Lifes Abundance content relating to 'skin care'

Everything You Need To Know About Skinimalism

girl looking in mirror at clean face

There will always be trends that come and go in the world of health and wellness. Most just aren’t worth the hype, but to us, the past year has presented one new trend that we can fully embrace. Meet “skinimalism,” the Marie Kondo philosophy of getting rid of excess from your life, but applied to your skin care routine. There’s something to be said for simplicity; it allows only for what truly serves us, for what brings us joy, and for what actually works. Is your five-plus step skin care routine made up of a cabinet full of products not bringing you noticeable results or is it hurting your budget? Might we suggest it’s time to “skinimize” your routine.

Back to the Basics

It’s easy to be persuaded into buying the new “must-haves’’ or all star ingredient skin care products. We’re constantly bombarded with Instagram or Facebook ads, influencers, and buzzy marketing terms that promise to address all of our skin “imperfections.” Many skin care professionals and dermatologists will tell you that simplicity is key when it comes to caring for your body’s largest organ. Painful, itchy, or red skin irritations that show up on our skin are many times self-imposed. The culprit? Too many products and ingredients.

Don’t feel any shame or beat yourself up - we’re all human and can easily be lured in by promises of perfect, poreless skin. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your current skincare routine and not seeing the results you’re hoping for, we’re here to help you skim down and get back to a simple, effective skin care routine.

Build a basic, effective routine

The goal of this skincare routine is to maintain balance, hydration and overall clarity of your skin. Plus, you might even enjoy the exercise of tossing out what no longer serves you and your skin!
We’ve pulled together some simple steps to help you get started on your “shelfie” clean up.

  1. With clean hands, touch your skin. Is it dry, tight, oily, or rough? Look in the mirror. Do you notice redness, blackheads, or shininess? Take notes of how your skin feels, what you see and then take time to write down what your goals are. We’ll come back to this!
  2. Assess your current products. Is anything expired? Toss it! Follow packaging instructions for best practices on how to discard the expired product and recycle its packaging.
  3. Group together all remaining products by step. Cleansers, toners, facial oils, serums, moisturizers, masks, etc. Revisit your skin assessment from step one and begin to go through each group of products to remove the excess.
    • For example, if you noted that your skin feels and looks oily and you noticed blackheads when looking in the mirror, assess your products and look for those that will help you reach your goal of maintaining decongested pores, balanced oil production, and breakout free skin. Remove any products that are targeted for dry or aging skin, or anything that is too harsh (think alcohol-based products or harsh exfoliants). It’s also important to remove anything you’ve used in the past that has either caused noticeable irritation or hasn’t produced any results - they are simply not suited for you.
  4. Can you narrow each category down to one product? As a general guideline when it comes to a skinimalist routine, keep each category of skin care at one product; one cleanser, one toner, one facial oil or serum, and one moisturizer. When it comes to treatment masks, if you have two that you love, keep them both and alternate their use. You don’t need to be too strict on yourself to start out, but might we suggest one product that’s a multi-tasker and delivers multiple results!

girl cleansing face with cotton pad

Start Your Skinimal Routine!

  1. Cleanse. Skip the suds in the morning and do a simple rinse with warm (not hot) water. Save your cleanser for the PM. Take a step to be extra minimal and opt for a low-waste bar cleanser.
  2. Tone. After cleansing in the AM and PM, gently pat skin dry. Either mist skin generously or wet an organic cotton pad with your favorite toner and pat across your skin.
  3. Nourish. This step might’ve been the hardest for you to narrow down on, but once you find your favorite facial oil or serum, apply twice daily and take notice of how your skin feels and looks. In a truly minimal routine, adopt the practice of looking for one multidimensional product that delivers antioxidant protection, hydration, skin clarifying properties and deep cellular nutrition.
  4. Moisturize. If you’ve opted for a hydrating facial oil above in step four, you may find that this is one step you can remove. If you need that extra layer of moisture, apply a cream twice daily that aims to deliver smoother, balanced and nurtured skin.
  5. Protect. Apply sun protection!
  6. Optional - Treat. Masking is too fun to not indulge in occasionally, and can help you reach your skin goals more easily. If you’ve narrowed down your masks to just one, follow product instructions for suggested use. Looking for one mask that does it all? Opt for our nutritive, hydrating, and gently exfoliating Hibiscus Mask & Scrub and use 2-3 times weekly.

Pro tip: If you’re rotating between two masks, be sure to try each mask solo for at least two weeks and take close notice of results and how your skin reacts. This will help you gauge which works best, or how they work differently. You’ll also be able to assess if either causes any irritation.


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Why You Need Facial Oil In Your Skin Care Routine

serum dropper on hand

If you’re new to the idea of putting oil on your skin, the title of this blog post might just cause you to raise a brow and think, “no way!” But hear me out. For decades, the beauty and skincare industries have preached the concept of “oil free” and even me, a licensed holistic esthetician, has fallen into the trap of this misinformed marketing verbiage in the past. We’re led to believe that our acne or breakouts are best treated with harsh cleansers, drying astringents, and an oil-free moisturizer. Or, that facial oils are solely for folks with dry skin. We’ve been taught that oil is bad, even our naturally occurring oil. To demonize our naturally occurring sebum is to not fully understand the structure and function of the body’s largest organ. Once you have the fuller picture, using oil on your skin to help acne or dry skin, will feel less daunting.

