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Summer Beauty

Summer is a time for beach days, pool parties, and vacations. But while summer is full of fun in the sun, the longer hours of daylight and hot, humid weather can affect your skin differently than the colder and darker days of winter. In this blog, we will explore how summer can impact your skin, share hot weather tips, and even bust a few summer skincare myths. 

How Summer Affects Your Skin

Every season impacts your skin differently. If you notice your complexion changing during summer, it could be because the hot, humid weather is having an effect. Here’s a look at the changes your skin may undergo during the summer: 

  • High heat and humidity can make your skin oilier. Your sebaceous glands are more active in hot weather, and with the increased oil on your skin, breakouts can become more likely. 1 
  • The heat can make your sweat glands more active. Excessive sweating can affect more than just your face. The combination of sweat, bacteria, and friction from your clothing may also cause breakouts on your back and chest.2
  • Chlorinated water may dry out your skin. Swimming is a great way to cool off in the summer, but the chlorine in the water can strip your skin of its natural hydrating oils. As a result, your skin may feel dry and flaky or even develop an itchy rash after spending an afternoon at the pool.3
  • UV rays can change your skin in several ways. You may be excited to get a tan this summer, but sun exposure does more than just darken your skin and make freckles appear. For instance, if you’re outside too long without protection, you could get sunburned. Excessive UV rays can also cause swelling, irregular pigmentation, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging.4
  • Summer heat can trigger eczema flare-ups. While psoriasis sufferers often benefit from UV exposure and high humidity, it’s a different story for people with eczema. In fact, the heat of summer can trigger increased skin irritation and redness, so it’s important not to let your skin overheat if you have this condition.5
  • Bacteria can sabotage your skincare products. Bacteria thrive in heat and humidity, making summer the ideal season for them to grow. To discourage bacteria growth, be sure to store your skincare products in a cool, dry place. You can also replace your brushes and pads frequently to help your skin stay clean and clear.6 
  • Fake tanning products can have a drying effect. A faux glow is safer than a natural one, but your fake tanner might be the source of mysteriously dry, sensitive skin. Check the ingredients list, and if you see specially denatured (SD) alcohol or ethanol, consider switching to a new product.7

The Fitzpatrick Skin Type System

Scientists developed the Fitzpatrick Skin Type System in 1975. It remains a useful way to determine skin type, skin cancer risk, and is an accurate predictor of a patient’s reaction to UVA rays. Skin cancer is a common type of cancer in the United States, and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five people in the U.S. will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.8

Experts established the Fitzpatrick Skin Types by asking individuals how their skin reacted to the sun. The results showed clear trends that allowed researchers to identify six different skin types according to how much melanin was present.  A 2013 study also confirmed that the system was useful in identifying who was most at risk of sunburn.9 

The table below shows a summary of the Fitzpatrick Skin Types and their features:

Source: Laser Hair Removal

Remember: The Fitzpatrick Scale acts as a guide rather than a definitive classification. A person’s skin type may not fit neatly into one category. 

How To Protect Each Skin Type

The sun’s UV rays can cause damage to any skin type. Regardless of their skin type, individuals who are spending time outdoors should: 

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 30.
  • Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Sit or walk in the shade when possible.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block UV rays.
  • Wear protective clothing if out in the sun for extended periods.
  • Check your skin at least once per month for changes and seek medical advice if any occur. 

The sections below discuss the risks associated with each skin type and why everyone needs to protect their skin:

Types I and II

Those with skin types I or II often have fair skin, freckles, and light hair, which the American Cancer Society (ACS) lists as risk factors for melanoma. Individuals with very fair skin should take additional precautions to protect their skin.

For example, they should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. It’s also best for those with skin type I or II to avoid sun exposure as much as possible and wear protective clothing that reflects the sun’s rays.

Types III and IV

If a person has skin type III or IV, their skin can burn, but it will also tan. The risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure is lower than it is for those with types I and II, but there is still a risk. It’s vital to always wear sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 or higher, along with limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing.

Although the Fitzpatrick Skin Types vary widely among people of a similar origin, those with Types III and IV often include people of Mediterranean, Southern European, Latino, and Asian ancestry.10 Skin cancer accounts for 2–4% of all cancers in people of Asian origin and 4–5% of all cancers in people of Hispanic origin.11

The authors of a 2012 study expressed concern about the risk of skin cancer among Hispanic people in the U.S. They called for “culturally relevant, tailored interventions” to raise awareness of the need for sun protection and preventive measures.12 The ACS also expresses concern, noting that skin cancer rates have risen by nearly 20% among Hispanic people in the U.S. in the past 20 years.13

Types V and VI

People with skin types V and VI also have a risk of developing skin cancer, though the risk is lower than it is for people with types I or II. Even if the skin does not burn, sun damage can lead to cancer and early signs of skin aging. 

Skin cancer accounts for just 1–2% of all cancers in Black people.14 When it does occur, the outlook may be worse for several reasons, including the following:

  • Awareness: As with Hispanic communities, Black individuals and their healthcare providers may be less watchful for signs of skin cancer, given that it mainly affects lighter skin.
  • Expectation: Healthcare workers are less likely to expect that skin cancer will be present in darker skin and may not perform a full check. Lesions may also look different on darker skin than those shown in educational materials.
  • Location: In Skin Types V and VI, changes may occur in places that are not exposed to the sun, such as the soles of the feet. This may make them less noticeable.

Protective measures are as essential for skin types V and VI as they are for the other types. However, sunscreens designed for lighter skin may leave a residue on the face that gives an ashen or chalky look. According to one expert, writing for the Skin Cancer Foundation, creams that contain nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide may work well. 

Fact or Myth: Summer Skincare Edition

We’ve all fallen victim to believing a skincare myth that made us think we could get away with something because it was easier. From SPF and acne myths to the truth behind facial oils, we’re here to bust some myths so you can hit the beach informed, confident, and most importantly – sunburn free. 

Myth: Skin Is Oilier in the Summer, so You Don’t Need Moisturizer

Fact: Moisturizers are still a must during summer. They not only discourage the build-up of dead skin cells by keeping the skin cells healthier, but if you toss your moisturizer altogether, your skin can get dry and dehydrated, and actually increase oil production in response.

Myth: Lips Don’t Get Sunburned

Fact: The truth is lips can get sunburned and sun-damaged, and burns on the lips can contribute to the development of lip cancers. SPF-containing lip products are the key to keeping your lips healthy and sunburn-free. Check out Sun Bum’s Vegan and Cruelty-Free Lip Balm SPF 30.

Myth: Misting With Water Keeps You Hydrated

Fact: This actually can cause more dehydration. As the mist evaporates, it pulls your surface moisture with it and your skin ends up with surface dehydration, which leads to clogged pores, and then you’re unable to blend your makeup. So if you like to mist your face, make sure to use mists that have humectants and actually keep the moisture in, instead of pulling it out. You can try the Dalba White Truffle First Spray Serum Mist which features excellent humectants. 

Myth: Sun Exposure Is a Great Way to Treat Acne

Fact: Although it’s true that sun exposure can down-regulate the immune system in the skin and therefore temporarily improve inflammatory acne, this is not a safe way to treat breakouts. The side effects of accelerated aging and skin cancer risk are much more serious than acne, and sun exposure actually emboldens dark spots.

Myth: Always Use Creams With Sunblock in the Morning

Fact: SPF disintegrates after a certain time, depending on its number and your skin, so using it only in the morning is counterproductive. The only way you can truly stay safe is by reapplying every one to two hours. So, while we encourage applying every morning or before you leave the house, it’s also really important to top up throughout the day. 

