Expensive Skincare Ingredients: Why So Pricey, and Are They Worth It?

Expensive Skincare Ingredients: Why So Pricey, and Are They Worth It?

“You get what you pay for.” We hear that about so many things in life, don’t we? Cars, clothing, food, and of course skincare. While I believe that this is true for many things (like organic, whole foods for sure), but is it the truth for the other things? Are luxury priced cars really safer and longer lasting? Are designer clothes really better quality than clothes from discount stores? Are premium priced skincare products really better than products sold at drug stores or made at home? For these last things, my answer is a definite MAYBE. The reason for that is because pricing is not always based on cost or quality of raw ingredients. Often pricing is based on marketing–how the brand is positioned, how and who it is advertised to, packaging, how it’s sold, whether there is a celebrity or influencer endorsement, etc. Because of this, it is common for sub-par products to be dressed up and sold as luxury. But there are still the cases where quality does win out and is genuinely responsible for a high price tag. In skincare particularly, high prices of some luxury or professional skincare products are due to fact that they are made with rare, expensive skincare ingredients.

Expensive skincare ingredientsI recently had the opportunity to contribute my knowledge of expensive skincare ingredients to an article that was published on Insider.

In this article, 7 Ingredients in Your Skincare Products That Are Making Them So Expensive, I, along with other skincare experts, talked about the reasons why ingredients such as rose essential oil, jasmine essential oil, arginine, and gold are expensive to source, and what overall benefits they bring to the skincare party.

Click HERE to read about those!

In addition to the expensive skincare ingredients listed in the article, I wanted to share four others that might be hiking up the price of your skincare products, and whether they are worth it:

1. Hyaluronic acid

I consider hyaluronic acid to be the “mother of all humectants,” since it can hold 1000 times its weight in water, and therefore (in theory) can deliver extreme hydration to the skin. It also contains antioxidant benefits. It is expensive for two reasons. First–production. Top quality HA is produced from rooster combs. There are lower quality versions, less potent out there that are used in cosmetics that are either made from sugar beets, are synthesized, or bacteria-fermented. On the retail side though, the price typically would imply the animal-sourced HA. The bigger reason for the high price though, is that it is VERY difficult to formulate with as it is known to deactivate the effects of some of the other ingredients in the formula, and is extremely difficult to preserve.

2. Argan oil

Argan tree fruitsArgan oil is extremely rare because the Argania Spinosa trees that produce the fruit from which it is produced only grow in a specific part of Morocco, between Marrakesh and Essaouira, by Berber women’s cooperatives. The process to produce the oil is extremely time consuming and labor intensive, and it takes the fruit of 8 argan trees to produce a single liter of the oil. Another factor that drives up the cost of argan is that it is very susceptible to damage from exposure to heat and light, and is also prone to rancidity. It must be stored properly, but even so, has a shelf life of only about a year, unless other stabilizing and antioxidant ingredients are added. However, many women will say the price and the effort are worth it. It is incredibly beneficial for helping to support skin elasticity and maintain skin hydration, is also known to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as scarring. It is also known to help aid in sun protection and help the skin recover from sun damage, though it is not a substitute for sunscreen.

3. Prickly pear seed oil

Prickly pear seed oil (Opuntia ficus indica) has quickly gained favor among natural skincare enthusiasts for its gentle astringent (tightening) properties, high mineral content, and high antioxidant content (it contains more Vitamin E than other carrier oils) which help to neutralize free radical damage and protect delicate skin cells from oxidative and environmental damage. It is also known to help soothe and improve the appearance of acne-prone skin, and balance oil production. While prickly pears themselves aren’t uncommon (they grow abundantly in Mexico and the southwestern US but have have also migrated elsewhere in the US and overseas), the high price comes from the fact that the oil is cold pressed from the tiny seeds, and we can’t ignore the fact that the cactus’ spines make the process slower!

4. Retinaldehyde

Retinaldehyde–also known as retinal–is one of the Vitamin A derivatives that’s commonly used in professional skincare products as an alternative to less expensive forms of Vitamin A such as retinol palmitate or stronger forms like retinoic acid. It is a preferred ingredient because it is less inflammatory and gentler to the skin when applied topically, and has been studied for its benefits for skin issues such as acne, rosacea, and premature aging. What makes it expensive is that it is expensive to produce, and it is also difficult to keep stable once bottled. Its benefits are known to degrade quickly which makes formulation more laborious and expensive, and though more stable forms of the ingredient have been synthesized, all that has done is raise the cost on the ingredient itself.

Are people are more likely to buy products with expensive skincare ingredients?

This is a question that many of my Create Your Skincare Professional Edition students ponder, when deciding what ingredients to include in their formulations. In general, I think that yes, people across all markets are more inclined to buy products made with expensive skincare ingredients, even if the product itself doesn’t contain very much of it. Once an ingredient becomes famous for common skin complaints such as dark spots, scarring, fine lines, or wrinkles–it does seem like everyone wants to try it and will pay extra for it.

But do products made with these expensive skincare ingredients really work better?

It really depends on several factors. First, you have to consider what is the quality and purity of the ingredient? Is it the real deal? Has it been sourced, processed, and stored properly? How fresh is it? Is it the right species of the plant that’s known for the purported benefits?

If it’s been cut, diluted, or otherwise adulterated (which unfortunately does happen), it’s not going to provide as much benefit. It also depends on what else happens to be in the product–how much of this “star” ingredient is actually in it, and are there other ingredients present that might compete with it for absorption?

