AntiAgeing Savantess

Global Wellness, Skin Care and Aesthetics

Archive for ‘February, 2013’

Fighting Skin Aging and Preserving Health

preserving beauty

There are a few key practices which are vital to maintaining skin youthful in both function and appearance: in summary they involve  protection, stimulation and nutrition.  For some genetically blessed, protection may the only action required to maintain skin looking fresh and radiant into their 60’s.

It is common knowledge that sunscreens play a key role in protecting skin from damaging UVA and UVB radiation and therefore from its caustic effects leading to both aesthetic and skin cancer concerns.  (I will touch on sunscreen varieties in future posts!) What most don’t know is that sunscreen protect us from only a small percentage of total solar radiation (roughly 7 %) and gives us no protections from all other environmental stressors such as pollution,  smoke,  chemical exposure, toxins  (make-up and other creams ). Although with a broad spectrum sunscreen, we are assuming protected from certain skin cancers,  without any additional support we are still susceptible, via the above aggressors, to free radical formation.  Infrared radiation (IR, composing over 50 % of solar radiation,  has shown to be strongly linked to free radical formation. Additionally, IR has the ability to penetrate even deeper than UV rays, making its effects especially concerning.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are the source of unpredictable cell behavior. They are formed when liberated from a damaged atom molecule. IR and other environmental stressors mentioned above,  disrupt electrical harmony of cells, forming free radicals. As we accumulate them we continually damage more cells, accelerate the aging of the tissues and ultimately causing health concerns.

“A free radical is an unstable oxygen molecule with an uneven number of electrons,” explains Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD. “These free radicals are looking to steal electrons from your cells in order to complete themselves, and the result is damage to the cells in the form of inflammation, pigmentation, and even DNA damage.”

What can we do to protect ourselves from free radical formation?

For more global protection we need additional armor in the form of antioxidants.  Antioxidants give our skin the tools its needs to fight off free radical accumulation and therefore maintain healthy function and structure resulting in youthful skin appearance. By providing the electrons the free radicals are scavenging for, we prevent them from further damaging healthy cells and forming more free radicals. Antioxidants prevent premature aging and dangerous sequelae which can lead to irregular cell behavior linked to disease and cancer.

antioxidants

Antioxidants in diet is an undisputable requirement for overall wellness and health maintenance. Those who make conscious efforts to include antioxidant sources from fruits vegetables and nuts live longer quality lives with less risk of disease and cancer.  It’s a no brainer that regular consumption of berries, vibrant colored vegetables, omega fatty acid sources will also enhance your skins appearance but if you are not protecting your skin externally….you may be working against what positive work you have been doing internally. This is where the importance of a good skin product, high in antioxidants, comes to play.

So why not buy sunscreens which claim high antioxidant content and get the most out of a single product?

Although there are a few sunscreens which incorporate antioxidants, most don’t have high enough concentrations to do the work we need them to correctly.

In addition, even high quality antioxidants are unstable when exposed to direct light and air.  Antioxidants which are imbedded within sunscreens are many times partially oxidized and therefore less efficient at protecting skin.  Additionally, the sunscreen, if  has active chemical ingredients, produces free radical itself! This means that the antioxidants embedded in such sunscreens are utilized in neutralizing the free radical affects the sunscreen produces and therefore is not doing a great job at protecting the skin from anything else! Its for this reason your antioxidant should be applied first. Once absorbed you can put on your sunscreen. Again if you want to avoid free radical formation at all cost, it may be worth looking into a good physical sunscreen (no chemicals used, mostly mineral based, reflect UV rays and prevent absorption). Try ….Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50, MD Solar Science 50SPF, and Color Science Mineral Powder Sunscreens SPF 30 and 50.

What should we look for when looking for an antioxidant product?

The most famed antioxidants include Vitamin A, C and E. Out of these Vitamin C has shown the strongest qualities for free radical sequestration.  L-ascorbic acid is pure Vitamin C. Other forms of vitamin C include ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate,  ascorbyl palmitate and magnesuem ascorbyl phosphate. Vitamin C is a super antiaging agent as it stimulates collagen and protects at the same time.  Vitamin A  is found in forms such as retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate and retinol. Vitamin A is also useful for its ability to stimulate cellular turnover, preventing wrinkle, sun spots and in stronger forms cancer. Vitamin E is most often found as tocopheryl nicotinate and tocopheryl linoleate. Vitamin E is useful for not only its antioxidant properties but the fact it stabilizes vitamin C and gives your product a longer shelf life.

Other, less known, but powerful antioxidants include idebenone, ferulic acid, selenium, superoxide dismutase, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q 10 and Liprochroman 6. Other natural antioxidant sources include green tea, bamboo isoflavones (also act as a natural alternative to silicone), grapeseed, argan and jojoba oils, walnut seed, redwine, yucca, flaxseed and Hopextract.

Below I list 10 star antioxidant products and why you should love them! The first 5 use extensively medically proven ingredients, have strong clinical investigations supporting their claims, and raving customer reviews.  The last 5, are my top picks for naturally sourced antioxidants products.

CE Ferulic

1.      C E Ferulic  by Skin Ceuticals

  • Combination antioxidant treatment containing 15% L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C), 1% alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), and 0.5% ferulic acid.
  • Results in visually changes skin in weeks.  I have recommended this to my own patients and am astounded that a topical product can result in so much improvement in terms of appearance and quality of skin.
  • Works to protect, stimulate collagen, improve tone and firmness and replenish lipids to prevent and diminish wrinkles.
  • Great for those over 30 who want protection and aesthetic enhancing treatment in one!
  • Once absorbed, this serum can’t be washed or rubbed off. It remains effective for a minimum of 72 hours, making it an excellent addition to sunscreen.
    • Price: $14

2.      Prevage  Anti-aging Daily Serum by Elizabeth Ardenelizabeth-arden-prevage-face-advancded-anti-aging-serum

  • An advanced anti-aging serum which includes Idebenone. Idebenone is said to have more antioxidant power than all most  other antioxidants. There is a bit of debate whether it prevails over Vitamin C.
  • Other active ingredients include the antioxidants Thiotaine, Bamboo isoflavones, Lipochroman 6 and a green tea blend.
  • Protects while reversing existing skin aging symptoms such as wrinkling, pigmentary issue, textural irregularities and overall skin tone.
    • $15

3.      Vitamin C+E Complex by Skin Medicavitamin-ce-complex

  • Incorporate both Vitamin C and E .
  • Silicone suspension used to prevent antioxidant oxidation and therefore improve efficacy of antioxidants ability to fight free radical formation by environmental stressors.
  • High percentage of active ingredients and gradual release formula make this an ideal product for those who want a gentle yet effective medical-grade anti-aging product.
  • $95