Myth: You Don’t Need Sun Protection for Your Body Because You Are Wearing Clothing

Fact: A typical cotton or linen t-shirt only has an SPF of five. This means you can still get sunburned through your shirt. To protect yourself consider wearing sun-protective fabrics. There are fashionable options out there that provide UPF 50+ (The letters UPF refer to how much UV ray radiation is absorbed by the fabric). The skin cancer foundation has some great tips and advice on UPF-rated clothing, which you can check out here.

Myth: The Higher the SPF, the Better the Sun Protection

Fact: Higher SPF only gives you marginally improved UV protection. It’s easy to think that sunscreens with SPF 70 or 100 would provide better coverage. But a higher SPF may actually give you a false sense of protection (and you may stay out longer in the sun or forget to reapply sunscreen after getting out from the water), thus you may burn more.

What’s more important is that your sunscreen is broad-spectrum, meaning that it blocks UVA and UVB, and that you reapply every two to three hours as recommended or after the skin gets wet from water or sweating.

Myth: People With Oily Skin Shouldn’t Use Face Oils

Fact: On the contrary, people with oily skin many times tend to over-strip their natural oil by using products with harsh ingredients. Using face oils can help to replenish the skin’s natural oil production, keeping oil levels balanced. Check out the Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil to keep your skin feeling fresh, healthy, glowing, and summer-ready.

A Guide to Summer Skincare

When you dream about your skin in summer, you might envision it being tanned, smooth, and glowing, but the reality can be somewhat different as you tackle the risk of sweat, sunburn, and premature aging due to the sunny conditions. While you may think you need to completely restructure your skincare routine to beat the summer heat, the reality is that with a few small tweaks, your skin will be feeling and looking its best all season long.

Here are some warm weather skincare tips you can try this summer:

SPF Is Your BFF

According to Dr. Stefanie Williams, dermatologist and medical director at Eudelo, “I always recommend using sun protection all year around. The reason for this is that while the burning UVB rays are much weaker in winter, the skin aging UVA rays don’t fluctuate as much throughout the seasons.”

“My recommendation is to wear an SPF 30  to slow down the aging process and keep your skin in optimal condition long-term,” she says. “However, should you have down-graded your SPF (or even worse, not used one) in the winter, then now is certainly the time to go back to daily SPF.”

Product Spotlight

CeraVe 100% Mineral Body Sunscreen SPF 50 with Zinc Oxide and Titanium DioxideTo shop the CeraVe 100% Mineral Body Sunscreen SPF 50 with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, click here.

Opt For a Lighter Skincare Routine

In the summer, we commonly change up our wardrobe to better reflect the warmer weather. Similarly, your skin-care routine may need to be a little more lightweight. The heat and humidity of summer mean you can swap out a heavier cleanser (think cream or oil cleanser) in favor of a gentler foaming option.

Product Spotlight

Honest Beauty Calm On Foaming Cream Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid + Phytosterols and Phospholipids + Amino AcidsTo shop the Honest Beauty Calm On Foaming Cream Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid + Phytosterols and Phospholipids + Amino Acids, click here

Adopt a Dual-Purpose Moisturizer

To help lighten things up, you can consider switching to a combination moisturizer and sunscreen during the summer. A lightweight moisturizer with SPF of 30 or higher may be plenty for most people as long as you’re applying a generous amount and reapplying every couple of hours, as with a regular sunscreen.

Thicker moisturizers can lead to clogged pores, inflammation, and acne; especially if you have acne-prone or oily skin. With summer causing increased sweating, clogged pores can really be an issue. Replacing one of your skin-care steps with a combination moisturizer/SPF can help keep skin clear and fresh during summer.

Product Spotlight

Paula’s Choice Calm SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer Broad Spectrum Sun ProtectantTo shop the Paula’s Choice Calm SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer Broad Spectrum Sun Protectant, click here

Add In a Good Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serums are a necessity in an anti-aging skincare regimen. Vitamin C has been proven to:

  • Brighten your complexion
  • Reduce the appearance of scars and dark spots
  • Even out your skin tone
  • Smooth out fine lines and wrinkles
  • Prevent skin sagging

Vitamin C is even more essential in the summer when your skin takes the most damage from harsh UV rays and drying breezes. For optimal results, you can try layering a few drops of a vitamin C serum on your skin between cleansing and moisturizer.

Product Spotlight

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Perfect C SerumTo shop the MyChelle Dermaceuticals Perfect C Serum, click here

Always Exfoliate

Dermatologists often remind us not to over-exfoliate, but in the summertime, you can add a little more exfoliation to your routine, especially if you have oily skin. Instead of going all-out with it, slowly increasing the number of days you exfoliate per week will allow your skin to adapt much more quickly.

Product Spotlight

BABOR Enzyme Cleanser, Gentle Antioxidant Daily Face Exfoliator, with Vitamin C and Active EnzymesTo shop the BABOR Enzyme Cleanser, Gentle Antioxidant Daily Face Exfoliator, with Vitamin C and Active Enzymes, click here

Take Shorter, Cooler Showers

Nothing feels better after a long day than taking a nice hot shower. Unfortunately, hot water dries out your skin, which is an even bigger predicament during the summer. Instead, try to take a cool or lukewarm shower for 15 to 20 minutes. Not only will this keep your skin healthy during the warmer months, but it will also give you a chance to cool off from the heat.

Product Spotlight

Everyone 3-in-1 Soap, Body Wash, Bubble Bath, and Shampoo With Organic Plant Extracts and Pure Essential oilsTo shop the Everyone 3-in-1 Soap, Body Wash, Bubble Bath, and Shampoo With Organic Plant Extracts and Pure Essential oils, click here

Stay Hydrated

While this may not seem like a skincare tip, drinking water may have an impact on your skin’s health. Our bodies need water to keep cells, organs, and tissues operating at their best. Water is also necessary for temperature regulation and maintaining other bodily functions. In summer, it’s more important to drink water as we lose a significant amount of hydration through sweat. 

Drinking water can help you stay cool, which prevents breakouts and clogged pores. It can even prevent skin wrinkling. You can use this calculator to find out exactly how much water your body needs every day.

Product Spotlight

Sahara Sailor Water Bottle, 32oz Motivational Sports Water Bottle With Time MarkerTo shop the Sahara Sailor Water Bottle, 32oz Motivational Sports Water Bottle With Time Marker, click here

In Conclusion

Summer is warmer and sunnier than winter, and it’s only natural that your skin has different needs during the changing seasons. When you’re spending more time in the sun, it’s important to be mindful of sunscreen. Find a broad-spectrum SPF 30 and reapply every 2 hours to protect your skin from premature aging and skin cancer.

After all, a summer-friendly beauty routine will keep your skin happy and healthy all season long.

What is your favorite SPF? Do you have any summer skincare tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments!

