The Truth About Essential Oils

If the wonderful woman who cuts my hair is to be believed, essential oils are nothing short of magic potions. They’ve done everything from cure her back pain and rejuvenate her nail beds to make her house smell like Thanksgiving all year long. Sounds great, right?

Before you load up on essential oils, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Essential oils can provide an exciting array of benefits for your well-being, but some of the health claims made about them have stirred up controversy.

Fact: Essential Oils Are Plant Extracts

Essential oils are aromatic compounds that are derived from plants. Sometimes they’re harvested using a cold press or other mechanical means; sometimes they’re distilled using steam. Once those appealing aromatics are separated from their plants, they’re combined with an oil for ease of use.

How that oil is made matters. When buying essential oils, stick to those that are chemical-free and list the aromatic’s botanical name, like “cinnamomum zeylanicum” instead of “essence of cinnamon bark.”

Fact: Essential Oils Are Good for Your Limbic System

One very popular way to use essential oils is to add a few drops to some water in an oil diffuser, which will disperse the scent of the oil, or combination of oils, throughout the air. Studies show that smelling these aromas can stimulate your limbic system. That’s the part of your brain involved in behavior, emotion and memory. Inhaling certain scents can have a calming effect by reminding you of cherished places and events. For example, when I mix a few drops of clove, cinnamon and orange oils in my diffuser, it takes me right back to holidays in my grandmother’s kitchen, even if I’m firing my diffuser up in mid-July.

Fiction: Essential Oils Are Good for Your Blood Pressure

While research proves that essential oil-based aromatherapy can boost your memory, the jury’s still out on whether or not it can lower your heart rate or blood pressure, or improve any respiratory functions.

Fact: Essential Oils Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety

The keyword here is “can.” There’s no guarantee that inhaling essential oils will rid you of your worries, but research has shown that certain scents can reduce stress for certain users. For example, that Christmas kitchen oil cocktail I mentioned earlier often does wonders for my state of mind, but that’s because it tends to stir up pleasant memories.

Ultimately, it’s virtually impossible for researchers to do a blind study when scent is involved, so it’s been equally tricky to come to any strong scientific conclusions in this area.

Fiction: Essential Oils Are an Alternative to Antibiotics

While some essential oils, such as tea tree oil, have demonstrated antibacterial properties outside the human body, none of them have proven effective in fighting bacterial infections in people. In other words, adding tea tree oil to your homemade counter cleaner is a great idea. Taking a big swig of it after you wipe down your kitchen is absolutely not.

Fact: Essential Oils Can Reduce Headaches

While more research is needed, several studies have shown that rubbing peppermint oil or lavender oil on your temples or forehead can reduce headaches.

Fiction: Essential Oils Are Safe for Your Pets

According to the ASPCA, essential oils can be extremely harmful to some pets. It varies from animal to animal, of course, and the type of oil and the amount that the animal inhales, ingests or comes into physical contact with all matter as well.

Does this mean you need to junk your essential oil diffuser? If you have a pet bird, then yes, you probably should. They have exceptionally sensitive respiratory systems. For other pets, stationing the diffuser in an open area and out of your pet’s furry reach should be safe. If you’re worried, ask your vet.

Essential oils can be a great way to cozy up your space or take the edge off your migraine. As with any wellness product, however, you should do your homework first and read all labels.

How To Increase Skin’s Collagen Production

Collagen is your body’s secret weapon. It not only makes your skin appear more youthful but also strengthens your body as a whole. It’s the most abundant protein in your body, and when you have a healthy level of it inside, you look and feel healthy on the outside. Here are six simple, non-invasive ways to kick-start your body’s production of collagen.

Vitamin C

Is there anything vitamin C can’t do? It’s great for your bones and a healthy immune system. Adding citrus to your diet can increase iron absorption and decrease the time it takes wounds to heal. And it helps your body create collagen by synthesizing hyaluronic acid, which decreases naturally as we grow older.

To give your skin a more robust glow, pick up a hyaluronic acid concentrate at the pharmacy or load up on colorful, vitamin C-filled foods such as the following:

  • Oranges and grapefruit

  • Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries

  • Mango, papaya and kiwi

  • Watermelon and cantaloupe

  • Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli

  • Kale, spinach and cabbage

  • Red and green bell peppers

  • Tomatoes

  • Sweet potatoes

Ginseng

Sometimes helping your skin is as simple as brewing a soothing cup of tea. Ginseng, which has been used in medicine for hundreds of years, provides a handful of health benefits for your skin. It can increase collagen growth, reduce inflammation and fend off UVB rays. It’s also packed with the antioxidants you need to fend off free radicals for radiant skin. If ginseng tea turns you off, no problem. Try a ginseng supplement or tincture.

