Category Archives Health

Tips to beat the summer heat

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hot sun thermometer Tips to beat the summer heat

I’d like to share some of my most favorite tips for staying cool this summer:

1. Keep your head cool.

Experts agree that keeping your head cool is essential for keeping the rest of your body comfortable. We have air conditioning in the cars and indoors, but I take long brisk walks after dinner. When it is hot, I feel absolutely miserable after coming inside. I get hot, sweaty, and tired.

After showering, if I am still hot, I put a wet washcloth in my fridge for a few minutes and then I do something a bit unorthodox–I apply a few drops of (seed) Relaxing Body Oil to the washcloth and then put it on the back of my neck.  Not only do I start to cool down, but the lavender oil gives me a sense of calm and relaxation thanks to the benefits of aromatherapy!

2.  Drink PLENTY of fluids.

We all know that drinking water is important. In hot weather, preventing dehydration is even more important. I fill a pitcher with water and then add lemon slices, mint leaves, and some berries to it.  I do not drink soda or juice and this flavored water is so refreshing and delicious over ice!

3. Happy Feet

Another fun trick with (seed) — In super hot weather, I store my Invigorating Citrus Body Cream in the fridge. At the end of a long day, I massage this cold, citrusy cream into my tired feet and they feel so much better! By the way, this will work with any of your favorite (seed) lotions or creams, not just citrus. I just love the way it smells in the summer.

4. Don’t Overdo It.

“Exercise” caution when working out. It is so hot out there–you may want to take the workouts inside. You can also take a more leisurely walk and do it early in the morning or just before dusk, when it has cooled down a bit.  You can also walk at the mall for exercise. Do you have a big yard to mow? Can it wait a couple of days until it is cooler? Please just be careful–and BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR WATER.

And a PSA:

We are all dog lovers here. PLEASE do not leave your dog in the car when it is hot. Not “even for a minute.” And speaking of the pooch, make sure you are not walking him or her on the hot pavement. Keep the water bowls full of cold water.  I know my own dog is drinking so much more than usual.  Sometimes, he likes to sleep in my son’s room, so we make sure he has access to cold water at multiple spots throughout the house so he doesn’t have to run up and down the stairs.

How do YOU stay cool int he summertime?

~Karley

5 fun facts about green tea

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“Stop drinking so much coffee and start drinking more green tea.” I hear this advice almost every time I go to my doctor. We know that Green Tea is highly regarded.  It is frequently talked about on health-themed shows such as Dr. Oz and featured in magazines.  It is also found in many skin care products, including ours. Why?


gtea3 300x300 5 fun facts about green teaToday we’re going to talk about Green Tea.  It’s more than just hype — it really is beneficial!

1.  Green Tea is abundant in polyphenols, making it a potent antioxidant.  Skin cells can be protected by Green Tea!

2.  Green Tea has more antioxidants benefits than Vitamin C or Vitamin E.

3.  Green Tea is anti-inflammatory.  It can help soothe red and irritated skin and ease symptoms of many forms of dermatitits.  It also can be used to help soothe a sunburn.

4.  Green Tea– because it is both antioxidant AND anti-inflammatory– can actually help to make your sunscreen perform better.

5.  Green Tea can help keep your skin looking more youthful, thanks to the mix of catechins and polyphenols.

Green Tea and (seed)

Find Green Tea Extract in all of our Body LotionsBody Creams. Do you like Green Tea? I will be honest. I am not in love with the flavor of hot green tea. Over ice, though, is another story! It is one of my favorite summer drinks. I brew my green tea at night and then remove the tea bags. I chill it in the fridge, adding in lemon and fresh mint leaves from my garden. Delicious and healthy!

2014 Summer Sun Care Guide

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New warning on tanning from the US Surgeon General

This week, the US Surgeon General urged the public to avoid getting too much sun exposure, citing an increase in skin cancer rates, many of which are caused by indoor tanning. In fact, Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak called skin cancer a “major public health problem”.

sunsseed 300x300 2014 Summer Sun Care Guide

Over the past several years, there has been a very active–and necessary–campaign convincing the public to wear sunscreen daily in order to prevent damage from the sun’s UVA (skin aging) and UVB (skin burning) rays.