 

References:

https://www.getthegloss.com/article/how-to-deal-with-oily-skin-in-warm-weather [1]

https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/aug/how-sweat-works-why-we-sweat-when-we-are-hot-as-well-as-when-we-are-not/ [2]

https://coloradospringsdermatologyclinic.com/info/can-swimming-pool-and-hot-tub-chlorine-harm-your-skin/#:~:text=Add%20to%20that%20the%20fact,contributing%20factor%20to%20premature%20aging. [3]

https://www.cancer.org/healthy/cancer-causes/radiation-exposure/uv-radiation.html#:~:text=UV%20rays%2C%20either%20from%20the,actinic%20keratosis%2C%20and%20solar%20elastosis. [4]

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-to-minimize-the-risk-of-eczema-flare-ups-on-hot-summer-days#:~:text=For%20those%20living%20with%20eczema,sun%20on%20hot%2C%20dry%20days. [5]

https://www.herworld.com/beauty/skin/10-things-consider-storing-your-skincare-fridge/ [6]

https://www.cocoandeve.com/blogs/news/how-to-shower-for-a-longer-fake-tan#:~:text=Many%20fake%20tans%20can%20be,skin%20while%20still%20slightly%20damp. [7]

https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/ [8]

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/1737180 [9]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3709783/ [10]

https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/ [11]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3533808/ [12]

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/dispelling-myths-to-decrease-skin-cancer-in-latinos.html [13]

https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/ [14]

How Skin Heals

It’s safe to say that our bodies are truly magical; however, we often take the intricacy of wound healing for granted. If you get a small cut, you may clean and cover it with a bandage, and move on with your life. Yet under that bandage, the body orchestrates a complex cascade of events designed to heal wounds big and small. In this blog, we will dive into the four stages of wound healing, along with how you can help your skin heal, ingredients to look for in skincare to promote healing, and supplementation.

The Four Stages of Wound Healing

Wound healing is the process by which the skin, or any injured organ, repairs itself after injury. The main aim of wound healing is to prevent or limit further damage, clean and seal the wound against infection, and restore tissue strength.

The wound healing process can be characterized by four overlapping phases:

Homoeostasis Phase

Upon wounding, the first phase of the wound response is concerned with maintaining homoeostasis within the body, which is any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival.

Most wounds, even superficial wounds, result in damage to the circulatory system. To prevent blood loss and reduce the chance of an infection spreading throughout the body, platelets within the blood begin to form a fibrin clot to seal the wound site. 

Additionally, vasoconstriction, the narrowing of blood vessels by small muscles in their walls, occurs around the wound as a means of isolating the wound site. However, this is soon followed by vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels as a result of the relaxation of the blood vessel’s muscular walls, so the required cells are able to be recruited to the wound site. 

Inflammatory Phase

Once the wound is closed with a clot, the blood vessels can open a bit to allow fresh nutrients and oxygen into the wound for healing. Blood-borne oxygen is essential for healing. The right balance of oxygen is also important— too much or too little and the wound won’t heal correctly. 

White blood cells, called macrophages, take on the role of wound protector by fighting infection and overseeing the repair process. You might see some clear fluid on or around the cut at this time, which is helping clean out the wound. Macrophages also produce chemical messengers, called growth factors, which help repair the wound.

Proliferative Phase

The proliferative phase itself can be divided into four phases; in the case of shallow wounds the first two steps may not occur:

  • Re-vascularization: New blood vessels are formed around the wound site in order to supply the cells and nutrients required to remodel the wound.
  • Granulation: Fibroblasts, a type of cell that contributes to the formation of connective tissue, are attracted to the wound site and quickly lay down a temporary extracellular matrix (ECM), comprised of collagen and fibronectin, upon which the epidermis can be reconstituted.
  • Re-epithelialization: The exact mechanism of re-epithelialization is poorly understood. It’s thought that surviving epithelial cells around the wound edge become more motile and stretch to cover the wound site. Once a continuous epidermis is formed, they lose this motility and begin to divide.
  • Contraction: Re-epithelization is thought to occur simultaneously with contraction, where myofibroblasts, a predominant cell type that’s present in granulation tissue of contracting wounds, are recruited around the wound site and pull against each other to contract the size of the wound.

Essentially, during this phase, blood cells of all types arrive to help build new tissue. Chemical signals instruct cells to create collagen, which serves as a type of scaffolding, and other tissues to begin the repair process. Occasionally, you see the result of this process as a scar that starts out red and eventually dulls.

Remodeling Phase

Following the closure of the wound, remodeling can occur. The epidermis proliferates and returns to its normal character; fibroblasts and immune cells which were recruited to the site are degraded; and the temporary extracellular matrix that was laid down is remodeled into a stronger, more permanent structure.

Over time, the new tissue gets stronger. You might notice stretching, itching, and even puckering of the wound as this happens. Within three months, the wound is almost as strong in its repair as it was before the trauma, but the entire healing process may take a couple of years to complete.

Stages of wound healing

Pictured: Stages of wound healing     Source: VCU

Epidermal Wound Healing

Epidermal wound healing refers to the repair of the epidermis in response to wounding. Epidermal only wounds are typically less severe than those affecting the dermis and so stages of the wound healing response may be missed.

As the epidermis itself is not vascularized — it’s receiving blood from the dermis — a clotting and vasoconstrictive response are often not necessary. Immune cells may still be recruited to the wound site since the removal of the epidermal barrier makes the wound susceptible to infection.

Since the dermis is intact, local fibroblasts are able to contribute to the formation of a new basement membrane, upon which the epidermis sits. In very minor wounds, even the basement membrane might remain intact, allowing for rapid re-epithelialization. 

Keratinocytes — epidermal epithelial cells — around the wound site migrate across the wound and close it. Additionally, epidermal cells from dermal appendages, such as hair follicles, can contribute to wound closure.

Since the dermis and underlying tissue have not been damaged, very little remodeling is required. As such, small wounds only in the epidermis typically heal rapidly and are often not observable via the formation of scar tissue within a period of months.

Skin layers

Source: Skin layers    Source: Urgo Medical

Deep Wound Healing

A deep wound involves the inner, deeper layers of the skin, known as the dermis. Deep wounds that damage the dermis are more difficult to heal than shallow, epidermal-only wounds. The wound healing processes may be extended and scar tissue is likely to form due to improper re-epithelialization.

Additionally, deep wounds are more susceptible to infection, and also to the development of systemic infection through the circulatory system, as well as dysregulation that results in chronic wounds such as ulcers.

The wound healing process for deep wounds is similar to that of shallow wounds. However, with the removal of the dermis and its associated skin appendages, re-epithelialization can only occur from the wound edge, with no contribution from the dermal compartment. 

Therefore, proper reconstitution of the epidermis is often only seen at the edge of the wound, with fibrous scar tissue — formed from the ECM deposited during the proliferative phase — covering the rest of the wound site.

With the formation of a scar, the original physiological properties of the tissue are lost. For example, scars are less flexible than the original skin and do not feature sweat glands or hair follicles. The ECM formed during wound healing may also be weaker in deep wounds, making the site susceptible to additional later wounding. 

How You Can Help Your Skin Heal

A wound describes an injury that cuts, breaks, or impacts the skin. As a result, the body’s internal tissues become exposed to the external environment and bacteria. Most minor wounds won’t require medical treatment; however, while the majority of cuts heal naturally over time, there are ways to speed up the healing process:

Care for the Wound

Throughout the healing process be sure to clean and dress the wound. Even if you feel that you are healing fine and can skip this step, make sure to keep tending to your wound unless approved by a medical professional. Cleaning the wound and covering it ensures that no outside bacteria can get to the wound and infect it, while also encouraging skin tissue growth for healing.

To learn how to properly clean a wound, click here

How to clean a wound

Pictured: How to clean a wound      Source: St. John Ambulance Victoria

Get Some Rest

Getting a good night’s rest is crucial to wounds healing properly. As you sleep, your body works to repair tissue and fight off infections. A study conducted by the Journal of Applied Psychology studied two groups to see how healing was impacted by sleep.1

The first group who slept for three hours a night had high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and in comparison to the group who slept for eight hours a night, the sleep-deprived participants had a delayed wound healing time by a full day.

