Cosmetically, different clays are used for different properties. Clays vary in their degree of absorbency, green being the most absorbent and white being the least. Absorbancy is this is the ability of clay to draw compounds inside of the molecular structure of the clay. Once inside the clays swells trapping the toxins and thereby ensuring they can’t be released again. The greater the surface area of the clay, the more it is able to attract positively charged
particles or toxins. The more absorbent clays are ideal for cleansing and detoxifying congested, pimply or acne prone skins. This will help to calm inflammation and allow the skin to heal. The less absorbent clays are ideal for smoothing, softening and toning skin.
The colour of the clay is significant, with each colour having different properties that are useful for different skin types and conditions.
Green Clay is the most absorbing of all the clay types. Used for face masks, it draws out impurities, cleanses the skin and helps to normalise sebum production. It is suitable for all skin types but particularly useful for oily skin types and acne prone skins. Green Clay will also assist with tissue repair and calm inflammation.
Yellow Clay is rich in minerals. Used in masks, Yellow Clay helps to improve the condition of tired and devitalised skin.
Red Clay is high in trace elements particularly iron oxide, which gives the clay its red colour. Red Clay is oily and mildly absorbent working to revitalise and improve skin radiance. It is ideal for sensitive skin and skin with capillary damage.
Pink Clay contains iron oxide, silica and trace elements. It has a softening and toning effect on the skin making it ideal all skin types and particularly for mature skins.
Suitable for all skin types White Clay is the most gentle of all clay types. White Clay is ideal for sensitive, dry and mature skin types.
When using clays for face or body masks the thicker the application the greater the drawing effect. With body masks, wrapping the body parts over the clay will increase circulation and allow the clay greater penetration. Once applied allow the clay to dry and wash it away as soon as it has dried. If left on once dried, the clay may draw essential moisture out of the skin which is generally not a desired effect. Alternatively, spray the clay with plain or floral water when it starts to dry out. Once removed, clay takes the toxins from the skin so avoid the temptation to reuse clay.
The ingredients mixed with clay can also enhance its actions. For example with dry skin, base and essential oils combined with white clay can have a deeply hydrating effect. I recommend coconut oil in this case. Enzymes from papaya or kiwi can help to break down dead skin cells so that green clay can work more effectively for congested and acne skins. Floral waters are great to mix with the clay for facial masks as well. Use rose water and white or pink clay for mature skin or chamomile water and red clay for sensitive skin. For damaged or acne prone skin, mix a bit of manuka honey and lavender water with green clay for a detoxifying and healing effect. Fran from High on Health has done a video blog showing how to mix up the clays and some different ways to use them.Twitter It!
It has been over a week since my last blog – eeek! Well there is a good reason. I have been making you tube videos about all sorts of skin care products and issues. So
this is my first attempt at a video blog so please forgive me for the length and the slow start…yes I really do get more animated towards the middle! Anyway, the topic of my video blog is Black Soap or Anago. This amazing cleanser really is like no other! Lisa the creator of REMEDICa Black Soap is a biochemical genius and she is also just so passionate about her products, as am I. So with no further ado…the 8th wonder of the cleansing world.Twitter It!
Last week I met a gorgeous rockabilly called Kat. Kat has her own You Tube site that shows other rockabilly chicks and anyone else interested how to do 50′s and 60′s hair and make up and she came into the store looking for natural and vegan make up. As a result of her visit to the store, Kat made a You Tube video which you can view here: My Little Rockabilly – 1960′s Hair & Make Up.
I love this era. It is all bright lips and sultry eyes…and you should see Kat once she has finished. Vavavoom!!!
The products Kat used include the following:
A couple of other great lipstick and eyeshadow colours that would also suit this look include:
While on the topic of natural make up, I wanted to mention issues relating to lead traces found in make up, particularly red lipsticks.
A article in Reuters revealed that more than half the lipsticks of popular brands such as Cover Girl, L’Oreal and Christian Dior contain lead. Over 33 red lipsticks were tested in conjunction with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and it was found that 61% contained detectable levels of lead (0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm)).
While 0.03 ppm may not seem like a lot, the concern with any lead content is that it is not easily detoxified and is readily stored by the body. Additionally, estimates indicate the average woman consumes up to 1kg of lipstick each year. This is where lead levels become serious cause for concern.
As a toxic metal, lead can cause all sorts of issues such as behavioural problems, aggression, learning disorders. It has also been linked with miscarriage in women and infertility in men.
Lead is not added to lipsticks intentionally. It is actually found in some colourants, particularly red shades. At this stage lead content in lipsticks is unregulated however there are calls for the FDA to do. In addition there are also calls to the cosmetic industry to reduce levels or eliminate lead from lipstick all together. It is definitely possible to make lipsticks without lead so there is really no excuse for continuing with the current practices.
