N-Acetyl Glucosamine NAG

N-Acetyl Glucosamine NAG

N-acetyl Glucosamine – Precursor to collagen

N-acetyl Glucosamine, or NAG, is “skin identical”, meaning that it is a natural part of our skin, helping to keep it moisturized and maintain it’s barrier function.  Studies have shown that NAG can increase collagen production, increase moisture levels in skin, and increase the elasticity of skin.

NAG- Boosts Hyaluronic Acid Production

Because NAG can boost collagen production and helps skin stay wonderfully moisturized, it decreases the appearance of lines and wrinkles. A study using niacinamide and NAG on women 35 to 60 showed an increase in the production of hyaluronic acid, which resulted in improved hydration. This reduced the appearance of fine lines, and an increased the elasticity of skin.

N-Acetyl Glucosamine reduces hyper-pigmentation

N-Acetyl Glucosamine has also been shown to reduce hyper-pigmentation, especially when used in combination with niacinamide.  One study showed that a formulation of niacinamide and NAG significantly reduced the appearance of age spots and uneven hyper-pigmentation.

Studies have shown that NAG can induce changes and increase proliferation of skin’s fibroblasts, which can lead to increased healing of wounds. It can also lead to increased collagen expression and proliferation of keratinocytes.

The research is sound to prove NAG is an exceptional ingredient that can boost collagen production, improve skin elasticity, stimulate fibroblast production, and decrease the appearance of age spots or hyper-pigmentation.

 

Sources: https://patents.google.com/patent/US8658219B2/en

https://patents.google.com/patent/US6444699B2/en

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09477.x

Disclaimer 
Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional skin care provider.

10 Tips for Summer Skincare

10 Tips for Summer Skincare

Everyone lets loose a little in the summer. Long weekends, picnics, days at the beach, vacations, fun drinks and bbqs under the summer sun are good for the soul, but maybe not as much for the complexion.  Here are some quick and easy tips to keep your complexion glowing while you’re livin’ easy.

Summer Beauty Guide: 10 Tips for beautiful skin all summer long.

You’ll be spending more time in the beauty of the outdoors, exposing your skin to sun, wind, water, possibly chlorine, and maybe a more rigorous shaving routine than you applied this winter.  All this can leave you with an irritated complexion. With just a little time and planning, you can avoid the pitfalls of sun, razor, and wind burn.

1. Stay Hydrated

With warmer weather (eventually) upon us, you need to stay on top of proper hydration.  You can become dehydrated from even simple tasks while working and playing in the hot summer sun.  Proper hydration keeps your skin and body functioning at optimum levels, so load up on water based drinks and watery fruits and veggies such as melons and cucumbers to stay hydrated.

2. Wear SPF

It’s important to remember to apply sunscreen. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that has at least an SPF of 30. Apply a generous layer (about a shot glass for your entire body) to all exposed skin about 15 minutes before going out into the sun. Remember to reapply after sweating or swimming, or about every 2 hours.  Always look for a sunscreen that has the active ingredients listed, and please don’t make your own.  (Zinc is a charged particle, and it’s difficult to make a formulation that doesn’t end up having microscopic holes in the coverage because the zinc microscopically clumped together over time.)

3. Boost Your Topical Anti-oxidants

Free radicals are not your friends, and unfortunately, sunlight, chlorine, alcohol, some of the best parts of summer are full of them.  The best defense is to avoid them, but that’s not always possible.  Using a cream that contains green tea extract, niacinamide, vitamins C and E, or CoEnzyme Q10 will help minimize the damage to your skin from free radicals.  (Keep an eye out for our newest product, Repair and Restore After Sun Cooling Gel)

4. Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage

The skin around your eyes is delicate and all the sunlight and swimming can be especially harsh on it.  Wear a hat and/or sunglasses with UV protection and wear goggles while swimming.  A soothing anti-oxidant rich cream, like our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream can soothe delicate skin and provide a bevy of topical vitamins and minerals.

5. Exfoliate

The best way to recharge your skin and keep it looking bright and beautiful is to exfoliate your skin once a week. Apply a natural body scrub once a week to slough off dead skin cells and reveal younger, glowing skin.

6. Moisturize

Sweating, swimming, salt, chlorine, sunshine and air conditioning all take a toll on skin. The need for moisturizing might not be as obvious during the warm summer months, but you still need to moisturize. Using a gentle all natural body butter can keep skin plump and rejuvenated.

