AntiAgeing Savantess

Global Wellness, Skin Care and Aesthetics

Archive for ‘December, 2012’

Ok, so I don’t really mean real Scotch…I’m talking about an American nail polish brand that happens to be called Scotch Naturals… a new discovery I had to share.

Mani’s Pedi’s and Health: Everyone can appreciate the value of a good manicure. It can transform your mood, give you a touch of elegance, put you in the mood for a party but at what cost to our health?  Recent studies have raised cause for concern and its effect on our health has been pondered. Previously, we have questioned the safely of salon manicures and pedicures….without strict sanitation guidelines, we found they increase the risk of nail infections and fungus contamination. Most recently, however, the spotlight of our concerns has been focused on the nail polishes themselves.

 What is it we are so worried about? It has been proven that conventional nail polishes contain harmful metals and other toxins.  These substances are now known to cause health concerns if absorbed in small qualities overtime. The most concerning are the  chemicals toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). The “toxic trio” have been studied and found to be associated with serious health concerns ranging from birth defects to cancer. They are included in lacquers because companies claim they contribute unmatched qualities to their products in terms of shine, quick-drying ability, durability and flexibility. They also are prime culprits in causing allergic reactions of the skin that can appear on the hands or in other areas of the body seemingly unassociated creating difficult diagnosis. The  ingredients formaldehyde resin and camphor packing have also been linked to health problems if inhaled or ingested (concern for fingernail biters)…this brings our list of worries to 5!!

So…Should we forgo our cultures fun but unhealthy nail dressing ritual and settle on celebrating the homely, but possibly under-stated, naked nail? Apparently, not…thanks to companies such as Scotch Naturals, an organic beauty line which specializes in giving you healthy manicures and pedicures! Despite growing concerns, it’s quite shocking that only a handful of companies have gone out of their way to help us enjoy quality “5 free” lacquers without these toxic ingredients.. Scotch Naturals, has graciously decided to embark on this clearly necessary philosophy! After 4 years of sparsely painting my nails, (mostly due to fact I was pregnant twice within these 4 years), I have now been inspired to do so once again! I became a fan just recently when an eco-chic nail/wax boutique, Sundara, opened close to my home in Barcelona. I immediately researched the products and ran to do some firsthand exploration. I love the posh color selection and the fact even the darkest red comes off easily without staining my fingers or discoloring my nails.

This leads me to further elaborate on another important reason to avoid toxin containing polish….. to avoid the horrific “nail polish hangover”!! This condition I describe is none other than the dry, brittle and yellow nail which we suffer after our seemingly simple attempt to liven up our lives with a boost of a berry, citrus or red polish. After a mere week of upbeat finger tips, we many times suffer, what I have referred to above as,  the nail polish hangover. The worst of it is, if we resist what many red polish addicts commonly cannot, a vicious cycle of reapplication which ultimately makes nails just angrier and yellower, we are stuck with this unattractive yellow hue for up to a month! The use of nontoxic nail polishes can help you enjoy the excitement of a happy nail polish, without suffering from a its respective sequele in 2 ways: Firstly, it uses a pigment which is suspended and NOT dissolved in the color, and secondly, it avoids the use of a caustic, volatile remover for its complete removal. By using a suspended pigment, we get much less absorption through the keratin nail cells and, therefore, less staining. Furthermore, by using the soy-based, or similar gentle polish removers, we are avoiding making nails more susceptible to discoloration. Specifically, we avoid stripping them of their natural oils and protectants. It is  true that all nail polishes, could theoretically, serve to help maintain hydration of nail beds and protect them from irritative soaps and chemicals. The problem is since traditional polishes require aggressive removers, we negate these potential benefits. Therefore, by choosing nontoxic polishes we can reap the benefits of a nail protectant without disturbing the integrity of the natural nail oils which attribute to its shine and smoothness.

I am happy to say that I now am enjoying the seasons trendiest nail color sans gulit. I can rest assure that the cost of my pampering doesn’t go beyond my economic effort! For me the safety of these products is a priceless assurance I wish for everyone to have access to!

More tips when considering nail related health:

When using a water based polish such as Scotch:

  • Be prepared to not shower, bath or swim for 2 hours after application
  • Make sure you use their top coat, otherwise you might be disappointed with its lack of luster.
  • After getting out of the bath or shower, rub with a soft towel to restore shine.
  • Soak in warm water a few minutes prior to removing with the non-toxic remover.

scotch natural w removerzoya nail polishhopscotch kids

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Before the holidays arrive with its parties, celebrations, toxins and stresses, I thought would be great to present the power of a good detox.