4.      Vivite Daily Antioxidant Facial Serum by Allerganvivite_daily_antioxidant_facial_serum_Lg

  • Uses mix of olive, pomegranate, green tea, chamomile, and licorice extracts to help protect and rejuvenate skin.
  • Also includes a bit of glycolic acid to control oil, smooth skin, and lighten skin discolorations.
  • Can be irritating for sensitive skin types
  • Great for oily skin types with tendency to have pigment irregularities.
  • Incorporates many natural antioxidant sources making it a nice balance of science meets nature!
    • $109

5.      RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum by Paulas Choicepaulas super antiox concentrate

  •  Incorporates antioxidants Vitamin C , coenzyme Q 10 , Vitamin E, Ferulic acid, green tea derivatives and others to  protect skin, support collagen stimulation and improve skin tone.
  • Customers rave about product smoothness, fast absorption and ability to combine with make-up and sunscreen.
  • Great for those who want an affordable skin base which protects, repairs and brightens skin.
  • Non-irritating, fragrance free
    • Average $25

…………..Now for my top five natural picks!

6.      Sundara (Beauty) Face Oil by Jiva ApohaJivo Apoha Sundara Face OIl

  • Uses Vitamin E, grape seed and jojoba oils antioxidant and nourishing properties to create natural antiaging skin base..
  • Grapeseed oil is rich in  OPC  (potent  antioxidants known as oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes)
  • Infused with 100% essential oils such as Sandalwood and Jasmine, Lavender Rose and Chamomile to soothe tone and prevent irritation.
  • Easily absorbed, non-greasy formula that actually serves to balance natural oil production.
  • Jiva Apoha combines search for natural beauty with healing practices of Ayurveda.
  • Ideal product those searching for healthy and natural beauty antioxidant to protect, balance, replenish and heal skin.
  • I just love this product line! The philosophy, the pureness and the ingredients resonate with my idea of responsible consumerism and beauty through investment in health!
    • $105

7.      Eight Greens Youth Serum by Eminenceeight-greens-youth-serum-142

  • Bio-complex formula includes various vitamins and antioxidants including coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid.
  • Other antioxidants include Yucca extract, flaxseed and Hopextract
  •  Includes lavender oil to calm and prevent irritation.
  • Handmade, Paraben free, harsh chemical free and organic.
  • Great for those wanting natural gentle protection + more even skin tone
    • $42

8.      Vitamin Sea Serum by OSEA MALIBUVitamin Sea serum Osea

  • Antioxidant boost with an anti-aging blend of seven organic seaweed extracts that nourish and hydrate.
  • Contains Vitamins A, C, and E, walnut seed and green tea extracts
  • Perfect for those searching a protective skin base treatment that is 100% Organic and Vegan.
    • $68

9.       Sea Vitamin Anti-Aging Boost  by OseaSea_Vitamin_Boost OSEA

  • Similar benefits and properties to Vitamin Sea Serum with additional ability to repair cellular damage and prevent inflammation. Potent blend of Vitamin C, pomegranate and red wine antioxidant extracts. These protect from cellular damage and inflammation.
  • Other ingredients include pomegranate and red wine extracts and Gigartina Algae. Gigartina Algae is hand-harvested off the shores of Patagonia, and sun-dried at the OSEA seaweed farm on the southern tip of Argentina. This algae is known for its high vitamin, mineral, amino acid and enzyme content and serves to regenerate, protect and soothe skin.
  • I don’t love the smell particularly and you need to combine with sunscreen cream which is  hydrating and easily absorbed.
  • Great for summer months or when traveling for additional protection against aggressive sun. Can be used as spray on the beach.
    • $32

10.  Vitamin C Anti-Aging Face Serum by John Masters Organicsjohn masters organi cvitamin C serum

  • Combines Vitamin C for prevention and rejuvenation with natural botanicals such as sea algae, nettle and rosebud to moisturize and nourish.
  • Protects skin, promote health and repair of damage.
  • Great  for people with younger skin who want economical and natural way to be proactive in keep skin healthy and youthful.
    • $30

Some final insight…….

Remember that as helpful as any one antioxidant product can be, the best you can do for yourself is armor yourself with as many as you can. A diet high in antioxidants is important for overall health, function and disease prevention. A good product should contain high concentrations of antioxidants (make sure they are at the beginning of the ingredient list ) and low in preservatives and harmful chemicals. Hydrate yourself and your skin with antioxidant infusions. There are supplements which contain antioxidants helping protect your immune system and skin health. If eating adequate amount of fruits and vegetable is difficult for you, you might want to invest in a trusted source. Lastly, just because something claims to have green tea or vitamins doesn’t mean it’s good for you. If you are not familiar with the manufacturer of a certain product, check for validity from a trusted health care provider.

Even with the help of antioxidants prolonged solar radiation can take a toll on skin health. Its always a good idea to wear protective clothing and a hat when spending all days outdoors.

KIDS PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

With antioxidants by your side you can finally unleash your genetic potential. Would it not be amazing to find out what your skin might age like in a closer to perfect world of ideal nutritional choices, with less toxins, pollution and solar radiation? I’m curious ….arent you??

POSSIBILITIES AND AGING

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baby lashesBabies seem to be blessed with long full lashes. They use them to charm us into doing practically whatever they want. Eyes are key when trying to gain someone’s trust and lustrous lashes make it easy to pay attention just long enough to convince our audience we are worthy of theirs. 

Eye lashes, like hair, tend to thin and lose volume as we age. Typical lash cycle lasts between 30 and 60 days. As lashes fall out, they replace themselves with new ones. Like skin and hair on our heads, lashes are sensitive to sun exposure, smoking, pollution, chemical exposure and diet. Keeping them thick, healthy and shiny may take a bit of consideration. Our diet, products we choose and the way we care for our lashes in general can affect how they grow and thrive despite our genetic and hormonal predisposition. Once you have assured you are eating a balanced diet, have no hormonal or health related disorders affecting your lash health or loss, it’s time to figure out what we can do.

So with a billion dollar lash product market out there….which products should we trust?

Can a product help make our lashes healthier, longer and fuller as they claim? From the grocery store to the doctor’s office we see dozens of lash products promising us all we need to revive the lashes we once had and really give our eyes the beautiful frames they deserve.
Below I have outlined for you the some of the best reviewed on the market. These are the products that I thought, had some of the best studied ingredients and therefore had clinical validity. Some are aimed at both stimulating new hair growth and optimizing growth potential while others are simply conditioners to help promotes healthier and more beautiful lashes.. I list their users claims, their key ingredients, price and some other valid considerations.

Here I list my top 10 lash enhancing products. I made sure to have a nice mix of medicial, aesthetic and natural products. Scroll down below and I give you a glossary of all the clinically valid ingredients used  in lash serums and how they can help restore or improve lash growth and health. With this information I give you the tools to decifer which lash product may be right for you!
M2 beatuy logo

M2 Lashes by M2 Beaute

  • Claim: Lustrous lashes without side effects. Use MDN, claimed to be safer prostaglandin derivative. Prolongs growth phase and delays their loss. Result is longer, fuller lashes in 6-8 weeks.
  • Ingredients :MDN**, Biotin, Hyaluronic acid, Prodew 300 moisture binder, Hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycan (GAG)
  • Other/Buying info: Use prostaglandin analog**. Sold without prescription in Europe and Asia. Not sold in USA.
    • 120 Euros. 3 month supply.Clinics, Online

lattisse

Latisse by Allergan

  • Claim: Prescribed for treatment of hypertrichosis (intentional or unintentional lash pulling) or inadequate lashes. Thicker longer and darker lashes in 6-8 weeks.
  • Ingredient: Biomatoprost ** is the only listed active ingredient
  • Other/Buying info: Uses prostaglandin analog **. Sold in US only. Allergan dispenses Lumigen in Europe and Asia, identical in composition but prescribed mainly for glaucoma patients.
    • $120 .By prescription only.4 week supply. Dispensed in Physician offices.

neulash

NeuLash by Skin Research Laboratories

  • Claim: Transform dry brittle lashes. Improves overall health and condition of lashes. Creates optimal environment for growth
  • Ingredients: Peptides, Provitamin B5, biotin, Pumpkin seed extract amino acids biotin hyaluronic acid, New formula without Isopropyl cloprostenate (IPC).
  • Other/Buying info: Celebrity endorsements. Not much clinical support. Had problems because included IPC and never reported. Recently removed from formulation.
    • $95 Online. 6week supply

Rapid Lash

 RapidLash

  • Claim: Conditioning moisturizing and strengthening serum. Improves the overall appearance of eyelashes and eyebrows.
  • Ingredients: Peptides, Sodium Hyaluronate,Biotin, Panthenol, Glycosaminoglycans, Allantoin, Cucurbita, and Licorice extract. New formulations without Isopropyl cloprostenate!
  • Other/ buying info: Valid Ingredient list with good price. Little clinical validation behind claims but good consumer ratings
    • $50 Retailers, Websites

Jan Marini Lash

Marini Lash by Jan Marini

  • Claim: Conditions, prevents premature breakage, giving better volume and texture.
  • Ingredients: Peptides, biotin vitamin B12, copper, panthenol, folic acid white tea leaf and cinnamon bark extract.
  • Other/Buying info: Lots of clinical research but Low concentration of peptides.
    • $79 Doctors’ Offices, Website                     hydropeptide lash

Hydropeptide Lash    

  • Claim: Grow long thick full lashes. Beauty meets science philosophy.
  • Ingredients: Peptides, Sodium hyaluronate, folic acid, biotin, amino acids
  • Other/Buying Info: Money back guarantee. Can also use on eyebrows.
    • $98 Retailers, Online

MD lash factor

MD Lash Factor by Dr Susan Lin

  • Claim: Longer, denser lashes in 4 weeks using non prostaglandinformula.(53% increase)
  • Ingredients: Copper peptide technology, biotin, sodium lactate, sodium PCA
  • Other/Buying info: Created by physician using medically validated Cu peptide technology. Like products with prostaglandin ingredients, can cause skin and iris darkening.
    • $100-140. Cilnics, Online

maxolash

MaxoLash by Dermagevity Cosmeceuticals

  • Claims: Natural, non-irritating formula to promote healthier and fuller-looking brows.
  • Ingredients: Protein complex and vitamins hyaluronic acid, ProVitamin B5
  • Other/ Buying info: Unlike most lash enhancers, wear like mascara.
    • 100% Natural, No Parabens, No preservative, No irritation
    • $79 Online

Tarte lash

Tarte Multiple EYE Lash Enhancer by Tarte

  • Claim: A natural lash enhancer that increases the appearance of lashes.
  • Ingredients: Plant Peptides, protein emulsion, amino acids, and vitamin C.
  • Other/Buying info:  All natural but may cause irritation in some with sensitive skin
  •   $65  Sephora,Online

Loreal Lash

L’Oréal 24-Hour Lash-Boosting Power System

  • Claim: Lengthening day mascara and lash-boosting serum for night. Claim to have similar results to expensive treatment serums.
  • Ingredients: Fortifying amino acids, panthenol, ceramide and centella asiatica extract.
  • Other/Buying info: Economical conditioning and strengthening system. Won’t grow lashes but support health.
    • $20 Drugstores, Retailers, Online

All these are credible products. Which is right for you depends on your personal philosophy (pro or anti medicines, doctor vs spa dispensed ect.), where you live and your pocket-book. I personally have tried M2 Beaute on one eye (while leaving the other untreated) and was amazed at the results. I also love Jan Marini products and believe in the restoration properties of the copper peptide technology (MD Lash Factor).  And for those who just want to treat their lashes with a little extra love without breaking their pocket book….L’Oreals product seems like the obvious choice. Most products are applied once daily above the upper lash line. Click on the product name for more details. Below you have ingredient info to help you understand how each help you get the most of your lashes.

                                

                                         Lash Enhancing Ingredient Glossary: The Key Players

The Ones that Enhance Growth: Prostaglandin analogs, Polypeptides, Copper Peptides

  • Prostaglandin Analogs– Bimatoprost,  Isopropyl Cloprostenate and MDN. Prostaglandin derivatives which have been clinically studied and proven to increase eyelash growth. This effect found by accident by glaucoma patients who were prescribed this to treat their medical condition. Naturally we can produce prostaglandins only if we assure we have enough fatty acids, omega 3’s and omega 6’s. Like all medications the drawback is risk of side effects. Although rare prostaglandin analogs can be linked to any of the following: discoloration of the eye lid skin or even iris (may change blue or green eyes to brown), an itchy or burning sensation affecting the eyes, dryness of the eyes or watery eyes, dizzy sensation or general feeling that something is in the eye.
  • Peptides– Increase eye lash growth by stimulating keratin (the protein of hair) production for longer thicker lashes. Also linked to promoting collagen production therefore supporting structure of hair follicles creating ideal new hair growth environment.
  • Copper peptides– Peptides with additional anti-inflammatory properties which promote wound healing and overall skin health. By inhibiting the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can prevent age related hair thinning and loss.  Also can enhance health of hair follicles so can grow healthier thicker hair. Precaution when combining with Vitamin C products as both can cause skin irritation, especially in combination.

Peptides are the preferred growth enhancers by purists who believe them to be a more natural way to stimulate growth without side effects of drug controlled ingredients such as those derived from prostaglandins. However, more clinical data has shown effectiveness of prostaglandin sources in stimulating hair growth.

Health and Beauty Enhancers:

        The following ingredients promote the ideal environment for best quality lashes to grow and reach their optimal growth potential. They may also contribute to repairing damaged lashes.

  • Allantoin– A plant-based ingredient to help sooth calm and protect lash skin.
  • Alphalfa extract– A great protein source that conditions and increases metabolism to promote lash skin healing.
  • L-Arginine– An amino acid (building block of protein) which has several added beneficial effects including waste elimination, creatinine production (muscle-building), and causing vasodilation of blood vessels or improved circulation. This benefit of improved circulation in theory is thought to help with tissue repair, circulatory related issues (heart and other vascular diseases) and in skin related issues and hair loss.
  • Biotin (Vitamin B7)-Promotes faster hair growth and stronger, less brittle hair. Also helps prolong hair growth phase and delay shedding. Vitamin B7 is necessary for metabolism of amino acids (building blocks of protein). Without deficiency, hair loss is inevitable.
  • Calcium– Enzyme activator which linked to stronger hair follicles. Works with Copper to promote eyelash growth.
  • Centella Asiatica– Herb used in African, Indian and Chinese Medicine for improved circulation benefits. Thought to stimulate hair and nail growth. No clinical studies exist to support use for any condition.
  • Cinnamon Extract– Prevents hair breakage and reduces hair loss.  Stimulates skin and hair follicles to improve circulation and promote healthy hair growth.
  • Folic Acid– Aids in red blood cell production and therefore proper circulation and metabolic function of healthy cells. Folic acid has been linked as a key player in healthy hair growth and therefore in eyelash health and growth
  • Glycols– Used as vehicles to deliver active ingredients into the skin where can work.  Problem is that they leave skin greasy and make difficult to apply make up after. May also cause irritation to some sensitive skins
  • Hyaluronic acid– Promote hydration to eyelashes so that they are more resistant to breakage and environmental aggressors.
  • Hydrolyzed glycosaminglycan (GAG)- Moisture binder and ensures greater elasticity, flexibility and strength.
  • Licorice extract- Contains calming and brightening properties to shield against irritation and redness. Helps soothe and brighten the eye area.
  • Olive. Emu or Castor Oil– These oils condition hair to protect and nurture hair growth, health and shine.
  • Pathenol (ProVitamin B5)- Coats the lashes and brows and seal in moisture and nourishment for improved overall appearance Strengthen eyelashes allowing them to reach maximum growth potential. Promotes flexibility and durability. Soothes and calms the skin.
  • Protein complex – Since hair in general is made up of proteins (keratin to be specific). Supplementing with protein assures we have what we need to grow strong thick hair.
  • Pumpkin Seed Extract– Contains fatty oils with linoleic and oleic acid. Excellent source of vitamin A, B6 and C. Also contains zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron and a unique amino acid, cucurbitin which can help in balancing hormones. This function on hormone mediation has shown positive on hair growth.
  • Resveratrol– Potent polyphenol antioxidant found naturally in red wine (grapes), peanuts, pine trees and plants. Has anti- inflammatory properties which are beneficial to skin and hair health. Since premature hair loss linked to inflammatory injury to hair follicle, resveratrol has been shown to help prevent loss ad stimulate regrowth of injured follicles.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate– Moisturizing and protective skin agent derived from hyaluronic acid that because of its smaller size can penetrate skin easier and therefore ideal component of topical skin products.
  • Vitamin A– Another powerful antioxidant is responsible for new cell growth and generating keratin (the protein which hair is composed of).
  • Vitamin C and E – These can help increase circulation for ideal growth environment. Vitamin C and help form collagen to provide structure and support for eyelash growth. Vitamin E protects hair from free radicals (environmental stressors and is also vital in helping repair and heal damaged, dry and spit hair).
  • White tea leaf extract– Antioxidant promoting health skin environment. Promotes ideal hair structure and strength.

                                                   Some Conculsions

Although fake lashes and dramatic mascaras can mask unhealthy appearing lashes, their effects are temporary and many times appear unnatural. In addition they dont treat the source of the problem, are costly and may even damage your lashes further! Its important to be aware of what IS good for your lashes and how you can invest wisely in their beautification!

lady gaga eyes

I hope this guide helps empower you to start picking better products for your eyelash health. Remember if you are going to pick between a slower process of healing and restructuring, or just the instant flash superficial fix-up…..always invest in core health practices and the beauty will follow naturally!

M2 before and after

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YOUR WAIST, YOUR FAT and HEALTH DANGERS

abdominal fat

During mid-life women tend to gain 1 lb or .5 kg per.  Men too, find weight gain and more specifically a growing waist circumference almost inevitable approaching 40-year-old. This, more than just an aesthetic concern of not fitting into your favorite jeans, is a major health concern. Hormones, stress, genetics all play a role, but they should not be used as an excuse to embrace a life of increased health risks. You owe it to yourselves and to your families, to put up a fight. By educating yourself you can be proactive and take the right measures to getting fit and healthy. A healthy waistline will allow you to be the positive support and role model for those you want to enjoy life with.

Most concerning about being overweight, is not the weight in general (which is still associated with increase cardiovascular disease and diabetes) but where you accumulate the fat. The shift in fat stores to your abdomen and waist most probably translates to the biggest life risk factor to your health and longevity.

Although many tend to point blame at hormones and genetics when it comes to unexplained weight gain, there are other factors we need to be aware of so we can change our bodies tendencies. It’s the way our body ages and the way we let our environment (stress, diet and lifestyle) influence our health, that becomes key to a quality long life.