Lastly, it depends on the person. Not every ingredient works for every person, so unfortunately, many of the people who buy products with these star ingredients won’t receive the desired benefits, not because the ingredient or product doesn’t work–just because that person’s unique needs require something other than that ingredient. What’s great about plants is that many of them contain similar benefits, so we can often experience many of the same benefits of a rare and exotic plant by using a more common one that’s less scarce, easier to harvest/produce, and therefore, less money.

Often the price of a skincare product has nothing to do with the ingredients at all.

Typically when a commercial skincare product is designed, the formulator will pick one star ingredient, and focus the packaging, advertising, etc on that ingredient, but in truth, the product itself often contains a very low percentage of that ingredient. Sometimes that’s OK. In the instance of essential oils or other potent extracts or actives, too high a concentration is not necessary, and can even cause harm.

Honestly though, I don’t think a star ingredient is enough of a reason for someone to shell out a ton of money if the rest of the product doesn’t also deliver in quality. In these cases, pricing has more to do with packaging, positioning, how/to whom it’s sold, marketing, etc–an example would be how a mass produced product with a celebrity endorser vs a small indie brand. The big brand with the celebrity’s endorsement usually contains mostly water, synthetic emollients, then functional ingredients like emulsifiers, stabilizers, and preservatives, and a very tiny amount of the star ingredient. It’s expensive because of the advertising campaign, packaging, etc.

On the flip side, an artisan or indie brand might make a product that contains no water at all, and high quality plant-based emollients with a very low concentration of functional ingredients like emulsifiers and stabilizers, but without the celebrity endorser and expensive ad campaign and simple packaging–and both products might cost the same.

So I encourage everyone to read labels and look for quality over quantity! And even consider making your own products so you control your costs, and your ingredients.

Do you want to learn how to make top quality natural skincare products or start a skincare business?

I can teach you that! In my Create Your Skincare Professional Edition course, I teach ingredient selection in terms of purity, quality, and efficacy extensively. I also teach you how to choose ingredients purposefully, so that they are smart choices for the person you’re making products for, as well as for the formulation as a whole. And I also teach you how to brand and market your product line based on your skincare business goals. Our next semester starts soon!

Click HERE to learn more, enroll, or schedule a call today.

*Image 1 credit Loyal Naturals, via Wikimedia Commons. Image 2 credit Aaron Patterson.

How to Easily Make DIY Perfume With Essential Oils

How to Easily Make DIY Perfume With Essential Oils

Enjoy this guest post about DIY perfume from contributing author, Ashley Lipman!

If you look on the dressing table of any woman, you are likely to see a collection of perfumes. Whether fancy, crunchy, or anything in between, most women enjoy perfume. Then there are those of us who cannot even think of NOT wearing perfume. We are hardcore perfume junkies. We are the ladies who have perfume for everyday wear, perfume for going to the market or to run errands, and the “good” perfume. The good perfume is very expensive so you wear it sparingly. It is for weddings, major holidays, and going to a wonderful restaurant for your anniversary.

The perfume junkie

Until I became interested in the world of essential oils, I gave zero thought about what was actually in the heavenly scents I was putting on my body. Casual perfume wearers might be more careful. But a perfume junkie is likely to overlook what’s on the label to get the scent they want. Someone could hand you a sample vial of a great perfume with a warning, “this perfume has a base of sulfuric acid so do not put it directly on your neck.” And perfume junkies like us would reply: “But it won’t stain my clothes, right?” 

The problem with that is that you might never actually really know what’s in a perfume, since so many synthetic fragrance blends are trade secrets, which are not required to be listed on the label. And because these blends could literally contain hundreds of individual synthetic chemicals, the ingredient list likely wouldn’t even fit on the box.

Why didn’t anyone tell me I could make my own perfume?

Yes, it is true. You can make your own perfume and customize the scent. It is a fraction of the cost, you can make how much you want anytime you want (so you never run out), and it is made with all-natural ingredients. Why didn’t they tell you? Frankly, they never told you because they want your money.

In this article, we will focus on the basics of how to make perfume, and what ingredients and supplies you need. But, keep in mind–natural perfumery is an art form in and of itself, so we encourage you to do your homework and practice, practice, practice! You will find tons of recipes that are wonderful online, and some that closely resemble popular brands. Start with these recipes, but do not be afraid to add a few drops of something different, so you customize your perfume, your way.

Tip: make notes of additions you added, and give your perfume a name. It will help you recreate it for yourself or someone you want to present with a charming gift.

What do you need to make DIY perfume?

While the images of perfumery shelves filled with essential oils, blends, absolutes, concretes, and artistic bottles may imply that you need a lot of ingredients and supplies to make DIY perfume, you can get started with just a few key items. In fact, I suggest starting with just a few essential oils until you get to know their aromatic profile, as you can always add more later as your perfumery skills get more seasoned. 

You will need:

  • Bottles for your DIY perfume (these come in roll on, glass apothecary-style jars with droppers, fancy bottles with atomizers, etc)
  • A dropper or pipettes
  • Vials or small beakers
  • Alcohol (Grain alcohol is preferred) or jojoba oil for your base
  • At least 3 different high quality essential oils

Tip: Buy only quality essential oils that are pure and highly rated. This will keep your perfume smelling nice longer.

Essential oils for DIY perfume:

Base notes are the first type of essential oil you will need. These are usually heavier oils or resins, with earthy, woodsy, naturally muskier scents, and natural fixative properties. This is the foundation of your DIY perfume aromatically, and keeps it smelling great for longer, naturally, and after the top and medium notes fade, the base notes remain. Frankincense, benzoin, vanilla, and oak moss are examples of base notes.

