Allantoin: The Active Ingredient in Aloe and Comfrey
Allantoin is a wonderful addition to any cream or lotion. It’s a water soluble ingredient, so you won’t find this skin loving active in anything that is solely oil based. (Most skin actives are water soluble, except for a few fat soluble vitamins or caffeine, or a few others.) It has a very low potential for irritation and can be made from aloe, comfrey, chamomile, or processed synthetically.
I think pretty much everyone has heard of putting aloe vera on a burn or sunburn. Studies show evidence that aloe is effective in healing minor to moderate burns faster than no treatment. Aloe is antibacterial and helps promote circulation. You know what a big portion of aloe’s properties is attributed to? That’s right, it’s allantoin.
Comfrey is another medicinal plant that is touted to help bruises and wounds heal, as well as speed recovery time for sprains and strains. Guess what comfrey has in common with aloe. Yup, you guessed it, allantoin.
Benefits of Allantoin
Keratolytic – This is a gentle exfoliation of the stratum corneum, the outer most layer of skin, that smooths skin.
Moisturizing – allantoin helps to increase water that is bound to proteins in skin, making skin look younger and healthier.
Soothing, anti-irritantant, and skin protectant effect – due to the ability of allantoin to form complexes and neutralize many sensitizing agents.
Studies also show that allantoin helps promote regeneration of damaged skin cells and accelerates wound healing.
So next time your browsing your ingredient label, check to see if allantoin is included in your potion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Klouchek-Popova E et al. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg. 1982;8(4):63-7.
Winter wrinkles – Ugh!
I just turned 40. And to be honest, I’m taking an extra glance in the mirror. And I didn’t like what I was seeing. I wasn’t seeing 40 years of life, I was seeing a depleted woman. I wasn’t taking proper care of myself, and it was showing. I wasn’t even taking time to use the products that I make that are helping so many other women age well. Lack of self care coupled with dry winter air was really doing a number on my skin.
WIth a little help from my husband and my boys, I am off to a much better year. They could see the tiredness in my spirit, and they all stepped up so that I could have a little more space to take care of myself.
Here is I learned from my experience.
- Drink more water than you think you need. I was burning the candle at both ends, rarely even stopping for a drink. If I did stop for a drink, it was a cup of coffee, which further dehydrated me. Cold air can’t hold much humidity, and furnaces do away with the little moisture that was left. You might not be sweating as much, but you’re losing more water just through evaporation of water in your breath. Breathe out humidified air from your body, suck in dry air from the environment. Repeat 23,000 times a day. So long hydration.
- Our bodies as a whole can become dehydrated, but our skin takes on its fair share in the battle of dehydration. It’s our first line of defense in separating our insides from the outside world. It’s in contact with that dry, thirsty air all day long. Trans-epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) is a fancy way of saying we’re losing our water through our skin. Dehydrated skin can’t function as well as a barrier, and it also begins to look flaky and wrinkled. What’s the difference between a grape and a raisin? A raisin is just a dehydrated grape. In order to maintain that plump, grape-like skin, we have to make sure we’re putting enough water in, and then keeping it in. The very bottom level foundation for a healthy body and healthy skin is proper hydration. The next step is to keep that water in. A good barrier cream will prevent water loss through your skin, and beeswax is a great barrier ingredient. You can check out our selection of beeswax skincare here.
Skin on the outside is a mirror to skin on the inside
Do you feel like you’re wrinkling and aging faster than you should? Is your skin dry, red and flaky? Maybe you’re dealing with hyper pigmentation, aka dark splotches. Did you think that surely you would have outgrown acne by now? All of these things reveal problems that are much more than skin deep, so of course solutions are more than skin deep. The major causes of these problems can usually be traced back to one of the following causes.
Inflammation from a poor diet, sickness, autoimmune problems, stress
Bacterial imbalance of the microbiome of skin and/ or gut ( pretty much the same causes as inflammation)
Oxidative stress from poor lifestyle choices and insufficient preventive measures (think sunscreen and a healthy diet)
Blood sugar issues from too many sweets for too long
Fat, Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies from a poor diet or poor absorption
Hormone imbalances that resulted from consumption of synthetic hormones, prolonged illness, exposure to too many endocrine disruptors from chemicals in food and personal care products
A diet that is full of organic fruits and vegetables and low in refined carbohydrates and sugar, coupled with regular exercise and successful ways to cope with stress will work wonders in all of these areas. (Might I suggest keeping a prayer journal to help you regularly cast all of you cares on Jesus, because He cares for you?)
Next I’ll discuss causes and effects of inflammation in your body, what your skin has to say about it, and what you can do about it.