Wearing an effective sunscreen on a daily basis is something that can not only prevent burning, but it can help prevent skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there are anticipated to be more than 70,000 new cases of melanoma in 2014.

According to Allan C. Halpern, MD, Chief of the Dermatology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, more people are getting checked for skin cancer and he says that he believes “that part of the increase in incidence is due to greater awareness of melanoma.” In addition to skin cancer, a majority of skin’s premature aging and damage can be linked to sun exposure.

If you get an up close look at the skin of those who do not wear sunscreen or who go to tanning beds (please don’t!), you most likely will notice brown spots, uneven texture and tone, more noticeable fine lines, and wrinkles. I know so many people equate a tan with good health.

People will argue that having a tan will make you look thinner, younger, healthier, etc. A tan, though, is evidence of skin damage rather than good health. I am super fair. I burn very easily. Any natural “tan” I get comes a couple weeks after a painful sunburn.

I am all for having a bronze glow. I don’t want to put on shorts or my bathing suit and see porcelain legs anymore than most of you do. I wear sunscreen and any tan I have comes from a bronzer or self tanner.

There is no such thing as a safe tan. Not even “just a little one” unless it comes from a bottle and is applied to skin that has been protected with sunscreen. “Base tans” are dangerous. Period. Tans are signs of skin damage at the cellular level.

I really believe in my heart of hearts that wearing  a natural sunscreen is one of the single most important things we can do for our skin. There is so much credible evidence out there that advocates the importance of wearing sunscreen. I live in Upstate New York where it is cloudy for much of fall through spring.

I do not avoid the sun altogether, though, because there are benefits– a more uplifted mood in many cases as well as the benefits you get from Vitamin D. I do soak up a half hour each morning, sitting on my desk (when it is not snowing) with my iced green tea or coffee. Then I apply my sunscreen.

That said, I do take care to protect myself against the UV rays. I wear my sunscreen even in January’s cloudiest days–and there are many of those days in this neck of the woods.

Avoiding harmful ingredients when it comes to sunscreen, though, can be very difficult. There are some toxic ingredients used in sunscreens and it is up to the consumers to read the ingredients list and know what it good and what is not. I want to provide you with a simple guide to choosing the best sunscreen for your family.

Here are some tips that I recommend:


Make sure that a sunscreen’s UVA protection is sufficient.

Both UVA and UVB rays are harmful, but UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and can cause the cell changes that are linked to cancer.

Do not choose powders or sprays.

While I realize that a spray can be quick and convenient, you end up inhaling what is in the product and this can be harmful to your health. Most sprays also contain artificial fragrance, another health hazard linked to asthma and other health issues.  Yes, it may take a bit longer to apply and thoroughly blend in, but you do not want to sacrifice good health and adequate sun protection by choosing the wrong formula. There was recently an FDA warning about spray sunscreen usage on children, so exercise great caution.

Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone.

This is a synthetic estrogen and some believe it can be carcinogenic.

If you see a product with a label of higher than SPF 50, be suspicious.

I have seen products at the store claiming to be “SPF 100+.” That sounds super protective, doesn’t it? It isn’t. The FDA says that numbers beyond SPF 50 are misleading. This gives people a false sense of safety and often makes them think they can stay in the sun all day long.

The reality is that higher numbered sunscreens really are NOT more effective! You may see a product on the market with an SPF of 50, but in reality that may be much less effective than a natural mineral sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or 20 that also provides broad spectrum protection, which is what you need.

Mineral sunscreens are best.

Look for products with zinc oxide. These are generally a safer option because they are what is known as a physical sunscreen. Zinc oxide provides the best protection against UVA rays.  Zinc oxide is also STABLE, which is important. Choose formulas marked non-nanoparticle or non-nano.

Myth #1: Natural sunscreens are all thick and hard to rub in.

Natural sunscreens generally are thicker than their chemical-laden counterparts. However, the most natural sunscreens these days are fortified with emollients such as olive oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, shea butter and more. These not only moisturize the skin, but they absorb beautifully into the skin.

Myth #2: Natural sunscreens leave a white film behind on the skin.

