16 health benefits of using olive oil

Fats and oils have gotten a bad rep in the health and fitness community for the longest time. However, not all of them are bad. Olive oil is, in fact, one of the good guys.

Firstly, this oil is synonymous with the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. On top of that, it is a darling in maintaining healthy glowing skin. And not to forget, the different medicinal properties that this liquid gold has.

What are the nutrients in olive oil?

So, why is olive oil such a powerhouse?  For starters, all these amazing benefits are only found in cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

The other methods of extracting olive oil of heating and using chemicals destroy its nutritional value. When these methods are used phenols antioxidants get destroyed.

Note that these antioxidants are what make olive oil the healthiest oil in the world.

In addition to these antioxidants, olive oil is rich in vitamin E which is a fat-soluble nutrient that boosts the immune system and prevents infections. It also has a moderate amount of vitamin K that makes the blood clot.

For a 100-gram olive oil, the saturated fat is 13.8% and monounsaturated fat is 73%. To top it off, it has 9.7% omega-6 and 0.76% omega-3.

Consequently, these properties of olive oil have a lot of benefits for the body.

What are the health benefits of olive oil?

The benefits of olive oil are found in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So let’s get started and explore the many benefits of olive oil.

1) Protect against cardiovascular diseases

Scientists were once puzzled at the low rate of heart diseases among the people living along the Mediterranean. Upon research, they concluded that their diet protected them from cardiovascular diseases.

It has come to be popularly referred to as the Mediterranean diet. This diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains and has olive oil as its main source of fat.

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Firstly, there are two types of cholesterol. HDL and LDL. LDL (low density lipoprotein) is the bad guy. Too much of it clogs the arteries and it increases the risk of heart diseases.

On the contrary, HDL (high density lipoprotein) is the good guy. The antioxidants (polyphenols) in olive oil increases HDL. In turn, the HDL carries the LDL from the arteries to the liver where it is used or excreted.

2) Protect against weight gain and obesity

Unfortunately, obesity has become an epidemic in the world. For example in America, about 40% of the adult population is obese. It is a complex public health issue, however, with good nutrition; a large part of it can be handled.

Weight gain occurs because of consumption of foods high in saturated fats and simple sugars. Coupled with no activity. Fats like butter, ghee, lard, vegetable fats, and margarine are in this pot.

Conversely, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats. Replacing it as the main source of fat in a diet will prevent weight gain. Also, it can be used to lose weight.

3) Prevent strokes

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is cut off. According to the World Health Organization, stroke is the second most common cause of death after heart diseases in developed countries.

Numerous studies have been done that have shown consumption of olive oil reduced the risk of stroke. However, researchers have not been able to pinpoint the particular elements that give this protection.

Though, this should not be a deterrent not to consume olive oil.

4) Anti-inflammatory

Olive oil has oleic acid and an antioxidant called oleocanthal. These two are an amazing tag team in fighting inflammation.

There are two types of inflammation; acute and chronic. In acute, the symptoms are characterized by pain, redness, immobility, swelling, and heat (P.R.I.S.H). While in chronic inflammation the symptoms are usually slow to show and may take months or years.

Sadly, chronic inflammation has become the leading cause of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and many more.

To relieve chronic inflammation a drug like ibuprofen is used. Upon research, scientists have found out that oleocanthal, an antioxidant in olive oil has the same effects. 3.4 tablespoon (50 ml) of extra virgin olive oil has a similar effect as taking 10% of the adult dosage of ibuprofen.

On the other hand, oleic acid (C18:1), a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid which makes up 55 to 83% of olive oil also aids in inflammation fighting.

5)  Prevent gastric ulcer

Studies by scientist have concluded that phenols which are contained in olive oil can inhibit bacterial growth especially Helicobacter pylori.  These bacteria among others have been shown to cause inflammation inside the gastric and cause gastric ulcer. Consuming extra virgin olive oil can prevent stomach inflammation because of its anti-bacterial effect

6) Reduce the risk of cancer

It has been observed that there are lower incidents of cancer in Mediterranean countries than in Northern America countries. Particularly;  stomach, colon, breast, prostate, pancreas and liver cancer. All of these have been linked to diet.

How does cancer occur?

To begin, let’s go back to our 9th-grade chemistry class. What is an atom? An atom is the basic building block of matter, and cannot be chemically subdivided by ordinary means. Additionally, atoms are composed of three types of particles: protons, neutrons, and electron.

We human beings are made up of atoms. These atoms join together to become molecules which form you and me. When an atom or molecule loses an electron it becomes a free radical.

The natural reaction of the free radical is to “steal” an electron from a healthy atom. Once it has “stolen”, the “victim” atom steals from another atom. It thereby sets off a domino effect of “stealing”.

It is important to note that free radicals play an important role in the body’s normal cellular processes. But here is the problem. A high concentration of free radicals is dangerous to the body.

It can cause damage to all major elements of cells including DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. The damage on DNA is what causes cancer. So where does free radical come from?

Poor diets are one of the many contributing factors of free radicals. Luckily, olive oil can come to the rescue. As pointed out earlier, olive oil is rich in phenols antioxidants.

These antioxidants counter free radicals and neutralize their damage. Studies have shown a diet rich in olive oil has shown to counter cancer progression and in some deterred its development.

7) Relieving skin conditions

Skin is the largest organ of the body. It serves a barrier to protect internal organs of the body, regulates body temperature, relay sensation among other functions.

Nevertheless, it can suffer from infections and diseases. Conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis are just but a few of these conditions. These conditions cause the skin to be inflamed.

