We live in a very stressful world that can be toxic for our mind, body, and even skin. As a result we are less focused and burned out. As we enter the Spring season and embrace renewal, I urge you to commit yourself to recognizing when you need a mental break. Here are 3 simple ways to manage stress and relax.
Breathing: You may be unknowingly holding tension in your chest. Stress shows up differently in everyone. Never underestimate the power of proper breathing. Breathing techniques are one of the easiest and most powerful ways to relieve stress. Harness the power of deliberate breathing, including deep breaths, and slow inhales / exhales to help you feel calm and in control.
Relaxing Playlist: Music is healing to the soul and it can shape our moods and thought processes. Music can promote relaxation of tense muscles when coupled with relaxing exercises like yoga. Music is a simple and fun way to promote spiritual healing. It is also great for meditating or getting into a spirit of worship.
Take a Walk: When things get to be overwhelming for me I like to go for walks out in fresh air. Any sort of movement like short walks or jogs are natural stress relievers. Sometimes you have to force yourself to get out of the office and get moving. Walking also promotes blood flow to your brain and it can reset your mind and thought processes. While walking you can also practice the breathing techniques we discussed earlier.
What are some techniques you use to relieve stress?
Spa's and Skincare Clinics are growing in popularity as people especially women are aiming to get better looking skin. Women spend billions of dollars a year on skincare but are facial treatments really worth it? Spa treatments and facials can be beneficial and actually make your products work better and deeper penetrate the skin. However, they can be quite expensive especially if done on a regular basis. If you want the spa results without going to an actual skin care spa, here are some tips on how to create a spa treatment experience at home.
"To boost collagen and prevent wrinkles, I apply serum by gently pressing it into my skin, followed by massaging my face in an upwards motion. Patting on the product helps to stimulate circulation and massaging upwards will flush out any toxins that have built up in your lymph nodes."
What if you drank your facial cleanser? I am by no means advocating that you rummage through your bathroom and start downing your skin care products over ice but what we do everyday when we lather on lotion or serums affects us internally, not entirely unlike the way the food and drink we consume can affect us. Did you know that at least 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), while there might be some chemicals that are too large to enter the bloodstream, many are small enough to penetrate. What we put on our skin does not just remain on the surface. It gets absorbed and either helps us or harms us. Think nicotine patches and birth control patches – they are designed to be placed on the surface of the skin and deliver chemicals that are absorbed by the skin into the bloodstream to have the intended effect. Just like we consume food through eating, we basically consume chemicals in personal care products through our skin.
The FDA does not currently test or approve cosmetic products and many contain toxic ingredients that have been known to have negative health consequences – things like hormone disruption, cancer and severe allergic reactions. Since we don't have much federal oversight, it's up to those of us who are interested in consuming ingredients that are beneficial and healthy for our skin, to do our own due diligence to make sure that we protect ourselves and our families.
We are all on this journey to making more Sustainable, Healthy and Ethical (SHE) choices together. Kudos for SHE choices! Seeking perfection can be overwhelming and paralyzing so I want to make it easy for you. I would like to arm you with some practical tools you can use to begin making steps towards choosing healthier skin care products.
There are two things to consider as we make the shift to healthier skin care. The first is what level of exposure we have to the personal care product every day and the second is which chemicals have the potential to harm us most. By exposure I mean what products do we use the most often and which ones cover the largest surface area of the skin for the longest period of time. For example a hand wash that you use to clean only your hands and then quickly wash off constitutes less exposure than a body lotion that you baste all over your body and leave on for the entire day. It's more effective to begin by focusing on making shifts in products we have higher levels of exposure to. Identify lotions, moisturizers and serums that you use on your face and body every day that remain on the skin for long periods of time and consider replacing those with healthier options.
Once we identify which products we would like to replace, the second focus is to identify the most harmful chemicals to stay away from.
Here are my top five:
Parabens are preservatives found in many personal care products. They include methylparaben propylparaben and ethylparaben among others. Studies have shown that parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors. Estrogen exposure has been linked to breast cancer development and progression. While there is disagreement about whether the levels of Parabens found in skin care products is enough to cause cancer, I recommend that we err on the side of caution and avoid these altogether.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Lauryl Sufate is a surfactant used in thousands of cosmetics products. It's the ingredient that makes many of them foam. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) SLS has shown links to irritation of the skin and eyes, organ and reproductive toxicity and possible mutations and cancer.
The state of California and other authoritative bodies has classified phthalates like dibutyl phthalate (DBP) as a reproductive and developmental toxicant, and the European Union has banned the use of this ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. Phthalates are sometimes not listed on the label but may be hidden in ingredients like “fragrances”. It's important to look for products that explicitly say they do not contain Phthalates.
4. Diethanolamine (DEA)
DEA is another ingredient used in personal care products to provide lather. The World Health Organization has found it to show limited evidence of carcinogenicity.
Fragrance may seem like an odd ingredient to include in my list of harmful ingredients. I am specifically referring to synthetic fragrances here or “fragrance” ingredients that are not listed as natural. The term fragrance can be used to mask a combination of toxic chemicals, some including the ones I've listed above.
No guide is complete with only a list of don'ts. Let's get to the fun part of safe and effective ingredients and SHE choices for skin care.
Do use products with the following: 1. Essential Oils & ingredients derived from natural sources 2. Wildcrafted ingredients – these are ingredients that have been grown in the wild without human intervention 3. Organic ingredients – these are ingredients that have been certified organic by the USDA
I hope you feel empowered and excited to begin a journey of wholesome personal care and skin care. If you've already begun the journey, I hope you feel inspired to kick the SHE shifts up a notch. What has been your perception or experience with natural skin care?
When it comes to aging beautifully and taking the best possible care of our health and skin, vitamin C is one of the best ways to go. Many people think that vitamin C is just something we take to get better when we have a cold or the flu. But this nutrient is oh so important to help us look great as we age and to keep our skin healthy and glowing. Here are a few of the benefits that vitamin C can provide and tips to get you started on making vitamin C a major part of your skincare and health routine.
Benefit #1: Collagen Production
Vitamin C is a nutrient that stimulates the production of collagen in the skin. Collagen is basically a skin plumper. Essentially, it is the part of our skin that makes our face look youthful and full. It reduces crows feet, wrinkles, and the sallow look that skin can have with age. Many of us know that Vitamin C is available in foods like oranges but did you know that there are amazing skin serums that are also rich in vitamin C? A serum applied to your skin that contains vitamin C will help trigger the production of collagen. Serums that contain naturally occurring Vitamin C like the one in Apple Rose Beauty's Bloom Beautifully 20% Vitamin C Serum are even more beneficial for the skin because they don't have the harmful side effects of harsh synthetic chemicals.
Benefit #2: Reduces Aging By Attacking Free Radicals
Free radicals are chemicals that can get in our body and on our skin that do damage to our healthy cells. Vitamin C helps our body's immune system function properly and at its best so it can fight off those nasty free radicals that can make us age faster. Eating foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, broccoli, and leafy greens can help ward off these free radicals.
Benefit #3: Keeps Your Hair Healthy
As we age, it can be more difficult to keep our hair looking moist and lustrous. Vitamin C can helps our hair grow and become stronger to prevent breakage and damage. Applying serums or products rich in vitamin C directly to our hair can kick that hair health factor up several notches.
Benefit #4: Improving Skin's Elasticity
As we age, our skin does not spring back into place like it once did. In other words, it does not remain taut against our underlying facial structure and as a result, we can get wrinkles and sagging skin. Vitamin C, both applied to the skin and consumed, can help improve our skin's elasticity and make it appear more taut and smooth.
Benefit #5: Nail Health
Brittle and easily broken fingernails are never pleasant. And as we age, our nails naturally become weaker. However, vitamin C can help remedy that problem. Vitamin C strengthens the connective tissues, blood vessels, and the skin that support nail growth and strength. Not to mention it also keeps bones healthy. Let's hear it for drinking orange juice and eating dark leafy greens to keep our nails strong and growing!