Antioxidants

Ginseng isn’t the only way to aid the antioxidants in your blood stream. Several foods, beverages and spices contain antioxidants:

  • Green tea

  • Yerba mate

  • Thyme, oregano and basil essential oils

  • Blueberries

  • Various extracts including coffee, licorice, mulberry and pomegranate

Some of these delicious flavors increase collagen production, while others simply aid your body’s existing antioxidants. Either way, you have no shortage of reasons to snack on a second bowl of fresh blueberries.

Aloe Vera

You’re probably well aware that aloe vera is great for sunburns, but did you know that it’s all because of its collagen-boosting properties? You can apply it directly to your skin or ingest it via supplement. Either way, studies show that its knack for stimulating cell growth can enhance your skin’s appearance. In fact, one study found that taking aloe vera orally caused the participants’ production of both collagen and hyaluronic acid to double.

Cilantro

I know, I know. You either love it or you hate it. I happen to love it, and not just because it’s full of vitamin C and linolenic acid, both of which have anti-aging potential. You already know that vitamin C has been found to elevate collagen levels. Linolenic acid, meanwhile, contains those helpful antioxidants your skin craves, giving you all the more reason to add an extra handful of cilantro to your salsa or pick up some cilantro extract online.

Algae

For the more adventurous of us, algae is quickly gaining steam as a popular treatment for supple skin. Here’s why: It stops oxidation, which is what happens when your skin comes into contact with environmental factors, thereby preventing pollution and its undesirable pals from stripping your skin of collagen. Odds are, you won’t be able to pick up algae on your next trip to the grocery store, but it’s a health food store staple.

Fine lines and wrinkles are inevitable as we age, but that doesn’t mean we have to welcome them! Partner any of these collagen-intensifying tips with a healthy skincare routine that’s low on UV rays to help your skin look and feel fantastic, no matter how old you are.

Does CBD Really Work?

I’ve never believed in a miracle drug, which is why I shook my head when everybody started talking about CBD. People were claiming it could cure everything from anxiety to excess gas and I thought it was all ridiculous. But then, I realized something strange. Unlike most fads that fade into the background within a few weeks, CBD wasn’t going away. That piqued my curiosity, because if it was a scam, surely it wouldn’t stick around so long.

I started to get curious about what everyone was saying, so I did the unthinkable … I tried the product. Now, before you go making fun of me, you should see what happened when I actually gave CBD a try. Maybe my experience will help you answer your own questions about whether or not CBD really works.

What Is CBD?

Before I tell you my story, I want to make sure you know what CBD is, and what it isn’t. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is an active ingredient found in cannabis (otherwise known as marijuana). However, the CBD found in products today is derived from the hemp plant, which is a close cousin of marijuana.

Contrary to popular belief, CBD does not cause the “high” for which marijuana is known. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, CBD doesn’t exhibit any effects indicative of substance dependence or abuse. That was good news to me, since I didn’t want to get high as a kite after taking the product to calm my nerves.

Is CBD Legal?  

Just to clear things up, if CBD wasn’t legal, I wouldn’t have taken it. But my state allows me to use it. In fact, all 50 states have legalized CBD to some degree. Different states have different levels of restriction against the product, though. That’s why you need to understand the laws in your state before you buy.

Does CBD Work?

Now, I need to throw this out there right now: There is no evidence that CBD can cure cancer. So make sure you follow the advice of your doctor when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. I would never recommend treating cancer with CBD alone, though it could certainly be used to help minimize pain associated with cancer. As with any drug, it’s really important to talk to your doctor about using CBD to manage pain from cancer or any other health condition.

Though it probably can’t cure cancer, there is evidence that CBD can help with many other conditions, including fibromyalgia pain, anxiety, muscle spasticity and sleep disorders. In my case, it helps calm my anxiety and improves my everyday mood. You’d think that at my age, I’d have very little to worry about. But anxiety can sneak up on you whether you’re 15 or 95. When I start to feel anxious, I take CBD and start to calm down within a few minutes.

