Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Beta-carotene and lycopene are the most frequently used carotenoids in anti-aging cosmetics. Though they have protective and antioxidant properties, when exposed to light and air, most lose their stability and immediately oxidize. They may also stain the skin due to its natural pungent colors (E.g. Orange in carrots, red in tomatoes). Israeli Biotechnology Research is now offering colorless carotenoids, which are not just stable, but also have the ability to stabilize and enhance other active ingredients such as vitamin C, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Dioxide (found in most sunscreens). These colorless carotenoids are derived from algae or tomatoes – the latter is extracted before it ripens and turns the carotene precursors into rich color. It is used in Nu Skin’s Moisture Restore Day Protective Lotion SPF 15. More information is available on Cosmetics Design Europe.com

Monday, June 2, 2008

Eat it, Use it.

Avocado oil contains more than 20% essential unsaturated fatty acids and is high in unsaponifiables (plant steroids), which are known to be helpful in reducing age spots, moisturizing the epidermis (upper layer of skin) and healing scars. This anti-bacterial oil is made from the pulp of the avocado fruit. To ensure that the nutrients are not damaged, quality avocado oil is cold pressed in a heat controlled environment kept below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A 1991 study at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology found that avocado oil considerably increases the water soluble collagen content in the skin. Collagen, which is the body’s major structural protein (mesh-like structure that binds cells together), makes up 70% of the dermis (lower layer of skin) and is what gives the skin its plump and smooth appearance. Another forte of this natural oil is that it penetrates the skin deeper than most plant oils, which makes it an ideal carrier for other ingredients.

More information is available at The Grove.

A great facial serum containing avocado oil is sold at Essential Wholesale. The sample size contains enough for a month supply.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Unbalanced pH

Many physicians believe that acid-producing diet may hasten aging by preventing cells from protecting themselves. As Dr. Jeanette Graf, the author of Stop Aging, Start Living (Crown) describes in an article published last month, unbalanced pH may induce dull skin tone, bumps and wrinkles on your skin. High acidity intake may also lead to internal problems, such as thinner bones and low muscle mass. Dr. Graf states that only one quarter of your diet should be acid-producing foods, such as meat, most dairy, processed food or refined sugar. The rest should be alkaline-forming, such as fruits, nuts or vegetables.

Highly alkalinizing foods are asparagus, strawberries, sweet potatoes, kiwi and celery -- I've definitely noticed a great change in the tone and firmness of my skin after adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet. I also have very few blemishes now. An immediate change shouldn't be expected -- as with many great things, your skin or health won't improve overnight. Though I've always stuck on a nutritious diet, I made drastic changes to it four months ago after realizing that I wasn't eating enough to get the results I wanted! It is important to remember to eat healthy food -- in a weight obsessed world, we tend to eliminate, eliminate, eliminate and forget to consume what the body seriously needs. As for example, I eat acid-forming yoghurt for the digestive benefits -- you can't achieve a balanced diet by completely disregarding any food group.

More information is available at the website of Experience Life Magazine.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Healthier, not less Tastier..

With no gluten, MSG or trans fat, Chef Bruce Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausages taste juicy and wholesome -- definitely not like substitutions to pork. The main ingredients are truly chicken and dried apples -- it is a rare occurrence when the name of the product matches the first two ingredients. The rest of the contents are just fruit juice concentrate, spices and salt. These sausages and fresh ground turkey meat have helped me stop craving for red meat. The secret to cooking moist and full-flavored white turkey meat is to add Thai fish sauce while sauteing it with fresh vegetables.

The most recommended fish sauce by foodies and professionals seems to be either Golden Boy or Tra Chang -- both are fermented slowly and do not contain artificial coloring or hydrolysed vegetable protein(which hastens fermentation). Good sauce has a strong flavor, so you don't have to worry about the high salt content(1 tbsp= 1400gms of salt). I only use half a teaspoon for each serving. Fish sauce is not just for Asian dishes -- it deepens the taste of pretty much any cuisine.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Flying Back Home

Simply can't wait to sleep on my own mattress again!