This is not always the case. When natural sunscreens first came on the market, they were usually formulated solely around zinc oxide.  This is the ingredient that blocks the sun’s rays, but it also can leave that white residue. Products are being formulated to still protect the skin naturally, but also be more user friendly nowadays.

Myth #3: Natural sunscreens do not protect your skin as well as traditional, chemical-filled sunscreens.

Not true. As long as you use the recommend amount, natural mineral sunscreens will work just as well as chemical sunscreens. By the way, this applies to all sunscreens. If you’re not using the proper amount, they won’t work as well.  Did you know that the Skin Cancer Foundation says that two tablespoons of sunscreen are needed for adequate protection? Take care to reapply throughout the day. If you do not reapply as recommended or fail to reapply after swimming, they also will lose efficacy.

Myth #4: Natural sunscreens are too expensive.

Natural sunscreens generally are more costly than chemical-filled and potentially harmful sunscreens. This is true. If you walk through Wegmans or Whole Foods, though, they are now offering more and more healthy alternatives to chemical sunscreen, so do check those out. I live by Wegmans and purchase a natural zinc oxide-based sunscreen for my family for under $10.

What is so important to remember, though, is that a good sunscreen is going to be your best anti-aging product. Since much of aging can be attributed to UV damage, sunscreen is imperative.

Most people will not hesitate to spend quite a bit of money on a night cream or serum or on a handbag or shoes. In fact, I know of people who will spend $250 on a handbag, but do not want to spend the money on an effective natural sunscreen.

Think of it this way: you only have one skin. It should only make sense that you take care of it. Sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer AND help prevent the signs of aging. Not many products can say that!

Myth #5: Natural sunscreens are too hard to find.

This used to be the case. Not anymore. As people become more and more aware of the importance of sun protection and harmful ingredients, more and more natural sunscreens are hitting the market. You can find natural sunscreens with ease now at Wegmans, drugstores, and mass merchadise stores. Look for sunscreens with zinc oxide.

Myth #6: Coconut oil works as well as any other sunscreen.

I also would like to address some things I have read from people who take the idea of natural ingredients to a whole other level. You know I am very cautious when it comes to ingredients I use on my skin and my boys’ skin. I don’t use parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, formaldehyde-releasers, or artificial fragrance to name a few. However, I also am realistic. While all-natural is great  in most cases, it isn’t always the answer for everything.

Chances are your friend told you, another blogger told you, or your holistic-minded Aunt Betty told you — “Coconut Oil is a natural sunscreen.”  Or perhaps, “Olive oil and shea butter are natural sunscreen.”

Folks, this is not–I repeat, not true. These natural oils may (I say MAY) contain very minor sunscreen properties to a certain extent, but they do NOT provide any UVA protection. They only can very mildly protect against UVB rays. This is because of the cinnamic acid found in shea butter, which anecdotally has been shown to provide some level of protection.

Posts on the sun and skin care that (seed) has shared before

Here on the (seed) blog, we’ve talked about how our products can protect and soothe your skin post-sun exposure. Let’s review–

Sunburn Relief with Lavender

5 Ways the Sun Can Damage Your Skin Besides Cancer–and How to Help It

Let the Sunshine In

Parabens: What you need to know

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Parabens. They are a very controversial, commonly used synthetic preservative found in everything from eye cream and body scrubs to children’s allergy and cough medicines. Some people think parabens are OK–that there isn’t enough research out there to call them a real health threat. I think otherwise.

parabseedblog 300x300 Parabens: What you need to know

In the September 1, 2011 edition of Carcinogenesis, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center released their findings showing that both BPA and Methylparaben at even low concentrations found in humans have negative health consequences such as an increased breast cancer risk.

It also went on to mention the ever-increasing male breast cancer rate, which is another alarming trend. These findings are quite similar to an older study on parabens from about 12 years ago.  In this compelling study in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, parabens were linked to breast cancer as they have shown to be hormone disruptive and lead to tumor growth.

I am the mother of boys. What really made me take notice of this issue was a July 2002 article in the Archives of Toxicology. According to Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health, exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.”

When I read about that study, I vowed never to use a product made with parabens on my children.  So many children’s products contain parabens and to think that I could be rubbing a lotion on my boys that could alter their reproductive systems and have grave consequences to them later in life was very upsetting to me.

