Why Radishes are the Ultimate Beauty Food

radishes

Looking for foods that are good for your skin? We’d like to suggest one that you may not have thought of…

While kale has had its well-deserved time in the spotlight, and coconut water continues to reign supreme, both of them need to make room for the skin-beautifying ingredient many of us have been ignoring — radishes.

If you’re not already incorporating this food into your diet, it’s time to start.

Here’s why radishes need to be on your plate at your next meal, or even in your next homemade skin mask.

What is a Radish?

The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable that comes from a plant that’s part of the cabbage family. It’s been around for a long time, though scientists aren’t really sure from where it originated. Wild forms of the plant have been found in Southeast Asia, which may be a sign that they first grew there, but the Greeks and Romans were using them by the third century B.C. It’s believed radishes were brought to America in the 1600s.

There are a number of different varieties of the plant, but it’s the spicy ones that we’re most familiar with. Hardy and pest resistant, they include a number of chemical compounds that give them their unique sharp flavor. It’s these chemicals, along with a number of vitamins and minerals, that seem to be responsible for the radish’s many health benefits.

Radishes make a great garnish for salads and other vegetable dishes because of their distinct flavor and nutritional content. A full cup of radishes contains only about 19 calories, along with a high water content that helps keep you hydrated and satisfied. (Though realistically, you don’t want to eat a full cup of radish slices. Below we have some other ideas for how to enjoy them.)

Before we go into how radishes specifically beautify your skin, we want to talk about some of their most potent health benefits. And in the end, what’s good for your health is good for your complexion.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Radishes

Radishes have a lot to brag about…

Detoxifying

Dieticians know that radishes are good for the liver, and that they can help flush toxins out of the body. A 1988 book entitled The Treatment of Jaundice included a chapter on clearing a blocked liver with wild celery, caper, and radish. A more recent 2014 study also found that Spanish black radishes had a marked effect on liver function. The researchers wrote: “This study demonstrated that the supplement containing Spanish black radish positively altered the metabolism of acetaminophen, suggesting an effective increase in liver detoxification capacity in humans….”

Ease Digestion

A 2008 study reported that radish juice helped inhibit the formation of gastric ulcers, with researchers concluding that it had “gastroprotective” potential—meaning it helped protect the digestive system. Eating radishes before a meal is said to increase digestive power.

Beyond that, radishes contain indigestible carbs and are high in fiber, making them a great food to ease digestion, reduce the symptoms of constipation, and limit water retention.

Soothe Urinary Problems

Radishes are considered a diuretic vegetable, meaning they promote urination. They also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help protect against urinary tract infections and potentially encourage healing. There is some evidence that radishes, because of these properties, can also help improve and protect kidney health, and potentially reduce the risk of kidney stones.

May Protect Against Cancer

A number of studies have suggested that radishes may help to protect us against cancer. In 2002, for instance, researchers found that those who consumed more radishes in their diet were at a reduced risk for gallbladder cancer. A 2009 study also noted that radishes contain “isothiocyanates,” naturally occurring small molecules that have the capacity to reduce the activation of carcinogens. Though we know that a diet rich in veggies is protective against cancer in general, the radish has certain antioxidants that may be particularly helpful.

May Help With Blood Sugar

The powerful antioxidants in radishes may help protect against high blood pressure. A 2012 animal study found that a radish leaf extract treatment that lasted for five weeks significantly reduced systolic blood pressure. Radishes are a good source of nitrates, which is converted to nitric oxide in the blood—and nitric oxide helps relax the smooth muscle walls of blood vessels so they dilate more freely. Nitric oxide also helps reduce the risk of blood clots.

5 Ways Radishes Benefit Skin

The same properties that make radishes good for your overall health also make them good for your skin. The fact that they help ease digestion, for example, and clear out toxins, can help keep skin clear of microorganisms as well, and may reduce the appearance of acne breakouts.

The raw radish is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that help nourish, hydrate, and protect the skin from the environment. Some of the benefits of eating it regularly—or even using it topically—may include:

Better Hydrated Skin

The high water content in radishes is good for your skin as well as other body organs, helping to maintain moisture levels. Radishes also contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are critical for plumping moisture down in the deeper levels of skin.

Younger-looking Skin

A cup of radishes will supply you with about 30 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C. As you may know, vitamin C is critical for building collagen, which supports the structure of skin, and for protecting from free radical damage. The root also contains vitamin A, which protects from oxidative stress.

