Acne

Discover more about acne and how to fight it!

Causes of acne are multiple. Your trusty cellphone, for example, keeps you close to your friends, but also to your enemies as it’s a propagator of nasty bacteria and dirt. Learn more with us on what causes acne, and pick up quick tips and solutions to help keep it at bay for clear, radiant skin from within.

Skincare Benefits

Olive oil is one of the most sought after natural oils for skin care. In fact olive oil has been used as an ancient remedy for skin care during the Egyptian civilization and it is still widely used today. Everything from stretch mark therapy, acne therapy and anti-aging therapy have been used for a long time. The general population will most likely use olive oil as a food condiment but in fact, it has far more use than just a dip with bread or on your plate of spaghetti.

The most expensive olive oil product is usually labeled as “extra virgin” or “cold pressed”. This is because extra virgin olive oil is extracted from the first pressing of olives. It is not processed and it is the purest of olive oil extract. So if you are buying any bottle of extra virgin olive oil for cooking, you’ll be pleased to know that it is the healthiest type of oil for cooking. Even skin products labeled as “extra virgin” are more expensive, have more nutritional compounds for skin health and are far better at helping to improve the appearance of your skin.

Let’s find out what are the benefits of olive!

Anti-Inflammatory

There are a variety of antioxidants in olive oil including Vitamin A and E but the most potent compound is hydroxytyrosol. Hydroxytyrosol is a very rare but potent antioxidant found in olive oil that prevents free radical damage on skin cells. This compound also absorbs deeply into the skin and is suitable for all skin types. For this reason, olive oil has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. The high content of antioxidants in olive oil makes it particularly useful for anti-aging and anti-wrinkle treatments.

Moisturising Agent

As explained earlier, olive oil is abundant in antioxidants. These antioxidants work really well as moisturizers. One of the main reasons why olive oil works really well as a moisturizer is the hydrophilic properties of these antioxidants which allow it to form a protective barrier trapping moisture on your skin. Lots of skin products used various synthetic chemical that do moisturizer but they clog your pores and are carcinogenic in some cases. For this reason, olive oil can be applied on your face. In addition to that, its deep penetrating properties not only moisturize your skin but also help brighten your skin.

To use olive oil on your face, just follow these simple steps:

  • Wash your face with water thoroughly.
  • Apply a layer of olive oil moisturizer on your face just before you go to sleep.

Exfoliating Properties

Why olive oil? One of the main reasons is because it does not clog pores. The other reason is because it smoothens your skin texture and softens your skin due to its intrinsic antioxidant properties.

Just mix a little bit of olive oil and sea salt on your palm. Use extra virgin olive oil for best results. Rub it evenly and then apply it over dry skin to remove dead skin cell layers. If you don’t want to use sea salt you can opt to use sugar as well in the mixture. It is best to use salt and olive oil mixture on your face. Sugar and olive oil mixture is best used on the body. It will allow healthier and younger skin to grow upwards and replace dead skin. Do this every week and be on your way to healthier and younger looking skin.

Health & Other Benefits

Digestive System

Take 1 tablespoon of olive oil on an empty stomach to stimulate digestion and relieve upset stomach, flatulence and heartburn. When olive oil is taken internally, it actually also does stimulates metabolism, promotes digestion and lubricates mucous membranes.

Health Benefits

The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels without affecting HDL (“good”) cholesterol or triglyceride levels. To lower your cholesterol at least 15% of your daily calories should come from monounsaturated fatty acids. Whenever possible use olive oil in place of butter or other vegetable oils in cooking, in preparing dressings for salads or vegetables and in making sandwiches.

Hair Care

The presence of antioxidants in olive oil makes it an appropriate hair oil that promotes overall scalp health. The chemical damage that is caused due to the excessive use of chemical based hair products can be treated with the help of olive oil, thus giving room for the growth of healthy hair. Simply massage the scalp with olive oil every evening for eight days. Let it work overnight and wash it out in the morning.

Nail Care

To help build strong fingernails and soften cuticles, soak your nails each night in a mixture of 3 parts lukewarm olive oil to 1 part freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Put on cloth gloves and let the oil penetrate overnight. The absorbed moisture into the fingernail works to strengthen brittle fingernails and it will gradually become more resistant to breaking and chipping.

Ear Care

To clear stopped-up ears, put a few drops of lukewarm olive oil in the affected ear. Lie for 5 minutes on the opposite side, then turn over, so that the olive oil can flow out again. (Do not put any liquid in your ear if you think you may have a perforated eardrum!) For earaches, soak a cotton pad in olive oil, then add 5 drops of lavender oil. Place it loosely in your outer ear until the pain subsides. I recently put a few drops of olive oil in my cats ears to relieve her of an ear infection. It’s also great for drowning any ticks that may be inside your pets ears.

As you can see olive oil benefits are endless. It’s one ingredient that is fun, safe, and inexpensive to experiment with.

About Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. It’s also required to synthesize collagen, an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Our bodies also need this essential vitamin to grow, maintain and repair tissues, including the bones and teeth.

Unlike most mammals and animals, however, humans are not able to produce Vitamin C. So… where do we get it?