Add Healing Foods to Your Diet

There are an abundance of healing foods that can speed your recovery process, including:

  • Clean, Lean Protein: The body cannot rebuild lost tissue without protein. Try to get at least four to five ounces of organic, lean protein, such as grass-fed beef, per meal.
  • Wild-Caught Fish: Essential fatty acids found in foods like wild-caught fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are critical to helping rapidly heal wounds.
  • Green Leafy Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, spinach, and other greens are high in vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting.

Avoid Foods That Slow Healing

There are also some foods and beverages that you’ll want to try and avoid to encourage healing, including:

  • Alcohol can increase inflammation, which is counterproductive to healing.
  • Sugar and refined grains can promote inflammation, slowing the healing process.
  • Hydrogenated oils can promote inflammation and decrease the ability of your body to heal.
  • Processed foods contain hydrogenated oils, chemicals, dyes, and other additives that can slow wound healing.

Get Moving

Research has continually shown that physical activity can help accelerate the healing process in wounds. In fact, researchers at the Ohio State University found that exercise can speed wound healing rates by as much as 25%.2

Activities like strength training and yoga provide an excellent source of movement without the risk of agitating a wound. Basic lunges, planks, crunches, or jumping jacks offer another source of exercise where the risk of injury is low. Any low-impact activity can help draw oxygen to the wounds to accelerate the healing process.

Ingredients in Skincare to Use For Healing

Skincare ingredients can be complicated, but the fact of the matter is that people are now, more than ever, wanting to know what ingredients are in their favorite products and what they do. It’s important to know what you’re putting on your skin, especially when you have wounds.

Here’s a look at a few ingredients that can potentially do wonders for the wound healing process:

  • Vitamin A: When it comes to tissue repair and cell regeneration, getting enough vitamin A in your diet is key. Besides being vital to promoting proper skin health, some evidence even suggests that this vitamin could aid in wound healing as well. A study published in Dermatologic Surgery, for instance, found that pre-treatment with retinoids improved wound healing after undergoing facial resurfacing procedures.3
  • Centella Asiatica Extract: This ingredient is a traditional Indian medicine extracted from the tropical plant Gotu Kola, which helps the wound healing process by reducing glycation processes and implicitly slowing the oxidative damage. It’s most effective in the proliferation and remodeling phases by boosting the local metabolism and speeding up the healing.4
  • Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, this is one of the most popular ingredients in cosmetic treatments due to its multipurpose and potency. Several studies confirmed the anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin B3 that are efficient in aiding the immune response and speeding the recovery. Niacinamide is also an actor in increasing fibroblast migration and proliferation– thus speeding the wound closure.5
  • Grape Seed Extract: A study from researchers at Ohio State University found that this ingredient can help regenerate damaged blood vessels and also increase the number of free radicals in the wound site while reducing the chance of scarring.6
  • Tamanu Seed Oil: As an antibacterial oil, this ingredient is capable of healing wounds by promoting healthy cell growth. When its applied to wounds, it has the ability to promote the formation of new tissue.7
  • Frankincense Oil: This ingredient has been used by healers throughout history for its wound-healing abilities; it’s known to regenerate tissue and prevent infection.8
  • Avocado Oil: A 2013 study found that the oil derived from the avocado pulp reduces inflammation when applied to a wound site. This action ensures quick healing of wounds. Further, the application of the oil on wounds showed improved collagen synthesis and re-epithelialization. 

Supplementation for Wound Healing

Innumerable processes are involved in healing — from the production of platelets and macrophages to the rebuilding of the extracellular matrix and the formation of new blood vessels. But these healing processes can’t happen if the body doesn’t have the right vitamins and nutrients.

To maintain normal health, the human body needs a minimum of 20 vitamins and 16 minerals/trace elements. The following three play a role in recovery and healing at various physiological levels:

Zinc

A minimum of 70 major wound-healing enzyme systems — including DNA polymerase, RNA polymerase, protease, and carbonic anhydrase — rely on zinc as a cofactor. Zinc is also important in cell membrane stabilization, carbohydrate metabolism, and mobilization of vitamins A and C, among others. 

Because lower zinc levels have been associated with impaired wound healing, some researchers have suggested that zinc replenishment may increase healing rates. Furthermore, many topical agents include zinc due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which may be especially beneficial for skin wounds.9

Vitamin B Complex

The vitamin B complex comprises all essential water-soluble vitamins, with the exception of vitamin C, and includes thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin, folic acid, and the cobalamins (vitamin B12). These B vitamins are found naturally in cereals, dairy, fish, and meats. 

The vitamin B complex aids with cell proliferation and the maintenance of muscle tone and healthy skin. It also increases metabolic rate and improves the function of the immune and nervous systems. In one study of the effects of vitamin B complex on periodontal wound healing, supplementation with vitamin B complex significantly increased wound repair compared to a placebo regimen.

Vitamin C

As with the B complex vitamins, vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin. It’s an electron donor for various enzymes, a mighty antioxidant, and a cofactor in collagen synthesis. Vitamin C contributes to enzyme processes important in lysine and proline hydroxylation necessary for the formation of the triple helix present in collagen.

It also contributes to enzyme processes necessary for carnitine synthesis, which is required to transport fatty acids into mitochondria that are used in ATP generation. Vitamin C also plays a role in immune response, iron uptake and metabolism, trace metal metabolism, and calcium metabolism for the homeostasis of epidermal gradients.

Vitamin E and Omega-3s and the Healing Process

When it comes to supplements, there’s so much hype about their potential benefits that it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. While it’s true that vitamins and minerals are essential to health and can be great for wound healing, it’s not true that taking them in pill, capsule, or powder form — especially in megadoses — is necessary, or without risks.

Vitamin E and omega-3s, for example, are both veritable powerhouses. The first, a fat-soluble vitamin, operates as a potent antioxidant and offers support to hair, eyes, cholesterol levels, hormone balance, and more. Omega-3s, meanwhile, support heart and brain health and may play a role in helping with the maintenance of a healthy inflammatory response in the body.

But one of the most serious side effects of both is the thinning of the blood. Fish oil — a common form of omega-3s — thins the blood in “similar ways to blood thinners,” medical writer Jack Challem claims in his book, The Inflammation Syndrome

“This effect happens through the prevention of the platelets found in blood from sticking together and forming clots.” It has been said that these “blood-thinning effects may be magnified if you are taking natural blood-thinners, such as vitamin E.”

To illustrate this further: “Since both fish oil and vitamin E thin your blood, taking them in combination might put you at risk of excessive bleeding, especially if you take them in large amounts,” SF Gate reports.10

Discuss with your doctor before taking either— they may determine that you don’t need a supplement, and, if you do, will help you ascertain the right dosage.

The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil

Herban Wisdom Facial OilTamanu Seed Oil, Frankincense Oil, and Avocado Oil are integrated into the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil for an array of exceptional skin-wellness benefits, including their ability to help your skin heal and repair itself.

