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Posted in Skin Care

7 Best Natural Ingredients for Your Skin

The beauty world is brimming with high-tech devices and cutting-edge ingredients, but when it comes to handling some of the most common skin care problems, newer isn’t always better. In some cases, simple natural options might be as effective as scientifically engineered solutions.

“Many of my patients practice ‘clean’ eating and want to extend that philosophy to their skin care routine,” says Papri Sarkar, MD, a dermatologist in Brookline, MA. “Finding effective clean beauty products isn’t as simple as finding organic produce at the grocery store, but it’s easier than ever before to find something that will fit your needs.”

We asked experts to share the ingredients that are the best of both worlds — naturally based and science-backed.

Benefits: Hydration, anti-inflammatory. There’s growing science supporting the use of this plant fat as a topical skin soother. Recent research shows that extra virgin coconut oil suppresses some of the body’s natural inflammatory agents while making the skin a better barrier. “Many people love coconut oil products to help fight dry, itchy skin and skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis,” says Laurel Naversen Geraghty, MD, a dermatologist in Medford, OR. “Some of my psoriasis patients swear by overnight coconut oil scalp treatments worn under a plastic shower cap.” But Geraghty warns against putting coconut oil on blemish-prone areas because it may worsen acne. Find it in jars in the cooking aisle.

Benefits: Wound healing. This ancient herb often used in Asian cuisine is now a part of modern skin care due to its wound-healing benefits, says Michelle Wong, PhD, a cosmetics chemist and creator of the Lab Muffin Beauty Science blog. Chemicals in the plant boost blood supply to injury sites and strengthen the skin. Researchers have found that when skin injuries in rats are treated with Centella asiatica, the sites showed higher healing. The combination of amino acids, beta-carotene, fatty acids, and phytochemicals help speed healing time, making it a helpful way to treat injuries. Find it in balms and creams.

Benefits: Sun protection, anti-aging. The connection between drinking green tea and improved health has been suggested for years, but it may also help to use the plant on the skin. “Green tea has good results in terms of photoprotection and anti-aging benefits,” says Jeanine Downie, a dermatologist in Montclair, NJ. The polyphenols in green tea have antioxidant properties as well as soothing abilities that help treat sun-damaged skin and offer a way to address the signs of sun damage, she says. Find it in tea you can drink as well as some sunscreen.


Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, eczema relief. “Oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant chemicals called avenanthramides,” Wong says. “It also has moisturizing beta glucans and starches. It’s the reason why oatmeal baths are so effective for conditions like eczema and rashes.” But not all oatmeal is created equal, Geraghty says. “Colloidal oatmeal is powder that’s derived from grinding and preparing oats into very tiny, specific sizes,” she says. This size and quality of oats is what makes the ingredient so therapeutic and able to blend with water to form the soothing paste when mixed with water.

“I like colloidal oatmeal products because they’re gentle and safe, and studies show they don’t tend to cause allergies or irritation,” Geraghty says. “I’ve found that if my eczema patients develop gentle skin care habits and regularly slather on a thick moisturizer containing colloidal oatmeal, they don’t need topical steroids as much or as often.” Find it in skin and bathing treatments.

Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, itch relief. Derived from the nut of a shea tree, shea butter is an ingredient in many moisturizers. “It seems to hydrate skin effectively because it’s loaded with fatty acids,” Geraghty says. These nutrients have a calming and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. She says shea butter might be most useful for treating and soothing eczema. Clinical studies using shea butter as a treatment for eczema in children showed less itching within 4 weeks, and another study with adults showed improvement in 2 weeks. Geraghty points out another plus of the natural moisturizer: Shea butter doesn’t seem to cause skin allergies often, which makes it right even for the most sensitive skin types. Find it in body creams and lotions.

Benefits: Inhibits pigmentation, improves collagen production. Soybeans contain a variety of plant-based chemicals that impact the skin. Among them are antioxidants, fatty acids, and isoflavones. The legume also produces estrogens or phytoestrogens that address skin conditions related to menopause.

“One of the reasons we believe that a woman’s skin turgor and brightness decreases after menopause is because of decreased estrogen,” Sarkar says. “Topical estrogens have been shown to help decrease UV-induced pigmentation and can improve collagen synthesis.” She says soy won’t offer as robust results as retinoids, but it’s another option for patients looking to address these conditions. The isoflavones in soy also offer sun protection that can help address pigmentation to keep skin even, according to research. Find it in creams and moisturizers. 