The skin becomes dry, itchy, flaky, red, sore and painful. However, topical application of olive oil has been shown to improve these conditions. It has tyrosol, beta-sitosterol, and squalene which are antioxidants that reduce the production of inflammatory compounds.

In addition, the vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil lock in moisture and prevent the skin from drying out. Additionally, it is antibacterial and fights of harmful bacteria on the skin.

To boost its effectiveness as a moisturizer, add olive oil in the bath water. Soak for at least 15 minutes. 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt can be added.

8) Promoting dental health

Put 1 tablespoon of organic extra virgin olive oil in your mouth. Swish it for about 20 minutes, 5 minutes being the minimum. Afterward, spit and rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth with all natural fluoride free toothpaste.

This dental activity is called oil pulling. It is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual that promotes oral hygiene. It reduces tooth cavities, gingivitis and eliminates bad breath.

Olive oil is antibacterial. It is able to fight Streptococcus mutant bacteria which causes tooth decay and protects the tooth enamel. Additionally, it fights bacteria that cause sinuses, sore throats, colds, and flues.

9) Reducing tearing

One of the biggest fears of women when considering birth is tearing. Fortunately, by massaging the perineum area with olive oil from 34 weeks reduces the risk of tearing.

Rub some olive oil on the perineum area. Insert your thumb about 3-4 centimeters into the vagina. Then press downwards towards the bowel and side to side and a full clockwise movement. Keep the pressure for at least 1 minute.

Furthermore, during home births, olive oil has been used to ease a tight birth canal. However, it is best to consult with your doctor and make an informed choice.

10) Treating yeast infections

At least 75% of women will suffer yeast infection in their lifetime. It is caused by the overgrowth of candida a fungus in the vagina. Also called candidiasis, it causes vaginal itching, burning and discharge.

Yeast infections are usually treated using antifungal creams or pills. However, ozonated olive oil has been considered one of the best natural remedies.

It is produced by bubbling ozone into olive oil for 3-6 months. This makes the olive oil to turn into an off-white paste that can be applied to the skin

When applied to the skin it slowly releases oxygen. A process that can last up to 12 hours. It eventually creates a healthy balance of candida and relieves inflammation.

This amazing salve does not stop in treating vaginal candidiasis. It also treats bruises, swollen gums, diaper rash, works as a moisturizing facial conditioner, reduces scarring, removes makeup, treats sunburn of the skin, insect bites and stings. Furthermore, it can be used as a natural underarm deodorant and a natural remedy for treating hemorrhoids, sore muscles (rub as a massage paste), cellulite reduction, wrinkles, ringworm, bed sores, cuts, carbuncles, tinea versicolor, and dermatitis.

11) Treating burns

In  Hatay/Antakya and middle Anatolia in Turkey, a mixture of olive oil and lime has been used for centuries to treat burns. This salve clears burns without a trace.

The mix has antibacterial properties in that fight of bacteria preventing the infection of the wound. Additionally, it also help prevents contracture.

Scientist have also found out that the ingestion of olive oil accelerates the healing time of burns

12) Moisturizing

After a shower, apply extra virgin oil.  This liquid gold penetrates deep into the skin and moisturizes it. It is particularly, softens skin in very dry areas like the elbows and feet

13) Improve libido

The Romans and the Greeks used it as an aphrodisiac. It is believed it increased blood flow in the erogenous zones and stimulated sexual hormones that boosted libido.

14) Boost immunity

Extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants. They play an important role in boosting the immunity of the body.  Consuming a diet, with olive oil as its main source of fat, boost the body’s ability to fight pathogens and infections.

15) Clearing earwax build up

Did you know one of the main causes of temporary hearing loss is wax build up? To clear the excess wax, dip a cotton swab in olive oil. Next, use it very carefully to soften the excess wax and remove it. It also helps with earaches.

16) Treat lice

The head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) is very common preschool and elementary school children. It is caused by poor hygiene.

A simple remedy of olive oil will kill the lice. Apply the oil on the child’s head and leave for 40 minutes. Thereafter, shampoo twice, to get rid of the lice. Dry the hair and apply the olive oil to moisturize it.

Take home message

Despite the bad rep that oils have been getting, olive oil is healthy. Given all the preventive and curative benefits of olive oil; it is prudent to incorporate it into our diets.

Why you need to include salt therapy in your beauty regime

You have used it to season your fries and onion rings while on a fish and chips date. You have munched it on your pretzels. Actually, it’s part of the pretzel experience. You use it every day in your kitchen. Who am I talking about? SALT.

Not fancy, but very important in cooking. If it misses out in food, you know how it goes “Could you please pass me the salt.” Besides its culinary use, salt is a potent ingredient in skincare. You see, in the 19th century a polish physician, Feliks Bocszkowski, noticed that salt miners suffered fewer respiratory diseases and looked much younger, for their age than coal miners.

How does it work
He researched the phenomena and found out that salt has a lot of healing properties. It’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. Its anti-inflammatory quality makes it very effective in relieving inflammatory skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, acne, and dermatitis.

During a salt therapy session, you would lie on a salt bed. The contact of the skin to the salt bed is what brings relieve on the inflammation. Take note that, a 15-minute session is all you need. Consequently, the number of sessions will depend on how your skin reacts to the treatment. Remember, it is important to use salt therapy in conjunction with other treatments.

After the session, drink as much water as possible since salt is very dehydrating. On top of that, you could wait at least an hour before showering to enjoy more benefits of the salt on the skin. It exfoliates and softens the skin.

Choosing a clinic
Upon understanding the various benefits of salt therapy, how do you go about choosing a clinic? For starters, all major cities have salt therapy clinics if not they are in many massage parlor services. The price will depend mainly on the location as well as the add-on services. A session may cost from $20-60. Try to look for clinics that offer discounted packages. For example a 5 sessions package, which would be economical than one-off sessions.