With all of that in mind, it makes sense that many people are left with the wrong impression about facial oils and need help understanding just how transformative they can be for skin. Dive into some common questions and concerns below about using facial oils for all skin types! Let’s start with the fundamentals.

What role does sebum play in skin health and function?

According to a study - one of sebum’s (aka oil) main functions is to lubricate the skin, protecting against friction. Not only that, but our natural sebum helps skin prevent moisture loss while having the ability to transport antioxidants. It also has antibacterial properties and has pro and anti-inflammatory functions. Love your oil a little more?

Why shouldn’t I dry out my breakouts or rely on oil-free products?

Think about all of those beautiful functions above that natural oil provides for our skin. Why strip your body’s largest organ of this essential substance? Contrary to what you may have thought, supplementing your skin with the right types of oils won’t exactly make you break out. When you deny your skin of its natural oils, it works twice as hard to produce more - which can ultimately lead to a breakout or congested skin.

You can also think of acne as a cut. When you have a cut, would you dry it out with harsh ingredients to help it heal? Quite the opposite! You’d deliver antibacterial and soothing ingredients to aid in the healing process. Think of your acne or breakouts like those cuts - they need nourishment and hydration to heal. Healthy skin is hydrated and moisturized, and when skin is healthy, it can heal more efficiently.

woman looking at clear face in mirror

I often experience acne, have oily skin and/or currently have a breakout. Won’t adding more oil cause me to break out more or make my skin worse?

Not always! If you have acne/oily-prone skin, your skin could be experiencing an inadequate amount of sebum if you’ve been over-cleansing or using harsh products that strip your skin of its oil. Your sebaceous glands may be in overdrive to produce what’s been stripped away - producing more than what’s actually needed. Hello breakouts.

Skin can actually benefit from gamma linolenic acid-rich oils like borage seed oil (find it in this facial oil). A few other oil-balancing ingredients worth noting to look for are green tea and squalane oil.

For skin currently experiencing a breakout, a combination of the above oil-balancing ingredients, anti-inflammatory superstars like Clary Sage and Immortelle essential oils, as well as antibacterial essential oils like chamomile and thyme can collectively support the skin’s natural function to heal breakouts.

I have dry skin. Will a facial oil be enough?

Start by applying 3-4 drops of facial oil to your skin twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. Take note of how your skin feels after; do you still feel dry? Is your skin tight? Do you still experience dry or flaking skin? If so, incorporate a facial moisturizer into your routine and try this: apply a pea-sized amount of moisturizer or cream to your fingertips, add 2-3 drops of serum, and mix. Apply thoroughly to your face and neck.

Pro tip: Commonly experience dry skin? Skip your morning cleanser and opt for just water and your moisturizer and serum. Save your cleanser for nighttime!


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Using Charcoal and Sea Salt Soap On Acne Prone Skin

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Using Charcoal and Sea Salt Soap on Acne Prone Skin

man washing face in sink

Acne. There’s certainly no “one size fits all” solution that can indefinitely clear up one of the most frustrating and commonplace skin conditions. There are many factors to take into account when addressing the root cause of your acne and skin congestion including but not limited to diet, hormones, lifestyle behaviors like sleep, stress levels, exercise habits, and finally, topical skincare products. We’re firmly rooted in the belief that optimal health is a delicate balance of a few core tenets including nutrition, physical wellness, and mental well-being. So, it’s important that when dealing with your acne, that you assess your overall well being, both physical and mental, and aim to help address your acne through a holistic lens for long-lasting, healthy skin. 

You might be wondering, but where can I start today? While not always the complete solution, beginning your journey to clearer, blemish-free skin can start with what you put on it. While our skin is inherently intelligent and designed to self-cleanse, moisturize and protect us, we can support these natural processes with clean, nutritive ingredients to encourage clearer, happier and optimally functioning skin. 

What is acne?

First, it’s helpful to know what’s happening below the surface of your skin. After all, it is your body’s largest organ! Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous unit, collectively made up of the hair follicle, hair shaft and sebaceous gland, your oil-producing gland. Most often, acne is experienced on the face, chest, shoulders or back. Excess sebum production, aka oil, bacteria, and inflammation are a few of the usual suspects when it comes to the formation of acne - which ranges in both appearance and form. It can include comedones, commonly referred to as black or white heads, papules which resemble small, raised bumps, pustules that contain pus and have a white head, and cysts which can range in severity. 

How can I help address my acne topically?

Like we mentioned earlier, skin is smart. We each have a unique skin barrier and microbiome designed to keep pathogens and harmful bacteria out, and the good stuff in. Through years of marketing, we’ve been made to believe that oil is bad when in fact our skin so expertly produces this wax-like substance to coat and protect us. The truth is, healthy skin is in the balance, and our microbiomes and skin barrier are too often under attack by harsh ingredients and products that strip our protective sebum and sweat as well as the healthy bacteria which lives on the skin’s surface. 