Why Detox?   There are at least a few times a year where our bodies could benefit from some type of detoxification. Some find its usefulness after a period of abuse from food, alcohol and stress…. but it has so much more value! Its true detoxes can help clean up the body when in states of complete chaos. Weight concerns, stomach pains, mood swings, gases, lack of energy, bad complexion, hair and nails can all present as symptoms of improper digestion and nutrition. It is in these moments, a strict diet plan, led by your trusted medical professional or nutritionist, is needed. These medical detoxes are many times accompanied by supplements and herbs and require you to be monitored on a regular basis. It is for this reason it is recommended to remain conscious of your bodily state and self-prescribe a mild detox from time to time to prevent ever getting to the point where you might need professional intervention. By eliminating certain foods that have low nutritional value and avoiding chemicals and toxins, we can reboot our bodies to utilize the food we eat better. The more efficiently our body can breakdown foods, the more nutrition we can get out of it and the faster our metabolism overall. This translates not only into a healthier digestion and overall health, but more energy, a positive mood, clear skin, shiny hair, strong nails and even weight loss. Who wouldn’t want that? We just need to sacrifice 2 weeks and we are on our way! In fact these mini-detoxes are an excellent anti-aging method to keep the body in-check and you in tune with your body’s needs.

The Plan     Whenever I need a healthy detox my go-to trusted source is, my dear friend, Jelena Savic. Not only is she one of Chicago’s best macrobiotic and private chefs, but also, specializes in detox regimes. She prides herself in bringing people to healthier nutritional states so they could look better, feel better, and more importantly, enable them to fight illness and even cancer. She has come up with a simple two week detox to help anyone get on the road to new beginnings.
 Jelena’s guidelines are simple: start eliminating foods slowly and incorporating more and more nutritional foods. The key is moderation and variety of the list of nutritional foods below and the inclusions of super foods such as cacao, acai, sprouts and gogiberries. Also, alternate cooking methods between blending, steaming, stir-fry, baking, sauté, soups and stews. Spices, herbs, mustards, tahini, hummus, and vinegars are allowed and can help liven up your meals!  Below, you have a day-to-day breakdown of the 2 weeks.

Day 1-3 Cut out alcohol, soda, coffee, canned food, lunchmeat, fried foods, white flour, refined sugars, white rice, white potatoes and all bread.

Day 3-7 Cut out all red meats, hydronated oils, wheat, dairy, and all caffeine.

Day 7-10 Cut out all meat.

Day10-13 Cut out all fish and eggs. The remainder of the detox will be vegetarian and should generally look something like this:

Breakfast May consist of unlimited fruit and herbal tea, a nutritional shake, bowl of oats of puffed rice cereal with soy, rice or almond milk

Mid-morning/late afternoon snack– a soy yogurt, a handful of nuts or brown rice cake with peanut butter or hummus.

Lunch and Dinner– May consist of a vegetarian plate prepared in any of the methods explained above including a soup, a stew, salad or wok sauté. Remember you can add tofu, nuts, fruits, and cup of Wild or brown rice/quinoa/ beans/legumes/millet/ buckwheat or a sweet potato. Cooking preparation should contain no more than 1 tsp. of olive, coconut, flaxseed, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, walnut, almond or grape seed oil.

Day 14 This last day is to include EXCLUSIVELY of fruits and vegetables in unlimited quantities. Try to eat them raw, juiced, steamed or prepared as soups, with little or NO oils. This will be a difficult day and it is recommended you take it easy, limiting stress and activity. Walks, funny movies and supportive friends can help you get through without too much anxiety. I personally, like to go shopping!! Nothing else takes away hunger like searching for some amazing shoes! The entire 2 weeks to be supported by lots of water, herbal teas and moderate amounts of freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices (no sugar added).

Some Useful Insight   Remember, this is a great time to listen to our bodies and get our mind to recognize what seems to make it feel better. Jelena suggests to her clients to take long walks during their detox periods to appreciate how your body has been feeling and listen to what it may be trying to communicate (examples may include ” I feel so much more energized after eating _____” or “that vegetable really makes me bloated”). These mini epiphanies may help you when back to your normal eating habits.

Another important consideration is to add eliminated foods back into your diet SLOWLY, as your body may be overburdened if you jump right back in to your pre-detox routine.

These are moderate guidelines to follow to help get your body functioning optimally! Although some may not agree with starting such a diet right before the holidays, I feel there is no better time! There is nothing like getting healthy in the time of the year, which you are most likely to pack on the pounds! Also, by the time the real festivities arrive you look amazing, are energized, and have most possibly lost some weight! All these, while most around you are barely squeezing in holiday attire! Why not give yourself one more reason to celebrate? So get started!…..3,2,1 GO!!!