Lower Risk of Skin Cancer

Radishes are a good source of “glucosinolates,” which are sulfur-containing compounds found in members of the cruciferous vegetable family (like broccoli). These compounds have significant research behind them showing them to protect cells from genetic mutations that cause cancer. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends five servings of these veggies a week to boost glucosinolate intake.

Fewer Breakouts

If you’re suffering from acne and haven’t found a solution, you may want to try black radish juice or pulp in a homemade mask. Mashed white radishes may also do the trick. The key here is the anti-bacterial property, which can help kill bacteria on the face before it develops into blackheads and pimples.

Radishes also have an astringent property, which can help reduce the appearance of pores. The high water content prevents overdrying. Mix radish juice with a few drops of citrus juice to cleanse skin and reduce acne.
Lighten skin: The vitamin C and A content in radishes, as well as some of its other components, are said to help lighten and brighten skin. Mix with yogurt and honey to create a gentle, moisturizing, lightening mask.

Looking for more ways to get radishes into your daily diet? Try these tips:

  • Add them to salads (of course!)
  • Julienne them and add to risotto
  • Roast them
  • Add them to your tacos
  • Put them in your coleslaw
  • Pickle them
  • Add them to your tuna salad
  • Snack on them with cream cheese and chives

Did you know radishes were good for skin? Please share any recipes you may have.

Sources:

François Du Port – Treatment of Jaundice

Nutra – Spanish Black Radish Shows Detox Benefits, Support Liver Health: Human Data

Department of Pharmacognosy and Medicinal, Aromatic & Poisonous Plants Research Center – Gastroprotective Effect of Radish “Raphanus Sativus” on Experimental Gastric Ulcer Models in Rats

Pakistan Journal of Pharmacology – Physics-Chemical Studies of Indige

European Journal of Cancer Prevention – Diet and Gallbladder Cancer: A Case-Control Study

Acta Pharmacologie Sinica – Are Isothiocyanates Potential Anti-Cander Drugs

SF Gate – What Are the Benefits of Eating Radishes

The following blog post Why Radishes are the Ultimate Beauty Food See more on: Annmarie Skin Care, LLC

What Actually Happens When You Go Gluten Free

gluten free

You’ve heard that going gluten-free might be good for you. Maybe you’ve already started a gluten-free diet, and you’re noticing some benefits, but you’re not really sure.

Despite all the information out there about gluten, it can be confusing to know just how it may be affecting you. Are you someone that is sensitive, and should be cutting back? If so, how might it help you?

If you’re still a little confused on the whole thing, this post is for you.

Why Go Gluten Free?

About one in 133 Americans has celiac disease, which means their bodies can’t process gluten correctly. If they continue to consume it, it can attack the small intestine, leading to damage that interferes with nutrient absorption. The only way for those with celiac to experience relief is to eliminate gluten.

Sometimes, however, even in people without celiac disease, a gluten intolerance or sensitivity may be present. If so, it can cause symptoms like digestive upset, headaches, joint pain, and even brain fog.

The last several years have seen a rise in both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Celiac is more than four times as common as it was 50 years ago. Part of that is because diagnostic testing has improved, but that doesn’t explain all of it.

Why is This Happening?

Scientists have a few theories.

How we process wheat and other gluten products, for example, has changed over the past several decades. We now use oxidizers, new methods of yeasting, and other chemical processes that may be changing how gluten reacts in the body. Some small studies have indicated that older processing methods eliminated more gluten than current methods do. Bacteria used to make dough rise were more likely to break down gluten and other proteins back then, making gluten easier to digest.

The wheat we use today has also undergone extensive hybridization as a crop. Scientists started crossbreeding wheat in the 1950s to make it hardier and better growing. Breeding was actually intended to improve “gluten strength” in some cases, creating greater loaf volume potential and increasing its ability to hold its shape during baking. These changes may have made the gluten interact differently with our immune systems, or the delicate balance of bacteria in our guts.

Most of today’s conventional wheat crops are also treated with insecticides, particularly glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. In 2015, a new study suggested that glyphosate could be connected to the rise in celiac disease:

“Glyphosate residues are found in wheat due to the increasingly widespread practice of staging and desiccation of wheat right before harvest,” the researchers wrote. They went on to explain that the insecticide disrupts gut bacteria and enzymes, potentially impairing digestion.

We also consume more wheat on average than we did a century ago. It has gradually made its way into a number of our foods, far beyond breads and cereals. Now we find it in processed wheat products like pastas and baked goods, as well as in condiments, soups, and even candies.