Medium notes are essential oils that add body to your blend. Their aromas aren’t always individually detectable, though they add body to the others, and are very important for the cohesiveness of the entire blend. Medium notes are often herbaceous, floral, or earthy. Some popular choices are lavender, geranium, or elemi.

Top notes are the first you’ll smell, but they are also the first to fade. These are often fruity or minty, the most common ones being your citrus, spicy, and minty aromas. Some common top notes are thyme, grapefruit, petitgrain, and peppermint essential oil

Making your DIY perfume mixture

Note: use a vial or small beaker and your dropper or pipette

  1. Start with 15 ml of jojoba oil or grain alcohol in your container
  2. Add 10 drops of the base you chose. 
  3. Add 10 drops of your medium essential oil (note). 
  4. Add 10 drops of the top note. 
  5. Stir gently (you can use a stainless steel or glass stirrer), and bottle.

Using your DIY perfume

Your oil blends will last for a very long time in the bottle, as long as you store them properly. As soon as you have arrived at your perfect blend, bottle it and store it in a cool, dark environment. You can use it right away, but if you allow it to sit for two to four months it will allow the aromas to “marry,” which will bring out the mellow properties of all the ingredients. Shake well and apply wherever you normally apply your perfume. If you also make your own skincare products, you can use your own safe and natural DIY perfume to scent your products in place of toxic synthetic fragrance oils.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today, and by the time the holiday season rolls around, you’ll have some great DIY perfume gifts to give.

Have you ever made your own DIY perfume?

How did it come out? Have you had any DIY perfume fails that you were able to fix? Please share in the comments below!

About the author:

Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion in providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver quality content through various niches.

Gold in Skincare: Real Hype or the Real Deal?

Gold in Skincare: Real Hype or the Real Deal?

In the world of skincare, the revolving lists of ingredients are nothing short of fantastical. One day we’re touting the power of stem cells, the next we’re lauding the benefits of seaweed. At the latest International Congress of Esthetics and Spa show, I noticed an abundance of metals–particularly gold in skincare. It can be hard to sift through the trends to find the ingredients that will truly improve your skin’s appearance. Which ingredients work? And when is it worth paying more for those truly sophisticated products?

The use of metals in skincare perfectly exemplifies this phenomena. Copper is needed by the body, but what does it do when applied topically? The idea of using 24K gold in skincare has its characteristic allure, but is it worth shelling out for said allure?

As you know, I custom make all my skincare, so my main question when I started researching this was… should I consider including precious metals in my skincare formulations? In this article, I’m breaking it down according to each metal, because they offer different qualities. Then, I’ll touch on nanoparticles, which have become important (and controversial) in skincare recently.

Copper in skincare

CopperThe most electrically conductive of all the metal elements, copper, has a long history of being used to make tools and jewelry, sterilizing water, and now, as an ingredient in skincare.

Its use as a purifying agent is one of copper’s most popular applications. Hospitals even use copper surfaces to reduce the spread of germs. So it’s not surprising that one of copper’s effects on the skin is as an antimicrobial. These germ-reducing properties aren’t what most companies are promoting, however. Products containing copper are instead touting its ability to reduce redness, minimize wrinkles, and get rid of dark circles under the eyes. There’s even a pillowcase infused with copper that promises to reduce wrinkles while you sleep!  

The peptides in copper may be responsible for these skin-rejuvenating properties. Oregon State writes, “Another [copper enzyme], lysyl oxidase, is required for the cross-linking of collagen and elastin, which are essential for the formation of strong and flexible connective tissue. The action of lysyl oxidase helps maintain the integrity of connective tissue in the heart and blood vessels and also plays a role in bone formation.” This sounds promising.

Aesthetics Journal notes, “Copper metal ions have been found in higher concentrations around healing wounds and thus are implicated in wound healing and inflammatory processes. The topical application of copper ion-containing ointments has been associated with improved wound healing.” Another compelling piece.

Both of these excerpts point to some validity in the claims that copper in skincare formulations could help give it a more youthful appearance. Given its long history of use, as well as these studied effects on wound healing and connective tissue, copper stands out as an ingredient worth including in a skincare regimen.

Silver in skincare

Like copper, silver has a long history of use–it has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years. Lately you might have heard of colloidal silver being used to fight infections or used in skincare formulations that claim anti-aging properties.

First off, “colloidal” refers to a solution of microscopically dispersed insoluble particles suspended throughout another substance. Those who endorse silver for these purposes explain that it is only beneficial or absorbable in its colloidal form. Colloidal silver was banned as a medical ingredient in the 1990s because it was being overprescribed and overhyped, which caused some pretty crazy adverse reactions. However it is still available in natural formulations, and is considered safe when used appropriately.

Medical journals do confirm silver’s antibacterial activity, with a study published in 2013 noting that “It is widely recognized as an effective broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent… effective against a broad range of aerobic, anaerobic, gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, yeast, filamentous fungi and viruses,” also appearing to have anti-inflammatory properties. This makes silver appealing as a preservative, perhaps, or an acne-fighting ingredient– but does it live up to the hype as a skin-transforming ingredient?

Let’s transport ourselves to the world of biochemistry for a moment. There are some compelling cases for silver as a skincare ingredient, namely a study on silver nanoparticles at a particular size protecting skin cells against UVB radiation-induced DNA damage, which lends some credibility to its use as an anti-aging ingredient. I’ll touch on nanoparticles at the end of this article, but just know that there is some controversy behind their safety. For now, let’s talk about our first place prize metal.

