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The Proven Health Benefits of Aromatherapy

Essential oils may smell nice, but do they really offer any health benefits? That was the crux of a recent clinical study that showed how olfactory enrichment with aromatherapy essential oils can help boost memory and neural health in older adults.

The groundbreaking study took place this year with results published in July. It was aimed at addressing cognitive decline in older adults by exploring the potential benefits of olfactory enrichment using essential oils. Conducted at the University of California, Irvine, the study examined the impact of nightly exposure to a variety of scents on cognitive abilities and neural functioning in healthy older individuals.

The Study Method: Aromatherapy for Cognitive Well-Being

The research involved 43 participants aged 60 to 85, randomly assigned to either the Olfactory Enriched group or the Control group. The Enriched group experienced exposure to seven different essential oils per week: rose, orange, eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and lavender. Using an odorant diffuser, subjects were exposed to a single essential oil for two hours per night. The Control group underwent a similar experience with a placebo made of distilled water and a negligible amount of odorant. Neuropsychological assessments and fMRI scans were conducted at the study’s commencement and after a six-month period.

The Results: Remarkable Cognitive Improvements with Aromatherapy

The findings revealed a significant 226% improvement in the Olfactory Enriched group compared to the Control group in the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, a measure of verbal memory. Intriguingly, the study also observed enhanced functioning in the left uncinate fasciculus, a brain structure crucial for learning and memory, as indicated by mean diffusivity.

The Olfactory Connection to Cognitive Health

The study builds on previous research showcasing the positive impact of olfactory enrichment on brain and behavior in laboratory animals. It highlights the unique connection between the olfactory system and the limbic system, a key player in memory and emotion. Unlike other sensory systems, the olfactory system has direct projections to the limbic system, providing a direct neural pathway for potential cognitive benefits.

Olfactory Loss, Cognitive Deterioration, and Neurological Disorders

As people age, olfactory ability tends to decline before cognitive functions. Olfactory loss has been linked to the reduction of gray and white matter in the brain. Notably, conditions such as COVID-19, chronic sinusitis, and various neurological disorders are associated with olfactory dysfunction and subsequent cognitive decline. The study emphasizes the predictive value of olfactory loss in determining cognitive decline in conditions like dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.

Olfactory Enrichment: A Natural Intervention

The study draws attention to olfactory stimulation as a potential intervention to counteract cognitive decline. Previous research has demonstrated that olfactory enrichment not only enhances olfactory ability but also induces structural changes in the human brain. Olfactory stimulation has been shown to increase cortical thickness, gray matter volume, and even alter neural pathways associated with memory and learning.

Nightly Aromatherapy: A Simple Approach to Cognitive Health

The researchers innovatively tested the efficacy of minimal olfactory enrichment at night using an odorant diffuser. Participants exposed to various essential oils at night experienced significant improvements in both cognitive performance and neural functioning. The study proposes olfactory enrichment as a cost-effective and low-effort strategy for enhancing brain health, particularly in older adults.

Essential Oils and Cognitive Enhancement

The essential oils used in the study, including rose, orange, eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and lavender, were carefully selected for their potential cognitive benefits. Participants not only reported on the pleasantness and intensity of each scent but also underwent nightly exposure to these oils. This nuanced approach aimed to explore the impact of specific olfactory stimulation on cognitive outcomes.

Implications and Future Research

The study’s limitations, including a small sample size and the use of a single odorant each night, are acknowledged. However, the results provide a compelling foundation for future, larger-scale clinical trials. The potential of olfactory enrichment as a public health initiative to reduce neurological risk in older adults is suggested, opening new avenues for research and intervention strategies in the field of cognitive health.

In conclusion, the study underscores the transformative power of nightly olfactory enrichment with essential oils, offering a glimmer of hope for addressing cognitive decline in our aging population. As we delve deeper into the intricate relationship between our sense of smell and cognitive well-being, olfactory enrichment emerges as a simple yet impactful tool in the quest for maintaining and enhancing brain health in later years.

Related Articles:

Benefits of Essential Oils

Plant Wisdom

Unlocking the Extraordinary Benefits of CBD

CBD Empowers Holistic Wellbeing

In recent times, a remarkable gift from nature has captivated the world with its potential to elevate our health and overall well-being. This precious gem is none other than cannabidiol (CBD). Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD has gained immense popularity as a natural remedy, devoid of the intoxicating effects typically associated with THC. Today, I invite you on a journey to explore the extraordinary benefits of CBD and its potential to empower us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Alleviating Pain and Reducing Inflammation

Imagine a world where suffering from chronic pain and inflammation becomes a distant memory. CBD has the power to turn that dream into a reality. By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD showcases its ability to alleviate pain caused by conditions like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia. Furthermore, CBD’s incredible anti-inflammatory properties offer hope to those affected by acne and inflammatory bowel disease, providing a natural and effective solution.

Embracing Peace and Conquering Anxiety

In our fast-paced lives, anxiety and stress can leave us feeling overwhelmed and disconnected. CBD can offer soothing solace to weary souls. By engaging with serotonin receptors in our brain, CBD gently guides us towards a serene state of mind. Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), find their match in CBD’s calming embrace. Embracing CBD allows us to manage daily stressors with grace and resilience.

Embracing the Restful Sleep We Deserve

Ah, the sweet embrace of sleep! Yet, many find themselves tossing and turning in a restless night’s pursuit. Fear not, for CBD offers a tranquil path to deep slumber. By addressing the root causes of sleep disturbances, CBD harmonizes our sleep patterns, diminishes anxiety, and alleviates pain. Whether it’s difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, CBD holds the key to a natural and restorative sleep, allowing us to wake up refreshed and ready to seize the day.

Nurturing the Gift of Neuroprotection

Our magnificent brains deserve nurturing and safeguarding. Enter CBD, a protector of neurological health. Researchers unveil its potential to shield us against conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Through its anti-inflammatory properties and the promotion of new brain cell growth, CBD stands tall as a guardian of our cognitive function and overall brain vitality.

Illuminating the Path to Overcoming Depression

In the depths of despair, a flicker of hope can change everything. CBD’s interaction with serotonin receptors ignites that very flame. Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and happiness levels, finds an ally in CBD. Though it does not replace professional therapy or medication, CBD’s antidepressant properties offer a glimmer of hope to those battling depression, providing a gentle nudge towards the light of well-being.

Nurturing the Journey of Cancer Warriors

While CBD is not a miraculous cure for cancer, it does hold the power to support those on their heroic battle against this formidable adversary. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties ease the burden of symptoms such as pain, nausea, and loss of appetite experienced by cancer patients. Moreover, preliminary research suggests that CBD may impede the growth of cancer cells and induce apoptosis in certain cases. While further exploration is required, CBD stands as a complementary ally in the arduous journey of cancer treatment.

Rejuvenating Skin Health with CBD

Our skin, the glorious canvas that envelops us, deserves tender care and nourishment. CBD, with its remarkable properties, extends its benefits to the realm of skincare, offering a natural solution for rejuvenating skin health. Let us explore the wonders CBD holds for our skin.

Acne Treatment and Prevention

Acne, a common skin condition affecting individuals of all ages, can be a source of distress. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to regulate sebum production make it a promising option for acne treatment. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD inhibited oil production and exerted anti-inflammatory effects on human sebocytes, suggesting its potential as an effective therapeutic agent for acne management (Oláh et al., 2014).

Eczema and Psoriasis Relief

CBD’s anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties have demonstrated potential in alleviating symptoms associated with eczema and psoriasis. Research published in the Journal of Dermatological Science showed that CBD reduced the production of inflammatory cytokines and exerted anti-itch effects in a mouse model of atopic dermatitis, indicating its therapeutic potential for eczema (Kozela et al., 2019). Another study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment reported that CBD-enriched ointment significantly improved skin symptoms and quality of life in patients with psoriasis (Palmieri et al., 2019).

Collagen Loss and Wrinkle Reduction

As we age, the signs of time leave their mark on our skin. CBD’s antioxidant properties and its ability to counteract oxidative stress make it an intriguing ingredient for skincare. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation revealed that CBD may help prevent collagen breakdown and protect against environmental damage, thus potentially reducing the appearance of wrinkles (Zhen et al., 2019). Additionally, CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects may help soothe skin and diminish redness and puffiness.

Soothing and Calming Sensitivity

Sensitive skin requires gentle care and ingredients that provide soothing relief. CBD’s calming properties make it suitable for sensitive skin prone to irritation and redness. Its interaction with the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin may help regulate skin sensitivity and promote a balanced and harmonious complexion.

Humanist Beauty Products with CBD

Woman Holding Herban Wisdom Eye Cream and Facial Oil

Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom Facial Oil and Herban Wisdom Eye Cream are formulated with the highest quality CBD derived from non-psychoactive full-spectrum whole hemp. Each 1 fl oz bottle of Herban Wisdom Facial Oil contains 500mg CBD, and each jar of Herban Wisdom Eye Cream contains 125 mg CBD. The levels of potency are designed to offer benefits to the skin that are truly holistic — both visible and sensorial — to support optimal skin health.

Conclusion

The benefits of CBD are truly awe-inspiring, continuously unfolding through dedicated research and exploration. From alleviating pain and reducing inflammation to embracing tranquility, nurturing restful sleep, protecting our precious brains, overcoming depression, and supporting those on the path of cancer treatment, CBD gifts us a natural and versatile solution for holistic well-being. In the realm of skincare, CBD showcases its prowess as a natural remedy, offering numerous benefits for rejuvenating skin health. From acne treatment and prevention to eczema and psoriasis relief, anti-aging and wrinkle reduction, and soothing sensitivity, CBD holds tremendous potential. As we continue to explore the scientific evidence supporting CBD’s influence on skin, incorporating CBD into our skincare routines may open the doors to radiant and revitalized skin.

Remember, as with any supplement or treatment, consulting with a healthcare professional is essential before incorporating CBD into your journey. May CBD’s extraordinary therapeutic potential pave the way for a world brimming with health, happiness, and unity.

References:

– Oláh, A., Tóth, B. I., Borbíró, I., Sugawara, K., Szöllõsi, A. G., Czifra, G., … & Bíró, T. (2014). Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 124(9), 3713-3724.