Whatever may be causing the trouble between gluten and the human body, a lot of us are feeling the effects. One option is to choose only foods made with organic wheat, but it might be safer to just cut wheat out until farming practices change.

So for those of you considering making the switch and eliminating gluten, how can you expect our health to improve?

5 Ways Gluten-Free Can Improve Your Health

First, a word of caution.

Going gluten-free can make you vulnerable to a lot of products out there. Beware of processed foods shouting “gluten-free!” on their packaging. These products tend to be overly processed and higher in sugar and fat.

Don’t fall for the hype. Choose whole, natural foods instead.

After a few weeks on your new diet, you should experience the following health benefits. If not, it may be that gluten isn’t your problem. Check out our article on FODMAPs for other potential culprits.

1. Improved digestion.

This by far the most commonly experienced improvement in those choosing to go gluten free. Certainly those with celiac disease will experience less digestive upset. But those who are gluten intolerant or sensitive should also expect to feel much better in the belly.

Things like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, cramping, and overall discomfort should lessen significantly as your intestines no longer have to deal with gluten. If you’re still having trouble, make sure you’ve completely eliminated gluten (it may be lurking in some foods like sauces and condiments).

2. Less pain.

In those who are sensitive to it, gluten can cause inflammation and pain throughout the body. Common symptoms include joint pain, muscle cramping, headaches, and even numbness in the legs and feet. You should feel much more comfortable after getting gluten out of your life.

3. Healthier skin.

The same way that gluten can cause inflammatory problems in the joints, it can also cause inflammation in the skin, leading to acne breakouts, eczema, psoriasis flare-ups, itching, hives, and rashes. If you suffered these pre-gluten-free, you should expect to see your flare-ups lessen significantly after about a month on your new diet.

4. Better mood.

A common sign of gluten sensitivity is brain fog or mood swings. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness notes that people with gluten sensitivities report foggy thinking, ADHD-symptoms, and even depression—all of which are believed to be connected to the inflammatory compounds released when they eat gluten.

Many people who eliminate the protein find that they can think more clearly. Cutting back may also help improve your mood.

5. Increased energy.

Fatigue is another common symptom of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Gluten-induced fatigue can be a sign of internal inflammation, or in the case of those with celiac, a malabsorption of iron, which can cause extreme fatigue. It can also be a sign that the intestines are not absorbing nutrients from food in general as well as they should be.

Many people also just feel sluggish and sleepy after consuming gluten.

As you eliminate gluten from your diet, you should feel your energy levels returning to normal. When the inflammation subsides and the body soaks up nutrients more efficiently, it’s better able to produce the energy you need.

Have you experienced significant health benefits after going gluten-free…or not? Please share your story with our readers.

Sources:

Time – The Rise of Celiac Disease Still Stumps Scientists

The National Institute for Health – A Changing Environment and the Increasing Prevalence of Celiac Disease

CBS – Gluten-Free Diet Fad: Are Celiac Disease Rates Actually Rising?

Surgical Neurology International – Glyphosate, Pathways to Modern Diseases III: Manganese, Neurological Diseases, and Associated Pathologies

SF Gate – What Are the Benefits of Eating Gluten-Free?

What Actually Happens When You Go Gluten Free is available on Annmarie Skin Care

Heads Up, You May Want to Start Using This Supplement

Synchro

By now you’ve probably heard about the benefits of turmeric.

A while back, we wrote about how turmeric benefits the skin. It turns out that you can really improve your skin by using turmeric topically, either by creating homemade masks or using products that have turmeric infused into them.

But we haven’t yet touched on why you might want to take it internally, also.

Many of you probably already are, and some of us in the office are avid turmeric users as well.

So when we connected with a company, Synchro, that is doing some amazing things in the supplement world, we saw it as an opportunity to tell you about why you might want to start including turmeric in your daily regimen.

The Inflammation ‘Epidemic’

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to something harmful or irritating in the system. Anything from a virus, bacterium, fungus, and injury can cause the body to react with inflammation. This is part of the healing process — it’s necessary to our survival.

But chronic inflammation takes a toll over time. Foods that inflame the body, like sugar and (for some people) gluten, can cause the body to continuously suffer from inflammation. Other factors can cause the body to trigger an inflammatory response even in the absence of foreign pathogens or injury. This can lead to ailments ranging from depression, arthritis, and even cancer.

Those who suffer from joint pain know the plight of inflammation all too well.