The Scary Fat: Visceral Fat

The fat most likely contributing to an increased waist line is one called visceral fat. This fat, unlike the subcutaneous fat  you can pinch and found just underneath your skin, contributes to most of our health related risks. Visceral fat is the fat underneath your muscles and found around organs. It is a “metabolically active fat” that’s directly linked to health concerns such as immunological diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and colon and breast cancer. It is one of the few independent factors that put you at risk for premature death. By metabolically active we mean that it works as a gland which produces hormones like other organs. An example of it’s’ activity is its production of adiponectin. Adiponectin is a hormone which inhibits leptin, another hormone which is normally released after a meal to make us feel full. It is therefore visceral fats fault that those who have a thickened waist tend to feel the less full after eating a meal, eat more and continue to put on weight. Adiponectin also makes cells less responsive to insulin. Insulin is the hormone which controls how we use glucose (sugar) for energy. Normally the pancreas releases insulin in response to increase glucose associated with a carbohydrate meal. Insulin maintains healthy blood glucose levels by bringing glucose into cells. Cellular responsiveness to insulin is important because if impaired cells don’t help decrease blood glucose as they should, we call this insulin resistance. Insulin resistance ultimately means we are often put in a state of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Hyperglycemia is terrible for the body as it means damage to organs such as the kidneys, increased glucose storage as fat and increased risk for diabetes. As a result our bodies also make more cholesterol, control blood pressure worse (leading to high blood pressure), have increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Visceral fat activity also negatively affects how our immune system functions by pumping out excess levels of cytokines, especially two known as tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6. These cytokines are bad news in excess as they promote chronic inflammation and also further cellular resistance to insulin. This puts our body in more risk of a hyperactive immune system and autoimmune diseases and once again issues related to diabetes.

In addition, visceral fat cells also produces biochemicals which could contribute to increased blood pressure, problems with blood clotting and increased cholesterol.

Visceral fat activity therefore can be blamed for a variety of hormonal, biochemical and immune disruptions which throw our body into a chaotic cycle of imbalances resulting in mismanagement of vital systems needed to keep our metabolism, weight and overall health in check. The less we have of it, the better overall we are going to feel, look and function.

viseral fat diagram

The Measurements that put us at risk: When should we worry?

A waist measurement of 40 inches (102 cm)  for men or 35 inches (88 cm) for women equals abdominal obesity. New England Journal of Medicine reported when your waist is over 120 cm (men) or 100cm (women) you are twice as likely as those below 80 cm (men) or 65 cm (women) for premature death.

Ideal waist measurements correlating to quality and healthy lives have been reported below American Heart Association standards ( 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men).

Even if you are above or even at the ideal waist circumference limits there are enough reasons for you to be conscious of the consequences related to correlated health concerns. Get educated as to why this may be happening and start the process of slimming down and taking control of your health.

So what are the contributing factors to increased visceral fat?

Visceral fat is accumulated due to a combination of factors including environmental, genetic  and hormonal influences.  Below I outline some of the biggest contributors to dangerous belly fact.

Cortisol is a hormone made by the adrenal glands above the kidneys.  Cortisol affects almost every system in the body but its main functions include increasing blood sugar (by breaking down glycogen to glucose in liver), aiding  in fat, protein, carbohydrate metabolism and suppressing the immune system. Most of these functions aim to help the body focus effort on those processes which will help the body have fast energy and also prepare itself for some stressful event. In regards to our waistline concerns, cortisol is one of our main villains. When chronically elevated, cortisol is responsible for relocating fat cells into visceral cavities of the abdomen.

This brings me to explain how cortisol levels get increased to begin with.

  • Increased Stress–>Increased Cortisol

When you are confronted with stress, your body’s initial response is “fight or flight.”   Its signals your body to release the hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine to deal with the stressful situation most effectively. It helps us get the energy our body feels it needs quickly and reverts the body from utilizing the energy inefficiently in things like digestion and reproduction. If the stressful situation is long term and you begin to feel distressed and defeated, the hypothalamus in the brain becomes involved, eventually leading to the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands. Along with cortisol we experience increase appetite and increase insulin levels so that we not only intake more calories but we get them stored to prepare for what the body perceives as a “dramatic event” which may require extra physical efforts. Cortisol then stimulates additional glucose production from glycogen stores in the liver. In addition, chronic cortisol increased inhibits normal metabolism of fat. The results of this all means excess un-utilized calories stored as fat, decreased fat burning and inevitable weight gain.

Cortisol’s influence increases appetite by making us less sensitive to a hormone called leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full, this results in eating more. Again, the excess calories are stored as fat around the abdomen.

  • Estrogen Excess/Depletion:

The Estrogen Saga; How levels affects how we produce and store fat!

Estrogen is in  balance with other hormones in the body such as progesterone in women and testosterone in men. A balanced hormonal level helps to maintain our metabolic functions. When these hormones are present in unbalanced proportions, disorders and diseases can occur.

Natural Estrogen, when in correct levels and appropriately counter-balanced with other hormones, is vital to, especially women’s health. The issue occurs when we are exposed to, or ingest exogenous sources of estrogens which throw our body into disarray and in a state of estrogen excess. Exogenous estrogens are everywhere.They’re in the air, car emissions, detergents, paints, nail polishes, lotions, soaps, plastics, food and water. Most notable sources of estrogen chemicals are petroleum based products, pollutants, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and plastics (found in our air, on our food, cleaning supplies, toys and storage containers for food and water).  Exposure to these estrogenic chemicals are virtually unavoidable and they are the source of many health mysteries. They when ingested mimic our natural estrogen and have been linked to a variety of problems such a slowed fat metabolism, increased abdominal fat deposition, allergies, low immunity, fatigue and mood swings.

If progesterone and testosterone hormone levels are not where they should be, and our diet doesn’t include certain nutrients, we are unable to offset this estrogen excess. As a result we are  we are thrown into a metabolic disarray and the problems listed above.

Most often as we age an additional problem contributes to this already concerning issue. Progesterone and androgen hormones which normally help balance estrogen, are converted into renegade estrogen.  This puts many peri-menopausal women into a paradoxyl estrogen excess just as they start to produce less natural estrogen. Losses of androgen hormone levels in men also result in accumulation of abdominal fat and its related health issues. These concerns are the focus of anti-aging medicine doctors and their commitment to treatment through bio-identical hormone replacement (discussed below)!

Some signs you may be in estrogen excess? Symptoms of excess may include: craving of carbs and sweets, fat selectively deposited in the center of your body, low energy, headaches, digestion issues, water retention, lack of clear thinking, depressed mood. The “thickening” of women’s bodies and the “softening” of men’s bodies are often related to excess estrogen.

To avoid estrogen excess we must avoid sources of exogenous estrogens. This means avoiding toxins and chemicals at all costs. It also means eating smartly to avoid processed, hormone pumped and toxic foods. See diet consideration in the Diet section outlined below!