7. Eat your SPF

Eating a healthy diet full of anti-oxidants, healthy saturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, and leafy greens can boost your body’s ability to handle the free radicals from UV light. Drinking iced green tea can help keep you hydrated, as well as provide your body with a powerful poly-phenol called EGCG. You could also try supplements like astaxanthin, vitamin D3, and resveratrol to boost your anti-oxidant protection.  You should avoid sugary and processed foods, as well as too much alcohol, as these promote inflammation and hinder the body’s ability to handle free radicals.

8. Get a Faux Glow

We all know that too much sun isn’t good for us, but who doesn’t love a healthy, sun-kissed complexion.  You can opt for a sunless tanner to get your glow on.  Sunless tanners do still cause some oxidation on the outer layers of skin, so it’s not ideal for every day, but it’s a safe way to glow for special occasions. Make sure to shave and exfoliate before applying sunless tanner, and take your time making sure there are no streaks.

9. Keep Bug Bites at Bay

It’s only a matter of time before a biting insect finds you too delectable to pass up. Itchy bug bites can lead to infection and scarring. Ward them off with a natural insect repellent like our Happy Camper Lotion. You’ll keep mosquitoes away while moisturizing skin with organic oils and probiotics.  You can also lather up with a gentle soap scented with insect repellent essential oils, such as our Happy Camper Bar. (Keep the bar in your dresser drawer until you’re ready to use it to impart the scent of essential oils onto your clothes.)

 

10. Wear Breathable Fabrics

Loose, billowy clothes made out of natural fabrics, such as cotton or linen, allow air flow on your skin and help wick moisture away.  This protects skin from staying damp and chapping and chafing.

Don’t neglect your skin the summer!

Summer is full of fun and busyness, and it’s easy to neglect your skincare routine, but the effects of dehydration and too much sun can last long after summer is gone. It’s important to take time to take care of yourself. You only get one body, and it’s got to last your entire life!

 

 

Sources: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010903092015.htm

https://www.instyle.com/beauty/25-best-summer-skin-tips-ever

https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/skin-care/summer-skin-problems

 

 

Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream Giveaway!

Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream Giveaway!

 

We’re launching our new Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream today!

We named our business Bee Lovely Botanicals because you can’t get better natural skincare than when you combine the power of botanicals with the awesomeness of bees! In our new Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream, we’ve added ingredients to focus on diminishing the appearance of dark circles and fine lines.

Just like when we formulated our Royal Jelly, Green Tea, and Vitamin B3 Face Cream, we researched many ingredients for safety and effectiveness. We chose the ingredients that were first and foremost safe, and second, proven to give your eye area a renewed youthful appearance.

We have chosen to use Blue Chamomile and Blue Tansy, along with Geranium and Frankincense essential oils. These oils will calm the delicate, stressed skin around your eyes, and promote a healthy, youthful appearance. Coupled with natural compounds like caffeine, plant peptides, haloxyl, raw beeswax, Vitamin K, and minerals like copper and magnesium, these ingredients markedly decrease the appearance of dark circles, puffiness and fine lines.

I have suffered from dark circles pretty much all of my life. I would carefully cake on light colored concealer, yellow concealer, I tried “baking” it in, just to try to hide those dark circles.

When I would run into someone in the store without my concealer I would hear, “Aww, are you sick? You don’t look well.”

“Yes [fake cough] I think I’m coming down with something,” I would say to save us both the embarrassment of “Ah, no. This is just what I look like.”

If you can relate to my tale of woe, you should try our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream. It’s full of skin loving ingredients to diminish the appearance of dark circles and fine lines. For a limited time, we’re running a contest and one lucky winner will receive a Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream free! In addition to the chance of winning a free eye cream, when you share our posts and giveaways, you’re helping our business succeed! Recommendations of our business are such a blessing! Thank you so much for sharing!!

If you’re still on the fence about our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream, here’s what our testers had to say about it:

“The Bright Eyes Cream is amazing! I’ve been using this product every night and whether I get a good sleep or not with a newborn no one can tell. I highly recommend it!” Wendy

“Bright Eyes Eye Cream is superb to any eye cream I have used! Not oily, very rich and smooth. I use it in the morning and at night I love it so much! The best part it’s toxin free. I can’t get enough of this eye cream! I know I have less wrinkles since using it!” Joanne

“So this product is amazing! My eyes have way fewer crinkles and as a positive side effect I have longer thicker eyelashes!!!!” Christine

“After Jodie gave me a sample of the Bright Eyes Vitamins & Minerals eye cream, I couldn’t wait until they were able to get it packaged to purchase! The cream worked so good on taking the puffiness and darkness away under my eyes! This is an awesome product!!” Anne

 

If you’d like a Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream of your very own, click here for a special one time offer after checkout!

