Luxe Botanics

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


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What You Need to Know About the Most Popular Skincare Oils

Once upon a time, we’d shrink in terror by the mere thought of drenching our skin in oils. Nowadays we use oils as freely as ever like nobody’s business because science (and the radiant complexions among us) have demonstrated the undeniable benefits that botanical oils bestow upon our largest organ.

Derived from various parts of plants, including the seeds and nuts, botanical oils practically do everything: they moisturize, prevent water loss, decrease or prevent blemishes, protect against sun damage, stimulate skin renewal and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Some oils even go so far as to control natural oil production on the skin by mimicking it.

Of the multitude of oils out there for skin transformation, there are a handful commonly used as “base” oils, which are often found in the highest percentages, as they act as the foundation in which to concoct the entire formula. Check out our breakdown of some of the most popular below.

 

Marula OilMarula

Marula oil is born from the kernels of the fruit that sprout on the Marula tree. It’s been used for years by the Tsonga people of South Africa and Mozambique as both a moisturizing and a massage oil. (Fun fact: these populations, despite spending hours under the sun, have remarkably luminous and healthy-looking skin well into old age.)

Marula is high in oleic acid, or omega-9, rendering it a thicker, richer oil. But despite its relatively heavier texture, it absorbs rapidly into the skin and is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. In addition to its incredible moisturizing powers, Marula oil bursts with antioxidants that effectively fight free radical damage; these two qualities render Marula the perfect elixir to prevent and alleviate the visible signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and the loss of elasticity and firmness. That’s not all though: Marula oil also has antimicrobial properties, which means you can hydrate your skin to plumpness without causing breakouts. This oil can be used on both dry and acne-prone skin with exceptional results.

If you want to deep dive into the world of Marula (including why it’s so good for our Earth), read more about it here.

Argan OilARGAN

Derived from the fruit of the Argan tree native to Morocco, argan oil is one of the most popular facial oils on the market. Chances are you’ve seen it inside a huge variety of skincare products, either as part of a formula or as a standalone.

Argan oil is composed almost equally of oleic (46-48%) and linoleic acid (31-35%). This particular composition makes argan oil moisturizing and absorbent without leaving a greasy residue. Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, making it a great ally for ageing skin, as it fights free radicals in the body. Vitamin E is also known to encourage new skin cell growth and boost cell regeneration.

 

Avocado OilAVO

Like Marula and Argan oils, Avocado oil is also particularly great for mature skin, as it contains antioxidants and vitamin E. Those with acne-prone skin, however, may want to proceed with caution because it is a thicker oil more likely to clog pores. Yet when it comes to extremely dry and chapped skin, Avocado oil is a godsend. It’s known for being especially soothing with protective elements, with research indicating that it can also prevent sun damage.[1] Avocado oil is also high in beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is known for encouraging cell production and stimulating the growth of fibroblasts, which are the cells that keep skin taut and prevent sagging.

 

Jojoba OilJOJOBA

Native to southern Arizona, southern California and northwestern Mexico, Jojoba oil comes from the seed of the Jojoba plant, a desert shrub. Jojoba oil is light and absorbs quickly and easily into the skin. It has also been shown to be effective as an acne treatment.[2] This may be due to the fact that jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties (ultimately, while oil and bacteria are also involved, inflammation is the root cause of acne).[3] Jojoba oil is also one of the oils closest in composition to the natural sebum produced by the skin which, in short, means it’s highly welcome by the epidermis. When it comes to acne, in fact, jojoba oil “tricks” the skin into thinking it’s already produced enough sebum, which in turn prevents it from producing any more. Thus, skin remains hydrated and perfectly balanced without getting too oily, keeping those pesky breakouts at bay. Jojoba oil is best for naturally oily and acne-prone skin, but can be used to hydrate dry skin as well.

 

Grape Seed OilGRAPESEED

Pressed from the seeds of grapes, typically after they’ve been used for wine production, grape seed oil continues to grow in popularity thanks to its incredible one-two punch when it comes to skincare: it’s both a potent moisturizer and has the ability to assuage pimples.

Grape seed oil contains almost 70% linoleic acid, the type of fatty acid particularly helpful for acne-prone skin. Linoleic acid results in lighter oils that don’t sit heavily on the skin and clog pores, leading to blemishes. As a lighter oil, it also absorbs more easily into the skin, providing hydration and a softer, smoother feel and appearance. Grape seed oil is also high in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, giving it a high antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants help fight ageing of the skin by demolishing the very free radicals that would attempt to damage cells and speed up the ageing process. Overall, grape seed oil is a well-rounded oil, as it can be used on dry, mature and acne-prone skin with great results.

 

Olive Oil9a6b844fdf5ce5f11359122dc7a019a3

Olive oil has been associated with Italian feasts for so long you might be hesitant to slather it on your face, but it’s actually very common in skin care. It is a hydrating powerhouse with ageing well benefits containing high amounts of squalane, a terrific emollient that hydrates dry skin. Squalane is also a potent antioxidant that can potentially minimize signs of ageing.

 

So Which Oil Reigns Supreme?

Although all these oils help hydrate and protect skin, Marula is significantly higher in antioxidants, particularly because it contains the ultimate brightener, Vitamin C. (In fact, Marula contains about 15%-20% more antioxidants than the famed Argan oil!) On top of that, Marula’s high concentration of omega-9 acids helps the oil penetrate the skin more deeply—where it can do real transformative work—all while offering antimicrobial properties. For this extraordinary versatility and effectiveness, Marula is one of our Core Botanicals—yes, it’s that good!

Another important note to keep in mind is that these oils, like in Luxe Botanics formulations, are not used alone—they are key ingredients of a larger recipe created to synergize into a skin-transforming treatment. So even if you have oily skin, for example, you don’t necessarily need to avoid a richer oil like Marula, as it’s part of a carefully crafted elixir with overall intents to create healthy skin.

 

Try it for yourself.

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263051/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22585103

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15629254

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What are those little white bumps on my face…?

As I stepped up on to the therapist’s bed I was already starting to relax. She gently covered me with a blanket, secured my hair away from my face and started with an essential oil ritual. I began to feel calm, serene, relaxed… After cleansing, she rolled the steamer over and left me to my thoughts while my pores slowly opened. After 5 minutes she rolled the steamer to the side and turned on the bright light. And that’s when she gasped…

 

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you. It happens to me a lot.  It’s the moment when the therapist realises how bad my skin actually is. I don’t know if its anxiety or excitement that causes the gasp – some of them love the thought of the extractions to come. Personally, it’s something that quickly takes me from the initial calm headspace I’m in, and puts me right back into my usual self-conscious state. I like to think I’m used to this reaction. But as I get older I am getting more annoyed that this is still the story of my skin. I wish I could have left this all behind with the other teenage woes…

 

Thanks to my mom’s early interventions and teachings I have always had a good grasp of what works for my skin. I know when to use which type of mask, the importance of exfoliating, going for regular facials and most importantly – when to know that you need professional help. I’ve seen countless dermatologists and every time I have to carefully explain to them – no I am not making this up, this is my skin history, it runs in my family, and then I have to almost beg them to fix me… Most of them don’t believe me and just think I like to exaggerate to get the medications I know will work for me. At least that’s how it feels when I’m in their clinic…

 

Through all of this though, I have noticed that as much time and effort as I spend preventing, I still get new bumps on my skin. I have tried having them lanced out (when they make a small nick in your skin and take them out), I’ve tried extractions during a facial, I’ve tried exfoliants, I’ve tried clay masks, I’ve tried lasers, I’ve even taken prescription medication… All of these do work. The problem for me is that they only work for a little while. Sometimes its months, or even (if I’m lucky) a year or more, but mostly it’s only a few weeks.

