Today, it’s far too easy to walk into a store and drop hundreds of dollars on the miracle cure for all your skin’s problems.  Acne. Rosacea. Wrinkles.  All problems can be cured if you throw money at them, or so many cosmetics companies would like you to believe.

The truth is much simpler.  Good, healthy habits—inside and out—are the true secret to beautiful skin.  Your body can heal your skin’s problems with proper support from you and a few effective, but inexpensive, products.

Don’t believe me?  Give these 17 beautiful skin tips a go and see for yourself!

#1 – Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables

Don’t underestimate the power of antioxidants, especially if they begin working internally.  The benefits of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in everyday fruits and vegetables extend to the skin.  In fact, the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the cleaner your blood gets and the more detoxified your body becomes.  Eventually, the clean on the inside will spread outside, resulting in fewer breakouts.  On the other hand, processed food and “junk” with less nutritional value can build up toxins in the skin, cause breakouts, and do very little to keep your overall health good.  So eat right for great skin and save money on costly skin care “fixes” in the future.

#2 – Stay Hydrated

Your pores are happiest when they’re well hydrated, so drink enough water to spread the wealth throughout your body.  The optimum amount to drink is 64 ounces of water each day, but the benefits increase if you up your water intake to 96 ounces a day (whenever possible).  Your skin clears up, increases in elasticity, evens in tone, and just seems fresher all around.  Drinking water to hydrate your skin from within can save you the cost of that pricey super-emollient moisturizer down the line.

#3 – A Good Nightly Routine

Sleeping with your makeup on. Skipping that nighttime moisturizer. Limiting your skin care to once a day, basically, cuts your skin’s beauty in half.  To get the full benefits of your daily skin care, you need to care for your skin in the morning and the evening, just before bed.  The nighttime is the perfect time for your skin to rejuvenate and rebuild itself, so a good moisturizer gives your skin the tools it needs to do this.  And never leave your makeup on overnight—you’re just asking for your pores to get clogged, angry, and overwhelmed by pimples.  Good skin care night and day can prevent breakouts, irritation, wrinkles, and more problems that will plague you.

#4 – Weekly Gentle Exfoliation

Excess skin can build up on your skin, blocking pores and interrupting the healthy processes that keep your skin looking beautiful.  Instead of letting it sit there, a good (but gentle) exfoliating routine lets your skin breathe the way it needs to.  Choose a non-abrasive facial cleanser that uses natural elements to carry away layers of dead skin.  But don’t scrub too hard or too often.  Once a week, using your fingertips in gentle circles is plenty.  Add this step into your skin care routine and you’ll see both short- and long-term benefits you’ll love.

#5 – Moisturizing Oils

The idea of adding oil to your skin might sound absurd, but using the right oils can greatly improve your skin’s health and tone.  Coconut oil is one such choice, which absorbs quickly into the skin.  It provides deep moisture that won’t leave you feeling oily. Use it all over, especially just after a shower.  For smoother and firmer skin, you might also try grapeseed oil.  These natural oils are an inexpensive way to get nutrients and moisture that your skin needs.

#6 – Products with Vitamin E

Sometimes it’s all about the ingredients of the products you’re using.  We’ll talk about going natural with your products later, but one important thing to look for is vitamin E in your moisturizer.  This natural antioxidant can be used directly on the skin to prevent the signs of aging, repair mild sun and pollutant damage, and improve the tone and texture of your skin.  For benefits from the inside, eat foods right in vitamin E: nuts, seeds, vegetable and fish oils, wheat germ, and whole grains. Vitamin E supplements will also help improve your skin’s health.

#7 – Don’t Go Dry

The golden rule of skin care is never to let your skin get dry.  Cleansers and scrubs that over-strip and dry out your skin may be too harsh.  If you notice this happening, scale it back a bit.  Your skin should not feel tight and pinched when you’re done cleansing it, since some natural oils need to remain for your skin to stay healthy.  During dry winter months, make sure to up your moisturizer’s power to compensate.  Keeping your skin well hydrated and nourished is something you can do every day to maintain its appearance and health.

#8 – Use Enough Sunscreen

You can take good care of your skin all you want, but going outside without sunscreen is like flushing all that money, time, and effort right down the toilet.  UVA rays age and UVB rays burn the skin, so why do you want to exposure your skin to that?  A sunscreen can protect you from solar radiation, hence helping to prevent damage like photo aging, spots, and a predisposition to skin cancer.  Use SPF to create a buffer between your skin and those hurtful rays.  But don’t panic: sunscreen doesn’t have to be slimy or greasy.  Pick a product that feels right with an SPF of at least 30, and you’re good to go.

#9 – Choose Natural Soaps

Instead of exposing your skin to irritating dyes and fragrances (the leading cause of allergic reactions to cosmetics), choose natural soaps and other products to put on your skin.  Soaps that use vegetable oil or coconut oil as a base may not suds up as much as artificial cleansers, but they make up for it in effectiveness. And safety for your skin, of course.  Banish the toxic allergen-triggers to someone else’s bathroom and stick to naturals.  Glycerin-based soaps are ideal for oily skin, while goat’s milk soaps can help with combination skin woes.  If you’ve got to have scent in your soap, don’t worry: most natural soaps are lightly fragranced with essential oils that smell just as heavenly.

#10 – Know Your Skin

You don’t have to be an aesthetician, but you do have to be the expert on your own skin.  Never buy anything if you don’t understand how it will help your specific skin.  Take time to educate yourself, speak with a professional, and determine what kind of skin you have.  Know what your problems are, what your skin craves.  From there, shopping for the right products will be a breeze.

#11 – Less Is More, with the Right Products

Speaking of using the “right” products, matching your skin care to your skin type is the easiest way to get great skin without spending a fortune. If you only buy products that work for your skin, you’re not wasting your money on the big claims of those pricey miracle cures.  Instead, you can use that money for a new eye shadow or to stock up on your must-haves for a healthy routine. Skip the aimless wandering down the drug store aisle and seek out advice from a dermatologist or aesthetician.  Ask what you should look for in your products and then use that list to seek out the treatments that will be most effective for your skin specifically.

#12 – Good Habits

Aside from eating well and adopting a good skin care routine, other habits can impact your skin’s nature glow.  Make sure you exercise regularly and get enough sleep each night.  Not only will these activities keep you feeling refreshed and relaxed, but the good feelings result in happy, healthy skin.  A lack of sleep, on the other hand, can increase the formation of wrinkles.  And a lack of exercise lets your skin’s elasticity break down faster and lets it hang loose.  Keep aging at bay with these good habits.

#13 – Vitamin C

Other vitamins than E can help your skin stay youthful and beautiful.  Products containing vitamin C will give your skin an extra boost of antioxidants, which work to protect skin cells from pollutant damage.  The best way to reap these benefits is to get vitamin C inside and out. Get vitamin C in your diet from orange juice and broccoli, then moisturize with a vitamin-rich cream or lotion.

#14 – An After-Gym Routine

Exercise is great, as I already mentioned, but adding exercise to your routine requires more than just breaking a sweat to keep skin healthy.  Cleanse your skin twice a day (morning and night), except on gym days when you should cleanse after your trip to the gym.  Make it part of your ritual, like stretching or squeezing in that last set of reps.  Shower or wash your face thoroughly, following with a moisturizer, and you’ll avoid that post-gym breakout that no one likes to see.

#15 – Don’t Be Too Rough

Many of us take it for granted that skin is tough, resilient.  In reality, we need to treat it with tender loving care.  When you dry your face, don’t pull with the towel.  A gentle pat dry will suffice and it won’t stretch out your pores and cause wrinkles.  When applying eye makeup, be careful not to pull at the eyes either, since the delicate skin around the eyes can tear easily.  Take it easy and you’ll prevent wrinkles and other damage that will show up in the years to come.

#16 – Pay Attention To Your Hair Care

What you put on your hair does matter.  Shampoos, conditioners, and styling products should be selected with the same care as your moisturizer.  Look out for dyes, fragrances, and other damaging artificial ingredients that can affect your scalp and the area around your hair line.  Your hair touches your face all day and night, so what you put on it matters.

#17 – Live Stress-Free

Stress can wreak havoc on your life in many ways, especially through your skin.  Conditions like acne and rosacea have been linked to the inflammation caused by stress.  Take a break when you need it. Try yoga meditation. Take a hot bath. Whatever tactics you use to unwind will help not only your disposition, but your skin too.

Good luck with these great tips! Beautiful skin is just a few steps away.

You might be shocked to learn how many chemicals there are inside the beauty products you use every day.  Flip over one of your beauty products and read the ingredients.  All those words you can’t pronounce are probably different chemicals that get absorbed by your skin.  You wouldn’t want to eat things like this in your food, so why would you want to put it on your skin?

Sure, these chemicals all have their purposes, and some are mostly harmless, but wouldn’t you rather use products that contain natural ingredients? Especially if these ingredients can help your skin without the harmful side effects. In general, this just makes sense.

Most skin care and cosmetic products are made up of five key parts: emollients, humectants, emulsifiers, surfactants, and preservatives.  This article will discuss the function of humectants in common beauty products and what natural alternatives are available.

Humectants: Moisture Barriers For the Skin

The purpose of humectants in your beauty products is simple.  These handy ingredients protect the skin from water loss and other external factors that cause dryness.  They don’t add moisture, like emollients do, but they seal off the skin to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.  Sounds important, right?

It’s incredibly important, but also a very delicate balancing act.  Some humectants are too strong, especially the chemical ones, and can almost suffocate the skin by creating a thick film over it. Other options—namely, natural ones—are compatible with the skin, working with it instead of against it.

Synthetic Humectants to Avoid

There are several artificial humectants to look for on the typical ingredient list of your skin care or cosmetic products.  Some have minor side effects that occur quickly, while others might harm your skin over a much longer period of time.  Here are a few of the more common chemicals to avoid:

  • Propylene glycol and Ethylene/Diethylene Glycol.  These have been shown to cause irritation and contact dermatitis, a skin condition present where the product makes contact with your skin.
  • PEG compounds and Ethoxylated Surfactants.  These can contain a toxic by-product called dioxane that can cause long-term damage to the skin.
  • Synthetic alcohols, such as Glyceryl Coconate, Hydroxystearate, Myristate, and Oleate.  These have been shown to cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, and contact dermatitis.

Animal Proteins as Humectants: Good or Bad?

In the attempt to use “natural” ingredients, many skin care companies use animal proteins as humectants. In theory, these make sense as a substitute, since the collagen, elastin and keratin found inside do have some minor benefits.  However, in reality, the molecules in these animal proteins cannot be broken down enough to penetrate human skin.  If they did get in, the body would reject them as invaders, kicking the immune system into gear.

Natural Humectants: The Way to Go

The lesson here?  Your skin needs beauty products to help it protect itself, and the only way to do that is by avoiding harmful, ineffective ingredients.  Turn to plant-based natural alternatives, such as those used in Xtend-Life’s skin care products—a personal favorite.  Look for alternatives like lecithin, panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) and glycerin in your skin care and cosmetic products. Your skin will thank you for it!

Getting stretch marks on legs is quite common. You might not notice them yourself as easily as for example stomach stretch scars, as they often appear high up on your thighs. That’s where they appear most because that’s where the most fat is stored on your legs. Certainly, the buttocks are such a place as well.

Your calves are a less likely place to get stretch marks on legs, but it happens too. One cause of getting stretch marks on your calves is if you build muscles there very rapidly.

But mostly, stretch marks on legs are caused by rapid changes in weight, depletion of collagen and elastin from aging, and poor nutrition. These are things that can be prevented and addressed with lifestyle choices.

When the marks first appear they can be pink or purple, and they’ll be quite visible. But as the stretch marks age they’ll be less and less visible, and finally they’ll be grayish or skin colored and might only be visible in certain lights. Good news, huh?

The bad news is that the older they are, the more impossible it gets to get rid of them completely.

Here are some fundamentals for how to prevent, avoid, and reduce stretch marks on legs.

1. Avoid rapid weight change. If you are overweight then release the extra weight slowly in a healthy way. Many lose weight quickly and then they’re disappointed to see the state of their skin. It is important to make sure you do it in a steady pace and with healing foods.

2. Get all the nutrients you need. A lot of people walk around with nutritional deficiencies without knowing it, and they pay for it with health issues and loss of youthful appearance. Eat a varied diet with lots of antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals to prevent and reduce stretch marks.

3. Increase collagen and elastin growth. This can’t be done by taking collagen or elastin orally, in skin care or injections. But you can boost your own growth of collagen and elastin, first with a healthy diet, and then with the right skin care. Look for skin care ingredients that are proven to increase your growth of collagen.

4. Increase the blood circulation. This can increase the collagen and elastin in your skin and increases its ability to stretch. Exercise, stretch, massage, rub in some lotion, skin brush, or just about anything that makes your skin warm will increase your blood flow.

5. Use moisturizer with natural vitamin E. It can be a plant oil, like jojoba, grapeseed, wheat germ, almond, macadamia, olive, or avocado oil. Mm, so rich and healing. Or it can be an easy to absorb natural skin cream, rich in vitamin E, plant butters and oils, reparative keratins, and active manuka honey.

Remember that the best remedy against stretch marks on legs is to have a healthy body through and through. It is easier to prevent stretch marks than to get rid of those you already have, but you can always improve your skin one way or another.

Most of us use our skin care and cosmetic products day in and day out without giving thought to how they were made. Or what they were made of.  The process is a delicate one, and one worth knowing about as the end user.

A well-crafted beauty product is a balanced blend of function and style, a work of art.  Many ingredients, useless independently, come together to create a masterpiece.  Within this masterpiece, something has to function as the base, the foundation, the glue that binds all the rest of the ingredients together.  In beauty products, the “glue” is an emulsifier, or binding agent.

Most skin care and cosmetic products are made up of five key parts: emollients, humectants, emulsifiers, surfactants, and preservatives.  This article will discuss the function of emulsifiers in common beauty products and what natural alternatives are available.

Synthetic Emulsifiers

All products need an agent that keeps everything together.  The product base is a delivery method, but it’s equal as important as the other parts of the formula.  Without it, other ingredients wouldn’t interact correctly.  And without a proper emulsifier, your skin might react badly to a product.

Unlike some of the other ingredient categories (preservatives or emollients, for example), many synthetic emulsifiers are harmless to the skin.  The waxes used as emulsifiers haven’t been shown to cause damage. These include:

  • Sorbitan Stearate, Laurate, Palmitate, and Oleate
  • Ozokerite, Ceresin, Silicone and Montan
  • Isopropyl Stearate, Laurate, Palmitate, and Oleate

You won’t find toxins or long-term damage in these synthetics, per se, but you may find you have sensitivities to them.  Many are used in harsh cleaning agents and have been known to irritate the eyes and scalp. For those with delicate skin or allergies, these emulsifiers might be causing a reaction.  Switching to natural emulsifiers is a good idea all around.

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When we think about what skin care products to buy, what’s inside them matters just as much as what they’re used for.

You wouldn’t buy a moisturizer made up of the ingredients for a facial scrub, so why would you buy a product that uses anything you don’t understand?  How can you be sure what everything on that long, unpronounceable list of ingredients is going to do to your skin?

Within that list, most skin care and cosmetic products are made up of five key parts: emollients, humectants, emulsifiers, surfactants, and preservatives.  This article will discuss the function of surfactants in common beauty products and what natural alternatives are available.

What Surfactants Do

A surfactant is a category of ingredients found in many cosmetic products, especially cleansers and shampoos.  Also called “surface-acting ingredients,” their purpose is to reduce the surface tension of a product, thus making it easier to spread.

These substances can dissolve oils and suspend dirt until it is rinsed away with water—a handy ability for cleansers, indeed.

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In natural skin care, one of the best ways to get effective results without adding harmful chemicals is by using essential oils.

They are liquids distilled from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other parts of the plant—basically, the “essence” of the plant.  Despite the name essential oil, they’re not really oily at all.

Instead, essential oils are clear or light amber in color.

Many Sources, Many Uses

Since essential oils are taken from plants, there are nearly as many types of oils as there are plants.

And of course, each type has its own unique benefits, just like spices you use when you’re cooking dinner.  Essential oils are so simple and so natural that they are easily blended into almost anything.

In fact, essential oils are used in perfumes, aromatherapy, and even some foods.  Some essential oils promote relaxation, calm migraine pain or anxiety, elevate the mood, and boost the immune system. In skin care, essential oils help achieve the results promised by cleansers, scrubs, moisturizers, and other products.

Common Essential Oils & Their Benefits

While you’re browsing the list of ingredients on your natural skin care products, you’ll most likely come across a few things followed by “essential oil.”

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With as many varieties of acne treatments as there are types of skin, how can you decide which treatment will work best for your own breakouts?

There are shelves of products claiming to zap your pimples, dozens of salons in every city offering miracle chemical peels and other services, plus books and websites touting home remedies with overnight success.  Who can you believe? Where should you begin?

Acupuncture is another voice in the crowd of acne treatments today, but not necessarily one that comes to mind every day.  Yes, acupuncture is that ancient Chinese treatment that uses needles to stimulate the body.

And yes, it promises to cure many things from headaches to hemorrhoids.  But acne?  I did a little digging to see if the acupuncture for acne claims really held up.

Alternative to Acne Medicine

Sometimes a dermatologist or general physician will recommend acupuncture to patients who are reluctant to treat their acne with medication.  To be fair, some medications can have risky side effects and other dangers, so it makes sense that not everyone is prepared to go that route.

By the same token, laser surgery and other treatments, like chemical peels or facials, might not be a first choice for some people.  As an alternative, acupuncture treatments are not medicinal or chemical in nature and have no health risks.

The major benefit to trying acupuncture is its lack of negative side effects.  You’ll take no medication, undergo no risky procedures.  Yet many people question the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments for acne.

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Not too long ago, the skin care industry was buzzing with news about preservatives.  Women stormed cosmetic counters, angered to hear that chemicals like formaldehyde were inside their products.

And who wouldn’t be upset about disturbing news like that?  Suddenly, users of beauty products everywhere wanted to know exactly what’s inside their products and why.

I completely agree with them—consumer skepticism keeps companies honest.  And it keeps natural products on the shelves, available to all of us.  Inside these products, natural preservatives do exactly the same things these chemical options promise, just without the harmful side effects.

Most skin care and cosmetic products are made up of five key parts: emollients, humectants, emulsifiers, surfactants, and preservatives.  This article will discuss the function of preservatives in common beauty products and what natural alternatives are available.

What Are Preservatives?

Simply put, skin care companies put preservatives inside their products to keep them from spoiling.  After all, who wants to store their skin cream in the refrigerator?

Preservatives, whether chemical or natural, are meant to protect the other ingredients of the product from decaying, growing discolored, or going bad.

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Read the ingredients list on any product in your skin care and cosmetic collection and you’ll probably go cross-eyed.  Today’s beauty products are often filled with chemical and synthetic ingredients that are hard to pronounce and hard on your skin.

Chemicals such as dimethicone and TEA are very common, so you may see these and others over and over again on different product labels.  Some companies will follow these chemicals with a list of herbs, natural extracts, and essential oils to make the product seem natural.  But in reality, it’s not natural at all.

Most skin care products are composed of five parts: emollients, humectants, emulsifiers, surfactants, and preservatives.  This article will discuss the function of emollients in common beauty products and what natural alternatives to look for when shopping.

The Purpose of Emollients

Emollient ingredients are usually listed first in a product’s ingredients, so these will jump out at your right away. When we say a lotion is water-based or oil-based, these are the emollient agents that are at work inside a product.  Mainly, emollients are responsible for preventing dryness of the skin and protecting it like a barrier.

Water is the best natural emollient, but it evaporates quickly and becomes ineffective.  To resolve this problem, many companies have combined chemical emollients with water or “natural” oils to extend a product’s effectiveness.  This is not necessary, since several natural alternatives might work much better.

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With so many cosmetic options available in today’s market, finding the best makeup for dry skin might seem an impossible feat.

Aside from a trial-and-error journey down the makeup aisle, how can you really know how well each and every product will work?

At least you can definitely do some background work before you start buying and trying. Narrow down the playing field; find the best option for your skin.

But how do you even get started? I have a few tips to point you in the right direction on your hunt for the best makeup for dry skin.

Researching Natural Brands

The internet is a great place to start when you’re gathering information for just about anything, makeup included.  Start by looking for companies that use all natural ingredients and substitute harmful chemicals with safe alternatives derived from nature.

The best makeup for dry skin doesn’t have to be filled with chemicals, so just do your homework to find companies that can promise moisturizing makeup and natural ingredients. Believe me, they’re out there!

One of the great resources I found was the website for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, where cosmetic companies commit themselves to “improve the safety of cosmetics and personal care products and to provide better information about product ingredients so consumers can make informed decisions.”

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