Below are some amazing skincare tips and a lot information written by Laura Bradford, a licensed aesthetician and promoter of natural beauty products.
These are the notes from her skincare seminar.
(All information is copyrighted and to be used with permission only.)
“Always remember your true beauty comes from within, no matter what methods you use to beautify your body on the outside. If your heart is filled with envy, hate, jealousy, and ugly, unhappy thoughts, it will discolor your aura for all to see. What you thought yesterday, you will live today. What you think today, you will live tomorrow. If you want to live a life filled with health, beauty, joy, and happiness, then think only of that which is beautiful, and you will be beautiful.”
-anonymous (from Eating for Beauty by David Wolfe)
The Function of Skin
Skin's primary purpose is to protect the body from the outside elements, give sensation from touch, heat regulation, execretion from the suderiferous (sweat) glands, secretion from the sebaceous (oil) glands, and absorption. The skin selectively absorbs topical products through the hair follicle and the sebaceous glands (for example the birth control patch). Many creams can penetrate the skin, which is either beneficial or detrimental depending on the ingredients.
Why is your skin so important?
It is the body's largest eliminative organ. It eliminates up to one-third of your body’s waste. It reflects outwardly how your body is doing on the inside. It is also your bodies most capable breathing and absorbing organ. Lastly, it is a protector of your your organs from the outside elements, such as bacteria and foreign pathogens. Your body is replacing millions of cells each hour.
Facts about the skin
Each inch of skin contains approximately: millions of cells, 15 feet of blood vessels, 12 feet of nerves, 650 sweat glands, 100 oil glands, 65 hairs, 1,300 nerve endings. Your skin is also, 15 % of your body weight! Skin contains more than one-half to two-thirds of all of the blood in the body and one-half of the primary immune cells. (Taken from Milady’s Standard – Fundamentals for Estheticians, 9th edition)
How can you keep it healthy?
Try not put anything in your body that you wouldn't put on your skin – and don't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't put on your body! Your body “eats” everything that you put on your skin. When you put lotion on your skin it doesn't evaporate- it goes into your bloodstream and throughout your whole body.
Here is a list of foods that will help to beautify the skin: avocadoes, beets, blueberries, brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, carrots, flaxseed, goji berries, green leafy vegetables, kale, lemon, oranges, persimmons, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelon. Basically, if it takes a long time to decompose outside of your body, it will take at least that long on the inside of your body. Try to find a vegetable you like and eat lots of it.
Drinking lots of water will help the skin immensely. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces a day. If water gets boring, add liquid stevia (sweetener) or a drop or two of lemon or orange essential oil. Water helps carry toxins out of the liver, flushes the kidneys, supports the adrenals, all which contribute to healthy skin. Your skin is the last to receive the water that you drink.
Layers of the Skin
The skin has 2 layers: the epidermis (outer or top) and the dermis (inner or lower).
Epidermis- the epidermis has the following layers and functions:
Stratum corneum: Top, outermost layer of the skin made up of scale-like cells called keratinocytes. Kerantinocytes contain keratin which is a fiber protein. The fiber protein provides resiliency and protection to the skin. Dead keratinocytes comprise 95% of the epidermis and are continually shed and replaced by newer cells coming from the lower layers of the skin. This is why eating healthy protein is important.
Stratum lucidum: is a clear layer that is found only on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It acts as a barrier.
Stratum granulosum: is comprised of cells that resemble granules and contain keratin- they move to the surface to replace the dead cells.
Stratum spinosum: desmosomes are contained in this layer. Their function is to help keep cells together.
Stratum germinativum: This is also known as the basal layer. Cell division occurs constantly in this layer. This layer also contains melanin which is the protective skin pigment.
Dermis - the dermis is 25 times thicker than the dermis and contains the following layers and functions:
Papillary Layer: this layer connects the epidermis to the dermis. This layer contains papillae which are the cone shaped structures that nourish the hair follicles and the epidermis.
Reticular Layer: this layer contains collagen which makes up 70% of the dermis. Damage to these fibers is the primary cause of wrinkling and aging. The fluid in this layer is called hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid holds about 1000 times its weight in water. It is also what gives skin the dewy look. This acid decreases with age and poor diet choices.
The dermal layer is where the two types of glands are located. First are the sebaceous glands that secrete oils that protect the skin. The sebaceous glands are larger on the face and scalp. If the ducts become clogged by either debris or excess buildup of hormones, comedones are formed.
Second are the sudoriferous glands or sweat glands that help regulate body temperature and eliminate waste products by excreting sweat. The apocrine glands are located in the underarms and genital area and are more active during emotional times. They only produce an offensive odor when combined with the bacteria on the skin. The eccrine glands are found all over the body, but are most active on the forehead, palms, and soles of the feet. They are more active during physical activity and do not produce an odor.
This is the fat layer that creates protective cushion to the body and provides a source of energy. This layer decreases with age and lifestyle. This is why many women who follow a low-fat diet often wrinkle earlier than those who eat healthy fats. Healthy fats include olive oil, butter, avocadoes, nuts, coconut oil, and almonds.
The skin is constantly regenerating itself. It grows from the bottom layer up. It is actually one of the fastest healing organs. For example, when it is cut it heals itself within a few days. It is truly one of the most fascinating organs we have.
A Word on Essential Oils
Essential oils have a high Oxygen Radical Absorbancy (ORAC) Score. Antioxidants absorb free radical scavengers in the skin. Free radicals are atoms that have one less electron and cause damage to other cells in the body, they are unstable are what cause wrinkling and problems in the skin. Oxidation is what happens when an item comes it contact with air. For example, after you slice an apple it will turn brown a few minutes later. Therefore, anything with lots of oxygen (oxygen kills pathogens) is really good for the skin. This is why exercise is good for the body because it increases oxygen content in the body. Refined sugar causes lots of oxidation internally. The skin literally will brown if the body is continually fed refined sugar.
When a person puts lots of lotions that contain lots of synthetics it smothers the skin (not allowing it to breathe) and the molecules just sit on top of the skin. However, essential oils (having a smaller molecular structure) are able to penetrate deep down into skin layers and contain lots of anti-oxidants. Some oils are fine to be put directly (neat) on the skin. To not use as much oil - I combine them with a carrier (which helps carry) oil such as coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, olive, macademia, or whatever organic food grade oil you have. Also, citrus oils are photosensitive, meaning they don't react well with the sun after applying them. Lastly, hot oils (such as clove, peppermint, oregano, tea tree, fennel) should not be directly applied to the skin. When in question, always dilute with a carrier oil. Many can be rubbed on the soles of the feet if you are unsure of how to use it. Also, putting a drop or two in Real Salt and then putting in a bath is very relaxing. Essential oils help build up oxygen inside the body. Always get essential oils from a quality source. Make sure they are o.k. to take internally and apply externally.
Next I would like to show the best way to take the skin from an acidic state to an alkaline state back down to an acidic state through the following process. This five-step process is what really constitutes a true facial.
Cleansing, Exfoliation, Masks, Toning, and Moisturizing:
On the acid/alkalinity scale the skin's potential hydrogen (pH) is around a 4.5 – 5.5, meaning that the skin is naturally acidic. However, as the skin eliminates toxins from the body (through acne or rashes) these issues need to be taken care of by raising the skin to a more alkaline state and then bringing it back down to it's natural acidic state. To prevent acne and rashes it is always a good idea to have the internal body around a pH of 7.
Use warm water to cleanse to help open the pores. With cleansing you raise the pH of the skin to a higher alkaline state. This helps to kill off any bacteria, fungus or infection on the skin. Some ideas to use as a cleanser would be: diluted salt water, clay water, aloe vera (which slightly foams), diluted baking soda, or a gentle cleanser. Use very soft, upward motions and never “scrub” the skin- which aggrevates and causes more skin problems.
At night, be sure to cleanse twice. The reason for this is because the first time you are cleaning the make-up off and then the second time you are deep cleaning down to the pore. Make sure to wash for at least 30-60 seconds to get a through cleansing. Using circular motions works best for people. Be careful around the eye area.
Exfoliation (only once a week or month)
Exfoliation helps remove the dead skin to help product penetration. Exfoliation can either be manual (through massaging dead skin off) or chemical (using topical products and dissolving dead skin). Enzymes are often used in peels. Enzymes break up the dead skin on the surface. Some good ideas for enzyme masks are: papayas, pineapples, oranges, limes, grapefruit, and lactic acid such as sour milk or yogurt. Leave on the face for about 5 minutes (or longer depending on the person) and then massage off. There are many wonderful ways to experiment with this. I generally don't recommend granular scrubs unless it is jojoba or almond. Harsh scrubs will make tiny tears in the skin.