Contrary to the popular urban legend, applying lipstick to a gold ring will not indicate the presence of lead. Lead is not a listed ingredient on lipstick labels so it is difficult to know if you using products that contain lead without independent testing. Of those tested, the brands listed above were shown to contain the highest levels. To find out if the brand you use contains lead, visit SafeCosmetics.org.
Lipstick is something I refuse to go without. And I am a big fan of bright lips (definitely not a gloss girl) so it is essential that my lipstick is safe. There are a growing number of natural and non-toxic brands available including the Minerelle, Ere Perez and Lavera brands stocked at Vitale Natural.Twitter It!
Last year I wrote an article called Solutions for Dehydrated Skin. I have had so many responses to this article and with the change of season approaching I thought I would update on this topic. Dehydrated skin tends to get worse in Winter due to the decrease in humidity. The “drier” air draws moisture out of the skin so that even if you usually have good skin moisture content, during Winter, it can feel tight and even look drawn or flaky. The most common response is to lather on more moisturiser or a richer cream. This will work but there are some other key tips you can use to help your skin stay hydrated:
Switch to a cream cleanser during the cooler months: foaming cleansers tend to disrupt the acid mantle to a greater degree than cream cleansers. While this is fine during Summer, during Winter, less protective surface oil means more moisture loss. Avoid SLS containing cleansers completely. If you have fine, dry skin you can even use the ancient Ayurvedic oil cleaning method which uses oils to clean your skin.
Use a richer cream during the day: if you have no issues with skin congestion, the richer cream will act as a physical barrier to moisture loss which means more of it stays in your skin cells. Alternatively, if you are prone to congestion, continue with your regular day moisturiser and use a serum at night.
Night Serums: these are ideal for managing congestion while increasing the water holding capacity of your skin. They also carry nutrients into the skin doing great things like increasing the antioxidant capacity and reducing inflammation. I still can’t go past Remedica Regenerate Visage as one of the best night serums for dry/dehydrated skin I have seen in action. I am inclined to devote a blog to the Remedica Serums as I think they are just magic.
Hyaluronic Acid: hyaluronic acid attract moisture from the air and binds it to the skin tissue, thereby increasing the moisture content and hydration of the skin. I often recommend that customers use Hyaluronic acid in Winter and then change over to Vitamin C serum during the warmer months. This is particularly good as part of a “slow” ageing strategy.
Keep up your Fluids: it is hard to drink cool or even room temperature water when the temperature drops. I shy away from water and crave hot drinks (Soy Chai Tea is my weakness!) during Winter. So to manage my internal fluid levels I make sure I start the day with at least 300mls of warm water and lemon (just squeeze half a lemon into a glass of warm water and drink before any other food or drinks). Throughout the day I sip on herbal teas or just plain warm water.
Good Oils: yes I know I bang on about fish or flax oil regularly but they are so good for increasing the internal moisture holding capacity of the skin. See my previous blog about the Lemon Detox Drink with lots of lovely flax oil as it would be an ideal way of increasing “good” oil intake. That or you could increase oily fish intake or take a fish or flax oil capsule.
If you give any of these tips a go I would love to hear what the results are for you.Twitter It!
A Wonder Drink from The Healthy Skin Diet
Last month I bought a blender for the express purpose of making this Wonder Drink! And since then I have been drinking it every morning and I love it. Called the Lemon Detox Drink, one of our clients Kelly says it tastes like a tart lemon meringue. The recipe is as follows:
1/2 lemon (wash the outside)
1 tablespoon of soy lecithin (German is better than US variety)
1 tablespoon of flax oil (organic)
300mls of filtered water
Method: finely grate the rind of the lemon into the blender then squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the lecithin, flax oil and water. Blend for 1 minute until frothy. Pour and drink.
Why is this drink so good for you? Well the lemon has an astringent effect which means it stimulates the liver to release bile into the digestive tract to be eliminated. The bile contains stored toxins so effectively you are dumping waste from your liver. The lecithin and flax oil prime your digestive system for the day, particularly your fat digestion so again supporting the liver. And of course water is just plain good for you and helps flush out daily waste particularly via your kidneys.
In addition to all the good detoxing, flax seed oil supports the moisture holding capacity of your skin cells and has a anti-inflammatory effect thereby supporting your skin’s health.
Another client that has been having this drink on a daily basis told me her skin was less red and much more even toned. This was a result I didn’t necessarily expect but a good one nonetheless. For myself, my elbows are soft again. They were getting a bit dry and I was having to moisturise a couple of times a day. Now once is more than enough.
If you decide to try this drink, let me know how you go. I love hearing your feedback.
Find out more about “The Healthy Skin Diet”Twitter It!
Skin type is predominantly a genetic trait and generally doesn’t change much over our lifetime. However, nutritional status, our overall health, external factors such as sun damage and aging can cause changes in the integrity of our skin and it is important to reassess your skin’s needs so that you use the appropriate products as your skin does change. While skin type isn’t the only way to determine the best products for you, using products that don’t suit your skin may actually cause problems such as congestion or dehydration. So using skin type is a good place to start.
There are four key skin types: oily, combination, normal and dry. The characteristics of the particular skin types and topical ingredients that are suitable are discussed below.
Dry skin lacks oil and water and may feel tight or uncomfortable at times. First and foremost it is important to prevent further skin drying. To do this it is crucial to avoid alcohol based products as they make skin dryness
worse. Daily moisturising is essential. The relative lack of water calls for the use of topical oils and moisturisers to hold in water and support skin nutrition. However, managing dry skin doesn’t need to be about rich and heavy creams. Moisturisers need to be nourishing without being too rich otherwise they will sit on the surface of the skin feeling greasy and increase the likelihood of congestion. Ideally use creams or serums based on carrier oils such as rosehip, apricot kernel, tamanu and avocado. These oils supply fatty acids which improve the flexibility of skin cell membranes, improve water holding capacity and in addition provide an effective barrier to environmental water loss.
Dry skin can often be sensitive or delicate and so needs essential oils that suit these issues. Rose, German chamomile and jasmin have a regenerative effect and add nourishment to dry skin. It is also very important to avoid foaming cleansers in general and particularly those containing sodium lauryl sulphate as they will disrupt the acid mantle and reduce the moisture holding capacity of the skin.
The most recent cosmeceutical ingredient introduced to cosmetics for dry skin is hyaluronic acid. A naturally produced molecule in the skin structure, its role is to support connective tissue by stabilising the intercellular (between cells) space. In skin care, hyaluronic acid has a powerful humectant effect, which is essentially the ability to attract moisture from the air and bind to the skin tissue, thereby increasing the moisture content and hydration of the skin. Hyaluronic acid added to skin care is sourced from plant material such as mushrooms.
Oily skin is caused by over-active sebaceous glands which secret too much sebum. Often oily in appearance, oily skin is also prone to blackheads and congestion. A common misconception with oily skin is that not using a moisturiser at all will help reduce oil production and shine. However, oily skins still need nutrition, moisture and ingredients that help to control sebum which can be delivered via a light or gel based moisturiser.
Topical ingredients for oily skin need to address the amount of sebum produced and control excess bacteria, which thrives on the surface of the skin, particularly oily and congested skin. Moisturisers need to be based on light carrier oils such as jojoba and sweet almond. Foaming or gel cleansers are ideal for oily skin as they remove excess oil. A toner containing essential oils such as rose geranium for its sebum balancing effect and cypress or juniper for their astringency (pore tightening) will help remove left over oil and dead skin cells after cleansing.
To draw out impurities, cleanse the skin and normalise sebum production an absorbent clay mask such as green clay will be of benefit. If acne prone tea tree essential oil or cleansers containing tea tree will help to reduce bacterial overgrowth.
Combination skin is both oily and dry. Usually the “t-zone” produces more oil and is prone to congestion and the cheeks and eye area are drier. Many with combination skin tend to go for richer creams to help moisturise the drier sections of skin but this causes issues such as clogging and breakouts with the oily sections. A light but highly nourishing moisturiser combined with an eye cream is a better option than a rich
cream. The other thing that is important for combination skin is regular but gentle exfoliation to get rid of the dead surface skin cells. On drier skin this is important to allow moisturisers to penetrate more easily. With the oilier areas, it stops the build-up of dead skin cells in open pores. Regular use of exfoliation is beneficial for oily skin types as well.
Again rose geranium essential oil is useful for its sebum balancing effect, with lavender and neroli being of benefit as well. Use the same carrier oils, sweet almond and jojoba for combination skin as an oily skin type.
Normal skin is neither oily nor dry. It has a smooth texture, medium pores and may occasionally get a little shiny on the T-zone towards late afternoon or be a little dry on the cheeks. For a normal skin type, gel or foaming cleansers are usually suitable along with a light moisturiser. Clay masks using red, pink or white clay are more suitable that green clays as they have a gentler effect.
In addition to skin types, sensitivity, dehydration and congestion are skin issues that can cause confusion about what to use at all. So yes, oily skin can be dehydrated, i.e. too much oil production but not enough cellular moisture and dry skin can have congestion. In a previous blog I addressed congested skin and how to manage this issue. In future blogs I will look at the external and internal factors that promote skin sensitivity and what can be done to manage this issue.Twitter It!
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