Luxe Botanics

A botanic skincare line scientifically formulated to allow nature to nurture your skin.


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The Power of Thankfulness (and Why It’s Healthy for You)

“Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally ‘count our blessings,’ give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.” Shakti Gawain

 

With the holidays coming up, it’s natural to think of all that there is to be grateful for in life. Yet sometimes, it feels like we only stop to acknowledge our blessings one day out of the year – on Thanksgiving – despite the fact there are reasons all around us to be thankful all year long.

We can benefit physically and mentally from pausing, even for a few minutes each day to reflect on our lives and everything that makes living wonderful and worthwhile. No matter our personal circumstances, if we just give it a try, we realize that there are plenty of things to be thankful for, whether it be our health, our friends and family, our jobs, or even just the fact that we’ve been given another day to live and appreciate the world with all of its myriad wonders. Thankfulness and mindful, meditative moments are like little doses of medicine that can actually prolong life and improve well-being, and science backs it up! When we take the time to express gratitude, our body releases natural endorphins, boosting dopamine and serotonin. It is exactly what antidepressants do, but the difference is it’s 100% natural! It may take some practice, but it is possible to get into the habit of daily thankfulness and meditation, and both your body and mind (and skin!) will thank you.

Thankfulness Improves Physical Health

A 2012 study evaluating 1,000 Swiss adults found that cultivating a spirit of thankfulness resulted in fewer aches and pains and a greater overall feeling of health.[1] This was found to be in part because grateful people were more likely to take care of themselves by exercising and getting regular check-ups, and they were also more likely to seek help for their health when necessary.

Thankfulness Improves Psychological Health

Grateful people have been noted to be less prone to depression and anxiety, while also experiencing fewer feelings of resentment, jealousy, anger and regret. One study evaluating degrees of religiosity found that spiritually grateful people were far less likely to face problems associated with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, stress, phobias and addictions.[2] As a knock-on effect, improved psychological health can also improve physical health, as people who experience less stress in their lives are less likely to deal with pain and more likely to have a stronger immune system.

Thankfulness Helps You Sleep Better

A good night’s rest is essential to good health, while a lack of sleep is linked to increasing stress, weakening the immune system and upping the risk for certain diseases and illnesses. A 2009 study involving 401 participants, 40% of whom suffered from clinical sleep disorders, suggests that the most grateful participants had better overall sleep quality, were more likely to fall asleep faster and had less daytime fatigue after waking up.[3] The reason for this was because thankful people were more likely to have positive thoughts before falling asleep, such as counting their blessings. Meanwhile, people who had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep were more likely to suffer from negative thoughts that kept them up. A good night’s rest has many beauty benefits as well, improving overall complexion by regenerating skin cells and reducing breakouts thanks to the fact that while we sleep, our stress levels drop. They don’t call it Beauty Sleep for nothing!

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Meditation Reduces Risk of Heart Disease & Stroke

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, and finding ways to prevent it is of utmost importance. Meditation has been proven to actually reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. A 2012 study involving over 200 high-risk participants asked individuals to take a class promoting better diet and exercise habits or take a Transcendental Meditation class. Over the next five years, researchers discovered that among the participants who took the meditation class, there was a 48% reduction in overall risk of heart disease, stroke and death. The results were associated with “lower blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors.”[4]

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Meditation Relieves Stress & Strengthens Immunity

Stress, especially chronic stress, can weaken immunity, making us susceptible to all kinds of illnesses. Stress can also have a very negative effect on the skin, causing acne, eczema and psoriasis, or exacerbating these problems. A Harvard Medical School study found that practicing meditation and meditative activities like yoga actually impacts mitochondrial energy production, consumption and resiliency, namely improving them.[5] This then improves immunity as well as reaction to stress. For skin, this has double benefits, as less stress will result in less breakouts and inflammation, while a stronger immune system will also allow your body to fight problems like acne from within.

It can be tempting to disregard the concepts of thankfulness and meditation as a bunch of nonsense, but science doesn’t lie. It’s clear that both thankfulness and meditation have research to back them up as legitimate approaches to staying healthy, active and at our best. And the best part is that you can practice thankfulness and meditation for free with just a little bit of work. Of course, if you’re prone to negative thoughts, it can be difficult to rewire your thinking process, but not impossible. Meanwhile, the benefits are certainly worth the undertaking.

 So, what are you grateful for this holiday season?