Cure What Ails Ya Master Tonic

Cure What Ails Ya Master Tonic

This is a take on Master Tonic or Fire Cider, a popular folk remedy. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.

You can drink 1-2 ounces a day, or mix with water or seltzer water. You can also use in place of vinegar in recipes, such as a vinaigrette.

Add different herbs or turmeric for additional health benefits, or use our lemon ginger infused honey to simplify the recipe.

We’ve tried this, and one way or another, I think it will put you out of your misery. CHEERS!

1/2 cup thinly sliced ginger
1/2 cup diced horse radish
1 head garlic, smashed and peeled
3 sprigs rosemary or thyme
2 jalapeño peppers
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1/2 small onion chopped
1 lemon cut in 1.5” chunks
1/2 orange cut in 1.5” chunks
2 cups + apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup BLB raw honey
Yields approx. 2 cups.

Pack first 9 ingredients in jar and cover with apple cider vinegar. (You might need a little more than 2 cups.) Cover with cheesecloth or parchment paper between jar and lid to prevent corrosion. Store in a cool dark place, shaking every other day for 21 days. Strain through cheesecloth. Discard solids and add raw honey. For additional health benefits, mix 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric with the raw honey before you add it to the vinegar.

Magnesium – Are you getting enough?

Are you getting enough magnesium?

[This blog post contains affiliate links. We may receive a small compensation when you click a link and purchase these products. This compensation does not influence my reviews or recommendations, and does not increase your costs. I only share links for products that I believe in and use for my own family. To see the full disclaimer click here. This website is not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems.]

Magnesium is a water soluble mineral that is found in dark green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains, nuts, and beans.  It is involved in over 600 different processes in the body. It is integral to metabolism, or energy production, calcium absorption, nerve conductivity, and muscle contraction just to name a few functions of magnesium.  It is so useful to the body because it is part of many enzymes that keep body functions going.

What does a deficiency look like?

A magnesium deficiency can range from

  • fatigue
  • restless legs
  • muscle cramps
  • PMS
  • anxiety,
  • insomnia

to more long term effects such as

  • cardiovascular disease
  • metabolic syndrome (a constellation of symptoms including high cholesterol, insulin resistance, too much belly fat)
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • stroke.

It really is something to consider!

The magnesium content of traditionally grown foods has been declining in the US, so even if you’re eating a diet that is high in magnesium rich foods, you could have a deficiency. Studies (you can see more information and the studies here ) have shown that the magnesium content of foods has declined an average of 21% from 1963 to 1992.  This ranges from 10% decline of magnesium in spinach to a whopping 84% decline in the magnesium of collard greens.

Another study showed the following decline from 1940 – 1991:

  • Vegetables – 24% decline
  • Fruit – 17% decline
  • Meat – 15%
  • Cheese – 26% decline

 There are several factors contributing to the decline in the magnesium content of our food.

  1. Pesticides – Pesticides save our food from being damaged by unwanted pests, but they also kill beneficial creatures, such as earth worms, and good bacteria living in the soil. Earth worms provide natural aeration and fertilizer for plants, while beneficial bacteria add vitamins to the soil through their metabolism process.  Killing off the good bacteria in the soil decreases the vitamin content available for plants to uptake.
  2. Fertilizers – Most fertilizers focus on the major nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, not micro nutrients such as magnesium.  Couple that with the fact that some common fertilizers, such as potash, actually impede magnesium uptake in plants, and it’s no surprise that our food supply is declining in magnesium content.
  3. Modified Plants – Plants have been modified to grow bigger, faster, to increase yields.  Unfortunately, this  hasty growth is not paired with an increased rate of nutrient uptake, and rarely sees the mineral and vitamin uptake of the slow, steady old fashioned approach.
  4. Food processes – Processed food has lost most of the little magnesium that it had. Refined oils lose all of their magnesium, grains lose 80-97%, and sugar loses all of it’s magnesium.