Parabens have been proven to penetrate the skin.  As we already know, it’s estimated that more than 60% of what we apply to our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream.  We already know for certain that parabens fall into this group.  What is so alarming is that parabens have been shown to mimic the hormones in our body. This is really a big deal. With so much research linking parabens to estrogen-driven cancers, why are companies still formulating with them? There are much better alternatives out there.

Even if you ignore these studies, you do not want to use parabens anyway, even if there was no link to breast cancer.

Methylparaben has been linked in several studies to premature aging.  So while you’re buying your $70 anti-wrinkle cream that is formulated with parabens, keep that in mind!

As always, label reading is a must. Look for these ingredients on your labels.  If you see them, remember that they are parabens:

butylparaben

isobutylparaben

isopropylparaben

sodium methylparaben

sodium propylparaben

methylparaben

ethylparaben

propylparaben

benzylparaben

Proper preservation of your body care (and other personal care product) is crucial. Without it, the integrity of the formulation is at risk and you develop serious infections from using improperly preserved products, including Staph. However, with many safer options on the market, parabens are not worth the risk.

Food allergies and skin care

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I have been thinking about food allergies quite a bit lately, as the little boy next door was recently diagnosed with a milk allergy.

I have shared here before that my own son, Nicholas, was severely allergic to milk and egg whites until he was about four years old, requiring us to carry an EpiPen with us everywhere we went. When I was talking to the mother of the little boy about her son’s allergies, she said she didn’t even think about the ingredients in skin care containing milk products. Many products do, though, and this can pose a problem.

milkimage 697x1024 Food allergies and skin care

I remember the guilt I felt as a mother once I found out that my son was, indeed, allergic to cow’s milk. In addition to vomiting and hives, Nicholas had eczema. Being a person with an extensive background in skin care, I noticed his eczema right off the bat. I did what I believed to be best at the time. I slathered a natural lotion made with buttermilk all over his skin. And I did it several times a day in an attempt to treat his condition. My pediatrician had suggested a product filled with petrolatum, which I wasn’t fond of applying since it is essentially crude oil. I wanted something natural, something better.

I did this because the natural lactic acid and probiotics in buttermilk can be highly beneficial as a natural eczema remedy…unless, of course you are allergic. In fact, if you were to look up natural ingredients to treat eczema online, buttermilk and other dairy products are some of the most common recommendations.

I vividly remember my Nick’s eczema getting worse and worse. We soon found out from an allergist that Nick’s issue was a milk allergy (egg whites, too). That is when it became so clear to me that what we apply to our skin can have a major impact to what happens INSIDE our bodies. Think of it like this — sometimes your skin reacts to the way you feel on the inside. If you are super anxious or nervous, your skin may rebel and you will break out in hives. Flip it around–if you do something to your skin, it can impact how you feel internally. I know some people debate the claims often heard about 60% of what we apply on our skin gets absorbed into the bloodstream.

I was one of those people who doubted that because there was only anecdotal evidence. My opinion quickly changed after I saw what applying milk ingredients to my milk allergic son’s skin did to him. Once the allergy was diagnosed and I stopped applying milk-based ingredients to his skin (and stopped feeding him dairy), his eczema significantly improved.

I keep hearing about more and more people developing food allergies. I am one of them. For years, I have enjoyed clam bakes each summer. I loved clam chowder, linguini with clam sauce, and clams casino as an appetizer. All of a sudden, at the age of 38, I developed an allergy to clams last summer. It was sudden and no one knows why. It can just happen. I was rinsing clams before I steamed them and my arms started itching. I thought nothing of it and then I steamed them. I put them on my plate and started eating them, only to develop hives and a swollen tongue. I was having an allergic reaction. I thought it was just a strange coincidence, so I attempted to eat clams again. I had another reaction. Adults can develop food allergies, just as children can.

While there are no skin care products that I know of containing clams (how odd that would be!), when you have an allergy to soy, gluten, dairy or anything else that may be in your skin care or beauty products, you may find that applying these products will trigger the same reaction you experience when you eat them.

At (seed), every product with the exception of the hand scrub is dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free. Our hand scrub is dairy-free and gluten-free. Providing you with natural, safe products matters to you and matters to us.

