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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Kigelia africana Fruit Extract: The Unsung Hero of Perfect Skin

Kigelia 22Whether it’s fine lines and clogged pores or dark circles and brown spots, we all have more than one skin issue we want to address in order to reveal the most radiant version of ourselves. But oftentimes, skincare treatments only target a single concern, making you improve in one area and not another. This is what makes the ultra-versatile Kigelia africana fruit extract all the more extraordinary — and one of our precious Core Botanicals.

 

The Triple-Threat Ingredient: Kigelia’s Astounding Skin Benefits

As a central focus in our Clarifying formulas, Kigelia extract works in synergy with other gems of nature to clarify skin, reducing and preventing blemishes, congestion and excess oil production. It also firms and tightens skin, making it a wonder to combat premature aging, like fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. Last but not least, the extract is extremely calming for skin (which means you can avoid the irritating side effects of typical anti-blemish or anti-aging formulas), instead soothing and strengthening skin so it appears at its healthiest.

That’s right, with this single ingredient, you can fight aging, acne (or the occasional blemish) and sensitivity!

FRESH-CUT-KIGELIA 2Kigelia extract is sourced from the sausage-shaped fruit of the Kigelia africana tree, which is common to West, Central and South Africa. Due to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of Kigelia, local healers have traditionally used the fruit to remedy skin-related conditions, such as fungal infections, acne, eczema and psoriasis. The extract has even been studied to aid in the treatment of skin cancer since it also has DNA-repairing powers.

Kigelia boasts a number of powerful skin-friendly compounds, including flavonoids, fatty acids, steroids and saponins. Flavanoids are polyphenols known mostly for their potent antioxidant benefits, which are crucial in fighting free radical damage to minimize the signs of aging. Free radicals cause a negative cascade in molecules, triggering wrinkles and other unwelcome outcomes (the worst is cancer). Steroids are well known to soothe skin conditions including eczema.  Steroidal saponins are known to create uplifted, taut skin, while fatty acids are popular for moisturizing and plumping the appearance of skin.

 

Our Favorite Way to Use Kigelia

Many of our Luxe Tribe members love keeping a bottle of Kigelia Clarifying Serum handy for days when skin gets stressed out! Although it’s excellent for those with chronic breakouts, the multi-action serum keeps skin smooth, clear and luminous when hormones, stress, weather changes, lifestyle or diet trigger blemishes on occasion. If we’re using another serum, we also love mixing in the Kigelia Clarifying Serum every other day as a preventative measure.

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How has Kigelia changed your skin? Share with us on Instagram @luxebotanics

The Luxe Botanics Team


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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.