Other uses of salt
It may seem far=fetched to use salt in our present day and time. But for centuries salt has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments. Halotherapy is just one of the ways of using salt for its healing properties. Also note that, while having a session of halotherapy, your respiratory system also gets a boost.

It will clear sinuses and relieve asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. The salt micro particles act as a scrub and removes all mucus and gunk clogging the lungs.

Other than halotherapy, you can enjoy the benefits of salt on your skin by taking a deep in the ocean. It not only exfoliates your skin but gives you a natural glow as well. Gives you more reason to go out for a dip.

Finally, book your session of salt therapy and see how you like it.

The killer 4 S’ on your skin and how to deal with them

The sun, sleepless nights, smoking and stress are killing your skin. This quartet has no good intentions for your skin. They will give you fine lines, wrinkles, puffy eyes, dry, flaky skin, age spots, and sagging skin.

Let’s start with the most dangerous of them all:

1) The sun

Chilling on the beach and sipping margaritas is one of the best feelings in the world. To top it off, the nice warm rays of the sun make you stretch like a lazy cat, lounging on the sofa with no care in the world.

Not to spoil the good vibes, the sun is damaging your skin. You see, the skin is made of cells, just like any other body part. Those cells are made up of atoms. If you can remember your science class, an atom is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

However, when exposed to excessive ultraviolet rays, the atom loses the electron. Without an electron, it is called a free radical.

The danger with a free radical is that it goes on “stealing” electrons from other healthy atoms. While those that have been “stolen” from, go on to steal from other atoms. It creates a continuing domino effect. Scientist calls it the free radical effect.

The problem is that it breaks down the connecting tissue of the skin known as collagen. This is the protein that holds up the skin making it look supple. When it breaks down fine lines and wrinkles appear.

Fortunately, we are not at the mercies of the sun. For protection, always apply sunscreen before hitting the outdoors even in cloudy weather. Secondly, wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeves shirts, wear pants vis a vie shorts, carry an umbrella and don a pair of sunglasses. It may dull your fashion, but you and I know you don’t want wrinkles.

2) Smoking

Puff, puff, pass! Puff, puff, pass! Imagine once upon a time smoking was considered cool. Wow! Thank God times have changed. Did you know cigarette smoking is one of the most aging vices you could ever indulge in?

For starters, tobacco smoke has over 7000 chemicals. Carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, tar, and nicotine are among them. These chemicals have been linked to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and pulmonary diseases.

It does not stop there, nicotine causes the blood vessels on the outer most part of the skin (epidermis) to be narrow. Unfortunately, there is reduced blood flow on to the skin. Add onto that, carbon monoxide, which reduces the oxygen circulating in the skin, the effects are disastrous.

As a result, the skin becomes dry, it is not able to repair itself because vitamin C does not reach it as it should, the skin looks lethargic and gray, and sadly it loses its natural glow. The worst part is that the skin begins aging prematurely and wrinkles show up. The horror!

On the whole, smoking is one of those bad habits that is difficult to kick. However, not to despair, there are treatment programs that can help to treat the addiction. The good thing is you can kick the habit and regain your good looks. Also, for social reasons. Research has shown most people would not date smokers. I hope love will nudge you to drop the butt.

3) Sleep

The third killer S is sleepless nights. Believe you me, beauty sleep is very real. And you want to get at least 6 hours of Zzz’s. Note that, the body repairs itself during the night. The skin is also included. New collagen is produced while we sleep and maintain the skin to be supple and plump. Additionally, a good night sleep also gives your skin that natural glow that we all want.

On the hand, the classical puffy eyes will be your morning face if you skip on some shut-eye. Those bags under the eyes are unfaltering, to say the least. Also, it speeds the appearance of crow’s feet around the eye. Which is one of the most telltale signs of aging. The good news is that with a good night sleep, you can prevent those lines from appearing before their time.

4) Stress

Sadly, stress is the silent killer of our time. The pressures of life have become too much in this day and age. From pursuing careers to raising families, to dealing with life challenges such as divorce, joblessness and even poor health have greatly affected people’s well-being.

The anxieties have a toll on the body. It follows that when the body is stressed it produces cortisol hormone. One of the effects of the hormone is that it triggers excess production of oil from the sebaceous glands in the skin. Being the case, breakouts of acne are very common during stress. Moreover, it worsens other skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

This stress hormone further interferes with the quality of sleep. Consequently, it aggravates the skin condition and continues in a vicious cycle.

It is important to note that stress is going to be part of our day to day lives. We cannot run away and hide. However, we can take up coping strategies to deal with it.

Firstly, do not isolate. Always have a support system that you can draw fortitude from in this journey we call life. Secondly, get moving. By exercising, you release the feel-good hormones (endorphins) that make you feel positive about life.

Having a good night rest and eating healthy will greatly improve the condition. However, it feels overwhelming; seek professional help from a counselor who can guide you on how to manage the condition.

Something to keep in mind

These 4’S are dangerous for your skin. They will cause you to age before your time. It is important to be aware of them and start on ways to manage them. Above all, maintain a healthy lifestyle; eat healthy, exercise, and have time to connect with the ones you love.

 

 

 

Ingredients to avoid in your skincare products

I don’t know about you but I always read my ingredients in skincare products. It is time-consuming but I would not risk my health. Sadly, most products sold to us are full of harmful chemicals.

On the other hand, not many people are as discerning of the products they use. For most consumers, their choice of skincare products is mainly influenced by the media. Therefore, they buy the brand and not the quality of a product. Not to call out on any brand.