If you have food allergies, pay very close attention to your ingredients. Everything from body wash and shampoo to conditioner and body lotion potentially has ingredients that may be derived from the very food ingredients you are allergic to.

Men and sunscreen: Why it matters

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Father’s Day is June 15th. Let’s talk about men and the sun today.

seedmensun Men and sunscreen: Why it matters

Thinking of my own husband’s habits, he really does not care about ingredients. He will run to the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk and it he sees a giant colorful bottle of shampoo, he will return home with it, provided it was on Shopper’s Club savings at Wegmans AND marked “25% more free.”  He is the same way with sun care. While I scour the aisles and study ingredients listings intently, double checking my own knowledge with the Skin Deep mobile app on my phone, he grabs anything that is in a big bottle and says SPF 30.

And he rarely applies said sunscreen. He tans very easily and he really believes that if he gets a tan that his skin is protected from burning. In fact, I believe he rolls his eyes when I discuss UV damage. I can be lighthearted about it and poke fun at him, but truth be told this is an issue I am very concerned about.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, men or more likely to develop skin cancer than any other form of cancer. Men are also less likely to apply sunscreen and avoid the sun than women.

Why is that? Is it that, as women, we are concerned about skin aging caused by the sun more than me? Or is it the lack of sunscreen advertising targeting men? Just looking at the magazines on my coffee table, I see several ads for sunscreen showing cute babies and small children at the beach. I see ads talking about sunscreen being used to prevent wrinkles, but I am not seeing any ads about men using sunscreen.

This is something that needs to change

We have a male friend who hits the indoor tanning bed twice a week. He says he wants to look good on the golf course. At a Memorial Day picnic, I made a comment about skin cancer and he said that, “Hey, no one has ever died of skin cancer.” Statistics prove this to be untrue.

Sun care tips for men

  • Avoid peak sun hours of 10am to 4pm
  • Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen even on cloudy days
  • Be sure sunglasses have UV protective lenses
  • Wear a hat
  • Make an appointment for a skin checkup. Only 21% of men regularly get skin exams. These are saving lives.

Small steps may lead to big changes

I am not saying to nag your father, husband, brother or sun. If you have natural mineral sunscreen on the shelf, he will be more likely to use it. If you are applying your own sunscreen, offer some to him as well. Getting the man in your life in the habit of wearing sunscreen may be life saving.

Coming next week

What’s next on the (seed) blog? We will clear up common misconceptions about oil and the skin. Stay tuned!

How water’s pH can impact your skin

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Water. We drink it, bathe in it, swim in it, cook with it and wash our clothing, cars and dishes in it. Did you know that water may be the cause of your skin itching and dryness?

waterhskinseed 1024x1024 How waters pH can impact your skin

When our skin is dry or itchy, we tend to apply more moisturizer because we believe that a lack of hydration is the issue. In reality, we may be failing to address the root problem — the pH of your water may be the true culprit.

What is pH?

The pH (potential of hydrogen) scale measures whether something is an acid or a base (alkaline). Pure water has a pH factor close to 7. This is considered neutral, meaning it is neither acidic nor alkaline. In a perfect world, all water would have a neutral pH, which would be ideal for the skin. We know, though, that the water of pH can actually vary.

Skin care troubles arise when our skin’s pH gets disrupted

Normal adult skin has a pH of between 4.5 and 5.5. This slightly acidic pH is a result of the carbon dioxide in the air and our own acid mantle. The acid mantle is a protective layer over our skin, which is comprised of our natural sebum, sweat and healthy flora.

Our skin’s pH can be disrupted — and that is when skin conditions can arise.  If our skin’s pH gets too high, bacteria develop and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are more likely to occur. Sometimes, it is a matter of an infection that affects our pH. Other times, it’s in the products you are using. Skincare products, for example, have their own pH. An alkaline cleanser can strip away the natural moisture from the acid mantle and wreak havoc on your skin.

Your water might be the source of your itchy and dry skin

While pure water has a pH of 7, it’s important to remember that this can vary wildly. You’ve more than likely heard the term “hard” water.  Hard water is alkaline and a common problem. Our water sources are often full of calcium ions, iron and magnesium. Other minerals are commonly present, as is chlorine.