Benefits: Anti-microbial, blemish-fighting. The herbal remedy derived from tea tree leaves has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects that help combat a range of germs, fungi, and bacteria, Geraghty says. “The fact that tea tree oil helps combat bacteria-driven acne means it may help reduce the inflammatory type of blemishes — the tender pustules or inflamed pink papules,” she says. But the topical treatment doesn’t have much effect against deep cystic acne or comedones. Geraghty also warns about the potential for irritation when using tea tree oil on the skin. She suggests monitoring areas for signs of redness and a rash.  Find it in skin treatments like masks for the face.

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Posted in Anti Aging Skin Care

Best Ingredients and Products for Your Anti-Aging Skin Care Routine

It started with a quick look at the health and beauty aisle. And now, you somehow have a basket brimming with cleansers, serums, toners, lotions, masks and who knows what else. You walk away with a long receipt and a newfound (and probably misguided) commitment to a complicated, multistep anti-aging skin care routine.

You’re not alone.

When it comes to skin care, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options out there. So many anti-aging ingredients. So many different formulations. So many influencers sharing oh-so-many opinions.

Some of us seize up. Others seize the day. We start slathering on every skin care product we can get our hands on in hopes of finding the magical formula to keep our skin young and healthy.

It doesn’t have to be this hard. We promise.

“We look at our skin every day in the mirror, and other people see it, too, so it’s only natural to want it to look its best,” says physician assistant Samantha Stein, PA-C. “But it doesn’t have to be complicated. I compare anti-aging skin care to brushing your teeth. It’s important to do, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a huge amount of time or money on it. You want to keep it simple. Less is more.”

Stein shares advice for the best anti-aging ingredients you should look for in your products, as well as skin care routines to keep your skin looking young — without going broke.

Best anti-aging skin care products

Signs of aging that can be addressed with a proper anti-aging skin care routine include:

Keep in mind, too, that it’s not just the skin on your face that ages. (Ever hear of “turkey neck?”)

“You can consider other areas, like your neck and hands especially, as part of your anti-aging routine,” Stein says. “The same ingredients and routine that we suggest for your face can also help with aging signs in those areas, too. If you’re already using the products, it doesn’t hurt to take good care of these other common areas where we show aging as well.”

So, what ingredients should you look for in your anti-aging products? A simple routine should include these scientifically proven anti-aging ingredients:

  1. Gentle cleanser.
  2. Vitamin C.
  3. Retinol.
  4. Moisturizer.
  5. Broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Stein helps us dive deeper into each of these products.

Gentle cleanser

At a minimum, you want to wash your face at least once per day. Many people can benefit from both a morning and evening cleansing routine, but if you can’t make twice a day happen, cleansing at least once per day is important.

When you cleanse, you want to use a mild, gentle face cleanser.

You don’t need to scrub your face with rough cloths or use those “exfoliating” cleansers that feel like sand. In fact, those methods can be very irritating to your skin and damage your skin’s moisture barrier — the outermost layer of your skin that locks moisture in.

When it comes to choosing cleansers and face washes, keep it simple and gentle.

Vitamin C serum

We know about the importance of vitamin C to boost your immune system. It’s also incredibly popular and useful as an aging skin care ingredient.

That’s because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and it helps stimulate collagen production, both of which help your skin fight off signs of aging.

“Just like antioxidants that you get from eating blueberries and other foods, the antioxidant vitamin C helps to fight off free radicals, which damage the integrity of your skin,” Stein explains. “Oxidative stress from free radicals leads to things like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and roughness on the skin.”

By counteracting free radicals, vitamin C helps to brighten and soften your skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

What’s more, vitamin C helps your body produce collagen. Collagen is the protein that provides structure, support and strength to your skin, as well as your muscles, bones and connective tissues. Your body naturally produces less collagen as you age, which contributes to crepey, saggy and wrinkled skin.

“Vitamin C is a co-factor in collagen synthesis, and so it can help boost your collagen production,” Stein says. “That will help your skin plump up and minimize the look of wrinkles.”

Some moisturizers and other products may include vitamin C as an ingredient. Stein suggests using a vitamin C-concentrated serum for maximum effect. Products containing vitamin C may be marketed as containing “ascorbic acid” or “L-ascorbic acid,” which are other names for vitamin C.

Any product you use that contains vitamin C should come in an opaque (can’t see through) container that reduces its exposure to light.

“Vitamin C can be inactivated by light, so you want to steer clear of vitamin C products that come in a clear bottle or in a jar with a wide opening,” Stein advises.

Stein says lower-cost vitamin C options can be just as effective as pricier versions. And good thing, too, because you’ll want to replace your vitamin C product often. The shelf life for vitamin C products is only about six months before they start to lose their effectiveness.