In this post, I am going to guide you on how to read the ingredients in your skincare product. This information will empower you to make more knowledgeable purchases next time you do your beauty shopping.

Okay, let’s get started. Here are the top 7 ingredients to avoid like the plague:

1) Parabens
Parabens are chemicals used to preserve food and cosmetics. Their antibacterial and antifungal properties ensure cosmetics do not go rancid. They are found in moisturizers, makeup, shampoo, showering gels, sunscreen and among other personal hygiene and cosmetic products.

They sound like the savior. However, these chemicals are the devil. Tests of breast cancer tumours have come positive showing the presence of parabens. Studies have also shown sunscreen with this chemicals increase the risk of skin cancer and photoaging.

While shopping, read the labels and look out for methylparaben which is mainly in lotions and creams. The other paraben to look out for is benzethonium chloride used in cleansers, showering gels and shampoos. Actually, this chemical is used as an industrial disinfectant.

To be safe, buy a products that have grapefruit seed extract as the preservative. Or that have been labeled paraben-free. Even still, read the label thoroughly to make sure it is not just a marketing gimmick.

2) Phthalates
These are chemicals added to plastics to improve their flexibility and durability. They are found in cosmetics and personal care products. Some of the products are hair spray, hair gel, deodorant, lipstick, lotion, nail polish, fragrance, perfume, nail strengtheners and eyelash glue.

These chemicals have been linked to breast cancer, birth defects in male babies, fertility issues of low sperm count in men, premature development of breasts among girls and in recent past it has been linked to ADHD.

Be on the lookout for phthalate, DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP, and notoriously “fragrance” on the labels.

3) Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is produced worldwide and used widely in manufacturing. It is used mainly in the production of resins which are used as adhesives for wood products, pulp, and paper. Other sources of exposure include paint, vehicle emission, and tobacco smoke.

In cosmetics, it is used as a preservative for water-based products. It can be found in shampoos, hair dyes, antiperspirant, makeup, liquid baby soap, bath lotions and keratin hair treatments. The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) has classified it as carcinogenic.It has been linked to a rare form of cancer called nasopharyngeal cancer.

Because of its strong smell, some people may suffer irritation. It may cause sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting and even headache. It has been shown to be toxic to the immune system.

4) Sunscreen chemicals
These chemicals absorb ultraviolet rays and protect the skin from sun damage. Unfortunately, they are endocrine disruptors meaning they interfere with the hormone system. These chemicals are padimate-O, PABA, octinoxate, benzophenone, oxybenzone, octyl-methoxycinnamate, and homosalate.

PABA( Para Amino Benzoic Acid)has been linked to photoallergic reactions like acne, dark red spots, burning, itching, and blisters. It has farther been linked to DNA cell damage and skin cancer.
Read the labels carefully of any product that has SPF as an ingredient. That includes lip balm, lotion, creams and makeup.

5) 1-4 –dioxane
Commonly found as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). They are organic synthetic compounds used as surfactants (foaming compound) and thickening agent for cleaning applications.

It is used to make hair care products, personal hygiene, and dental hygiene products. Some of the products include shampoo, detergent, curl relaxers, body soaps, cleansers, mouthwash, toothpaste, shaving cream, sunless tans, body lotions even facial creams. The Environmental Working Group found that 22% of personal care products in America contain 1-4-dioxane.

SLS mimics estrogen and has been linked to premenopausal symptoms due to hormonal imbalance. It also causes skin, lungs and eye irritation. It has also been found to be carcinogenic.

It also appears as polyethylene, polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyoxyethylene, ethoxylated ingredients, sodium laureate sulfate, polysorbate, -eth – or oxynol- and oleths.

6)Toulene
This is an aromatic hydrocarbon, the synonymous smell of paint thinners. It is a byproduct of gasoline. Its inhalation causes respiratory complications, nausea and contact irritates the skin. It has been linked to immune system toxicity. When used as a recreational inhalant it causes severe neurological damage.

On labeling,it appears as toluene, toluol, fragrance, phenylmethane, methylbenzene. It is found in nail polish, nail hardener, hair color products and bleaching products. It has been banned in the use of cosmetics in the European Union.

7) Triclosan
TCS is an antifungal and antibacterial that is used in making “anti-bacterial” products. It is used in making soap, detergent, shampoo, mouthwash toothpaste and surgical tools. It is a known endocrine disruptor particularly in thyroid and reproductive hormones

Studies by the FDA have shown there is no significant difference in using antibacterial body wash compared to normal soap. In some studies, it has been found to contribute to bacteria antibiotic-resistant.

Conclusion
These are just some of the toxic chemicals in skincare products. There are other chemicals such as synthetic colors, fragrance, mineral oil, talc, nanoparticles, mercury, lead, hydroquinone, coal tar, lead, propylene glycol, retinyl palmitate, siloxanes and aluminum salts. However, this list is not conclusive, there are many more.

The take away is to be conscious of the products that you use. Look out for products that are as close as possible to their natural state. The closer it is, the lesser the number of ingredients. Rule of thumb: stick to no more than 5 ingredients.

Let me illustrate. I used to use a cocoa butter lotion that had 31 ingredients listed on its label. It smelled like cocoa butter. However, the cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao) was the 10th ingredient on the label. Simply put, it had very little cocoa butter.

When I learned of this, I switched to using pure cocoa butter. It costs much more than the lotion. But I get to keep my skin from all the chemicals in the lotion.I also enjoy the full benefits of cocoa butter not just a scrapping.

The journey to purge your cabinets from toxic products takes time. Fortunately, you can start small and switch to natural products. Finally, if you cannot pronounce the ingredients do not buy it.

 

10 step Korean skincare routine

C.T.M has been the Holy Grail for skincare routine. However, it is getting an update. As a matter of fact, the 3 step routine of cleansing, toning and moisturizing is now a 10 step routine.

You see, the Vietnamese gave us the rice water toner while the Bulgarian gave us rose treatment. From the Mediterranean, Spanish women showed us how to use a sea-salt scrub. How could we not mention the English who gave us hot towel cleansing?

Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrum-roll,please! And the Koreans blessed us with their 10 step skincare routine. In the last couple of years, it has become the gold standard for skincare routine. It is the ultimate TLC for the skin.

This routine has done miracles for women skin. Not only is it gentle on the skin, but also nourishes the skin intensely.
This article will explain step by step how to do a 10 K. Also, why it is important. Let’s get started:

1) Oil Cleansing
The 10 step Korean routine swears by a double cleansing. Oil cleansing is the first step. Oil is used to remove makeup, excess sebum (natural skin oil), dirt and sunscreen. Initially, it may seem counterintuitive, but it works. It is based on the law of attraction; like attracts like. Therefore, oil dissolves oil.

For this step, any natural oil can be used. Coconut oil is a favorite for many. However, there are other oils like olive oil and jojoba oil which can also be used.

To clean, pour a quartz size of oil in your palm. Warm it and apply on the face and neck. Then use deep pressure massages to work the oil into the skin. Additionally, pay more attention to the T-Zone (forehead, nose, and chin). This area is most prone to blackheads. Leave the oil for 1-2 minutes. However, to deep clean, the pores, wait for  10 minutes

Once you are done, run a clean washcloth under the hot water faucet. Ring it out and place it on the face. Let it steam for about 1 minute. This step is very important because it unclogs the pores.

When used over time, it will dissolve the blackheads.
After steaming, use the cloth to wipe off the oil using  circular motion. Rinse the cloth severally until you have removed all the dirt.

2) Water-based cleansing
This is the second step of the double cleansing. It removes all the dirt that the oil cleanser missed. While shopping for a water-based cleanser (foam cleanser) get one with a low pH (5-5.5). It will be gentle on your skin and will not strip away all the oil.

Moreover, the good microbes on the skin are protected.
A harsh cleanser will dry out the skin and leave it with the “squeaky clean” feeling. In this step, begin by wetting the face. Next, apply the water-based cleanser in a circular motion. After a good cleanse rinse with warm water and pat the skin dry.

3) Exfoliating
Dead skin makes the face appear dull. Additionally, products do not penetrate as deep into the skin. Hence, they are not as effective. With this in mind, use a black sugar scrub to exfoliate. It will remove the damaged skin and rejuvenate it. Since exfoliating makes the skin sensitive, it is best to limit this to twice a week.

4) Toning
This is a subtle but very powerful step. Firstly, toners restore the natural pH of the skin. Did you know that the skin is acidic?  It has a pH of 5.5.

Usually, after cleansing, the skin will be slightly alkaline. Using a toner with a pH of 5.5 will restore the skin to its natural acidic state.

Secondly, toners are humectants. They help bind moisture to the skin. Consequently, a toner will hydrate the skin. Furthermore, toners tighten the pores and make the skin smoother and brighter.

Lastly, use a toner which is alcohol-free. Undistilled witch hazel extract or raw organic apple cider vinegar are good options. Dilute with distilled water using a 1:1 ratio. Dab on the face using cotton balls and remember, you do not rinse off the toner.

5) Essence
This is where the magic happens. An essence is a hybrid between a toner and a serum. It is the premoisturizer before the moisturizer. It adds a layer of hydration before applying the serum. The essence also repairs skin damage.

Apply after toning the skin and let it sink in. The consistency of essence is usually watery, therefore very lightweight.

6) Treatment
And now, you can take your meds. Stage 6 involves healing the skin. A serum or ampoule is used. Wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, pigmentation, dullness or any other troubles you may have is handled in this stage.

Serums are heavier than essence. They are rich in antioxidants, peptides, retinol, growth factors, alpha and beta hydroxyl acids, omega 3,6,9 and unique botanical extracts. Different serums have different uses.

For example, an antioxidant serum (vitamin C) is used to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles. Peptides serums boost collagen production and firm up the skin. For a retinol serum, it will regenerate skin cells and brighten the skin, while those rich in botanical extracts help to heal the skin.

On the other hand, an ampoule is usually added to give skin an instant “gwang” (glow in Korean). It is used alone or mixed with foundation. When used in applying makeup, it prevents a cakey look.

An ampoule  also helps even out skin tone, give a smooth texture, improve dullness, and revitalize complexion. Most ampoules are suitable for all skin types. Get your glow on!

7) Sheet mask
Unlike facial masks that are rinsed off after use, sheet masks are peeled off. It is used after cleansing and toning. Put on a sheet mask and let it hydrate the skin.

The sheet mask is soaked with concentrated serum.Leave it for at least 15 minutes for the nutrients to penetrate deep into the skin. But do not exceed the set time. It will instead dry out the skin.

A sheet mask is used daily or as desired. It is a good trick to use to hydrate very dry skin. Use a gentle sheet mask that has no alcohol and fragrance.

8) Eye cream
The skin around the eye is the thinnest on the face. Therefore, it loses moisture much more quickly than the rest of the face. Unfortunately, it wrinkles fast as well. Commonly, called crow’s feet.
Luckily, there are eye creams from k-beauty brands to help. The main ingredient in these eye creams is snail elastin. Combined with proteins and hyaluronic acid, this stuff is potent.

