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Why You Really Need Your Beauty Sleep

Posted by Anna Mitsios on

What does a lack of sleep do to your skin? Can it really make you look older? 

There is a reason why we need our beauty sleep. Sleep is critical for growth and renewal of all body systems, including the skin.

A deprivation of sleep can significantly affect our beauty. It can make fine lines more visible, increase redness, exacerbate pigmentation and decrease skin hydration. The reason why is that a reduction in sleep leads to a decrease in the body’s release of melatonin. Melatonin is a natural antioxidant secreted at night which acts to prevent the skin from free radical damage. This is one of the reasons poor sleep may lead to accelerated aging and reduced skin health.

The other reason that sleep may make you look older is that a lack of sleep increases the body’s release of the stress hormone cortisol. A reduction of cortisol in the body will influence the breakdown of skin collagen, the protein that keeps the skin smooth and elastic.

A lack of sleep has been shown in studies to affect skin hydration, appearance and impact fine lines. In fact a study conducted by the University of Cleveland on the Effects of Sleep Quality on Skin Aging and Function showed that sleep deprived women were shown to show more significant signs of attributes like fine lines, uneven pigmentation and less elasticity versus their well rested counterparts. Poor sleepers were also shown to retain redness in their skin, experience greater moisture loss in their skin and recover more slowly from sun damage as compared to women who were getting adequate sleep.

What are the best herbs to promote sleep?

I have three favourite herbs for combating stress and promoting sleep:

My first and foremost herb for promoting sleep is Passionflower. Passionflower is a beautiful herb for relaxing and calming and is particularly effective where there may be many circulating thoughts preventing sleep.  Interestingly, the Latin name for the herb is Passiflora incarnata which literally translates to “passion made real.” Several studies have shown the benefits of passionflower in reducing anxiety, promoting sleep and calming the nervous system. I find it works particularly well where people are waking up frequently throughout the night as it promotes an unbroken and restful sleep.

Chamomile is another wonderful herbal antidote for stress and anxiety. Chamomile flowers have been used for centuries for their medicinal and beauty properties. Chamomile acts as a relaxant, promoting sleep and calming the body. It also has a number of anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, including the ability to accelerate wound healing and calm irritated skin.

Skullcap as the name suggests, focuses on reducing anxiety associated with many thoughts and mental stress.  It is a comforting herb which has traditionally been used to alleviate nervous tension and exhaustion and works to promote emotional well-being and relaxation during times of stress.

Passionflower, Skullcap and Chamomile are all present in Sleeping Beauty Tea.

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Coco Chocolate Bark Recipe

Posted by Anna Mitsios on

Coco Chocolate Coconut Bark (GFDF)

This is a wonderfully easy and nutritious treat recipe.

Both cacao butter and coconut oil are super charged beauty foods. Cacao butter and coconut oil provide a healthy dose of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids and contain natural antioxidants, as well as nutrients that support mood and the immune system. Cacao butter contains oleic acid, which is the same healthy fat commonly found in olive oil, and theobromine – the potent alkaloid that makes chocolate so unique. Coconut oil is rich in Vitamin E which is essential for healthy skin growth, repair of wear & tear on the skin, keeping skin smooth and preventing premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.

You can keep this is the freezer as a go to snack when your chocolate cravings become overpowering. For a honey free version use stevia drops as the sweetener.

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cacao butter (about 120 grams of solid cacao butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 6-7 tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 3-4 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 vanilla bean (scrape the inside)
  • 1 tbsp silvered or shaved almonds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • You will also need a saucepan quarter filled with water, digital thermometer, a heat proof bowl that goes over the saucepan, a whisk, shallow baking tray and non-stick baking paper.

Method:

  1. Bring a saucepan of water (about quarter full) to boil and then turn the heat down to simmering. Add cacao butter and coconut oil to a heatproof bowl and place over the simmering water in the saucepan. Ensure no water gets in the cacao butter.
  2. Melt the butter, stirring with a whisk or a spatula, and when almost all of it is melted. Ensure that the temperature does not get too hot to touch. If it does get very close and the butter and oil are still melting, remove the bowl from the heat and let the butter melt further on the countertop.
  3. Once cacao butter and coconut oil is melted, add cacao powder, vanilla and honey and whisk together over simmering water until all dissolved and well incorporated. Again, remember to check the temperature to make sure it doesn’t overheat. This will ensure the chocolate is kept smooth and silky, and decreases the chances of the chocolate becoming grainy.
  4. Finally, add the salt and whisk together until smooth. Line a tray with baking paper, making sure the sides are covered so no chocolate liquid is spilt over the edges. Pour the chocolate into the tray and let is spread into a thin bark layer.
  5. While still melted and hot, sprinkles evenly with pumpkin seeds, almonds, coconut flakes, goji berries or other nuts and dried fruit of your choice. You can even use fresh berries if you plan to eat the bark in the next couple of days. One of my favourite toppings is activated buckwheat which gives the bark a crunchy texture.
  6. Place the tray in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The bark will solidify within 30 minutes but it’s a good idea to let it stand for a little longer. Keep in an airtight container in or out of the fridge, depending on how crunchy you like it
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My Favourite “Inside-Out” Skin Superfoods

Posted by Anna Mitsios on

When it comes to eating for beauty our philosophy is that what goes on your body should be good enough to go in your body. Just as we need an abundance of nutrients and antioxidants in our bodies so too does our skin require food rich in nutrients and minerals.

In this article we provide you with a three foods to super charge your beauty routine inside and out.

Olive Oil

We all know about the health benefits of coconut oil however we should not forget olive oil when it comes to powerful therapeutic oils for skin repair and regeneration. Olive oil contains three major antioxidants: vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols which are the main reason it works so well as an anti-ageing and nourishing oil.

Inside: I recommend that people use olive oil raw (organic and extra virgin) as a salad dressing and on their steamed veggies. Reserve coconut oil for when you require your oil to be heated. If you are suffering from constipation have a tablespoon of olive oil before bedtime and it will ensure you start the day with a lighter belly.

Out: Olive oil has been used for centuries for cosmetic purposes. It is a powerful ingredient in anti-aging skin care products, being rich in antioxidants, it prevents skin aging, the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and it also nourishes, rejuvenates and protects the skin. Olive oil does not clog the pores, rather it works to penetrate deeply into the skin whilst providing a cleansing effect. Several ways to use it are below:

  • Use as a calming moisturiser. In my clinic it works wonderfully to hydrate sensitive skin where no other product will work so I recommend to both children and adults with eczema or inflamed skin. It also works well to reduce stretch marks and I recommend pregnant women apply it on their thighs and belly.
  • Use as a hydrating bath. Sophia Loren shared her beauty secret of being a fan of taking regular olive oil baths. To have an olive oil bath just add 5 tablespoons of olive oil to the bath or massage it onto your skin before your shower or bath and when you emerge you will have ultra-supple and soft skin.
  • Cleanse and Exfoliate. You can also use olive oil as a cleanser by just using some cotton wool and a few drops to remove your make up. Combined with sea salt it makes an effective exfoliant.
  • Ready to go. The Beauty Apothecary No.4 Vanilla Silk Hydrating Lotion, &Desert Lime Flawless Face Polish, &Coco Bliss Regenerating Mask and also contain Olive Oil, Cetearyl/Sorbitan Olivate is the formal name for it.

 

Pomegranate

Pomegranates have been known for centuries for their beautifying benefits. The fruit is an original native of Persia and is treasured as a symbol of health, fertility and longevity. Pomegranate extract is rich in antioxidants polyphenols, with the three key ones being tannins, anthocyanins and the powerful ellagic acid which provides the fruit with its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging abilities. It is also rich in vitamin C with one pomegranate providing 40% of your daily needs.

Inside: Pomegranates are wonderful free radical scavengers due to their antioxidant content. This means that they help to keep your body young by reducing inflammation and enhancing circulation. They are rich in vitamin E which makes them beneficial for repairing the skin and preventing fine lines. The high levels of vitamin C found in Pomegranates makes them wonderful for acne as vitamin C acts to balance the production of sebum. Recent research has shown that pomegranates are great for overall health. They have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, improve blood pressure and even reverse heart plaque formation. Enjoy pomegranate juice, or peel fresh pomegranate and place in your salads. You can also pop them into a smoothie – check out my blog post for more. They feature in our No. 2 Fountain of Youth Tea.

Out: Pomegranate contains ellagic acid which strengthens the cell membranes, making them less susceptible to free radical damage and preventing moisture loss. It has also been shown to help to prevent sunburn and can inhibit the effect of pigmentation caused by UV light.

  • Use as a scrub. Make a divine pomegranate scrub by mixing 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds (crushed/blended) with a teaspoon of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of avocado oil. You can use this daily to remove dead skin cells and get clean glowing skin.
  • Use as a toner. Dip a cotton ball in pomegranate juice and use to remove excess oil and grease after cleansing. It works as a wonderful toner for acne prone skin.
  • Ready to go: The Beauty Apothecary & Coco Bliss Regenerating Mask contains Pomegranate and makes for a beautiful brightening and regenerating skin treatment.

 

White Tea

White tea is a little less widely used than green tea, however its benefits for the skin and body are equally if not more impressive than those of green tea. White tea is the least processed type of tea and has the highest catechin content. It is made of young tea leaves or buds stemmed immediately after harvest. As a result it is more in catechins (a key antioxidant) than green tea. It is routinely imbibed in China to maintain skin ageing and youth.

Inside: The skin benefits of white tea include protection from UV damage, anti-inflammatory effects and skin matrix protection. It has also been shown to be an effective skin rejuvenation agent. Some exciting research has shown that the antioxidant activity of white tea is so effective that it may inhibit matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) which are enzymes that degrade the key proteins of the skin matrix – this means it protects collagen and elastin thereby enhancing skin firmness. White tea can also work as a detoxifying agent, helping to remove toxins from the body. Drink white tea as a replacement for green tea or coffee. It can be found in our No. 1 Green Goddess Detox Tea, No. 2 Fountain of Youth Tea, No. 5 Coco Chanai Tea and No. 7 Slim Me Tea.

Out: When applied to the skin white tea acts to repair skin damaged by stress whilst the catechins found in the green tea can act to reduce inflamed skin.

  • Use as a mask. Combine three tablespoons of brewed and cooled white tea with 4 tablespoons of coconut flour. Blend the ingredients altogether with one banana. Apply to the fact as a mask and leave for 15 minutes.
  • Ready to go. The Beauty Apothecary No. 3 Ageless Goddess Serum and &Heal Me Soothing Balm feature this wonder ingredient.
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Edible Skin Solution: Redness & Pigmentation

Posted by Anna Mitsios on

When it comes to skin complaints facial redness and hyper pigmentation are often the top of the list of issues we have with skin.

We all seem to experience it at some time, be it rosacea, mild skin flushing, skin irritation, dark spots or splotchy red patches. Interestingly, rosacea affects about 5% of the population and leads to clusters of tiny red bumps across the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin or a rough reddish swelling across the nose. It is most common amongst women from the age of 30 to 60 and along with hyper pigmentation it can get more severe as we age.

Skin redness can be the cause of social anxiety and embarrassment and whilst conventionally there are no obvious remedies, there are few vitamins which when applied topically help to combat this.

One of the best way to take advantage of our skin absorbing nutrients applied topically is to focus on vitamin and antioxidant abundant products which nourish and revitalise the skin. Three of the most effective anti-redness vitamins include Vitamin B3, Vitamin E and Vitamin C. These are all found at therapeutic levels in Coco Bliss Regenerating Mask. Our favourite anti-redness and anti-pigmentation product.

 

Vitamin B3 or Niacinamide

Vitamin B3, also known as Niacinamide applied topically acts as a saviour for red irritated skin.

Studies suggest that Vitamin B3 applied topically can reduce the signs and symptoms of severe acne or rosacea by reducing the inflammation of the skin. Vitamin B3 works by increasing the production of ceramides and fatty acids which are two key components of the outer barrier of the skin. This action of strengthening the barrier results in skin being better able to keep moisture in and irritants out. Another benefit of B3 is that it inhibits the transfer of pigment to cells minimizing dark circles.

The basis for Niacinamide skin treatments comes from a series of studies conducted in 2005, where 50 women who showed signs of aging were treated with a Niacinamide cream. The result indicated that the women treated with this type of cream showed significantly more improvement in skin elasticity and appearance than women treated with a placebo.