The estrogen saga thickens: What about those of you in Menopause? Unlike pre-menopausal concerns relating to estrogen excess, the problems associated with first 10 years of menopause are actually related to an estrogen decrease. Natural estrogen production has found to have many protective qualities to women. One of them have to do with preventing visceral fat accumulation. Women have an enzyme that when activated by high fat diet, slows the way we metabolize and burn fat. This enzyme is more active in the abdominal visceral fat. Estrogen suppresses the enzymes activity and therefore women in menopause have a greater tendency to suffer from the enzymes overactivity when exposed to high fat diets. Its is for this reason why women tend to accumulate more fat around their waists and more so after menopause. The mechanism of action seems to be related to the enzymes effect on Vitamin A metabolism. When the enzyme is present and active, it promotes Vitamin A metabolism to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid production has shown to be directly linked to visceral fat development. This enzyme has been identified as Aldh1a. And studies in mice have shown that those without it dont produce retinoic acid and therefore didn’t have ability to produce visceral fat. At least one function for this enzyme is the production of a powerful hormone, which then drives up the formation of visceral fat cells. The source of this hormone is vitamin A. A study in the Journal of Diabetes published that this enzyme was more present in obese womens visceral fat than in lean women. In summary, although genetics, gender and hormone levels all play a role in visceral fat formation, your can limit activation of Aldh1a by avoiding high fat foods.  Women can also see their doctor and discuss custom bio-identical hormone therapy to balance estrogen and other hormones which may affect the way you develop and burn fat.  Doctors and researchers are also now putting efforts in finding medications who can block the enzyme Aldh1a, in hopes to prevent retinoic acid effects on producing visceral fat.

  • Poor Diet Habits

In general, we need to eat in order to our bodies natural circadian rhythm which is dictates by our adrenals system cortisol release.  Adrenal health is vital for a healthy metabolism and in otherwise healthy individuals should dictate how, what and when we eat. There are two ways to do this. First eat when cortisol levels are naturally high and second making sure to eat well consistently throughout the day to avoid the body not signally a “starvation mode” which is perceived as stress to the adrenal system and therefore outputs cortisol.   Cortisol is naturally highest in the morning and therefore eating the most in the morning naturally follows the body’s natural tendencies to create more natural energy. Snacking correctly maintains healthy blood sugar and helps moderate the natural downward slope of cortisol through the day. Low carb snack at 3 pm helps avert an energy slump and eating light and early dinners helps us maintain the natural low quantities of cortisol our body sends out in the evening. Keeping with this natural cortisol output puts our body at easy and our metabolism in check.  Avoiding hunger also makes sure not to stress our body into releasing cortisol when not necessary and therefore prevents fat cells deposition into the visceral area.

The Solutions!!!

Ok so now you know the culprits. Let’s go over some of the ways we can decrease stress, cortisol, balance estrogen, improve your diet, implement lifestyle practices and get your doctor involved!!!

  • Decrease Stress

As seen above cultivating low stress lifestyle is key to limiting the bodies stress response and high cortisol levels. Stress and cortisol promote visceral fat storage. Making time for activities and practices to help you deal with stress are extremely important for you and your family’s life.  Some studies have specifically been linked to help control cortisols’ influence on our health. Supplements shown to decrease cortisol levels include magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and black tea. Activities such as music therapy, massage therapy, laughing and dancing have also shown to positively affect cortisol levels. Make time for whatever you feel helps you manage your life. Walks, meditation, shiatsu, tai chi, yoga, tea breaks with your best friend are to be made mandatory if they help you remain calm and balanced when dealing with life.

meditation and relaxation

  • Diet Modifications/ Toxin Avoidance

Diet is essential when living in a world of chemicals, toxins and impure foods. We need to be picky about the food we ingest and the products we buy. You may not realize the health benefits “eating organic” or using eco-friendly cleaning products may bring you, but the cumulative detrimental effects creep up on you in the form of unexplained weight gain, low energy and diseases.  Be mindful when deciding what to feed yourself and your family…. you will be happier healthier and live longer for certain!

Our objective is to avoid accumulation of estrogen and limit its effects on our fat deposition, metabolism and side effects. The solution to excess estrogen requires the means to counterattack estrogen and its excess in a natural and safe way. To effectively defend the body against excess estrogen, one should increase the intake of estrogen inhibiting compounds, and decrease the intake of estrogen promoting compounds in the diet.

  1. Avoid toxins, hormones which lead to estrogen excess….Simply Choose Organic! The key is to avoid estrogen excess is to avoid foods high in estrogenic compounds. Anything that is processed increases the concentration of food estrogenic component. Non organic meat, processes soy, licorice, pesticides found on non organic fruits and vegetables,  non organic meats and dairy, plastic derivatives in found in packed food and water, diets high in animal fat and excessive consumption of omega 6 oils such as canola, corn and safflower can all lead to estrogen excess and therefore more deposit of visceral fat.
  2. Incorporate estrogen inhibiting compounds: Eating more plant-based food such as leafy greens can help combat excess estrogen. Plant compounds from the flavonoid and indole family can help the liver metabolize estrogen and therefore prevent its negative effects. These estrogen inhibitors work not only to inhibit estrogen production but lower receptor sensitivity and shift estrogen metabolism to more beneficial metabolites.Flavonoids and indoles, are also potent antioxidants and have anti-cancerous properties.

•Estrogen inhibitors can also be found in any of the following:  passiflora, chamomile, bee products, citrus fruits, onion, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage). It is for this reason it is pertinent to healthy fat metabolism to include these sources in your diet.

cruciferous vegtables

•Other foods which help limit the effect of estrogen excess on the body are omega 3 fatty acids which can be found in flax seeds, hemp seeds and fatty fish.

3. Balance the effects of estrogen excess by eating food which encourage progesterone production.      Progesterone will help balance estrogens. Good fats like avocados, olives, nuts and seeds are great simulators for healthy progesterone levels.

good oils avocado nut olive

             4. Incorporate detoxifying spices like curry and ginger can help clear the body of excess estrogen.

Additional diet considerations for Post Menopause:  In addition to the pre-menopause tips, women after menopause have an additional concern once natural estrogen levels start to drop. It becomes exceedingly important to avoid high fat diets.