Think of your skincare products as supportive rather than replacements for what your skin is naturally designed to do. Let’s dive into one of the key products in our natural skincare line to address acne, supportively. 

woman looking at face in mirror

Charcoal & Sea Salt Soap 

Focusing in on the concept of supportive skincare, our handmade soap deeply and gently cleanses your skin without stripping it of its natural sebum and healthy bacteria to better allow your skin to carry on its natural processes and begin to heal. Topically, acneic skin needs to be treated gently with bacteria-fighting ingredients but it also requires hydration, rather than harsh, drying treatments. 

Supportive

Activated charcoal is extremely absorbent and when applied topically to skin, acts like a magnet for dirt, oil and other build up. By helping to remove this excess build up that accumulates, our pores can better carry out their natural functions like sweating and natural detoxification. 

Hydrating

Our soap is made from a base of organic saponified plant oils (a process that involves the conversion of fat or oils into soap) that are super-fatted (meaning they contain extra fats or oils) to ensure they retain their moisturizing properties. The result? Skin is provided with the moisture it needs to help stay balanced. 

Nutritive

Dead Sea salt is rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium and bromide which help level out some of the root causes of acne like high cortisol production and hormonal imbalances. When absorbed into the skin, these essential minerals can also help stimulate detoxification, reduce inflammation, and improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture.

Bacteria-busting

A star ingredient in this formulation is tea tree oil. This native Australian essential oil been has been shown to possess antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, meaning it can help fight off the bacteria that can lead to breakouts.

How to use it:

It’s important to keep in mind that over-cleansing or drying out the skin can actually further aggravate existing acne conditions. 

On the drier side? We recommend using this soap 4-5 days per week, once daily at night. Be sure to follow up your cleanse with a hydrating, bacteria-fighting facial serum or a moisturizer

Oily to Normal skin? You can use this soap 1-2 times daily. Don’t forget to follow up with a hydrating, bacteria-fighting facial serum or a moisturizer after thoroughly cleansing.


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Skincare Gifting For The Mom In Your Life

woman cleaning her face

Whether you’re looking to treat your own mom or a special motherly figure in your life this Mother’s Day, moms simply deserve the best. Selfless, supportive and loving moms are surely the most deserving of moments of self care - time dedicated purely to themselves to recalibrate, relax, and celebrate their unique beauty. Deciding how best to show your appreciation can be difficult; how can you say thank you to someone who does so much? Like many of us here at Life’s Abundance, we’re regularly sharing our favorite botanical-powered skincare with important women in our lives. We love that our natural skin care products are gentle and clean, but most of all, we love that they help support the natural beauty of the women we share them with. We thought we’d share a few tips on how you can help create moments of beauty for the mom in your life this Mother’s Day.

We’ve pulled together a simple guide for you to make the best skin care picks that will help the mom in your life keep her natural glow radiant. Because our natural skin care products are formulated with clean, natural & plant-powered ingredients, they are extremely gentle and suitable for most skin types, making picking the best one for the mom in your life a bit easier.

For the busy mom

Keep “me time” simple with an easy-to-follow 2-step skin care ritual packed with nutritive plant botanicals and natural actives. As a first step, our Charcoal & Sea Salt bar cleanser will gently cleanse skin to remove impurities and her makeup from the day. Our facial bar soap is formulated with the tea tree and neem oils that fight bad bacteria and Dead Sea salt which delivers earthly nutrients directly to her skin. She can finish off this quick routine with our organic ingredient-filled Facial Moisturizer to boost hydration and keep her skin happy day and night. Fresh, bright skin in a breeze.

For the multi-tasker

Just like many moms who are so naturally gifted with the ability to multitask, give her a gift that works just as hard as she does. Our 2-in-1 Hibiscus Mask & Scrub promises to do just as it says, offering a masking experience that will truly make her feel pampered, and a gentle scrub to keep her skin fresh, smooth and bright. As a mask, it’s the perfect excuse to carve out “me time” for a spa-like treatment, or it can be applied and work it’s magic while she answers emails or handles a multitude of life’s daily tasks. This honey-based mask works as a humectant to retain moisture, leaving her skin smooth and supple after it’s rinsed off.

mom and daughter using skincare

For the mom who misses her regular facials

Unfortunately, living through the past year with Covid-19 has meant much of our normal routines have shifted; including regular haircuts, facials and other appointments that help us to feel our best. Make her feel pampered with the soothing experience of an at-home facial with this four step, spa-inspired skin care ritual that will leave her skin nourished, hydrated and glowing.