Multiple studies reveal that CBD can be used to treat multiple anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I’ve learned that it’s best to take CBD before a known stressful event, such as speaking in front of people or even having the grandkids over for the afternoon.

Is CBD Safe?

Like all pharmaceutical products, CBD is associated with some minor side effects. The good news is that these side effects are typically minor compared to the side effects associated with many common medications. Here are some of the unpleasantries you might experience when you start using CBD:

  • Increased irritability

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Reduced appetite (although I’m not so sure this one is a negative side effect, to be honest!)

  • Dry mouth

  • Drowsiness

  • Diarrhea

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may want to reduce the amount of CBD you use, or discontinue using it altogether. It’s also important to talk to your doctor about the appropriate dosage for your age and health needs.

Is Buying CBD Oil Legal?

If you’re wondering whether it’s OK to buy cannabidiol oil, you’re not alone. Many older adults are investigating this question because of what they’ve heard about the ability of CBD oil to reduce pain, inflammation and nausea. Will you get in trouble if you buy CBD?

Why CBD Is Sometimes Legal but Sometimes Not

CBD is often legal to buy, but you have to check your state’s laws first. According to federal guidelines, CBD oil is legal as long as it comes from a hemp plant with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the substance that produce’s marijuana’s “high.” However, the FDA prohibits companies from making any health claims about CBD products, so any supplement that violates this rule is technically illegal.

In addition, some states specifically prohibit CBD. Why the fuss over THC content?

What CBD Oil Is and What It Isn’t

Many people think that pure CBD oil is the same thing as medical marijuana, but it’s not. Cannabis plants have countless varieties. Hemp is a different variety of cannabis than marijuana. This is an important difference because hemp contains almost no THC (under 0.3%) while many marijuana plants contain around 12% THC.

CBD oil doesn’t produce the “high” or feeling of euphoria that THC creates. Instead, CBD benefits focus on overall well-being for the body. This can include relief for a number of general conditions:

  • Pain
  • Migraine
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Inflammatory bowel disorders

Hemp plants produce an abundance of CBD. Each plant contains about 12–18% CBD plus hundreds of other chemical compounds and antioxidants.

What State CBD Laws Say

Even though CBD oil made from hemp is legal under federal regulations, individual states may have their own laws. Laws can change constantly, so it’s always important to check into your state’s latest guidelines about CBD oil.

As of 2020, Idaho and Nebraska consider CBD oil (and hemp plants) illegal, regardless of the use. South Dakota currently allows CBD oil that comes from hemp but has strict penalties for possession of other types of cannabis.

Why It’s Important To Find a Company You Trust

One major factor in the question of whether CBD oil is legal comes down to how much you trust the product’s manufacturer. This is because the FDA doesn’t actively investigate CBD oil products, similar to its treatment of most supplements. The description you see on the bottle may not be what’s actually inside.

To ensure that CBD comes from hemp instead of other varieties of cannabis, trustworthy companies grow the plants in a carefully monitored environment. These companies also use special chemicals to extract pure CBD oil.

On the other hand, dubious companies may try to save money by getting CBD from marijuana plants. This type of CBD is illegal in most states. Disreputable suppliers sometimes use cheaper extraction methods that don’t remove THC correctly.

How To Make the Final Call

Before buying any CBD products, make sure your state allows them. Look for third-party testing for CBD purity and only buy from well-known companies you trust. As long as it’s legal where you live, high-quality CBD oil from hemp may help you find relief from pain and anxiety symptoms. It’s worth looking into.

Can CBD Oil Get You High?

Products containing cannabidiol, which is more commonly known as “CBD,” are everywhere these days. It’s hard to go anywhere these days without seeing lotions, oils, sprays, tinctures, capsules, vapes and concentrates that claim to contain some level of the stuff. The prevalence of CBD products may have piqued your interest, but before you give any of them a try, you may wonder, can CBD oil get you high?

In a nutshell, the answer is no, CBD oil cannot get you high. However, to understand why that is — and to have peace of mind that we’re telling you the truth — you need to understand what CBD is and how it differs from THC.

