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      News — natural skin care

      Stretch Marks

      Stretch Marks

      Stretch marks or striae gravidarumare (associated with pregnancy) as a dermatologist may refer to them as is the result of damaged elastin skin fibers.
      Elastin is the protein in the skin which gives it flexibility and allows it to stretch and subsequently recoil back to it's original position.

      Elastin makes up approximately 4% of skin tissue. When the elastin fibers are damaged, they appear as stretch marks. It is important to mention that stretch marked skin is still healthy, it has just changed in appearance visually and textually. Stretch marks can be the result of pregnancy, obesity, growth spurts and rapid muscle growth.

      So the bad news first... no treatment can 'cure' stretch marks once they have formed. (It may be possible to minimize the appearance by applying topical remedies and having procedures such as laser resurfacing techniques, tummy tucks and dermabrasion.)

      The good news that may come to late is that prevention to a certain extent may be possible. During pregnancy or intense bodybuilding, one can apply a topical ointment that will reduce inflammation and moisturize the compromised elastin tissue.

      Ingredients that have shown to be helpful include essential fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid or r-lipoic acid, lavender essential oil, rosemary essential oil, gotu cola extract, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid (use the plant source). Another key is to avoid dehydration, make sure you are drinking enough good clean water every day.

      Topical Antibiotics

      Topical Antibiotics

      Many people do not even think twice when they use antibiotic creams and soaps.

      This is likely a very bad habit and here is why. As reported in the well-respected journal 
      Nature (Nature November 22, 2001;414:454-457), the skin has a built-in ability to produce it’s own antibiotic like chemicals to protects against bacteria and infection. This chemical is known as a human cath cell or LL-37 and works similar to antibiotics with the added intelligence to jump into action and increase activity only to cells under assault.

      For most people, the use of topical antibiotics will seriously impair the delicate balance of microorganisms on our skin. Compromising skin tissue repetitively can lead to more serious infections and a lack of resistance to pathogens even creating ‘super-bugs’.

      Humans have an important symbiotic relationship with microorganisms that must be respected. A recent Italian study found that exposure to bacteria is essential for the development of an infant’s immune system. It is now thought that a baby must be exposed to germs during its first year in order to develop antibodies needed to fight infection later in life.

      Dr. Stuart Levy of the 
      Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics has been cautioning against the overuse of antibiotic products for years. 

      Food as Medicine

      Food as Medicine

      Is it possible that a solution to many health disorders is so much more simple than the search for a miracle pill or vaccine? Can we use food as a means to overcome our health concerns?

      What if our government was to spend the same kind of money that we currently do on expensive equipment to diagnose disease and put some of that money into preventative education programs with a focus on healthy food choices? We already know that what we eat has a direct correlation to our health as the food we consume becomes part of our cellular makeup. The human body regenerates itself every second of every day. Every day billions of cells in our bodies die and new cells are regenerated. The source of the building blocks for this process comes from the nutrients in the food we eat.

      Fact: We have a whole new stomach lining every 5 days
      Fact: We have new skin covering every 5 weeks
      Fact: Our entire skeleton is regenerated every 3 months
      Fact: We have new blood every 4 months
      Fact: Within a year 98% of the cells in our bodies will have been replaced.

      Would this not indicate that we are able to choose the kind of body we wish to have by making healthy food choices?

      Sharks Without Livers

      Sharks Without Livers

      We are not a fan of the use of shark liver oil in personal care products or dietary supplements that can often be found in face creams, liquid supplement and even otc (over the counter) remedy ointments.

      Shark liver oil or squalene as it is sometimes called is a raw material that has been used for centuries as a folk remedy by fishermen for all manner of ailments from respiratory tract problems, skin problems, and for lymph node swelling. Shark liver oil can come from over 100 species of deepwater sharks.

      An unusual fact regarding the use of shark liver oil is its supposed ability to predict the weather. The local folks from Bermuda have for many centuries placed SLO in a glass bottle, whereby the oil will switch from a clear golden color like cooking oil to a milky white with the atmospheric weather change. Seems like no one knows exactly why this happens apart from also noticing that electrical changes in the atmosphere affect the shark’s liver and alert the shark to move out to deeper water before a bad storm.

      Why is Shark liver oil or squalene oil used in personal care? Well for one in it is a great penetrating carrier (brings active materials to the deep layer of the epidermis) that blends well with other oils and nutrients. It also is a good moisturizer that does not leave a greasy feeling on the skin. These facts are true of most squalene (botanical and animal source) with the molecular formula C30H50.

      Other constituents found in squalene include Vitamin A, and D, omega -3 fatty acids, triglycerides, glycerol, ethers and fatty alcohols. A constituent unique to Shark Live Oil squalene not present in botanical sources is a lipid called alkylglycerols. This lipid is founded in mother’s milk and also in the bone marrow.

      Alkylglycerol is the chemical that was thought to have anti-cancer and immune enhancing properties, however, no studies to date have proved this. Additionally, a Japanese study found some shark liver oil supplements to be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) (Cancer causing agents).

      I believe that Shark Liver Oil is a raw material that has seen it’s time come and go, especially with the many superior sustainable and kinder alternatives available. I relate the use of shark liver in personal care to the use of Ambergris (Whale upchuck) or Civet musk (a foul-smelling secretion extracted from the anal gland of a cat like species) in traditional perfumery.

      So what are the alternatives to Shark Liver Oil Squalene? there are several such as amaranth seed, rice bran, wheat germ, and my favorite olive. For personal care olive squalene wins hands down, it is relatively stable and the fatty acids profile in olive squalene is the closest an oil can get as far as similarity to human sebum (The important protective fatty layer on the skin).

      Why I am so hard on Shark Liver oil for use in personal care or nutritional supplements?
      The most important reason is that deepwater shark populations are severely endangered, and it is not right see the end of a species for the sake of our wrinkled faces… especially when squalene can be made from botanical alternatives.

      Oceana – the worlds largest ocean environmental advocacy sums it up by stating;
      “Nearly all shark species are experiencing severe population declines -some are at population levels less than 1% of their numbers just 35 years ago. Sharks are generally slow-growing and long-lived and breed late in life, making them extremely vulnerable to exploitation and slow to recover from decline. While all shark populations are experiencing declines, deep-sea sharks are the most vulnerable to overexploitation and take the longest time to recover, if they recover at all.”
      More about Oceana can be found at www.oceana.org.