Those trace minerals build up. If you have a hard time keeping your tiles clean because of “soap scum” or find that your cleansers are not lathering well, it is often because of hard water. This creates a vicious cycle — you’re not getting that lather, so you add more products. You rinse it all off, but because of the hard water, a residue is left behind. In addition to the minerals being left on your skin, soap and other ingredients get left on the skin. The end result is flaky, itchy, dry skin.

What can you do if you water is too alkaline? Simplicity is the remedy. All too often, people treat their dry and itchy skin with over the counter cortisone creams. This is not a good idea as the ingredients may be absorbed through your skin and into the bloodstream. A better option is to treat the skin with an extra gentle moisturizer such as (seed) Fragrance Free Body Cream.

~Karley

Natural allergy relief

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There was a great article in the recent edition of Be Well Philly on ways to help treat allergies without using potentially harmful medications. I was super excited to see the article mention eucalyptus and peppermint!

seedall1 Natural allergy relief

I have had seasonal allergies for most of my life. I also have been on prescription allergy meds for many years. My son, Ben, also has really bad allergies. I do not want to see him go down the same path of years of being on allergy medication. He is 9 and they seem to get worse. I have been exploring our options.

We already have found that a Neti pot is very helpful to our cold symptoms. This is also on the list for treating allergies.

NATURAL OILS

The reason I was excited to see the article mention eucalyptus and peppermint is because both of these natural essential oils are found in (seed) Decongesting Blend Body Oil. Of course, we do not make any medical claims, however, I personally have found great relief using this oil to treat my cold symptoms. I recently have been under the weather and I realize that it is another case of my spring allergies in full swing. Instead of starting up my prescription, I have been trying some natural remedies. One of them has included applying our Body Oil each night and massaging it into my skin for aromatherapy.

The article recommends eucalyptus to help clear the sinuses and nasal passages. They like peppermint oil to help with breaking down mucus and for helping with stuffiness, which is thanks to the menthol present in peppermint oil.

ACUPUNCTURE?

Nick, my ten year old, told me that he read about Acupuncture being used to treat allergies. I am a HUGE needlephobe, but I would really love to hear reader feedback on whether you have found allergy relief this way.

HONEY

I do also have been following #4 on the Be Well Philly list, which is to consume a bit of local honey each day. I buy mine at local farmer’s markets. I love Davis Honey from Cayuga, New York I buy this raw  honey at the Rochester Public Market. When you consume local honey, it is believed that your body will eventually work up an immunity to pollen!

-Karley

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Another benefit of eating fruit? Great skin!

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lem Another benefit of eating fruit? Great skin!

Did you know that there are five miraculous fruits that can significantly improve the overall appearance of your skin? Whether it is skin dryness, dullness, flaking, blotchiness or uneven tone, these common skin complaints can cause the skin to lose some of its beautiful glow. You may notice that your skin’s texture is even on the rough side.

No worries–all you need to do is head to the produce department of your local grocery store or to the nearest farmer’s market and you’ll be able to reclaim that healthy, youthful clarity your skin once had.

When it comes to skin radiance, all you need to remember is that fruit is your friend!

1. Pineapple gives a healthy glow.

Pineapple contains an abundance of bromelain. Bromelain is special enzyme that gently exfoliates the skin. Other skin care benefits of pineapple include improving the appearance of acne scars, neutralizing free radicals, and an increase in both luminosity and hydration. Skin will often look more clear, even fresher.

2. Get rid of dead skin cells with papaya.

Papaya is rich in papain, another skin-benefiting enzyme. Papain contains a large quantity of Vitamin C, which will ultimately give skin a a brighter, healthier look.

Papaya also will help aid the cell renewal and turnover process, which helps the skin slough away dead skin cells.

3. When life gives you lemons…

When you think of lemons, you don’t often think of skin care. Lemons, though, can greatly improve your skin. Not only can this acidic fruit help to lighten brown spots, but lemons can give a natural glow.

A word to the wise — as lemons are high in acid, the juice can sting broken or irritated skin.  Ouch! You can help prevent this by diluting the freshly squeezed lemon juice with some water.

