Skin Changes During Pregnancy: How to Maintain Your Glow

skin changes during pregnancy

Sometimes becoming a mom is more difficult than we imagine it to be. Before you even get to the motherhood part, pregnancy offers its own host of challenges. Being a mom will come naturally, but the physical and emotional changes you experience beforehand can be surprisingly challenging!

During this nine month stretch of hormonal shifts, food cravings, and unusual body changes, a woman’s skin is bound to experience changes, too.

Whether you have that pregnancy glow where passerby’s are “oooo-ing and ahhh-ing” at your radiance or the bothersome uneven skin tone that can come with it, this article is meant to give you insight on what’s happening and to provide you with at-home ideas to help.

Pregnancy Glow

If you’ve got that glowing complexion, you’re lucky to have the lowest maintenance skin condition of them all. The only thing you need to prepare yourself for is lots of compliments!

where does the glow come from?

The pregnancy “glow” usually starts to appear in the second trimester and is caused by an increase in blood volume to all organs and the growing fetus. This volume increases the amount of blood vessels present on the face and in turn, increases oil secretion, giving the skin a dewy glow.

Our recommendation

We love recommending our Coconut Honey Mask as a weekly treatment to help maintain your beaming beauty. Honey is a natural humectant which promotes hydration. It also is high in Vitamin C and B, as well as live enzymes that will help nourish all skin types.

Feeling hungry? Spread some of it on toast. It’s so natural, you can eat it!

Temporary Color Changes in the Skin

While some women’s skin is flawless during pregnancy, others may experience uneven skin tone. So why do pigment changes accompany you during pregnancy? It’s likely that hormones are the culprit here, since estrogen, progesterone and the melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) greatly increase during these months.

Nearly 50-70 percent of women struggle with uneven skin tone during pregnancy. Of this percentage, usually those with dark-skinned complexions are more prone to this condition, though lighter skin tones can have it, too.

What can you do about it?

Eat foods rich in folic acid.

Incorporate leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus, beans, peas, avocado, seeds and nuts into your pregnancy diet to promote an even skin tone. Also, don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins daily!

Protect yourself when exposed to the sun.

UV light can escalate dark spots on the skin and make it difficult for them to fade with ease after pregnancy. We recommend using a mineral and chemical free sunscreen anytime you want to soak up some rays.

Brighten your skin’s look with vitamin C.

Creating a skin care routine can be quite tricky during pregnancy with the many toxic chemicals floating around out there. One ingredient that is deemed safe and effective is the powerful antioxidant, vitamin C.

Feed your skin a daily dose of vitamin C, which can be found in our potent Citrus Stem Cell Serum.

Oily Skin and Pregnancy

Another conflict many pregnant women face is that their skin gets oilier. This can be an inconvenience on top of everything else you’re going through, so here are some preventative steps to help calm the oiliness and clogged pores:

  • Wash your face twice daily with a gentle, pH balanced cleanser. For oily skin, you’ll want to use a cleanser such as our Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser.
  • Moisturize daily with a purifying facial oil. Try our Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin to help balance natural oils.
  • Incorporate a deep cleansing mask treatment to absorb excess oil in the skin. Rhassoul, bentonite and french rose and green clays are wonderful healing clays that’ll get your skin looking fresh and purified. Mix our Purifying Mud Mask with water or apple cider vinegar to remove impurities.
  • Eating a clean, organic diet will also encourage clean, unclogged skin. Cut out the refined sugars and grains (eat whole grains instead), saturated fats (found in fried foods), and too much dairy. Instead, add in skin nourishing foods such as organic greens, avocado, salmon, walnuts, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Often times, the skin troubles you experience during pregnancy will be gone once your bump becomes a baby. Even though these symptoms fade naturally, 9 months is a long time to not be feeling great about your skin.

We hope these tips help you trade your pregnancy woes for a pregnancy glow. Of course, the heartfelt rewards of motherhood will keep you glowing long after your little one arrives.

What skin changes have you experienced during pregnancy? What treatments have worked for you?

The following post Skin Changes During Pregnancy: How to Maintain Your Glow was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

7 Things You Can Do to Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles Naturally — No Products Required

reduce wrinkles naturally

Using natural, anti-aging skin care is one of the things you should be doing in order to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Moisturizing, hydrating, and feeding your skin with antioxidants is important.

But it’s not the only thing you should be doing.

If you’re someone who wants to delay wrinkles for as long as possible (and who doesn’t?), there are some simple (and some not-so-simple) things you can do. It’s all in your habits:

7 Habits to Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles Naturally

Your super-powered anti-aging concoction can’t save you if you’re not doing these things:

1. Don’t Forget the Basics

You know the basic recommendations—protect yourself from the sun with clothes and sunscreen (zinc oxide is best), don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, and don’t go to bed with your makeup on. Doing these things on a regular basis is doing the very minimum for wrinkle reduction.

sleeping puffy eyes

2. Get Enough Sleep

You may have heard this before, but new research shows even more plainly how important a good night’s sleep is to the appearance of your skin.

The science behind sleep and skin

In a 2015 study, for example, researchers observed 60 women—some categorized as poor sleepers, and some as good quality sleepers—and evaluated their skin with a variety of photos, sun exposure tests, and laboratory tests. They then added up the “scores” from each of these tests to come up with an overall “skin aging” score, which included measurements of wrinkles, fine lines, reduced elasticity, uneven pigmentation, and sagging. Women with a higher score had an older appearance.

Results showed that good sleepers had an average score of 2.2, while poor sleepers had an average score of 4.4 (which meant skin looked older). In addition, after five nights of poor sleep, participants had up to double the amount of fine lines and wrinkles, and up to three-quarters more brown spots!

the real effects of getting good sleep

“Our study is the first to conclusively demonstrate that inadequate sleep is correlated with reduced skin health and accelerates skin aging,” said Dr. Baron, Director of the Skin Study Center at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure.”

