Aromatherapy 101

Aromatherapy” is such a buzz word these days.  The current popularity seems to be part of the throw back movement to the patchouli scented 1970s when we all tried to be “natural”.  But the fact that for ten bucks you can add-on some fake “aromatherapy” to a massage or pedicure tells us that main stream doesn’t really know what they are doing and is using the trend for the mass market. We need to educate ourselves.

Aromatherapy is the ancient art and science of healing through the use of essential oils, which are delicate plant extracts considered to be the ‘blood’ or ‘essential’ life-force of plants. As such, essential oils are abundantly rich in complex nutrients much like human blood. Each essential oil carries its own unique botanical profile of healing nutrients, providing a host of therapeutic possibilities to the aromatherapy practitioner.

Although essential oils may vary greatly in their nutrient profiles and specific usage, one quality they all have in common is their cytophylactic nature. Cytophylaxis is a biological mechanism in which cellular activity increases to prevent cells from being damaged. This mechanism, in part, is due to the inherent oxygen carrying capacity within the oils. Like human blood, essential oils transport oxygen and key nutrients to tissues for health and healing.  Cellular oxygenation is touted amongst many scientists as the premise of age and disease-reversal, more commonly known as The Fountain of Youth. It is interesting to observe that essential oils, when handled and stored properly, have extraordinarily long shelf lives, as their regenerative qualities are also naturally self-regenerative!

Due to the remarkable cytophylactic nature of essential oils, seemingly intractable health conditions can be addressed with great success. In Europe, where aromatherapy is commonly employed by physicians, essential oils are used with superlative effects in treating serious conditions such as 2nd and 3rd degree burns, infectious diseases, organ and gland malfunction, psychological conditions, as well as many other issues.

Perhaps the most common method of use with essential oils is in topical skincare. Here, severely damaged skin can heal through the potent regenerative qualities of this liquid phytonutrition. Burns, growths, wrinkles, cysts, pimples, age spots, skin discoloration and rough texture all respond to essential oils, which are safely and easily absorbed through the skin.  While some oils help skin regenerate by stimulating its natural sloughing and rebuilding process, other oils may slow this process to allow for healing from wounds. Each oil heals damaged skin tissue in its own way and offers additional unique qualities that are selected for a specific condition by the practitioner.

When practicing or utilizing aromatherapy, choosing high quality essential oils is of top priority. Due to their highly concentrated nature, it is critical to use oils that are organic or wildcrafted, minimally processed and properly stored. If a plant is treated with exogenous harmful chemicals, those chemicals get concentrated into the plant blood (essential oils), which then transport into the extraction process and into bottles! This chemical transfer process is the same with human consumption of harmful chemicals in food, which get stored in the fatty tissues and blood once they are ingested.

Understanding the complex nature of essential oils and the processing of them will guide a person to a reputable dealer and/or practitioner that can help them choose what is best for their particular skins needs.  

I use various essential oils in my skincare products and also offer certain blends that compliment our daily lives.  See more here…

Product knowledge; NEW CrowdControl 10+ Complete

DSC06451CrowdControl 10+ complete Concentrate is a non-irritating thin serum that smooths onto the skin penetrating the skin follicles to break-down hyper-trophic skin-cells & black-head build up, kill acne bacteria and halt the manufacture of stress hormones that stimulate cysts.  A dry gel finish of active ingredients protects the skin to reduce inflammation & redness, heal damaged tissue and prevent hyper-pigmentation scarring.  An all-in-one product, this is a synergistic blend that balances and heals the acne & keratosis prone skin over time in a holistic manner* eliminating the need for harsh peeling products.

In a base of water, vegetable glycerin and grain alcohol, salicylic, glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids are dissolved.  These extracts derived from fruit and herbs work to break down keratin, the protein of skin cells, to allow the build up of skin cells to slough off the surface of skin and from within follicles to clear clogs and prevent them from occurring again.  In addition, these acids in the grain alcohol are naturally anti-bacterial so help keep pimples at bay.

Essential oil of Helichrysum in included in the blend.  This precious extract from the African and Australian plants aids in preventing and healing bruising in addition to being naturally anti-bacterial.  Essential oil of french lavender is also added well-known to stimulate the healing process.  Applying unadulterated pure lavender essential oil directly to burns, for example, takes away all the sting and redness so thusly aids injured acneic tissue to be soothed and regenerate.  Lavender is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.

The sophisticated peptide Argireline (Acetyl hexapeptide-3), normally used as an anti-wrinkle ingredient, is included in Crowd Control because of its ability to inhibit the release of adrenalin and noradrenaline in the neuronal skin cells. One of the triggers for closed comedone cystic acne is the over-flooding of these hormones associated with stress; eliminate the adrenalin and the swelling/infection cycle is stopped.