Another key ingredient in anti-aging skin care is retinol. It also goes by the name vitamin A or retinoid, which is the prescription version. All are referring to the same anti-aging powerhouse ingredient.

Retinol is a nutrient that encourages exfoliation. It increased the turnover rate of your skin, meaning it will help old skin cells shed away, replacing them with newer, healthier, shinier skin cells. Retinol can also help minimize wrinkles and fine lines by slowing the breakdown of collagen.

Because it helps clear away old cells, retinol will also help treat acne by unclogging blocked pores and unearthing blackheads and whiteheads. It can also help to prevent future acne.

Now, all this exfoliating power can have its downsides. Retinol can be irritating to some people’s skin, particularly if you’re new to using it or if you have naturally sensitive skin.

Stein suggests that if using retinol is irritating to your skin, you could first apply a thin layer of moisturizer to your face before applying retinol. That will give your skin a little barrier while still allowing the retinol to do its job.

Prescription-strength retinoid isn’t necessary for most people, Stein also says. It can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Prescription retinoids may work faster in some people, but you should start to see improvements in your skin in about three months with regular use of over-the-counter retinol products.


Hydrated skin is healthy skin. And healthy skin looks younger. As we age, our skin naturally creates less oil. Including a moisturizing face cream in your routine helps replace those oils. Plus, moisturizers can temporarily add some fullness to your skin, helping to reduce those fine lines and wrinkles.

Some moisturizers contain additional anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, ceramides and various exfoliating skin care acids. Choose a moisturizer based on your skin care needs.

You’ll want to be careful about over-doing it on certain ingredients, Stein notes. If you’re using a retinol serum on its own, you probably don’t need a face cream that contains retinol. Same with other anti-aging ingredients. Aim for products that complement each other and address your skin care needs, as opposed to doubling up on the same ingredients in multiple products.


Stein says that regular use of sunscreen is hands-down the most important product in your anti-aging routine. And not just for summer or when you’re going to be outside on a sunny day. Use sunscreen every day.

Sunlight emits both UVA and UVB rays. Think of it like this: UVA for aging. UVB for burning.

So, even on days when the sunshine isn’t at peak sunburn level, it’s still emitting those UVA aging rays. And UVA is sneaky. It affects you through the windows in your home or office and through your car’s windshield.

“Typically, people don’t experience a sunburn if they’re in the car for a long time, but they still get the aging effects from the sun,” Stein states. “Or if you go on a quick walk on your lunch break on a cloudy day, you probably aren’t going to get a sunburn, but you’re still absorbing those rays and damaging your skin.”

She adds that the best sunblock is whatever kind you’ll use every day. Whether you prefer a chemical sunblock, a mineral one or a spray, the choice is yours. Just make sure it’s at least SPF 30.

As for those powdered sunscreens? They’re good for a quick afternoon touchup, but it’s best not to rely on them on their own and not for full-day use.

If you’re looking for efficiency in your skin care routine, try a moisturizer-sunscreen combination product to cut down on the number of products you need.

Simple anti-aging routines

When to start an anti-aging skin care routine

Stein says it’s never too early to start an anti-aging skin care routine. Never too late, either. Starting younger is better — before your skin starts to age naturally. There’s no rule saying that an anti-aging routine can’t start in your 30s, 40s or 50s and beyond. While you won’t erase decades of damage to your skin, some signs of aging can be stopped, and even reversed at least to some extent in a lot of people.

Give it time

When adding new products to your skin care routine, it’s always best to take it slow. If you start by adding a slew of new products at once, you won’t know which one (or ones) are actually having the effect you’re looking for. And now, you have a laundry list of products to continue to buy when it really may only be one or two of them that you need. Additionally, if you try a bunch of new ingredients at once and have a reaction, like redness or itching, it’ll be harder to pinpoint the cause of the irritation.

You also want to allow your products time to work. Skin care is more of a marathon than a sprint. Undoing years of aging won’t happen overnight.

Stein notes that it’s likely that when you start using new skin care ingredients, your skin will actually look like it’s getting worse before it gets better. It’s called skin purging, and it’s totally normal and a good sign. Skin purging means that your skin care products are doing their job — they’re cleaning house. And just like when you organize the basement, things tend to get a little messy before they look better.

She recommends giving any new skin care products about three months before you can expect to see results.

Other ways to care for your skin

Healthy, younger-looking skin isn’t just about the things you rub on your face. It also starts from the inside. Just like any other part of your body, your skin can reflect your overall health.

Stein recommends these healthy-living tips that will help to keep your skin in tip-top shape:

A simple routine can make a big difference in the health of your skin and reduce the signs of aging. Remember — give it time, though. And if you don’t see the improvements you’re looking for after at least three months, don’t hesitate to talk with a dermatology healthcare provider.

