tools for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. Topically, it has been shown to calm skin while delivering anti-aging effects, like reducing the appearance of wrinkles for a smooth, flawless complexion.

Our intention behind adding these tools to our line is to promote holistic skin care, beyond just product. While skin elixirs are no doubt our specialty, we recognize the value in taking care of our skin in a myriad of ways. Simply setting aside time for a more thorough and mindful skin care routine is an all-too-often forgotten key to beautiful skin.

Like with all our products, we take the sourcing and creation of what we sell seriously. It’s our way of ensuring that fair and sustainable practices are used from start to finish—and so you can rest assured that you are making a planet and people-friendly purchase.

we asked for your honest opinion…

We sent our new Jade Stone Rollers to our friends and community and asked for their honest opinion. The response was, honestly, astounding.

Our community enthusiastically replied, and even loved the samples enough to leave glowing reviews—about their equally glowing skin. These are just a few of our favorite reviews.

Daily obsession

This little gadget is my daily obsession. I pop it in the fridge at night and roll it on my under-eyes when I wake up. Reduces the appearance of puffiness perfectly!  My skin looks refreshed, lifted and plumped appearance, and it feels that way too! I roll everything now: serums, lotions, and it really helps with increasing the longevity of foundation and under eye concealer! With real Jade, this roller is the one you need!

Jaleah Tuttle,
Live Your Truth

Part of the protocol

I love how the Jade Roller make my skin look and feel! It’s a wonderful (NEW) addition to my anti-aging protocol!

Dr. Eric Zielinski and Mama Z

Relaxing and rejuvinating

I love the Jade Stone Roller. As a full-time working mother of two young children, I am not resting as much as I’d like. The Jade Stone Roller is so relaxing and rejuvenating. It really feels like it helps with the appearance of  puffiness and skin tone. The quality of the Roller is exceptional. It’s made of gorgeous, heavy materials. The jade is smooth and cooling. This is a must-add to any skin care routine.

Erica Stuart
Brightline Eating

Bringing your skin back to life

Within the first hours of using the Jade Stone Roller, my face seemed to come back to life! My skin hasn’t appeared this smooth or silky in years. After a few days use, I noticed a new glow to my face. It certainly seems like the Jade Stone Roller enhances my moisturizing oil. It’s been so luxurious to steal away a few moments every day for myself to massage my face with this must-have facial roller.

Jen Wittman
Mindful Mavericks

try it!

Convinced? Ready to take your self care to the next level? Get your Jade Stone Roller here

The following post See What People Are Saying About Our Jade Stone Roller was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.