The Basics of Cannabidiol

CBD is just one of the hundreds of compounds found in the cannabis and hemp plants. It is extracted from the plant and separated from other compounds, such as the other popular compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (which we will explain more below). CBD comes mainly from the stalks, stems and leaves of cannabis plants, and from the flowers of hemp plants. Manufacturers of CBD products do their best to ensure the compound is as pure as possible before infusing it into edibles, topicals, sprays, oils and other products.

Differences Between CBD and THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, does produce the psychoactive effects most people associate with marijuana. Common effects include pleasure, euphoria and forgetfulness, though in some people, the compound can cause increased anxiety and paranoia. If you’re one of the latter types of people, or if you’ve simply never had the desire to try marijuana, it may reassure you to know that CBD does not produce any of the effects of THC.

Unlike CBD, which derives mostly from the stems, leaves and stalks of a plant, THC comes mostly from the flowering portions. This is why many marijuana breeders seek out plants with lush, flower-heavy stalks.

The Effects of CBD 

So, we’ve determined that CBD cannot get you high, but that does not necessarily mean it doesn’t produce some kind of mood-altering effect. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be so popular.

Both THC and CBD are mood-altering compounds that produce several therapeutic benefits. Those include nausea and pain relief, inflammation reduction and management of seizure disorders. However, whereas THC is intoxicating and can alter users’ perceptions of time and space, CBD merely promotes feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. For instance, some people just react differently to different drugs. Just how some people experience euphoria when using THC and others experience paranoia, some people may find that CBD has negative effects on their state of mind. Then there’s the issue of purity. Though uncommon, some users may experience intoxicating effects if a CBD product contains even trace amounts of THC. For this reason, it’s important that individuals interested in CBD products test various ones to see which are right for them.

CBD Oil

CBD oil is one of the most popular of all CBD products, and one of the most versatile. It produces all of the beneficial effects of cannabidiol, such as relaxation, reduced anxiety, pain relief and reduced stress, but you can use it in one of three ways: Add it to food, drinks or vape, take it sublingually (beneath the tongue) or apply it topically by infusing a lotion or cream with it. Like other CBD products, CBD oil should not produce any psychoactive effects.

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5 Tips for Self-Care After 50

self-care

The faster the world gets, the more we need to slow down. Making time to take care of yourself is vital, especially as you grow older. Here are five self-care tips you can use to increase your overall health.

1. Get Enough Sleep

There’s more to sleep than sweet dreams. Sleep is when your body rests and resets. Without it, you can see negative effects from your head to your toes, including increased anxiety and higher blood pressure.

To avoid a restless night — and get at least seven hours of quality sleep — create a comfortable bedtime routine. Hit the sack at the same time every night, and banish screens from your bedroom. If falling asleep is a constant challenge, consider a sound machine, meditation or talking to your physician.

2. Eat Well

This is a crucial slice of self-care no matter how old you are, but its importance only expands as you grow older. Nourish your body with healthy, whole foods that lift your energy level and support your body’s systems. Avoid processed and packaged foods that are full of salt and preservatives. They may be convenient, but at best, they’ll make you sluggish; at worst, they’ll cause weight gain.

3. Keep Your Stress in Check

Stress may decrease with age, as your children start their own families and your work-related obligations grow tamer (or disappear entirely!), but it certainly doesn’t go away. In fact, between decreasing mobility and the high cost of health care, simply growing older can be a huge source of stress.

If you don’t manage those stressors, they can cause or exacerbate a host of health problems:

  • Digestive trouble

  • A compromised immune system

  • Vision loss

  • Hearing loss

  • Heart attack and other cardiac issues

To keep your stress level low, keep moving. Even something as simple as a nightly walk after dinner can do wonders for your stress. Learning relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, is another way to decrease day-to-day pressure. For me, yoga, combines the best of both worlds when it comes to movement and mindfulness. Plus, I’m more flexible than ever!

4. Make Time for Friends

Loneliness inspired dozens of memorable pop songs, but it has no place in your life if you want to optimize your health and wellness. Persistent loneliness can cause anxiety and stress to spike.

Feeling isolated isn’t just bad for your mental health, either. In addition to nudging your stress and anxiety levels off the charts, it can also affect your body in negative ways, such as:

  • Increased risk of heart disease

  • Obesity

  • Organ damage

Spending time with your friends and family is imperative to wellness. Getting together for coffee, shopping or a quick stroll around the park can provide a huge boost to your mental health.