Gold in skincare

Gold is perhaps the most enchanting of these three metals. Companies that utilize gold in skincare tout its youth-enhancing and luminizing effects. But is gold in skincare all it glitters to be?

The Huffington Post’s review of gold in skincare concludes that its main attributes are that it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Because it’s not soluble, the article explains, you don’t need to worry about side effects.

Yet Allure’s comparison of different precious metals in skincare notes that gold was named ‘Allergen of the year’ in 2001. And many people can’t even tolerate wearing gold jewelry. How’s that for going for the gold?

Well, a study published in 2010 found that gold particles stimulated the proliferation of keratinocytes. They concluded that at a low concentration, gold particles could be useful in biomedical skin tissue engineering, but that at high concentrations they were toxic to cells. I think it’s safe to assume that skincare companies would not use high enough concentrations in their products for them to have a toxic effect; and while these results are in scientific jargon, it does seem to point to gold’s ability to revitalize the skin.

Just last year, a study of metal in skincare confirmed that gold encourages the proliferation of skin cells. They also noted that gold does have ability to penetrate into the skin, which may be a good thing, or may be a bad thing, depending on what else is in the formulation; because essentially, having gold in your skincare may increase your skin’s absorption of the other ingredients in that product, helping your skin to soak all the goodness (or not-so-goodness). Also, its benefits and effects on the skin depend on whether or not it’s compatible with the bioindividual chemistry of the person using the product.

Is the idea of metals in skincare a little bit too Marie Curie when it should be more Marie Claire? Stick with me, because I want to touch on one more science-oriented thing that’s rather important…

Nanoparticles

Several years ago I wrote about Kabana Skin Care and why I steer clear of nanoparticles in skincare. It’s a topic thick with opposing views and uncertainty. You may have heard of nanoparticles, which means any particle under 100 nanometers, because they are often used in natural sunscreen formulations. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide in nanoparticle size have less of the characteristic white chalkiness. Since the technology has become available to achieve nanoparticle size, companies and scientists have been using it because it allows for easier assimilation into products and medications.

Because nanoparticles are often able to enter the bloodstream, there are concerns about their interactions with cells and bioaccumulation in the body. Indeed, the aforementioned study about gold particles being toxic at certain concentrations was looking at nanoparticles. They write, “It has been found that AuNPs of 14 nm can easily penetrate through the cell membrane and accumulate into the vacuole.” But also that, “the unique properties of NPs: high surface area relative to the size as well as the ability to penetrate biological membranes and barriers greatly reduces systemic dose thus potential side effects and toxicity. Recent studies show very promising clinical potential of NPs to serve as controlled release and delivery systems for drugs/active substances.” Alas, the double-edged sword of nanoparticles.

I don’t find nanoparticles appealing enough to ignore the evidence that they could bioaccumulate in the body. Given how many healthy, natural, nontoxic ingredients there are available, I don’t see the point in risking it.

To Indulge or Not to Indulge?

Gold face maskGold, silver, and copper each have merits when it comes to skincare. Gold can help increase the effectiveness of other ingredients in your skincare, while also acting as an antioxidant. Heck, the simple shine and color of it can add a beautiful luminosity to your skin.

And silver? Its antimicrobial actions are totally legit, and it’s possible that it also protects against UVB damage, which would be a great bonus.

Copper, also verifiably antimicrobial, also contains peptides that can stimulate collagen production.

Overall, each of these metals have qualities that make them worth including in your skincare. But be cognizant of nanoparticles! There is a potential risk associated with them, and companies don’t have to disclose if they are using them (never hurts to ask!).

And it’s probably not a good idea to spend all your coins on these precious metal formulations. They’re beneficial, but not magic 🙂

References:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gold-infused-skincare-trend_us_56aa5400e4b001648922a054

https://www-sciencedirect-com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/science/article/pii/S0009279716306299

http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=972718fd-f83d-4b06-9835-a7d52261c944%40sessionmgr104

https://www.annmariegianni.com/copper-for-skin/

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/copper

https://www.annmariegianni.com/potential-dangers-nanoparticles-food-cosmetics/

https://www-sciencedirect-com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/science/article/pii/S0927776510003504

https://aestheticsjournal.com/feature/copper-in-skincare

http://www.contagionlive.com/news/copper-surfaces-in-hospitals-help-wipe-out-bacteria

https://alliance-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_sciversesciencedirect_elsevierS0009-2797(16)30629-9&context=PC&vid=UW&search_scope=all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4955599/

https://www.allure.com/story/are-precious-metals-effective-skin-care-ingredients

https://amazingy.com/magazine/benefits-of-colloidal-silver-on-the-skin/

*Photo credits: Copper by Qaqqaqtunaaq, Silver Crystal By Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work (additional processed by Waugsberg), CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7394995, Gold Leaf Eye Makeup by pumpkincat210, Gold Face Mask by Alison Shaw

 

What You Need to Know if You Struggle with Eczema or Psoriasis

What You Need to Know if You Struggle with Eczema or Psoriasis

No skin condition is fun or easy to live with, but some tend to be tricker than others to overcome. Skin rashes–especially those associated with eczema or psoriasis–fall into that latter category. Part of the reason for this is that unlike acne, premature skin aging, and even rosacea, eczema and psoriasis are both autoimmune diseases.

Eczema and psoriasis are widespread, especially here in the United States. Did you know that 31.6% of Americans have some form of eczema? And while 3% of world’s population has psoriasis, 2% of the US population has been diagnosed.

It’s not just about the numbers for me though. In my work, I see how profoundly skin issues affect people on an emotional and spiritual level. Those with eczema have higher risks of developing asthma, depression, anxiety, and skin infections. (sourcePsoriasis quality of life surveys have found that more than 50% of sufferers have had their physical activities affected, and  experience social relationship disruptions. (source) As a mother, I’m also concerned about the fact that young people with skin disorders are often targeted by bullies

For all these reasons and then some, I am really happy that my friend, clinical nutritionist and former eczema sufferer herself,  Jennifer Fugo has organized the first ever Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week, which happens April 16-22, 2018. I was honored that she asked me to be a speaker for this event, and to help spread the word, we did a little broadcast together on Facebook.

Watch my interview with Jennifer Fugo to get a sneak peek at 2018 Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week!

Or read the highlights from our interview here:

Rachael: Welcome, Jennifer. It’s so great to have you here.

Jennifer: Thank you. I want to thank you first for being willing to do this, because one of the things that I love about you is that you’re very focused on helping people understand there’s a lot of complexity in skincare. The thing that I recognize and that I learned a lot from you, Rachael, was that there’s a lot of stuff in skincare products that actually makes chronic skin rashes worse.  I find it so troubling when people go to the drugstore, for example, and see all these products that are marked for eczema or psoriasis or severe dry skin. They buy it, try it, it burns terribly or it doesn’t work or it makes it worse–and then they end up with this box of products that they can’t return, that were very expensive. Thousands of dollars of ointments, salves, all this other stuff.

Rachael: Yeah, I see it a lot. It always drives me so nuts when I see ingredients on the products that are intended to treat eczema or psoriasis or extremely dry skin that actually make it worse. Eczema and psoriasis are not the same as acne, in that they are considered autoimmune diseases now. Can you speak a bit about that?

Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. It’s interesting. We have to thank the drug companies, actually, funny enough, for that information. Big pharma has made it official that these are autoimmune processes. We’ve known for a long time that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Eczema’s a lot more complicated, unfortunately, because it’s not just the immune system and gut health–there are a lot more triggers for eczema, and it’s more complicated. I think one lesson I’ve learned is that, with eczema especially, it’s really a two-pronged approach. It is outside in and inside out at the same time to simultaneously see resolution. Biologic treatments are also not always the best or most effective way to treat these conditions. In case you’re wondering, “What’s biologic?” biologic is involved in stopping these inflammatory processes. But one year’s worth of that biologic, Dupixent specifically, is like something around $35,000 a year. The other ones that they use, like Humira and such that are used off label for skin issues, are closer to $50,000 a year. I know because I pay for my own health insurance and other people do, the deductibles are going up, the co-insurances are going up. So if you’re on a medication like that, it is hard to oftentimes even get them approved because they’re so expensive. So you could look at it from a financial standpoint, but then you also have to be on them for life. It’s not like you do it, the skin resolves, and then you can just go off them. It’s a life-long halting of a process in your body that’s then triggering the skin.

Rachael: Right, and that’s what I want people to understand, is that these treatments, they’re treatments. They’re not cures. They’re not going to make it go away. They’re intended to help you live with the condition and manage the condition, but it’s not going to make it go away. I believe that there is a place for Western medicine in certain instances. But I have to say, when it comes to chronic situations, and when we’re talking about the skin, the skin usually shows us something when the rest of our body’s systems have tried and we haven’t listened. So by the time the skin is like, “Hello, you can’t ignore me anymore because I’m looking right at you and you’re going to see it,” we’ve already ignored other symptoms that have been going on on the inside that I think as chronically stressed, overworked, tired people we’ve kind of just come to accept those as normal.

Jennifer: One of the things I’ll share too is that I’ve been doing all this research over the past so many months and discovered that there are at least 15 different skin triggers for eczema. Eczema alone. That includes genetics, because you can’t ignore the genetic implications of certain proteins that are produced in the skin to keep the barrier healthy. So if you have a problem producing those proteins, then naturally, you may be more prone to eczema or psoriasis. There are genetic triggers, but also environmental triggers. It could be your cat, your dog, or maybe the carpeting that’s throughout your house, the chemicals in the paint, the fumes off gassing, mold, or food. We feel like we have some control over food allergies, but in looking deeper, you then have gut dysfunction, gut infections, gut dysbiosis. You can have allergies to things like nickel, which you’d go, “I don’t eat nickel. Why would that matter? I just won’t wear cheap jewelry.” But guess what, there’s an awful lot of nickel in some very healthy foods. So it becomes more complicated than just saying, “I’m going to throw some Vaseline or Crisco on my skin,” which you and I were laughing about.

Rachael: Yeah. We’re not advising you do that. Spoiler alert.

Jennifer: No, but there’s an awful lot of triggers that people are not … We’re not given that information, and it’s buried and scattered. I, in no way, shape, or form want to be all conspiracy theory, but when you look at it purely from a financial standpoint, what impetus does the drug company, for example, even have to want anybody to stop getting rashes? Because then you don’t buy their products anymore, and they have spent millions and millions of dollars not only paying physicians, by the way. There’s some really disturbing research out there about how much money dermatologists are getting from drug companies and also how much they spend on developing these drugs in the first place. So if the customer base goes away, if the drugs work too well, what happens to your bottom line?

Rachael: Right, and never mind the cost of those expensive TV commercials that they’re now marketing to everyone and their children. My kids are even like, “Why on Earth would somebody risk cancer to get rid of a rash?”