Your skin naturally sloughs off dead skin. However, it may need help every once in a while. That is why I generally don't recommend doing it more than once or twice a month. It is better to exfoliate more in the winter months than the summer months. In the summer months the skin is more exposed to the Sun’s rays. When you continually exfoliate your skin too much it may become dependent on it to remove any dead skin. It is not best to create this dependency and rely on the natural function of your skin to exfoliate itself. Over exfoliating also breaks down the natural protection of the acid mantle and impedes normal cellular funtion.
Masks are used for a variety of treatments. Many help clear blemishes and tighten and tone the skin. They can also be used to help remove dead skin and stimulate cell turnover. The masks that I have listed here are ones that I have found useful. They include essential oils that have those same properties (ex: Fennel essential oil tightens the skin- use carrier oil). The length of time varies from person to person. Here are some fun combinations and ideas to mask with. Time to get creative!
Moisturizing: avocado, banana, plain yogurt, honey, cucumber (cooling), olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, sandalwood, lavendar, frankincense, geranium, myrrh, orange, blue-green algae, cholorphyll, aloe vera, evening primrose oil, macademia nut oil.
Tightening: egg whites, fennel, birch.
Astringent: Peppermint, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Orange, Myrtle, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, lemon, lemongrass, lime.
Oily: Clay, tea tree, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavendar, fennel, lemon, orange, blue-green algae.
To lighten: strawberries, lemon, yogurt, food grade hydrogen peroxide, olive oil.
There are so many types of different masks! Here are some ways I love to mask:
Recipe #1 (for oily/dry)
1 TBS Redmond Clay
1 tsp honey or olive oil
1 drop lavender or frankincense
Add water if needed. Leave on 15-45 min. until it gets a little flushed and dry.
Recipe #2 (for oily)
1 TBS hydrated clay
1 drop peppermint (Be sure to avoid the eye area)
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
Add water if needed. Leave on for 45 mintues.
Recipe #3 (Moisturizing)
Mash it up. Put it on the face for 10 minutes. Wow.
Recipe #4 (Moisturizing)
let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. add honey or banana.
1 TBS Blue-green algae
1 TBS Sweet Almond oil
1 pinch of Real Salt (powdered)
1 drop of favorite essential oil
add water if needed.
Leave on 40 minutes. It ain't easy being green.
Masking can be lots of fun! Usually the longer you leave it on the better- if it starts to flush or itch then remove. However, here are some fun 5 minute pre-shower masks that I really enjoy:
Real Salt Powdered - Mix with water. Apply to red areas of face.
Coconut oil (or any organic oil)- Spread on cheeks and around eye area to take off eye makeup. Any carrier oil will work to take off makeup.
Baking Soda- Mix with water. Only do 2 times a week. Your skin will get used to it.
Raw Honey- 10 to 30 minutes before showering. Honey will also flush the skin slightly the more enzymes it has in it. Also, honey kind of crystallizes in the shower and melts off with the hot water. Massage off in shower - it has a light exfoliation effect.
So now that we've cleansed (brining skin to a higher pH), exfoliated, masked. It's now time to bring the skin down to the normal pH range. To do this use a toner/astringent.
1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
8 TBS Distilled Water
1 drop of favorite essential oil
Use a cotton ball and apply in downward strokes. This brings the skin down to an acidic pH range- where it likes to be.
Sprays or Serums
After toning use sprays with essential oils, or serums before moisturizing. Sprays are great to use to freshen the skin without having to use hands to rub it in. Serums have a smaller molecular structure and can penetrate the skin even better. This is also the best time to apply essential oils.
Moisturizers help skin lock in moisture and raises the pH of the skin (just a little). Moisturizer stays on the skin the longest, so it is important to find one that you like, and that smells pretty good. Realize that moisturizers basically help loosen the top layer of skin. I have found that oils work best at night and then a light moisturizer for the day time. It is best to apply eye cream with the ring finger since you use the least amount of pressure with this finger. Also, some oils like sweet almond work better on the face because it has a smaller molecular structure and can penetrate the skin. Also, organic, expeller/cold pressed oils do not make your skin break out. In fact, it will actually help balance the sebaceous gland. Oil helps lifts away oil. Oil and water don't mix. The skin will produce excess oil when it is dry - to compensate. However, if you moisturize with oils it will give the skin enough moisture that it will not produce the extra oil. It will also help with acne because it will help with dead skin cells which won't build up if skin is well moisturized. Dead skin cells are a main contributor to acne.
Moisturizers that I recommend:
Daytime: Terresentials pump, Rose de Jour (Simply Divine), Brown Spot Discoloration Cream (Taylor Made Organics).