Hint: A lot of food contain more Vitamin C than the friendly orange.

P.S Excessive intake of Vitamin C can be harmful.

#1 – Red and Green Hot Chili Peppers

Vitamin C: Red (and Green) Hot Chilli Peppers

Credit: Melissa Yakas

Chillies are an excellent source of Vitamins A, B, C and E and minerals like molybdenum, manganese, folate, potassium, thiamin, and copper. Chilli contains seven times more Vitamin C than oranges.  Chillies have been included in Ayurvedic medicines and used as a tonic to ward off many diseases. Good for slimming down as they burn calories easily, they also stimulate the appetite, clear the lungs and stimulate the digestive system.

#2 – Guavas

Vitamin C: Guavas

Credit: Nailah Khalfan

Being rich in Vitamins A and C, guavas are often touted as “superfruits”. If the seeds are eaten too, you’ll also be ingesting omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Guavas contain over four times more Vitamin C than oranges and also have good levels of the dietary minerals potassium and magnesium, and a broad, low-calorie profile of essential nutrients.

#3 – Capsicum – Bell Pepper, Chili Pepper, Peppers

Vitamin C: Bell peppers

Credit: Jessica Lewis

The stronger the colour of the bell peppers, the higher the concentration of antioxidants. A small bell pepper could provide up to three times more of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C, much more than any citrus food. Each colour of the bell peppers have different phytochemicals and provide different nutrients.

#4 – Fresh Herbs (Thyme and Parsley)

Vitamin C: Herbs

Credit: Brooke Lark

Thyme

The same-sized portion of dried thyme contains 14 mg of Vitamin C. Vitamin C contains antioxidants, which help your body resist infection during times of stress. Sometimes called the anti-ageing vitamin, Vitamin C produces collagen important for the formation of bones, teeth, ligaments, tendons and maintains the youthful appearance of skin.

Parsley

If you have a weakened immune system or digestive problems, or don’t have an appetite, you could try parsley. Rich in Vitamins A and C, parsley is an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and chlorophyll. Parsley is also richer in Vitamin C than oranges.

#5 – Dark, Leafy Greens

Vitamin C: Dark leafy greens

Credit: Joanna Kosinska

These are a rich source of Vitamins C, K, E, and B, as well as iron, calcium, and fibre, which are essential for good health. Recent studies have shown that Vitamin K plays an important role in preventing osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Vitamin E has been shown to prevent skin cancer.

#6 – Broccoli

Vitamin C: Broccoli

Credit: Joanna Kosinska

Broccoli contains twice the amount of Vitamin C compared to an orange and has almost as much calcium as a glass of milk. It contains high levels of both calcium and Vitamin K, which are both important for bone health, prevention of osteoporosis. Thanks to the glucoraphanin it contains, it also helps to detoxify and repair the skin.

#7 – Kiwis

Vitamin C: Kiwis

Kiwis contain great nutritional value. They are rich in many Vitamins, flavonoids and minerals. In particular, they contain a high amount of Vitamin C (again, more than oranges), as much potassium as bananas and a good amount of beta-carotene. Kiwis are also great for people with poor digestion, thanks to their high-fibre content and unique mucilage, making for a gentle and effective laxative.

#8 – Papayas

Vitamin C: Papayas

Credit: Epicurrence

Papayas are very low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and rich in Vitamin A. It is highly rich in Vitamin C, Enzymes and Potassium, both of which are needed for a healthy immune system. Papayas may, therefore, be a healthy fruit choice for preventing illnesses such as recurrent ear infections, colds and cases of flu.

#9 – Oranges

Vitamin C: Oranges

Credit: Jessica Lewis

Juicy, sweet and renowned for high concentrations of Vitamin C, oranges make a perfect snack or a zesty tang to many recipes. However, eat these in moderation! Too many oranges can cause dryness in the mouth and sore throats. Children that eat too many oranges are likely to suffer from glossitis, periodontitis, pharyngitis, etc.

#10 – Strawberries

Vitamin C: Strawberries

Credit: Artur Rutkowski

Strawberries are healthy and nutritious for a number of reasons, including the fact that they are rich in Vitamin C. Just one cup of whole strawberries contains 82 mg of Vitamin C, which is significantly more than other fruits. This fruit also contains 3 grams of dietary fibre as well as 20 mg of calcium and 239 mg of potassium per full cup.

Breakout

Situation

Remedies for this summer: Breakouts

Credit: Tanja Heffner

You’re breaking out on your back, shoulders, and chest, and your regular soap isn’t helping.

Remedy

Wash with a body cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, ingredients that unblock pores and dry up excess oil.

To prevent breakouts, dust talcum powder on your back and chest to help absorb perspiration and look for oil-free products that are labeled noncomedogenic, which means they won’t clog pores.

Avoid form-fitting clothes that hold heat and moisture close to your skin and change into fresh gear after perspiring heavily. Don’t forget to consider the laundry detergent you’re using. Some detergents contain harsh chemicals and/or scents that can play havoc with your skin.

