Skin Care Products with Antioxidants – Store with Care! What is Oxidation?

Skin care products containing antioxidants tend to be unstable in the presence of light, air, and heat. Great ways to prevent oxidation are to open and close the lids quickly, to store your products tightly sealed in the back of the refrigerator, and to keep them wrapped in a paper towel (especially if they’re in clear packaging). Even better is if you buy products in dark or solid packaging, such as blue/brown glass or non-see through containers.

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants.

A Few Antioxidant compounds Foods containing high levels of these antioxidants
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Fresh Fruits and vegetables
Vitamin E (tocopherols, tocotrienols) Vegetable oils
Polyphenolic antioxidants (resveratrol, flavonoids) Tea, coffee, soy, fruit, olive oil, chocolate, cinnamon, oregano
Carotenoids (lycopene, carotenes, lutein) Fruit, vegetables and eggs.

What is oxidation?

The loss of at least one electron when two or more substances interact. Those substances may or may not include oxygen. When it involves oxygen, the process of oxidation depends on the amount of oxygen present in the air and the nature of the material it touches. True oxidation happens on a molecular level — we only see the large-scale effects as the oxygen causes free radicals on the surface to break away. In the case of fresh fruit, the skin usually provides a barrier against oxidation. This is why most fruits and vegetables arrive in good condition at the grocery store. Once the skin has been broken, however, the individual cells come in direct contact with air and the oxygen molecules start burning them. The result is a form of rust we see as brownish spots or blemishes.

Although oxidation reactions are crucial for life, they can also be damaging.

The secret of preventing oxidation caused by oxygen is to provide a layer of protection between the exposed material and the air (an anti-oxidant in the case of skin care).

Watermelon in Skin Care

Credit: Thinkstock

When we think of watermelon, we think of summertime barbeques or an afternoon picnic in the park. However, we’ve never really thought of it as a way to make our skin look gorgeous. But it turns out, there’s more to this tasty fruit than we thought.

Watermelon extract is touted for being rich in vitamin C, amino acids and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that’s great for sun-damaged skin. It’s also said to promote cell regeneration, moisturize, cleanse and exfoliate. 

That said, experts are a little hesitant to recommend it. While it’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C, the concern is the high levels of sugar it contains. So if you tend to break out easily or have sensitive skin, you need to be a little more cautious. And if you’re using it on your body (like in a body wash), the sugars can potentially cause irritation in some areas.

“How the ingredient is derived and the carrier it’s put in is very important,” says celebrity aesthetician Nerida Joy. “What you need to look for is that your active ingredients are getting to where they need to go and are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Watermelon extract, or any other ingredient for that matter, can be effective if it’s in a good carrier that can deliver its benefits to the skin. One line that would be safe to use is Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty skin-care line. “The company is very serious about how the watermelon is derived and the work that goes into it creating the product. They have a phenomenal lab, and it’s also very affordable,” says Joy.

Another tip, if the watermelon is being used for the smell, that’s usually a red flag that it’s not a good product to use. You should also consider if the watermelon used is organic or if it’s been treated with pesticides. What it really comes down to is that there are many other ingredients out there that are more beneficial and safer than watermelon extract.

Click here for nutritional data on raw watermelon

Via NewBeauty

 

Mistletoe: Holiday Decoration and Great Skin and Hair Care Ingredient!

Botanical names: Viscum album and Phoradendron leucarpum

European mistletoe attached to a silver birch
As you deck the halls with holly or duck a  kiss from your relatives under the mistletoe, you’ll be pleased to know that these holiday decorations also are a  great skincare and haircare ingredient!

 Mistletoe is a powerful antioxidant and it can also help to soften and melt the sebaceous oils and dirt that cause blackheads.

Excerpt from Notulae Botanicae Horti AgrobotaniciCluj-Napoca:

 

The antioxidant potential of European mistletoe components (leaves and stems) is due to their content in phenolic derivatives (phenolic acids and flavonoids) and carotenoids, and their specific hydrophilic (having an affinity for water; readily absorbing or dissolving in water) and lipophilic (having an affinity for, tending to combine with, or capable of dissolving in lipids) character. Lipids are a broad group of naturally occurring molecules that include fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, and K), monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides, phospholipids, and others.

A phenolic acid is a type of phytochemical called a polyphenol. Other types of polyphenols include flavonoids and stilbenes. Phenolic acids are found in a variety of the plant-based foods you eat. The seeds and skins of fruits and the leaves of vegetables contain the highest concentrations. They may be beneficial to your health because they work as antioxidants that prevent cellular damage due to free-radical oxidation reactions.