Night time: Coconut oil with an essential oil, Jojoba oil, Sweet almond oil, Dr. Christophers Beauty Facial Cream, Creme de Rose (Simply Divine). Any type of Moisturizer that is more thick and emollient should be used at night.
How to Use Salt, Clay, and Coconut oil.
Your body and skin is made up of minerals! All of these beautifying minerals can be found in both the salt and the clay. In the perfect ratio and balance that your body needs. Nature Rocks! When your body is out of balance mineral wise- then you and your skin will be sick. For example- if you don't get enough zinc then you will get whiteheads, etc.
Salt: Salt heals the skin remarkably well. Think about it- when you go into the ocean it will sting a little bit if you have open sores. This is because the salt and the minerals are helping to heal the skin. Real Salt also heals the body when you use it internally. It will detoxify the liver, and other internal organs, and re mineralizes your body from the inside-out. Try adding a pinch to water, or add a little to your smoothie. For skin care I actually wash my face with Powdered Salt Water and I use it when I do facials to cut the redness after extracting. After extracting a pimple or if you have a sore- put some salt on it and cover with a band-aid. This mainly works for reducing redness and for sores that still need to heal. Leave the salt on for at least five minutes to cut the redness- or add to any facial mask.
Clay: Clay has almost the same mineral content as salt. However, it has an awesome “pulling or drawing” aspect to it that is truly remarkable. In fact, many French women use clay to get rid of wrinkles (because it tightens and draws toxins out). How it works: Clay is negatively charged (-) because it is from the ground. Toxins in the skin or in your body and positively charged (+). These positively and negatively charged ions bind to each other and the clay absorbs the toxins and flushes it out through the body. When applied to the skin it helps nourish and brings blood to that area so that the skin can heal itself. This is why after a clay mask the skin will be flushed and red for a little while. I recommend letting the clay dry on the skin for about 30-45 minutes then washing off with warm water, this type of mask should only be done once a week or every two weeks. If the mask starts to get too dry- take it off earlier. I also recommend using it as a spot treatment overnight as it will dry up the blemish. It also helps break up the “blood pool” around dark circles, be careful not to get into the eye area. Clay can also be combined with honey for a more moisturizing mask. Use apple cider vinegar or baking soda to kill all bacteria off of the skin. The clay is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-septic. Clay also helps pull blackheads out. However, it should be used in moderation since the pulling action may dry out the skin if used everyday. Clay used externally works best when it is also used internally. To take internally, I recommend mixing a teaspoon of clay to 16 oz of water and shaking it up. Once the clay has settled to the bottom (or overnight), drink the clear water off the top for lots of minerals.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil has anti-viral, anti- bacterial, anti-fungal properties. When used on the skin it will help with dandruff, psoriasis, acne, and severe dry skin. The best way to apply it externally is to put it on after the shower (combine with essential oils for a little excitement). Warm oil in hands and then rub over the body. A little goes a long way...so start out small. Then let it absorb into the skin for a few minutes and then rub the existing oil in deeper into the skin and it will absorb. In fact, many times, people who use coconut oil externally only have to moisturize with it a few times a week because their skin isn't dry. Also, it is a good idea to take internally as well. Start out with a teaspoon in a smoothie or out of the jar. Don't take internally at night as it will stimulate your immune system and you may have trouble falling asleep. Coconut oil is a great "carrier" oil for many essential oils. However, at room temperature it will turn into a solid. To get an oil like texture simply take a small amount and warm in your hands. Never put in the microwave as this will destroy many of the enzymes (same for honey). Do not apply coconut oil to the pores on the nose or the forehead. Coconut oil is also a good sunscreen (think of the people in the tropics- no skin cancer).
Oils- Most oils such as jojoba, sweet almond, and olive oil help balance out the sebaceous gland. These oils and others are better to use in the winter months since they don’t turn into a solid like coconut oil. In fact, olive and sweet almond will help lift brown spots and help remove eye makeup. Experiment with what oil works best for your skin.
Eggs: Eggs have lots of good protein and fats. The yolks contain all the essential beautifying vitamins A, D, E, and zinc as well as phosphorous, manganese, iron, iodine, copper and calcium and it has tons of antioxidants. And as an added bonus they tighten your skin.
Never touch your face with your hands! Your hands have lots of bacteria on them- if you have an itch use the back of your hand (which has less germs because you are not touching as many things). This applies to washing your hands thoroughly before you wash your face. That way you are not washing your face with lots of excess bacteria.