For some recipe ideas click on the following site WholeBodyDetoxDiet. Also, if anyone has any recommendations of recipes or sites please share!!

yummy detox vegan salad superfood detox detox soup


As we age, our skin’s cellular turnover slows…this means we have older skin cells hanging around longer. The older the skin, the less capacity it has to retain moisture and therefore, it begins to appear dull and wrinkles easier!  In general, once we hit 25 years old, the skin needs to be “woken up” from time to time, to kick-start a more active cellular turn over cycle. The faster the cells are turning over, the more often we can get those plump, healthy, glowing cells on the skin surface and the less we depend on makeup or anything else to get that lustrous skin we all desire.
As we enter winter, this task of bright, glowing skin gets more daunting, since the dry and cold weather dehydrates our skin and pushes it into a hibernation mode. This is not a good thing, especially since we have holiday parties coming up and want to roll into the new year fresh and vibrant, matching our desires for 2013.

To address this, I want to present a 3 step plan to brighter and happier skin:

STEP 1 : Exfoliate and Reinvigorate
This is the first and most vital step. We need to remove those dead skin cells and get new skin to the skin surface. New skin not only looks better, but also absorbs topical creams and serums better and reacts more quickly to any rejuvenation treatments. Here are a few ideas of how to get your skin alive and ready for the holidays!
@Home– Get yourself using a night treatment that lists retinol or alpha hydroxy acids as an ingredient: these ingredients help break up dead skin cells and make way for the new ones. Here are a few I love: Skin Medica Tri Retinol Complex , Green Cream Level 6 by Green CreamIntensive Resurfacing Peel by Murad, or Paula’s choice RESIST weekly resurfacing treatment.
Since these products all have potentially irritating ingredients I suggest you start slow, every other day, and increase to daily use if you are certain you have no tolerance issues. I also recommend you use a day cream/sunscreen to protect the new, sensitive skin we are generating. My favorites include Anthelios 50 Daily Anti-Aging Primer with sunscreen, for those with sun-damaged or mature or dehydrated skin, Uredin Fusion SPF 30 by ISDIN for those with normal or combination skin (I use this with a few dabs of matte foundation mixed in it) and my choice for sensitive/oily skin is Sheer Physical Defense SPF 50 by Skin Ceuticals, it’s light and mattifying.
Don’t pass up an opportunity for a light chemical peel , microdermabrasion, or a jet peel. These are ways to remove dead skin quite nicely and rapidly. Not only are these procedures a great and efficient prep for step 2, but they can also, if repeated regularly, help even out pigmentation, reduce the appearance of fine lines and hydrate/nurture skin. I will definitely revisit these individually in future posts. I suggest you discuss these treatments with your medical provider and find out which is more appropriate for you. As far as peels go, there are few brands in which I not only have recommended for my own patients but have seen consistent and safe results. Ask about Resurfacing Gel 70% Peel by Jan Marini, or Esthetique Peel or Ultra Peel by PCA skin.  These peels use low concentrations of certain acids to remove the damaged and lifeless outer skin layers. They contain ingredients to activate quicker healing, stabilize pigment and soothe skin simultaneously.

STEP 2 : Stimulate and Renew
This step includes a new and fascinating 1440nm fractionated laser treatment called Clear and Brilliant. This laser is changing the aesthetic world as we know it. It allows us to slowly and safely remodel the deeper layers of the skin. It is a remarkable anti-ageing tool which in a perfect world should be a part of everyone’s skin care regimen. Previously. lasers and even fractionated lasers were reserved only for those who wanted complete skin makeovers (scars, wrinkles, sun damage), but now with lasers like Clear and Brilliant, we are able to use fractionated laser technology on anyone who wants a gentle treatment to prevent skin aging and restore skin health. Thanks to these lasers, we are now able to treat everyone (every skin color) early on, without downtime and prevent essentially all skin attributes related to aging skin…..I’m in love, can  you tell? I will definitely talk more about this in the future… but don’t wait to go ahead and try one. You most commonly are prescribed 4-6 treatments every 2 weeks, but can see and feel the difference even after the first treatment.

STEP 3 : Nurture and Infuse
This step occurs once we have our fresh skin base, which is more receptive to absorbing topical products. You now can make those expensive creams finally work for you! Once the skin tissue is healthier, it is able to use more efficiently the nutrients we feed it.
Although it depends somewhat on your specific skin needs, which topicals are most appropriate for you, we can assume that everyone can benefit from some form of vitamin and antioxidant skin cocktail. Vitamins and antioxidants give your skin the defenses it needs from environmental stressors that lead to premature aging. Below, I have listed some of my favorites. I suggest that as you run out of one, try another!! They all have different compositions and therefore may benefit you in different ways. What they DO have in common is that they are absolutely yummy for your skin and are to be worn UNDER your sunscreen!!
Some of the best include: Prevage AntiAging Daily Serum, CE Ferrulic by Skin Ceuticals, Vespera Bionic Serum by Exuviance or Summun Serum by Cumlaude Lab.

I know some of the above may require a bit of an investment and therefore, do not seem practical for some of you. I do, however, highly suggest to at least start with some good products and as for the treatments…… maybe ask for some as a holiday gift?!  These steps can assure you both beautiful and brighter skin for the holiday and long-term investment into a younger appearing, future you!

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