For your skin, inflammation results in extra wrinkles, acne, redness, and rosacea… Just to name a few.

Reducing inflammation that comes from your diet is a crucial step to preventing some of the symptoms we’ve mentioned. A while back we posted about foods that help to fight inflammation. Number 2 on the list? Turmeric.

Turmeric’s Double Effect on Inflammation

Most anti-inflammatory foods and supplements operate in one of the following ways: they either neutralize inflammation-causing free radicals in the body with a flood of antioxidants, or they stop the body from producing the chemicals that initiate inflammation in the first place (this is how aspirin and most over-the-counter pain medications works).

Here’s where turmeric really shines — it combats inflammation through both of these mechanisms simultaneously. This is why it it works wonders for aches, pains, and arthritis (by stopping inflammation at the source), while also strongly supporting the immune system with antioxidants.

This is why you see so many people talking about using turmeric for things like arthritis and all kinds of skin flare ups. Only there’s one problem…

Turmeric is Hard to Absorb

Turmeric’s powerful alkaloids are difficult for our digestive system to absorb. So when we take a turmeric supplement on its own, our body isn’t experiencing nearly the benefits it could.

To navigate around this problem and enhance their supplement’s bioavailability, Synchro uses liposomal turmeric. They blend turmeric with a specific type of fat (called phospholipids) under highly specific conditions to effectively binds the turmeric alkaloids to the phospholipids. This process results in greatly improved absorption.

The science is there — studies have shown up to a 6-fold increase in bioavailability when turmeric alkaloids are delivered via liposomes. This study by Anticancer Research looked specifically at liposomal turmeric’s effect on pancreatic cancer and reported encouragingly conclusive results.

The other way Synchro enhances the bioavailability of their turmeric is by adding piperine, an organic compound extracted from black pepper fruit. Piperine increases absorption of turmeric alkaloids in the gut by inhibiting an enzyme in our digestive tract that would otherwise break down a large portion of the turmeric alkaloids before our bodies can absorb them.

Studies have shown that black pepper fruit increases turmeric absorption by up to a whopping 2000%!

Synchro Gold

There’s a lot of noise out there about which supplements to take. Turmeric is one that has both a history of traditional use as well as a lot of sound science backing it up.

Like with any supplement you buy, quality is of utmost importance. It doesn’t matter what you’re taking, if it’s not from a good source it’s not going to do you any good.

Turmeric has the added characteristic of being poorly absorbed, making it that much more necessary to buy from a supplement company that knows what it’s doing.

It’s for all of these reasons that we’re excited to pass along our recommendation for Synchro Gold, a superior turmeric supplement made with intention and innovation.

Graham, founder of Synchro, has a background in biochemistry, and a passion pro-level cycling and vinyasa yoga that have fueled his interest to work towards, as he puts it, building a truly integrative framework for nutrition and performance knowledge.

With each and every supplement that Synchro makes, from their delicious protein power to their digestive support, they’re looking to provide you with something that is going to truly change the way your body functions.

Like us, education is a huge focus, and their blog is teaming with awesome information on health and wellness.

Right now their company is small — just founder Graham and Director Ryan Greendyk, working at their office in Berkeley that’s just a few blocks away from ours. Their line is small too — we’ve tried nearly everything and are eagerly awaiting their next creation.

Want to add turmeric to your wellness regimen? Synchro is offering you 10% off using the code synchro4skin.

Click Here to Get Synchro Gold

Heads Up, You May Want to Start Using This Supplement was originally published to Annmarie Skin Care Blog

We Won! Annmarie Skin Care Gets ‘Best Coworkers’ Award

localwise - group

A while back we posted that we had been nominated for several awards by a Bay Area company called Localwise.

Our nominations ranged from Best Employee Perks to Coolest Workspace to Most Community Oriented Employer.

Click Here to See Our Nominations

Well, we’re excited to announce that we won the award for Best Coworkers!

localwise

Localwise connects people with their jobs in their area. The idea is that stronger local businesses create stronger local communities. We really get behind this mission and so it was really cool to be recognized by them for being a part of the local job community.

To announce and celebrate the awards they gave out, Localwise hosted a little rooftop dinner. The view was lovely. It’s kind of hard to see, but we were overlooking beautiful Lake Merritt in Oakland.

localwise - Lake Merritt

We feel good about winning Best Coworkers because it speaks to what makes our company what it is. Working hard feels easy when you’re surrounded by so much love and support. Our office is a place where you can express yourself and feel comfortable.