You can shop the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil here

References:

https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/sleep-helps-wounds-heal-faster [1]

https://news.osu.edu/study-exercise-helps-speed-wound-healing-in-older-adults/ [2]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17034370/ [3]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22817824/ [4]

https://www.apothecopharmacy.com/blog/how-to-speed-wound-healing/#:~:text=Niacinamide,to%20help%20speed%20up%20recovery. [5]

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/12/021204081709.htm#:~:text=Grape%2Dseed%20extract%20may%20help,radicals%20in%20the%20wound%20site. [6]

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/health-benefits-tamanu-oil [7]

https://earthwisebeauty.com/blogs/news/the-ancient-healing-power-of-frankincense#:~:text=Regardless%20of%20the%20species%20they,and%20for%20a%20wide%20range [8]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793244/ [9]

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-taking-fish-oil-vitamin-e-together-10487.html [10]

Manifesting With Intention

Manifestation and The Law of Attraction have become popular topics of conversation these days. They’ve been spoken about by thought leaders including Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Gabrielle Bernstein, Iyanla Vanzant, and Oprah. While many would say that both manifestation and The Law of Attraction are about turning dreams into reality, the two are not the same. In this blog, we’ll dive into the differences between manifestation and The Law of Attraction, along with setting intentions, changing your mindset, and using affirmations.

Manifestation vs. The Law of Attraction

The most common approaches to manifestation are the principles taught in The Secret, which are centered around The Law of Attraction. Simply put, these approaches suggest that we can manifest our thoughts into reality by focusing on the things we want. 

However, one of the primary Law of Attraction principles is “like attracts like,” which is the idea that similar things are attracted to each other, include people and thoughts. Negative thinking is believed to attract negative experiences, while positive thinking is believed to attract positive experiences.

Manifesting is the doing of “like attracts like.” The Law of Attraction works regardless of whether you intend it to or not. Your thoughts attract your circumstances in life. To manifest is to first be aware of the power of your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and then harness them to create your reality.

Click here to learn more about The Law of Attraction. 

Setting Intentions

Essentially, manifesting is bringing something tangible into your life through attraction and belief, i.e. if you think it, it will come. However, there is more to manifesting than willpower and positive thinking. As Angelina Lombardo, the author of A Spiritual Entrepreneur, says, “Manifestation is making everything you want to feel and experience a reality… via your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and emotions.”

While everyone approaches manifestation differently, many believe in the same basic principles. First, you need to know precisely what you want. “You are the only one who dreams your dreams, so whether it’s a new partner and a healthy relationship or a better job, know it and own it,” Lombardo says.

Whatever you desire, though, one thing is essential: make your intention as specific as possible. The more clear and concise, the better. Instead of, for example, saying, “I want to meet my soulmate,” try to develop a detailed picture of what that person would look like; think of their qualities, characteristics, values, and so on.

Some experts believe that the moment when it’s especially powerful to set intentions includes the top of the month when you’re setting goals, the beginning of the week to anchor in a desired outcome, or first thing in the morning to set the tone for the day. 

But really, any moment is an opportunity to start fresh with an intention. To help you better understand and harness the power of setting intentions, here are a few steps you can follow:

Identify the Desire

Identifying your desire is the first step in the intention-setting process; It can be big or small, something specific like buying a new car, or more general like living in the moment. Try to keep the intention connected to a feeling versus a very specific desired outcome.

For instance, the desire might be getting a promotion at work, but the feeling underneath it may be to feel fully expressed in the work you do. Once you’ve identified the feeling, you can put language to it and write out the intention.

Get Clear on Yourself

Goals are about doing, and intentions are about being, and when you focus on who you need to be to achieve the goal, the doing becomes easier. To do this, a multitude of experts recommend journaling on qualities that you’d like to embody that will support you in achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to write a collection of poetry, intentions that could support you could be “I intend to make my creativity a priority” or “I intend to see myself as capable.”

Decide Specific Action Steps

Intentions are not one-size-fits-all. Intentions, such as “being healthier,” can mean wildly different things for different people. For that reason, getting specific with what action steps you’ll take to fulfill your intention and following through with them is vitally important. Specificity breeds success, so once you have the overarching intention in mind of being healthier, focus on your goals by setting up smaller waypoints like: “I’ll work out three times this week.”

Shift Any Limiting Beliefs

Not believing that your intention is actually possible for you is a common challenge that can impede the intention from manifesting. If this is the case for you, try reframing your mindset to ensure your beliefs align with your desire. You can do this by finding evidence in support of your intention already happening in your current reality. For example, if you intend to find love in a partner but you don’t believe it’s possible, look for where love is already present in your life.

Reinforce Intentions Daily

Intentions are part practical and part magic. From a scientific standpoint, the brain is a belief engine and is always looking for confirmatory evidence to prove your intention or hypothesis. Once you’ve identified the new intention, you’ll want to reinforce it with examples from your life. To do this, you can reinforce your intentions after meditation when the brain is more relaxed and receptive.

Surrender and Lean Into Faith

Intentions need to run free. Sometimes, when we set an intention, we use it as a vehicle to control our lives, but there is an element of faith and surrender — a quiet receptivity. Surrender isn’t giving up; it’s an absence of resistance. So if you find yourself being overly controlling with your intentions, remember to take a step back and let go of any resistance. 

Intentions are also not set in stone; they’re moving targets that change and evolve as we grow. Essentially, there’s no sense in stressing out over setting the perfect intention. Give yourself permission to change and adjust your intentions as you go, which in turn helps release control over the situation.

Changing Your Mindset to Manifest Successfully

Recent research has shown that your mindset — or your attitudes and beliefs about different aspects of life — crucially affect your thoughts, behaviors, and experiences. If you want to manifest something, like love, money, or success, your mindset is extremely important. Here are a few types of mindsets that can help you manifest your goals:

  • Growth Mindset: A growth mindset is a tendency for people to believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. With a growth mindset, you can better manifest things because you believe the efforts you put in are worthwhile. 
  • Abundance Mindset: When we don’t have enough of what we need, a belief that there will never be enough of something can sprout. This is a completely normal reaction, but it may sabotage our success in manifesting what we need. Studies suggest that this may be because we are overly focused on what we are lacking and our minds are bogged down by the extra work of worrying about what we don’t have. It’s important to know and accept that there is enough of what you need.
  • Mindful Mindset: A mindful mindset involves being open to and accepting of anything that is. This includes accepting our circumstances, experiences, and ourselves. It often requires us to dig deeper and think about how our opinions are formed, how our reactions create our experiences, and how we can choose to be the person we want to be and live the life we want to live.
  • Positive Mindset: A positive mindset may include gratitude, positive reappraisal, savoring, and future-focused positive thinking, which are all mental processes that can be strengthened and help us manifest positive outcomes like happiness, resilience, and well-being. By building a positive mindset, we can generate more positive emotions.

Affirmations to Manifest Your Intentions

Bringing awareness to whatever it is that you want to manifest is key. As it spends time in your subconscious, it can soon make its way into your life. Let the idea of your intention really sink in, and truly believe yourself when you say it. 

Affirmations are positive statements in the present tense that relate to what it is you want to manifest. They can help you bring the things you want into your subconscious so they can manifest themselves in your life. 

Affirmations can be used as mantras. You can write them down alongside your intentions, or you can voice them to yourself every day. If you enjoy meditation, you may even incorporate them into your daily routine. 

Here are 10 affirmations to help you manifest your intentions:

  • I trust the Universe. It gives me exactly what I need at exactly the right time.
  • I am wealthy and prosperous in every aspect of my life.
  • Every day I am moving toward my best life.
  • I surround myself with positive and genuine people who help me and encourage me to reach my goals.
  • I love, support, and believe in myself.
  • I’m creating a life of passion and purpose.
  • There is no place for negative self-talk in my life.
  • I am abundant in my finances, in happiness, and in love.
  • The Universe always has my back.
  • My intentions for my life are clear. What I am seeking is seeking me.