If your loved ones are spread out across the map, get involved in your community. Volunteering for organizations and causes that hold meaning for you is just one way to start expanding your social circle. Don’t know where to begin? Your local library likely plays host to a variety of groups and guest speakers.

5. Kick Old Habits

Old habits may die hard, but once you hit 50, the jig is up. If you’re still smoking, drinking heavily, or regularly indulging in junk food, it’s time to make a concerted effort to stop.

The benefits will kick in almost immediately. Bid farewell to your daily cookie binge, for example, and you’ll feel less lethargic. Stop smoking and you’ll literally be breathing easier in as little as 48 hours. You’ll also stop accelerating the aging process and start decreasing your odds of a variety of health problems that are fed by cigarettes, such as heart disease.

With age comes wisdom. Know when it’s time to take a break from business as usual and indulge in some self-care. Better still, incorporate these tips into your daily routine. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

Does Fish Oil Help Achy Joints?

Are you living with the discomfort of achy joints? You’re in good company! In fact, I had trouble just getting out of bed today because my darn knees were giving me grief. Whether your achy joints are an old or a new problem, you’re probably wondering how to help them calm down. Sure, your doctor can recommend medications to help manage the pain, but at what cost? Many medications come with side effects that are even less pleasant than the condition they’re treating!

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could minimize your pain through natural methods? Well, guess what? You may be able to! Some people swear by fish oil supplementation and claim that the stuff helps their achy joints. So I decided to do a little research into the matter. Here’s what I found out.

What Is Fish Oil?

Fish oil comes from the tissues of oily fish. While that may sound off-putting, the stuff is actually quite remarkable! It’s full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation in the body. Since achy joints are commonly caused by inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are like their kryptonite. Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for many other bodily functions. They facilitate cell growth and help the muscles function properly.

There are many food sources of omega-3 fatty acids, including nuts, plant oils and seeds. But fish oil is one of the richest sources of omega-3s, which is why it’s so popular. Unfortunately, the taste isn’t too great, so don’t try to take it straight. Instead, take fish oil in capsule form so you don’t have to taste it at all (though I can’t promise you won’t have fish oil burps afterward).

What Causes Achy Joints?

There are many things that can cause your joints to ache, but inflammation is one of the most common causes. In fact, inflammation has been linked to some of the most egregious joint pain conditions, including:

  • Arthritis

  • Gout

  • Lupus

  • Bursitis

  • Tendinitis

  • Complex regional pain syndrome

Joint pain can also be due to serious conditions such as bone cancer and avascular necrosis. It’s very important to see your doctor and rule out these causes before attempting to treat your joint discomfort on your own with fish oil supplementation.

What Are Signs of Joint Inflammation?

In addition to pain, other common indications of joint inflammation include:

  • Loss of joint function

  • Joint pain

  • Redness and swelling in the joint

  • Joint stiffness

When joints are inflamed for a prolonged period of time, they can cause chronic pain. This can, in turn, make it difficult to live a full, happy life. Depending on the severity and cause of your joint pain, diagnosis and treatment may be required to live normally. In some cases, however, supplementing with fish oil can significantly minimize joint pain.

How Does Fish Oil Minimize Joint Aches?

Now that you know fish oil has the potential to minimize joint aches, you may be wondering how it does so. It turns out that omega-3 fatty acids can rude joint discomfort in three different ways.

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids increase blood flow throughout the body. Adequate blood flow can naturally reduce swelling and pain in the joints.

  2. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to inhibit inflammation of the joints. They also limit the body’s production of negative proteins that are linked to certain arthritis types.

  3. Omega-3 fatty acids help restore and maintain healthy cells in the joints. They also help aid proper lubrication on the joints and help minimize excessive wear and strain.

In these three ways, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help you experience strong, healthy joints that are less susceptible to inflammation and pain. Who knew a simple little fish oil could do so much?

The 6 Best Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramping

Virtually every woman has experienced menstrual cramping at some point in their lives. Finding a suitable home remedy for cramping is a must to prevent discomfort and ensure you're not held back when that time of the month rolls around. Here are a few effective treatments you can use to quell cramps and feel your best:

1. Get Up & Move

While it might seem like the last thing you want to do when plagued with period cramps, movement is a great way to reduce discomfort. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals your body produces. If you're not up for an intense workout or a 5-mile run, don't fret. Yoga is a great alternative, as it involves gentle, concentrated movements to balance your mind and body. Even doing yoga as little as 5 minutes a day when you have your period can make a huge improvement.

