The Shocking Truth About Oil Cleansers

Oil cleanser? Those two words seem like a huge oxymoron. And if you have oily skin, that phrase may even strike fear into your heart. It seems like a paradox – but can oil cleansers really work to clean your face and clean it better than a soap-based cleanser?
 

It’s a Trending Topic

Deep-cleansing oil products understandably spooked acne sufferers when they first came onto the scene in the 1960s. A well-known Japanese skincare line was the first to introduce oil cleansing face washes for oily skin types. Of course, the beauty world was rocked – but now we know it’s okay to embrace the oil. Today, the cleansing oil craze is in full swing for all types of skin, including those showing signs of aging. (Make your own oil cleanser with this easy, DIY recipe.)

Even acne prone skin types can cleanse with oil-based products. What is so surprising is how much better they work.
 

Are You Loyal to Oil?

Effective oil-based cleansers do exist. But how is this possible? Can oil really help to balance combination skin, reduce breakouts and help to reduce signs of fine lines? Yes!
 

How it works for breakouts

Most people think that acne is caused by an overproduction of oil. The reality is, your skin naturally produces oil (also known as sebum) deep within pores, offering protection from dehydration and environmental pollutants. However, when that protective layer of moisture is removed by the use of over-drying washes, including bar soap and regular cream cleansers, sebum production plummets – leaving your skin dry, unprotected, and more prone to acne. Additionally, sebum provides antibacterial and antifungal properties to protect your skin from debris that can cause acne.
 

Why We Think Oil-Based Products are Bad

Retaining your skin’s natural oils is key to clear, youthful skin—especially when you want to fight wrinkles. However, many people grew up leery of oil in skincare products. Why? Because most companies used mineral oil in their facial cleansers, soaps, and body washes. Mineral oil is a petroleum-based ingredient found in many personal care washes because it is inexpensive, however, when compared to botanically-sourced oils, mineral oil is far inferior.

Mineral oil is a type of oil known to sit on top of the skin, rather than being absorbed by it. Because it simply sits on the skin, it has a tendency to lock bacteria, makeup, debris, and lingering sebum inside pores, only worsening skin blights. Not only that, if you use mineral oil-based cleansers you will almost certainly wind up with shiny, greasy-looking skin!
 

Are Oil Cleansers Right for Me?

Wondering how an oil cleanser could work into your current skincare regimen? Here are three things you need to know.

  1. It Won’t Hurt You

Oil can be an intimidating substance, especially for those with sensitive skin types. That’s because for years, skincare companies have used low-grade oils in their formulations to cut costs and spare their bottom line. These cheap filler oils include pore-clogging mineral oil. So today, most people are terrified to apply oil directly to their face because they are worried about causing acne, or inflammation. But, it’s ok! With the right cleansing oil, like olive oil, or jojoba you will not further damage healthy skin, regardless of what you’ve experienced in the past.

  1. Oil Cleansing is Natural

The largest organ of your body is your skin. It has the big job of removing waste products, and toxins via the pores. Therefore, it’s important to always remove lingering dirt, grime and makeup, so your pores can do their job. When using the oil cleansing method, you can clean the skin without stripping away the natural oils, and sebum needed to prevent over-drying. This can only be achieved with a natural oil, or oil cleanser, as they are able to clean the skin without removing necessary moisture.

  1. You Need More Oil

Oil is the LAST thing you want to hear about when struggling with oily skin, which is why it seems so weird to use an oil cleanser for acne. However, an oil cleanser is exactly what you need – whoever you are! That’s because many plant-derived oils mimic the sebum that is produced in your skin, instead of stripping all of the moisture out. This sends your acne prone skin the message, “No more sebum needed!” to help prevent oily skin that causes breakouts.  Plus, by keeping your skin moisturized is key in reducing the appearance of fine lines.
 

What types of oil should I look for in the ingredients?

Here are just a few: Jojoba, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, hempseed oil, tamanu, and essential oils of juniper, tea tree, lavender, clary sage, and rosemary.
 

The Bottom Line

Before the invention of soap in the 19th-century, the ancient Romans practiced oil cleansing for the body. As they visited traditional baths known as caldarium, oil was used to cleanse the skin and remove dirt and grime from their skin. Today, some of the top beauty brands are making oil-based cleansers with plant-based oils to mimic the natural sebum production of the skin. Skincare has come a long way from cold creams and Noxzema! So, now (no matter your skin type) there is an oil based cleanser for you.

Just remember: Not all oils are created equal. When shopping for a cleansing oil, stick with a natural face cleanser made with botanical oils (instead of mineral oil). Forget cleansers that contain moisture-stripping ingredients like sulfates and surfactants. You can keep your skin hydrated and balanced by being loyal to oil.

The Golden Spice: Amazing Medicinal Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric (curcuma longa) has long been admired for its vibrant golden hue, capable of effortlessly changing the color of a dish. Most well known for its uses in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, Turmeric adds an aromatic smell and slightly bitter taste to curries, vegetables and even cakes.

But turmeric is more than just a beautiful spice. Behind that vibrant color hides one of the most potent spices in nature, one that ancient traditions have known for centuries to have multi-layered health benefits.

Today, modern research is finally catching up, and making some incredible discoveries. Discoveries that may rival some of our best medications.

So what is it about Turmeric that makes it such a wonder spice? It’s curcumin! Curcumin is one of  the principal compounds found in turmeric and it’s not only responsible for turmeric’s vibrant complexion but also all of those health benefits.

Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, perfect for chasing those skin damaging (and aging!) free radicals out of your body. But it’s also shown some phenomenal medicinal benefits that have the potential to change the world as we know it.

Here are some surprising medical facts that you may not know about curcumin:

Curcumin is a natural anti-Inflammatory

Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and as we come to understand that inflammation may be the chief trigger behind many diseases, this is a very important discovery. One study found curcumin to be one of the most potent anti-inflammatory agents they’d studied, whilst aspirin and ibuprofen were relegated to being two of the least effective anti-inflammatory drugs.

Curcumin may be most helpful for relieving inflammation and joint pain associated with osteoarthritis as well as having the potential to ward off other serious conditions thought to originate from inflammation, such as cancer, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol and chronic pain.

Curcumin can affect cholesterol levels

High cholesterol is a huge problem in the modern world – mostly due to our high fat, high sugar diets – and it’s one of the leading contributors to coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.

We already have plenty of drugs on the market to treat high cholesterol but many of them have serious side effects and can also damage the kidneys. Curcumin, however, may prove to be a much safer alternative.

One particular study evaluated the potential of curcumin in reducing lipid content in patients with acute coronary syndrome and the patients were given curcumin in three doses: low, moderate, and high. Curcumin was interestingly most successful at low doses, and successfully reduced both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

On top of these results, curcumin may also reduce the inflammation that can damage blood vessels and lead to the buildup of plaque. This plaque buildup hardens arteries and causes atherosclerosis which can lead to heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Curcumin can help gastrointestinal conditions

You may never have heard of it, but H. pylori is one of the most common infectious gastrointestinal diseases in the western world. Today we also know it to be the real cause of peptic and gastric ulcers. Though curcumin has not yet proven to significantly attack H.Pylori, the ulcers that it creates were receptive.

Capsule-filled turmeric was given orally five times daily, and after 4 weeks of treatment ulcers were absent in 48% of patients. After 12 weeks of treatment, 76% of patients no longer had ulcers. When given to those that did not yet have ulcers, but symptoms of gastritis and dyspepsia, their abdominal pain and discomfort subsided within 1-2 weeks.

 

Curcumin can lower blood sugar

Diabetes is defined by its chronic high concentrations of blood sugar and for many, it’s a lifelong illness relying heavily on insulin injections.

Curcumin was tested in tandem with insulin, in long-term diabetic patients, and the duo proved to work in perfect harmony to reduce blood sugar levels. To test this further, researchers decreased insulin to see what curcumin would do and curcumin persisted in its anti-diabetic properties with just a minimum amount of insulin. When curcumin was discontinued for a week, and insulin left to work alone, blood sugar levels actually increased.

Curcumin is preventing blindness

Curcumin even has potential against abnormal eye conditions, in particular uveitis, an inflammation of the uvea that’s responsible for around 10% to 15% of blindness in the United States.

In an Italian clinical trial, a curcumin complex was administered orally for 12–18 months to 106 patients with uveitis. It reduced eye discomfort in more than 80% of patients after a few weeks of treatment and after one year, the total number of relapses of uveitis was reduced from 275 to 36.

Curcumin is a natural antidepressant

A study in China investigated the effects of supplementing antidepressants with curcumin and returned some exciting results.

Six weeks of curcumin supplements significantly reduced patients’ scores on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17) as well as the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale.

Likewise another study, published in Phytotherapy Research, similarly found that 6 weeks of curcumin treatment led to reduced HAM-D17 scores in patients with major depressive disorder and that use of the antidepressant drug fluoxetine (ie. prozac) – either alone or in combination with curcumin – was no more effective than curcumin alone.

Curcumin can soothe the pain of arthritis

Another testament to the powerful anti-inflammatory powers of curcumin, the effects of curcumin on arthritis are very promising.

Forty-five patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis received either curcumin, a common anti-Inflammatory agent or a combination of the two. Patients in all three treatment groups showed significant changes but the curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement across all criteria, which included pain and the reduction of tenderness and swelling of joints.

Curcumin is a weapon in the fight against cancer

As a natural anti-inflammatory, curcumin is already at the root of what many people believe is the trigger for cancer – inflammation in the body.

Curcumin’s properties have shown remarkable potential against colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, lung cancer, oral cancer, and squamous cell carcinoma. In fact curcumin has been studied the most in medical research for its potential in the fight against cancer cells as it appears to have an impressive anticancer effect.

Studies have shown that curcumin can play a role in modulating serum PSA levels in prostate cancer and that topical curcumin can produce reductions in smell, itching, pain and lesion size in cancerous lesions.

But perhaps most startling, a 2013 clinical trial studied the effects of combining curcumin and chemotherapy on bowel cancer cells and concluded that this combination treatment might actually be better than chemotherapy alone.

Conclusion

Emerging studies continue to be exciting, with the potential health benefit of turmeric curcumin to treat Alzheimer patients and its possibility as a safe drug for pain management and wounds, due to an opioid-like effect on the brain. In fact, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research believes that curcumin could effectively be used to treat burns because of its strong anti-inflammatory effect.

Turmeric curcumin has been used for centuries to treat diseases and the beauty of curcumin is that it’s consistently been found to be safe with little to no negative side effects. However, this does require further study when looking at using it in large amounts to treat or prevent cancer.

Like any supplement, natural or otherwise, you should always talk to your medical professional before consuming it in excessive amounts.

Time to brew that turmeric tea?

A Probiotics Guide to Help You Make the Right Choice

If you’ve watched any television recently, read a newspaper or magazine, or even browsed the internet, you’ve no doubt encountered some sort of advertising for probiotics. If you’ve done at least a little research, you might even be interested in seeing what a probiotic can do for you. Here’s a probiotics guide that will hopefully steer you in the right direction, so you can find the product that meets your needs.

What’s the Big Deal?

You might have a bit of knowledge of probiotics and how they are purported to help maintain digestive health. There are trillions of microbes that reside in the gastrointestinal tract, or “gut.” The “gut flora” is the term given to these microbes, which consist mainly of bacteria but also contain some types of yeast.

In a healthy gut, there is an abundance of beneficial bacteria that help to keep things working properly. But these good bacteria are always in a struggle with harmful bacteria, and these “bad guys” can do a lot of damage. They can lead to problems such as a weakened immune system, constipation, diarrhea, and more.

