Multi-tasking hero: 10 ideas on how to use aloe vera

Aloe Plant - Köhler Medizinal PflanzenWe like to use single, pure ingredients in our skin care routine: it makes sense to go straight to the source and feed your skin with as many beneficial nutrients as possible, no?

And one of these pure ingredients is none other than organic aloe vera gel. It’s a non-negotiable part of our routine and we couldn’t be without it. It turns out, we’re not the only ones who love aloe: the lovely ladies at ‘No More Dirty Looks‘ feel the same way about it (how great is this quote: ‘[…] every beauty biff under the sun could be ameliorated with a little aloe*.’)

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The case for natural sunscreen

baby with lots of sunscreenThere’s been a lot of publicity recently in Australia about the potentially dangerous ingredients in our skincare products, particularly sunscreens.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has conducted a study on sunscreens sold in America and found that 60% of those currently on the market are not as safe or as effective as you might expect; many were found to contain chemicals that can, ironically, cause potentially irreparable damage to the skin. The EWG research identified oxybenzone, a potentially dangerous hormone-disrupting compound, was contained in about 60 percent of the 500 sunscreens analysed. Continue reading

Aloe Vera: A Medicine Chest In A Leaf

The health benefits of Aloe Vera Gel have long been known by many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, the Essenes and the Greeks. Alexander the Great insisted that his soldiers carry pots of aloe vera with them when they went into battle to apply to their wounds.

There is historical documentation indicating the use of the healing properties of Aloe Vera as far back as 1,500 BC. Aloe was reported to be a beauty secret of the legendary Egyptian beauty Cleopatra.

The main elements responsible for Aloes health benefits are believed to be Polysaccharides, Phytonutrients, Monosaccharides, Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids. The gel of raw aloe vera contains over 200 active ingredients. Continue reading

Beautiful Summer Skin

It is important to take good care of your skin during our long summer in Australia, particularly if your skin has received far more sun exposure than usual.

Tips to maintain beautiful skin during summer:

1. Drink lots of purified or spring water as the sun has a very drying effect and the skin (and body) becomes dehydrated.  If you have been exercising or sweating heavily, make sure you replace the minerals lost during these times.

Electrolytes are minerals made up of potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium and can be depleted after exercise or during hot weather. They create electrical charges throughout the body that help the muscles and heart work properly. Our bodies may not be able to create electrolytes as fast as we are losing them in sweat, and we may need to find ways to replace them. Coconut water contains electrolytes and is refreshing, hydrating and a great way to replace these lost minerals. It is available at most health foods stores. Watermelon juice is also a good way to replace lost minerals and to rehydrate the body on a hot day.

2. Exfoliate once or twice a week to prolong your tan and remove the build-up of dead skin. See recipe for honey exfoliant or milk and honey scrub below. Do not expose your skin to the sun after you have exfoliated without first applying an all-natural sunscreen.

3. Cleanse the skin with a natural product such as aloe vera gel. Soak a cotton pad with the gel and gently wipe your face, neck and chest area to remove dirt and grime (you will also be feeding your skin with essential nutrients at the same time). Cucumber is also a natural cleanser – juice a small organic lebanese cucumber, apply to a cotton pad and gently remove make-up or grime from your face, neck and chest area. For tired, puffy eyes, soak cotton pads in cucumber juice, squeeze out the excess and put over the eyes for 10 minutes. Cucumber is great for the skin as it contains silicon.

4. Moisturise at least twice a day with a chemical/paraben free cream or light organic oil such as camellia, olive, hemp seed, sweet almond or avocado. Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturiser and provides the skin with many essential nutrients. Remember that everything we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies, so it is advisable to choose skin or hair products with as many ‘natural’ ingredients as possible.

5. Only spend short periods of time to prevent the skin from burning – 10 minutes is enough (we need sunlight to absorb vitamin D – click here). If you go out in the hottest part of the day, always wear a hat and apply a good-quality natural suntan cream (always read the label to avoid artificial chemicals) and reapply after swimming. Too much exposure to the sun without suntan cream can cause the skin to burn or become dehydrated and begin to age prematurely. Sunburn damages the cells of the skin and may lead to skin cancers.

6. Avoid refined, heavy foods, tea, coffee sugary soft drinks or too much alcohol (this is very dehydrating). Instead eat plenty of summer fruit, salads, and drink juices (click here to read ‘Juicing for Health and Vitality’).

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