2. Apply Heat

It's a remedy that's passed down from generation to generation for very good reason; applying heat directly to your abdomen is a great way to reduce cramping and discomfort. Heat improves the blood flow to the area, while also relaxing contracting muscles responsible for cramping. There are a few ways you can use heat during your period. A hot shower works well, but many women use a heating pad or pack to apply heat therapy directly where it hurts.

3. Drink Herbal Tea

Herbal remedies have also been in use for generations thanks to their natural healing properties. A variety of herbs are associated with pain relief, including ginger. Ginger is also good for quelling nausea, which can sometimes occur during your period. Other herbal treatments good for menstrual cramping include chamomile, fennel, and green tea, which also provides a burst of energy when you're feeling sluggish.

4. Massage Yourself With Essential Oils

Similar to applying heat, gently massaging your abdomen can also boost blood flow for all-natural pain relief. By incorporating essential oils into your self-massage session, you'll also be privy to other amazing benefits. In addition to being absorbed into the skin, inhaling essential oils lowers stress and helps you feel relaxed. Lavender, rose, and cinnamon oils are just a few that provide relief from cramping, as well as decreasing feelings of anxiety and tension.

5. Steer Clear of Certain Foods

Some women go crazy for cakes and cookies during their periods, while others can't get enough of salty snacks. Both are problematic, but for vastly different reasons. Chocolate and other sweet treats can affect your blood sugar level, which in turn impacts your mood (which is already being impacted by your wildly fluctuating hormones). When it comes to salty snacks, potato chips and pretzels cause you to retain water, which increases bloating. Instead, look for foods rich in vitamins and other nutrients when experiencing period cravings.

6. Stop Smoking

Smoking is bad for you in so many ways, from increasing your risk of developing certain types of cancers to negatively affecting your chance of conceiving. There is also evidence that smoking cigarettes actually makes menstrual cramping worse for many women, especially for women who are habitual smokers. One study found that smokers experienced periods cramps more consistently when compared to women who've never smoked, with some smokers reporting period cramping approximately 80% of the time. The reason is likely nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant that causes blood vessels to restrict, which increases abdominal cramping and discomfort.

While it's true that periods are a fact of life, that doesn't mean you must resign yourself to feeling miserable once a month. By using the above remedies, you can reduce the painful effects of menstruation thanks to proven, all-natural methods.

Your Facial Cleanser Should Not Contain THESE Chemicals

The smiling faces of beautiful women on a TV advertisement look appealing, but are facial cleansers really as safe as they look? Actually, many skincare products contain ingredients that may be toxic or irritating to your skin. Here are five common ingredients you should avoid:

1. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde and related compounds are used in many modern skincare products. If that makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, which means it can cause serious health problems such as cancer. Avoid any of these dangerous formaldehyde variants: diazolidinyl urea, bronopol, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea or hydroxymethylglycinate.

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Countless cleansers and body washes contain sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. These intense cleaning agents are good at removing oils, dirt and makeup. So, what’s the problem?

For one thing, SLS is too strong for many skin types. Underneath that bubbly exterior, your skin is being subjected to a severe onslaught. SLS completely decimates your face’s natural oils. It’s not surprising that sulfates can lead to significant irritation or rashes in some people. Your best bet is to steer clear of this harsh chemical.

3. Parfum or Fragrance

The word “parfum” seems sophisticated and enticing. Many women look at fragrances in cosmetics as something attractive. However, there’s a dark side to parfum that you can’t ignore. In the cosmetic industry, parfum refers to many different ingredients that the manufacturer considers a secret formulation.

This can include dangerous chemicals such as phthalates that may interfere with healthy hormone function. All in all, there are about 3,000 chemicals that qualify as fragrances. Many of them can cause asthma problems, allergic reaction and headaches.

4. Petroleum-Based Ingredients

Synthetic oils are added to many facial cleansers to help ingredients reach deep into your skin. However, petroleum-based products can also irritate the face, and cheaply sourced oils can be contaminated with cancer-causing compounds. Here are several types of synthetic oils:

  • Petrolatum

  • Paraffin wax

  • Mineral oil

  • Polyethylene glycol

  • Butyl- ingredients

  • Propyl- ingredients

From a skincare perspective, synthetic oils can’t compete with the beauty of natural oils, either. Petroleum products rest on top of the skin, which can trap dirt and oil. In contrast, natural oils replenish and rejuvenate your face’s layers.