Benefits of Magnesium

Because magnesium is involved in so many processes in the human body, their are SO many benefits to taking a supplement.  The most common include:

  • More energy
  • Better Sleep
  • Improved mood (Magnesium might work as well as some prescription anti-depressants)
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Helps maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Decrease migraines
  • Improve PMS
  • Studies are now showing promising results of slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

These are just a few of the most common benefits of magnesium.  I think we will continue to see more and more benefits of magnesium being discovered.

Magnesium Supplements

If you feel like you’d like to try taking magnesium supplements, there are a few things you should know.

Precautions
  • Magnesium can impede absorption of some drugs, such as some anti-biotics and osteoporosis drugs.  It can also potentiate the effects of some muscle relaxers.  If you’re on prescription drugs, it’s always a good idea to run it by your doctor or pharmacist before you start a magnesium supplement.
  • It’s unlikely, but possible to overdose on magnesium.  Extreme doses could cause a slowed heart rate or even a coma, so don’t go crazy with it. Most likely if you take a little more than you need you might experience stomach or bowel pains accompanied by diarrhea until the extra if flushed out.
  • It is excreted through the kidneys.  If your kidneys are not functioning properly, definitely run it by your doc before you start magnesium.
Supplements

Magnesium can be bound to many different fatty or amino acids. Some are absorbed easier than others, and some work better for certain purposes than others.  This is because magnesium is a cofactor in so many different enzymes.  For our purposes, we’ll just discuss the 3 most common forms and their benefts.

  • Magnesium oxide – This is probably the most common type of magnesium. You can pick it up at drug or grocery store.  It is not the most easily absorbed form, and it is most likely to cause GI distress.
  • Magnesium Citrate – This isn’t too difficult to find. It’s easier for your system to absorb, so there’s less of a chance that it will cause stomach distress. Through all of our reading and research over the years, we’ve found NOW Foods and Nature Made to be reliable supplement suppliers that are made in the USA.  You can find Nature Made magnesium citrate capsules here, or NOW powdered magnesium citrate here. The capsules are a little easier to take, but the powder is more easily absorbed.  To use the powder add 1-2 teaspoons to water to dissolve.  It doesn’t really have any taste, but it’s hard to get it all dissolved, so it is a little gritty.
  • Magnesium Salts – One of the really great things about magnesium is that it can be absorbed through the skin, or transdermally.  You can add magnesium sea salts (magnesium chloride) or epsom salts to a bath  to increase your magnesium levels, especially if you have GI issues that impede absorption or can’t handle taking it internally.  You can pick epsom salts up just about anywhere, or order online in a handy little bucket here.  You can also add your favorite essential oils to your salts, or your bath, but make sure to add a little bit of soap or detergent.  Oils don’t mix with water and you don’t want full strength oils sitting on top of the water coming in contact with your skin.  Just a bit of castile soap (or whatever soap or shampoo you usually use) will disperse the oils through out the water.
  • Magnesium Oil – You can also purchase magnesium oil.  I don’t know why it’s called an oil, because it’s basically magnesium dissolved in water. At any rate, you can spray this directly on your skin for the magnesium to be absorbed transdermally.  You can also make your own magnesium oil by boiling water and adding magnesium chloride (1:1 water:salt ratio) and pouring into a spray bottle.  You can then spritz your skin as needed. (If it feels a little too itchy or drying, you can add more water.)

So there you have it, the good, the bad, and the ugly of magnesium.  Do you think you’ll give magnesium a try? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inflammation- The Aging Catalyst

Inflammation is a catalyst of all the signs of aging in our bodies.

Inflammation is the bodies response to something going wrong.  It could be a bacterial or viral attack, an injury, or a exposure to an allergen or dangerous chemical. It is a protective mechanism meant to guard the body from harm.  The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out damaged cells and tissue, and initiate tissue repair. The five signs of inflammation are heat, pain, redness, swelling, and loss of function. The trouble with inflammation is that it often times becomes chronic, and begins to cause problems, not protect from them.

Chronic Inflammation vs acute inflammation

Chronic inflammation can result from a multitude of problems. These can include a chronic low grade infection, autoimmune diseases (possibly linked to chronic low grade infection), dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the natural bacteria in your gut, chronic stress, inactivity, poor diet that is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, eating foods that cause an allergic reaction, and repeated exposure to chemicals and/ or medications that cause an immune response. Examples of more complex chronic inflammation include psoriasis, eczema, insulin resistance, etc.