Diet low in saturated fats and high in nutritional foods such as vegetables, grains, good oils and lean proteins can help keep metabolism in check and avoid high fat food binges. As mentioned above drastic diets that keep calories to minimum do not work! We need to avoid being hungry at all costs! Starvation mode, slows metabolism and paradoxically signals a stress response and causing it to store fat rather than to burn it for energy.   Eating smartly is the key. Find a way to enjoy eating for health. If you can’t figure it out, there is no better investment than seeing a nutritional specialist. Remember the is no price for a quality healthy life…. There is no better time than the present to invest in your health.

  • Whole Body Workout

Exercise is a great way to combat visceral fat. Studies from Duke University Medical Center and University of Pennsylvania showed how cardiovascular and weight training can combat abdominal fat. Walking or jogging 12 miles/week helped subjects lose up to 9 % of visceral fat in 6 months and that weight training twice a week can reduce body fat by an additional 4%.  What was not seen was visceral fat loss by doing abdominal specific excercise. A whole body work out effort is necessary to effectively address abdominal/visceral fat concerns.

healthy life pic

BHRT is a method of alternative medicine which uses hormones, which are bio-identical to the ones our body naturally makes, to compensate and balance the body of certain hormones which decline with age. The aim is to treat symptoms related to aging and help restore patients health found in youthful years.  By implementing BHRT doctors have been able to give patients those hormone ratios needed for ideal bodily function.  Declining estrogen, DHEA, and testosterone have all been linked to increased body weight, waist circumference, and an overall decreased metabolic profile. Those doctors who have been certified in the practice of BHRT can measure patients specific hormonal profiles and supplement with the bio-identical hormones to improve energy, weight, mental and physical function, and the defenses to help minimize the effects of stress and cortisol.  SInce these hormones are indistinguishable from the ones our body naturally makes, they unlike other forms of hormone replacement, implicate no risks of health concerns. If you are over 35 and feel that your body and energy level are changing beyond the control of exercise and diet, I suggest you seek out an anti-aging physician who can run tests and offer you council on BHRT.

In short, our best anti-aging tool when it comes to overall health come down to a fey key practices. Don’t smoke, avoid excess alcohol intake, exercise, RELAX, watch your diet carefully and DON’T GAIN WEIGHT!!! Again if you feel you can’t manage it alone there are people who can help.

active for life

Also, for those who have mothers, aunts, fathers and loved one’s who just are too easily accepting of their new body and waist…..PASS ON THE POST!!! We love them too much not to help them see it’s more than just an increase dress or pants size they need to worry about!

fitness for life

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thinner but healthy and attractive lips

No matter the size shape and color of your lips there ways to maximize their aesthetics to your advantage. No matter what curves you’ve got going on elsewhere in the body, lips heighten sensuality and make others a bit more interested in what you have to say! It is for this reason keeping lips healthy, youthful and plump, bring value to our longevity socially, professionally and romantically…I say this is a good reason to invest in them, don’t you?

Factors contributing to aging lips are much of the same which contribute to our skin aging, sun, genetics, smoking, irritant exposure to name a few.Unprotected exposure to cold, dry weather, wind, chronic licking of lips, cold sores and other injuries can also cause chronic dehydration and damage, contributing to distortions such as wrinkling and volume loss. As we age, the perioral area (area around lips) also developes deep vertical wrinkles because of repetitive movements most often encouraged by smoking, drinking out of a straw, coffee mug or water bottle spout. The cumulative factors contributing to aging most often leave our lips rough, wrinkled, less defined and a bit less capable of showing off our favorite lip stick.

What to do? I propose a month dedicated to lips…Why not let it be February? Its an ideal month where love thrives and the cold, dry weather starts to give us a break.  Dedicate February to lip rejuvenation and some professional lip pampering.  After that, lets move on to protecting and maintaining your spruced up pout!!

So first for the Rejuvenating Part………..

Below I offer a 4 week treatment plan which requires you to partner up with your Dermatologist or Medical Aesthetic Practitioner. This month-long protocol is for both restoring age-related issues and uncovering natural beautiful attributes which may have been neglected in during the cold months.

Week 1 Objectives: Restore smoothness, remove dry skin  and relax wrinkles

@ Professional: Glycolyic Peel, +/- Botox Perioral wrinkles (this optional and only if needed)

  • Glycolic peels can be used in various concentrations to help prevent or treat lip and perioral rhytides (wrinkles or lines). Low concentrations can be used gently exfoliate dead skin cells and promote healthy cellular turn over to prevent wrinkling and aging skin problems. These can usually done without any skin preparation, with little downtime and virtually no risk of side effects. Higher concentrations can be used in the periorbital area, most often above the upper lips to help reduce the appearance of wrinkling and discolorations. A more aggressive treatment may require some planning and preparation with your Aesthetic Practitioner.
  • Botulinum toxin  can help relax the muscles around the mouth, softening and smoothing the appearance of the dynamic lines in the perioral area. Dynamic wrinkling refers to the lines which form as we move the lips in such a way to make them more apparent. Botox can also prevent those static lines that tend to get deeper with age as we repeatedly pout, whistle, suck (sorry no better word for this) or even drink from spouts. This can be a very valuable procedure for those who are smokers, as they most often have deep lines formed from years of smoking.  As valuable as a procedure Botox maybe , beware as this requires a skilled injector and conservative doses of Botulin A toxin. Inappropriate or excessive doses can cause temporary impairment of natrual  mouth gestures and even change your smile!.

@Home: Start using an intense hydrating lip treatment.

  • Top Savantess Pick:  Eminence Citrus Lip Balm treatment. Its organic and includes sunflower seed oil, shea butter and lemon balm. Sunflower oil is a great source of vitamins A, D and E, lemon balm a great vitamin C source as well as natural calming property and  shea butter is an optimal moisturizer.  This balm also incorporates natural sources of peptides which are ideal for healing, collagen production and even swell the lips a bit for an added volume effect.

eminence

Week 2 Objectives: Remodel lip structure and define lip border. Aim to strengthen and thicken perioral skin.

@Professional: Laser Non Ablative Fractionated resurfacing.