In general, when applied topically all B vitamins will improve the balance, texture and moisture balance of the skin. Taken internally B vitamins will also work to improve damaged skin.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a key anti-inflammatory vitamin and works wonders for reducing redness in the face.

It does so through its incredible antioxidant power, acting to fight the free radicals associated with sun damage and ageing. It also has a wonderful ability to heal and repair skin cell damage, reducing skin redness.

Interestingly vitamin E is found in the skin and is thought to be the most important physiologic barrier antioxidant in the part of the skin that protects you from the elements. Hence, Vitamin E is crucial when it comes to its antioxidant function. Topically applying Vitamin E can restore the levels in the skin that have reduced as a result of oxidative stress from exposure to the sun and other elements.

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is well known as a skin antioxidant and for its ability to reduce redness and irritation. It also helps to boost healthy collagen production and increase the effectiveness of sun protection.

Another quality which makes vitamin C a superstar is that it inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which means that it helps to prevent melanin production. There have been studies that found significant lightening of hyperpigmentation and dark spots with vitamin C.

It is important to note that vitamin C can be vulnerable to destabilising when exposed to air and light and hence we prefer our vitamin C from wholefood sources such as Pomegranate and Acai found in our Coco Bliss Regenerating Mask.

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Why Every Woman Needs An Eye Cream

Posted by Anna Mitsios on

When it comes to investing in skin care, we can often get away with being minimalist in our daily regimes. With so many products on the market it can be difficult to discern what it is that we actually need. However, the one product which I recommend you don’t leave out is an effective eye cream. The main reasons I recommend using an eye cream daily are:

1. Serums and Moisturisers Don’t Cut It

Serums and Moisturisers are designed to plump the skin which is the last thing that we want for the eye and under eye area. Regular moisturisers are often not designed to target inflammation as intensely as eye creams. Therefore they are not as effective in providing the protection and anti-inflammatory action that our eyes need.

2. Puffiness and Dark Circles Need Special Attention

Fluid retention commonly occurs under the eye area resulting in thicker more prominent capillaries which manifests as dark circles. Eye creams normally contain products which reduce fluid retention (such as coffee and cucumber), hence reducing the appearance of puffiness and dark circles.

3. The Eye and Under Eye Area Wrinkles Quicker and Has Less Oil Glands

The eye area can be more delicate than the rest of the skin which is why it is often the first place on the face to reflect fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains a lower number of natural oil glands which is why it may dry out a little more than the rest of the face. Intense hydration therefore becomes critical in preventing fine lines and protecting the moisture balance of the skin.

Our Golden Rush Eye Balm is a must-have in your daily beauty regime. Here are three reasons why:

1. Edible Gold – Eye Bliss.  

Edible gold leaf is bliss for the eye area. Little particles of the gold seep into the eye surface to deal with fine lines and dark circles. Gold is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties working to reduce puffiness, decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brighten the skin and promote skin firmness and elasticity. Gold has been used throughout history for its luxurious and beautifying properties. Cleopatra was thought to have slept in a gold mask every night to enhance her captivating beauty. In ancient Rome, gold salves were used for a variety of skin problems and in ancient Chinese medicine, the queen of the Ch’ing dynasty used a gold massage roller on her face daily to maintain her youth.

2. Ultimate De-Puffing Action.

& Gold Rush Eye Balm contains a number of botanicals which along with gold work to de-puff the eye area. These include Coffee Extract, Cucumber and Horsetail Extract, diuretic and anti-inflammatory ingredients which constrict inflamed blood vessels near the eye area whilst cooling and calming inflamed skin.

3. Refine, Brighten, Moisturise.

Several antioxidant rich herbs and botanicals provide the ultimate radiance boosting and hydrating action. Blueberry Oil is rich in antioxidants that reduce dark circles and hydrate the skin. A potent source of tocopherols, carotenoids and natural antioxidants, it is also high in Omega 3 fatty acids, providing ultra-hydration. Passionflower is abundant in vitamins A and C, essential fatty acids, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and carotenoids. This means it is a wonder botanical for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, reducing inflammation, protecting against free radical damage and hydrating the skin. Gotu Kola works to repair and heal connective tissue around the eyes whilst Linden flower works to deeply nourish and hydrate the eye region. Our eye balm is in a base of coconut oil, the ultimate skin hydrator.

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