Acute inflammation results from something the sees as a threat, or that is damaging to the body. Once the pathogen or allergen is removed, the inflammation goes away. Inflammation on skin presents itself with redness, itchiness, hives, broken blood vessels,  Inflammation on skin can be caused by both natural and synthetic compounds, with some compounds causing irritation in a large amount of the population, and some only affecting certain individuals.  It’s important to monitor the ingredients in your personal care products, and how you react to changes in your care regimen, including changes in laundry detergents and cleaning products.

How to address skin inflammation

Defending yourself against inflammation requires a two pronged approach. You have to root out the cause, but you also have to treat the symptoms.

Often, chronic inflammation is the result of burning the candle at both ends.  It’s hard to make time for self care when you’re that busy.  Cooking healthy meals is replaced by eating convenient foods. Exercising, enjoying a hobby, learning about what supplements you should take all takes time.  When we don’t make time for these things, the stress starts building, and our ability to handle is diminished because of our diet and exercise habits.  This decreases our immune systems ability to function properly, which could lead to a low grade chronic infection.

The way to stop this death spiral is to dig in and start to address one problem area at a time.  Take a walk every day.  Start adding in 1-2 servings of vegetables at every meal.  Write in a prayer journal.  Take a probiotic and multi-vitamin daily. Participate in a hobby that you find rewarding every week. Any one of these steps will help to improve your health, and give you more momentum to take on the next area.

Chronic inflammation can also result from frequently being exposed to something you are allergic to.  This might  be a food that you are eating or an environmental factor such as mold or chemicals.  If you think you might have food allergies, the Whole 30 diet plan is a great place to start to find out what is irritating your body.

Calm the symptoms of inflammation

There are quite a few natural remedies that help reduce inflammation in the skin.

  1. Apricot Kernel Oil – Apricot Kernel Oil is very light oil that is easily absorbed into skin.  It’s high in oleic acid, which means that it’s great at softening skin.  It is also high B-sitosterol. B-sitosterol is sort of like the plant version of cortisone, and it helps to reduce the itchy, dry skin feeling. Citrus Grove Skin Smoothing Oil  and our Royal Treatment Face Cream both contain apricot kernel oil and olive squalane, so it’s very soothing to skin.
  2.  Coconut Oil- Coconut oil is one of the best skin softening oils known to man.  It’s high in plant polyphenols, so it has great anti-oxidant power, as well as soothing to skin.  Coconut oil has been shown to be acne forming and pore clogging in some individuals, so you might not want to use it on your face.  (I have heard from many people that they don’t have any  trouble using it on their face, though.) Coconut oil also helps to reduce itching and inflammation in skin.  Our Citrus Grove Skin Smoothing oil and our Honey Bee Hand Cream both contain organic extra virgin coconut oil.
  3. Probiotics- Just like our guts, our skin has a microbiome that can be disrupted.  When this biome becomes unbalanced, we can experience redness, inflammation, or acne.  Applying probiotics topically to skin has been shown to reduce the appearance of redness and fine lines associated with inflammation.  Both our Honey Bee Hand Creams, Happy Baby Butt Butter. and Royal Treatment Face Cream contain probiotics. An easy at home remedy to relieve inflammation is to apply plain yogurt to the affected area, let dry, then rinse off.
  4. Calendula- Calendula petals are a tried and true remedy.  They have been used for ages to help calm red and inflamed skin.  You can infuse oil with calendula petals, then apply to irritated skin.  I would suggest infusing calendula petals into an anti-oxidant rich, calming oil such as apricot kernel oil for maximum benefit. Our Calendula soap uses calendula infused oils, as well as petals added to the soap at the trace, so that the wonderful properties of the flower are in the bar, without too many whole petals floating around the tub.
  5. Allantoin- Allantoin is the active ingredient in aloe and comphrey root.  It has been shown to reduce redness and irritation and promote wound healing 1.  Our Royal Treatment Face Cream, Happy Baby Butt Butter, and Bee Rugged Hand Salve.
  6. Essential Oils- Lavender, Geranium, Rose, Clary Sage, and German Chamomile are all excellent for calming inflammation.

So to recap, eat healthy, exercise, make time for recreation. Use natural oils and botanicals to calm inflammation and give your lifestyle changes time to work. Through the years I have found that I am allergic to gluten and milk.  There are other foods that I’ve found I can only eat in small doses without causing a reaction.  I steer clear of strongly scented products, and try to use natural alternatives in my cleaning, as my lungs have become very sensitive to chemicals. I would love to hear what has worked for you in beating inflammation.

 

  1. Klouchek-Popova E et al. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg. 1982;8(4):63-7.