  • Fractional Resurfacing refers to the fact that we are using lasers in a way to treat only a percentage of the skin surface in comparison to traditional lasers which cause damage to the entire skin surface.. Fractional lasers cause micro injuries  of a specific depth (depending on the laser and setting), surrounded by unaffected tissue.  This gives Fractional lasers advantage over traditional lasers in that they offer faster recovery, predictable results and low incidence of side effects. For some, ablative fractional lasers are more effective for the treatment of wrinkles and are preferred because they have the  additional benefit of tightening. Ablative laser can do this because they actually remove the outer layer and stimulate more aggressive healing processes. It is for the same reason they are advantageous that they are not ideal for many. They are more likely disrupt melanocyte activity(pigment controlling cells located in upper skin layers), require more caution, preparation and downtime. It is for this reason, for the purpose of our month-long lip protocol, I strongly recommend a fractional non ablative laser. Fractional non ablative lasers can go deep, creating collagen remodeling and production, smoothing wrinkles and textural problems without concern of most side effects and downtime of the ablative lasers.  Talk to your doctor to find out which laser is right for you. Although there are cases where a non-ablative laser would be of little help, for most, they stimulate healthier, smoother, stronger tissue, with less discolorations, more definition, and softer lips.
  • Top Savantess Pick for Periorbital-Non Ablative Laser Rejuvenation: I have a long-standing relationship with the Fraxel 1550 nm laser. I love it! I will write much more about its benefits in future posts. Feel free to check out other non ablative fractional devices….there are a few great companies out there which have produced amazing lasers, one example of a reputable example is Palomar Lux 1540nm.

Fraxel mouth pic

  • For those getting ahead of themselves and want more dramatic results and resurfacing, a few suggestions for Ablative Fractional Devices. I will personally vouch for both the Lumenis Active Fx CO2 laser and Scitons Profactional Erb:Yag laser. I have experience with both and when diagnosed for the correct candidate and appropriately administered, give incredible results! There is also a Fraxel CO2 Ablative device called the Repair which gives sublime results.

@Home: Focus on repair and hydration.

Caudalie Lierac LIp

Week 3: Stimulate Cellular Turnover, remove residual dead skin cells resulting post peeling and laser procedures.

@Professional : Microdermabrasion

  • Microdermabrasion is a fast, easy way to stimulate cellular turnover, remove dead skin cells, lighten discolorations, smooth and soften wrinkles. It uses either tiny aluminum oxide crystals or a diamond tip piece to mechanically scrape away only the most superficial skin layer. It leaves a fresh skin layer, which can better absorb active ingredients and promotes healthier skin function overall.

@Home: Great week to get back on the Eminence product mentioned above or nourishing treatment as the one described below.

  • Try  Lierac Paris’ Coherece Levres Lip Plumping Serum. It nourish, smooths, hydrates and promotes collagen. With ingredients such as Collagen III accelerating vectors (6%), plumping peptides, hyaluronic acid and shea butter, it was destined to be your star lip product.

Week 4:  Continue Remodeling Tissue structure. Strengthen and define lip, +/-  work on restoring volume loss or plumping wrinkles with filler.

@ Professional: Repeat Fractional Laser Resurfacing treatment .Collagen or Hyaluronic Acid filler should be injected as needed for additional volume or wrinkle smoothing.

  • Most experts agree that for defining the lip line, Retylane is a superior product. For giving lips volume try Juvederm Ulta XC and for filling in lines around the perioral area try Juvederm Ulta Plus XC. These are all hyaluronic acid products which are cross linked and dispersed in different ways to give different consistencies. Restylane is stiffer and helps make a nice defied lip while Juvederm Ultra is thinner and less clumpy and gives the lip a nice smooth and soft pout. In comparison, Juvederm Ulta Plus is thicker and lasts a bit longer to plump up wrinkles around the mouth.
  • Keep on the look out for a new collagen product for lip enhancement Evolence Breeze awaiting FDA approval in the US.  It has advantages over older brands in that it is causes less allergies and lasts longer (6 months vs 2-3) and also over the above HA products in that it causes virtually no swelling.  It will help create a new niche for those seeking a  lunch hour remedy for plumping and softening lips!

@Home: Another great week to focus on repairing and soothing skin. See week 2 @ Home recommendations.

Now for some maintenance tips and recommendations!

  • Use the Right Lip Balm daily.Products with SPF plus ingredients such as beeswax, petroleum, coconut oil, jojoba, vitamin E and paraffin are best. These help lips retain moisture and protect from outside aggressors such as sun, wind, toxins and even citric foods. These are a few of the best I found incorporating Antioxidants and SPF: try Coola LipLux Organic SPF Lip Balm, , Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm, Supergoop SPF Lip Balms or for those who want a bit of color try Kaplan MD Sheer Lip Balm.

Coola LipLux SPF

  • Exfoliate daily: I like to do this before I go to bed. Once dead skin is removed, you can better hydrate and absorb other healing ingredients. Also exfoliating regularly stimulates healthy cellular turnover and prevents wrinkles. The Lip Scrubby Sarah Happ Cocoa– helps remove stubborn skin for smooth soft and plump lips. You can also use an old tooth-brush to gently scrub of dry skin or make a homemade scrub with some sugar, a touch of lemon and honey!

Lip Scrub Sarah Happ

  • Keep harsh acne or wrinkle treatments away from lips. Also ingredients such as menthol, camphor, fragrances and silicone can irritate or remove moisture from lips, causing cracks.
  • For a natural remedy for irritated lips apply almond oil, olive oil or vaseline prior to going to sleep. For sunburned lips apply a  aloe vera product. Aloe vera naturally relieves inflammation, hydrates and repairs.
  • Avoid licking lips. The enzymes in saliva are harsh for the sensitive nature of the skin on our lips. If they are dry, keep your favorite lip balm close.
  • Matte lipsticks tend to dehydrate lips. If you do choose to continue using them, apply a nourishing balm first or alternate their application with a reparative lip treatment. I love matte lipsticks because they tend to last longer but use them only at night-time and usually avoid in the winter when my lips tend to be the driest.
  • To enhance superficial circulation to the lips and create transient plumping, apply a bit of peppermint oil to the lips every few hours. Capsaicin is another ingredient extracted from hot peppers that acts similarly to plump lips. These ingredients are commonly found in lip plumping glosses. Again they are great for temporary plumping  but beware of the glosses as they often dehydrate lips! I say use the peppermint oil and complement with your favorite hydrating cream based lip color!
  • As for over-the-counter cures for sun damage and wrinkling, look for anti-aging treatments containing peptides (for healing and collagen stimulation), retinoids (for promoting cellular turnover and smoothing skin), vitamin C (for `protects skin against oxidation and stimulates collagen) and hyaluronic acid (hydration and plumping).  These products should be specifically formulated for the areas around the mouth.

I hope you find my lip make-over plan helpful! I know for many of you, lasers, Botox and fillers may seem too aggressive or premature but I hope to try to integrate a few key ideas. Everyone can benefit from a peel, microdermabrasion or even Clear and Brilliant lip treatment. These treatments are ideal to combine with the maintenance tips when aiming to prevent signs of premature aging and to keep lips at their most plump and youthful state! xx

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