Luxe Botanics

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


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How to Balance Blemish Prone, Sensitive Skin (Without Making It Worse)

For those with both sensitive and blemish-prone skin, trust us, we know how difficult it can be to successfully remedy this. The trouble, for the most part, lies in the fact that sensitive skin is innately more fragile and requires special care, but common methods to eradicate acne often lead to dryness, further sensitization and, ultimately, even more breakouts. It’s a vicious cycle that is hard to know how to break, annoyingly frustrating and quite frankly upsetting.

 

The Causes Of Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive skin is genetic and is characterized by a thin epidermis with generally lower amounts of pigment. (If we get technical, sensitive skin should not be confused with sensitized skin, which is caused by skincare habits and lifestyle. For the purposes of this article, we’ll reference both as sensitive skin.)

With sensitive skin, the protective lipid barrier (the outermost layer) experiences water loss and also allows more irritants, allergens and microbes to get through instead of shielding them out. When these penetrate into the skin, they can cause inflammation, flaking, itchiness and redness. The result is a more negative reaction to certain topical skincare treatments that are too aggressive, leading to even more redness and irritation.

Whether blemish-prone skin is caused by a multitude or combination of factors like excessive oiliness, hormones and stress. Diet can play a role, too: Some research shows that certain high-glycemic carbohydrates can be responsible for blemishes.[1] A pimple essentially forms when a pore becomes clogged with excess oil, or sebum, and dead skin cells. Then, bacteria comes in and inflames the clogged area, leading to a ripe, red pimple. Definitely not cool.

While they’re two separate conditions, sensitive skin and blemishes often come hand in hand. Because of its thinner lipid barrier, sensitive skin deals with more irritants passing through into skin, including bacteria, and the declining ability to heal itself. At the same time, conventional treatments, like chemical peels and harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, typically require further sensitizing of skin to tackle blemishes, which ultimately wreaks more havoc on skin. And so begins the vicious cycle of irritation and breakouts.

 

How To Treat Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive skin should be treated with kid gloves—but that doesn’t mean you’re only left with ineffective solutions.

Although this will be hard to do, prioritize the sensitivity first. Because zits are often considered more aesthetically unpleasing, people tend to focus on eliminating their bumps and breakouts without considering the compromised nature of skin. But here’s the thing: As long as your skin is frail and vulnerable, your pimples will likely return—with a vengeance. On the other hand, if your skin is strong, it’s able to get rid of and prevent the blemishes much more efficiently.

To relieve your sensitivity, first make sure your skincare techniques aren’t aggravating. Avoid over-cleansing (limit cleansing to once or twice a day) and use gentle chemical exfoliators instead of physical scrubs, which may have jagged granules that will cause small tears in your skin when rubbed all over.

Second, avoid harsh skincare products that include commonly irritating ingredients like preservatives and fragrances. Your best bet is to turn to natural ingredients while avoiding more traditional treatments like benzoyl peroxide or harsh acids which, as previously noted, can be very harsh and strip sensitive skin.

Plant sources, particularly nut oils like jojoba or marula oil, have been known to reduce skin’s natural oil production by promoting a healthier natural balance of oils, allowing for hydration without fear of blemishes springing up. Chamomile oil is another great one to help soothe and calm skin. The good news is that there are also natural treatments that are specifically effective against pimples without making the condition worse. Ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera and Kigelia africana are ideal because they get the job done without inflaming or otherwise irritating.

 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a tried-and-true method known for its ability to destroy pimple-causing bacteria.[2] Many people find success dabbing a small amount onto the affected area, leaving it on overnight. When using any type of skincare treatment, always do a patch test first to make sure you won’t develop any adverse reactions, especially if your skin is sensitive. Tea tree oil is much gentler than benzoyl peroxide but can still lead to dryness if used excessively, so use it cautiously.

Tea Tree

Aloe Vera

The ultra-gentle aloe vera helps reduce the manifestation of pimples thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.[3] Moreover, it has moisturizing effects that are especially good for sensitive skin, which can lean toward dryness. Studies have even found that drinking aloe vera can lead to a decrease in the number of blemishes on the skin.[4]

Aloe Vera

Kigelia Africana

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our darling Kigelia africana extract. The plant has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to have a firming effect as well. Studies have found that both the root and fruit of the plant have antibacterial and antifungal compounds.[5] The antibacterial property is key, as it is what will help fight the bacteria that causes pimples, reducing the amount of it residing on the surface of your skin. Another study found that in addition to antibacterial properties, Kigelia africana also has wound-healing abilities.[6] This “wound-healing” quality can potentially help accelerate the reduction of blemishes in both size and intensity.

As a bonus, the flavonoids (substances in plants that protect from UV damage) in Kigelia africana provide antioxidant protection, fighting off free radicals, which are unstable atoms that damage skin cells and accelerate ageing. Furthermore, Kigelia africana is soothing and moisturizing, ideal for sensitive skin that is easily irritated and prone to redness and dryness. Kigelia africana is gentle but powerful and effective, reducing pimples while keeping skin soft, nourished and calm.

Kigelia africana

 

Coming to Terms With Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive, blemish-prone skin can sometimes feel like a scourge, but it need not be! Knowing the right products and ingredients to use can make all the difference. Sure, it may require some more diligence than treating normal skin, but it’s not impossible as long as you know which ingredients to avoid and which to embrace. Just remember to respect your skin, and it will reward you by glowing with clarified radiance.

 

Curious to find out more on Kigelia africana? Read about the unsung hero of perfect skin in our earlier blog.

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/1/107.full

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17314442

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/

[4] http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajcn.2014.29.34

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8792668

[6] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aps/2013/692613/

 

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Don’t Be a Greenwashing Victim: 6 Key Points to Remember

Pure. Natural. Organic. Green. Clean. Chemical-free. These words make us feel comfort. Chemicals. Non-natural. Synthetic. Man-made. These words make us squirm. But when it comes to choosing a skincare product, is it that easy to differentiate what’s truly safe and effective for you—by looking for these words claimed on a label?

The short answer is: not always. These days, too many consumers are “greenwashed,” believing a company is environmentally responsible or that its products are truly “all-natural,” which often happens when the company demonizes ingredients that were made in a lab or using scary terms like “chemicals.”

But don’t be fooled! In today’s post, we’ll share the key points to bear in mind in order to shop smart for skin care and bypass all the greenwashing we face today.

 

Performance Is As Important As Safety… And Sometimes That Requires Supporting Ingredients

For centuries, cultures around the world have harnessed natural resources from their part of the world to create effective beauty solutions. For example, local women in Africa rely on the oil of Marula to keep their skin youthful despite spending hours under the sun. There are no labs, no additives, no preservatives. Just the oil. Many people insist this is the only way to go… that mixtures are bound to contain harmful toxins.

But if you were to have the wherewithal to enhance your one miracle ingredient so your skincare is that much more effective, wouldn’t you? Many botanicals in nature are able to work in harmony to provide glow-boosting benefits, making them all the more powerful. This is why we complement our Marula oil with other botanicals like Jojoba, Carrot and Rosehip (three well-known, tried-and-true ingredients known to transform skin). The key here is synergy—and when a skincare product is synergistically formulated, it can make a world of difference for your complexion.

 

Using the Word “Natural” in Marketing Is NOT Regulated in the U.S.

That’s right—a company can add a few drops of low-quality botanical oil to an otherwise toxin-filled formula and call it natural. On top of that, personal-care products are not tested to see if the manufacturer has in fact included the ingredients they claim it contains. The FDA hardly regulates anything (as of now), so “natural” doesn’t mean anything. The good news is that if you lack confidence about where the ingredients are sourced or how safe they are, you can always switch to a brand that offers total, 100% transparency, and is willing to answer questions about how they craft their formulas.

 

“Natural” Doesn’t Always Mean It’s Good for You

Heart leaaf

Although there are many benefits to going the natural route, it should also be noted that natural is not invariably better for everyone. There are natural ingredients out there that can be abrasive and harsh on sensitive skin. For example, some plant oils, like coriander, can cause allergic reactions in some people. Although the word natural undoubtedly comes with a positive connotation, it’s important to realize and remember that not all natural ingredients are created equal.

Also—though we’re stating the obvious here—keep in mind that nature is sometimes harmful. Poison oak, poison ivy and certain poisonous mushrooms are no doubt natural, but we wouldn’t want to go anywhere near them!

 

Ingredients Created by Humans Can Actually Be Good

There’s no evidence to suggest that certain manmade ingredients are harmful. Take certain forms of squalane, for example. Although it’s a moisturizing substance found in olives and sharks, it’s totally possible to recreate it—safely and sustainably—in a lab. And the results are just the same.

 

Sometimes, Natural and Synthetic Need to Work Together

Oftentimes, it’s necessary to combine both natural and synthetic ingredients in a skincare product to ensure the highest level of efficacy. Take sunblock as an example. Many sunblocks contain titanium dioxide, which is natural, but this ingredient is further helped along by sodium hyaluronate, which is synthetic. Sodium hyaluronate improves the texture of sunscreen, making it easier to apply and spread on the skin. Together, these two ingredients make for the most effective sunblock to keep you protected.