– Kozela, E., Lev, N., Kaushansky, N., Eilam, R., Rimmerman, N., Levy, R., … & Juknat, A. (2019). Cannabidiol inhibits pathogenic T cells, decreases spinal microglial activation and ameliorates multiple sclerosis-like disease in C57BL/6 mice. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 13(4), 631-645.

– Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Vadalà, M. (2019). A therapeutic effect of CBD-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. La Clinica Terapeutica, 170(2), e93-e99.

– Zhen, Y., Yi, Y., Zhang, Z., Zhao, Y., Xie, X., & Li, X. (2019). Cannabinoid receptor type 1 mediates 9-tetrahydrocannabinol-induced autophagy against hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury. Cell Death & Disease, 10(9), 1-13.

Also read:

Why Skin Needs Moisture

No matter your skin type, moisturizer is an excellent product to incorporate into your daily skincare routine as it can keep your skin hydrated and refreshed. As we age, the oil glands that keep our skin healthy lose their power, which causes them to create less oil. Moisturizing daily helps the glands to not have to work as hard to keep your skin feeling and looking its best. In this blog, we’ll discuss the skin’s lipid barrier, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), the difference between hydration and moisture, dry vs. dehydrated skin, and the reasons why your skin needs moisture.

What’s Your Skin’s Lipid Barrier?

Your skin is made up of layers with each one performing important functions in protecting your body. The outermost layer, known as the stratum corneum, is often described as a brick wall.1 It consists of tough skin cells called corneocytes that are bound together by mortar-like lipids. This is your skin barrier.2 Inside the skin cells, or “bricks,” you’ll find keratin and natural moisturizers. 

The lipid layer contains:

  • Cholesterol
  • Fatty Acids
  • Ceramides

Without your skin’s lipid barrier, various harmful environmental toxins and pathogens could penetrate your skin and cause adverse effects inside your body.3 Additionally, if you didn’t have a skin barrier, the water inside your body would escape and evaporate, leaving you completely dehydrated.4

Layers of the Skin

Pictured: Layers of the Skin     Source: Dermascope

A  Brief Dive Into Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL)

To understand TEWL, let’s revisit the layers of your skin. Your skin is comprised of three primary layers. The outermost layer is known as the epidermis, which is what you see in the mirror. The dermis is the middle layer, while the hypodermis is the innermost layer. TEWL occurs when water passes from the dermis through the epidermis and evaporates through the skin barrier.5

Dermatologist Anna Guanche mentions, “The skin barrier consists of the epidermis and, most specifically, the hard, outermost layer of the stratum corneum. The epidermis is what we typically think of as the outer layer of the skin, but it’s made up of five layers. The outermost layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum.”

When the stratum corneum is compromised, moisture evaporates through the ineffective skin barrier, and you may see very dry, dull or dehydrated skin. Your skin is typically wise enough to regulate water loss and retain hydration on its own, but sometimes certain factors damage your skin barrier’s function, exacerbating dryness.6

Pictured: Skin with barrier still intact vs. Skin with barrier integrity damaged      Source: Eminence

Here are four signs that you may be experiencing TEWL:

  • Irritation
  • Flaking
  • Itchiness
  • Tightness

The Difference Between Hydration and Moisture

A simple way to differentiate these terms is to remember that hydration refers to water while moisture refers to oil.7 However, it’s crucial to first understand the difference between a humectant, emollient, and a sealant, along with why they are used in various beauty and skincare products.8

Board-certified dermatologist Annie Gonzalez says, “Humectants, which hydrate the skin, pull water into the skin from within the body or the environment. Emollients moisturize the skin by filling in the gaps between skin cells and replacing missing lipids to fortify the skin. Sealants, which moisturize the skin, seal in water and help shore up the skin’s barrier functions.” 

Humectants

Humectants are water-loving ingredients that work by attracting water molecules from either the environment or from deeper within the body, ultimately adding more water content to the skin. Our skin naturally makes humectants, as well. These are called natural moisture factors (or NMFs), and they include things like lactic acid and urea.9

Powerful humectants include:

  • Glycerin
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Glycols

Emollients

Emollients are lighter oil-based substances that work by covering the skin with a protective film to trap in moisture. Emollients are often used to help manage dry, itchy, or scaly skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and ichthyosis.10

More specific examples of emollients include:

  • Jojoba oil
  • Squalane
  • Cocoa Butter

Sealants

The skin’s natural barrier acts as a shield for the skin, keeping vitamins and nutrients in and keeping toxins, pollutants, and other environmental aggressors out. Sealants add to the skin’s natural barrier by protecting the skin, preventing TEWL, and sealing in moisture.11

In general, sealants are heavier, waxy substances, which include:

  • Lanolin
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Heavier Silicones

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin

You may be wondering how to determine whether you need hydration or moisture from your skincare products. In short, you need both types of products to ensure that your skin’s lipid barrier is functioning properly. However, it’s important to know the difference between dry and dehydrated skin so you can adjust your skincare routine’s hydration-to-moisture ratios to better fit your skin’s needs.

Third-generation aesthetician, CEO, and Co-Founder of Glowbar, Rachel Liverman, says, “If your skin is dry, it means it lacks oil, so the solution would be a moisturizer; if your skin is dehydrated, meaning it lacks water, you need a hydrator.” A good way to tell whether your skin is dry or dehydrated is to look at its texture. Dehydrated skin tends to look dull and feel tight, whereas dry skin is often flaky, patchy, and sometimes red.12

Liverman explains, “If a client’s skin is presenting as dry (lacking oil), we choose a moisturizer with more humectants and emollients. If a client’s skin shows signs of dehydration, we choose serums with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides. It’s important to remember, though, whether you are dry or dehydrated, I, along with many, recommend using both humectants and sealants.”

Hydrators vs. Moisturizers

Pictured: Hydrators and Moisturizers Ven Diagram     Source: Xtend Life

The Importance of Moisturizing

Moisturizing is a key step in any skincare routine. Here are five reasons why moistuzing your skin is so important:

  • Moisturizing can help your skin repair itself. The most sensitive areas of your skin, like the face, ears, and neck, replace themselves more often than any other area on your skin, which leaves these areas vulnerable to dryness and the elements. Moisturizing can help give your skin the boost it needs to repair itself and stay healthy.13
  • Moisturizing can help keep acne at bay. While excess oil is normally the culprit behind breakouts, dry skin can signal your skin to produce more oil, thus leading to acne. Moisturizing can stop your skin from overcompensating with sebum, which in turn can keep acne at bay.14
  • Moisturizing can give you a smooth base for applying makeup. Moisturizing a few minutes before you apply your makeup can give you a smoother surface to work with, resulting in a more even complexion.15
  • Moisturizing can slow down the signs of skin aging. Properly moisturizing your skin can keep it from developing pre-mature lines and wrinkles. Plus, it can can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles that are already present. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that subjects who used moisturizer developed wrinkles much slower than those who didn’t.16

The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil and Eye Cream 

Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil and Eye Cream

The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil and Eye Cream are powerful, moisturizing skin treatments that fuse together the power of humectants, emollients, and sealants to keep your skin healthy and ready to take on the day. 

You can shop the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil and Eye Cream here.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-barrier#:~:text=Your%20skin%20is%20made%20up,This%20is%20your%20skin%20barrier. [1][2]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2843412/ [3][4]

https://eminenceorganics.com/us/blog/2021/09/20/what-transepidermal-water-loss-how-stop-it#:~:text=TEWL%20occurs%20when%20water%20passes,layer%20of%20the%20stratum%20corneum. [5][6]

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/hydration-vs-moisture [7][8]

https://www.healthline.com/health/humectant#:~:text=A%20humectant%20is%20a%20common,of%20the%20product%20at%20hand. [9]

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/emollients/ [10]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536416/ [11]

https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/dry-vs-dehydrated [12]

https://www.vogue.in/beauty/content/winter-skincare-diet-tips-to-hydrate-your-skin-from-within [13]

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/skin-care/moisturizer#:~:text=In%20studies%2C%20most%20patients%20see,medication%2C%20cleanser%2C%20and%20moisturizer. [14]

https://www.stives.com/how-to-moisturize-before-makeup#:~:text=Moisturizer%20does%20two%20very%20important,cause%20it%20to%20look%20cakey. [15]

https://www.glowday.com/blog/the-importance-of-moisturiser-in-the-ageing-process [16]

A Guide to Winter Beauty and Self-Care

With winter comes the holiday season, snow, frigid temperatures, and less daylight. To battle the cold winter months, many of us reach for an extra layer or two to keep warm, while also cranking the thermostat up. However, studies show that seasonal shifts, and what we do to combat them, can affect our skin, emotions, sleep cycles, and more. In this blog, we’ll cover how winter can change your skin and mental health, along with tips to help you lean into self-care given these changes.

Winter and Your Skin

Your skin loves consistency, so when the weather changes, it’s basically like a shock to the system. “Rapid fluctuations in weather can take its toll on our skin as it adjusts to the new environment,” explains dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. “For example, as we shift to winter, temperatures and humidity will drop quickly, so the skin will have to work harder to maintain adequate hydration as cold weather and wind start to kick in.”1

Zeichner also says, “This can lead to cracks in the outer skin layer, loss of hydration, and inflammation — all of which can seriously impact the overall state of your skin health. These symptoms commonly occur due to the skin barrier becoming disturbed during the winter months, which may make your skin more susceptible to irritation and inflammation.”2

Shari Marchbein, a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, mentions that, “It’s the sudden switch in weather, coupled with subsequent lifestyle changes people make as it gets cooler, such as taking hot showers and using central heat in homes, that contributes to the aforementioned dryness and inflammation associated with this transitional period.”3

Winter and Your Well-Being

Considering that there’s less daylight during winter, your circadian rhythm may be affected. Your circadian rhythm moderates your sleep and is affected by light. “Typically, it’s easier for people to ‘fall back’ than ‘spring forward’ as we gain an extra hour of sleep. However, that doesn’t mean that the end of daylight savings time is harmless. It can take a week or more for the body to adjust,” says Dr. Camelia Musleh, a neurologist at Sleep Medicine.4

Winter can also cause a sense of dread for many, which could be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). “Almost a fourth of the population deals with an increase in depression during the colder and darker months,” mentions Dr. Matt VanDusen, a clinical director for Delphi Behavioral Health Group. He notes that SAD has been linked to decreases in exposure to natural light and lower levels of vitamin D due to shorter days.5

SAD is commonly characterized by recurrent episodes of depression that mostly occur during the fall and winter months. A few documented symptoms of SAD may include oversleeping, daytime fatigue, carbohydrate craving, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating.6 It’s recommended that people who experience SAD talk with their healthcare provider to figure out their next steps.