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CHCJennifer: That is a side effect, by the way, of biologics and those that suppress the autoimmune system. It’s important to understand that we all, to some degree, have cancer cells at any given moment, but it’s more about the state, the amount of cells that have been produced that are not healthy, and your body’s ability to maintain that. When your immune system is suppressed, that army, or force, that’s meant to be there to protect you by getting rid of those cells that your body accidentally produces that are not as healthy or appropriate as they should be goes away. So there’s no check and balance, and that’s why there’s a side effect of cancer for those drugs. I had eczema, so I understand very well how awful of an experience this is. I got sick and tired of dealing with, “Here’s a cream, here’s an ointment. Try this.” And it was frustrating from an integrative approach, because I’m already gluten free, I’m already dairy free, I’m already egg free.

Rachael: I find that eczema and psoriasis, as you said, there are more triggers, there are more combinations of things going on, and when you’ve done what you’re supposed to do but you’re still having symptoms that’s when people get really frustrated and they give up, and that’s when they feel like they have no other choice but to go on these biologics and risk these horrible side effects. I think that that’s a big difference we see with eczema and psoriasis versus some of the other skin conditions that occur on a chronic basis.

Jennifer: I think that’s also a good heads up for people who are listening to this that are like, “My doctor told me to go on a gluten-free diet and maybe that’ll stop the rashes.” Sometimes it does, but when I developed my own hand eczema, I was already gluten free, like seriously 100% gluten free, for six years. I was gluten, dairy, and egg free, and it still developed. So you can’t assume that it’s just always tied to food. Food is one piece, but there’s also the complicated matter of what caused the food sensitivities in the first place, and you need to look underneath those. For me, it was like, “Okay, number one, is my skin getting enough of the nutrients?” We need raw nutrients to come in and make sure that we’re not depleted anywhere else, because the skin is the least important … Isn’t it so funny? We spend so much money on making our skin look beautiful, but it is the lowest priority on the totem pole of organs.

Rachael: I know, which is crazy, because it’s the biggest one and it’s our first line of defense against the outside world. The nutrients and hydration that come in all go to nourish and hydrate the internal vital organs first, and then the skin gets the leftovers.

Jennifer: I had to figure out what my unique combo of triggers was and address that because my solution is not necessarily somebody else’s solution. Part of it was food, part of it was nutrients, part of it was stress. There was a big stress component to it. I want to give people hope because there are so many facets to this, whether it’s hormonal, environmental, food, or gut-related. I want to give people the tools that I was blessed to have available to me, so that they can find actual resolution, not just management.

Rachael: Right. Let’s get to the bottom of it. Let’s find your unique bio-individualized solution by doing a little bit of self-detective work here, because that is required. There’s some trial and error required, but really, we’re here to give you hope that this can resolve. You don’t have to live like this, for real. Jen, you’re proof of that.

Jennifer: I have to be more aware of my skin than a normal person, but my level of awareness around my skin now is not nearly as hyper-focused as it was when it felt like my hands had a thousand paper cuts. It’s just so painful. For me, it’s like if I just have to be a little aware, like, “Oh, I’m starting to get a little bit of dryness. Oh, I got to get back on. I just got to do a little bit extra,” and it goes right away. Right now I have zero eczema, and it’s amazing. It changes your life in so many ways. That’s why, Rachael, I’m so excited too because your presentation is just so fantastic and you offer this completely unique view of why skincare products don’t work that are out there on the market and why they’re so bad. You talk about it in a way that’s so relatable, so I’m really excited to have you as one of our presenters, because there’s never been another event like this, ever.

Rachael: No, it’s really unique. I want to talk about that, because it’s not just … this is not a webinar or a course. This is an awareness week that you’ve created. This is the 2018 Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week. We’ve talked about some of what’s not working, but as you’ve said, what is going to work is so dependent on each person, so you have put together this entire event with speakers, but with resources that people get as soon as they sign up. Let’s talk about that.

Jennifer: Register (USE THIS LINK) and you’ll get a free seat to this event. It happens between April 16th and April 22nd. What we’ll have every day is presentations that will be shown. I really tried my darnedest to keep the presentations consistent and concise, because I also know that you’re busy. You have a life, especially if you’re a parent and this is for a kid or just even for yourself. You want the good stuff. You don’t want fluff. So we tried to keep everything to about 30 minutes for each presentation, focusing on what works and why it works and what the next steps are for you from a functional and integrative approach, as opposed to just slapping more medication on and giving it a try. There are 25 different presenters. Rachael is one of them, and I’m so, so excited to be able to share what has worked for me and for other people. It’s not just, though, the how to and why. There is some mindset to this, because I recognize that this makes you feel really alone. We want to address that emotional component, the emotional wellbeing, and the impact that these issues can have, because you’re walking around, essentially, with a red scarlet letter on you making you look different, and people do treat you differently when they see that your skin is not clear. They’ll say you’re infected or diseased or whatever, so we want to address this from all pieces, all facets of how it affects us, people who suffer with this. When you sign up, you’re also going to get immediately a copy of the Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week Skin Supporting Cookbook. It has 34 recipes that I’ve conglomerated from all the different presenters of things that they recommend to their clients. These are practical, great recipes to try, and there’s a lot of different flavors and all sorts of stuff, so you’re not going to feel like you’re eating weird diet food or anything. We want people to be happy. Something for everyone. We also have over $2,000 in giveaways from natural skincare companies and food product companies of things that I use in my kitchen and things that have helped me and my clients.

Rachael: I want to thank you for coming on today to share about 2018 Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week. Jenn, before I let you go, what is one bit of a preview, like your favorite thing, that you gleaned as you went through all of these materials that you want to give people as a little sneak peek?