 

The Term “Chemical” Is Misleading

Many people have an immediate visceral reaction when confronted with the term, as “chemicals” are almost always considered toxic or poisonous. However, everything in nature is made of chemicals, even something as beneficial and crucial to humans as water. We just rarely think of water in terms of its chemical name, dihydrogen monoxide. Plus, plenty of natural ingredients have scientific names that are long, hard to spell, hard to pronounce and, therefore, quite intimidating. Yet they are no more harmful because of it.

To illustrate this point, James Kennedy, who teaches chemistry in Melbourne, Australia, made this in a post on Aeon.co:

“In reality, ‘natural’ products are usually more chemically complicated than anything we can create in the lab. To demonstrate, I broke down the components in an ordinary banana. (For brevity’s sake, I omitted the thousands of minority ingredients, including DNA.) Here is the result:

0b6fa5bc4047875a8fd36574ba1e21f9INGREDIENTS: WATER (75%), SUGARS (12%) (GLUCOSE (48%), FRUCTOSE (40%), SUCROSE (2%), MALTOSE (<1%)), STARCH (5%), FIBRE E460 (3%), AMINO ACIDS (<1%) (GLUTAMIC ACID (19%), ASPARTIC ACID (16%), HISTIDINE (11%), LEUCINE (7%), LYSINE (5%), PHENYLALANINE (4%), ARGININE (4%), VALINE (4%), ALANINE (4%), SERINE (4%), GLYCINE (3%), THREONINE (3%), ISOLEUCINE (3%), PROLINE (3%), TRYPTOPHAN (1%), CYSTINE (1%), TYROSINE (1%), METHIONINE (1%)), FATTY ACIDS (1%) (PALMITIC ACID (30%), OMEGA-6 FATTY ACID: LINOLEIC ACID (14%), OMEGA-3 FATTY ACID: LINOLENIC ACID (8%), OLEIC ACID (7%), PALMITOLEIC ACID (3%), STEARIC ACID (2%), LAURIC ACID (1%), MYRISTIC ACID (1%), CAPRIC ACID (<1%)), ASH (<1%), PHYTOSTEROLS, E515, OXALIC ACID, E300, E306 (TOCOPHEROL), PHYLLOQUINONE, THIAMIN, COLOURS (YELLOW-ORANGE E101 (RIBOFLAVIN), YELLOW-BROWN E160a), FLAVOURS (3-METHYLBUT-1-YL ETHANOATE, 2-METHYLBUTYL ETHANOATE, 2-METHYLPROPAN-1-OL, 3-METHYLBUTYL-1-OL, 2-HYDROXY-3-METHYLETHYL BUTANOATE, 3-METHYLBUTANAL, ETHYL HEXANOATE, ETHYL BUTANOATE, PENTYL ACETATE), 1510, NATURAL RIPENING AGENT (ETHENE GAS).”

So if you’re the type of person who shuns a product just because you “can’t pronounce” an ingredient, remember this!

 

Takeaway

There are unfortunately a bevy of products out there that tell you they are “chemical-free” and completely “natural” and “pure,” but many times it means something far different than what you imagine. And in terms of wording and marketing, we have a long ways to go. As Kennedy says, “‘Pure’ should refer to single-ingredient products only. ‘Natural’ products should be sold exactly as they occur in nature, and ‘natural’ should be forbidden as a marketing term for cosmetics and other products. Finally, the use of ‘chemical-free’ – a logical impossibility – on product labels needs to be stopped.”

The brighter side of all this? There are some amazing skincare companies out there (we think we’re one of them ;)) that not only mean what we say, but exist on the pillars of honesty and transparency in order to provide the most high-performing skincare with safe, nature-inspired and nature-derived gems.

So if you ever have a question, just ask!

hello@luxebotanics.com

 

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team


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Luxe Botanics Discovery Kits are for sale!

Buy Luxe Botanics Discovery Kit

Each kit contains a 10ml jar of each of our 7 unique products which harness the potency of three key active botanicals chosen for their unique therapeutic benefits.

Organically grown, the natural benefits of each core botanical are enhanced by being scientifically formulated with botanic and natural ingredients, making Luxe Botanics one of the few authentically organic skin care lines in the industry.

Hydrating Marula Oil from Kenya: Serum and Pre Cleanser
Brightening Camu camu from Brazil: Serum, Moisturiser and Cleanser
Clarifying Kigelia africana from Malawi: Serum and Moisturiser

 USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong only

Buy Luxe Botanics Discovery Kit


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How Stress Affects Your Skin and How to Resolve It

How Stress Affects Your Skin and How to Resolve It

Women with Tomato

Have you ever had spots appear or experienced dry flakey skin when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed?

 

We don’t always think about how stress may be affecting our skin until we are literally staring at the results in the mirror.  Pimples, dry skin, wrinkles, rosacea and dull skin can all be a direct result of experiencing stress.