At Luxe Botanics, we are immensely thankful on a daily basis for our fair-trade partnerships with producers who respect nature and the land they tend by utilizing sustainable farming methods. Sustainability is increasingly crucial in a world where our natural resources are finite and becoming moreso with each passing year.

Of course, we are also massively thankful for you, our tribe of mindful living warriors, who understand and appreciate the importance of sustainability, practice it in their own lives and work to do their part to make sure our planet is healthy for many generations to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23139438

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12611831

[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19073292

[4]http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/14/mind-over-matter-strongest-study-yet-shows-meditation-can-lower-risk-of-heart-attack-and-stroke/

[5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23650531

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The Science Behind Natural Skincare

Happy World Science Day! We’ve come a looong way as humans. From conquering the heights of space travel to curing illnesses. Science has allowed humanity to progress beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors. But with all innovation, inevitably comes some scepticism. In skincare, one of the most persisting questions posed is the manufacture of synthetic ingredients: are they a good thing or are they harmful?

Einstein said, “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”

As you know, we’re Mother Nature’s biggest fan, but, we’re also a great believer in science and that remarkable things can happen at the intersection between both.

 

Are Natural Ingredients Better Than Their Synthetic Counterparts?

The truth is, even when a synthetic substance and its natural counterpart possess the exact same molecular structure, there can still be some differences between them. Despite the word “synthetic” having negative associations, synthetic doesn’t necessarily mean bad—as long as an ingredient is effective while produced and sourced in a responsible, safe and sustainable manner.

To understand, let’s take a closer look.

 

Synthetic Ingredients In Skincare

In the case of vitamins (like the powerhouse trio vitamin A, E and C), many used in skincare are synthetic. Manufacturers typically turn to these ingredients because they are often more cost-effective and easier to source. Some synthetic ingredients are also usually more stable, with longer shelf lives than natural ingredients.

If we take the example of Vitamin C, it has many beauty benefits: it can lighten dark spots, neutralize free radical damage and help fight wrinkles. This mighty vitamin is usually processed for use in skincare products.  The closest form to natural vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid and is made from corn starch, corn sugar or rice starch. Then there are natural extracts like our beloved Camu camu berry, which contains more vitamin C than acai and oranges.

But, when it comes to results, natural vitamin C seems to have an edge over L-ascorbic acid. In one study from 2001, researchers found that “delivery of topical L-ascorbic acid into the skin is critically dependent on formulation characteristics,” meaning it had to be formulated at a certain pH level to have any effect on the skin. [1] The same study also concluded that two types of synthetic vitamin C, didn’t even penetrate the skin in order to bring about any of the positive effects of vitamin C.

In this instance, nature wins if ingredients aren’t formulated correctly.

But remember, even though an ingredient is natural it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always more effective either.

Let’s take a look at another example: natural Vitamin B3, also called niacinamide, has similar results on the skin as synthetic Vitamin B3 which we derive from beets and legumes as a more plentiful source. There are also peptides – protein fragments made up of amino acids – most of which in skin care are artificial, that companies use to help stimulate collagen production to minimize wrinkles and plump up complexions. At Luxe Botanics, our peptides, are created using sustainably sourced natural palm kernel oil and coconut oil, which perform with equal efficacy as a natural peptide.

So you start to see in certain cases that synthetic Ingredients come up trumps, and to understand that not everything is black and white. It all comes down to doing your homework.

 

Natural Or Synthetic?

So. What to do? In the end, bear in mind that just because an ingredient wasn’t literally dug up or picked in nature doesn’t automatically spell unsafe or ineffective. Sure, there are plenty of skincare products out there with fillers and other synthetics that do more harm than good, but there are exceptions. What you should be looking at is the effectiveness of the ingredient (does it perform the job it’s supposed to? How does it formulate with other ingredients) and making sure the environment isn’t at risk due to its production.

Scientific advances today mean we have the tools to create high-tech natural beauty synthesised from natural and organic bases like never before; where delicate, botanical ingredients are not compromised but can be enhanced. It’s this pursuit of discovery which scientists thrive on.

At Luxe Botanics we select our core botanicals based on peer-reviewed data published in scientific journals. But even this is not enough if we don’t then look carefully at the ingredients we formulate with, each which must have an individual purpose. By taking time to understand the perfect synergy of ingredients, balanced in precisely the right proportions, this is the harmony we strike between science and nature.

For more info on high-tech, plant based ingredients in our skincare take a look at our earlier blog on ingredients with purpose.

 

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11207686