Niacinamide, Vitamin B-3, is included to provide it’s well documented ability to lighten scarred tissue and to provide and anti-inflammatory effect which reduces redness.  The sophisticated ingredient Alpha Arbutin (4-Hydroxyphenyl-α-D-glucopyranoside) is also included to reduce inflammation and to suppress the over activity of melanin formation which results in hyper-pigmentation scarring.

* Holistic methods work with the natural body functions, retraining them to function normally when they are disfunctioning and strengthening them to do what they do normally allowing the body to heal itself.

Product knowledge; MeadowMilk Gentle Cleanser

DSC05788MeadowMilk Gentle Cleanse is a soothing honey-scented face cleansing lotion that glides on silky smooth to dissolve all make-up and dirt while balancing the immune-system flora present on the surface of the skin leaving it moist and conditioned.  It incorporates the natural enzymatic action in meadow-harvested honey to break down dead skin cells while essential nutrients in Meadowfoam seed oil offer anti-aging cleansing.  Cold processed, this is truly like active nutrition for your skin and most skin types will benefit from it used as part of a routine.  (NOTE: many of you will prefer this to the Bio-Tanical Cleanser as it goes on similar to the previous Conditioning Biotic Cleanser).

The main active ingredient in this cleanser is local honey from the North Family Farm in Canterbury, New Hampshire.  Harvested from bees that forage the non-polluted meadows of the 1792 North Family Shaker farmland, this is a gorgeously scented, luscious honey teaming with healthy flora and active enzymes.  Enzymes work to break down proteins and debris thus it is as good for the surface of the skin as well as our gut.  Introducing the essences of plant material contained within also helps keep our immune system boosted (the skin is the largest part of our immune system!)

The second main ingredient is Meadowfoam Seed oil.  This highly stable anti-oxident oil is cold pressed from the seeds of Limnanthes Alba plant noted for its superior nutritional quality and its ability heal the skin.  Oil is the best solvent for grease so while conditioning the skin, the Meadowfoam seed oil also breaks down & emulsifies sebum, perspiration and make-up to wash away with a warm cloth.  Like the C.B.C. many of you will enjoy spreading it on, leaving it in place like a masque then just adding water later to whiten it up to remove.

 

Are your skincare products anti-aging enough?

canstockphoto8795735We have plenty to worry about.  Are our mammograms frequent enough, are we flossing enough, have we reduced our sugar in-take enough, did we get enough exercise… the last thing we need to add to the list is the worry if our skincare products are anti-aging enough.

Relax.  Here are some logical guidelines to help you resolve your concerns.

To make informed purchases you need to understand several points; how your skin changes, what you can realistically expect and what products can accomplish your expectations.

DI skin chartUNDERSTAND HOW SKIN CHANGES.  Think of our skin as an ever-changing ebbing and flowing micro-organism.  It is, in fact, that.  It takes in information from the world around it and from within the body acting as a filter, showing as a barometer for you to read.  Every injury, every sunburn, every illness, every food or drug transgression gets recorded there deep in the layers eventually showing in the surface as a mark, a sag or a bag.  Those negative events change the way the skin renews itself resulting in mutant cell formation.  It happens to everyone more or less.  Its called life.

UNDERSTAND HOW TO AFFECT THOSE SKIN CHANGES.  Short of finding the fountain of youth, modern science has given us some tools that allows us to target the mutant skin cell formation at its root.  High tech anti-aging ingredients, micro-exfoliants, stimulants, suppressants all work to retrain the skin as long as a delivery system is in place to get them to find and regenerate cells deep where they are formed.  It all about getting the tools to where they can help.  Scientifically speaking, it is matching chirally correct ingredient keys to cells that have the correct key-holes to receive them.  If an ingredient is in the wrong form it won’t do didily squat. (Did you know, for example, there are a dozen or so forms of vitamin C; some harm, some help?)

UNDERSTAND YOUR EXPECTATIONS.  How much change do you want in your skin?  Do you simply want to maintain what you have to keep it from aging too quickly or do you want to dramatically change or soften the effects of the past?

 LEVELS OF CARE:

1.  Maintain skin as it is with a few simple anti-aging products.

2.  Push the skin into change with an anti-aging product routine and at-home processes.

3.  Add to the anti-aging home routine with facial treatments that create visible change.

UNDERSTAND YOUR SOURCE.