Another tip—if you get a bad night’s sleep, “catching up” with a nap the next day won’t help your skin. Shoot for 7-9 hours every night!

3. Speaking of Sleeping—Do it on Your Back if You Can

There is some evidence that sleeping facedown in your pillow, or face-sideways in the pillow, over a period of many years, can cause wrinkling of the skin.

In 2004, for example, researchers reported that lines in the same area of the face were caused by the sleeping position. They called them “sleep lines,” and stated that “sleeping position should be considered as an aetiological factor in the formation of wrinkles.”

how does this work?

It seems that while you’re asleep, the pillow can tug at your skin, eventually reducing elasticity and allowing the skin to sag into lines. Luckily, sleeping on your back is also thought to be the healthiest way to sleep, so if you can start sleeping on your back, you’ll be healthier as well as preventing wrinkles.

You could also look into special kinds of pillows that are designed to prevent pillow-induced wrinkles.

eggs puffy eyes

4. Boost Collagen Naturally

Collagen is that protein in your skin that gives it strength and structure. It’s the breakdown of collagen later in life that leads to sagging and wrinkles.

Good news is that you can also boost collagen naturally with your diet. The best options for collagen-producing agents include bone broth (one of the best), dark green veggies, meat (make sure it’s organic and well-sourced,) egg whites, beans, and cheese.

It’s also important to get enough vitamin C internally—found in citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers.

5. Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Adding more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids to your diet—including fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, and chia seeds—helps the skin hold onto moisture, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. These nutrients also can help to keep your skin feeling calm and smooth.

These nutrients are so important that studies have found that when they’re lacking, the skin reacts by becoming dry, scaly, and even developing problems.

Oranges are a great source of vitamin C

6. Get More Vitamin C

Getting more vitamin C in your diet may help you reduce the appearance of wrinkles. A 2007 study of over 4,000 women, for example, found that those who had higher intakes of vitamin C had lower levels of wrinkles and dryness.

At the same time, those with higher intakes of carbs and fat were more likely to have wrinkles, so following a healthy diet is also a good idea for keeping skin smooth and young-looking.

Top sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, guava fruits, dark green leafy veggies (especially kale), kiwi, broccoli, and berries.

7. Work Stress Relief into your Daily Routine

Stress is horrible for your skin. You’ve probably experienced the effects already, but now we have studies showing that the skin and the rest of the body are definitely linked when it comes to stress.

In 2015, for example, researchers examined skin in 5,000 participants. Compared to those experiencing low stress, those suffering from high stress had significantly more itchy skin, scaly skin, and rashes.

the link between stress and skin

In an earlier 2014 study, researchers looked for a link between stress and skin problems. They noted that previous research had linked changes in the nervous system to psoriasis flare-ups, and stress to inflammatory skin conditions. Animal studies have also found that stressed participants developed skin cancers more quickly than those not exposed to stress.

stress wreaks havoc on the body

“Recent research has confirmed skin both as an immediate stress perceiver and as a target of stress responses,” researchers wrote.

In fact, stress causes the skin to release hormones that encourage inflammation, and also irritates the nerves (which can lead to allergic reactions), disrupts barrier function (which can dry skin and increase risk of wrinkles), decreases the production of moisturizing lipids, and slows wound healing.

Want to avoid wrinkles? Work stress-relief into your daily routine. Try yoga, meditation, daily walks, journaling, art therapy, time with loved ones—whatever works for you.

Do you have any tips for reducing wrinkles naturally? Let us know in the comments below!

The following post 7 Things You Can Do to Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles Naturally — No Products Required was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

An Esthetician Answers Your Top Skin Care Questions

ask an esthetician

Bokhara Lashi is an amazing esthetician and a close friend of Annmarie Skin Care. Aside from writing for our blog, she also uses our products at her holistic spa, Embody Zen. She is based out of San Francisco, CA—check her out if you’re in the area!

Last month, we had our community submit questions for Bokhara via email. We compiled a few that were asked multiple times, in one way or another. Many thanks to Bokhara for sharing her expertise.

Be sure to sign up for our email list  for the chance to have your questions answered.

Ask an Esthetician

Thank you for taking the time to write in a bunch of questions! Here are my answers to the top 5 selected! I hope they follow offer insight and clarity. Enjoy!

As my skin becomes more mature, I find the “glow” definitely diminishing. I would love some suggestions to help restore that look.

– Deborah L

Hello Deborah, great question! “Glow” in the skin is fundamentally achieved with two components in the skin being optimal, oil + water. When these are at optimum your skin will look dewy and hydrated, giving you an overall glow.

The way to achieve optimal levels for these varies per person but the fundamentals are the same.

Optimal Oil Levels

Nourishing your skin with the correct type of moisturizer will ensure your skin oil is in balance. Selecting the correct moisturizer for your skin type and allowing your skin oil production to respond and balance can sometimes be a process – so be patient or get recommendations from a professional you trust that knows your skin to more quickly find your perfect match.

Another component to this is making sure to exfoliate the skin 1 – 2x per week (depending on skin types, condition, and needs, the recommendation varies). Exfoliation removes any dry or dehydrated skin cells from the upper layers of your skin. If these are not removed, your moisturizer will be less effective because it won’t absorb into the layers of the skin.

Eating for your glow

Also, it is important to note that external oil is not the only way to boost your skin’s dewy complexion. Healthy fats and oils in the diet boost your skin from the inside out. Foods like Avocado, Almonds, Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, and Walnuts.

Check out the article Best Foods for your Skin Type for more food ideas.

Optimal Water Levels

The skin’s cellular matrix contains an ingredient called Hyaluronic. This is also found in your joints to keep them lubricated as well. This water-loving ingredient holds 1,000x’s its own weight in water and it is what binds water to the skin to keep your complexion glowing.

Sun and time decrease the levels of Hyaluronic in the skin so that your skin has a harder time holding onto water. With water loss and evaporation, your skin gets dull, waxy or has a sallow complexion. This is especially a challenge in the winter months due to lower humidity in the air and central heating indoors.

how to counteract water loss

You can counteract your skins water loss a few ways. The most obvious suggestion is to spritz the skin. I especially love giving my skin a hydration boost midday with a few sprays of the Neroli Toning Mist because it also contains aloe which acts as a protector that prevents water loss in the skin. However, you can fill a little spray jar with rose water or pure water if you’d like to keep the routine low cost.

Another way to boost the hydration of the skin is to increase the moisture in the air around you. Use a humidifier, steam a pot of water on the stove or use a misting diffuser. These will add moisture to the air and help keep your skin hydrated from the outside in.

Skin care products containing Hyaluronic Acid or Tremella Mushroom both bind water to themselves and hold that moisture within your skin. Annmarie Skin Care’s Anti-Aging Serum or Probiotic Serum with Tremella both boost the skin’s hydration and enhance the overall glow of the skin.

To learn all about the types of serums and select the one that meets your skin needs check out The Ultimate Guide to Face Serums.

correct exfoliation

A final suggestion is to check in with how much you are exfoliating. When you exfoliate the skin too much it breaks down the acid mantle and makes it harder for your skin to hold onto water moisture and absorb your nourishing ingredients.

So, do you use a facial brush, scrub cloth, silicone mitt or another device daily? Try moving to every other day or aim for 2x/week and see if you notice a boost in your skins’ glow. Note that exfoliants aren’t always obvious, they hide inside serums and products labeled as AHA, BHA, and Enzymes.

Finding balance

These are dissolving the bonds between the skin cells, creating skin cell shedding and bringing younger skin cells to the surface (which can be great if not overdone). If you are using these daily and you are using a scrub or cleaning device, you might be overdoing exfoliation and your skin will have a harder time holding onto water moisture.

Striking a balance with exfoliation, hydration, and oil is the key and when you find the balance your skin needs it will reward you with the glow you are seeking!

Is it true that putting oils on my face will make my pores larger? (My skin is dry and sensitive after having my son and it’s difficult to stay moisturized all day.)

– Colette T

Hi Colette, great question! I have a client who just asked me this recently. The short answer is no. The longer answer is – oils vary dramatically and pores don’t technically get larger or “disappear” as some products claim. Let me explain…

the science behind it

The molecular size of oils are diverse and will affect the skin in different ways. Some are large and can clog pores in acne prone skin, some oils are so small molecularly that when you apply them they seem to disappear into the skin completely.

So, “oils” won’t make your pores larger. It is true that some oils, that are not compatible with your skin type, can clog the skin and harden in the pore. When oil is hardened in the pore, your pores will be more obvious looking and this gives the illusion your pores are larger.

Just like, in contrast, when you get a facial and your blackheads are removed, the pores look like they almost disappear! This is the result of the pore no longer being held open with the hard oil filling it. The pore size itself didn’t change, the appearance of it looking more or less obvious is at the heart of what happens.

finding the right oil

So, select a proper oil for your skin without worry. If it is blocking your pores and making them appear larger, then you need to select a different oil.

Since you mention having dry sensitive skin you might be interested to try the Herbal Facial Oil for Sensitive Skin from Annmarie Skin Care. The primary oil in that moisturizer is grapeseed oil, which is recommended for acne prone skin, so you can rest easy knowing it won’t break you out or clog your pores.

You may find if you have truly dry skin you will want an even more nourishing oil. If that is the case, the Anti-Aging Facial Oil would be the next level up with sunflower, jojoba and sesame seed at its base (richer oils that dry skin craves).

I do recommend reading The Ultimate Guide to Using Oil as Your Moisturizer for extra information on making the switch to oil as your moisturizer. Enjoy!

I suffer with absolutely relentless acne, both on the surface type, and the deep and painful kind. My question is this, is there any natural herbs or non-chemical ingredients that I can find in a product that would help with my acne types? To help with the inflammation and swelling? All I ever read online is benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and antibiotics. What’s the real way to support my skin?

– Emma

Hello Emma, thank you for your question. This is a common concern my organic facial guests seek help with. Education of natural options for acne are shockingly not as widespread nor recommended by dermatologists and this leaves so many assuming there are not natural solutions.

Rest assured you have options clearing acne without using benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and antibiotics!

holistic skin evaluation

Without seeing your skin, and getting into all the questions (so many!), I honestly can’t give you definitive suggestions for your skin. I ask about your acne history, what you’ve tried, your diet, your vitamins, your habits – all the things – in a treatment.

Once this is known and treatment is given, the state of your skin is felt and more deeply understood, then recommendations can be made. As an example, I recently had a client who has been seeing me for treatments for a year. She came in last month with cystic acne all over her face but she had never had a pimple during the whole previous year (her concern has been aging and rosacea.)

It was after numerous questions and through my understanding of her history blended with the holistic approach toward skin care that it was obvious to me her breakouts were from a new supplement she started. Sure enough, we did a healing facial treatment, she stopped the supplement, kept her home care routine the same and her skin cleared in exactly 10 days after her facial.

I am sharing this story to explain that it isn’t always the addition of products that heal the skin. Sometimes it’s the removal of something and most importantly there isn’t one fit all solution for acne, natural or not.

natural options

However, I will share a set of information so that you have some options beyond the 3 you mentioned you’d like to avoid (and I agree you should avoid). I caution you not to try anything without professional guidance, try only 1 thing at a time (so you know if its working or if you are having a reaction to it) and most importantly be gentle with yourself (inflamed skin is fragile).