In humans, four carotenoids (beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin) have vitamin A activity (meaning they can be converted to retinal), and these and other carotenoids can also act as antioxidants.

A few products that contain Mistletoe are:

L’uvalla’s Orange Toner

Anne Semonin Gentle Mistletoe Shampoo

Christine Valmy Lotion X

Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Body Oil

3LAB ‘Perfect’ Cleansing Foam

Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Replenishing Conditioner

The parasitic plant has yellowish flowers; small, yellowish green leaves; and waxy, white berries.   Mistletoe is a poisonous plant that causes acute gastrointestinal problems including stomach pain, and diarrhea along with low pulse. However, both European Mistletoe and the North American species, Phoradendron serotinum, are commercially harvested for Christmas decorations.  The Navajo name for mistletoe is “basket on high.” Mistletoe is also known as mystyldene, all-heal, bird lime, golden bough, and devil’s fuge.

Viscum album, fleurs mâles de Gui

Viscum album, fleurs mâles de Gui (Photo credit: Ombrosoparacloucycle)

 

 

 

 

 

History & Mythology
The word ‘mistletoe’ (Old English mistiltan) is of uncertain etymology; it may be related to German Mist, for dung and Tang for branch, since mistletoe can be spread in the feces of birds moving from tree to tree. However, Old English mistel was also used for basil.

European mistletoe, Viscum album, figured prominently in Greek mythology, and is believed to be The Golden Bough of Aeneas, ancestor of the Romans.

In the 13th century Prose Edda, due to the scheming of Loki, the god Baldr is killed by his brother, the blind god Höðr, by way of a mistletoe projectile, despite the attempts of Baldr’s mother, the goddess Frigg, to have all living things and inanimate objects swear an oath not to hurt Baldr after Baldr had troubling dreams of his death. Frigg was unable to get an oath from mistletoe, because “it seemed too young” to demand an oath from.  In the Gesta Danorum version of the story, Baldr and Höðr are rival suitors, and Höðr kills Baldr with a sword named Mistilteinn (Old Norse “mistletoe”). In addition, a sword by the same name appears in various other Norse legends.

English: "Each arrow overshot his head&qu...

English: “Each arrow overshot his head” by Elmer Boyd Smith. Allowing his fellow gods to test his new found invincibility, the shining god Baldr is attacked by his fellow gods who make a game of it. In the background, the god Odin and his wife, the goddess Frigg, sit enthroned. In the foreground, the disguised Loki gives Baldr’s blind brother Höðr an arrow affixed with mistletoe (the one thing that can harm Baldr), which results in Baldr’s death. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In cultures across pre-Christian Europe, mistletoe was seen as a representation of divine male essence (and thus romance, fertility and vitality), possibly due to a resemblance between the berries and semen.

According to Pliny the Elder, the Celts considered it a remedy for barrenness in animals and an antidote to poison.

When Christianity became widespread in Europe after the 3rd century AD, the religious or mystical respect for the mistletoe plant was integrated to an extent into the new religion.  Did you know that kissing under the mistletoe is a winter tradition that began with the Greek festival of Saturnalia, celebrated in late December. The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England, a custom that was apparently very popular at that time.  A Cornish tradition that mistletoe was originally a fine tree from which the wood of the Cross was made, but afterwards it was been condemned to live on only as a parasite.

 

Woman standing under mistletoe. Viscum album

Woman standing under mistletoe. Viscum album (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mistletoe is commonly used as a Christmas decoration, though such use was rarely alluded to until the 18th century. Viscum album is used in Europe whereas Phoradendron serotinum is used in North America. According to custom, the mistletoe must not touch the ground between its cutting and its removal as the last of Christmas greens at Candlemas; it may remain hanging through the year, often to preserve the house from lightning or fire, until it is replaced the following Christmas Eve. The tradition has spread throughout the English-speaking world but is largely unknown in the rest of Europe.

Christmas throughout Christendom, Viscum album...

Christmas throughout Christendom, Viscum album Under the Mistletoe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The type of Mistletoe used during Christmas celebrations is of the same type as that believed to be sacred by ancient druids, but, outside northern Europe, the plant used is not the same species. The mistletoe that is commonly used as a Christmas decoration in North America (Phoradendron flavescens) grows as a parasite on trees in the west as also in those growing in a line down the east from New Jersey to Florida. In Europe, where the custom originates, the ‘original’ mistletoe, Viscum album, is still used.  Ancient druids considered the Viscum album plant holy. Modern druids focus on the parasitic habitat on oak (where it is very rarely found) as being the definer of a sacred mistletoe, and use Phoradendron flavescens as well as other mistletoe species.

%d bloggers like this: