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Skincare: Taking Care of the Skin You’re In

There are countless skincare products on the market, many of them with names that are impossible pronounce. With so many options, choosing the right products for your routine can become intimidating. Sometimes the best thing to do is get back to the basics.

Cleanse

The first thing to look for is a cleanser. After you remove your makeup, this is the product you will wash your face with, to remove any lingering bacteria or dirt. For some, a good cleanser is enough without all the fancy serums and oils. The important part is making sure that your cleanser is compatible with your skin type, whether it be sensitive, dry, oily or combination. You may find that a cleanser that works for you one month may not work for you a year from now and that’s okay. Things like the environment, age, diet, other products and numerous other factors can contribute to skin’s varying tolerance and sensitivity.

For dry skin, gentle creamy cleansers are the way to go. In the ingredients list, watch for harsh chemicals, artificial dyes and perfumes or fragrances that could irritate your skin.

For oily skin, choose a gel-based or foaming cleanser that provides a deep clean and keeps pores from getting clogged. Be careful not to shy away from hydration and moisture, because while you may think that it will only make the oiliness worse, dehydration will make you more prone to inflammation.

For sensitive skin types, look for labels with the words “hypoallergenic” or “calming”. It may also be helpful to have a fragrance-free or unscented product, as those are often considered irritants.

Tone

Next, you’ll reach for your toner. While certain products claim to have specialty ingredients that help with a variety of specific issues, the main purpose of a toner is to help tighten pores and remove whatever dirt and bacteria that was left behind after your cleanser. (thedermreview.com)

After that, you’ll apply any serums follow by spot treatments. Serums are “highly concentrated formulations that are designed to sink into the skin quickly, delivering an intensive dose of ingredients that can address common skin complaints.” They’re commonly used all over the face and mostly for anti-aging, while spot treatments come in many forms, like gels and creams, and are meant to treat particular small areas like blemishes or dark spots.

Moisturizer

You’ll want to finish with a hydrating moisturizer and the most important skincare product of your entire regimen—sunscreen, with at least 30 SPF to protect your face from the harsh outdoor environment.

Skincare for a Congresswoman

Current it-girl Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has thoughts about everything from immigration to climate change. But her advice about skincare? Double cleanse and use sunscreen every day. “I’ve been using daily sunscreen since I was 19. I’ve been bad about it lately and can tell the difference,” she shared on her Instagram stories back in January.

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Mad About Maca: Health Benefits of Maca Powder

Essential Oils Are Essential Self-Care

From Miranda Kerr’s lavender oil sleep secret to Kourtney Kardashian’s love of manuka, essentials oils have long been the source of celebrity health secrets—but the world of essentials oils goes far beyond the celebrity era. We unearth the benefits of essentials oils to your self-care

Essential oils are highly concentrated solutions, which are extracted from different sections of a plant such as the flower, leaves or roots. The extraction methods used to form the solution are cold pressing, whereby the plant is mechanically pressed to obtain their essential oil and steam distillation, where plants are passed through dry steam and the emerging vapor is condensed.

Essential things to remember

Before you start slathering bottles of essential oils onto your skin, you should know there are three ways you can incorporate essential oils to your routine: topically, orally or aromatherapy.

If you choose the topical route, make sure you dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil, for example olive oil or jojoba oil. A carrier oil can improve the absorption of an essential oil via the skin and prevent any irritation. For sufferers of sensitive skin, coconut oil can be an excellent carrier oil—a useful rule to follow when diluting oils: 12 drops of essential oil to every 1oz of carrier oil.

For internal use, an individual essential oil can be adopted to target a specific concern, though it’s imperative you keep to dosage instructions on supplements. Finally, you can use essential oils as part of aromatherapy, by adding them to an essential oil diffuser or an empty spray bottle with water to use as a mist.

Mix and match

In addition to using an essential oil on its own, you can mix and match by creating your own blend of oils. One popular oil blend is lemon and lavender oil, due to their anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and the rejuvenating aromas they give off.

The essential oil you decide to use all depends on your reasons for needing them. For example, if you’re stressed, you could benefit from rosemary oil. If your concerns are about banishing an illness, cinnamon oil in aromatherapy can assist with alleviating symptoms.

Other essential oils with anti-inflammatory effects to both support and boost your physical and mental wellbeing include turmeric essential oil, eucalyptus, ginger, hemp and lemongrass.

Just breathe

Another trend in the world of essential oils is to use a diffuser to release the molecules into the air. Inhalation, in fact, is the most common way to reap the benefits of an essential oil When you breathe in the scene, receptors in your brain identify the scent and send trigger sensory stimulation messages, causing your body to react to the essential oil triggering different reactions.

Essential oil diffusers have a whole host of benefits depending on which oil you’re diffusing. If you want to purify your home, try adding a few drops of basil or tea tree essential oil. If you want to improve sleep and help you relax at the end of a long day, choose lavender, chamomile, rose or vanilla. The scents of these oils affect the limbic system, which is responsible for controlling emotions, including symptoms of stress.

Essential oils can also relieve pain. Diffusing a peppermint essential oil can sooth nausea and migraines, as well as improve digestion and reduce allergic reactions. Oregano essential oil can relieve heartburn and menstrual pain, and sandalwood oil can ease a sore throat.

Have you ever burned a citronella candle to ward off bugs? Diffusing essential oils can have the same effect. Try using a lemon oil to get rid of mosquitos or a peppermint oil to keep away spiders.

Before jumping in

As with all wellness-related practices, Internet pseudo-science abounds, and research should be done to make sure you’re using essential oils in a way that’s right for you before jumping into the practice.

Essential oils are a pharmaceutical grade natural remedy. One drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 26-28 cups of peppermint tea. If you wouldn’t drink over two dozen cups of herbal tea in one sitting, you should probably consider that before consuming the equivalent amount of an essential oil.

When you start using essential oils, begin by using a small amount and diluting your product. This is especially important if you’re planning to use the oil topically. Start by doing a patch test to make sure you won’t have a strong reaction.

But even though they’re strong, when used correctly, essential oils are a wonderful resource that can solve a variety of problems.

Testing quality

A quick way of assessing if an essential oil is pure and has not been diluted by vegetable oils, is by placing a small amount of the oil on a piece of paper or fabric and allowing it to dry. Pure essential oils should not stain. So, if a stain appears, you know the essential oil has been diluted.

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Mad About Maca: Health Benefits of Maca Powder
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Mad About Maca: Health Benefits of Maca Powder

If you, like us, have most experimented with maca by ordering the occasional maca latte from your local independent coffee shop, then this article is for you.

Maca—different from the highly prized green tea matcha traditionally from Japan and China—is the powdered version of the maca root from the South America Andes. The superfood tastes earthy and (some say) like caramel.

Health benefits

Nutritionists say the maca provides major health benefits. “[Maca] may benefit our hormonal health by regulating the endocrine system—the collection of glands that produce hormones to regulate metabolism, growth, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood,” said performance dietitian Jessica Spendlove in HuffPost Australia.

A study published in the journal Pharmaceuticals tested the effects of daily maca consumption by 175 participations. At the end of the 12-week study, researchers concluded that maca positively affected the participants’ mood, energy and health status.

Now for the dubious claims

Maca is often credited with being a major libido-booster, but when you start to unravel that, there’s probably not a whole lot of truth to the claim.

Maca root’s ability to get you in the mood is more of a theory than something that has been confirmed through scientific research, said Dr. Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND to Elite Daily.

So maybe don’t chug a maca latte before your next date.

How to incorporate it into your diet

Maca powder is incredibly versatile. Stir a serving into your morning coffee, add it to a smoothie, mix it into a stir fry or even put it in hot chocolate.

It can be frustrating to invest in a whole bag of a superfood without knowing if you’ll like the taste or if you’ll notice its health benefits. Some retailers sell individual packets of maca, which are smaller and less expensive. Not only will you be able to try out the ingredient for yourself without going home with a year’s worth of powder, but the single-serving pouches make this the perfect product to take on-the-go to work or the gym.

As with any dietary supplement, you might want to check in with your doctor before you commit to incorporating maca into your daily meals.

“If you take medications or have a medical condition, herbs are not something to just play with,” Dr. Ayoob said. “Some can have serious interactions with medication or in people with certain medical conditions.”

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Extracts from maca might act like estrogen.” As per the NIH, if you have any condition that could be made worse by extra estrogen exposure, you shouldn’t use maca without a doctor’s permission. People with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids should be extra cautious.

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