A wonderful alternative to salicylic acid is white willow bark. This ingredient is the gentler cousin and natural alternative to salicylic acid, which helps gently exfoliate. One major difference between the two is that white willow bark dissolves in oil and salicylic acid dissolves in water or alcohol, so the latter can lead to very dry, red, and irritated skin.

This is the primary difference I believe that makes white willow bark a much better solution for skin. Being dissolved in oil makes the application more gentle and minimizes side effects while nourishing and helping heal the skin.

supporting your skin through food

Another solution for inflamed skin is an anti-inflammatory diet or one specific for your skin type. You can check out the best foods for your skin type to discover foods to eat and avoid in order to support your skin staying clear and in balance with support from your diet.

ingredients to watch for

Essential oils are powerful extracts that can help with numerous skin concerns. The following essential oils are regularly formulated in carrier oils for acne-prone skin: Thyme, Rosemary, Rose, Lavender, Tea Tree, Clary Sage, and Juniper Berry. Seek these within natural skin care toners, hydrosols and serums to receive their benefits and support your skin.

The last ingredient is kindness. Be gentle with your skin. When it’s red, inflamed and battling acnem it is hurting and needs care that supports its healing process. Too often we pick at the skin and seek to “get out” the clogs, but more damage and scarring is a result.

Home extractions rarely help clear the skin. Try your best to avoid picking at breakouts and focus on feeding your skin healing and balancing ingredients (like the ones listed here) instead.

I hope these natural options for skincare speed your journey to calm, clear and balanced skin.

armpit detox

What are the top three ingredients to avoid when choosing products for your skin care routine?

– Stephanie

Hello Stephanie, only three? That feels near impossible to answer. Sadly, there is a long list of ingredients to avoid. The skin care industry has been full of chemicals that are not good for our bodies for many decades.

With the rise of the green movement, push for organic certifications and the launch of the public awareness platform EWG Skin Deep (Environmental Working Group) more natural products have been entering the market and with it a long laundry list of ingredients to avoid.

So, in addition to my listing 3 ingredients I always avoid I will share 3 suggestions to empower you when selecting skin care products.

AVOID:

  • Parabens (specifically propyl-, butyl-, isopropyl-, and isobutyl- parabens)
  • Triclosan (also triclocarban)
  • Formaldehyde (note that use of this has declined but there is a list of “Formaldehyde releasers” which slowly develop Formaldyhyde within the bottle over time that are to be avoided – Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15.

SUGGESTIONS:

I encourage you to find companies like Annmarie Skin Care and others that have a solid dedication to purity, integrity and results with proof of their commitment proof through certifications like Madesafe, so you can trust them to include only safe ingredients.

Read the label

Look up product ingredients that you don’t know in order to understand what you’re putting on your skin. Almost every ingredient is online and we can determine its possible concern or its benefits with a quick search.

Ingredient profiling is one of my specialties so I can look at a product ingredient list and immediately know how it will affect the skin and if it contains a harmful chemical. I don’t expect everyone to get this level but if you wonder if your products are ok you can always look up ingredients.

look for a full ingredient list

Lastly, this might seem simple but, support brands that proudly display their full ingredient list online, not just “active” or “featured” ingredients. When companies neglect to put their full ingredients online it is a red flag to me. Every time I have written a company, to get a full ingredient list because it wasn’t shown online, I discovered they use ingredients I would personally avoid.

I know it is not a simple answer but I hope this offers you more insight that helps you select healthy products that meet quality standards. Reach out if you’d like assistance greening your skin care. I am here to help.

oil as moisturizer

As a man, I just really am not at all educated about my skin and what I need to do to keep it healthy. What are the best resources to learn about how to take care of my skin? If I wanted to start a daily skin care routine, what would that even look like?

– Nick

Hello Nick, thanks for your question! You are starting in the best place – asking yourself how to care for your skin! The first thing you can do is take a skin care quiz to determine your skin type. Then you will know the products appropriate to use in your daily care steps to keep it healthy.

skin fundamentals

The fundamentals of a skin care routine include Cleanse + Tone + Moisturize + Protect (SPF).

In the AM + PM clean the skin, rinse off cleanser; spray toner and apply moisturizer. In the morning, add sun protection after moisturizer.

After you have the fundamentals of your routine you can add other steps of exfoliation, serums or masks to enhance your skincare ritual to meet specific goals for your skin if you’d like.

skin care resources

As for resources, unless you have a passion for skin care and want to learn everything from scratch yourself, the best resource for learning to take care of the skin is a licensed Esthetician, preferably one committed to a holistic or organic approach. Going to a professional will make the experience less overwhelming since there is so much information and so many products to choose from.

If you want to learn yourself, great resources include the Annmarie Skin Care Website (many how-to videos and explanations) and the Annmarie Skin Care Blog (this began a decade ago, truly has a plethora of information and grows daily). You can educate yourself further and learn about product ingredients on EWG Skin Deep (Environmental Working Group).

Lastly, be aware that skin is responsive to overall health in the body so diet, exercise, and sleep are all a part of skin care as well.

Most importantly, enjoy the process to better care for your skin. When it is an addition to your day that you look forward to, it is easier to be consistent and your future self will thank you for the results!

Do you want to see more blog posts like this in the future? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to sign up for our email list for the chance to have your question answered.

The following post An Esthetician Answers Your Top Skin Care Questions was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Kaolin, What it is and How You Can Benefit from this Versatile Ingredient

White clay, Kaolinite, China clay, French Green clay—this ingredient has such a long history of use in so many different industries that it has a whole slew of common names.

What is Kaolin?

The main component of kaolin, as we call it, is the mineral kaolinite. It is mined all over the planet from China to Europe to the US. Pure kaolinite is bright white, though kaolin clay often has other minerals present that add slight coloration to the clay, most often it has a pinkish hue from iron oxide or a greenish color from decomposing plant material.

In general, the brighter white the kaolin clay, the better quality it is considered.

A versatile clay

Because of its abundance as a mineral all over the world and it’s beautiful bright quality, kaolin is thought to have been used as one of the first clays used to make pottery by our ancestors. The other historical uses of this clay involve health and beauty.

In fact, kaolin clay has proven itself to be useful for every part of our evolution. We still use it in pottery, health, and beauty but it’s even found its way into the paper industry. A thin layer is often brushed on as a final coating for paper to give it a smooth texture and bright white color.

Internal uses of kaolin

Kaolin has been used internally to help with the digestive system. Because the clay doesn’t breakdown and isn’t absorbed into the body, it’s very useful in issues like ulcers, sores, and swelling because it coats the inside of the whole digestive tract.

The digestive tract has natural acids and bacterias that can exacerbate these types of issues and the kaolin coating helps protect the epithelial lining and allows the body space to heal itself.

how to use kaolin internally

Although it is considered safe to consume, this ingredient is all about the dosage. The clay is absorbent so it’s helpful with issues like diarrhea and has the potential to improve conditions like IBS and leaky gut. Pharmaceutical companies even use it in their medications to make the chemical constituents easier on the stomach and to control absorption rates.

On the flip side, eating too much kaolin can cause constipation and long term internal use can make it difficult for the body to absorb certain nonessential minerals (minerals that we have to consume) from food because of how well it coats the lining of the digestive system.

People exposed to the powder in large quantities long term, like mine workers, can develop lung issues because the powder can get into the air and get stuck in the lungs when it’s breathed in.

External uses of kaolin

While kaolin may be a popular ingredient right now, its an ancient beauty tradition that’s truly been around for hundreds of years. Since then, it has been used in cleansers, shampoos, toothpastes, and beauty products abound; we use it in our Kaolin Micro Exfoliant. Here are just some of the benefits:

Cleanses and detoxifies

Kaolin gently cleanses and pulls impurities from the pores without causing redness.

Helps with oily skin

Kaolin is absorbent so it absorbs excess oils and it can help balance the oil production when it’s used over time.

Exfoliates

Because it doesn’t completely dissolve in water and makes a really nice paste, the crystals in the clay make a really great exfoliant.

Stimulates

Kaolin is stimulating to the skin and with long term use, can offer a toned and tightened appearance.

Gentle

Kaolin is a really gentle clay that can be used with any skin type, including those people with sensitivities to scrubs and cleansers.

Do you use Kaolin? Let us know how in the comments.

References:
Aspen. “10 Beauty Benefits of Kaolin Clay for Skin, Hair and More.” Beautymunsta. N.p., 20 Dec. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.
Charl. “What is Kaolin Clay? Benefits, Powder, Skin, Side Effects, Properties of China /White Clay.” DurableHealth. N.p., 19 May 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.
“KAOLIN: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.
“Minerals.net.” Kaolinite: The clay mineral kaolinite information and pictures. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

The following post Kaolin, What it is and How You Can Benefit from this Versatile Ingredient was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

How Do Anti-Aging Products Actually Work?

how do anti-aging products work?

Fact: There’s no secret ingredient, magical potion, or coveted lotion that’s going to magically turn back (or stop) the clock—but that doesn’t mean anti-aging products are a complete waste of your time.

First, you have to understand that taking care of your skin from the inside out (think diet, exercise, no smoking, drinking in moderation, ) is absolutely crucial. A diet filled with processed foods, a couch potato mentality, and partying like it’s 1999 on the regular cannot be concealed no matter how hard you try.

no such thing as a quick fix

There’s no such thing as a true topical quick fix, friends, yet anti-aging products can work to your advantage if you’re choosing the correct formulas for your skin type and are willing to be committed to see results.

To give you a little more confidence and optimism when crafting the perfect skin care regimen, here is some deeper insight on how specific ingredients in anti-aging products actually work.

When to start using anti-aging products

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, but the sooner the better, as anti-aging is about prevention more than it is correction as you want to slow down the development of a skin care concern before it gets out of hand.

Starting in your early 20s is completely acceptable providing you’re using products appropriate for your skin type and not overly aggressive. For example, a 21-year old doesn’t need a strong retinol product, but something with antioxidants is always a good idea as we’re all exposed to environmental stressors—and maybe even alcohol or cigarettes.

oil pulling

Anti Aging ingredients: natural

Vitamin A

While retinol is considered one of the top anti-aging ingredients because it stimulates the production of new cells, the synthetic form (more on that later), can be a bit aggressive despite the results.

Using 100 percent naturally derived vitamin A will give you the same benefits (helps remove buildup from the surface of the skin; creates the appearance of a brighter, smoother complexion; tightens and firms your look; and promotes ageless beauty), but keep in mind that it will take longer to see results.

You only need a few drops, and don’t be alarmed if it leaves a temporary yellowish tinge on your skin.

Antioxidants

As aforementioned, every skin type and age can benefit from using antioxidants. These powerhouses prevent environmental stressors from oxidizing (damaging) healthy cells, thus causing premature aging.

While there are far too many to name, many naturally-derived antioxidants also have additional benefits. For example, arbutin, licorice root, and viniferine  brighten and lighten your look (a natural alternative to hydroquinone); and antioxidant-rich seed oils—chia, goji berry, and broccoli—firm and tighten your look while minimizing the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles.

While it may sound like it was created in a test tube, CoEnzyme Q10 is a natural antioxidant that gives your skin a fresh and revived look.

Vitamin C

Naturally-sourced vitamin C can help protect skin from environmental damage, eliminate the appearance of dullness, and diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Ascorbic acid (aka l-ascorbic acid), is the topical form of antioxidant vitamin C.

It’s found in many anti-aging products due to its ability to renew the look of beautiful skin. Since the stratum corneum (outer layer of skin) can make it difficult for vitamin C to completely penetrate, regular exfoliation is key in order to receive optimal results.

Vitamin K

Often found in eye creams, vitamin K overturns the calcium deposited in the skin’s elastin fibers, which hardens—this is what causes wrinkles to appear. Vitamin K also plays a crucial role in blood circulation, so it helps reduce the appearance of dark circles, too.

Hyaluronic Acid

It seems as though you can find hyaluronic acid in just about everything these days—even cosmetics—and with good reason. The ingredient is a carbohydrate found innately in our body tissues. It’s known for being a hydrating powerhouse as just one gram of hyaluronic acid can hold six liters of water.

With that in mind, when applied topically, it also leaves your skin soft and radiant, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s important that you choose a naturally-derived form of hyaluronic acid that’s comprised of smaller molecules—oftentimes the molecule is too large to actually penetrate the skin.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

AHAs are plant-based, naturally occuring acids derived from milk, fruit, or sugar. Due to the fact that they gently exfoliate dead skin cells without stripping vital moisture, they are a popular ingredient in many skin care products. If you want to go ultra-natural, look no further than your refrigerator!

Lemons, tomatoes, papaya, pineapple, and plain yogurt (a form of lactic acid under the AHA umbrella) can also dissolve the intercellular glue that’s holding on to dead skin cells, thus giving you a dull and rough complexion—the older we get, the longer it takes new cells to reach the surface.

The easiest way to utilize nature’s bounty is by making a mask. Just be sure to do a patch test first to ensure you don’t get a reaction—but slight tingling is completely normal.

facial massage

Anti Aging ingredients: Synthetic

Retinol

Retinoids are popular in anti-aging products because of their ability to reduce the appearance of dullness and brighten and lighten your look by inspiring rejuvenated skin. Just keep in mind that it’s not uncommon to experience peeling and redness, so start at a lower strength and gradually up your usage.

Also, just because it’s not natural doesn’t mean it will work overnight. It can take approximately six months (or longer) of regular use to see prominent results.

Glycolic Acid

While glycolic acid can be derived from sugar crops, it’s not always naturally sourced.

Glycolic acid is a part of the same group of active compounds known as alpha hydroxy acids, though glycolic is considered more valuable because the molecules are the smallest, thus making it a penetrable ingredient that can effectively (and simultaneously) treat fine lines, decongest pores, and encourage revitalized skin via a chemical—not physical—exfoliation.

A high-quality glycolic will also firm and tighten your look.

Arginine

Also seen in oral supplements and trendy sports drinks, arginine is an important component of collagen in the skin and keratin in the hair.

You’ll find synthetic versions of this amino acid in many anti-aging products that are formulated to improve the appearance of the skin an minimize fine lines and wrinkles.

Peptides

Peptides, chains of amino acids, are the foundation of proteins in the skin. Powerful communicators, peptides send signals to cells to ensure they’re function properly—to include determining which type of collagen (there are 23 kinds in your body) needs reconstruction. With that in mind, peptides diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, defy your age, and rejuvenate.

Of course, all of that doesn’t happen overnight as it takes some time for collagen to build, so patience is a virtue—and if you stop using them all together, you’ll lose the result.

opt for quality

Whether you go the natural or synthetic route or a combination thereof, it’s crucial that you’re choosing products that contain ingredients with a high level of quality.

Look for a high level of concentration (at the top of the ingredient list) and if it’s a brand you’re not familiar with, conduct a little research to determine how the ingredients are sourced and/or produced. Don’t waste time or money on products that will do little or nothing to benefit your skin.

 

Sources:
“Free Radicals And Aging Of The Skin,” Pubmed.gov, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1450595
“Vitamin C and Skin Health,” Oregon State University https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C
“Hyaluronic Acid: A Key Molecule In Skin Aging,” Dermato Endocrinology, July, 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583886/
“Do Retinoids Really Reduce Wrinkles?,” Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/do-retinoids-really-reduce-wrinkles

The following post How Do Anti-Aging Products Actually Work? was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

By Healing Ourselves, We Can Support Each Other

sisterhood & support

“She’s too fat to be eating that?” “Who does she think she is? She’s not even that cute.” “I like that guy, I’m going steal him from his girlfriend.” “Her body is hideous. Why is she wearing that?”  “You’d be prettier if you lost 10 pounds.” “I hope she bombs in the meeting today.” “She flat as a board and looks like a child playing dress up.” “Ugh, she looks like a man, no wonder she’s single.” “She has one too many curves for that outfit.” “Why would she go to his room at 3am? She knew what would happen.”

We’ve all been there. The unfortunate victim on the receiving end of an onslaught of unsolicited insults. The “mean girl”, whose sense of entitlement perches her on a pedestal of her own creation, as she verbally scorches anyone who crosses her path.

Or, we’ve been both, victim and aggressor. No matter the role, neither serves as a healthy space for our personal growth. The negative emotional effects of sending and receiving such destructive messages can last the duration of our lifetime. But the cycle doesn’t need to continue. We can counteract these behaviors by replacing them with more positive ones.

Messages From Our Youth Mold Us

Our elders take on the responsibility of teaching us how a “lady” should behave and present herself. These messages can come in the form of direct verbal communication from loved ones.

Or, a combination of audio and visual cues that indirectly impact how we interpret our role within society. Despite having our best interest in mind, these messages can often limit our sense of self worth and increase the intensity of our internal critic.

Our weight, beauty (based on societal judgement), successes, ability to carry the burdens of others in addition our own, and others are some of the qualities that are scrutinized. In a KQED interview, Rachel Simmons, co-founder of Girls Leadership discussed some of the reasons there is a shift in how girls perceive themselves.

How we perceive ourselves

While her interview was more focused on causes of depressive behavior in girls, the causes and connected behaviors are linked to our negative behavior towards one another.

“Girls are socialized to think about other people’s feelings and to worry about what other people want.” She added that the reason this can be damaging is because girls feel “If I don’t do everything right, I’m letting people down.”

how this affects us

Regardless of culture or generation, this message has likely been relayed to us in some form. Each of us is affected us differently by what we receive. Then more negative messages are piled on. Until the pile is so unbearable we succumb to it, and eventually internalize every message we’ve received.

Our thoughts of ourselves are no longer our own. We believe what were are told, rather trust what we know of ourselves. This inadvertently creates a spectrum of girls and women, ranging from those whose ability to effectively communicate their needs is stifled, to those who use their words and actions to tear others down.

Unnecessary Rivalry

During the previously mentioned interview, there was also mention of girls having the lowest self compassion than any other youth group. “Hurt people, hurt people” is the phrase that resonated in my mind upon hearing this statement. While it’s extremely heartbreaking to hear, it’s also very revealing.

How this carries into adulthood

It adds insight to some of the mean behavior that thrives during adolescence, and carries over over into adulthood. The negative behavior often comes in the form of negative competitiveness(related to looks, success, and men to name a few) and personal resentment.

I was in a conversation with an employee’s wife (at a company party) that felt negative. I felt that she was trying to show she was a woman of power. She was looking down on me for some reason, and at the same time I felt she was jealous. Her tone was slightly condescending. Whether it was all in my head or not, the feeling of being dragged down by another woman was real.

– S. O.

More hurtful experiences can come from so-called friends and loved ones:

…a series of jabs and digs when totaled resulted in feelings of self doubt, anxiousness, and instability. For example, sharing a personal success could result in the other party saying ‘that’s not so great’ or acting uninterested in what you have to say. It definitely made me feel small and not valued as a person

– L. F.

how this permeates our lives

These emotionally exhausting experiences affect all parties involved. For those of us with deep seeded unhappiness that hasn’t been addressed, the negativity can permeate into other areas of our life.

Fueling our personal battles with insecurity, low self-esteem, low body image, and self worth based on a decision we’ve made about the other woman in relation to ourselves – “she has something I don’t, and I resent her for it.” We pick each other apart, piece by piece until there is nothing left but hurt feelings.

Lead with Self-Love

In order to be better for others, we need to better for ourselves. This is a crucial step in improving our interactions with other women. Self-love is a way of showing ourselves patience and understanding when it comes to personal mistakes and missteps.

Most importantly, it’s practicing personal compassion.

how we can evaluate our own behaviors

We can then begin to understand why we either allowed negative treatment from other women, or why we’re the agitators. Most of our negative behaviors towards other women are projections of our pain and insecurity. We start asking the necessary questions: Why am I so threatened by how this woman is dressed? Why can’t I be more supportive of women who need my support? Why do I judge her based on appearances alone?

The other side could be questions like: Why didn’t push back on the comments? Why am I allowing these women to dictate my emotions? The list of questions we may need to ask ourselves is endless. Answering these questions honestly will enable you come up with action plans that allows you a more positive reaction with the women you encounter.

This doesn’t mean every encounter will now be positive. But you will have a better handle on your own emotional response, impeding the desire to tear other women down. Often when we understand our pain, we are more inclined to be empathetic to those around us. We can see ourselves in others, easing us into more connections.

being honest with ourselves

The journey of self-love causes us to take an honest assessment of what we need to heal within ourselves. Sometimes introspection is enough, other times we may need to talk to a professional. Whichever route we choose, the end goal is getting to healthier emotional space. This healthier space with improve our self-worth, making us more comfortable in our own skin.

We limits our comparisons to others by “keeping our eyes on our own paper”, according to Dr. joy Bradford. She says a good practice of self-love is to focus on what makes happy, and not get caught in the trap comparing our lives to others.

Find Your Tribe & Support Each Other

Despite some of the negativity experience, there is nothing like female friendships. Women reign supreme when it comes to creating a nurturing and supportive environment.

The quality of people we choose to surround ourselves with is typically a direct result of self-love practices. Relationships that provide us with the necessary love and support we need can be extremely beneficial to our physical, mental ,and emotional well-being.

how do the people around you make you feel?

It may not be a an easy exercise of exorcising those who don’t contribute positive energy, but it is very necessary. E. J. explains her experience:

It’s been a journey for me to be conscious about who I allow into my space energetically. The gauge I use now is examining how I feel after I spend time with someone. Does that person make me feel drained? Happy? Inspired? Joyful? I have been extremely lucky to cultivate friendships with women who I can share my success, failures, fears, and emotions with. It makes me feel grateful, grounded, and supported to have these women in my life. Most of all, it’s freeing to be able to be yourself around others and to be fully understood without fear of judgement.

– E. J.

When creating your tribe, keep an open heart an open mind. Don’t limit the love by bracing for the blow of negativity we’ve previously experienced. This is definitely easier to say, than put into practice. But, practice makes perfect. I had to learn forgiveness, due to the negative treatment I had received from certain groups of women in my past.

growing your network

Although it was difficult, healing and letting go of past hurt allowed to view each new experience on a case by case basis. I’m thankful for this growth because my support network grew. I now have an amazing group of women who come from various backgrounds who brings her own unique set of experiences and insights.

We are all available to each other, bringing to the table what we have to offer – mentoring, support, and being each other’s cheerleader. Sometimes just sharing the events of the day are all that is needed.