 

In order to understand these things for yourself you need to understand that differences in the types of “lumps and bumps” on your skin:

  1. Closed comedones (“white heads”) are caused by a blocked pore and often appear as white bumps on the skin:

Comedonal-acne

(http://www.clearskinstudy.com/what-are-comedones-and-why-do-i-get-them/ )

  1. Open comedones (“black heads”) are when the blocked pore is open and the surface appears black from melanin (not dirt as commonly thought):

Black heads

(http://www.dermnetnz.org/acne/comedonal-acne.html )

These can be limited on the skin and may only appear at certain times – teenage years, hormonal cycles – or they can proliferate and even become inflamed and infected. At this point you may be diagnosed with comedonal acne. And this is exactly my diagnosis – however mine is limited to closed comedones (I do have the occasional open comedone on my nose, but nothing too scary).

There is a third term that you may hear occasionally related to these “lumps and bumps” on your skin:

  1. Milia are often confused with closed comedones as they look alike. On physical appearance though the milia are often a harder round lump, and the close comedone may be a little softer and not as hard and round. You’ll know the difference if you squeeze – milia comes out as a perfectly formed, round hard white ball. And closed comedones come out in a white greasy thread. Note that there are many types of milia – you can read up on them here http://www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/milium.html .

milia10(http://www.dermnetnz.org/common/image.php?path=/lesions/img/s/milia10.jpg )

 

Essentially I have discovered that I have a problem that is 2 fold – I have both milia and closed comedones. And I am happy to say that the treatments for both do have some common characteristics:

 

Characteristics & Causes:

  Milia Closed Comedones
Characteristics ·  Small cyst containing keratin

·  Appears as hard round white/ pearly lump

·  Often around eyes, eyelids, mouth, nose, behind the ears, along the jaw, cheeks and forehead

·  Forms at the site of a hair follicle

·  Can resolve on its own and doesn’t always require intervention

· Caused by blockage of the follicle either by dirt and debris or sebum

· Can occur almost anywhere but rarely on the eyelids

· Forms at the site of a hair follicle

· Soft white lump

· Requires intervention

 

Causes ·  No specific cause but generally occurs at the site of injury during healing (burns, scalds, skin resurfacing (e.g. dermabrasion), long term use of steroid creams) · Hormonal changes

· Reduced linoleate in sebum (this is the salt of the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid)

· Increased inflammatory proteins

· Free fatty acids produced by bacteria

· Overhydrated skin (moisturisers or humidity)

· Follicle damage or rupture (abrasive cleansing, chemical peels or laser treatments)

· Chemicals such as: Oily pomades, isopropyl myristate, propylene glycol, and some cosmetic dyes

· Smoking

· Dietary factors – milk and high glycaemic index foods (sugars and fats)

 

Treatments:

  Milia Treatment Closed Comedone Treatment
Similar ·   Topical retinoids  (e.g. retinA)

·   Oral retinoids (e.g. roaccutane or Accutane (isotretinoin))

·   Chemical peels (usually done in a doctors clinic)

·   Dermabrasion (also microdermabrasion)

·   Laser abalation (usually done in a doctors clinic)

·   Tetracycline antibiotics (e.g. minocycline)

·   Extractions (e.g. using sterile needles with physical squeezing, usually performed by a doctor or professional therapist)

Different · Cryotherapy

· Diathermy and curretage

 

· Hormonal therapy (e.g. contraceptive pill)

· Benzoyl peroxide (e.g. Clearasil, proactiv)

· At home use acids: Azelaic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid

· Prescription antibiotic creams

(http://www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/milium.html )

(http://www.dermnetnz.org/acne/comedonal-acne.html )

(http://www.healthline.com/health/milia#Causes2 )

 

With the understanding I’ve gained over years of doctors’ visits, therapists advice, reading everything I could, researching the ingredients in my skin care, I have gained a semblance of control. I know that I need to control both the internal and the external factors that lead to both my milia and my closed comedones. Of course, real life always gets in the way – who always has the time to do a mask (or remembers every day/ week), who has the endless resources to pay for professional treatment, who has the time for a facial every 2-3 weeks, and who among us has never eaten anything sinful? That is my ideal – but it’s not realistic. If this is you – and you have the time and resources – I say good for you! Go out there and show off your beautiful skin – you deserve it. As for the rest of us, we will continue our quest to find the perfect balance for our skin.

 

I hope that this blog has helped you understand your skin a bit better, and what changes you can make to improve it x

The Luxe Botanics Team