Jennifer: One thing that’s been really interesting and fascinating is the piece on mold, because we’ve had these huge natural disasters in the U.S. specifically, but people have had hurricanes and typhoons and things all over the world. We don’t realize that when our home is exposed to water, the mold that can grow behind the walls where we don’t see it can actually cause a really big problem. One way you know if mold is a potential trigger is if when you go on vacation and everything seems to start clearing up, and then you come back home and, you get another flare. That’s usually a sign that it’s something in your home, and it may be mold, because actually is a suppressor of the immune system. We’re going to talk about that and what the implications are and how you can test and whatnot. That’s one little preview.

2018 Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week happens from April 16-22.

Click HERE to secure your free ticket to the presentations (including mine!), your complimentary recipe book, and entries to all the amazing giveaways Jennifer mentioned.

And on a personal note, I really do hope you share this event with anyone you know who might be struggling with skin rashes, extreme chronic dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis. This is information that is going to help a LOT of people!

*This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made after clicking on a link in this post may result in me earning a small commission (at no extra cost to you). These commissions help me continue to bring you top quality free holistic skincare resources and educational events like this. I appreciate your support!

 

My Favorite Ways to Use Roses for Skincare

My Favorite Ways to Use Roses for Skincare

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with roses, I’ve written about my love for roses and using roses for skincare many times, and I also named rose as my favorite plant during my Herbal Skincare Summit talk. And I wasn’t alone, because MANY of the other Herbal Skincare Summit teachers and attendees also named rose as their favorite.

Today I’m not going to tell you why I like using roses for skincare in general because I wrote an Ingredient Spotlight about rose several years ago, which you can read HERE, though I will add that the petals absolutely do have soothing and astringent skin benefits, in addition to their signature aromatic and aromatherapeutic properties. The Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance also wrote a Carrier Oil Close-Up of rosehip seed oil which you can check out HERE.

Instead, I want to answer a question that many people have asked me over the years and emailed in about during the Herbal Skincare Summit–what’s the best way to use roses for skincare? I don’t think there’s really a “best” way to use roses for skincare, because they all have value–different extraction methods and solvents extract different properties from the plant; but I definitely wanted to tell you some of my favorites. Here we go!

My favorite ways to use roses for skincare:

Rose glyceriteRose glycerite.

Rose glycerite is a type of rose extract that uses glycerine as the solvent, rather than alcohol or something synthetic. Glycerine is a water soluble, natural byproduct of the soapmaking process in case you didn’t know. The glycerine is able to extract the water soluble properties of the rose petals and/or hips (depending on which parts you use in your glycerite), including rose’s cooling, soothing (rose is a natural anti-inflammatory), astringent properties, tannins, and B vitamins; and the majority of the vitamin C found in the hips. The glycerine is also able to capture the aroma of the rose petals, and is gentler than extracts made from stronger solvents. I use rose glycerite in the water phase of many of my lotion cleansers and creams, as part of the base to my gels, and also add it to some toners.

Rose-infused oil.

This is not the same as rose essential oil or rosehip oil–what this is is a carrier oil (I usually use jojoba for this) that has been infused with rose petals and rosehips for 4-6 weeks in the hot summer sun–or, if it’s winter, I use my Magical Butter (affiliate link) machine. Since this oil is not steam distilled and has not been cold pressed from the seeds, it will not have all of the essential fatty acids or antioxidant profile of rosehip seed oil (unless you use rosehip seed oil itself as the base). However the combination of the jojoba oil plus the gentle heat will gently extract any oil soluble properties from the rose parts, including its fatty oils, organic acids, flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants (carotenoid antioxidants are precursors to Vitamin A), and Vitamins D and E.

Rose and rosehips infusion.

rose petal teaThere’s no simpler way to use roses for skincare than making a cup of tea! Making tea with rose petals and rosehips brings out the water soluble constituents of the rose similar to how rose glycerite does, with the addition of boiling water, which in some cases may bring out more properties, or conversely, may kill off others. Rose infusion is a versatile ingredient because you can take it internally to help build healthy skin from within–rose tea is known to deliver strong amounts of Vitamin C (especially if rose hips are used), and also help support healthy digestion which is crucial for healthy skin. Topically, though, rose tea is a lovely addition to any water phase, or may be used as a toner or to reconstitute a dry clay mask.

Rosewater or hydrosol.

The term “rosewater” is a fairly loose one. It can refer to a rose infusion, or a rose flower essence (rose petals soaked in spring water overnight under the full moon), or water that has been scented with rose essential oil, where the oil soluble components have been broken down into tiny droplets, which have been suspended into the water. It’s also possible that it’s a water that has been artificially scented with synthetic rose fragrance, or even with the natural phenyl ethyl alcohol derivative of rose petals, which is a known perfume fixative, though it’s naturally derived. Rose hydrosol, on the other hand, is one of the byproducts of the steam distillation process used to make rose essential oil. It retains rose’s beautiful aroma, and the water soluble benefits obtained from the distillation process, while the volatile compounds are what go into the essential oil. Rose hydrosol is an excellent way to get many of the benefits of rose essential oil, in a less concentrated and safer way. I use rosewater and rose hydrosol as toner, replacement for distilled water in my water phase for lotions and creams, as a cooling compress, and to reconstitute masks.

Rose C02 extract.