 

When we are stressed our body releases the hormone cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone designed to keep us safe from harm.  Cortisol sends a message to our body to shut down non-vital functions so it can focus on survival. The real problem occurs when we experience elevated levels of cortisol over a period of time.

 

High cortisol levels lead to a breakdown of many functions in the body:

 

  • Sugar levels in the blood are increased forming advanced glycation end products (shortened to AGEs). AGEs cause a breakdown in vital proteins for skin health like collagen and elastin.
  • High cortisol levels dramatically decrease the skin’s ability to produce hyaluronic acid, a natural moisturizer, which can lead to dry skin and wrinkles.
  • Cortisol can also cause an increase in oil production, which leads to oily skin, acne and breakouts.
  • There is a breakdown in the skin’s protective barrier[i], leaving your skin susceptible to rosacea, rashes, infection and inflamed acne[ii].

 

As you can see, cortisol and stress wreak havoc on our skin. But how can we prevent the effects of stress and repair any damage that has occurred? The good news is that we can take a holistic approach to heal and protect our skin.

 

Proper Nutrition

BlueberriesA diet that is anti-inflammatory and high in nutrients will hydrate your skin from the inside out and support the healing process. Eat organic food as much as possible and include plenty of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables—colorful vegetables, dark leafy greens, sea vegetables and low sugar fruits like berries are all wonderful.

 

It is also important to focus on gut health. A damaged gut can lead to nutrient deficiencies and inflammation in the body, which shows up on your skin. Consume plenty of probiotic rich foods like coconut water kefir or milk kefir, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and organic yoghurt.

 

Skin-loving Supplements

 

By consulting a holistic practitioner you can determine which supplements will be most beneficial for you. However, everyone’s skin can benefit from including the following supplements in their diet:

 

L-glutamine

Often called the Fountain of Youth, this important amino acid promotes muscle strength and strong bones. In addition, it also helps to heal the lining of the gut wall. By supplementing with L-glutamine your body won’t have to use up its own stores (which decrease with age), which can result in muscle weakness and dry skin.

 

Collagen

Oral collagen supplements can help to smooth and firm the appearance of your skin. Look for supplements that also include hyaluronic acid and astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant.

 

Chlorella and Spirulina

Chlorella is a powerful algae, which acts as an internal cleanser, binding to toxins, protecting your cells and neutralizing free radicals[iii]. Less toxins results in clearer skin. Spirulina is a blue-green algae and a nutritional powerhouse.  This nutrient-dense food contains essential amino acids, iron, protein, B vitamins and vitamins C, D and E.  A true nutrient boost for your skin.

 

Mindfulness and Relaxation

 

By actively managing our stress levels we can dramatically improve the quality of our skin. Deep breathing calms our nervous system and reduces stress levels. By practicing mindfulness we can bring our focus into the present moment, easing worry and tension. Physical exercise, yoga and walks in nature are all activities that bring balance to our system, improving our ability to cope with daily stressors. Less stress means clearer, more youthful-looking skin.

 

Good Skincare

 Ceramic PotYour skin will require specific nutrients and ingredients designed to calm any inflammation and provide extra hydration.  Use a high-quality, non-toxic skincare with botanical and natural ingredients that rejuvenate your skin.

 

Antioxidant rich oils, like Marula Oil, that are high in omega fatty acids can protect, heal and intensely hydrate your skin. The good news is that, thanks to these omega fatty acids (linoleic and oleic acids)Plant-based and natural ingredients will be kind to your skin and help it to heal, repair and soften.

 

Our skin is our largest organ and it will reflect our emotional and physical health. The best way to prevent and heal from the effects of stress is to make yourself a priority. Practice self-care daily with good nutrition, relaxation and exercise.

And importantly, honor yourself by using high-quality, botanical and natural skincare.

 

As always, it is important to do your own research to discover what approach works best for you.

 

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

References

http://www.webmd.com/beauty/skin/effects-of-stress-on-your-skin

[i] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11176661

Psychological stress perturbs epidermal permeability barrier homeostasis: implications for the pathogenesis of stress-associated skin disorders.

[ii] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2045620/
A nervous breakdown in the skin: stress and the epidermal barrier

[iii] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23865357
Investigation of the effects of Chlorella vulgaris supplementation on the modulation of oxidative stress in apparently healthy smokers.

[iv] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26528587
Safety and efficacy of Sclerocarya birrea (A.Rich.) Hochst (Marula) oil: A clinical perspective.

[v] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20013815
Sclerocarya birrea (A. Rich) Hochst. [‘Marula’] (Anacardiaceae): a review of its phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology and its ethnomedicinal uses.