“It’s good to consult your healthcare provider about your skin care needs because everyone has a different skin type and your provider can help recommend products that are best for you and your needs,” Stein encourages. “There’s so much out there, and it can get overwhelming and expensive. Your provider can help you cut through that clutter.”

Posted in Skin Care Wellness

7 Ways Drinking Water Helps Improve Skin

Many people underestimate the power of drinking water and the positive affects it can have on your skin and your overall health. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, protecting you, storing lipids and water, preventing fluid loss and serving as thermoregulation. Drinking more water is the most natural way to get that beaming, glowing and healthy skin we all want.

Let’s take a look at 7 ways drinking water helps improve skin.

#1. Sagging Skin

Rapid shedding of fat or extreme weight loss may cause sagging skin. Many people tighten their skin by water fasting, but this is an unhealthy method and can actually do grave damage to your skin. By drinking ample amounts of water day-in and day-out, you can slowly tighten your skin and maintain a healthy glow.

#2. pH Balance

It is important to maintain a good pH balance in your skin. The pH of any substance ranges from 0-14 with 14 containing the most alkaline and 0 being highly acidic. A pH value of 7 is neutral and is the exact pH value of pure water. The reason you need to drink more water is to ensure that your pH value is balanced, giving you healthy skin. The reason it is important to wash your skin thoroughly with water after using face wash is to maintain the correct pH balance.

#3. Flush Toxins

Drinking water will flush out the toxins in your body, especially the harmful toxins that can take a toll on your overall health. By increasing your water intake, you can flush out the toxins in your body to improve the health of your skin and your body. Many people go on juice diets in order to flush out toxins, but maintaining a healthy diet and drinking water will help flush out toxins just the same.

#4. Reduces Wrinkles

Water keeps your body hydrated and refreshed and helps maintain your skin’s elasticity. People who drink large amounts of water are less likely to suffer from scars, wrinkles, and soft lines and they won’t show as many signs of aging as those who drink little amounts of water.  As you grow older, it is tougher for your body to retain water, so by inputting more water into your system, you are helping your body and your skin stay hydrated.

#5. Prevents Pimples and Acne

Certain kinds of toxins will clog your small pores on your epidermis and can cause issues like acne and pimples. By drinking more water, you ensure that you won’t suffer from severe pimples and acne. The more hydrated your skin, the less your pores will clog.

#6. Moisturize

Not only should you drink a lot of water, eight glasses a day to be exact, but you should also use it to clean your skin thoroughly. It may not seem ideal to take a bath or shower every day, especially during the colder months, but it is great for your skin to cleanse your body with water to clear our and unclog pores to keep your skin moist and healthy.

#7. Elasticity

If you have a lack of elasticity in your skin, it may be that you are dehydrated. To check your skin’s elasticity, gently pinch your skin and see if it bounces back. If it doesn’t bounce back, you need to drink more water to hydrate yourself and to plump up your cells. Areas such as the skin under your eyes can become dark if you lost elasticity and are not hydrated.

How much water should you be drinking a day?

The amount of water you should drink in a day depends on metabolism, weight, height and your daily routine. Generally, adults should drink between 5 and 8 glasses of water everyday, and even more if needed. Always make sure you are drinking at least six glasses a day to stay hydrated and healthy.

From helping your skin maintain elasticity, to reducing wrinkles and fine lines, water can do amazing things for your skin and for your overall health. At Pure Luxe Medical Spa we offer skin treatments such as the honey enzyme facial, fire and ice facial and exfoliating clear skin facial, along with clinical peels, microdermabrasion and so much more. We also offer a wide array of medical grade skin care products to keep your skin looking youthful, healthy and beautiful.

Posted in Skin Care Wellness

The Anti-Acne Diet: What to Eat (And Not Eat) for Clear Skin

It’s no secret that the food we eat affects our health, but did you know that our diet can also impact our skin? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but some of the yummy things you’ve been eating may be triggering acne (gasp).

To learn more about this, we chatted with a dermatologist and holistic nutritionist. Keep reading to learn how exactly diet affects the skin and acne and what foods to indulge in and what foods to avoid in an anti-acne diet to keep your skin clear and glowy.


How diet affects skin and acne

Acne is typically caused by pores that become clogged with dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells. The clogged pores then lead to inflammation and cause pimples. So how does food come into play? Our bodies need to break down and digest the food we eat, absorb nutrients from it, and then eliminate it (yes, we’re talking about poop). When you consume healthy foods, it’s easy for the body to go through that process. Junk food, however, is another story.