Sunburn

Situation

Remedies for this summer: Sunburn

Credit: Unsplash

You got caught up in the excitement of your kid’s tournament and forgot to re-apply sunscreen. Now your skin is lobster red.

The Remedy

Avoid the sun until the skin has healed completely.

Sunburned skin temporarily loses its protective barrier, so it’s more susceptible to subsequent burns. To reduce inflammation and pain, pop an aspirin and take as directed until the burn fades. Soaking in a bath of cool or lukewarm water laced with a handful of baking soda will also ease the burn.

Afterwards, apply some Aloe Vera to reduce swelling. Try not to pick or peel skin that’s beginning to flake because those dry patches protect forming skin from the environment. Next time, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and re-apply every 2 hours.

Ingrown Hair

Situation

Remedies for this summer: Ingrown Hair

Credit: Jakok Owens

Your quest for an ultraclose shave left you with ingrown hairs around your bikini line.

The Remedy

Wash with an anti-bacterial soap to quell inflammation.

Gentle use of a wash-cloth every other day will help dislodge trapped hairs and prevent their return.

For a chronic case, try an exfoliant containing salicylic acid, this keeps ingrown hairs at bay. In the future, shave in the bath or shower as the water plump up hair, making it easier to cut. Change blades as soon as you feel any pull or drag as a dull blade is more likely to cause ingrown hairs.

Poison Ivy

Situation

The “grass” you rested on after your hike was poison ivy, and now you can’t stop itching.

The Remedy

Treat mild rashes with hydrocortisone cream. Bathing in tepid water with 1 cup of oatmeal may also alleviate the misery. If that’s not enough, take an antihistamine because heat and sweating can aggravate the itch, stay as cool as possible.

See your doctor if the rash is on your face or genitals, is blistering or oozing, or doesn’t improve after a week of self-treatment. On future outdoor adventures, steer clear of plants that have three shiny leaves coming from a central stem. If you act quickly to wash the plant’s oily resin off your skin (it becomes irreversibly bound within 15 minutes of exposure), you can prevent or minimize a reaction.

Dry Skin

Situation

Credit: David Beatz Remedies for this summer: Dehydrated skin

Credit: David Beatz

A beach vacation left your skin looking and feeling drier than a desert.

The Remedy

After swimming, rinse with fresh water to remove any salt or chlorine buildup, which can further dry out and irritate skin. Keep subsequent baths and showers short (no longer than 5 minutes) and use a mild cleanser and warm water. Gently use a wash-cloth, or exfoliating scrub to slough off dead cells. After bathing, towel-dry and apply Aloe Vera. After exfoliating off the dead skin cells, Aloe Vera actually helps repairing and is anti-inflammatory.

For All Skin Types

Egg White Mask

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites, separated from the yolk and placed in a bowl

Preparation:

  1. Separate the egg whites from a couple eggs and place them in a bowl.
  2. Mix them up and apply to face.
  3. Leave on face for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse face in warm water.

For Oily Skin

Strawberry & Lemon Mask

Strawberry and lemon juice contain natural astringents. Note: Recipe works for two people, so invite a friend, or cut recipe in half for just you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • Optional: 4 drops of your favorite essential oils

Preparation:

  1. Mash or blend the above ingredients.
  2. Smooth over face.
  3. Let it stay for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse.

For Dry/Chapped Skin

Dark Chocolate Mask

Dark chocolate – better for your skin than you think! Here is how to use dark chocolate on your skin for a delicious facial. If you love chocolate and happen to have some to spare, try this delicious facial.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bars of dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • Sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Heat nutty dark chocolate in a boiler. 3 minutes will work well.
  2. Mix sea salt and 2/3 of a cup milk in a bowl.
  3. Remove melted chocolate from heat. Mix melted chocolate with salt/milk mixture.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Apply to your face while cool but not hardened. Before the chocolate becomes hard, smear on your face and leave it on until it hardens.
  6. Wash or chip off with a mild cleanser and warm water.

For Sensitive Skin

Yoghurt Face Mask

This mask is great for soothing chapped, sunburned or otherwise irritated skin.
Extra tip: This mask works well for other skin types as well. For oily skin, add a couple drops of lemon or lime juice. For dry skin, mix in a couple tablespoons of honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural yogurt (we like it just-out-of-the-fridge cold and I love the brand Fage’s “Total” pictured here, because it’s creamy and thick)
  • ½ cup oatmeal (any type of basic oatmeal works here)

Preparation:

  1. Mix the ingredients together.
  2. Apply to the skin for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Wash off mask with a washcloth steamed in the microwave (careful that it’s not too hot).

For Combination Skin

Rose Mask

This mask, based on roses, is perfect for balancing out the oily and dry areas of your skin.

Ingredients:

  • Optional: 6 fresh rose petals
  • 2 tbsps rosewater
  • 1 tbsp natural yogurt, room temperature (not lowfat or non-fat)
  • 1 tbsp runny honey (to get honey runny, you can warm it in a microwave for a few seconds).

Preparation:

  1. Soak rose petals, then crush them in a bowl.
  2. Add the rosewater, yogurt and honey.
  3. Mix well and apply to the skin.
  4. Leave on for 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse.