Ginseng: How It Can Transform Your Skin

Ginseng is an incredibly potent natural ingredient. Know for its invigorating, rejuvenating and revitalising properties, ground ginseng root is a popular health supplement that can boost lagging energy levels to help people function at their best. Read on to learn more about this natural super ingredient, and discover how it can work wonders for your complexion as well as your health.

ALL ABOUT GINSENG

Ginseng, which grows predominantly in east Asia and north America, has long been heralded as a natural way to reduce anxiety and increase mental clarity, and an extremely important component of traditional Chinese medicine. “Ginseng is an adaptogen, which means it can help to reduce the negative impact of stress,” says naturopath, presenter and author Emma Sutherland.

There are three main varieties; Siberian ginseng, Indian ginseng, and Korean red ginseng. “Korean red ginseng is the most powerful of all the ginsengs,” says Emma. “It’s the perfect tonic for fatigue and enhances both mental and physical health. Korean red ginseng actually protects our mitochondria – the batteries of our cells – from damage.” Healthy mitochondria results in better cell repair and reduced cell ageing and degeneration.

GINSENG IN SKINCARE

When used as an ingredient in skincare products like moisturisers, cleansers and face masks, ginseng can help boost healthy skin cell activity. “It increases skin cells’ ability to heal and repair by supporting the mitochondrial health of the cell,” says Emma. “Ginseng also increases skin hydration and collagen production and helps protect the skin against the effects of pollution and UV.”


Ready to incorporate this natural wonder ingredient into your skincare routine? Read on to discover our top product picks…


Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream

Boasting 99.6% natural ingredients, this incredibly hydrating, plumping and replenishing moisturiser is a total game-changer for masstige brand Kiehl’s. They’ve chosen to forgo artificial thickeners and emulsifiers, opting for plant-based ingredients instead – and the quality shows in the cream’s luxe, indulgent texture. Korean red ginseng and Manuka honey are the heroes of this nourishing moisturiser, and together they work to leave your skin looking fresh, radiant, smooth and plumped.

ginseng in skincare

Vanessa Megan Cryo Facelift Ice Cube Treatment

This unique treatment instantly leaves your skin looking brighter, more toned and refreshed. The kit consists of individual serum infusions encased in mini containers which you pop in the freezer prior to use, along with a muslin cloth which is used in to apply the frozen serum. To use, simply pop out one frozen serum from it’s container, wrap it inside the muslin cloth, and massage onto your face, neck and décolletage until completely absorbed. Containing active natural ingredients including ginseng, hyaluronic acid, quandong and green coffee seeds, the treatment feels amazingly soothing on your skin and helps to combat puffiness and dehydration while promoting a radiant, luminous glow.

ginseng in skincare

La Mav Sweet Orange Foaming Cleanser

This is one of all-time favourite cleansers here at THE ECO EDIT, and while as a rule we generally prefer cream cleansers, this foaming cleanser is the perfect choice for those with oily or combination skin. Formulated with ginseng, sugar cane and papaya extract, this gentle foaming cleanser removes makeup, oil and impurities to leave your skin looking bright, clean and fresh. It also contains nourishing goji berry, antioxidant-rich Kakadu plum, refining and soothing Witch Hazel, along with soothing rosemary and marshmallow extract for an extra dose of nourishment for your skin.

ginseng in skincare

Nature’s Own Korean Ginseng 500mg Capsules

Combining a ginseng supplement with ginseng-based skincare is a great way to increase the potential benefits of this unique ingredient. Nature’s Own sell a ginseng 500mg supplement, which is one of the most potent options you’ll find at your local chemist. This supplement can help enhance stamina and endurance and may be particularly handy during times of stress. It could also help to boost and maintain a healthy immune system. We recommend taking this particular supplement in the morning – if you take it at night you can potentially experience some sleeplessness.

ginseng in skincare

How To Get The Best Skin Of Your Life

Radiant, glowing and beautifully healthy skin is something most women covet – but often it can feel out of reach. If you struggle with adult acne, dullness or temperamental and sensitive skin, you understand just how frustrating and demoralising it can be when you look in the mirror and aren’t happy with what’s reflected back at you.

And while genetics, hormones and environmental factors play a big role in how our skin behaves and looks, there are some simple lifestyle and dietary changes you can make – along with a selection of nourishing skincare products you can use – to help boost your skin’s health and create a complexion you’d be proud to show off to the world.

Healthy Skin Starts From Within

Just like your eyes are windows to your soul, your skin can be a proverbial mirror that reflects your internal health. “Your skin is most closely linked to your digestive, immune and endocrine (hormonal) systems,” explains naturopath, nutritionist and BioCeuticals Practitioner Educator Emily Seddon. “If your gut is not absorbing nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, fats, proteins and antioxidants, or if it’s being irritated by problematic foods, this can be reflected in the appearance and quality of your skin cells.”

The gut and skin are also similar in that they are both eliminatory systems. If you body isn’t eliminating toxins properly, it’s pretty near impossible to have to have healthy skin. “Issues with elimination organs like the liver can set off a chain of events that may cause the skin to become itchy and inflamed,” says Emily. Your hormone levels can also have a huge impact on the appearance of your skin. Ever noticed an extra pimple or two on your chin that pops up to say hi right before your period’s due? Fluctuating hormones are the likely culprit.

Ready to start balancing your internal health so you can begin healing and nourishing your skin from within? Here’s how:

  • Avoid highly processed foods. “Start by cutting out processed foods and avoid anything that is packaged,” advises nutritionist and wellness coach Jessica Sepel. “If you don’t understand the label, don’t eat it.” Jessica also advises giving up soda, cutting out artificial sweeteners, and avoiding foods labelled ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ – these are often loaded with sugar or are highly processed. Instead, opt for a variety of healthy wholefoods with a focus on fresh organic veggies and lean protein.
  • Reduce your consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can be quite dehydrating and irritating to your internal systems, with alcohol in particular affecting the appearance of your skin. “Excessive alcohol intake can cause trouble by dehydrating the body and skin and increasing inflammatory markers in the body,” says Emily Seddon. “This can result in irritating dermatitis, and an overall red appearance of the skin.” This doesn’t mean you have to cut out alcohol and caffeine altogether – just keep your consumption sensible; one coffee or tea a day, and a glass or two of wine on a Friday or Saturday night is completely fine.
  • Up your intake of antioxidant-rich foods. Foods that are high in antioxidants – such as brightly coloured fruits and vegetables – help to combat oxidative stress and cell damage, which are linked to premature skin ageing. “Some antioxidants, like zinc and Vitamin C also play a large role in wound healing,” explains accredited practicing dietician, nutritionist and BioCeuticals Practitioner Educator Natalie Bourke. Up your intake of antioxidant-rich foods like green tea, blueberries, green leafy veggies, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, carrots and sweet potato. If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough antioxidants in your diet, Natalie suggests you talk to your healthcare practitioner for a recommendation of a high quality supplement.
  • Eat more essential fatty acids. While we’ve often been taught to avoid fatty foods, our bodies actually need certain types of healthy fats in order to function properly – our skin in particular craves these healthy fats. “Fat is found in our subcutaneous tissue, which helps to provide the plump and smooth appearance of our skin,” says Natalie. “Beneficial fatty acids, like omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and chia seeds, have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body as well. Taken internally, they may help to reduce inflammation, redness and itching of the skin.” In addition to salmon and chia seeds, walnuts, mackerel, tuna, eggs (the yolk in particular) and flaxseeds are also great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A supplement like fish oil liquid is also a great way to up you intake of omega-3.
  • Add probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are very important to your overall health and the appearance of your skin because they curb inflammatory processes that would otherwise go unchecked in your gut, which has a flow-on effect throughout the body. “Probiotics attune the release of ‘substance P’, which plays a huge role in several skin conditions,” says Natalie. “In fact there is research to suggest that probiotics can affect sebum production…one trial showed that 54% of acne sufferers had significant changes in their gut micro-biome.” Here at THE ECO EDIT, we love The Beauty Chef’s probiotic-enriched supplements, along with natural kombucha fermented tea.

healthy skin - The Beauty Chef Glow

  • Drink more water. This one’s pretty obvious, but adequate water intake is something that’s very easy to overlook on a day-to-day basis – and it plays a huge role in having healthy skin. Our skin is over 60% water, and it loses liquid very easily when the weather is dry or hot, or when we sweat. Drinking between 1.5 – 2L of water a day is ideal, as it will help to keep your body and your skin properly hydrated. If you struggle to drink that much water, you can also count healthy non-caffeinated beverages like coconut water and herbal tea towards your daily quota.

The best part of a healthy diet is that your skin won’t be the only thing that benefits. In addition to improving your overall health, you’ll feel more energised too. “When I feel healthy I feel like I can do anything,” says nutritionist and wellness coach Jessica Sepel. “When you embrace a healthy lifestyle, you realise that nothing feels as good as being healthy. I have more sustained energy, better quality sleep, my sugar cravings subside, I maintain a healthy weight, and my hormones stay balanced.”

Nourish Your Skin From The Outside

While your diet, overall health and genetics will play a critical role in the health and appearance of your skin, topical skincare also plays it part. Cleansing twice daily and replenishing your skin with nourishing, hydrating natural moisturiser is one of the best ways to ensure your complexion looks it best. This entire site is filled with information and recommendations for fantastic natural skincare products, but if you’re after some quick, fuss-free advice, we’ve included some of our favourite product picks below:

  • If you’re in need of a new cleanser, we recommend Mukti Hydrating Cleansing Lotion, which is ideal for all skin types and extremely gentle and nourishing. Generally speaking, we advise using cream cleansers rather than foaming cleansers or gels, as they tend to be gentler on your skin and are less likely to impair your skin’s natural barrier layer.
  • Exfoliating is also important as it removes dead skin cells, reduces congestion, and helps promote a healthy glow. The trick is to not overdo it – twice a week is plenty, and don’t apply too much pressure to your face when using an exfoliant. Try Madara Oil-To-Milk Exfoliating Scrub, which is gentle yet effective.

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Five Ways To Use Coconut Oil In Your Beauty Routine

Coconut oil is one of the most versatile beauty products on the market, and helps prove that Mother Nature is undoubtedly the best beautician you’ll ever meet. From skincare to nutrition – and even whiter teeth – there’s very little this miracle oil can’t do. Read on to discover five fantastic ways to incorporate this natural wonder into your daily beauty regime.

1. As A Pre-Cleanser

If your regular cleanser isn’t cutting it when it comes to removing stubborn mascara and eye makeup, coconut oil could be your new bestie. Simply warm up a level tablespoon of coconut oil in the palms of your hands and massage it into your face in circular motions like you would with any cleanser.

Do make sure that you keep your eyes shut tight while cleansing with coconut oil, as any type of oil in your eyes is a big no-no as it can be irritating. To remove, use a warm face cloth or muslin cloth and gently wipe over your skin, and then follow up with your favourite cream cleanser.

2. As a Hair Mask

Coconut oil is incredibly nourishing for your hair because it’s loaded with hydrating and frizz-fighting vitamin E. It’s also great for soothing an irritated or itchy scalp courtesy of its natural antibacterial and healing properties.

Treat your locks to a weekly mask by heating up two tablespoons of coconut oil (more if you have super long hair) and working it into your scalp and strands. Allow it to soak in for half an hour while you read a magazine or have a cuppa, and when you rinse it out your mane will be extra glossy and silky.

3. As A Skincare Supplement

Coconut oil is a fantastic beauty supplement when used in cooking, and serves as a great alternative to olive oil or vegetable oil. It’s packed full of healthy fats, which help to hydrate and nourish your skin from within, so your complexion glows like never before.

“It can tolerate high heat during cooking, making it a safe oil to cook with,” says nutritionist and wellness coach Jessica Sepel. “It’s also a good fat, made of medium-chain fatty acids, which keep you full and satiated after meals and provide the body with energy over a sustained period of time.”

4. For Oil Pulling

Oil pulling, which involves swishing a teaspoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes, is a natural way to help whiten your teeth and reduce toxins in your mouth. It might sound weird (and admittedly it can feel a little strange at first), but it’s a tried and tested technique for a whiter, healthier smile.

“Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurveda therapy that draws out toxins, and it’s a great cleansing remedy,” agrees Jessica. In addition to the more superficial benefits, coconut oil contains natural antibacterial properties, which can help to reduce plaque build-up that can lead to tooth decay. Want to give it a whirl? Try Keeko Coconut Oil Pulling kit in Morning Mint.

5. As A Face & Body Moisturiser

Thanks to all the healthy fats it contains, coconut oil in an incredibly effective natural moisturiser that helps to replenish dry, cracked or flaky skin. When used as a daily moisturiser, it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps to plump up your skin.

Coconut oil also contains antioxidants, which help to combat skin-ageing free radicals, so with continued use it can work wonderfully as an anti-ageing treatment. Just be careful to avoid getting any oil in your eyes, as we mentioned previously this could cause irritation.

A Note On Fair Trade Practices

When shopping for coconut oil, it’s important to purchase brands that support fair trade practices. Many commercial coconut oil brands out there have been know to manufacture their product in mass quantities, and have been linked to worker exploitation and unsustainable practices. And while ethical and sustainable coconut oil might cost a few dollars more, it tends to be purer, healthier, so you get more bang for your buck.

“I think commercial coconut oil brands have enjoyed making a lot of money and exploiting fair trade practices, and more people are starting to realise this,” says INDAH’s Teisha Lowry. “We really noticed this when we stopped making our coconut oil for a period because we thought people wanted the cheap stuff, but we were pleasantly surprised. We had such a big callout for it to come back, because people really want what’s best for their health, our environment and humanity.”

Our favourite coco-nutty beauty buys:

These gorgeous products are either made from organic coconut oil, or use it as a key ingredient:

5 Tanning Tips For A Toxin-Free Faux Glow

A beautiful bronze tan is the perfect summer accessory. Not only does it make you look slimmer and more toned, but a tan also looks amazing when paired with bright summer fashions and beachwear. Here we share our five top tanning tips for creating a gorgeous golden glow using only natural and cruelty-free beauty buys.

1. Exfoliate for a flawless finish.

To ensure a smooth surface on your skin for an even application, it’s vital that you exfoliate your body thoroughly prior to applying a self tanner.

“You should always exfoliate 24 – 48 hours before applying tan to remove the dead skin cells on the top layer of skin,” advises Sonya Driver, founder of organic and cruelty-free tanning brand Eco Tan.

We recommend exfoliating in the shower with a natural granulated scrub, like Atom’s delectably aromatic Coffee Body Scrub:

Tanning Tips - THE ECO EDIT

2. Prep your danger zones.

Fake tan can ‘grab’ onto dry skin, which can result in dark patches and an uneven-looking tan. To avoid this, apply a tiny amount of body lotion to dry skin before you apply self tan. “A small amount of moisturiser can be applied to dry areas of concern, like your elbows, knees, and ankles,” advises Sonya.

The palms of your hands are also prone to discolouration, because they tend to be in contact with the tanning mousse or lotion for a longer period of time. To avoid stained palms, simply use a tanning mitt or glove and wash your hands thoroughly after applying self tanner.

bondi-sands-tanning-mitt

3. Apply self-tan strategically.

When applying tanner, it’s best to start with your feet and work your way up to your legs, butt, torso, back, chest, arms, neck and face. This technique will help you avoid streaks and creasing.

It’s also best to apply your tan in circular motions, rather than rubbing up and down. This will help ensure that you cover every square inch of skin, minimising the risk of streaks and missed patches.

Tanning Tips - THE ECO EDIT

4. Keep your skin hydrated to extend the life of your tan.

Your tan will gradually fade over a period of about a week as your skin naturally sheds and renews itself. And while you can’t make your tan last forever, you can help it linger a little longer simply by applying moisturiser at least once per day.

“Moisturise daily to keep skin hydrated and nourished to extend your tan,” says Sonya. “Another tip is to use a body wash that is soap-free and SLS-free so that it doesn’t strip away your tan.”

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5. Remove your old tan before reapplying.

It might seem like a good idea to layer more tanning lotion or mousse straight over the top of your old fake tan to deepen the colour, but this is a big no-no.

Your old tan will start to become patchy as your skin cells naturally shed, and it’s important to start with a smooth and even surface when applying fake tan. For this reason, you should remove your old tan completely before you reapply.

“The best way to remove old tan is by exfoliating,” advises Sonya. “I remove old tan when I notice it is starting to wear off. This is usually 7-10 days after I’ve applied it.”

To remove fake tan, use a body scrub that’s blended with natural oils like coconut or jojoba oil. You can make a D.I.Y scrub by mixing ¼ cup of raw sugar with ½ cup of coconut oil – we like INDAH Coconut Oil To Go.

Tanning Tips - THE ECO EDIT

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10 Eco-Chic Gift Ideas For People You Love

With Christmas just around the corner, now’s the time to get those festive season pressies wrapped and under the tree. But if you’re stuck for gift ideas, don’t fret! We’ve put together a list of gorgeous natural beauty products, kits and treatments that will ensure you’re in everyone’s good books.

1. Madara Happy Skin Essentials Pack

This cute little kit from holistic skincare brand Madara is the perfect treat for all skin types. Featuring Madara’s award winning Micellar Cleansing Water and their innovative Oil-To-Milk Exfoliating Scrub, this set would put a smile on anyone’s dial.

gift ideas madara

2. Lily Lolo Iconic Eye Collection

Who wouldn’t want pretty peepers for Christmas? The Lily Lolo Iconic Eye Collection features the brand’s cult favourite Laid Bare Eyeshadow Palette along with a must-have Black Eye Pencil Natural Mascara for long, fluttery jet-black lashes.

lily-lolo-iconic-eye-collection

3. Frank Body Babe Island Kit

Perfect for the gal (or guy) who likes to have silky smooth and tropically scented skin, Frank Body’s cute-as-a-button Babe Island Kit includes a delectable Coconut Coffee Scrub and lush Coconut Body Balm.

gift ideas frank body

4. Endota Spa Gift Voucher

Handing out one of these beauties will make you a firm favourite this Christmas. You can select from a range of treatment options when ordering a gift voucher – we highly recommend Endota’s New Age Light Therapy Facial, which combines active natural skincare with the latest LED technology for gorgeous, glowing skin.

endota-spa-gift-voucher

5. Pai Instant Calm Discovery Collection

This beautiful skincare pack is the perfect gift for people with sensitive skin. This exquisite kit features Pai’s Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Lotus & Orange Blossom BioAffinity Skin Tonic, Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream, plus an organic muslin cloth.

pai-skincare-instant-calm-discovery-collection

6. Inika Limited Edition Discover Kit

This lovely kit is the perfect pressie for a friend or relative who is keen to try mineral makeup. The set includes some of Inika’s hero products including their Certified Organic Pure Primer, Certified Organic Liquid foundation, Certified Organic BB Cream, Mineral Foundation, plus a Kabuki Brush.

gift ideas inika

7. Acorelle Absolute Tiare Eau de Parfum

This heavenly scent will make for an enchanting gift this Christmas. The fresh floral fragrance features top notes of orange and tangerine, a heart of ylang ylang, jasmine and tiare, and a sensual base of vanilla.

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8. Vanessa Megan VM Men Citrus & Spice Natural Cologne

Any self-respecting bloke who takes pride in his appearance and grooming habits will appreciate this crisp cologne. With a warm, spicy blend of mandarin, patchouli and clove, this chic scent is uplifting, alluring, and 100% natural.

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9. The Beauty Chef Cookbook

Looking for great gift ideas for the domestic goddesses and green juice junkies in your life? They’ll adore this beautifully photographed cookbook that’s jam-packed with delicious, nutritious, and complexion-enhancing meal ideas. With over 150 gluten-free, dairy-free recipes, this clever cookbook promotes gut health and boosts beauty from the inside out.

gift ideas the beauty chef

10. Essano Limitless Luxuries Pack

Containing an array of beauty boosting plant extracts and natural ingredients like rosehip and Argan oil, New Zealand brand Essano is a truly gorgeous range that captures nature’s essence. This affordable travel bag includes Essano’s cult favourite micellar water, moisturiser, eye cream, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner.

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The Dirty Dozen: 12 Common Toxins Found In Beauty Products

While there are countless artificial ingredients and toxic nasties hiding in most mainstream beauty products, there are 12 in particular that give cause for major concern.

Often referred to as The Dirty Dozen, these ingredients and chemicals have been shown to be highly questionable with potentially devastating health implications.

Grab a pen and paper and familiarise yourself with these common toxins so that you can steer clear of them next time you’re shopping for cosmetics and toiletries.

1. PARABENS

Found in basically every mainstream beauty product you can get your mitts on, parabens (which usually appear on the ingredients list with prefixes like Butyl, Isobutyl, Propyl, Methyl, Ethyl etc.) are artificial preservatives that are added to products to help prevent bacteria and mould growth.

Parabens are a concern because they can mimic our own natural hormones, which can lead to endocrine disruption; a condition which has been linked to some types of cancer. Parabens have also been associated with skin irritation, dermatitis, rosacea, increased sun damage, headaches and dizziness.

2. ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCE

If that department store beauty product you’re testing has even the slightest hint of a scent to it, chances are it’s loaded with synthetic fragrance. Usually listed as ‘parfum,’ or ‘fragrance,’ on the ingredients label, an artificial fragrance can have dozens – even hundreds – of ingredients.

It’s impossible to know exactly what chemicals have been used to create that specific scent, because beauty companies aren’t legally required to reveal their fragrance compositions. Artificial and synthetic fragrances have been linked to headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, nausea and endocrine disruption.

3. PHTHALATES

Found in some of the most popular beauty products on the market (including perfumes, nail polishes, and hairsprays), common phthalates include Diethyl Phthalate and Dibutyl Phthalate.

Phthalates are a type of plasticising chemical that’s used to make a product’s texture more spreadable or pliable, or alternatively to make a product adhere to the skin.

Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, and they have been linked to lung, kidney and liver damage, and can potentially cause birth defects as well.

4. SLS & SLES

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) are found in products that lather up (think shampoo, foaming cleansers, body wash, liquid soap, bubble bath and even toothpaste) and are a type of foaming agent.

They are incredibly harsh ingredients and can often be found in industrial cleaning products like engine degreasers. Both SLS and SLES irritate the skin by stripping away it’s natural protective barrier, and have also been linked to allergies, eye problems, and hair growth issues.

5. TRICLOSAN

An antibacterial and anti-fungal agent, Triclosan is added to common toiletries like hand soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, hand sanitiser, and cosmetics.

While the idea of a germ-fighting additive might not sound bad in theory, Triclosan has been linked to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (known as ‘superbugs’) and also ends up in our water systems where it can affect the aquatic environment.

In addition, Triclosan has also been linked to endocrine disruption which can lead to serious medical conditions.

6. PETROLEUM & MINERAL OIL

Petroleum and petroleum-derived substances including mineral oil and paraffin are commonly found in lip balms, lipsticks, lip glosses, body oils, moisturisers, body balms, hair gels and conditioners.

Petroleum is a type of petrochemical that’s derived from crude oil, and it can cause a wide array of skin problems as it coats and clogs your pores and leaves a slick barrier on top of the skin.

In addition to preventing the skin from ‘breathing,’ petroleum, mineral oil and paraffin can also be contaminated with all kinds of toxins and impurities.

7. FORMALDEHYDE

Listed on the ingredients label as Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Quaternium, DMDM Hydantoin, Nitropropane, Bronopol, Oxaldehyde and Glyoxal, Formaldehyde is commonly found in nail polishes and hair straightening treatments.

It’s been banned from use in cosmetics in some countries and is a known carcinogen that has been linked to lung disease (including lung cancer), lymphoma and leukaemia.

It makes it’s way into the body through fume inhalation, and can cause eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, and has the potential to accumulate in the body which can lead to toxicity.

8. HYDROQUINONE

Also known as Quinol, Benzene and Diol, Hydroquinone inhibits melanin production and can be found in some skin lightening creams and anti-pigmentation products like brightening serums and skin whitening treatments.

It has been banned in some countries, and the FDA has stated that Hydroquinone may be carcinogenic, as studies have linked it to the development of tumours and leukaemia. It has also been linked to skin sensitivity and increased sun damage, skin irritation and organ toxicity.

9. MERCURY 

While it’s not commonly found in Australian-made beauty products, mercury can be lurking in certain mascaras, acne treatments and skin creams, along with ear and eye drops.

It will be listed on the ingredients label as Calomel, Mercurous Chloride, Thimerosal, Merthiolate, Mercurio, or Mercuric.

Mercury exposure can lead to mercury poisoning, symptoms of which can include tremors, numbness and tingling, irritability and depression, memory problems, vision and hearing problems, and organ damage – including brain damage.

10. PROPYLENE GLYCOL

You’ll find this anti-freeze solvent in brake and hydraulic fluids, along with some of the most common personal care and toiletry products like deodorant, baby wipes, toothpaste, moisturisers, shampoo, and run-of-the-mill cosmetics.

Propylene Glycol has the potential to cause serious health issues, including central nervous system disruption and organ damage. It has also been linked to hives, eczema, and allergic reactions.

11. COAL TAR DYES

Used primarily as a colouring agent in hair dyes and makeup, and also an active ingredient in some anti-dandruff shampoos, coal tar dyes will appear in the ingredients list with names like Aminophenol, Phenylenediamine and Diaminobenzene.

Coal tar dyes are known to be carcinogenic, and in some instances might also be contaminated with toxic heavy metals. In addition to this, coal tar dyes have also been shown to cause skin irritation and sensitivity.

12. BHA & BHT

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) are synthetic antioxidants, which are added to cosmetics like lipstick, moisturiser, and even baby products like nappy creams to extend the product’s shelf life.

They are suspected carcinogens and they also have the potential to cause endocrine disruption and have the potential to cause thyroid, kidney, and liver issues.

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Five Minutes With: The Beauty Chef’s Carla Oates

As an organic beauty and health expert and a former beauty editor, Carla Oates knows more about the secret to great skin than the average gal.

Carla is an avid naturalist and product formulator, and she has spent the better part of the last two decades creating beauty products using foods from her kitchen and herbs from her garden, which resulted in the development of her successful beauty supplement and skin health range, The Beauty Chef.

Carla was kind enough to take five minutes out of her busy schedule to chat with us and reveal her secrets for a healthy, radiant complexion.

EE: When did you first develop an interest in nutrition?

CARLA: I had eczema and allergies as a child, and I went to a naturopath when I was a teenager who put me on a diet. From eliminating certain foods and eating others, I noticed a big difference in my skin and wellbeing.

I was working as a beauty editor around 17 years ago and was concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare, and because of my own personal experience, I understood that radiant, healthy skin comes from within. So I made it my mission to help educate people on healthier skincare options.

I made it my mission to help educate people on healthier skincare options

I wrote a book published a book called Feeding Your Skin, and over the last fifteen years I have written hundreds of articles on natural beauty and health and researched the benefits of plant-based foods for our skin.

My daughter had eczema as a child, and so around 10 years ago I was researching gut health, lacto-fermented foods, and probiotics. I started making lacto-fermented foods and noticed a big difference in her skin and wellbeing.

I created quite a demand, and that demand grew to friends of friends – so it seemed a natural progression to launch The Beauty Chef. Glow Inner Beauty Powder was my first product – containing 24 bio-fermented, skin-loving super foods.

Glow Inner Beauty Powder

How does our gut affect the way our skin looks?

At The Beauty Chef, our ethos is ‘beauty begins in the belly.’ Digestive health is key for healthy, radiant skin. Our gut is where 70% of the immune system lies, where we metabolise hormones, where we make detoxifying enzymes and where we make nutrients.

So much of what goes on in our digestive system can impact our skin – more and more research shows this link. For example, those with healthier gut microbiota have a better fatty acid profile in their skin; meaning their skin is more moisturised and hydrated.

Those with dermatitis have been shown to have a disruption of normal gut microbiota. Where there is gut inflammation, there will be skin inflammation.

What are some of the biggest nutrition and health hurdles women face today?

The prevalence of processed and high human intervention foods in the average diet. I also believe that an overload of synthetic and questionable chemicals in our food, personal care and skincare is problematic to our health, which is why I recommend buying certified organic food, skincare and personal care products wherever possible.

Also stress! Stress and a lack of sleep. Stress robs the body of nutrients and increases stress hormones that can be as problematic to the body as refined sugar. When we sleep we release important antioxidants and youth hormones. A lack of sleep raises stress hormones, interferes with hunger regulating hormones, and depletes us of anti-ageing antioxidants, melatonin and human growth hormone.

What does a typical day on a plate look like for you?

When I get up, I drink our Glow Inner Beauty Powder in water with a splash of lemon juice. This is usually followed by a breakfast of eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes and salmon, or a buckwheat, miso, apple and date porridge.

For lunch I’ll have a big chicken or salmon salad with nuts, sprouts and avocado. For afternoon tea I’ll have a cold pressed juice, or perhaps a black bean and cacao protein truffle made using The Beauty Chef Chocolate Body Inner Beauty Powder.

Dinner is usually light – mostly salads, veggies and a protein source, like lamb or barramundi. In general I eat lots of carrots, nuts and fruit and drink two litres of filtered water throughout the day.

I love curries, slow cooked soups and stews with bone broth, lots of vegetables, herbs and spices – these are easily digested and great for gut health. We have some great recipes available on our website thebeautychef.com.

You recently launched a topical skincare range – what prompted this?

I became concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare and cosmetic products. I believe that many of those harsh chemicals can not only compromise the skin’s protective acid mantle and therefore the health of the skin, but may also be absorbed into the blood stream.

One of my favourite products from the range is the Probiotic Skin Refiner, which embraces fermentation for the same reasons we use it with our inner beauty range. Research is showing that by supporting the flora on the skin topically, you can boost your immune system – so there is a direct relationship between what you put on your skin and your immune system.

Harsh chemicals not only compromise the skin’s protective acid mantle…but may also be absorbed into the blood stream

I love the fact that lacto-fermentation is a completely natural biological process. It breaks ingredients down (natural bacteria pre-digest the ingredients), making the nutrients more bio-available. We don’t need to make super-duper synthetic ingredients in a lab (which may send our skin and health into imbalance) to create ‘active’ ingredients.

Here, we have this incredible process that turns natural ingredients into super-natural ingredients that are active, balanced and rejuvenating – and it’s all done by nature! I love our Probiotic Skin Refiner as it is a skin hydrator, exfoliant and collagen booster – all in one.

Probiotic Skin Refiner

What’s a surprising fact about our skin that people might not know?

The skin, hair and nails are the last places in the body to receive nutrients, as they go to more important organs first, so nutrition is important for glowing skin.

What’s next for The Beauty Chef?

We’re launching The Beauty Chef Cookbook*. It contains more than 150 gluten-free and dairy-free recipes including healthy spins on traditional dishes, special occasion treats, simple family meals and time-honoured ferments.

*The Beauty Chef Cookbook by Carla Oates, $49.95, is available from October 2016 from thebeautychef.com and leading bookstores.

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The Great Skin Diet

When it comes to having an amazing complexion with radiant, glowing skin, the fact is that anti-wrinkle cream and illuminator can only do so much. Your diet plays an integral part in both the function and appearance of your skin, and if you arm yourself with a little know-how and a nutritious pantry, you will nourish you skin from the inside out and be rewarded with an amazing complexion.

“Our diet provides us with nutrients to nourish our skin, including zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C and bioflavonoids to name a few,” says respected Sydney-based nutritionist and naturopath Tania Flack. In addition to nourishing our bodies and our complexions, our diet also also provides us with a range of antioxidants that help us fight the ageing process by combating free radicals (molecules which are a leading cause of skin stress, inflammation and accelerated skin ageing).

“If our diet is poor and we are eating processed foods that contain a high level of chemicals, additives, herbicides and pesticides, then this accelerates the ageing process,” says Tania. Continue reading to discover more of Tania’s top nutritional tips, and learn how you can eat your way to gorgeous, glowing skin.

BEWARE THE SWEET STUFF

While we all worry about that chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate syrup going straight to our hips, it turns out that it could be contributing to our crow’s feet as well.

“Sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains and are part of a healthy wholefoods diet. However, extra sugars added to the diet are associated with accelerated ageing,” says Tania. Accelerated skin ageing can be caused by a number of things like sun damage and smoking, but one of the major causes is glycation.

Extra sugars added to the diet are associated with accelerated ageing

Glycation is a natural process that occurs within our bodies, and it involves protein molecules linking up with sugar, which triggers an inflammatory and oxidative process that damages the collagen and elastin within our skin.

While this process is normal and natural, an excessively sugary diet will intensify glycation, which will in turn speed up the ageing process – hence why sugar is one of your skin’s biggest enemies. “Ideally we should all try to avoid added sugar in our day-to-day diets and use it as a treat occasionally for special celebrations such as birthdays,” says Tania.

DAIRY – A FACTOR IN ADULT ACNE?

If you’ve well and truly left your teenage years behind but still struggle with acne and blemishes, reducing your dairy intake might help you on your way to a glowing, spot-free complexion.

“I do see significant improvements in skin when people eliminate dairy from their diet as part of a detoxification program to improve skin,” says Tania. “In clinic I have observed that dairy consumption seems to be associated with skin congestion, however the reasons for this are unclear. It is possible that the milk proteins including casein and whey may cause problems for some people and impact gut function.”

Impaired gut function can cause a whole host of problems for you and your skin, as it can ultimately interfere with your body’s detoxification processes, which will in turn put more pressure on the eliminatory function of your skin.

If you do decide to ditch dairy in an effort to reduce skin congestion, it’s important that you still consume plenty of calcium to keep your bones healthy and happy. Eating foods like canned salmon and sardines, kale, bok choy, watercress, almonds, calcium-fortified soy milk and tofu, chia seeds and sesame seeds will help boost your calcium intake.

EAT YOUR WAY TO GLOWING SKIN

Upping your intake of fibre and wholefoods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds will give your diet a massive nutritional boost and ensure that your skin (and body) is getting the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it’s craves.

In addition, eating the healthy fats will also improve your complexion. “Essential fatty acids found in fish and seafood provides an array of benefits for the skin. They are strongly anti-inflammatory and help to slow the ageing process,” says Tania.

Essential fatty acids can specifically help your skin by nourishing cell membranes, which will in turn strengthen your skin. Essential fatty acids have also been shown to support healthy hormone balance as well, which is a fantastic added benefit for women.

Great sources of essential fatty acids include fresh sardines, mackerel, salmon, prawns and scallops. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, all isn’t lost – foods like avocado, coconut oil and chia seeds will help boost your intake of the good, skin-loving types of fat.

H20 TO THE RESCUE

We’ve all heard the old ‘eight glasses of water a day’ adage, but does your daily water intake actually play that big of a role in how your skin looks? According to Tania, the answer is a resounding yes.

“Dehydration can cause skin to look dry, and we should aim for a minimum of 1.5 litres of water per day and avoid excess alcohol and caffeine, which accelerate dehydration.” If you can’t part ways with your daily cup of tea or coffee or that cheeky glass of pinot on a Friday night (hey, we get it), make sure you have an extra glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink.

In addition, if you’re exercising you should aim to drink an extra two glasses of water for every half hour of exercise you do.

SUPPLEMENT YOUR SKIN

While supplements should never be used as a substitute for eating healthily, they can help give your diet and your skin a helping hand.

One of our favourite supplements for amazing skin is The Beauty Chef’s Glow Inner Beauty Powder. This tasty berry-flavoured powder combines a blend of organic and natural ingredients that are bio-fermented for gut health and packed full of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and amino acids, which nourish your skin from the inside to help give your skin a healthy glow on the outside.

The Beauty Chef’s Glow Inner Beauty Powder

Another supplement we love is Amazonia Raw Prebiotic Women’s Multi. Not only does this wholefood-loaded supplement boost your intake of vitamins and minerals, but it also contains fermented ingredients that act as powerful pre- and probiotics that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Healthy intestinal flora help your body extract maximum nutrition from the foods you eat, which in turn boosts your overall health and wellbeing, and can also improve the appearance of your skin.

Amazonia Raw Prebiotic Women's Multi.

We know that antioxidants are one of your skin’s best friends when it comes to anti-ageing, but ensuring that you eat enough antioxidant-rich foods to create a noticeable improvement in your skin can be a tricky task (how many blueberries can one person eat in a day, right?). Enter Matcha Maiden Green Tea. Made entirely of stone-ground organic green tea leaves, this vibrant green powder contains the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of antioxidant-rich green tea, which helps your body combat age-accelerating free radicals.

Matcha Maiden Green Tea

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