5. Isopropyl Alcohol

Alcohols are used to give cleansers a lighter feel and sometimes to add disinfectant properties. Not all alcohols are a bad thing; fatty alcohols such as stearyl alcohol can actually hydrate dry skin.

However, isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol (SD alcohol 40) and ethyl alcohol have the opposite effect. They make your skin drier and drier every time you use them. Needless to say, that can also provoke irritation.

Incredible Natural Alternatives

You don’t have to subject your skin to these harsh chemicals. Enjoy a soothing beauty routine with your favorite essential oils and natural ingredients. Organic facial cleansers have amazing benefits for skin moisturizing, repair and wrinkle control. Apple cider vinegar can clear up acne without damaging healthy oils. Extra virgin olive oil removes your makeup quickly and nourishes your face instead of harming it. Try honey and coconut oil as a cleanser for sensitive skin.

Topical Organic Oils

There are plenty of other effective organic oils for restoring skin's elasticity. One of the keys is ramping up collagen production. This plumps and hydrates sagging or wrinkled skin. Here you can see the dramatic results when Argon Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Apricot Kernel Oil are used together to replenish a youthful glow.

6 Techniques To Get Rid of Brain Fog And Stay Calm All Day

clear fog

There are lots of things you can do to enjoy a serene and positive morning. Try these six calming techniques to improve your mental focus, boost your energy levels and make each morning a lot brighter.

Perform Gentle Stretches

Stretching is a great way to alleviate tense muscles. Interestingly, exercise also helps you get rid of stress. Here’s how to do a simple shoulder stretch using a chair:

  1. Move forward to the edge of the chair (but make sure you still have stability).
  2. Place your arms behind you and lock your fingers around the back of the chair.
  3. Lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch.
  4. Hold this position for 15–30 seconds, or whatever is comfortable.

As you activate your muscles, it purges excess stress hormones and releases calming endorphins instead. These natural painkillers even improve your flexibility and reduce inflammation.

Play Relaxing Music

Slow, gentle music has tremendous power to release anxiety naturally. A soft piano melody or beauty acoustic guitar arrangement can evoke positive emotions and make you think of a gorgeous meadow with flowers. This has a physical effect on your stress hormones, releasing a neurochemical called dopamine that gives you a sensation of happiness and euphoria.

Try Easy Aromatherapy

You don’t have to visit a spa to enjoy the soothing power of scents. Aromatherapy can be as easy as placing fresh flowers on your bedside table. Candles and oil diffusers are also popular. Choose a scent that brings to mind positive memories. For some people, lavender, basil and eucalyptus have this effect. Smelling a fresh lemon can help lower your stress, too.

Do a Few Deep Breathing Exercises

Shallow breathing makes your brain think you’re not getting enough oxygen. This triggers a stress response that speeds up your heart rate. The solution? Take a moment each morning to breathe deeply. Here’s how:

  1. Lie on your back in a comfortable position or sit in a chair with your neck resting against the back of the chair.

  2. Close your lips and inhale deeply through your nostrils.

  3. Some people find it relaxing to place their hands on their chest or belly. It depends on your personal preferences.

  4. As you breathe deeply, you should feel the lower part of your chest expand as it fills with air.

  5. Slowly exhale from your mouth, blowing gently outwards.

Filling your lungs with oxygen in this way can naturally start to slow your pulse and make you feel more relaxed. It’s as if you’re letting go of stress with each breath.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Certain foods give your brain a nutrient boost. If you’re feeling brain fog frequently, you may be missing essential vitamins. Now’s the perfect time to fall in love with avocado toast for breakfast. Avocados are packed with healthy fats, antioxidants and potassium for increasing mental performance. Walnuts and blueberries are also stellar choices.

Focus on Happy Memories

The emotions you feel are usually directly related to what you think about. If you wake up in the morning with anxiety, try not to dwell on worries. Of course, to get rid of these negative feelings, you need to replace them with something positive. A happy memory with loved ones is the perfect choice.

Before you know it, you’ve forgotten about stress and you’re ready to start the day on with a smile on your face. Some people enjoy reading a favorite book or inspirational quotes in the morning for the same reason.

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