It not only prevents the appearance of fine lines around the eye but also reverses them. The results are usually very satisfactory.

9) Moisturizing
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! It is  the clarion call made by all beauty evangelists. Moisturizing  hydrates the skin and creates a protective layer that prevents moisture loss.

The choice of moisturizers will depend on the skin type. For dry skin, use a heavier cream with an oil blend. While a gel-based moisturizer is best suited for oily skin.

Moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid works for most skin types. It can be used on its own or mixed with creams for heavier application.

Ultimately, strive to keep your skin  moisturized. Dry skin  is a killer. It will cause premature aging and is very susceptible to skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis.

10) Sun protection
Sun rays ages the skin faster than chronological aging. It goes without saying that only sunscreen can protect against photoaging. A sunscreen with SPF 35 will give good protection. To gain maximum benefits it is important to re-apply after every 2 hours.

The sunscreen is applied last so as not to dilute it with the other products.

Conclusion
A 10 K skincare routine can come across as being extra, perhaps even crazy.But the results are totally worth it. While starting out it may seem daunting. Too many steps to follow. Too many products to use. But once you get the hang of it, it is as easy as pie.
Finally, be persistent and patient to gain results. You go K!

3 ways to reverse photoaging

Firstly, the main cause of aging is sun damage. Even more so than biological aging. The signs of photoaging include redness, age spots and fine lines, loss of fat around the cheek area, loss of symmetry of face, skin dryness and wrinkles. The Glogau classification is used to diagnose the severity of photo damage to the skin. It ranges from I-IV.

Group I is mild and the skin has mild pigment changes. It occurs between 28-35 years. For group II the wrinkles are in motion. The skin will have brown spots and laugh lines begin to appear. The damage is usually moderate and happens between 35-50 years. Group III and IV are advanced and severe respectively. In both, the skin has wrinkles, discoloration, hyperpigmentation and there is visible keratosis.

Let’s be honest, we all want to look young. And the first signs of aging can damper our body image. Luckily, it does not have to be that way. There are many solutions to tap into to reverse photo aging. The treatment will depend on skin type, severity of damage, age and the desired outcome.

The three main treatments for photoaging skin are: alpha-hydroxy acid (chemical peels), retinoids (tretinoin acid) and antioxidants.  

1) Chemical peeling

These work by removing the damaged outer layer of the skin. There are 3 types of chemical peels: mild, medium and deep. In the case of mild photoaging, a mild peel is used. The easiest treatment would be to start using a cleanser containing alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). You may be worried when you hear acid. Actually, AHA are natural acids found mainly in fruits.

Glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar cane, is the most commonly used AHA. However, there are others like, citric acid in citrus fruits, malic acid found in apple fruits, tartaric acid in grape fruits among others.

A cleanser with AHA like glycolic acid will exfoliate the damaged skin and rejuvenate it. Eventually, a new layer of skin which is smooth and healthy will appear. It is best to use a cleanser with 5% to 7% AHA. 10% is the tipping point. It is best not to exceed this percentage. Always use a sunscreen because the skin is more sensitive when using AHA.

For moderate sun damage, trichloroacetic acid TCA peels are used.  It usually treats fine wrinkles, blemishes and pigmentation. It is preferable for dark skin patients. Furthermore, it can be used on the face, neck and other body parts. A 15% TCA peel is recommended. While using it, take antibiotics to prevent infection, apply a heavy moisturizer to prevent the skin from drying  and avoid the sun until fully healed.

Finally, for a deep peel you will need to visit a dermatologist. This treatment uses phenol acid.  It treats course facial wrinkles, severe sun damage and precancerous growth. Importantly, it is used only on the face. The common side effects are redness and stinging. Unfortunately, with this treatment you would have to take 2 weeks off work to get the procedure. For good results, you may need repeat visits and use it together with cosmetic surgery. Also full healing may take several months.

2) Retinoids

Retinoids are a class of compounds that promote cell growth. The main topical retinoids for treating photodamaged skin are tretinoin, isotretinoin, and tazarotene.  They not only repair photoaged skin but also prevent photoaging.

The most commonly used and recommended retinoid by dermatologists is tretinoin. Also called retinoic acid, it is a naturally occurring acidic form of vitamin A.  It is usually sold under the brand name Retin –A.

Retin-A has three prescriptions: 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1%. Dermatologists recommend starting with low prescription strengths of 0.025% and working it up to 0.1%.  When starting to use it, the skin may experience itching, redness, peeling and dryness. The time that the skin takes to acclimatize will vary from person to person.

While starting, it is best to use twice a week. Slowly but surely, work it up into a nightly routine. In case of itching, mix with a moisturizer and it will maintain its efficacy. On the other hand, people with thin skin should use it less frequently. And while using it, it should be mixed with a skin strengthening moisturizer.

Ultimately, consistent use or Retin-A will reverse the signs of photoaging like wrinkles, age spots, crowfeet, sagging, hyper pigmentation and dullness. It stimulates the production of collagen and consequently regenerates the skin. Since it thins out the outer layer of the skin it goes without saying that it is to be used with a sunscreen daily.

3) Antioxidants

Picture this, you cut an apple into two and leave it on the kitchen counter. What will happen after an hour? You guessed it right. The apple will turn brown. That same effect happens on our skin when exposed to the sun. It is called oxidation.

The sun damages the skins cells and forms free radicals. These radicals are dangerous because they “steal” electrons from healthy cells. As a result, it sets up a chain reaction of “stealing”.  To reverse the process antioxidants are needed to neutralize the free radicals.