And whether it’s coming together for our annual team retreat, celebrating the holidays with a team baking day, or just hanging out in the office making body butter

Being around such inspiring and dedicated people is why we love being a part of the Annmarie Skin Care.

The kombucha on tap is nice, too. 😉

localwise

We Won! Annmarie Skin Care Gets ‘Best Coworkers’ Award is republished from Annmarie Skin Care

Coconut, Hazelnut, Avocado…? Choose the Facial Oil That Works for Your Skin Type

carrier oil

If you’re familiar with our line, you know that we’re big proponents of using oils in your skincare routine. Since our skin naturally produces oils to protect itself, it is able to absorb and utilize oil more readily than an emulsified product (aka lotion).

This means that using oils in your skincare routine allows for deep penetration of the healing qualities found in them. We infuse our facial oils with herbs and add essential oils for additional healing properties, but using a simple oil itself also provides the skin with significant benefits.

Since everyone’s skin is unique to their own bodies, it’s important to use the right kind of oil for your skin. It’s entirely possible to over or under moisturize your skin, which can lead to breakouts, irritation, clogged pores, increased dryness, and/or dehydration.

Because our facial oils are designed to work with specific skin types, each contains a specific blend of carrier oils.

We wanted to take some time to explain the differences between these oils and what each of them does for your skin.

What is a Carrier Oil?

Let’s start from the beginning. A “carrier oil” is simply one of the cooking oils that you have sitting in your cupboard. They are oils derived from the fatty parts of a plant — usually the nuts, seeds, or kernels. (Whereas essential oils are derived from the non fatty parts of the pant, such as the leaves or the flowers.)

Typically, carrier oils are called such by natural practitioners and in traditional healing roles — skincare professionals, herbalists, etc—and the reason is in the name. Carrier oils are often used to dilute essential oils and carry the healing properties to deep within the skin.

Grapeseed Oil – for Oily and Combination Skin

High in antioxidants, this oil helps repair damaged skin and protect from free radical damage. Grapeseed oil also helps to increase circulation in the skin and is high in vitamin E, making it helpful for preventing injury along with repairing it.

Because this oil is anti-inflammatory, it’s great for people working with inflamed conditions like cystic breakouts, rosacea, and irritation. In one study, grapeseed oil was shown to reduce the occurrence of acne breakouts in participants using it topically, which is thought to be partially due to its high linoleic acid content. (You can read more about that here.)

Grapeseed oil is a popular ingredient in our skincare — you’ll find it in both Herbal Facial Oils, the Unscented Facial Oil, and both of our body moisturizers. It’s light enough to be absorbed by even the oiliest skin, it doesn’t cause breakouts, and it still provides enough moisture for people that are working to balance out their natural sebum production. If you’re working with very dry skin, grapeseed oil may not be the option for you, it’s very lightweight so it doesn’t provide the longer-lasting moisture that dry skin sufferers need.

Jojoba Oil for Dry Skin

Jojoba oil is actually a wax ester that is similar in texture to the sebum that we produce naturally, making it ultra moisturizing and easily absorbed by the skin. Because of its waxy texture, jojoba acts as a long lasting moisturizer that can improve the look and feel of the skin immediately upon use.

Like grapeseed oil, jojoba is also anti-inflammatory and works well for healing damage and easing sun burns. Because it’s so gentle and high in vitamins and minerals, it’s a great oil for those who suffer from rosacea and any sort of irritation in the skin.

We use jojoba in our Anti-Aging Facial Oil, Anti-Aging Eye Cream, our Repair Serum, and we always recommend it for people that are experiencing dry skin. Although it can help to balance sebum production, it can also be over-moisturizing and pore clogging for people that are working with oily or combination skin types, so it’s best for those who are not prone to acne.

Sunflower Seed Oil for All Skin Types

Sunflower seed oil is another amazing oil for skin care. It has the unique quality of strengthening the skin barrier, which has been shown to decrease transepidermal water loss. This means that in addition to being moisturizing, it also helps to keep the skin hydrated. (Yep, there’s a difference between hydrated and moisturized skin.)

Like grapeseed, sunflower seed oil has high amounts of linoleic acid and is so absorbable that it has been used as a topical treatment to help balance essential fatty acids. It is also anti-inflammatory and considered very safe for the most sensitive of skin.

It’s a great moisturizer and it’s thin and absorbent enough for all skin types. We use sunflower seed oil in our Anti-Aging Facial Oil, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin, both of our body moisturizers, and Sun Love.