Lift Her Up

Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, spreading positive energy and support creates an environment of sisterhood. Speaking up in support for another woman in distress, or simply refraining from participating in unsolicited verbal attacks can also be seen as a show of support.

building support systems

Often times, the simplest acts can show another woman we are not her enemy. These support systems can be very critical in environments where women are the minority. Especially at work:

My female manager really helped me to grow professionally thus far. The most recent positive experience was helping me create a special work arrangement after listening to me about how I wanted some time to re-focus in life and take a break after a bad year. She helped me figure out what I wanted / what would work better for me with the company while building me up.

– S. S.

When your coworker asks you to proofread an important email, don’t throw her under the bus by not mentioning the typos you’ve noticed. Don’t shun her for receiving a well deserved promotion because you weren’t chosen. Diane von Furstenberg once said said, “I really feel you don’t have to be a b—- to be successful.”

being mindful of one another

When these kind of words come from a woman who has attained success that has lasted decades, we should be mindful of how we treat other. Will we like every woman we encounter? Of course not. We’re all human, and have different tastes and preferences in personality traits. Should we stop competing with other? It’s depends on what we are competing for and how we choose to compete.

We need to be okay with lifting each up. Celebrating the wins of peers does not lessen our shine. Rather than allow jealousy to slither its way into your thoughts, take note of how she accomplished her goal. Don’t take her successes as a personal attack. Even if you haven’t yet attained your desired level of success, cheer her on.

extending support

In my experience, the majority of the woman I have known who rose to higher levels were more likely than men to extend a hand of support. If you recognize something beautiful about another woman(clothes, face, hair, etc), it doesn’t hurt to give her compliment. Acknowledging her light doesn’t dim yours.

If we have the ability come together on a grand scale for rallies, protests, and marches. Eliciting change that has improved the lives of women worldwide. We should be able to meet each other with kindness, love, and support in our day-to-day lives. The small acts really matter. I wouldn’t have been afforded some of the opportunities I’ve attained, if not for the generosity and support of other woman.

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

The following post By Healing Ourselves, We Can Support Each Other was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

A Detox Ritual For Your Body + Spirit

body and spirit detox

Does anybody else feel like between coworkers, friends, family, and randos on the subway you are constantly having to guard yourself from sneezes and coughs?

This winter the seasonal cold and flu have been passed around like the plague; and it seems like as soon as you get rid of the last cold a new brutal barrage of symptoms knocks you back onto your deathbed.

how are you taking care of yourself?

Now more than ever we need to make sure we’re taking care of our health and wellness. Double up on your vitamin C, don’t forget to wash your hands, and don’t be afraid to stink anyone who isn’t sneezing/coughing into their arm.

But an element of wellness that is often forgotten is what is already in our body. We are exposed to toxins every day and they find their way into our bodies through consumption, breathing, and physical contact.

Even if you eat clean and use all-natural products there are toxins in the air, in the unavoidable plastics we encounter, and most likely (and most terrifying of all) in our water.

the toxins around us

If you live in a city you are probably exposed to some degree of smog. This means you’re inhaling sulfur dioxide from industrial emissions, nitrogen oxides from vehicle emissions, and hydrocarbons from burning fossil fuels–all toxins.

A number of toxins can be found in the plastic surrounding our food, beauty products, and bottled water. Phthalates, bisphenol-A (BPA), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are all in certain plastics and are linked to cancer, hormone imbalance and other health risks.

Some of these are virtually unavoidable in modern life and they take a toll on our health without us even realizing. When our bodies are filled with toxins it makes it harder for it to do its job.

A body and spirit detox

It is important for us to reset our bodies through detox. Ridding our bodies of toxins removes any strains on the system and keeps us functioning efficiently.

After searching for some all-natural ways to detox, I found Wellness Mama’s natural detoxifying baths. Here is what I found worked best for me.

DIY Bath Bombs

Clay Detox Bath

Bentonite clay is one of my favorite things to put on my skin in any capacity, so this detox bath really spoke to me. The clay binds to heavy metals, pulling them out of your skin. It also promotes circulation throughout the body and helps with immunity by killing harmful bacteria.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup bentonite clay
  • ½ cup Epsom salts
  • Calming essential oils as needed

Instructions

First add the epsom salt and essential oils to your warm or hot bath water (the hotter the water, the more detoxifying it is). The epsom salt also helps remove toxins from your body, as well as replenishes magnesium.

There are two ways to include bentonite clay in your bath. You can either mix the clay with water in a non-metal bowl until there are no more lumps and then add that mixture to your bath. Or you could stand in your bath and apply a coat of the thicker clay/water mixture to your body, let it sit, and then get in the bath.

Mustard Detox Bath

Mustard powder has historically been used as a natural remedy for colds and the flu. This spice is known for its soothing properties and boost circulation to promote healthy skin and muscles. By invigorating your bodily systems it will help your body naturally rid itself of toxins.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of organic mustard powder
  • 1 cup of epsom salts
  • Essential oils if desired

Instructions:

Create your mixture in a bowl as you run your bath, then simply add your mustard bath mixture to your bath water.

Mental and spiritual health

As we know, health is holistic, so while we detox our bodies we should keep our mental and spiritual health in mind.

Give your spirit a little reset as well with a new mantra to cleanse you of any emotional or creative blockage that sometimes accompanies the winter season and all the head colds and brain fog that comes with it.

incorporating your mantra

By repeating your mantra as you physically detox your body you are syncing up multiple areas of wellness, for a well-rounded, fresh start.

The mantra I chose with the idea of honoring my health and focusing on the good I have been given went like this:

I know in life all things must come to an end
So let me give thanks for the present
And rejoice in every moment
I am exactly where I am suppose to be
And I love all the time I am given

I have very loosely taken and adapted the idea of the Om Jum Saha mantra found in both the Rig Veda and the Yajur Veda which talks about victory over death and is used to boost overall health and resistance.

How do you detox your mind, body, and spirit? Share with us in the comments below.

The following post A Detox Ritual For Your Body + Spirit was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.