Though the body has its own enzyme systems to fight free radicals, the main “fighters” are micronutrients. These are vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin C. However, since the body cannot manufacture these micronutrients they are gained through nutrition.

Firstly, vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) is a fat soluble vitamin present in nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetable, fish oils and whole grains.  On the other hand, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which is a  water soluble vitamin is present in citrus fruits, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries. The recommended daily allowance is 60 mg per day. As for beta-carotene, it is a precursor to vitamin A (retinol).It is found in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash and grains. Note that beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by the body. Hence, there is no set requirement.

These three dietary antioxidants can be supplemented with topical application.  Vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 (a fat-soluble natural antioxidant) topical application can protect the skins from oxidation and loss of fat. Consistent use of these treatments will reduce fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet and also protect against sun damage.

Conclusion

Finally, while treating photoaging skin, these three methods should be the starting point. They are readily available and easy to use. However, if there is no improvement, surgical treatments may be considered. Some of these procedures include face-lift, botox injections, collagen injection, dermabrasion and laser re-surfacing. Above all, whichever method you choose, always consult your dermatologist.

 

15-100 what is your number?

 SPF numbers 101

For many people, when they go sunscreen shopping, they get stumped on the SPF numbers. Which one do I pick? 15, 30, or maybe 50? Do not fret. Let me guide you on the SPF numbers game.

How sunscreen works

SPF is an abbreviation for sun protection factor. It protects the skin from the damage of UV rays. There are two UV rays. UVA and UVB. UVB rays cause damage to the outer layer of the skin (dermis) while UVA rays cause damage to the inner layer (epidermis).

The UVA rays cause cell damage and break down collagen. Consequently, it results in photoaging, wrinkles and skin cancer. On the other hand, UVB rays cause sunburn. If left unchecked it can cause skin cancer.

The number on the bottle e.g. SPF 15 translates to the % of UVB rays that are blocked from entering the skin. Most sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays but not UVA rays. Hence, while shopping for a sunscreen it is prudent to buy a broad spectrum sunscreen. It will protect you from UVA rays as well.

The bigger the number the better

The world of sunscreen is ridden with the notion; the higher the number, the better the protection. So many people assume SPF 100 is better than 30. However, this is not the case. Sun protection factor is a theoretical estimate. It gives an estimate of how long you can stay in the sun and not suffer sun damage.

For example, your skin starts to burn after 15 minutes of sun exposure. An SPF 15 promises to protect your skin 15 more times. So when you do the math, it will protect you for 15*15=225 minutes. Therefore, theoretically, one can be in the sun for 225 minutes and not suffer sun damage.

Let’s continue with the mathematical argument. If your skin starts to burn after 30 minutes, the SPF 15 will protect you 15 times more. That will be 450 minutes. Let’s flip it and take SPF 100. The same argument, the sunscreen can protect you 100 times more. That will be 30*100=3000 minutes. It is simply preposterous!

There is a tipping point for SPF. The mechanics of are that; SPF 15  blocks 93% of UVB rays while SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. SPF is not linear.  Sadly, there has been misleading marketing. It has led consumers to believe sunscreen with bigger SPF numbers provides much more protection. However, this is not the case. Dermatologists recommend using an SPF 15 or SPF 30 sunscreen.

How much to apply

Unfortunately, most people do not use sunscreen properly. Most people use only ¼ of what is needed. The correct use is 2 mg/cm² of skin. That is about 28 grams (1 oz tube) of sunscreen for full body application.

It is important to re-apply after every 2 hours to gain maximum protection. Ultimately, it is best to combine your sunscreen protection with hats, long sleeve shirts, using umbrellas and avoiding the midday sun.

 

 

 

3 superfoods to eat for glowing skin

Everyone desires beautiful glowing skin. However, as we age it is becomes harder to maintain a youthful luster.

What to do? Most of us would run to the store and buy a cream that promises us youthful radiance in 7 days.  Unfortunately, most of these potions do not work.

To truly have glowing skin it has to start inside out. Through nourishing your body with the right foods you will give your skin all the nutrients it needs to glow.

These foods will set you up to your path of having and enjoying the beautiful glowing skin

1) Kiwifruit

This tropical fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is rich in vitamin C. An orange has 53.3 mg/100 of vitamin C while the kiwi fruit has 92.7 mg/100 g. Eating one kiwifruit per day will give you the recommended daily intake of 80 mg per day of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are caused by exposure to UV radiation, cigarette smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol, unhealthy eating, and pollution. Vitamin C helps in neutralizing the free radicals and reverse skin damage.

Vitamin C is also a building block for collagen. Collagen is the main protein in the skin that gives the skin its strength and elasticity. By consuming kiwifruit, not only do you fight to age by fighting free radicals but also build collagen for a youthful look

2) Fatty fish

Fat is good for your skin. But, the good fat. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and any other oily fish are rich in omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids get incorporated into the epidermis and form a protective layer that prevents moisture from being lost giving skin a supple and glowing look.

Additionally, Omega 3 fatty acids can improve both dry and oily skin conditions.  Omega 3   helps regulate oil production i.e sebum. Omega 3 fatty acid EPA produces hormones called prostaglandins. These hormones stop the body from producing excess sebum in the case of oily skin which can cause acne. It sounds counterproductive to take oil to improve acne, but consumption of omega 3 does improve the condition.

The opposite is true. Omega 3 increases sebum production for dry skin and reduces skin flaking, redness, and inflammation caused by dry skin. It can also be used to manage exzema and psoriasis common in dry skin.

3) Green tea

This liquid gold is not only good for soothing your nerves but also good for your skin. Green tea is rich in antioxidants. As we discussed earlier, antioxidants are the army you need to fight skin battles. These soldiers will mop up the free radicals in your body and restore your cells to a good balance.