Coconut Oil for Anti-Aging

Coconut oil seemingly has an endless amount of uses and benefits for our bodies, and it’s no different with skincare. Coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, along with being ultra-moisturizing and nutritious. We use it in a lot of our products, favoring fractionated for facial formulas and unfractionated coconut oil for body products. You can read about the differences here.

Unfractionated coconut oil, like the oil in our Coconut Body Oil and our Coconut Honey Mask, is solid at room temperature. It’s very moisturizing, nutrient dense and high in vitamins like A,C, and E, so it’s a powerful ally in boosting cellular regeneration along with fighting dry and damaged skin. Its large molecular size makes coconut a heavy oil that holds in moisture and can clog pores. Thus, this form of coconut oil can cause breakouts in people that are prone and we typically suggest they use fractionated instead. Got dry skin? Unfractionated may be right for you.

Fractionated coconut oil is the same ingredient, but with the long-chain triglycerides removed, causing it to remain liquid at room temperature. It retains the antioxidants and vitamins but has a reduced molecular size, and is great for collagen boosting and damaged skin.

This form of coconut oil is still very moisturizing, but is a lot lighter and thus absorbs more readily into the skin. This is good news for those with oily or acne prone skin, who can use fractionated coconut oil without having to worry about breakouts. We use fractionated coconut oil in both of our Herbal Facial Oils and our Unscented Facial Oil.

Avocado Oil for Scars

Avocado oil tops the charts in terms of fatty acid content. Oleic acid in particular increases permeability of the skin and helps to repair damaged cell membranes, making it great for scars and wound healing. Avocado is also high in fatty acids that help to reduce sun damage, inflammation, and aid in DNA repair when used topically, so it makes a really lovely during and after-sun moisturizer.

Avocado oil is moisturizing enough for dry skin and penetrates deeply so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling too oily. It may cause breakouts for people who are sensitive, but it can also be very helpful for balancing for the sebum production in the skin. We use Avocado oil in our Sun Love and in our Anti-Aging Eye Cream.

Hazelnut for Acne Prone Skin

Hazelnut oil is another lightweight oil that provides good moisture. It’s packed full of vitamin E and antioxidants along with properties that protect from UV damage.

Hazelnut oil is also astringent and gentle, making it great for balancing oily skin that is also sensitive.

The easy-to-absorb, astringent properties of hazelnut oil also lend to fighting bacteria that are embedded deep within the skin. Yep, this makes this oil really great for acne-prone skin. It can help to balance extra sebum production while clearing up breakouts and repairing damage that can lead to further breakouts, this is why it’s in our Herbal Facial Oil for Oily/Acne Prone Skin. Because of the astringent nature of this oil, it isn’t the best carrier oil if you’re experiencing dry skin.

Olive Oil for Balance

People have been using olive oil on their skin for centuries with wonderful results. It’s a great moisturizer, not too heavy or too light, so it’s helpful for balancing the natural oil production without over-moisturizing. It is high in vitamins E, K, and A along with squalene so it’s very antioxidant and healing for the skin.

We use olive oil in our Coconut Body Oil and in our Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin because it’s so great for maintaining balance. Olive oil may be too moisturizing for people with oily skin and it may not be heavy enough for people working with very dry skin.

So whether your skin is dry, oily, or somewhere in between, there’s a facial oil out there that’s right for you. It’s all about knowing your oils and doing a little experimentation to find out which one really makes your skin glow.

Which carrier oil works best for your skin type? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

Seed Guides – Grapeseed Oil

Realize Beauty – Jojoba Oil and Sebum

Dermatology Times – Sunflower Seed Oil Benefits

SkinVision – Olive Oil

DIY Natural – Carrier Oils

Minimalist Beauty – Acne Prone Oils

The post Coconut, Hazelnut, Avocado…? Choose the Facial Oil That Works for Your Skin Type is courtesy of Annmarie Skin Care, LLC

The Truth About Coconut Oil and Acne Break Outs

Coconut oil and acne

Consumers have gone nuts over coconut oil.

Whole Foods even had to expand their shelf space to meet the demand!

It used to be that we all avoided coconut oil because it’s high in saturated fat. We believed that it contributed to clogged arteries, high cholesterol levels, and heart disease.

But recent research suggests that coconut oil that’s not partially hydrogenated (like it was in many early studies), is full of healthy fatty acids that are easier for the body to burn, and has actually been linked to health benefits like increased HDL “good” cholesterol and improved cholesterol ratios.