With these many benefits in mind, make sure you include generous amounts of vitamin C in your diet and skin care regimens. You can be sure to keep yourself healthy and radiant as you age with the help of this natural skin care hero.
Here's a quick recipe for a Vitamin C face mask!
Blend one kiwi and a half-cup of papaya, and apply the mixture to your face. After 15 to 20 minutes, wash it off with cold water.
Let's face it, we are all busy. As women whether we work outside of the home, are stay at home moms, are going back to school or entrepreneurs, we can all use some down time. What better time to practice self-love and pamper ourselves than during this season of love? Here are 5 No-Cost ways to pamper yourself this Valentines:
1. Light a candle and soak in the tub.
The scent of the candle and flicker of the flame will engage the senses for a relaxing time. No candles on hand? No worries. Boil slices of oranges and lemons to create a wonderful citrus scent.
2. Give yourself an at-home facial.
You can make amazing skin care products with the stuff that's already in your pantry. Make a quick face scrub with coffee grounds and olive oil, or try this wonderful avocado mask recipe at the end of our Cayenne Pepper acne fighting blog. Add to the spa feel with some soothing music while you lay on the couch.
3. Cozy up to your favorite movie with your beverage of choice.
Tea, coffee, wine? It doesn't matter. As long as you enjoy it and the movie makes you laugh, cry, dream or all of the above.
4. Dance with fuzzy slippers like no-one's watching.
Remember those days when you were in to pop culture and knew the latest songs and dance moves? Even if it's been a while, your favorite oldies song is just a click away on YouTube. I dare you to leave work a half hour early put on your favorite fuzzy slippers, blast that music and shake those hips down memory lane.
5. Dress up just because you can.
We all love those days when we can stay in pajamas all day. But doesn't it feel good to get really dressed up sometimes? Who cares if you have nowhere to go? Even if your husband and children are the only ones who see you, it will be worth it. Take selfies or better yet, get your family or girl-friends involved. Have them take pictures and turn it into a mini glamour shoot.
We hope you feel the love this Valentines. Enjoy the roses and chocolate but remember to take the time to love yourself.
"Remember that great love and great achievements involve risk" - Dalai Lama
People often ask me how I could leave a successful, decade long career in engineering and management to embark on a risky venture to serve survivors of human trafficking through Apple Rose Beauty. To be honest, in my low moments of doubt the question fleetingly crosses my own mind.
The answer is always the same, though. I was and am "compelled by love". For me it has always been a question of "how could I not do everything I know how to do to help save even a few?"
From the moment my heart was broken for the cause of human trafficking in Thailand when I met Apple, a young woman trapped in human trafficking, and where I lived for a month, teaching survivors English, I knew I would spend the rest of my life serving them and fighting for them.
As you know, Apple Rose Beauty was founded to address the crime of human trafficking, perpetuated mostly against women. Another crime that targets mostly women is domestic violence. But what many of us were unaware of was the link between this crime and animal abuse. According to a recent article by Huffington Post, there seems to be a direct link between occurrences of animal abuse and domestic violence.
"It is common for abusers to attack their victim's loved pets during the onset or the aftermath of incidents of domestic violence. In these cases, the abuser seems to be sending the message, 'See what you make me do?' But contrary to his claim that he 'lost control', or 'was provoked,' the abuser is actually attempting to exert control by choosing behavior that is designed to frighten, terrorize, or punish his partner. As one abuser, who had left his wife with two black eyes, once related when I asked if he had punched his wife, "No I would never hit her like a man!" If in fact, he really 'lost control', as he claimed, he would have been able to consistently choose his violent behavior, or to seek credit for slapping rather than punching his partner. One victim told me, "It's always my cat that gets kicked, never his."
The underlying logic of such violence is to punish his partner for her defiance by telling her, "That could have been you," or "You're next," or by proclaiming, "See what happens when you make me mad?" In these cases, pets are used as props for reinforcing the abuser's rules, whether these are explicit or implied. It is no accident that the abuser is targeting his partner's and/or his children's cherished pets. Injuring or killing a pet represents a step-up from damaging or destroying the victim's inanimate property."