When there is an imbalance between bad and good bacteria, that’s when the body needs an infusion of beneficial microbes. These reinforcements are known as probiotics. You can get them in several types of food, such as sauerkraut and yogurt, but most people use supplements. Capsules are the most popular form of probiotic supplement, but they also come in powders, drinks, and even gummies.

There are an incredible number of products out there manufactured by companies that claim they can help improve your digestive health. In fact, there are so many that it can be extremely confusing to choose just one. That’s why you need a probiotic guide to help make the process easier. Here are few tips to help you make the right decision:

Always Read the Label

There are a few pieces of information that the label of a probiotic product should always contain. These include:

  • The names of the different types of bacteria that are included in the product. These should include the genus, species, and strain, most of which will be in Latin. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, or Saccharomyces boulardii. As you’ll find out a bit later, there are different benefits associated with different kinds of bacteria and yeasts.
  • The number of microbes contained in each product. Probiotics contain a certain number of colony-forming units (CFUs). This is basically the number of beneficial microbes you’ll be putting in your system to help battle the harmful ones. Most high-quality probiotics will contain anywhere from 10-30 billion CFUs.
  • Storage information is also important. Probiotics usually need to be kept in a cold environment, such as a refrigerator, so they live as long as possible. However, there are some probiotic products that are manufactured in a way that they can stay in your kitchen cabinet for an extended period of time and still work, as long as the environment is cool and dry. The label needs to let you know how the product needs to be stored.
  • If a label states only that the bacteria were viable when the product was manufactured, look for something else. The reason is that it’s very likely the bacteria in that particular product are dead and will not provide you any benefits. If, on the other hand, the label says that the bacteria will be viable for the shelf life of the product, then you should be fine.
  • Look for probiotics that come in capsule form, because they will provide the best chance that the bacteria inside will make it to your gut so they can do their jobs. A lot of products are poorly made, and as a result, their bacteria die due to stomach acid.
  • Third-party certification is another thing to look for on a label. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate most probiotic products on the market. As a result, you might not be getting what you pay for if the label doesn’t clearly state that the product underwent third party testing from an independent laboratory.

 

What’s with all the Latin?

As we previously mentioned, the types of bacteria contained in the probiotic products you’re considering are very important. Many probiotics contain multiple strains of bacteria in order to provide as many benefits as possible. Although the names of these strains are typically in Latin, you don’t need to be a scholar to understand their benefits.

The jury is still out from a scientific standpoint regarding exactly what strains offer exactly what benefits. But there are a few that have been shown to help with certain conditions. For example, the Saccharomyces boulardii yeast can help reduce the symptoms of some forms of diarrhea.1 The Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacterium can help improve digestion of dairy products that contain lactose.2

The Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, Bifidobacterium bifidum MIMBb75, and Lactobacillus plantarum 299V bacterial strains can help relieve the pain, bloating, and gas associated with irritable bowel syndrome.3,4,5 Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 PCC have been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with eczema.6,7

The Role of Prebiotics

There are several probiotic products out there that also contain prebiotics, which are non-living substances that help fuel beneficial microbes. Gut bacteria thrive when they have ample supplies of prebiotics. The body can’t digest them, but bacteria can. You can also find prebiotics in foods such as bananas, garlic, sauerkraut, and whole grains.

Talk to Your Doctor

We hope this probiotics guide has been helpful when it comes to deciding which products may be right for you. But before you put your money down, talk to your doctor to make sure you won’t suffer any health problems by introducing probiotics to your gastrointestinal tract. Some people with intestinal issues, for instance, may experience worsening symptoms, so make sure you get the “all clear” before you buy any kind of probiotic supplement. If you do, there’s a very good chance that you will enjoy substantial benefits.

Sources:

1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8486328

2https://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01593800

3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886445/

4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3419998/

5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21418261

6http://www.otago.ac.nz/wellington/otago053632.pdf

7https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1720555/pdf/v090p00892.pdf