SAD Information

Pictured: Symptoms and causes of SAD    Source: Priory

Tips to Keep You Looking and Feeling Your Best During Winter

The winter months can be tough on both your skin and mental health. Cold temperatures and low humidity levels result in dry air that draws moisture away from the skin, while harsh winter winds and dry indoor heat can lead to cracked and even bleeding skin. Disruptions in your circadian rhythm and symptoms of SAD can make the cold months even more complicated. Here are some tips to keep you looking and feeling your best during winter:

Avoid Hot Showers

A nice steamy shower in cold temperatures sounds like a great idea on the surface, but it can come at a cost. “Taking a long, hot shower can dry out our skin and lead to itchiness,” says Deanne Mraz Robinson, a board-certified dermatologist. “Try to limit your shower time to five to seven minutes and keep the temperature below 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher can strip the skin of its essential moisture and deplete the natural protective barrier of your skin.”7

Product Spotlight: ATTITUDE Natural Moisturizing Body Wash

Attitude Natural Moisturizing Body WashCrafted with the power of plants, the ATTITUDE Natural Moisturizing Body Wash bears the EWG Verified mark for the safest ingredients. It’s formulated with orange leaves that are known to restore the skin and give it a luminous glow, as well as moringa seed extract to help decrease the adhesion of pollutants. It’s the perfect moisturizing shower gel to keep your skin nourished all throughout winter.

You can shop the ATTITUDE Natural Moisturizing Body Wash here.

SPF Is Your BFF (Even In the Winter)

While you likely associate the sun’s damaging rays with summer, the sun comes out even when it’s winter. Beyond that, the sun can also damage your skin when it’s snowing. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, snow reflects up to 80% of the sun’s UV light, meaning that those rays have the potential for double the damage.8

Product Spotlight: Biossance Broad-Spectrum SPF 30

Biossance Broad-Spectrum SPF 30The Biossance Broad-Spectrum SPF 30 is an EWG Verified nontoxic zinc mineral sunscreen that provides invisible, broad-spectrum coverage. Zinc oxide protects the skin’s outer barrier to reflect damaging UVA/UVB rays, while squalane provides deep and fast-absorbing moisture.

To shop the Biossance Broad-Spectrum SPF 30, click here

Add Moisturizing and Anti-Inflammatory Skincare Products to Your Routine

Cooler temperatures can zap the moisture right out of your skin, but eye creams and facial oils are a fantastic remedy to this common cold weather issue. The delicate area under your eyes can suffer during this time of year. Since this area doesn’t contain oil glands, we need eye creams, which are made with vitamins, peptides, and other rescuers; these all help penetrate this thin layer, hydrating and soothing the skin underneath.

Facial oils are a huge help during the colder months, too. “Hydration is really a function of water balance; oils help hold water in and prevent the environment from stripping water out,” Tyler Hollmig, a dermatologist at Stanford Health Care, says. “Oils have also been shown to exhibit significant anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe irritated skin during winter.”9

Product Spotlight: Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil and Eye Cream

Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil and Eye CreamThe Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil and Eye Cream are EWG Verified powerful skin treatments fusing clean plant nutrients rich in antioxidant, adaptogenic, rejuvenating, and moisturizing properties. They both feature the ultra-moisturizing ingredient squalane, which has been proven to help with inflammation, along with many other natural ingredients that can offer your skin exceptional benefits. The Herban Wisdom Facial Oil and Eye Cream are perfect for your skin all year round. Plus, they make wonderful gifts!

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

Get Plenty of Rest

While you can’t crawl into a den and hibernate the winter away like a bear, it’s vitally important to get plenty of rest to keep you feeling rejuvenated during the winter months, and it’ll help keep your circadian rhythm in check. Sleep is also the best way to repair and reset the mind.10 You can learn more about better sleep hygiene here.

Product Spotlight: BetterYou Natural Sleep Spray

BetterYou Sleep SprayThe EWG Verified BetterYou Natural Sleep Spray is a mixture of transdermal magnesium with blended essential oils. It commences absorption immediately when massaged into the skin, helping to promote an overall feeling of well-being and natural relaxation.

You can shop the BetterYou Natural Sleep Spray here

Try Aromatherapy

If you’re dealing with symptoms of SAD or having trouble sleeping, aromatherapy may help. Essential oils can influence the area of the brain that’s responsible for controlling moods and the body’s internal clock that influences sleep and appetite. You can also combine aromatherapy with other complementary therapies, such as massage and meditation, for extra relaxation and a feeling of serenity.11 

Product Spotlight: Laguna Moon Lavender Essential Oil

Laguna Moon Lavender Essential OilResearch in recent years has found that lavender essential oil can help lower blood pressure and ease anxiety, while also regulating hormones to reduce mood swings, sadness, and depression. Laguna Moon’s Lavender Essential Oil is 100% pure and ideal for calming aromatherapy blends, diffusers, and so much more.

You can shop the Laguna Moon Lavender Essential Oil here

In Conclusion

With colder weather comes changes to your skin and mental health. Symptoms like eczema flare-ups and reddened skin are the tell-tale signs that your skin microbiome is being affected by the winter weather, while feeling anxious, depressed, and fatigued can mean that you may be suffering from SAD or a change in your circadian rhythm. If you’re having trouble with your skin and/or well-being during the winter months, it’s always recommended to try seeing a dermatologist or your local healthcare provider.

Do you have any winter self-care tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

References:

https://www.allure.com/story/how-seasons-weather-affect-skin [1][2][3]

https://www.northshore.org/healthy-you/is-the-winter-weather-negatively-affecting-your-mood-and-sleep/ [4]

https://www.bustle.com/p/how-cold-weather-affects-your-brain-according-to-experts-19367014 [5]

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651 [6]

https://www.thehealthy.com/beauty/face-body-care/winter-shower-tips/  [7]

https://www.skincancer.org/press/winter-sun-safety/#:~:text=However%2C%20UVB%20rays%20can%20burn,skin%20cancer%20and%20premature%20aging.[8]

https://www.drwangskincare.com/blogs/news/3-reasons-to-start-using-facial-oils-in-the-fall-winter#:~:text=They’re%20Hydrating&text=Oils%20are%20a%20great%20remedy,skin%20looking%20nice%20and%20hydrated. [9]

https://www.thegoodnightco.com.au/blogs/the-journal/why-a-winter-sleep-routine-is-important [10]

https://www.northshore.org/healthy-you/is-the-winter-weather-negatively-affecting-your-mood-and-sleep/ [11]

Managing Stress During The Holiday Season

The holidays can be a time to take a breath, recharge, and reflect on the past twelve months. Ironically, though, the season can be the exact opposite for many people. According to a Healthline survey, 44% of people say that they are stressed during the holidays, with more than 18% reporting that they’re “very stressed.”1 Thankfully, there are ways to ease your stress through the holiday season. In this blog, we’ll explore how and why stress peaks during the holidays and some mindful ways you can reduce stress to be able to enjoy the season with calm and joy.

Exploring Holiday Stress

The American Psychological Association found that more people in the United States find their stress increases rather than decreases during the holiday season for a variety of reasons. Lack of money for gifts, lack of time to shop and cook, and the overwhelming commercialism and hype of the holiday season can all increase the amount of stress felt during the holidays.2

According to a recent survey of 2,000 adults that set out to explore stress and the holiday season, 77% of respondents said they have a hard time relaxing during the holidays and usually end up feeling more stressed and worn down than ever. 56% said that the extra financial strain brought on by the holidays is their biggest source of anxiety.3 

Others frequently mentioned that finding gifts for everyone (48%), stressful family events (35%), and putting up decorations (29%) led to their anxiety. All in all, 88% of respondents believe the holidays are the most stressful time of the year with 84% saying excessive feelings of stress start as early as November.4

Two in five respondents say they would rather stand in line at the DMV than deal with holiday stress. Similarly, one in five would rather sit beside a crying child on a long plane ride. Unfortunately, that stress makes it very difficult for many Americans to enjoy the holidays (49%); so much so that a third of respondents said they just don’t find happiness in the holidays anymore.5

Holiday Stress

Pictured: Holiday stress statistics    Source: SWNS Digital

Symptoms of Holiday Stress

For many individuals, the most common symptom of holiday stress is a persistent feeling of sadness that begins during or before the season. This recurring feeling may vary in duration and intensity with some feeling down periodically, but many claim they get small boosts of upbeat emotions throughout the season.

More signs of holiday stress may include:

  • Depressed or irritable mood
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Feeling tense, worried, or anxious
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Feeling more tired than usual

Holiday Stress vs. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Feeling stressed or upset during the holidays can also be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depressive disorder that occurs in seasonal patterns during certain months of the year. Holiday depression and SAD can be difficult to distinguish from one another, but the duration and severity of the symptoms are usually the clues.

Holiday Stress vs. SAD

Pictured: Holiday depression vs. SAD    source: Very Well Mind

If the holiday season passes and you’re still feeling depressed or anxious, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to determine if what you are experiencing is a more significant mood disorder. Your doctor can assess your symptoms and determine a treatment that’s right for you.

Mindful Tips to Beat Holiday Stress

It’s absolutely possible to not only survive the holiday season but to even thrive and connect to your particular observance in a deeper and more profound way. Here are some of the most common stressors that present themselves this time of the year, along with mindful antidotes to help you enjoy the season:

Overwhelming Time Demands

Around the holidays, your schedule most likely fills up quickly with work and personal get-togethers. These back-to-back parties can often feel overwhelming as you try to juggle them with all of your other commitments. Additionally, you may feel pressed for time as you try to plan a holiday experience your family and friends will love. After all, a lot goes into a party.

Antidote: Treat yourself. You don’t have to say yes to everything. In reality, giving and giving without stopping is not an altruistic notion. Becoming aware of when you need to refuel allows time to re-energize and re-center. Self-care matters; you can treat yourself to a simple bath and a night of delicious takeout to let the holiday stress fade away. 

Expectations of Holiday Perfection

While it’s nice to take the time to create an aesthetically pleasing holiday experience, it’s easy to get caught up in a trap of perfection. Not only does this mindset make the holidays less joyful, but it also can set you up to experience disappointment. It’s important to remember that nothing is perfect; coming to this realization, along with finding your way to deal with it, can determine your well-being.