  • Self-service store products (drugs stores, grocery stores) are formulated with inexpensive ingredients, use very low-level doses of active ingredients and are aimed at creating a feel-good result.  They sound nice, they smell nice, they look pretty and you feel good using them because they appeal to all your senses.  If you have not been using anything, then your skin will feel better because it is moisturized.  But by virtue of the many synthetic ingredients they contain, the skin cannot accept what they are offering therefore cannot thwart off aging as described above.  Allergic reaction is a high possibility with these types of products.
  • Natural food store products focus on important things like being organic or non-toxic but like all self-service stores do not contain enough active ingredients to make change.  In addition, many “natural” ingredients can be congesting to the skin.
  • Department store products are a step above, use more actives but not in a vehicle that allows them to react with your skin.  Synthetic fragrance, for example, sets up an immune response in the skin so it that it rejects the product.  Because the counter clerks are sales people with quotas to meet who are not certified in skincare, the manufacturers raise the price of each product by 20% to factor in the many returns that aren’t matched well to the client’s skin.
  • On-line store products run the gambit.  If you are not a trained master esthetician, how will you know how to choose?  Additionally, some of the known active product lines that are sold through this market place have altered their formulas rendering them less-active so their will be less liability in this forum.  Think outlet stores; those name brand clothes are cheap knock-offs of the originals.
  • Mega beauty store products are usually the products that did not sell well in a professional setting or are made specifically for the store.  Not a lot of activity here but instead a lot of perfume.
  • Destination spa products.  You are more likely to find active product lines in a destination spa because only licensed skincare professionals can provide the services there. However, if the spa is in a vacation setting it is likely that the products will be less active so the establishment will not have the liability if someone who visits only once uses the product incorrectly.
  • Medical spas are where you will find the most active products.  The licensed skincare professionals there – estheticians – can often have paramedical training and the doctors practicing there can prescribe products not available anywhere else.  You will not find many holistic products in this setting, however, as there is a high emphasis on changing the skin through artificial means.
  • Solo estheticians, like myself, are more apt to have the most highly active products that are on the market.  Because of their licensing, they have access to these products that are not available anywhere else.  Active products need to be administered and followed up on to assure of their proper use and will create visible change within a couple of weeks.  Look for a practice that specializes in what you want to accomplish in your skin.

I am a master-level paramedical esthetician with over 30 years of experience.  I choose to work outside of a medical setting in solo practice so I can employ holistic processes to my work.  The products that I sell are hand formulated by me to act as a continuation of my skin rejuvenation services, to be used in your home and monitored by me.  Please contact me if you would like more information on how you can maximize your anti-aging skincare routine.  Jane   jbalshaw@comcast.net  603-491-7305

This post was for you Margie.  You ask the best questions.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Product knowledge; FruitCocktail moisture fluid

DSC04830FruitCocktail moisture fluid is an anti-aging moisturizer that goes on thin yet finishes with a satiny, protected feeling.  It incorporates plant stem-cell technology and active extracts from fruit to provide new ways of protecting the skin from aging while helping it to renew itself more perfectly.  This non-comedogenic formula is an answer for acne sufferers as a solo moisturizer over treatment products and it also great for any skin type used alone or layered with other moisturizing treatments.

The starring ingredient in this formula is apple stem cells.   Plant stem cells, like human stem cells, have the ability to regenerate other cells when co-mingled.  Laboratory in-vitro (test tube) tests have shown this to be true with this ingredient.  These apple stem cells have been extracted with a new PhytoCellTech™ process from a rare swiss apple, Uttwiler Spatlauber, noted for its longevity and active botanical properties.  This is ingredient is now popular in many over the counter products but the way it is combined to be most accessible to the skin is what makes this formula more active.

To enhance the activity of the formula is the addition of rhubarb root extract.  It contains the rhaponticin molecule the activates PPARy, a receptor that stimulates the growth of skin cells and also stimulates the production of skin lipids to protect against moisture loss.  These actives are suspended in coconut endosperm, the embriotic fluid from coconut rich in RNA, growth factors, minerals and vitamins to revitalize the skin and maintain its fluids.  Sodium hyaluronate, the key moisture binding component of skin cells, helps “fix” the moisture into the skin.

To protect against losing this increased moisture, Blueberry seed oil from the high bush berry, vaccinium corymbosum from the state of Washington, is added.  It is fresh harvested, cold-pressed and naturally filtered through diatomaceous earth. Full of nutritious Omega-3 fatty acids, skin healing chlorophyll and vitamins A & E, it has added benefits of soothing and nourishing the skin.  Karite Fruit oil, the remaining oil from the refinement of shea butter, adds silky protection against moisture loss also.

Extracts from the olive are used to emulsify and add silkiness to the product along with fine, non-hazardous silicones.  More importantly, these two help to penetrate the primary ingredients of the formula into skin causing them to remain active.  This moisture fluid is very different then the normal stearate-laden waxy moisturizers that just lay on the skin; it actually becomes part of the skin’s natural protective layer.