Five Ways to Manifest 

Manifestation is all about believing that you already have something and letting it come to you, so try to always speak in the present and use active words. Voice your intentions and affirmations in any way you feel comfortable. If you’re having trouble deciding on how to begin manifesting, a few methods you can try are:

369 Manifestation

The 369 manifestation technique involves using the sacred numbers three, six, and nine. There are a few ways people use this method. One is to pick three affirmations, say them six times each day, and focus on your wants for nine seconds as a way to think about what you want to manifest. Another is to write your desire down three times in the morning, six times in the afternoon, and nine times in the evening.

5×55 Manifestation

The 5×55 manifestation technique involves writing down what you want to manifest 55 times for five days straight. Make sure to keep your mind on the single desire you want to become true while you write.

10-10-10 Manifestation

The 10-10-10 manifestation technique involves writing out three lists numbered one to 10. You make one list of 10 things you desire, another list of 10 things you’re grateful for, and then 10 things you enjoy. This manifestation practice is focused on creating a positive mindset for yourself.

Water Manifestation

The water manifestation technique only takes about 3 minutes to complete. You’ll need two cups, one filled with water and the other left empty. Label the cup filled with water with your current reality (if you are manifesting money, you would put the amount you currently have), then label the empty cup with your desired reality (i.e. having wealth).

Hold the cup labeled with your current reality and focus on the emotion of already achieving your desired outcome. You then pour the water into the empty cup and drink it while keeping your desire in mind.

Journaling or Script Manifesting

This manifestation technique can be done in many different ways. You can manifest through journaling by creating lists, tracking dating activities, and figuring out exactly what you want. You can also find manifesting prompts to help awaken your creativity.

Manifestation Quotes to Keep You Inspired

“Everyone creates realities based on their own personal beliefs. These beliefs are so powerful that they can create [expansive or entrapping] realities over and over.” – Kuan Yin

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

“The truth is that the universe has been answering you all of your life, but you cannot receive the answers unless you are awake.” – Rhonda Byrne

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” – Maya Angelou

“What you think, you create. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you become.” – Unknown

“To live your greatest life, you must first become a leader within yourself. Take charge of your life, begin attracting and manifesting all that you desire in life.” – Sonia Ricotti

 

Do you use affirmations to help with manifesting the life you want? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

 

Aloe in Skincare

There’s a reason why Aloe has become a medicine cabinet staple – it’s been used by different civilizations for centuries for a range of medicinal and skincare purposes. A cactus plant that naturally grows in arid climates, the succulent-like leaves of the Aloe plant house a clear gel that’s home to more than 75 different active compounds, including vitamins, minerals, sugars, enzymes, salicylic acids, and amino acids. In this blog, we’ll explore Aloe’s ancient uses, its nutrient content and skincare benefits, along with the importance of using clean, safe Aloe.

What is Aloe?

The botanical name of Aloe is Aloe barbadensis miller. It belongs to the Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family and is a shrubby or arborescent, perennial, xerophytic, succulent, pea-green colored plant. 

Aloe grows mainly in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, and America. However, Aloe is also cultivated in the southern border areas of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

The Aloe plant has triangular, fleshy leaves with serrated edges, yellow tubular flowers, and fruits that contain numerous seeds. Each leaf is composed of three layers: 

  • Outer Layer: Called the rind, this is the sturdy, thorny surface of the plant that serves as a protective barrier and is not consumed.
  • Middle Layer: This layer of the Aloe leaf is found underneath the rind and houses the bitter-tasting yellow sap known as Aloe latex or aloin. This sticky substance contains anthraquinones, which are compounds that have a laxative effect.
  • Inner Layer: This is where you’ll find the clear, fleshy, and flavorless Aloe gel. Although it’s 99% water, it’s brimming with bioactive compounds.

The three layers of an Aloe leaf

Source: Baden-Württemberg

Aloe’s Nutrient Content

Aloe consists of 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids, and amino acids. Here’s a brief breakdown of Aloe’s nutrient content:

    • Vitamins: It contains Vitamin A, B12,C, E, choline, and folic acid. Vitamin A, C and E are antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals.
    • Enzymes: It contains a multitude of enzymes, such as alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.
    • Minerals: It provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc. They are essential for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways.
    • Anthraquinones/Anthrones: It provides aloetic-acid, anthranol, aloin, isobarbaloin, emodin, and ester of cinnamic acid. Aloin and emodin acts as analgesics, antibacterials, and antivirals.
    • Saccharides: It contains mannose, glucose, L-rhamnose, and aldopentose.
    • Fatty acids: It provides four plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol, and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties.
    • Hormones: It provides uxins and gibberellins that may have anti-inflammatory actions.
    • Others: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and seven of the eight essential amino acids. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Lignin, an inert substance, when included in topical preparations, enhances the penetrative effect of the other ingredients into the skin. Saponins that are the soapy substances form about 3% of the gel and have cleansing and antiseptic properties.

Aloe in Ancient Times

The use of Aloe has a history of over 5000 years. In fact, the Bible speaks of Aloe in more than a dozen passages, referring to it as the “bitter herb.”1 Proverbs 7:17, for example, says, “I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.”

The ancient Chinese and Egyptians used Aloe to treat burns and wounds, and to reduce fevers, while American Indians, who called Aloe “The Wand of Heaven”, believed that anyone touched by the inner sap, which is what we call the gel, would be cured of their skin disorders.2

The earliest record of Aloe in skincare comes from the Ebers Papyrus, which is an Egyptian medical record, from the 16th century BC. According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, in ancient Egypt, they called Aloe “The Plant of Immortality.” with many claims of Nefertiti and Cleopatra using Aloe in their beauty treatments.3 4

In the Greco-Roman era, Aristotle, among others, used Aloe to heal wounds, boils, eye conditions, care for the skin, and prevent hair loss.5 6 The Jíbaro Indians called Aloe “The Doctor of the Sky” and “Fountain of Youth” and was considered one of their sacred plants.7 8

The benefits of Aloe were discovered again at the end of World War II after verifying that it helped cure the burns of people injured in the nuclear explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1968, the stabilization of the gel was made possible, which allowed it to be transported worldwide, but modern medicine and the use of synthetic drugs managed to eclipse it for a few decades.9

Today, Aloe is scientifically recognized and has re-emerged within the world of natural medicine. Currently, its main use is in cosmetics and skincare for its array of benefits.

The Benefits of Aloe

When you spot a bottle of Aloe gel, chances are you recall being slathered with it after too much time in the sun. However, Aloe’s benefits for skin span much wider than treating sunburn, especially considering that Aloe is scientifically proven to penetrate the skin up to seven layers deep.

Here are some of the ways Aloe can benefit your skin, according to dermatologists and studies:

It Can Soothe Sunburns

Aloe’s most well-known usage is soothing sunburned skin. Because of its naturally moisturizing, and subsequently healing properties, research has shown that Aloe may help heal first- and second-degree burns on the skin.10 The plant is also incredibly hydrating, which could help combat the skin peeling that usually takes effect post-sunburn.

Aloe is chock-full of antioxidants, and one antioxidant protein in particular, called Metallothionein, has been found to have a protective effect on skin that’s been exposed to and damaged by UV rays.11 12 

It Can Help Fade Dark Spots

Dark spots on the skin, also known as hyperpigmentation, can leave their mark for a variety of reasons; whether from sun exposure, acne, or just the normal aging process. However, a compound called aloesin, found in the Aloe plant, may help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

According to one study, when applied four times per day for 15 days, aloesin was found to be effective in treating UV-induced and post-acne hyperpigmentation.13 Another study concluded that the topical application of aloesin can directly inhibit hyperpigmented skin from producing more melanin.14

It Can Moisturize Skin

“The leaf of the Aloe plant is rich in water, particularly in the innermost layer, so it helps to hydrate the skin and lock in moisture,” explains board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, M.D. “The sugars Aloe contains, known as mucopolysaccharides, also help to retain moisture in the skin.”