On the American Academy of Dermatology website, I found an article on the latest laser treatments -- fractional, plasma and Erbium:YAG.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Saunas utilizing far infrared waves are becoming popular in spas and homes worldwide. As the rays heat the body directly, the surfaces of the sauna do not heat up and the air stays “breathable”. It does not just activate the sweat glands, but penetrate deeper into the human tissues.

sunlightsaunas.com proclaims that: --

Detox from a far infrared sauna is seven to ten times greater than that of a traditional sauna because it functions at temperatures 60 to 80 degrees lower.

In a far infrared sauna, an average person can sweat out 20% toxins compared to 3% toxins in a conventional unit.

A 30 minute infrared sauna session may help you burn 200 to 600 calories.

A Japanese clinical study showed that seven out of seven cases of rheumatoid arthritis was treated successfully with whole body far infrared therapy.

Just don’t forget the contraindications – Make sure to drink electrolyte replacement water before and after use. Not only chronic conditions, but also medication or implants may induce adverse effects. To be on the safe side, make sure to talk with your MD before enjoying any type of sauna.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Paraben Free, Sulfate Free.

If you’re keen to use green products, I am sure you’ve read paraben or sulfate free on the cosmetic labels before. You know these ingredients are unhealthy, perhaps even harmful, but do you actually know what they are and what they may cause? Butyl, ethyl, methyl and propyl-paraben are chemical preservatives used in cosmetics. They have been associated with the disorders of estrogenic activity and have also been found in cancerous breast tissues. They are often used for its cost effectiveness and dependability.

Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate are harsh surfactants that reduce the surface tension of the oils and dirt on the skin’s surface. This action helps to lift unwanted residues off the skin, but also irritates it by removing the natural protective barrier and needed hydration. It also may allow toxic ingredients to permeate further into the body. Sulfates are often used in shampoos, body wash and cleansers and the "over cleansing" may cause oil gland disorders such as dryness or acne on the scalp. I highly recommend Giovanni’s products for this reason -- this company does not use laureth or lauryl sulfate in their shampoos and as long as you buy their products online, they are inexpensive. Their Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo is great during summer, especially for dandruff or oily scalp. The product is vegan and the main ingredients are essential oils, which is also an added bonus.

Forgotten Anniversaries

Many apologies for run-on sentences -- After four years of wedded bliss seasoned with a great number of arguments and laughter, my husband and I am in San Diego for business/wedding anniversary. Yes -- we just realized that it's our fourth a day before.. I think our forgetfulness actually shows that we have a solid relationship. We've both forgotten that we were once single and that we decided one particular day to commit to each other!

After a horrendous night at Courtyard Marriott Rancho Bernardo, we are currently staying at Rancho Bernardo Inn. Please don’t misunderstand me – the staff was surprisingly courteous and helpful at the initially mentioned hotel. For the price, the morning buffet had quite an incredible choice from ripe berries, pancakes to even tofu, but unfortunately, the room was a contradiction to the freshness of food or the hospitality. I’ve never slept in such a dirty suite before – some unsanitary smell was coated with an overwhelming amount of baby powder. The bed linens were old – the color was no longer pure white, but stale yellow. The room was dark and a size of a quaint walk in closet. To make the idea of another night in the suite unbearable, the mattress springs creaked! How did they receive three and a half stars? Awarded only half a star more than the Courtyard, Rancho Bernardo Inn is worth much more so far. Yes, for a four-star resort hotel, the basic suite is small and the bathtub even smaller, but the Mediterranean styled hotel ground is beautiful – the night air infused with the scent of jasmine and other flowers was perfect for an evening walk. Though pricey, (a dinner for two will easily cost $100) in-room dining was appropriate for a four-star in California – neither extraordinary nor distasteful.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008


It might sound like a contradiction to my last post, but don't over dry the oily areas of your facial skin. When the skin is over dried with harsh astringent or active ingredients, your body will feel that it is necessary to create more sebum in order to compensate for the dryness created by the products used. This might be one of the reasons why you repeatedly get blemishes in the same area of your face.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Anxiety Attacks

Have you noticed small bumpiness under your skin? The cause might be as simple as product overload. Eventhough I understand how too much moisturizing product can aggravate my skin, I still catch myself wanting to put an extra dab – especially in the areas showing signs of aging. It is purely emotional – you feel more is better, richer the merrier. Unfourtunately heavy product application does not ward away wrinkles or sagging of the skin. It will mostlikely only clog your pores and cause bumpiness, whiteheads or blackheads. Unless you have dry skin, you will probably only need a good serum, not cream or oil on your facial skin. I for one only use a light antioxidant serum on my cheeks and forehead. I avoid using even the serum on my nose and chin as those areas tend to become oily (The humectant in the astringent is more than adequate). I only apply a mixture of Tamanu and Olive oil on the delicate eye area. How much we want to cling to the images given to us by luxury cosmetic brands – that by using their products, we will end up looking like the retouched photos of teenage models in their campaigns, we have to let go and see the unique conditions of our skins.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Here Comes the Sun

Did you know that...

-- UVB chiefly causes sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply causes photoaging.

-- Ultra Violet Rays can penetrate glass eventhough it can filter UVB. Which means that even if you're inside your house or car, as long as you are sitting next to a window, you're at risk for UV damage. Especially if you drive on a frequent basis, I highly recommend covering your car windows with UVA-protective film(which block out up to 99.9 percent of UVR).

-- Up to 40 percent of the sun's ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day.

-- Regardless of strength, sunscreeen should be reapplied every two hours. Transluscent powder sunscreen such as Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30 is a great alternative to cream or lotion products as it can be reapplied over makeup.

-- Reddening of your skin is only a reaction to the UVB rays – it does not tell you what UVA damage you might be getting.

-- It takes 30 minutes for the sunscreen’s ingredients to bind to the skin. I apply two generous layers of moisturizing sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection on bare skin each morning – do not wear a moisturizer underneath your sunscreen unless it is a light antioxidant serum, as it will dilute the effectiveness of the active ingredients.

-- Check the ingredients of the sunscreen to make sure it offers broad-spectrum protection. Cheap yet effective choice even for acne prone skin: Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer Spf 45.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Adieu, My Love...

I didn't know till recently that sweet potato is one of the most nutritious vegetables around. It is rich in beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and E. When eaten with the skin, it actually has more fiber than oatmeal – meaning it aids in keeping your digestive system in tact. You have no idea how important it is to eliminate waste from your body – I bid farewell to triweekly pasta and what good it did to my skin and over all health! I believe firmly that glowing complexion has more to do with the food you eat than well-marketed cosmetics you use. In nutritional value, sweet potatoes actually score higher than carrots or spinach! A medium sized sweet potato only has about 130 calories – definitely a better addition to your meal than pasta or white rice!

Cleanse, Cleanse, Cleanse!

Don’t you just hate how your skin feels unnecessarily sticky and "clogged” in the warmer months? By midday, you can almost smell the dirt and sweat that’s piled up on your face. As Summer is almost here, this is probably the right time of the year to brush up on your face cleansing skills – your extravagantly priced antioxidant serum won’t do wonders on your complexion unless you correctly cleanse your precious skin mornings and nights… Here are a few pointers: --

-- Double cleanse at night. Use a light cold cream or oil to wipe off the makeup before you truly cleanse your skin.

-- Do not wet your face with hot water as the skin might get agitated. Use lukewarm water instead.

-- Do not rub your skin when cleansing. Imagine giving a massage to a newborn – be delicate and do not put pressure on your fingers.

-- Starting at your chin, always cleanse your face upwards and outwards in a gentle circular motion.

-- Choose your cleanser wisely. Only because your friend is flabbergasted with a product does not mean it is suitable for you. A good cleanser should make your skin feel clean and moist, not taut or stripped. I highly recommend Olivella Liquid Virgin Olive Oil Soap for normal to dry skin. Essential Wholesale Breakout Buster Cleanser is great for oily and acne prone skin.

-- Try to find a product with a label that says, “pH balanced”.

-- After rinsing the face with water, do not dry your face with a towel – that is unless you are willing to wash yours at 140 degrees Fahrenheit each time you use it! Instead, use a clean tissue to soak up the excess water from your skin -- it is more sanitary and gentle.

-- Before your cleansed skin "over-dries" (you'd feel the tightness), pat a cotton pad soaked with chilled tonic lotion on your face (it will help in “tightening” your pores and removing cleanser residue). Make sure to avoid the eye area as it might sting. If you have sensitive skin, use pure rose water or a toner not containing alcohol. If you have oily skin, I’d advise on using an astringent with a natural alcohol content (up to 35%) such as Dickinson’s Witch Hazel (It does not contain synthetic alcohol).

And There Was Light