  1. Give her the full experience starting with a gentle, calming cleanse using the foamy suds of the Charcoal & Sea Salt Soap.
  2. Just like she’d receive in her professional facials, she’ll love the exfoliating, brightening treatment that is our Hibiscus Scrub & Mask. 98% organic and packed with natural ingredients, this mask can be left on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing.
  3. While her Hibiscus Mask works it’s magic, our Body Lotion can be applied to hands, feet or anywhere that needs a boost in hydration and softness.
  4. Post exfoliating and moisturizing hibiscus mask, she can perform a luxurious facial massage using our Facial Serum as her medium. The end result? Glowing, fresh skin!
  5. The last step to this “almost as good as the spa” facial is crucial to seal in all of those beautiful plant-based ingredients she’s delivered to her skin. Our Facial Moisturizer is a light-weight, easy to massage into skin cream that’s effective at hydrating, plumping & softening skin.

The beauty of our skincare products is that they’re formulated to be gentle and effective for all skin types. Not sure which above routine to choose? Pick and choose your favorite products to create a custom ritual just for her - there’s no wrong way to do it! Whether near or far from the mom in your life this Mother’s Day, the gift of these simple-yet-beautiful skincare rituals will help her feel loved and celebrated everyday.


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This Ingredient Has Sweet Benefits For Your Skin

close up womans face

Sugar. We love it, we crave it & we do our best to avoid it. The human brain can be biologically impaired when it comes to excess sugar intake; our cognitive abilities degrade and our self-control is pushed to the limit. We all know the (many) reasons to avoid over-consuming it - like chronic inflammation, poor dental health, weight gain that can lead to liver or heart disease, & glycation (a natural aging process that’s exacerbated by sugar) - but what if we told you there’s a seriously beneficial way to incorporate sugar into your life? It turns out, sugar may not always be so bad.

Topical Skin Care

You read that right. Your everyday skin care routine is a perfect place to introduce this controversial ingredient. Now hear us out. Not all sugar is created equal - discover how sugar can gently support skin health. How? Let’s explore this sweet ingredient in its many forms below.

Sugar Cane Extract

Saccharum officinarum, or as we’re discussing it here, sugarcane, is a hearty species of grass that originates from Southeast Asia. Beloved by cosmetic chemists and skin care formulators, this plant extract contains humectant (moisturizing) and exfoliating properties.

Sugar cane extract contains glycolic acid, falling under the category of an alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA. AHAs are water-soluble acids, with their most common sources being fruit, and you guessed it, sugar cane! They work by gently peeling away dead skin cells on the surface to unveil more even-toned skin. AHAs, like the glycolic acid found in sugar cane extract, are an excellent option to help aid skin that has hyperpigmentation or a rough texture.

man looking in mirror

Sugar Maple Extract

Just reading this ingredient name, we’re dreaming of warm morning waffles topped with freshly tapped Vermont maple syrup. But let’s switch gears. This sugar extract is in fact from the very same source as your morning breakfast syrup, but formulated into skin care, this extract can help reduce signs of aging and more. This particular sugar extract is also a member of the AHA family, containing malic & tartaric acids. Let’s break them down:

  • Malic Acid: Most commonly found in apples, malic acid is an AHA beloved for its ability to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, even-out discoloration known as hyperpigmentation & reduce congestion in the skin. But what sets it apart from other AHAs, you ask? It’s molecule size. Larger than other AHAs (like glycolic acid), it is unable to penetrate the skin as deeply, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While this does mean it may not be as effective as other AHAs in its family, it is however a more suitable option for sensitive skin types that have experienced irritation from other AHAs.
  • Tartaric Acid: The largest in molecular size than other AHAs mentioned in this post, tartaric acid is an AHA that’s often added to formulations to help enhance the performance of other AHAs when it comes to sloughing away dead skin cells.

Find these delicate exfoliators in our Facial Cleanser. Gentle enough for daily use, the sugar cane extract & Sugar Maple Extract support skin function by gently exfoliating dead skin cells as you wash, revealing fresh, more even-toned skin.

Sucrose (Sugar) Extract

Consumed through sweet baked goods or sugary beverages (added sugar can be sneakily hidden in many coffee drinks & even gut-healthy drinks like Kombucha), sugar can be detrimental to skin health and appearance. The natural process of glycation (a process in which our skin ages) is excelled with the introduction of sugar, and sugar has also been known to cause breakouts and inflammation. But fear not, when sugar is topically applied, skin reaps many benefits.

Sucrose is most likely the most common form of sugar you may be familiar with. It is naturally a humectant and an exfoliant (an AHA). Humectants work by attracting and retaining moisture in the air to seal in hydration. Similar to the Sugar Cane Extract discussed above, sucrose is a natural source of glycolic acid that helps slough away dead cells at the skin’s topmost later to help uncover smoother, brighter skin. Sucrose takes form in the shape of small, crystalline particles which allow it to perform as a gentle abrasive to remove the top layer of dead skin cells and buildup that can lead to congestion, breakouts, or a dull complexion.

Put sugar to work with our Hibiscus Mask & Scrub. Use it as a gentle facial scrub 2-3 times weekly, or opt for a face mask 1-2 per week. Let sit for 15 minutes & rinse.