Antidote: Reflect on the meaning of the holidays. It’s easy to get caught up in the commercial version of what the holiday season means in modern times, but taking the time to reflect on what matters, whether it be tradition, spirituality, or religion, can help you keep your perspective as the year draws to a close. 

Holiday Loneliness

The pressure to please the people you love with gifts during the holiday season is ever-present. Instead of a joyful endeavor, gift-giving can easily become a chore causing many to feel down if they don’t receive something equally meaningful. Additionally, pressure can also manifest as you long to spend the holidays with those you love, creating feelings of loneliness.

Antidote: Donate your time to help those less fortunate. The holidays are a great time to practice the art of compassion and to think of others’ needs ahead of your own. You can use the time to give to and establish meaningful connections with those who may not have as much as you. Giving doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical or monetary gift; it can come in many forms like spending quality time or even a heartfelt message saying ‘I’m thinking of you.’

Stress and Family Anxiety

Family stress shows up in many ways. While there might be real difficulties surrounding the interpersonal dynamics of your family, it’s easy to get caught up in fuelling the fire rather than abating it. Most of the stress and anxiety around family is often anticipatory and based on not-so-pleasant past experiences, combined with the upcoming mix of different personalities. 

Antidote: Engage in gratitude. Take the time to step back and regard all that you have. Gratitude goes a long way when it comes to overall wellness, so, while in the midst of the holiday season tumult, try to re-center by consciously being grateful for the multiple aspects of this season, along with the loved ones that you’re blessed with.

Destress With The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil

With the holidays coming up, a lot of us are feeling more stress and sensitivity, and of course, the emotions we feel have a way of showing up on our skin. That’s why we handcrafted the Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil to feel like a soothing sanctuary for weary, worried, vulnerable skin. Just a few drops incorporated into your self-caring ritual helps visibly recharge skin to appear calm and balanced. Here’s to feeling better and holiday cheer! 

 

How do you practice mindfulness during the holidays? Let us know in the comments.

 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-stresses-us-most-at-the-holidays-113015#2 [1]

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/holiday-stress.pdf [2]

https://studyfinds.org/jingle-bell-crock-88-of-americans-feel-the-holiday-season-is-most-stressful-time-of-year/ [3][4][5]

Microsteps: Building Habits for a Healthy Life

We know exercise and staying active are great for our health, but it’s easy to opt out of physical activity when we get caught up with deskwork and the daily grind. Thankfully, it’s never too late to evaluate and refresh our routines by incorporating microsteps. Microsteps are little changes that we can make in our habits to help us improve; they are in essence “too small to fail” and easy to incorporate without being overwhelming. In this blog, we’ll explore microsteps and good habits, the importance of physical wellness, along with microsteps you can use to get moving.

Microsteps and Good Habits

One of the best ways to promote a healthy lifestyle is by creating good habits. According to a study from Duke University, around 45% of our everyday actions are made up of habits.1 Our habits, then, are a fundamental reflection of who we are. As Aristotle put it, “Habit’s but a long practice,” which “becomes men’s nature in the end.”

Microsteps are the building blocks of habits, as making small changes can help you build a new and healthier way of living. B.J. Fogg, a behavior change researcher and the director at Stanford University, said: “To create a new habit, you must first simplify the behavior. Make it tiny, even ridiculous; a good tiny behavior is easy to do — and fast.”

Arianna Huffington — celebrated author, political activist, and co-founder of the Huffington Post — has written over a dozen books about why microsteps work and how they’re backed by science. She told The Ladders, “ I personally use microsteps to reduce stress and recenter. It’s about prioritizing your well-being in some small way to set yourself up for success.”

Arianna Huffinton

Pictured: Arianna Huffington    Source: Huffpost

The Importance of Physical Wellness

Physical wellness, in essence, is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows you to get through your daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. Physical activity is just one aspect of physical wellness; it can also include managing stress, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet.2

Physical activity, though, is one of the most important things that we can do for our health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.3 Its findings provide more detail on the benefits of physical activity:

  • Physical activity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease: Exercising reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the United States. Exercise can also reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.4
  • Physical activity can cut down the risk of some cancers: Research shows that physically active people have a lower risk of colon cancer, and in women, breast cancer. Some research indicates the same for endometrial and lung cancer.5
  • Physical activity can strengthen bones and muscles: Exercise can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age, and may also help with arthritis.6
  • Physical activity can improve mental health and mood: Physical activity keeps thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp. It may also reduce the risk of depression and improve sleep quality.7

Health benefits of physical activity

Pictured: The health benefits of physical activity    Source: CDC

Microsteps to Promote Physical Wellness and Get Moving

Fitness goals can seem truly daunting, as we often view them with certain conditions like following a fad diet or becoming an exercise fanatic. Instead of drastically altering your lifestyle overnight though, research has found that microsteps can yield huge benefits like increased energy, improved sleep, and an overall state of contentment when compared to large changes.8

Here are ten easy microsteps that can get your body more active to promote physical wellness:

Use Your Apple Watch to Track Progress

The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day or roughly 1.5 to 2 miles.9 By using your Apple Watch, you can find out how many steps a day you walk as your baseline. Then, you can start small by adding extra steps daily. You can also use an app like Time to Walk, which features personal stories from influential people to inspire Apple Watch users to walk more.

“Walking is the original mindfulness activity, where you get out in nature, you get some fresh air, and you get the dopamine and the endorphins of activity. You look up, you look ahead, and it gives you a chance to open up your thoughts and to be inspired,” Jay Blahnik, senior director of fitness technologies at Apple, said.

Find Your Motivation

Finding ways to increase your motivation is crucial as it allows you to change behaviors, develop competencies, set goals, grow interests, and make plans. Once you commit to making small healthier choices, your larger goals will seem much more achievable. After all, small lifestyle changes can be building blocks for more ambitious health goals.

Here are some strategies to boost your workout motivation:

 Rethink Positive Thinking

Positive thinking enthusiasts have long said that visualizing the benefits of an act or behavior is a wonderful motivational strategy. To do this, for example, you’d think of how the sun feels on your face as you walk through your neighborhood. Or how happy you’d feel when you notice your muscles developing. 

According to Gabriele Oettingen, PhD, a psychologist at New York University and renowned author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, these feel-good fantasies are only effective when accompanied by more realistic problem-solving methods.

She says that after naming your wish and seeing the outcome, you must identify what’s holding you back. In a study of 51 female students who wanted to eat less junk food, researchers asked each woman to imagine the benefits of nibbling on better foods. Those who identified the trigger that made healthful snacking difficult for them were most successful at sticking to their goal.10

Reward Yourself

We all find motivation in different ways, so if the usual goals of “better health” and “weight control” aren’t doing it for you, try something else. Journalist Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, advises to make the benefits of working out more tangible, such as by treating yourself to a smoothie afterward.

He mentioned creating a neurological “habit loop,” which involves a cue to trigger the behavior (setting out your walking shoes), the routine (walking on the treadmill), and then the reward. “An extrinsic reward is so powerful as your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile,” he explained. “It increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.”

Try a Ten-Minute Workout

If you’re new to working out, start with a ten-minute exercise routine. By exercising for ten minutes with intensity and effort, you’ll be more likely to give your body what it needs to keep adapting, building muscle, and increasing your capacity.11 Here are some steps to follow for an easy ten-minute workout:

Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder RollsStanding or sitting with your feet hip-width apart, slowly roll both of your shoulders forward, up, back, and down. For added intensity, you can hold hand weights down at your sides while performing this exercise. 

Squats or Chair

Squats or chairStanding with your feet hip-width apart, keep your back straight and bend your knees and hips as if to sit down in a chair with your arms out in front of you; for squats, straighten back up and repeat. For added intensity, raise your arms overhead or hold a weight at your chest or shoulders.

Calf Raises

Calf RaisesStanding with your feet hip-width apart, keep your legs straight but not locked as you slowly lift your heels and rise to a tip-toe position, then lower yourself back to the floor. For added intensity, raise one leg while you do calf raises with the other. Try to perform 10 repetitions before switching to the other foot.

Side Bends

Side BendsStanding or sitting with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips or overhead, bend to one side and then return to a standing position. Try to perform at least 10 repetitions before switching to the other side. For added intensity, try to hold a weight at your side or chest level while doing your side bends.

Tabletops

TabletopsStanding with your feet hip-width apart and keeping your back straight, bend forward at your hips until your body is parallel with the floor. Hold for a few seconds on each repetition. For added intensity, hold hand weights to your sides or one weight with both hands at chest level.

Pushups or Plank

Pushups or PlankStanding with your feet hip-width apart, place your hands shoulder-width apart on a stable surface like a wall, desk edge, or stationary chair. Staying in this position, walk backward until your body is at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Hold a few seconds for a plank; bend and straighten at your elbows for pushups. For added intensity, lift one of your legs behind you and hold during pushups or while in a plank position.

Neck Stretch

Neck StretchStanding or sitting with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders down and back, look straight ahead and tilt your ear toward your shoulder until you feel the stretch. Try to hold this position for about 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side. For added intensity, place your hand on top of your head and apply light pressure to increase your neck stretch.

Sneak In Exercise Throughout Your Day

It’s recommended that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, while also working the major muscle groups at least two days a week.12 If you’re too busy to hit the gym, you can actually boost your physical activity throughout your day with small microsteps.

Here are seven ways to sneak more exercise into your day:

  • Rise and shine — and stretch: Before you start your regular morning routine, do some gentle stretches or follow a yoga video on Youtube. 
  • Take the scenic route: You’ll sneak in more exercise if you ride your bike instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away in the parking lot, or if you get off the bus or subway at an earlier stop and walk the extra distance. It all adds up.
  • Move on your lunch hour: Rather than having lunch at your desk, use your lunch hour to go to the gym, speed walk, or run errands. Eat something healthy while on the go or have lunch at your desk later.
  • Propose walking meetings: Change the pace of your workplace by breaking out of the conference room and doing walking-and-talking meetings instead of the usual sit-down ones.
  • Walk the dog: Not only will you squeeze in more exercise, but your dog will enjoy the extra walking time too. Don’t have a dog? Ask someone in your family, a friend, or neighbor to be your walking buddy.
  • Take advantage of technology: If you tend to get distracted by your daily tasks, set an alarm to remind yourself to get up and move. 
  • Work out around the house: Doing housework can be a great way to get in more physical activity. 