When applied topically, Aloe has been shown to increase the water content of the outermost layer of skin, which is called the stratum corneum, making it an ideal ingredient for dry skin types.15

It Can Provide Healthy Aging Benefits for Skin

Sufficient moisture can help stave off the visible signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to its ability to help replenish and retain moisture in the skin, Aloe also stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin fibers in the skin — all of which are necessary to keep skin hydrated, firm, and supple. 16 17

It Can Clear Up Acne

“There is data to suggest that Aloe possesses antimicrobial properties and can help acne-prone skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. “It should not take the place of your traditional acne medications but can be used alongside them.”

In addition to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, Aloe is also a natural source of salicylic acids, which can also help with breakouts such as blackheads and whiteheads. One study found that the topical use of Aloe in combination with tretinoin cream was effective in treating inflammatory and noninflammatory acne.18

It Can Soothe Psoriasis and Eczema

Aloe is also able to stimulate new cell growth. It can help heal chronic skin problems such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema as it contains the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, which help firm the skin and keep it hydrated.

Additionally, skin with a broken barrier is also more prone to fungal and bacterial infections. Aloe can be considered an antiseptic acting against fungi, bacteria, and viruses. According to the Mayo Clinic, using Aloe cream on psoriasis may also help reduce the scaling, redness, and irritation caused by the disorder.19

It Can Promote Wound Healing

If you’re used to grabbing Neosporin for a minor cut, consider trying Aloe instead. Its molecular structure helps heal wounds quickly and minimizes scarring by boosting collagen and fighting bacteria.

In one study, it was found that glucomannan, a polysaccharide, and gibberellin, a growth hormone, interact with growth factor receptors on the fibroblast, thereby stimulating its activity and proliferation, which in turn significantly increases collagen synthesis after the use of Aloe topically. Due to this, it accelerated wound contraction and increased the breaking strength of the resulting scar tissue.20

Colorized vs. Decolorized Aloe

It’s important to know the difference between non-decolorized and decolorized Aloe. In fact, California’s Proposition 65, which requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, lists non-decolorized Aloe.

Non-decolorized Aloe is the whole Aloe leaf including the outer skin, the outer leaf, and the gel. It’s all processed together and not filtered to remove cancer-causing and DNA damaging chemicals, such as aloin, that are naturally found in the Aloe plant. Decolorized Aloe is not listed on the Proposition 65 list considering it has been purified and filtered to remove cancer-causing chemicals.

Several commercial Aloe manufacturers filter the Aloe using the following methods:

  • Leaf Processing Method: Aloe leaf juice is obtained by grinding or macerating the entire Aloe leaf followed by purification to remove the phenolic compounds found in the latex. This purification step is usually accomplished via activated carbon filtration in a process known as decolorization.
  • Inner Leaf Processing Method: Aloe leaf juice is obtained by stripping away the outer leaf rind, rinsing or washing away the latex, and processing the remaining inner leaf material. Decolorization is also sometimes employed with this method.

A two year National Toxicology Program concluded that oral ingestion of the non-decolorized whole leaf Aloe was linked to gastrointestinal tumors in rats. However, another study in rats showed that decolorized Aloe did not cause harmful effects. This suggests that the toxic components are likely removed by the decolorization process. 

You can learn more about non-decolorized and decolorized Aloe here.

Always Use Clean, Safe Aloe 

Caution should be taken when using non-decolorized Aloe as there can be potential side effects. The Aloe latex — the yellow juice near the rind — is where most of the danger lies. However, ingredients in the more commonly used gel itself can also be harmful to some people. Always test a small amount to ensure you aren’t allergic to the plant.

Here is a list of potential side effects of using non-decolorized Aloe. When in doubt, always check with your doctor.

  • Regular use of the entire leaf — which includes the latex — can deplete potassium in the body. Electrolyte imbalances can lead to muscle weakness and cardiac problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, ingesting one gram of Aloe latex for multiple days can be fatal.
  • Products containing the latex will exacerbate intestinal illnesses such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels when using Aloe.
  • Ingesting any form of Aloe is not recommended during pregnancy as it may cause uterine contractions or miscarriage. Aloe should also be avoided during breastfeeding.
  • Excessive use of Aloe latex may cause kidney failure and shouldn’t be used by people with kidney problems.

Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream Herban Wisdom Eye Cream

Aloe leaf juice is integrated into the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream for its ability to moisturize and restore suppleness to dry and damaged skin, along with being able to address wound-healing and skin inflammation.

The Aloe contained in Humanist Beauty formulas is decolorized and deemed safe according to California Proposition 65. Additionally, the anthraquinone content of Humanist Beauty’s Aloe is less than 50 ppm and is free of PCB/pesticides, arsenic, heavy metals, and lead in compliance with CIR restrictions.

You can shop the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom Eye Cream here

https://invitationtothegarden.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/herbs-and-spices-in-the-bible/ [1]

https://www.herbs-hands-healing.co.uk/books/online-books/in-a-nutshell-aloe-vera-aloe-barbadensis [2]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/ [3]

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/447967494181566713/ [4]

https://aloe-world.com/#:~:text=In%20the%20Greco%2DRoman%20era,loss%20or%20alleviate%20genital%20ulcers. [5] [6]

https://firstlawcomic.com/is-aloe-vera-gel-a-water-based-product/ [7]

https://nutrivict.com/aloe-vera-history-and-benefits/ [8]

https://www.aloeyoung.com/ [9]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK74820/ [10]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017010/ [11]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/ [12]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843359/ [13]

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2008.00432.x [14]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17026654/ [15]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ [16]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12548256/ [17]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23336746/ [18]

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-aloe/art-20362267 [19]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9562243/ [20]

Schisandra: An Ancient Adaptogen

You may have heard of Schisandra as a super ingredient that is loved and praised by health enthusiasts. The adaptogen is often ingested as a supplement or added to smoothies as a way to bring the mind and body to equilibrium. Schisandra, also known as Chinese Magnolia Vine, Five Flavored Fruit, and Wu Wei Zi, is a woody vine that produces red berries in the forests of Northern China and the Russian Far East. It’s considered a Harmonizing Tonic or “King” remedy beneficial to qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) due to its well balanced energetic nature. In this blog, we’ll discuss the history of Schisandra, along with its medicinal and skincare benefits.

How Schisandra Gained Its Names

Schisandra berry’s Chinese name, Wǔ Wèi Zi, means “Five Flavor Fruit.” It earned this name as it’s the only fruit known to contain all five fundamental tastes — bitter, pungent, salty, sour, and sweet. According to TCM theory, this unique composition supports the five Zang Organs, or the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and spleen. This cooperative of Zang Organs produces and stores qi, the vital energy or life force that flows through all living things.1

The western botanical name, Schisandra, comes from the genus Schisandraceae, which was named by French botanist André Michaux in his Flora Boreali-Americana, published in 1803. Sometimes it’s incorrectly spelled Schizandra, which is a misunderstanding of origin. According to the American Herbal Pharmacopeia, “The name Schisandra is derived from the ancient Greek schisis meaning “crevice” or “fissure.”

Many writers have incorrectly written this as Schizandra presumably from the Greek schizo meaning “split” or “separate” which has resulted in inconsistencies in the literature. This is further confused as the Manual of Cultivated Trees, which was published in 1954, reported that the name Schisandra was in fact based on the verb schizo.”2

Schisandra Fact Sheet

Source: The Alchemist’s Kitchen

The Historical and Cultural Significance of Schisandra

Indigenous peoples of the Asian continent have used Schisandra berries medicinally and ceremonially since before recorded history – over 2,000 years. To make use of all the benefits, the Schisandra berries were most commonly dried in the sun and consumed as part of food and medicinal practices. 

TCM says that Schisandra berries “calm the heart and quiet the spirit.” Indigenous Siberian hunters, known as the Nanai, have traditionally consumed the Schisandra plant’s berries to help improve stamina and reduce fatigue in the rugged terrain during the long winter months.3

Recorded use of Schisandra dates back to the Tang dynasty, described in China’s first known herbal encyclopedia: Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, or The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica, written and compiled between about 200 and 250 CE. It’s considered one of “50 Fundamental Herbs” in TCM. Chinese, Korean, and Russian cultures have used its berries in a number of ways; in beauty tonic blends, as an ingredient in soups and stews, and infused into wines. 

Awareness of Schisandra reached the European and American countries relatively recently; the first monograph on it can be found in The American Pharmacopoeia from 1999.4 Today, Schisandra is a popular ingredient in skincare products and foods, shining a light on the berries’ myriad of benefits.

Medicinal Benefits of Schisandra

Schisandra berries are known to have a wide range of health benefits and have been used in traditional medicine to treat a number of illnesses. From helping to heal yourself by clearing toxins out of your body to aiding with specific maladies, the medicinal benefits are nearly endless.

Schisandra can: 

Aid Those Suffering From Alzheimer’s Disease

Schisandrin B is a mineral found in Schisandra berries, which may have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study found that Schisandrin B has the ability to block the formation of peptides in the brain.5

The specific peptide, amyloid-beta, is found in excessive amounts in all Alzheimer’s sufferers. Schisandrin B is an anti-inflammatory mineral, which can assist further to reduce neurotoxicity and the severity of Alzheimer’s disease.6

Increase Physical Health

Schisandra was studied by Russian scientists and shown to provide an increased physical working capacity. The study’s findings found that Schisandra can create a stress-protective effect in animals. This included protection from heat shock, frostbite, immobilization, irradiation, and heavy metal intoxication.7 

Reduce Blood Pressure

Schisandra has been used for centuries in oral form as a relaxant. Studies conducted showed an increase in blood circulation by relaxing cardiac blood vessels. This results in lower blood pressure and ties in with a reduction in stress.8

Be Effective Against Liver Damage

One study showed that the Schisandra Chinensis Pollen Extract (SCPE) had an antioxidant effect on carbon tetrachloride (CCI4) toxins in the liver. The higher antioxidant activities and the abundance of polyphenols found in SCPE was also proven to be effective against liver damage caused by Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.9,10

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can be the result of numerous liver diseases, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. There are more fatty acids and inflammation of the liver in people with NAFLD. Researchers found that Schisandrin B reduced these fatty acids, while also acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

Reduce Menopause Symptoms

A randomized controlled trial completed at the end of 2016 showed that Schisandra can reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms. It concluded that Schisandra is effective and safe at minimizing hot flashes, sweating, and heart palpitations.11

Be Effective Against Asthma

A study from Korea published in 2014 found that Schisandra berries exert anti-asthma properties. The berries do this by inhibiting immunoglobulins, which are antibodies that incite allergy reactions. The berries also temper hyper-responsiveness by the body. This hyper-responsive effect to allergens is what causes airways to spasm and close, creating asthma attacks.12

Work As An Energy and Adrenal Tonic

Schisandra has long been prized for its energizing and vitality-enhancing properties. Countless studies have shown the measurable increased physical performance of subjects taking it. Since it’s a tonic herb, it can strengthen and tone many organs in the body, benefiting the flow of qi.13

Schisandra can increase the contractibility of the heart and enhance the exchange of oxygen in the tissue cells. This ultimately means your muscles will enhance the utilization of oxygen and improve the gaseous exchange in the lungs and in peripheral cells to reduce the production of acidic metabolic waste while simultaneously increasing the removal of acidic waste in the cells, blood, and lungs.14

Combats Stress and Depression

There is a significant amount of evidence, in conjunction with its long-standing traditional use as a tonic, that as an adaptogen, Schisandra can be effective against stress and depression. Adaptogens are substances believed to reinforce the nonspecific resistance of the body against physical, chemical, or biological stressors.

Schisandra is most well-known in the West as an adaptogen facilitating a response to unproductive stress by modulating endocrine and immune functions. As an adrenal-cortical restorative, Schisandra can overcome the chronic loss of stamina, fatigue, over-work and chronic illness.15

Promotes Longevity and Vitality

For millennia, Schisandra has been known as a herb that promotes longevity and acts against aging. Schisandra’s berries are rich in antioxidants, but they also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Both of these actions help to improve cellular function and promote a longer life. In TCM, the ability of Schisandra to promote longevity and vitality is attributed to its tonification of the three treasures: qi, Jing (essence), and Shen (spirit).

Schisandra in Skincare

Schisandra has an array of medicinal benefits that have been touted for centuries; however, it has also been highly regarded for its potential skin benefits in China, especially among the wealthy. The berries were used to promote beautiful skin and provide protection from sun and wind damage. 

Packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, including key vitamins C and E, Schisandra’s strong astringent qualities enable the skin to hold in moisture for more fullness. Additionally, its action on the liver can largely be attributed to improvements in skin issues including hives and eczema. 

Researchers at Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik (BASF) have also discovered that Schisandra berry extracts, at the molecular level, specifically target two chemical processes linked to skin anti-aging. The extract stimulates the synthesis of these “tension molecules,” called collagen XVII and ladinin-1.16

In general, Schisandra’s benefits on the skin can include:

  • Rejuvenating and revitalizing the skin
  • Reducing the skin’s natural inflammation and the vascular swelling produced by anxiety and stress
  • Protecting against external damage like wind, sun rays, and pollution
  • Improving skin strength and resiliency
  • Promoting overall skin wellness

The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream

Schisandra berry extract is integrated into the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream for its adaptogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, tonic, and astringent properties to promote overall skin wellness and to keep your skin looking and feeling its absolute best.

Remember: Your eyes are the windows to your soul, so take special care of them so they can convey the happiness and joy you feel inside.

You can learn more about the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream here.

 

References: 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230859535_Monograph_of_Schisandra_Schisandraceae [1]

https://herbal-ahp.org/online-ordering-schisandra-fruit/ [2] [4]

https://www.herbrally.com/monographs/schisandra [3]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28891753/ [5]

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142483 [6]

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alexander-Panossian/publication/5336030_Pharmacology_of_Schisandra_chinensis_Bail_An_overview_of_Russian_research_and_uses_in_medicine/links/5c651bc7299bf1d14cc4d598/Pharmacology-of-Schisandra-chinensis-Bail-An-overview-of-Russian-research-and-uses-in-medicine.pdf [7]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3434368/ [8]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23201450/ [9]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412546/ [10]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27763802/ [11]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4047578/ [12]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5378736/ [13][14]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537344/ [15]

https://carecreations.basf.us/products/sqisandryl-ls-9905 [16]