Supercritical C02 extraction is a newer way to extract phytochemicals and aromatic compounds from plants in a form that is concentrated like essential oils. It does not use heat, so it is able to extract some of the constituents that are normally harmed by the high heat needed for steam distillation, and the aroma is often closer to that of the actual plant. While it does not extract all of the same compounds as steam distillation, because of the lack of heat, it is a more sustainable way to obtain a concentrated oil soluble form of the plant, as it uses much less plant matter than is required for steam distillation. While rose C02 still should be diluted, it is often considered a safer topical application than steam distilled rose essential oil, and comes at a lower price. Unlike rose absolutes, waxes, and concretes, it contains no potentially harmful chemical solvent residues. I use rose C02 extract to add more natural rose scent to my herbal skincare products and soaps.

pink roseWant to learn how to make even more herbal preparations to use for skincare, and choose the right herbs for your skin specifically? I teach it in my Create Your Skincare online courses! Check them out HERE.

Rose is just one of the many amazing plants nature has provided to help us maintain healthy, clear, gorgeous skin. What’s your favorite way to use roses for skincare?

Please tell me in the comments below! And by the way, I offer a fabulous herbal skincare recipe that uses roses in different ways in the Herbal Skincare Summit Companion e-Book, which you can get along with all the Herbal Skincare Summit videos, audios, and bonuses when you purchase the Herbal Skincare Summit Kit. Get yours HERE!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5485961/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586833/

Hydrosols vs Floral Waters – What’s the Diff?

 

*This post contains affiliate links. Read my affiliate disclaimer here.

Activated Charcoal: The Beauty Hack That Won’t Break The Bank

Activated Charcoal: The Beauty Hack That Won’t Break The Bank

For all of us who love a good beauty DIY trend or brand new cosmetic item, there’s a fresh game-changer in town. The name is activated charcoal, and it’s been making headlines in the beauty world. While it’s not new, per se, it’s definitely on trend. Don’t be fooled by the name: although charcoal might bring along thoughts of being on Santa’s naughty list, there are many beauty benefits to this lightweight black carbon.

An ounce of activated charcoal powder is as cheap as three dollars and can be the perfect ingredient to many DIY beauty projects. Whether you want to concoct your own beauty project or you’d prefer to head straight to the store, one thing is for sure: activated charcoal has plenty of cosmetic uses and won’t break the bank in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular uses.

Activated charcoal for pearly whites

When we think of having nice white teeth, we certainly don’t imagine a fog of darkness smeared across them, do we?

Oddly enough, activated charcoal has been hitting the shelves of many retailers for its teeth whitening advantages. Activated charcoal is known for pulling toxins and removing stains, so it only makes sense to apply it to your teeth, where unwanted staining can occur from delicious hot coffee, tea, a glass of red wine, or nearly anything else.

activated charcoal toothpasteSurprisingly, after using activated charcoal on your teeth, all of the blackness washes away and will leave your teeth feeling clean, polished, and smooth. It might look unpleasant when you stare into the mirror, but after continued use, you’ll more than likely notice results.

Many popular toothpaste brands have even included charcoal in some of their products. Examples include:

For skin

If you’ve been experiencing less than desirable skin conditions, you’ll be amazed by the multitude of benefits that activated charcoal can provide. To begin with, this miracle carbon draws out some of the nasty things that negatively impact your skin, such as an overabundance of the wrong types of bacteria, dirt and built-up dead skin cells.

With activated charcoal, you can easily draw out oil, dirt, and any other substance that is causing clogged pores. It does this through its mighty powers of adsorption.

A fresh and glowing face is completely achievable thanks to this super-ingredient for your skin. Applying this product to your face in the form of a facial mask, scrub, cleanser, or on-the-spot treatment like black drawing salve will quickly draw out dirt and other skin imperfections.

Now, you might be tempted to stop reading this post and go order some charcoal powder for your face right now; but before you do that, you should know that like the previous hack, some popular brands have also taken advantage of the rave and created their own charcoal mask products.

These commercially prepared masks have different ingredients that may make them better or worse for your skin type and goals, so it’s best to read reviews to help you determine which activated charcoal mask is perfect for you before jumping in.

For gorgeous hair

Now that we’ve covered teeth and skin, it’s time to review how activated charcoal can make a difference for your hair.

Just like how it removes toxins from your teeth and skin, activated charcoal does the same to your hair. If you’ve experienced anything unpleasant such as clogged hair follicles, dandruff, or even scalp infections, activated charcoal should be one of the first beauty items you reach out for.

Did you know that using activated charcoal on your hair not only improves its overall appearance, but can encourage hair growth as well?

That’s right – charcoal works its magic by pulling out toxins and pollutants that restrict and compromise the health of your hair, making it grow faster and look healthier. Dirt and other substances weigh down your hair and regular shampoos are not only incapable of removing as much as activated charcoal, but they actually leave back more residue as well.

Final word on activated charcoal

Although activated charcoal has been around since practically the beginning of time, we’re now finally appreciating its detoxifying advantages on teeth, skin, and hair. Whether you decide to opt for a fun DIY project or premade mask, toothpaste or shampoo, you can rest assured that you’ve made the right decision for your pocket and your beauty – which is rare!

Pro tip: when going the DIY route, you might want to opt for the activated charcoal in capsules. They’re less messy and make it easier to gauge proportions.

About the author:

Thanks to today’s guest writer, Trish Sutton for this fabulous article! Trysh is a wife, mother, strategic leader and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path, which is a naturopathic wellness site that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living.

You can follow her on social media to learn more about the benefits of essential oils, and healthy living practices.

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Youtube | Google Plus

Is activated charcoal part of your skin, hair, or oral hygiene routine?

How do you like it? Please share your experience in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Pin It on Pinterest