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Lotions and potions -- the secrets behind beautiful skin

Kat Hobza resides in sunny Western Montana. She is the Senior Authoress Specializing in Sarcasm at www.funnyfreelance.com. Okay, she’s the only authoress at funny freelance. When she’s not formulating tongue-in-cheek ideas and content as...

Before you nip and tuck, try these tips

It's not a secret that skin care is a kazillion dollar industry. What is a secret is that you don't have to spend a fortune to get great skin and that some of the most useful products are already under your sink or on the shelves of your local health food store. Read this before you spend one more dollar on skin care...

It's like buttah

"There's so much good stuff out there!" says Arlene Campos, co-founder and beauty therapist at the SQEEZE Cream Spa in New York City. Arlene says one of her favorites at her own spa is 100 percent organic shea butter. "We use it during our facial massage and as a finishing creme. It is a healing creme very high in vitamins A and E which help the skin look younger and healthier. It is also anti-inflammatory and contains a natural SPF." She says they also love Vitamin C, in any form. "It is one of the most powerful anti-aging, antioxidants out there. Good for sun-damaged, acneic skins.

Cutting-edge technology, minus the cutting edge

Joanna Vargas of Joanna Vargas Skin Care, a lauded celebrity esthetician, is presently engaged in researching the most advanced products and natural ingredients so as to bring about immediate results by combining technology and nature. She advises the following must-haves:

  • Enzyme Exfoliant:

    "Natural enzymes from things like pumpkin and mushrooms exfoliate the skin really well. I love Anakiri's Activating Enzyme Mask. Peels and harsh chemicals will make you red whereas an enzyme exfoliant will get rid of the dead cells and surface dirt without damaging your skin. I find the skin to look radiant and glowy right after. Also, it has carrot oil which calms overactive sebaceous glands. I would always do an enzyme mask before a date! Also, exfoliating often helps your other products penetrate better!"

  • Toner:

    "The right toner can change how your skin looks and feels in an instant. Anakiri Mineral Mist is amazing because it delivers vital nutrients right to the skin while keeping it hydrated. It literally boosts the skin's immune system with sea algae extract from Hawaii. Oat beta glucan stimulates collagen, hydrates and protects against UVA stress on the skin. The best thing is you can carry it in your purse and spray your face during the day to freshen the look and feel of your skin."
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid:

    "It's the super antioxidant as it is said to be more effective than vitamins A, C, and E combined. It helps cell metabolism and stimulates collagen and elastin production, so it helps with fine lines and wrinkles, as well as elasticity."
  • Aloe Vera Gel:

    "Tons of vitamins, minerals and enzymes so it's good for hydration, softening and soothing, while being a collagen producer. It naturally has salicylic acid in it, which is an anti-inflammatory."
  • Antioxidants:

    "The sun, pollution and even the air we breathe contains free radicals. They cause damage on a cellular level, creating sagging skin, blemishes and worse—skin cancer. We need to ingest thru vitamins and food A, C and E. But also these are key ingredients in any skin care product."

Skin is your largest organ, and thus the most apparent example of the old adage: You are what you eat. Vitamin E keeps skin young by slowing the aging of cells resulting from the interaction of oxygen with other chemicals in the skin.

Omega-3's are all the rage in the building and maintenance of healthy hair, skin and nails. Their anti-inflammatory response to toxins that enter the body may improve and maintain the integrity of the skin texture and radiance by preventing collagen breakdown. Snarf a handful of your favorite nuts every day (good for you for a variety of reasons!) and try to incorporate fish into your diet more regularly.

According to skin care expert Marion Simms, founder of Skin Sense Wellness Center in Los Angeles, there are many ways to keep your skin looking from looking like the backside of a crocodile. "These supplements can be taken internally, applied topically or both:"

  • Firming: Anti-inflammatories:
  • Grapeseed Green Tea
  • Pine Kola Extract
  • Blackcurrant Bisabolol (chamomile)
  • Passionflower Aloe Vera Gel
  • Vitamins A & C
  • Texture/Color Clarifiers: Barrier Repair Agents:
  • Licorice Extract Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Linoleate)
  • Kojic Acid Lactic Acid
  • Glycolic Acid Glycolic Acid
  • Malic Acid Linoleic/Linolenic Acids
  • Lactic Acid Whey Protein
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Hydroquinone

But wait, there's more

Simms isn't quite done giving us simple fixes for glowing all over. Read and commit to memory these tips and you'll never have to pout for not being carded again...

  • Water. Moisturizers do not add moisture to the skin; they lock in existing moisture -- so drink lots! (Ten 8-oz. glasses daily) 
  • Minimizing your sugar intake, because sugar causes inflammation of the skin. As estrogen is an anti-inflammatory and levels of estrogen drop during menopause, menopausal skin can become quickly irritated by too much sugar in the diet. This natural process of aging is called glycation. By giving sugar the boot and using anti-glycation products, like soy and grapeseed, you can help to slow this process down. This won't cost you a dime, and the scale will go down at the same time you are beautifying your slimming self.
  • Adding oil to your diet. During menopause, your body needs the extra support of healthy vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower, grapeseed and flaxseed. By including these with your daily supplements, you will notice a renewed elasticity and flexibility in the skin.
  • Moisturizing. After cleansing your skin, use a toner to transition to a suitable moisturizer. It will keep the skin's texture refined, add a little extra humidity to the skin surface and depending on the formulation, have some corrective benefits for menopausal break-outs. When using some of the more active treatment creams at night make sure the skin is thoroughly dry before application. Ingredients like oxygen, peptides, hyaluronic acid and ATP offer excellent support mechanisms for menopausal skin.
  • Rest. Get plenty of sleep. Where do you think the term "beauty sleep" orginated? "Finally, when you have established a regime that suits your skin, be consistent and stick to it. Hydrate and protect in the morning and treat at night," says Simms.
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