Add to this the fact that coconut came to light as being incredible for your skin and hair.

A unique combination of essential fatty acids penetrate and moisturize skin in a way few ingredients can; natural antioxidants help protect from free radical damage; and vitamins firm, moisturize, and brighten.

But despite its many strengths, coconut oil isn’t for everyone. Oily skin types, particularly, may battle with it. If you tried this ingredient and your skin broke out, you may have wondered why. Here’s the answer to that, and what you can do to deeply moisturize your skin without risking acne break outs.

Can Coconut Oil Help Reduce Acne?

There are pros and cons to oily skin. On the one hand, it can leave you prone to large pores and acne. On the other, you’re likely to age more slowly than your peers with dry skin.

The problem is that the sebaceous glands are over zealous in their enthusiasm. The skin produces too much sebum (skin oil), which leads to problems like shininess, runny makeup, and an overall thick, coarse texture. It can also increase the occurrence of breakouts.

Acne prone skin types can still require moisture, however. One of the mistakes many people make is to withhold moisture because they fear they will break out. This often backfires, as the skin gets dry and irritated, and responds by producing even more oil. This just worsens the problem.

Frustrated, many consumers have turned to coconut oil hoping for a miracle. After all, there are a myriad of articles out there saying it’s great for acne-prone skin.

The oil does have antibacterial properties that may kill bacteria before it has a chance to form blackheads and pimples. It’s a natural oil, which often can help balance skin oils. And then there are all those healthy fatty acids that not only moisturize and plump, but may help fade acne scars.

Some people with oily skin try the oil and rave about the results. Others try it and their acne breakouts get worse. What’s going on?

Liquid Coconut Oil May Or May Not Work for You

First, let’s make sure we’re talking about the right kind of oil.

In a previous post, we talked about the difference between extra virgin and fractionated coconut oil. A lot of sites encouraging people to use coconut oil for acne suggest extra virgin coconut oil as the best option, because it undergoes limited processing and is as close to the raw material as we can get. As a result, it tends to be higher in nutrients and antioxidants than oil that has been refined, bleached, and deodorized.

Extra virgin coconut oil, however, is solid at room temperature. It has a melting point of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In this form, it’s too heavy for oily skin types, and can clog pores and increase risk of breakouts.

Coconut oil that is a liquid at room temperature is actually “fractionated” coconut oil—a form of the oil that has had the long-chain fatty acids removed. The result is a product, that though it lacks some of the healthy fatty acids (like lauric acid), is still full of medium-chain fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants.

This type of coconut oil works great as a carrier oil for helping other, beneficial oils to penetrate the skin. (That’s why we use it in our Herbal Facial Oils.) It absorbs quickly without clogging pores, and can be beneficial for oily skin.

But if you struggle with acne breakouts, there are some other options that may work better for you.

7 Oils that Work for Oily Skin

For some susceptible people, even fractionated coconut oil may lead to breakouts. Here are some potential reasons for that:

  • The skin is already clogged with dead skin cells and debris. In this case, exfoliating before moisturizing could help.
  • Pores are large and prone to clogging. In this case, mixing the oil with other oils can help carry the benefits to the skin without the risks.
  • The person’s skin just doesn’t work with coconut oil.

If you’ve tried coconut oil and haven’t had good luck with it, it could be that one of the above situations applies to you. Maybe you need to exfoliate first, or make sure the coconut oil is used in combination with other oils (such as it is in our Herbal Facial Oils).

It may be, however, that your skin would do much better on another type of oil. Here are some options you can try that help balance and moisturize without clogging pores. After all, coconut oil may be popular, but it surely isn’t the only oil with great benefits for skin!

  1. Geranium: This unique oil helps balance skin oils and tighten pores.
  2. Myrrh: Battle breakouts and aging with this one. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and helps treat minor wounds.
  3. Hazelnut: Called the “pore-reducing” oil, this one smoothes and tones skin, while shrinking pores and helping to absorb extra oil.
  4. Grapeseed: Packed with healthy antioxidants and vitamins, this light oil hydrates without feeling greasy, and helps tighten pores.
  5. Black cumin seed: Your skin will love the vitamins and minerals in this oil, but it also has a reputation for fighting acne, with powerful anti-microbial properties.
  6. Sunflower seed: This oil will help protect you from damaging UV rays, while encouraging the production of collagen and elastin.
  7. Olive: Anti-aging is this oil’s strength, as it has a unique combination of antioxidants. It also has healing properties, and may help fade old acne scars.

Those are the ones you want to look for. Here’s a list of oils that don’t work well with acne prone skin.

Consider Hydration Vs. Moisture

Your skin may be dry and prone to acne. In this case, it does lack moisture and can benefit from using a light cream or facial oil.

But if your skin is regularly producing lots of oil, you may not need to use moisturizer regularly. Though there’s still a missing piece here: hydration.

Hydration (when we’re talking about skin) refers to the amount of water in your skin cells. Hydrated skin looks plump, with fewer fine lines.

It’s very much a function of how much you hydrate, but also relates to factors such as your skin and body’s natural ability to hold water (which changes with age) as well as the climate you’re in. Ingredients that hydrate are different than ingredients that moisturize. And for some people with oily skin types, hydrating might be sufficient for your skin on a day to day basis.

Click Here to Read More About Skin Hydration

Does coconut oil work for your skin type? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

USA Today – Consumers Going Nuts Over Coconut Oil

The following blog post The Truth About Coconut Oil and Acne Break Outs is courtesy of Annmarie Skin Care, LLC

Why You Should Add Buddha Wood Essential Oil to Your Massages

Buddha Wood Essential Oil

Also called “false sandalwood,” Buddha wood essential oil is sometimes used as a substitute for sandalwood, though the scent is somewhat different, and the oil comes from a different tree.

The Story of a Small Australian Tree

Whereas sandalwood essential oil comes from the sandalwood tree (Santalum album), Buddha wood is from a large shrub or small tree in the figwort family (Eremophila mitchellii).

More often shrub-like than tree, Eremophila mitchellii or “bastard sandalwood” is evergreen and can grow up to 30 feet tall, though it’s most often found at about 10 feet. The word “Eremophila” comes from the Greek eremos, which means “desert,” and from phileo, which means love, and indeed, these plants do seem to love a desert climate.

The leaves are long and thin, and give off an aroma when crushed. The flowers are a pretty white or cream and tubular shaped with spots on the throat. The plant as a whole is rather sticky because of the resin present in the leaves and branches. It grows so easily that it’s seen as a pest on many grazing lands in Australia, and is not permitted in Western Australia. Therefore, it’s rarely cultivated and the oil is most often wildcrafted.

That lovely essential oil is steam distilled from the heartwood and bark, with a scent that has been called rich, rugged, calming, woody, smoky, resinous, and complex. It’s said to have a “lighter side,” which works well in perfumes without overpowering other notes. The main constituents are eremophilone, 2-hydroxy-eremophilone, and 2-hydroxy-2-dihydro eremophilone, and its said to be somewhat similar to components of vetiver and agarwood.

Its woody, mossy and slightly smoky scent, makes it popular as a meditative oil and it’s also frequently used as a base note in perfumes.

In addition to its grounding and calming abilities in aromatherapy, this oil also has some pretty impressive health benefits.

Health Benefits of Buddha Wood Essential Oil

The indigenous people of Australia were said to have used the Buddha Wood plant for its antibacterial qualities and to treat cuts and sores, as well as rheumatitis. Indeed, we know that the oil has antimicrobial properties and is active against certain types of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhimurium and Candida albicans.

Applied topically, the oil is also said to be a good anti-inflammatory, particularly helpful for aches and pains and for sore muscles and joints. It works great in massage oils, as its analgesic effects can help add a pain-relieving quality.

Caution is recommended with any internal use, however, because the oil is rich in ketones, which in some cases, can be toxic, particularly at higher levels or with long-term use.

Aromatherapy Benefits of Buddha Wood Essential Oil

Where this oil really shines is in its use in aromatherapy and perfumes. Here, it is coveted as the perfect meditative oil, as it is said to inspire peace and mindfulness, and to provide a pleasant, woody aroma for fragrances. Buddha wood is also said to help center the emotions and to encourage calm and relaxation.

Some ideas for Buddha wood oil:

  • Add to massage oils to soothe sore muscles
  • Add a few drops to the bath for a nice scent and a subtle anti-bacterial property
  • Use as a base note when creating your own fragrances
  • Use in a spritz for clearing energies
  • Use in a diffuser for a grounding meditation
  • Inhale 15-30 minutes before bed to encourage a restful sleep

This oil also blends well with the following:

Do you use Buddha wood oil in your aromatherapy applications? Please share any ideas you may have.

The following blog post Why You Should Add Buddha Wood Essential Oil to Your Massages was originally published on www.annmariegianni.com