4. Berries are powerful brighteners!

Strawberries contain more Vitamin C than a plump, juicy orange. Salicylic acid is also present in strawberries, making it even more beneficial to the skin. Why? Salicylic acid can reach into the pores and help “unclog” them. This can help purge milia, whiteheads and blackheads as well. Strawberries are one of the best natural brightening ingredients for improving the appearance of dull skin.

5. An apple a day keeps dullness away.

Not just any apple will do when it comes to getting your glow back. Green apples are best because they are very rich in Malic acid. Gentler than other acids such as Glycolic and Salicylic acid, Malic acid encourages cell turnover without irritating sensitive skin.

It can also help to gently fade sun spots, even out blotchiness, and help eliminate fine lines. The result? An instant, youthful glow.

Eat your fruits!

Clear and glowing skin are synonymous with being the picture of good health. You can easily get that radiant look by adding the above five fruits to your diet. Not only will the appearance of your skin show a gradual improvement, but your overall health may improve as well.

Be wary of faux naturals

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The other day, I was at the grocery store waiting to pick up a prescription. While I was waiting, I decided to browse the healthy and beauty aisles. As I passed the (seed) products, I strolled down a bit and started to look at some other products. My day job as a freelance beauty writer often involves writing ad copy and site content. One of the tasks I have been doing is writing what you see on bottles and jars of facial products. Those few words can make or break the sales of a product. If you don’t capture someone’s attention right off the bat, chances are they will not try the product. As someone who is passionate about natural ingredients, something that really bothered me during my stroll down the body care aisle was the number of brands using the lure of natural to get you to buy.

“With real shea butter”, “with 100% natural ingredients”, “with natural emollients”, and the like are slapped across labels up and down the aisle. This is just not cool. Why? If the claims were accurate, it would be great. To the consumer just starting out with better ingredients, though, it is confusing. If one goes only by the claims on the front of the bottle, you’re tricked into thinking that the product is good for you. Unfortunately, this is not the case with so many products.

Let’s look at some examples:

I found a very popular body lotion with oatmeal and shea butter. In a large font, it says “100% Natural Ingredients”. To the unsuspecting customer, you would think that this is a NATURAL product, perhaps even 100% natural. The reality, though, is that this is NOT a natural product.

The ingredients are– Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Urea, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ceteth 10 Phosphate, Dicetyl Phosphate, Carbomer, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetearyl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Yellow 10, Red 40, Blue 1

So, yes, it contains she butter and oatmeal (albeit an extract), but it also contains petrochemicals, urea (from animals), silicones, artificial colors & fragrances and phenoxyethanol. They neglect to mention that while a miniscule portion of the lotion contains natural ingredients, that this is FAR from natural.

Another example of mis-using “natural” is a product with the word Naturals in the title. It claims it can relives stress because of the lavender, ylang-ylang and chamomile in it. Good stuff, right?

Here are the ingredients of this “natural” lotion– Water, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour (Oat), Sodium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance

This one was REALLY misleading. If aromatherapy benefits are made, there should be essential oils. There are NO essential oils in this lotion. None. The lavender, ylang-ylang and chamomile are just FRAGRANCE OILS. Synthetics. Nothing therapeutic. There are petrochemicals, silicones, and aside from the water and oat FLOUR, this is just a bottle of synthetic ingredients packaged up as a soothing, natural body care product.

Consumers are being mislead because companies know that the natural health & beauty industry is hot. People want healthier products and the market has grown exponentially. What irks this natural beauty enthusiast is that companies are taking advantage of your interest in natural. They are putting labels on that give a natural vibe — images of leaves, the color green, pictures of honey pots, aloe plants, etc., when in reality the recipes are the same as they always were.

Being an informed consumer is everything. You deserve better. If you are shopping for a natural product and spend your hard earned money on it, you deserve to come home with a NATURAL natural product, not a faux natural.

When we tell you that our Relaxing Lavender product has lavender, it really does contain NATURAL lavender–real lavender, not something dyed to be a lavender color or a lab-created fragrance made to smell like the real deal. And when we tell you our products are natural, you can be confident that all (seed) Body Care products are indeed 100% natural.

Don’t be duped. Read the ingredients listings. Ask questions. Know what you are buying.

~Karley

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