In Conclusion

Micro-steps and mini-goals work because they’re bite-sized milestones, within just enough reach to make you feel good and get you moving. Plus, each time you achieve a miniature milestone, you’ll receive dopamine to your brain as part of your innate reward system. Using microsteps to increase your physical activity daily is an excellent way to promote health, wellness, and an overall sense of accomplishment. You got this!

How do you sneak in physical activity throughout your day? Let us know in the comments!

 

References:

https://dornsife.usc.edu/assets/sites/545/docs/Wendy_Wood_Research_Articles/Habits/Neal.Wood.Quinn.2006_Habits_a_repeat_performance.pdf [1]

https://www.northwestern.edu/wellness/8-dimensions/physical-wellness.html [2]

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm [3]

https://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/cvd/page4.htm#:~:text=Regular%20physical%20activity%20prevents%20or,the%20risk%20of%20developing%20CVD. [4]

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/how-exercise-can-lower-cancer-risk.html#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20American%20Cancer,endometrium%2C%20and%20possibly%20pancreatic%20cancer. [5]

https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health#:~:text=Weight%2Dbearing%20and%20resistance%20exercises,weights%20%E2%80%93%20can%20also%20strengthen%20bones. [6]

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm [7]

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyblaschka/2019/11/12/want-to-make-big-progress-science-says-to-start-small/ [8]

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/10000-steps/art-20317391#:~:text=The%20average%20American%20walks%203%2C000,a%20day%20every%20two%20weeks. [9]

https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.380.1911&rep=rep1&type=pdf [10]

https://www.wholelifechallenge.com/why-10-minutes-of-exercise-per-day-is-enough-to-get-you-results/ [11]

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm#:~:text=Physical%20activity%20is%20anything%20that,Physical%20Activity%20Guidelines%20for%20Americans. [12]

Moving Away From “Anti-Aging” Skincare

“Anti-aging” is a term that isn’t as embraced by the beauty industry as it used to be. Instead, people are praising the aging process and seeking ways to age gracefully. Allure Magazine, along with many other brands, is ushering in the age of “pro-aging,” a time to embrace the years we’ve been given and not dwell on wrinkles and fine lines. In this blog, we will explore the use of the moniker “anti-aging,” Allure’s terminology pledge, celebrities who celebrate their age, and how to take care of your body and mind for a beautiful and healthy aging process.

Goodbye “Anti-Aging, Hello “Glow” and “Radiance”

The modern anti-aging industry started in the early 20th century, when two female beauty pioneers, Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, competed to get their potions into women’s skincare routines. In his book, Branded Beauty: How Marketing Changed the Way We Look, journalist Mark Tungate writes of this competitive duo by saying,

“On the one hand, their products pleased, pampered, and, yes, beautified millions of women. On the other, their advertising copy contrived to persuade their customers that aging was not only undesirable but somehow shameful.”

Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden

Pictured: Elizabeth Arden (Left) and Helena Rubinstein (Right)    Source: NY Post

Elizabeth Arden, which is now owned by Revlon, set the tone for how skincare was sold for the next century. However, in 2010, an analyst told the Wall Street Journal, “Many women out there won’t buy anything with “anti-aging” on it.” This is also when “anti-aging” began to be phased out in place of more positive terminology.1

While there wasn’t necessarily a huge pushback to the idea of “anti-aging,” there was an abundance of indie brands, like Saturday Skin and Herbivore, which use more holistic and positive language like “glow,” “radiance,” and “luminosity,” rather than positioning skin as something that requires a fight to maintain.2

In 2016, the beauty industry regrouped after data suggested that individuals were not buying traditional anti-aging products, according to the trade publication WWD.3 Two years later, with more positive terminology, the sales of products meant to provide glowy, radiant results were up 44%.4

Allure Banned “Anti-Aging” Within Its Pages

Michelle Lee

Pictured: Michelle Lee    Source: Forbes

Michelle Lee, the former editor-in-chief of Allure, felt pressure that the term “anti-aging” had negative connotations and was not inclusive. She’s compared the term to phrases like “dieting” and “throws like a girl,” which both had underpinnings in shaming and sexism. Lee saw the term “anti-aging” similarly, albeit for ageism.

“The world has really moved into this space of acceptance and not shaming people,” she says. “We see so many things like hashtags about acne acceptance and size acceptance and gender and hair texture and everything else. But for some reason, the conversation around aging still hadn’t necessarily been there.’”

In a skincare context, Lee viewed “anti-aging” as a marketing construct. She once said, “When you’re talking to your friends, you say, ‘What vitamin C serum are you using?’ or, ‘What eye cream are you using?’ You don’t ever say to somebody, ‘What is the anti-aging product that you’re using?’”

There are still brands that use “anti-aging,” but many, like Allure, have moved away from the term. In fact, in 2018, Lee made the decision to ban the use of the moniker from Allure’s pages. She wrote in an editor’s letter, “Changing the way we think about aging starts with changing the way we talk about aging.”

You can take a look at Allure’s official statement on getting rid of “anti-aging” terminology here.

Celebrities Unabashed to Show Their Age

While Hollywood is notorious for being an ageless city, not all celebrities have bought into the hype of staying young forever. Many have even voiced their love for aging naturally and gracefully. Here are a few examples:

Jennifer Connelly

Jennifer Connelly

Pictured: Jennifer Connelly   Source: She Finds

Jennifer Connelly, who is 51 years old, isn’t afraid of the natural changes of growing older. She told People Magazine, “We equate beauty for women with youth, and that’s sad. It’s a shame it’s so hard for so many of us to appreciate the beauty of an older woman and to accept it in ourselves. I don’t want to erase my history on my face.”

Mädchen Amick

Mädchen Amick

Pictured: Mädchen Amick    Source: Shutter Stock

Mädchen Amick, who will be celebrating her 52nd birthday this year, is all about embracing the years as they come at her. “I’m a big advocate of aging gracefully and embracing beauty as it evolves,” she told SolCal Pulse.

Lauren Hutton

Lauren Hutton

Pictured: Lauren Hutton    Source: Harper’s Bazaar

Lauren Hutton, 78, has accepted that women age, so why fight it? “I’ve let go that I look like a miniature Shar-Pei. The wrinkles are going to be there, and they really are the badges of your life,” she told People.

Julie Chen

Julie Chen

Pictured: Julie Chen   Source: Parade

Julie Chen, 52, has always been an advocate for loving each stage of life you’re in. “If you’re trying to be something you’re not, whether it’s an age or a certain type of personality, you’re just going to be in misery,” she shared with Prevention. “You have to own who you are, and part of who you are is your age.”

Christy Turlington Burns

Christy Turlington Burns

Pictured: Christy Turlington Burns    Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Christy Turlington Burns, 53, wants to look her age. “Everybody is so anti-aging, but I don’t want to look younger than I am. Our face is a map of our life; the more that’s there, the better,” she told ELLE.

How to Take Care of Your Health and Well-Being to Age Gracefully

Many factors influence healthy aging; some of these, like genetics, are not in our control, but others — like exercise, eating healthy, living stress-free, and visiting the doctor — are within our reach. Here are a few steps you can take to promote healthy longevity:

Get Moving

Whether you enjoy it or despise it, physical activity is an important part of healthful living at every age. Scientific evidence has found that people who exercise regularly not only live longer but also may live better, meaning they enjoy more years of life without sickness or pain.

A study on adults found that taking 8,000 steps or more daily was associated with a 51% lower risk of death from most natural causes. You can increase the number of steps you get each day by doing activities that keep your body moving, such as walking the dog and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.5

Check out this article highlighting ways to motivate yourself to work out, and stay in that motivated mindset.

Eat Healthy

Eating healthy food can improve brain function, while also keeping your body in good shape. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides healthy eating recommendations for each stage of life and suggests eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.

Even if you haven’t thought much about healthy eating until recently, changing your diet can improve your well-being as you age. If you are concerned about the foods that you eat, chat with your doctor about ways that you can make better food choices.

Interested in learning more about foods that promote healthy aging? This article touches on seven foods that’ll keep your stomach full and your body happy.

Live Stress-Free

While stress is a natural part of life, it comes in many different forms. Sometimes stress arises from difficult events or circumstances, but positive changes, like getting a promotion, can also cause stress. Research shows that constant stress can change the brain, affect memory, and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.6, 7

You can help manage your stress through meditation techniques, physical activity, and participating in activities you enjoy. Keeping a journal is also a wonderful way to help you identify and challenge negative and unhelpful thoughts. 

Looking to de-stress? This article outlines ten ways to help you through stressful situations.

Go to the Doctor Regularly

Going to the doctor for regular health screenings are essential to a healthy life. A 2021 study found that regular check-ups help doctors catch chronic diseases early and can help patients reduce risk factors for disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. People who went to the doctor regularly also reported improved quality of life and feelings of wellness.8

Check out this article to learn how to make the most of your doctor’s appointments. 

Enrich Your Self-Esteem With Clarissa Burt

Clarissa Burt

Pictured: Clarissa Burt    Source: Yahoo

Clarissa Burt is the founder and CEO of In The Limelight Media, along with being a media personality, producer, director, writer, author, public speaker, former supermodel, and self-esteem advocate.

Clarissa is passionate about helping people build self-esteem. Her book The Self-Esteem Regime is an action plan for becoming a more confident person.

Jennifer Norman, founder of The Human Beauty Movement, recently spoke with Clarissa on the podcast, Role Models. The interview is chock-full of great ways you can reveal and embrace the essence of your greatness. 

Eager to learn more about Clarissa and how you can improve your self-esteem? You can listen to the Role Models episode featuring Clarissa Burt here. Enjoy the listen, and remember, you can boost your self-esteem no matter your age!

References:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703436504574640642148088168 [1]

https://www.racked.com/2017/5/23/15673444/millennial-skin-care [2]

https://wwd.com/beauty-industry-news/skin-care/millennial-beauty-antiwrinkle-baby-boomer-10419202/ [3[

https://www.npd.com/ [4]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32207799/ [5]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31714574/ [6]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31714574/ [7]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34100866/ [8]

Plastic 101: Microplastics and Pollution

Plastic has become a constant element in our lives, with billions of plastic items being created and briefly used daily. Our reliance on plastic has started the course of mass pollution, leading to an array of planetary issues; but the path we are currently on isn’t irreversible. Small, simple changes in our lifestyle can make leaps toward righting the ship, cleaning our oceans, and saving our planet.

With an estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic ending up in our oceans annually, it’s important to know the “what, why, and how” of plastics so we can help each other lessen the impact we make. In this blog, we’ll discuss how plastic is made, the problem with microplastics, and tips for those who want to use less plastic, along with casting a spotlight on plastic-free brands with excellent products to make going zero-waste easier than ever.

How is Plastic Made?

To make plastic, scientists must take base materials, such as crude oil, and transform them with additives, heat, manipulation, and time into a workable polymer. Though the main component of most of these plastics is crude oil, other materials, such as salt, cellulose, natural gas, and coal are also sometimes used.1

Process of Plastic from Crude Oil

Pictured: The processing of plastic from crude oil   Source: Plastic Collectors

The base ingredients are refined during the plastic-making process into ethane and propane, which are heated in a process known as “cracking” until they transform into the monomers ethylene and propylene. As monomers, ethylene and propylene can then be converted into subsequent polymers via a catalyst.2

Transforming ethylene and propylene into polymers can release toxic emissions into the air and may include potentially dangerous chemical compounds like benzene, ethylene oxide, ethylbenzene, and nickel.3 

Two primary plastics come out of the plastic-making process: thermoplastics, which can be melted, cooled, and molded until they harden, and thermosets, which are not meltable once they have been cooled. Examples of thermosets are epoxy, polyurethane, silicone, and phenolic, while common examples of thermoplastics include acrylic, polyester, polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon, and Teflon.4

Thermoplastics vs. Thermosets

Pictured: Thermoplastics vs. thermosets   Source: Buzzle 

Despite popular belief, not all plastics are recyclable. The bulk of plastic recycling is downcycling, meaning plastic degrades with each turn through the recycling process. During this process, though, most thermoplastics break down into microplastics, which can cause an abundance of planetary and health issues.

For a more in-depth look at the plastic-making process, click here

The Problem With Microplastics

Microplastics, as the name implies, are tiny plastic particles. Officially, they are defined as plastics less than 0.2 inches in diameter, which is smaller than a standard pearl. There are two categories of microplastics known as primary and secondary.

Primary microplastics are tiny particles designed for commercial use, such as microfibers shed from clothing and other textiles. Secondary microplastics are particles that result from the breakdown of larger plastic items like water bottles. This breakdown is caused by exposure to environmental factors like the sun’s radiation and ocean waves.6

Primary and Secondary Microplastics

Pictured: Primary and secondary microplastics    Source: The European Food Education Council

The problem with microplastics is that they don’t readily break down into harmless molecules. In fact, microplastics have been detected in marine organisms and our drinking water; standard water treatment facilities cannot remove all traces of microplastics. To further complicate matters, microplastics in the ocean can bind with other harmful chemicals before being ingested by marine organisms.7, 8

Many countries are taking action to reduce microplastics in the environment. A 2017 United Nations resolution discussed microplastics and the need for regulations to reduce this hazard.9 Additionally, going into 2022, the California Ocean Protection Council approved the first comprehensive microplastics strategy in the nation, which identifies early actions and research priorities to reduce microplastic pollution in California’s marine environment.

Plastic Stats and Facts

Undoubtedly, plastics have helped make a number of commodities more affordable, adding vitality to many economies, but the world’s plastic appreciation has turned into a reliance that’s damaging our planet. Here are a few interesting plastic stats and facts to take note of:

  • Nearly 380 million metric tons of plastic waste are produced yearly, which is equivalent to the weight of the human population.
  • Plastic waste is growing at an annual rate of 9%.
  • The US is the world’s top generator of plastic waste.
  • Around 70,000 microplastics are consumed by an average person each year.
  • One million marine animals die due to plastic pollution every year.
  • 75% of all plastic produced has become waste.
  • It takes around 500 to 1,000 years for plastics to decompose.
  • 73% of all litter on beaches worldwide is plastic.
  • About 91% of plastic is not recycled.10

Tips to Help You Use Less Plastic in Your Everyday Life

When we read about the scale of plastic waste in our landfills and oceans, it’s tempting to feel overwhelmed and question whether anything we can personally do would make a difference. However, the truth is that even the smallest changes of habit, accumulated over time, add up to a massive difference. Here are our top six tips for living with less plastic:

  • Try using a reusable produce bag, such as these from Purifyou, as a single plastic bag can take nearly 1,000 years to degrade. 
  • Try to avoid using plastic straws and instead purchase reusable stainless steel or bamboo ones. You can also try compostable straws like the EQUO Grass Straws.
  • Grab your own reusable water bottle, considering that plastic bottles are one of the most common sources of plastic pollution, and are frequently found on beach cleans globally. The Tree Tribe Stainless Steel Water Bottle, for example, is insulated, indestructible, and eco-friendly.
  • Composting is a great way to reduce your waste overall. When you throw away less food, you’ll use fewer plastic garbage bags and storage dishes. Check out this beginner’s guide to composting for tips, tricks, and an easy how-to.
  • You can reduce plastic waste by eliminating plastic bottles of body wash each month. Instead, try switching to soap bars wrapped in paper or cardboard, like these from ECO Amenities, for an easy zero-waste swap. 
  • Disposable plastic razors are not typically recyclable and therefore sit in landfills without ever completely decomposing. The good news is that there are plastic-free options, such as these from Preserve POPi.  

Plastic-Free Brands to Take Note Of

We all face slightly different obstacles when it comes to going zero-waste. Maybe you find it hard to kick the habit of getting your caffeine fix in a takeaway coffee cup? Or perhaps you tend to end up with excess food that finds its way into the trash? These plastic-free brands provide sustainable solutions to help you succeed on your zero-waste journey:

KeepCup

When siblings Abigail and Jamie Forsyth started a café business in Melbourne in 1998, disposable cups were being introduced into the public landscape; but as their business grew, so did their concerns about the volume of packaging being consumed, particularly disposable cups as they were lined with polyethylene and non-recyclable.

The first KeepCups were sold to in 2009 at an independent design market. People recognized KeepCup as the solution to single-use packaging and the volume of waste entering the environment. KeepCups are now used in more than 75 countries around the world and have been named a B-Corp company.

The KeepCup Reusable Tempered Glass Coffee Cup

The KeepCup Reusable Tempered Glass Coffee Cup

Made from durable tempered glass with a recovered corn band manufactured from agricultural waste in Portugal, the KeepCup Reusable Coffee Cup is designed to enjoy coffee’s craft and sensory pleasure on the go. It’s easy to pour with a press-fit sipper lid that can be removed.

To shop the KeepCup Reusable Tempered Glass Coffee Cup, click here

David’s 

After seeking out healthier alternatives for the everyday bathroom staple, Eric David Buss set out to create his line of premium, natural toothpaste made without fluoride, sulfates, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Instead, David’s toothpaste is formulated with locally-sourced, naturally-derived ingredients that safely and effectively keep your teeth healthy.

David’s, an EWG-Verified and Leaping Bunny Certified brand, is dedicated to sustainability and giving you an excellent toothbrushing experience. The brand’s toothpaste packaging comes in a recyclable metal tube that’s FSC certified. Additionally, its products are fluoride-free due to health concerns surrounding the ingredient.

David’s Natural Whitening Toothpaste

David's Natural Whitening ToothpasteDavid’s Toothpaste has eliminated many common toothpaste chemicals and replaced them with healthier high-performance ingredients to create a premium toothpaste that effectively removes plaque and naturally whitens and freshens breath. In addition, this product is formulated to restore a healthy PH balance and support your mouth’s natural oral microbiome.

To shop David’s Natural Whitening Toothpaste, click here

Pela Case

Pela Case began with Jeremy Lang, its founder, seeing firsthand the damage plastic was doing to our oceans while on a family vacation in Hawaii in 2008. Jeremy spent years experimenting with new materials to try and find an alternative to plastic that could be used in everyday products.

Pela Case has designed the world’s first 100% compostable phone case. Once they nailed down phone cases, they added AirPod cases, smartwatch bands, and other accessories. At the end of its life, no matter how short or long, you can toss your Pela accessory into the compost, and it will return to the earth. 

The Pela Phone Case for iPhone

Pela Phone CasePela cases are made from flax plants, which provide great protection from drops and scratches, as the flax creates a natural shock absorption. Additionally, when you no longer need your case, you can compost it or send it back to Pela, and the brand will turn it into a new Pela product. Pela also makes cases with cute designs to meet everything aesthetic.

To shop the Pela Phone Case for iPhone, click here

Suds & Co.

Suds & Co. carries all-natural shampoo and conditioner bars and accessories. A 3.5 oz Suds & Co.bar is equivalent to at least two plastic 16 oz shampoo bottles, and with several different types of scents and bars, you’ll be able to find one that works best for you.

Beautifully boxed with the minimalist in mind, each bar comes completely packaged in biodegradable and compostable materials. The brand has been featured in Buzzfeed, Going Zero Waste, Yahoo Lifestyle, and Health Magazine. 

Suds & Co. Solid Shampoo Bar

Suds & Co Solid Shampoo BarSuds & Co.’s shampoo bar hydrates all hair types with nutrient-rich ingredients, such as hemp seed oil and jojoba oil. The bars are always free from parabens, dyes, synthetic fragrance, SLS and GMOs; each bar delivers botanical nutrition to maximize hair’s growth, strength, and shine. 

To shop the Suds & Co. Solid Shampoo Bar, click herWe

Humanist Beauty Is Committed to Zero-Waste and Responsible, Plastic-Free Packaging

At Humanist Beauty, we believe that beauty should live forever – not its packaging, which is why we use the most environmentally conscientious packaging options we can. We’ve also committed to becoming a zero-waste brand through the help of TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box platform.

Most of Humanist Beauty’s packaging is made of glass and paperboard, which is recyclable. We only use post-consumer recycled paper-based packaging for our shipping materials with no plastic void fill or tape. Humanist Beauty also minimizes the use of virgin plastic while seeking to avoid virgin plastic componentry further as we grow.

To participate in our TerraCycle partnership, you can send us your bottles, tubes, and makeup palettes. The packaging doesn’t have to be from Humanist Beauty; it can be from any brand. We’ll even pay and provide your postage to make sending your empty packaging to us easy and seamless. Once we receive your packing, we’ll hand it to TerraCycle to be broken down, recycled, or repurposed.

To learn more about our pledge to go zero-waste, click here

Which tip mentioned above will you employ to reduce your plastic usage? Let us know in the comments!

 

References

https://plasticseurope.org/plastics-explained/how-plastics-are-made/#:~:text=Plastics%20are%20made%20from%20natural,%2C%20of%20course%2C%20crude%20oil. [1]

https://www.britannica.com/science/ethylene-propylene-copolymer [2]

https://www.aiche.org/resources/publications/cep/2015/september/making-plastics-monomer-polymer [3]

https://www.woodlandplastics.com/understanding-thermoset-plastics.html [4]

https://romeorim.com/thermoset-vs-thermoplastics/#:~:text=Common%20examples%20of%20thermoplastics%20include,to%20carpets%20and%20laboratory%20equipment. [5]

https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/discover/are-microplastics-a-big-problem#:~:text=Microplastics%20are%20of%20concern%20because,small%20invertebrates%20to%20large%20mammals. [6][7][8]

https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/02/552052-turn-tide-plastic-urges-un-microplastics-seas-now-outnumber-stars-our-galaxy [9]

https://seedscientific.com/plastic-waste-statistics/ [10]

Gotu Kola: The Herb of Longevity

Centella asiatica, commonly known as Gotu Kola, is often pegged as the “herb of longevity,” and is a staple in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine. Many practitioners claim that Gotu Kola has the power to boost brainpower, promote liver and kidney health, and target an array of skin concerns. In this blog, we will explore the origins of Gotu Kola in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, along with its vast lineup of medicinal and skincare benefits.

All About Gotu Kola

Gota Kola

Pictured: Gota Kola    Source: Healthline

Gotu Kola is a perennial member of the parsley family, characterized by its small round leaves. The largest populations of this wetland herb are in the East and South Asian countries of China, Indonesia, and Japan, but it has started to populate other areas of the globe as well. 

In Southeast Asia, Gotu Kola is used as much for food as it is for medicinal purposes due to providing an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain optimal health. It has a distinct bittersweet flavor and a slightly grassy scent.1

A review in the International Food Research Journal mentions that 100 grams of fresh Gotu Kola delivers the following nutrients and meets the following recommended dietary intake (RDI) needs:

  • Calcium: 171 milligrams (17% RDI)
  • Iron: 5.6 milligrams (31% RDI)
  • Potassium: 391 milligrams (11% RDI)
  • Vitamin A: 442 micrograms (49% RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 48.5 milligrams (81% RDI)
  • Vitamin B2: 0.19 milligrams (9% RDI)

According to a review of studies, Gotu Kola contains compounds such as triterpenoid saponins, which researchers believe may be largely responsible for the plant’s purported benefits. These studies have been major contributors to why this substance continues to gain more acceptance around the world.

Gotu Kola in Ayurveda 

Gotu Kola is considered to be the plant of knowledge and is highly regarded in Ayurveda as the herb of longevity and anti-aging. The system of Ayurveda reaches back to the period of the Indus Valley Civilization (about 3000 B.C.E) and has been passed down as a healing system through generations.

The Sanskrit word for Gotu Kola is “Brahmi,” which means “knowledge;” and is a derivative of Lord Brahma (or Brahman). Lord Brahma is the deity responsible for the world’s creative forces, and the Hindu name “Brahman” refers to universal consciousness. 2

Lod Brahma

Pictured: Lord Brahma    Source: Vedicfeed

The herb is used in Ayurvedic healing to balance all three doshas, which are the energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity — Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. Gotu Kola is said to be relaxing for Pitta, calming for Vata in the mind, and beneficial in reducing excess Kapha in the body.3

Ayurvedic doctors Abhishek Joshi and Aparna explain that “The leaves of Gotu Kola resemble the hemispheres of the brain and are used in Ayurveda to boost brain functions. It’s been mentioned as one of the best Medhya Rasayana (brain nootropics), which can enhance cognition, memory, intelligence, creativity, learning skills, and executive functions.”4

Ayurvedic medicine is a personalized system of medicine native to India and is loyal to the holistic view of treatment. Gotu Kola is one of the many health-enriching herbs in the Ayurvedic medicine cabinet, whose value extends beyond one-dimensional, modern medical treatment for issues relating to the mind, brain, and nervous system.

To learn more about Ayurveda, click here

Gotu Kola in Traditional Chinese Medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Gotu Kola, or Ji Xue Cao, is used to soothe inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as “Internal Heat.” Those who have too much “heat” in their body are said to either have a Yang excess or a Yin deficiency. Depending on an individual’s condition, TCM practitioners use Gotu Kola to help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.5

Additionally, “The Five Element Theory” in TCM states that the taste of ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body and what organs and meridians they target. Bitter ingredients like Gotu Kola tend to have a cleansing action on the body and can promote the circulation of Qi, which is one of the building blocks of TCM.6

Gotu Kola is thought to target the spleen, kidney, and liver. In TCM, the spleen assists with digestion and blood coagulation, while the kidneys play a crucial role in the reproductive system and aging process of the body. The liver is often referred to as the body’s “general” as it’s in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.7

The Five Element Theory

Pictured: The Five Element Theory   Source: Earthway

Gotu Kola’s use in TCM is mentioned in the Chinese Shennong Herbal, which was written around the 1st century CE. It’s been called one of the “miracle elixirs of life,” especially by Chinese herbalist Li Ching-Yun, who some believe lived to the age of 197 and reportedly used Gotu Kola regularly. Today, the herb is still widely used by many TCM practitioners.

To learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine, click here

The Benefits of Gotu Kola

Due to Gotu Kola’s anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as its ability to promote overall mental and physical health, Gotu Kola has been a staple in traditional systems of medicine for millennia. Here’s a deeper look into the science-backed benefits of Gotu Kola:

Gotu Kola May Help Boost Cognitive Function and Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

A small 2016 study compared the effects of Gotu Kola extract and folic acid in boosting cognitive function after a stroke. This small study assessed the impact on three groups of participants taking different milligram doses of Gotu Kola daily. Although Gotu Kola and folic acid were equally beneficial in improving overall cognition, Gotu Kola was more effective in improving the memory domain.8, 9

Gotu Kola’s ability to enhance memory and nerve function gives it potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease. One 2012 study found that Gotu Kola extract had a positive effect on behavioral abnormalities in those with Alzheimer’s disease.10 The extract was also shown to have a modest effect on protecting brain cells from toxicity, which could potentially protect the cells from forming the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s. 

Gotu Kola May Help Reduce Anxiety and Stress

A 2016 study found that Gotu Kola had an anti-anxiety effect on participants that were sleep deprived for 72 hours. Sleep deprivation can potentially lead to anxiety, oxidative damage, and neuroinflammation.11 Those that were given Gotu Kola for five consecutive days before undergoing sleep deprivation experienced significantly less anxiety-like behavior, along with improved locomotor activity and less oxidative damage.

Additionally, Gotu Kola protects the brain from inflammation, which is thought to be an underlying cause of depression. Studies have found that Gotu Kola increased participants’ calmness, contentedness, and alertness, thus reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.12, 13

Gotu Kola May Improve Circulation and Reduce Swelling

Another benefit that Gotu Kola is most known for is its ability to improve blood circulation, which can speed up the skin’s healing process and make it effective in treating varicose veins, broken capillaries, and cellulite. This also can aid individuals struggling with hair loss as better circulation means improved delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the scalp.14

Research from 2001 found that Gotu Kola can also reduce fluid retention and ankle swelling. Participants who experienced mild-to-moderate superficial venous disease with varicose veins were asked to take Gotu Kola two days before taking a flight. Researchers found that participants who took Gotu Kola experienced significantly less fluid retention and ankle swelling than those who didn’t.15

Gotu Kola May Reduce the Signs of Aging and Promote Hydration

Gotu Kola is rich in triterpene saponins, which is a compound that helps keep skin tighter and firmer, and is also a great source of phytonutrients called flavonoids that act as antioxidants and fight off free radical damage. As such, Gotu Kola can boost the formation of collagen and skin tissue, which is crucial in maintaining the skin’s elasticity and youthful glow. 

In one study, published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigation Dermatology in 2017, researchers tested out a fluid containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and Gotu Kola extract on 20 women’s forearms over the course of one day. One arm got the fluid while the other forearm got a control cream. 

The researchers measured the hydration level and the amount of water lost throughout the day. Results showed that the arm that got the Gotu Kola fluid showed significantly more hydration and less water loss compared to both the participants’ baseline measurements and the control.16

Gotu Kola May Promote Wound Healing and Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks

In a 2015 study, researchers found that wound dressings containing Gotu Kola had healing effects on multiple types of wounds, including burns, clean cuts by sharp objects, irregular tears caused by blunt-force trauma, and infected tissue.17 

According to a 2013 review, Gotu Kola can also reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It’s thought that the terpenoids found in Gotu Kola can increase collagen production in the body, which may prevent new marks from forming, as well as help fade any existing marks.18

The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream

Herban Wisdom Eye Cream EWG

Gotu Kola is integrated into the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream for its antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, anxiolytic, and circulatory stimulating properties. Its ability to calm inflammation and swelling, speed up wound healing, stimulate new cell growth, improve circulation, and increase collagen production make it a vital ingredient in the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream.

You can shop the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Eye Cream here.

 

 

References:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/gotu_kola_sambol_27863 [1]

https://www.ayurvedacollege.com/blog/brahmi/ [2]

https://doshaguru.com/gotukola/ [3]

https://ayurvedaexpert.in/about-us/ [4]

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/338797 [5]

https://www.mosherhealth.com/mosher-health-system/chinese-medicine/yin-yang#:~:text=The%20Five%20Phases%3A%20Wood%2C%20Fire,%2C%20Earth%2C%20Metal%2C%20and%20Water&text=These%20elements%20correspond%20with%20the,and%20the%20human%20internal%20environment. [6]

https://www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/the-five-major-organ-systems/ [7]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4908235/ [8]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4764102/ [9]

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijad/2012/381974/ [10]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26848139/ [11]

https://bebrainfit.com/gotu-kola-benefits-brain/#:~:text=Additionally%2C%20gotu%20kola%20protects%20the,symptoms%20of%20anxiety%20and%20depression. [12]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23653088/ [13]

https://www.sundari.com/blogs/wellness-tips/gotu-kola-the-anti-aging-skincare-elixir#:~:text=The%20use%20of%20Gotu%20Kola,fight%20off%20free%20radical%20damage.[14]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11666121/ [15]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834700/ [16]

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S037851731500486X?via%3Dihub [17]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834700/ [18]

What Is A Serum?