“The body cannot break down ‘fake’ foods or foods that have preservatives and artificial ingredients,” says holistic nutritionist Sally Pansing Kravich, MS, CNHP. “Since the skin is considered the largest organ, foods that do not break down often will not eliminate through the elimination channels of the bowel and kidneys, and instead create an overload and come out in the skin.” So if your body can’t eliminate the food properly, it will eliminate it through the skin as breakouts.


3 foods that cause acne

Milk and cookies

1. Dairy

Now that you’re clued in on how food affects acne, let’s talk about what particular foods to avoid if you have acne-prone skin. Diary, sadly, is at the top of the list of foods to avoid. Sorry cereal lovers!


Here’s why: “Dairy is a mucus former, and most people eat dairy products with a starch,” Kravich says. “This combination creates hardened mucus which comes out through the skin. [Furthermore], many people are missing an enzyme that helps digest dairy products, which is especially true as we age. If we are missing the enzyme that helps to digest milk proteins, they can solidify and come out via the skin.”


Unfortunately, this means that it’s advised to avoid foods with dairy such as bagels and cream cheese and pizza (sigh) for optimal skin health. However, there is some wiggle room. Kravich says having organic plain yogurt with equal size fruit like blueberries and papaya or a limited amount of hard cheese in combination with fruit or veggies is cool to consume.


According to board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, of SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care, the link between dairy consumption and acne is likely due to the added growth hormones in the milk that trigger oil glands to go into overdrive, which then triggers acne. Even organic milk and milk products without added growth hormones still contain natural hormones that can lead to increased acne.


2. Sugar

“High-glycemic foods can trigger spikes in one’s blood sugar, which may increase inflammation in the body and in turn can trigger acne flares in people who have an underlying predisposition to this type of acne,” Dr. Shainhouse says. “Blood sugar spikes may also increase sebum production by the oil glands, which could trigger a breakout in acne-prone pores.”


In other words, according to studies, eating less sugary foods results in less acne. So staying away from cupcakes and candy might be a good idea for both your health and your skin.


3. Alcohol

There’s nothing wrong with Netflixing with a glass a wine (or two), but if you struggle with acne rosacea, you may want to think twice. Dr. Shainhouse says women with acne rosacea may notice their skin get red and develops acne lesions when they drink alcohol. Also, she notes that drinking alcohol can also dehydrate your skin, making it more prone to acne breakouts.


If you have an inkling that dairy, sugar, or alcohol may be the culprits behind your breakouts, Dr. Shainhouse suggests avoiding them for a month or two to see if it reduces acne flares. You can also keep a food diary and share it with your doctor or dermatologist who can help create an anti-acne diet plan specific for you.

Sweet potatoes

Foods that are good for acne-prone skin

Now let’s dive into what foods you can freely indulge in. We’ll preface this by saying that there isn’t much research that demonstrates which foods can or can not combat or prevent acne. Generally speaking, though, foods that are healthy and easy for your body to digest are typically what is best. Specifically, Kravich recommends filling up your anti-acne diet with lots of fruits and veggies.
“Vegetables build vibrant health and healthy cells while fruits are cleansers and antioxidants,” Kravich says. In particular, she recommends stocking your grocery cart with celery, cucumber, carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, acai (hello, antioxidants!), lemon, papaya, and apples to help keep your skin clear.


The takeaway

So there you have it. Your anti-acne diet includes lots of fruits and veggies and less inflammatory foods such as dairy, sugar, and alcohol. With that said, it’s not a one-size fits all approach. So be sure to consult with your dermatologist and keep a food diary to help you pinpoint what foods may be contributing to flare ups.

Posted in Makeup Tutorials

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Posted in Acne Treatment Face Masks

DIY Turmeric Face Mask for Hyperpigmentation & Acne Scars

Posted in Skin Care

DIY – Oatmeal and Honey Face Mask

DIY – Oatmeal and Honey Face Mask


Oatmeal has healing, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which means it helps to regenerate and moisturize the skin to keep it young. It soothes irritation and leaves your skin healthier and soft.

Honey is an antibacterial agent, it prevents infection. It also acts as a humectant to keep moisture inside the skin which is going to make your skin glow! Just like oatmeal, it has healing and antioxidant properties to protect your skin.


  • 1 tablespoon of oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey (if possible organic, local)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of boiled water

Blend your oatmeal to make it smoother (if needed). Mix your boiled water and oatmeal until it forms a thick paste. Add a teaspoon of raw honey. Mix everything together. Once cooled down, apply the mixture on your skin. Leave it for 10/15 minutes and rinse with clean water.