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Taking Care Of Your Skin In The Winter

woman with lotion

Winter weather looks and feels quite different across the U.S. For some, winter means below the freezing point with plenty of snow, but for another lucky bunch, sunny skies and warmer temps are the norm. In the same way that switching out your summer wardrobe for fall sweaters is a yearly ritual, your skin can majorly benefit from a similar update when it comes to the skincare products you use each season. Whether you’re in the harsh temps of NYC, or basking in the LA sunshine this winter, your unique skin deserves the best protection it can get!

What does winter skin look like?

Generally speaking, as winter temps drop, so do humidity levels, meaning air becomes drier and naturally, so does our skin. How does this manifest in my skin you might be wondering? Oftentimes, these changes look like flakiness or dullness and skin can feel itchy or chapped. Plus, existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis can be exacerbated. In harsh winter regions, like the Midwest or the Northeast, some people may also experience redness caused by the effects of extreme winter conditions.

All of that dry air means that skin is more prone to losing water in a process called Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL, so skin may need extra assistance in sealing in water. Our skin relies on a healthy, functioning skin barrier to retain water with ample lipids, so when this natural barrier is out of whack, so goes hydrated skin with it.

What is the skin barrier & what does hydration have to do with it?

The skin barrier is our last natural defense between us and the outside world. It’s a fancy way of saying the outermost layer of our skin, and its function and purpose is vital to maintaining healthy hydration and overall skin health. The skin barrier keeps vital water in and potential pathogens and free radicals out. In order to lock in hydration, the stratum corneum, the skin’s outermost layer, relies on a healthy layer of protective lipids (oil) to coat each skin cell, effectively keeping water in and intruders (like drying winter air for example) out. The bottom line is that hydrated skin and a healthy skin barrier go hand in hand.

illustration of skin

How to pick the right winter moisturizer for you

Knowing your skin type is a helpful place to start when considering what your independent needs may be. Dry, oily, or balanced? Read on.

Normal or balanced skin

This skin type falls in the middle of the skin spectrum; it doesn’t produce excess oil, but it’s not overly dry either. While balanced, this skin type is still vulnerable to winter extremities and can benefit from a protective barrier plus other nutritive ingredients to restore skin. Those with normal skin types can benefit from Life’s Abundance Facial Serum, formulated with essential fatty acid-rich oils and antioxidants to protect skin from harsh, external environmental factors like dry air or cold wind. If skin needs an added boost of moisture throughout the winter months, add a few drops to your facial moisturizer before bed to help prevent TEWL.

Oily skin

This skin type naturally produces excess sebum as compared to normal skin types, so water can be key when looking for a moisturizer. Opt for the Life's Abundance Facial Moisturizer. Containing 7 of the 8 essential amino acids that help skin retain water, dry winter air will meet its match. This lightweight formula easily absorbs into skin and won’t leave behind oily residue.

Dry skin

Dry skin types produce less sebum than normal skin types, meaning they lack lipids. Add dry winter air to the mix, and dry skin types will also lack water, leading to a state of dehydration.  The best way to combat this is to consider a double-dose of moisture using both water and oil. Start with the Facial Moisturizer and add in 2-3 drops of the essential fatty acid-rich Facial Serum. Blend in the palm of your hands to create a creamy emulsion and massage into skin for an ultra-hydrating, protective barrier.

lotion on hand

Plant actives at work

Dive into how each moisturizer works to hydrate and nourish your skin back to health.

  • The Facial Serum is packed with essential fatty acid-rich ingredients to protect, moisturize and restore.
    • Pomegranate oil: High in punic acid (omega-5) to help prevent moisture loss.
    • Chia oil: Contains the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), that’s been shown to help restore the skin's moisture barrier, especially in dry skin types!
    • Prickly pear seed oil: Exceptionally high in the essential fatty acid linoleic acid (omega-6) which plays a key role in maintaining a healthy skin barrier function.
  • The Facial Moisturizer offers skin a hydrating, protective base.
    • Aloe leaf juice: Contains 98% water and helps skin to become more hydrated and improves elasticity.
    • Hemp seed oil: One of the many amino acid-rich ingredients in this moisturizer that helps bind water to the skin.

Beyond skincare

In addition to your winter skincare arsenal to tackle dry, winter skin, here are a few lifestyle tips to help keep skin hydrated and happy this winter:

  • Use a humidifier.
  • Exfoliate regularly.
  • Consume your water (don’t just drink it!) - think soups & bone broths.
  • Avoid hot showers & baths as this can be damaging to the skin barrier.
  • Drink extra H2O! Tip: If you want an extra nutritional boost, add Life’s Abundance Minerals and Antioxidants drink mix.

 



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A Realistic Proposal to Fight Climate Change

planting-trees-for-the-future

As far as problems go, they don't come much larger than the threats posed by global climate change. And yet, instead of engaging in a meaningful debate about the best solution to the problem, we seem to be stuck in a cycle where many remain resistant to the mere idea of tackling the issues we face. Why is it that? Sociologists have an answer to this conundrum that makes perfect sense. Because the problem is so monumental, and the potential devastation too frightening, it almost seems inevitable, as something impossible to fix. But, what if the solution is much simpler than we're expecting? Not only simple but completely doable? And, icing on the cake, what if the fix was something that pretty much everyone views as positive?

In mid-February, a Swiss researcher named Thomas Crowther presented his research findings at the Science Transcending Boundaries Conference, this year's Annual Meeting of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). Until very recently, the prevailing wisdom was that a widescale adoption of wind turbines and a mass conversion of diets from meat-eating to vegetarian would have the greatest impacts on the planet's environment. But after Dr. Crowther presented the results of his amazing research project, we now know that a worldwide tree-planting "spree" would have the greatest impact on our planet's environment. That's right, simply by increasing the number of trees worldwide from three trillion to four trillion, we could cancel out more than a decade of greenhouse emissions right away! According to Crowther, trees should now be viewed as “our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change."

Could restoring the health of our planet be as simple as planting one trillion trees? The longer answer is that a combination of ending destructive farming practices and replenishing our planet's biodiversity through forestation really could be the turning point in our ecological crisis. In a very real sense, planting seedling trees is the first step in a proactive solution to most of our climate problems. On the micro-level, we can help lift people out of poverty, while on the macro-level, we could make great strides towards reversing the proliferation of carbon in the atmosphere.

As part of our Evergreen commitment (Life’s Abundance has been certified as an Evergreen company by the Tugboat Institute), we make decisions based not just on profit, but on long-term sustainability and on being a good steward of the environment. When we launched our line of premium skin-care products, we wanted to do something above and beyond our typical commitment to creating a better world. A reflection of our natural philosophy, we entered into a partnership with Trees for the Future. Every time a customer purchases one of our skin-care products, we make a corresponding commitment to further fund this green initiative by planting a tree.

Trees-for-the-Future

Trees for the Future (TREES) is an international development non-profit that meets a triple bottom line through their tree-planting mission: poverty alleviation, hunger eradication and healing the environment. In addition to planting trees, they train farmers to manage "forest gardens" in order to sustainably feed their families and raise their incomes by as much as four times! And because they utilize sophisticated algorithms and tracking software, our trees are planted are used in areas where they can have the greatest impact. At present, they have trained at-risk peoples in six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Since they were founded in 1989, TREES has planted over 150 million trees!

According to John Leary, executive director of TREES, "Our planet loses 50 soccer fields worth of trees every minute, and much of this deforestation is occurring in the developing tropics where hundreds of millions of families depend on trees for their survival. Once the trees are cleared, most subsistence farmers in the developing world use destructive farming techniques – including both slash-and-burn and modern agriculture – that inhibit the growth of anything but one or a few temporary crops." Leary's belief is that restoring agricultural lands with a diverse combination of trees and crops is the answer to a whole host of pressing global problems, including: desertification; diminishing access to potable water; hunger and poverty; forced migrations; and, of course, climate change itself.

As a corporate sponsor, you can visit our very own TREES web page to view our current count of tree seedlings planted to date. So far, we've planted an amazing 46,000 trees! To put our participation in perspective, if every registered business in the US were to plant the same number of trees, the trillion number goal would be met with an extra 288 billion on top of it!

The thing that stands out for most people is the idea of planting trees is appealing. Pretty much everyone who has ever planted a tree thinks of it as a positive experience. Anyone can do it. They improve urban environments. They absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen. As far as ecosystems go, planting more trees is always a good thing.

Best of all, it would appear people are enthusiastic about Crowther's bold proposal. The UN has already changed the name of their tree-planting initiative to the Trillion Tree Campaign!

So, if you've ever felt like you can't make a difference, now you know you can! We encourage all our readers to visit trees.org and trilliontreecampaign.org and find out more about these initiatives. And, if you're looking for something a little more local, make planting tree seedlings into a regular fun family outing.


For more on the science and the solution, check out these informative links!

https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2019/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/23744

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/forests-climate-change-co2-greenhouse-gases-trillion-trees-global-warming-a8782071.html

https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-02/ez-pcc021119.php

https://www.wearesalt.org/stopping-the-sixth-extinction-habitat-creation/

https://futurism.com/planting-trillions-trees-cancel-co2-emissions/

http://trees.org/app/uploads/2018/03/One-Shot-Meltwater-Email-PR.pdf

Solve 10 Common Skin Care Mistakes

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We all want gorgeous, glowing complexions, and our shopping habits prove it: Americans spend between roughly $1,000 and $2,000 per year on skin-care products — most of which often end up in the junk drawer — and the dermatology-drugs market is expected to reach a whopping $34.5 billion by 2023. But despite our best efforts and intentions, many of us don’t love what we see in the mirror, and sometimes figuring out the reason requires a little sleuthing. Here are 10 mistakes you might be making in your skin-care routine and how to fix them.

1. Skipping sunscreen. Safety first, kids. If you think you only need to wear sunscreen on sunny summer days, think again. “The sun emits harmful UV rays year-round,” says the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). “Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.”

Do this instead: Slather on SPF 30 or above any time you’re going to be outside (rain, snow or shine) 15 minutes before you plan to leave the house, choosing a waterproof formula if you expect to swim or perspire. Re-apply regularly to ensure consistent protection. And don’t skimp: Experts say most adults need a full ounce of sunscreen, or enough to fill a shot glass, to cover their exposed skin.