Change your pillowcase weekly. The oils from you face will go into the pillowcase and combine with bacteria and pathogens. Also, try to not sleep on your face because it will cause lines to develop. Sleep on your back (which is what most Hollywood star do) or sleep on your side with a pillow in between your knees.
If you need to extract- use two q-tips and apply gentle pressure- rolling up. Or use an extractor tool. When extracting on the nose or chin - go downward. The pores on these areas are slanted downward. On the cheeks and forehead they are perpendicular to the skin- they just go outwards. However, I highly recommend not extracting if you can help it.
When extracting never push downward or push too hard. What this does is break the sebaceous gland sac of the bad bacteria underneath the pore and then the bacteria spreads underneath. This is why when people have one pimple and pick at it- then five more will come around it.
When you shave- always shave with the direction that the hair is coming out. This will help with ingrown hairs. Shave upwards if you need to after you have shaved downwards. Men should always shave down on their face. Underneath their chins, they should shave in whatever direction the hair grows.
Switch around your skincare routine. Skin gets used to the same products that are applied day after day. Even if you’ve found the perfect cream – it is still a good idea to take a break from it once in while. For example, you would get sick of listening to the same song day after day, exercising the same muscles, or eating the exact same food everyday. Your skin does the same thing; it needs a change (especially seasonally) from the routine. Also, it needs constant and continual stimulation of new good products.
Avoid regiment overkill. Applying too many products onto the skin will over work it. Try taking a break from many skincare products for two weeks. Don’t sleep with products on your face every night. Give the skin a break to let itself build back up. Gradually start adding products back.
Use a water filter in your shower. It will reduce chlorine buildup.
Take a Probiotic (pro-life) supplement daily or rotate every few months. Take one an hour before you eat to replenish the good bacteria and to produce vitamins that helps your skin and hair. I personally love Garden of Life and Natren Probiotics. Also, taking any form of MSM (Methyl-Sulfonyl- Methane- Organic Sulfur) will help as well. This is one of the main active ingredients in Pro-activ. MSM (or Sulfur) brings strength and elasticity to collagen bonds in the skin. Many people have found that taking MSM for an extended period of time improves hair, skin, and nail growth. Lastly, take one teaspoon of fish, cod liver oil, or flax oil. This will reduce inflammation in the body and helps with wrinkles. These supplements also have tons of vitamin A which increases cell turnover. Carrot Seed Essential Oil also has a lot of Vitamin A.
Digestive Enzymes will also help you absorb the nutrients from food and metabolize them more efficiently. Having a healthy digestive tract is essential to having healthy, glowing skin. Also, having a clean liver is really important!
A word on Accutane
Accutane is just a "superdose" of Vitamin A that is synthethic – The molecule is just twisted a little bit. To be on this harsh medication a person has to be on two forms of birth control because it causes so many birth defects. Instead I recommend eating foods that have lots of vitamin A such as carrots, any kinds of greens, cod liver, beets, and eggs. These foods will help the skin immensely if you suffer from a vitamin A or D deficiency. I do not recommend taking Accutane- I am still suffering from the effects of it damaging my liver. Plus, drinking clay water was so much more beneficial than Accuntane.
Ingredients to completely avoid-
Parabens- Estrogen mimickers
Mineral Oil- Smoothers the Pore
Emulsifying Wax- Smoothers Skin
Diazolindinyl Urea- Sheep Urine. Causes contact dermatitis, and do you really want to put that on your skin?
Propylene Glycol (PEG)- It is a petro-chemical. Causes allergic reactions
Benzoyl Peroxide: Compromises skin’s protective barrier
Dimethicone: Synthetic polymer that is used to modify a products feel smoother. Banned by FDA
Talc: Contains asbestos and has been linked to ovarian cancer.
“The Truth About Beauty” by Kat James.
“Eating for Beauty” by David Wolfe
"The Living Beauty Detox Program" by Ann Louise Gittleman
"The Coconut Oil Miracle" by Bruce Fife
"Unleash the Power of Nature Foods" by Susan Smith Jones, Phd
"Eat Papayas Naked" by Susan Lark
"The Green Beauty Guide" by Julie Gabriel
"The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy" by Valerie Ann Worwood
"Facelift at your Fingertips" by Pierre Jean Cousin
“Your Face Never Lies” by Michio Kushi
“Organic Body Care Recipes” by Stephanie Tourles
“Radiant Beauty” by Mary Beth Janssen