A serum is a skincare product that you can apply to your skin after cleansing but before moisturizing with the intent of delivering powerful ingredients directly into the skin. Serums are particularly suited to this task as they’re made up of small molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin to deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients, which makes them a great tool for targeting specific skincare concerns like wrinkles and dark spots. In this blog, we will explore serums, their benefits, and how to use them, along with spotlighting EWG-Verified serums that may be perfect for your skin type.

A Look At Serums

A serum is a lightweight, quick-absorbing skincare product that contains a large amount of active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, or vitamin C. Due to their concentration, serums are typically the most effective and fast-acting skincare products available.

Well-designed face serums are lightly viscous, which means they have a thinner consistency than creams and lotions, to absorb into the skin quickly, delivering beneficial nutrients and hydration at the cellular level. They also contain fewer fillers, thickeners, and lubricating agents than moisturizers, so the beneficial ingredients can absorb faster to optimize performance.

“Often, a serum can hydrate more effectively than even the heaviest creams. The molecules can truly penetrate the skin and hydrate on the deepest level, while the heavier creams more so sit on those top layers.” says celebrity esthetician Karee Hays. “Serums do not necessarily replace your moisturizer, but can boost the hydrating effects of your moisturizer.”

In fact, a study featuring thirty-two women aged 25 to 55 years with Fitzpatrick skin types I to V and normal or self-perceived dry skin, found that layering facial serum with a moisturizer provided rapid and long-lasting benefits in maintaining skin hydration. Additionally, 82% of the participants believed that the serum and moisturizer combo improved the appearance of their skin overall.1

A participant before trying the serum layered with moisturizer (left) and after two weeks of treatment (right)

Pictured: A participant before trying the serum layered with moisturizer (left) and after two weeks of treatment (right)  Source: National Library of Medicine

Reductions in investigator-graded dryness

Pictured: Reductions in investigator-graded dryness Source: Source: National Library of Medicine

The Benefits of Serums

When you use a serum that’s well suited for your skin, it can have numerous benefits. Here’s a closer look at some of the key benefits of adding a serum to your skincare routine:

Serums Can Deliver Vitamins and Nutrients

For starters, a face serum, by definition, is a skincare solution that includes core vitamins and nutrients your skin cells can use to thrive. The exact ingredient make up of a given face serum will vary from product to product, but most face serums use these common ingredients:

  • Vitamin C and E are antioxidants and may contribute to long-term skin health, especially protection from free radicals.2
  • Niacinamide reduces inflammation, which may help ease redness from eczema, acne, and other inflammatory skin conditions. It also minimizes pore appearance and keeps skin smooth and moisturized.3,4
  • Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is a gold-standard ingredient in skincare as can increase production of collagen in the skin. This results in a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles by improving elasticy.5,6
  • Glycolic acid stimulates fibroblasts in the dermis to produce increased amounts of collagen. Additionally, its small molecular makeup also allows it to penetrate the skin and treat acne and other skin concerns.7,8,9
  • Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant commonly found in face moisturizers. It helps hydrate the outer layers of skin, thereby improving the skin’s appearance.10,11

While our skin cells get a lot of nutrients from our diets and sunshine, as in the case of vitamin D, giving your skin cells additional nutrients through topical absorption may allow those vitamins to be more directly usable by those cells.

In other words, a face serum directly provides your skin cells with core nutrients without those nutrients being absorbed by other bodily tissues first. Plus, since serums are applied topically, your skin cells may receive those benefits more quickly.

Serums Can Improve Hydration

With the use of cleansers and exfoliators, your skin can easily dry out, leaving your face more susceptible to wrinkles and dehydration. Many serums are formulated to improve hydration, and by using them, they can potentially alleviate these side effects or prevent them from happening all together.

Serums with hyaluronic acid, for example, can help your skin’s hydration level. “Hyaluronic acid can draw moisture from the air and keep your skin moist, holding almost 1000 times its weight in water,” explained Kerry Benjamin, esthetician and the founder of best-selling hyaluronic acid serum creator, Stacked Skincare

Serums May Reduce Acne Flare-Ups

Serums could contribute to a long-term solution if you suffer from regular acne flare-ups, which result from hormonal shifts or an overproduction of sebum. When your skin produces too much sebum, it can collect debris and clog your skin’s pores. Over time, this can form blemishes like pimples and pustules. However, the right serum could prevent your skin from producing too much sebum.

Serums formulated with retinol, for example, can reduce acne flare-ups by literally getting under your skin as retinol consists of tiny molecules that penetrate the middle layer of your skin and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Both of these compounds reduce the appearance of pores and acne scarring over time.

Serums May Protect Skin from Certain Damage

Many of the core ingredients in serums are antioxidants, which are known to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can damage skin cells and other tissues as they bounce around in your body.

Antioxidants like CoQ10 can stabilize those free radicals by donating an electron, preventing them from causing damage. Free radicals are responsible for skin irritations and may contribute to many signs of aging or general skin cell degradation.

Some serums may also provide ancillary protective benefits against harm from toxins, environmental pollutants, and even UV radiation from the sun. If you use a face serum, you may be at less risk of sun damage to your skin, including burning, but you should always read the label of your specific product to confirm this.

Serums May Reduce Signs of Aging

Many signs of aging, including wrinkles, aging spots, and sagging skin, result from long-term skin cell degradation and dryness. While face serums can’t prevent your skin from aging overall, they may help to reduce the severity of some of those symptoms. Serums that contain vitamins C, B, and E with ferulic acid and hyaluronic acid, especially, can help to deeply hydrate skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

How to Apply Serum

Everyone’s skin is different, but on average, you should use a serum for about seven weeks to see how your skin responds. Depending on the serum and the current state of your skin, you might see initial results — like slightly more hydrated skin — in just a few days, according to Dr. Craig Kraffert, a board-certified dermatologist.

It’s important to note that before applying a new product, you should perform a patch test. Try the product on a small area of your skin to see how it reacts, such as the inside of your elbow. Keep in mind that some serums will naturally leave your face slightly pink, but this should subside after about 10-15 minutes. If you’re having a reaction, consult your doctor.

 Pictured: How to perform a patch test   Source: Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve

Step 1: Cleanse

To allow the key ingredients to be effectively absorbed, a serum should always be applied to clean skin. Before applying serum, cleanse with a gentle face wash to help dissolve makeup, impurities, and pollutants.

Step 2: Tone

A facial toner plays an important role in preparing the skin for serum application. Not only will it help to rebalance the skin after cleansing, but it can help sweep away remaining traces of dirt and makeup, removing all barriers on the skin’s surface, and allowing the serum to effectively penetrate the different layers of the epidermis.  

Apply the toner onto a cotton pad, then sweep it over your skin in an upward motion. Toners can also help reduce the appearance of pores and even out skin tone. 

Step 3: Apply Serum

Dispense a pea-sized amount of serum into your palms, then gently rub your hands together to warm and activate the serum. Lightly press your palms onto your skin and pat in outward and upward motions until fully applied to your face and neck.

Step 4: Moisturize 

Allow the serum to absorb into your skin for at least 90 seconds, then massage a moisturizer over your face and neck to lock in those key ingredients. This also helps protect and hydrate the skin’s surface. 

Serum Spotlight

From fine lines to the most sensitive skin types, adding a potent serum before your moisturizer can help boost the healthy look and feel of your skin. However, there are hundreds — if not thousands — of different serum types on the market, making choosing a single one for your skincare routine a daunting task. 

“The key is to look for serums that deliver a ton of botanicals, antioxidants, and hydration — they can deliver a concentrated dose of nutrients, and when applied on just-cleaned skin, the serum will penetrate more deeply,” said Dr. Kraffert.

To make choosing a serum easier, check out these EWG-Verified, nutrient-rich serums that’ll make an excellent addition to your skincare regime:

Be Natural Organics Hyaluronic Serum:Created for all skin types, this product is formulated with hyaluronic acid, which can offer a more immediate visual effect on the complexion as it hydrates and softens lines. It can improve the look of skin’s texture, firmness, and suppleness, while also providing high-performance hydration for problematic skin without clogging pores.

To shop the Be Natural Organics Hyaluronic Serum, click here

Live Ultimate Camu Advanced Youth Recovery Facial Serum:Perfect for all skin types, this lightweight, fast-absorbing, and nutrient-rich formula of superfruit antioxidants, rejuvenating plant stem cells, wrinkle-smoothing peptides, vitamins, and skin brightening botanicals is designed to soak deep into the cellular level where it nourishes, heals, and strengthens the skin from the outside in for a more youthful and radiant look.

To shop the Live Ultimate Camu Advanced Youth Recovery Facial Serum, click here

Sea Kind Elysium Perfecting Facial Serum: Formulated for all skin types, this serum has the highest concentration available today of marine actives extracts derived from algae, micro-nutrients, and sea plants fermented to provide unmatched restorative powers. Both laboratory and volunteer tests confirm that this product can improve skin hydration, firmness, resilience, complexion, and smoothness.

To shop the Sea Kind Elysium Perfecting Facial Serum, click here.

To shop Sally B’s Peptide Collagen Booster Serum, click here

Versed Sunday Morning Antioxidant Serum: Ideal for all skin types, this antioxidant oil-serum hybrid can strengthen the skin’s barrier, moisturize, and deliver an all-day glow. Chamomile extract, vitamin E, and sodium hyaluronate help to keep skin hydrated and calm. For an added glow that's never greasy, this serum can also double as a subtle, moisturizing highlighter.

To shop the Versed Sunday Morning Antioxidant Serum, click here

In Conclusion

Serums are lightweight products that contain a high concentration of active ingredients. They are often seen as one of the more rewarding steps in your beauty routine as they come with major skin benefits and absorb quickly into your skin . If you’re not sure if a face serum is right for you, or which type to use for your skin, talk to a board certified dermatologist for more information.

What’s your favorite serum? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

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