2. Not eating a balanced diet. Our bodies need a full complement of vitamins to produce healthy skin cells and collagen. So if you want a dewy complexion, subsisting on ramen noodles for lunch and mac and cheese isn’t going to cut it. Refined carbohydrates are linked to acne. Alcohol makes us puffy and red and can age us prematurely. Skimp on vegetables and protein today, say hello to crow’s feet tomorrow.

Do this instead: Give your skin a daily feast of skin-boosting vitamins and antioxidants by filling your plate with a rainbow of produce. “Make sure they are a bunch of colors — red cabbage, green lettuce etc.,” says New York-based dermatologist Dennis Gross. “Eat veggies that have a lot of color. Nature color codes them for us. The more colors you eat, the better.” Round out your meals with lean proteins, omega-3-rich fish, whole grains, legumes and healthy fats. These foods “are good for your whole body, and that includes your skin,” says Dr. Rajani Katta of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. You can also talk to your doctor about addressing gaps in your nutrition via multivitamins and supplements.

3. Washing your face too frequently. It may seem counterintuitive, but over-cleansing your skin can actually cause it to become more oily. That’s because when you strip the naturally occurring sebum, your sebaceous glands ramp up production to compensate. The result: More shine, and a more conducive environment for breakouts.

Do this instead: Gently wash your face using a mild cleanser. Those with oilier complexions can wash up to two times a day, according to the AAD, while drier types can often get away with once-daily cleansing.

4. Exfoliating the wrong way. Done right, exfoliation creates a smooth, supple canvas for absorbing facial treatments or wearing makeup. Done wrong, and you’re setting yourself up for irritation, dryness or breakouts.

Do this instead: Those with dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin may prefer cleansing the skin with a washcloth. For those with darker skin tones, avoid aggressive exfoliation which may result in dark spots on the skin.

5. Using too-hot water. Beyond the obvious threat of burns, overly hot water dries your skin, leaving it more susceptible to wrinkles, flakes and painful cracking. It also can trigger an immune response in some people, resulting in rashes and hives.

What you should do instead: Use the coolest temperature you can tolerate, and keep your showers short. Not only will this save your skin, but it also can cut down on water-heater costs.

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6. Not removing your eye makeup. This is a big one. Leave your eyeliner and mascara on, and you’re practically begging for an infection. “In some patients, makeup on the eyelid can cause problems such as irritation and infection of the surface of the eye and also damage to eyelashes,” says Scottish ophthalmologist Shahriar Nabili. “Some patients can also develop problems with the tear duct and watery eye.” And if the situation gets bad enough, it could even threaten your vision.

Do this instead: Soak a cotton ball or pad with a mild eye-makeup remover and press it to your closed eyelid. Gently stroke from the inside corner of your upper lid outward until all makeup is gone.

7. Picking at your face. Did you know that human fingernails can harbor staphylococcus bacteria, fungi and other horrors? And yet there you are, using them to extract blackheads like it’s no big deal. News flash: IT IS A BIG DEAL. Picking and mashing can lead to infections, scarring and bruising (and leave you looking like a mess, to boot).

Do this instead: Spot-treat pimples with a benzoyl peroxide-, salicylic acid- or sulfur-based product, and see a dermatologist if your acne persists. Otherwise, hands off.

8. Sleeping too little. It’s called beauty rest for a reason, friends. Not getting enough shut-eye wreaks havoc on our skin in myriad ways. Beyond causing dark under-eye circles, sleep deprivation raises our stress levels, which can lead to oiliness, breakouts and premature wrinkles.

Do this instead: Strive for seven to eight hours of sleep. It’s worth it.

9. Wearing the wrong kind of foundation. Sad to say, but there is no one-size-fits-all foundation. Oil-based foundations may be great for dry or aging skin, but they’re terrible for shinier faces. On the other hand, powders can cake or settle into fine lines.

Do this instead: Pick a foundation that’s made for your skin type. If you’re acne-prone, opt for an oil-free, noncomedogenic formula. If wrinkles are a concern, look for liquid or cream bases containing emollients. And don’t forget to switch to a lighter or powder-based version in the summer, when heat and humidity can melt your makeup right off.

10. Not seeing a dermatologist. Ultimately there is no substitution for regular visits to your doctor. Self-diagnosing conditions such as acne or psoriasis could lead you to treatments that either don’t work or exacerbate your problem. And catching skin cancer early greatly increases a patient’s chances of survival.

Do this instead: Schedule a mole check with your dermatologist annually. In between visits, regularly inspect your skin for any changes — and if something worries you, book an appointment right away.

A Moisturizer That’s Good For Me & My Baby On The Way

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Like many expectant mothers, I spend a lot of time reading mommy and baby magazines and blog posts. A topic that comes up frequently here: warnings about the dangers of ingredients in daily-use products. One day I’ll read about some scary compound that causes birth defects. The next I’ll read about the top three ingredients in your shampoo that can give you cancer. C’mon, now. As if the responsibility of impending motherhood weren’t enough to keep me up at night!

Fatigued though I may be, I still find the energy to obsess over the products I use. On any given day, you may find me standing in a store aisle, beauty product in one hand, phone in the other, as I Google ingredients one by one. (Pro tip: diazolidinyl urea, which happens to be a preservative commonly used in cosmetics, isn't very good for you).1

And don’t get me started on ingredient names. Methyl Gluceth-20 sounds like an industrial-grade paint thinner but is actually a perfectly harmless skin-conditioning agent. On the other hand, the "perfume" you see on many labels — familiar and seemingly innocuous — can actually portend a whole host of toxic effects.

I shouldn't need to be a chemist to buy a moisturizer!

Which brings me to Life's Abundance Moisturizer, which I love for many reasons — among them the fact that it contains no mystery ingredients that require a visit to Dr. Google.

As for the product itself? Glorious. I adore the matte feel, which is of particular importance to those of us who live in warm, humid clients. This product smooths and conditions my face without leaving it shiny, making it an excellent base for a powder-based and liquid foundation — whichever I feel like wearing that day. And the scentless formula is great for me. It doesn’t interfere with my other skin-care products’ fragrances, and it doesn’t overwhelm my senses, which are, shall we say, a bit heightened right now.2

And as a mother-to-be on a budget, the best part may very well be that a tiny amount goes a loooong way, which means less frequent re-ordering and more money for baby clothes (and shoes for mama).

Sasha Sasha Stephens, Executive Project Director

REFERENCES:

1. https://www.ewg.org/guides/substances/1735-DIAZOLIDINYLUREA#.W23mE9hKjOQ

2. https://www.babble.com/pregnancy/smell-pregnancy-nausea/

My Skin’s Road To Redemption Is Paved In Serum

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Author Profile: 40-something mom of two; Life’s Abundance marketing manager; part-time farmer; full-time penny pincher; a little more crunchy than country.

My dearest friend from college, Kristan, has spent much of our friendship lovingly prodding me to take care of my appearance — via makeup tips, wardrobe audits, encouragement toward adopting a basic skin care routine, etc. Much the way I view my floors — “With a good scrubbing, that tile will really shine!” — she’s long been adamant that a little TLC could do wonders for my complexion.

Alas. Clean floors and counters bring me joy, but for most of my adulthood, I just haven’t found it within myself to invest time and money into my own appearance. Then I turned 40, and a close look at my reflection led to an unsettling series of revelations. I have perpetually dry skin despite my high-humidity environment, irritating monthly breakouts, patchy redness on my cheeks and fine lines around my eyes (OMG).

I realized Kristan had been right all along — skin care was worth my attention. The proof was staring back at me in the mirror.

Now, in fairness to myself, it’s not like I’d neglected my skin completely. For years I’d bounced around between organic or natural daily moisturizers. I’m a label-reader, so though I never loved any of these products (and they clearly weren’t working for me given the state of my complexion), I stuck with my lotion strategy. After all, these were nontoxic — that’s worth something, right?

For a while, I was generally OK with this half-truth. But when my 30s ended, it was time to get real. With those lines around my eyes, smiling suddenly felt like a high-stakes game. Because my skin felt so parched and brittle, I was certain any expression of emotion would be permanently etched into my face. I needed to make a change.

So, I took a deep breath and plunged into the murky and expensive world of serums. Being new to this level of skin care (and a little bitter about having to undertake this journey in the first place), I didn’t know what I was looking for, which made the shopping process unpleasant and tedious. Researching these potential cures-in-a-bottle — vetting their ingredients, reading their claims and poring over online reviews — was about as much fun as listening to Uncle Jim drone on about his wine collection during family dinners. And no matter how much money I spent, I got mixed results. Sometimes these products left me feeling greasy; other times they had no effect at all. Regardless, I used every last drop because I’d spent my family’s money on this higher-priced product. Always I cursed my inability to get the skin I wanted.

Countless disappointments later, I thought I had three options — live with new wrinkles, shell out big bucks for not-so-nontoxic treatments, or train myself not to smile.

But then, my employer developed a skin-care line, and I decided to give serums one more try.

lifes-abundance-serum

Life’s Abundance doesn’t mess around with iffy ingredients, and we pride ourselves on selling products that deliver on their promises. And guys, this product delivers. I introduced Life’s Abundance Serum into my routine without changing anything else. After a week of once-daily use, the redness on my cheeks was completely gone! I have small pores to begin with, hence the dry skin, but they’ve tightened up and smoothed out even more. I feel like my skin looks flawless! Plus, I am delighted to report — NO monthly breakouts! I’ve now found a balance using the serum two to three times a week, and the Life’s Abundance Facial Moisturizer on the other days. And, shout out to all the other label-readers out there: This formula is 100% botanical. Read it and leap!

Bottom line: If my complexion was smooth, plump and even-toned when I was 20, I didn’t appreciate it. But, I sure do now.

Arin-Roos
Arin Roos, Marketing Director