To enjoy further benefits of green tea, you can use it as a steam facial. Not only does the antioxidant work from the inside when consumed as a tea but also externally as a steam facial.

These three foods will set you up on your journey to healthy, glowing skin.

 

 

7 ways shea butter will give you amazing skin

Shea butter has received rave reviews from the cosmetic industry in the recent past. What makes this butter so potent in our skin care products? First things first. Shea butter is a vegetable fat extracted through cold pressing of the shea nut which comes from the shea tree. The shea tree has two subspecies; the Vitraella paradoxa and the Vitraella nilotica which grow in the savanna of West Africa and in East Africa respectively. The West African shea butter has more stearic fatty acid making it more solid compared to the Nilotica which is semi liquid at room temperature because the oleic fatty acid is higher. The oleic fatty acid is what makes vegetables oils for example olive oil, palm oil and sunflower oil liquid at room temperature. Vegetable oils are widely available, however, vegetable fat (stearic fatty acid is in limited supply). It is only present in animal fat (tallow) and cocoa butter and shea butter (plant-based). Hence, are solid at room temperature. We can call it the sauce. So let’s see how this butter works its magic.

1.Moisturizing

Shea butter has 16 saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The main four are stearic,oleic, linoleic and lauric. When applied to the skin they form a protective layer that prevents loss of moisture. Hereby, the increased hydration makes the skin smooth, soft and supple.

2.Treating dry skin

There has been an increase in dryness of skin caused by internal and external stressors. Factors such as air pollution, extreme temperatures either hot or cold, low humidity, using harsh soaps, stress and poor nutrition can cause dry skin. Skin is classified as dry when the stratum corneum SC has< 10% moisture. The SC is the outermost layer of the skin made up of intercellular lipids (ie ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids).When these lipids are damaged the   skin becomes dry. So, how then do you restore these skin lipids back to health? By applying shea butter which is rich in fatty acids that are easily incorporated into the skin will put the skin in motion to regenerate these lipids and nurse the skin back to good health. Consequently, the skin will have improved elasticity and smoothness.

3.Anti aging

Let’s do some revision of our science class. What is an atom? An atom is the basic building block of matter. As human we are made of atoms that join together to form molecules which then make up you and me. An atom is made up of protons, electrons and neutrons. When an atom is missing an electron it is called a free radical. To make it whole the free radical “steals” an electron from a healthy atom. This then sets a dominos effect where the one which has been stolen from steals from another healthy atom. If this goes on unchecked skin aging sets in. Where do these free radicals come from? The main suspect is the sun in cahoots with age, and smoking. However, if we cast the net wider we may nub poor lifestyle choices such as unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, side effects of medication and environmental pollution. How then do we stop an invasion? The answer is antioxidants. Vitamin A and E (tocopherol) which are in shea butter act as antioxidants and will donate an electron to the free radical so that it does not “steal” from the healthy atoms. In combination with vitamin C the results are amazing. Eventually, the skin has improved appearance of wrinkles, dark spots and fine lines. Also, there is increased collagen production that keeps the skin vibrant, youthful and glowing.

4.Anti inflammatory

Skin diseases like exzema, psoriasis, hives and itchy skin can be treated through topical use of shea butter. The common treatment of skin conditions like exzema is usually steroid creams. Unfortunately, most of them are not effective and cause further irritation than relief.  Vitamin A which is present in shea butter acts as an anti inflammatory. It aids in relieving redness, pain, heat, itchiness and soreness. When combined with a healthy diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids the relief is considerable. Furthermore, when mixed with other anti inflammatory oils like hemp seed, pomegranate or eucalyptus it can relieve pre menstrual tension (PMS), period pain and arthritis. Coughs and colds, muscle aches and rheumatism can also be relieved.

5.Cellulite

One of the major concerns among women during pregnancy is stretch marks. Understandably, the skin will stretch to accommodate the growing baby and stretch marks are inevitable. To have an improvement of how the skin appears during and after pregnancy one can apply shea butter. In combination with oils, particularly, essential oils like carrot oil and geranium there is marked improvement on their appearance. To consolidate the gains made it is prudent to continue application even after pregnancy for greater results.

6.Sun screen

Unfortunately, most commercial sunscreens have been linked to skin cancer. Some of the active ingredients are etinyl palmitate and  oxybenzone that cause cell damage that may lead to melanomas. It is estimated that one in five Americans will suffer from skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. One may consider natural products like shea butter which has an SPF of 6-10, depending on where it is sourced, with the Western having a higher sun protection factor than Nilotica. It can offer low levels of protection from UV rays when there is low risk of sun damage, for example during a cloudy day. However, you can improve its protective quality by blending it with carrot oil which has a SPF of 30 in case of high risk exposure to the UV rays of the sun.

7.Grooming

Who doesn’t want silky soft kissable lips? And how about smelling fresh and clean all day. By applying shea butter on the lips not only will you treat dry and chapped lips, but will also moisten them to be soft, lush and kissable. When mixed with baking soda and fragrant essential oils it will keep you smelling good. So, you don’t have to worry about sweating like a pig and smelling like a fish. While still caring for yourself, shea butter can be mixed with sugar or sea salt and used as a skin scrub or exfoliator. It can also be used as a makeup remover and for nail strengthening. Furthermore, it can be used in the preparation of soap that is mild compared to commercial brands.

Finally, to have all these benefits of shea butter, it is good to back it with healthy habits. Importantly, eating a balanced diet, exercising, drinking 8 glasses of water in a day and having enough sleep.