5 Ingredients for Healthy, Glowing Skin This Summer

Summertime is finally here, and while you may welcome the warmth and sunshine with open arms, there are a few things you could likely do away with, such as breakouts, dull skin, a sweaty shine, clogged pores and more. Yes, with summer comes the intense heat and, depending on where you live, oppressing humidity, neither of which is excellent for your complexion. The good news is that you can combat the potentially adverse effects of environmental stressors simply by changing up your skincare ingredients. So which ingredients should you be using? Check out experts’ top picks for healthy, glowing skin all summer.

Niacinamide

Niacinamide — more commonly known as vitamin B3 — is the powerhouse of skincare ingredients. A key ingredient in almost all SPF products, niacinamide prevents damage caused by UV rays and boosts the skin’s natural barrier function. Considering preventing UV damage should be a primary goal for skin care this summer, B3 is one ingredient you want to add to your repertoire — that is, if your products don’t contain it already.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful ingredient for combatting collagen damage and hyperpigmentation caused by prolonged sun exposure. It does this by using its antioxidants to inhibit the production of melanin and stimulate collagen production at the same time. With vitamin C in your arsenal, you can keep your skin wrinkle and fine-line-free not just through the season but also for years to come.

Salicylic Acid

Humidity wreaks havoc on the skin in several ways throughout the summer, one of which is by causing intense oil buildup beneath the surface. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, meaning it can cut through the oils on your skin and exfoliate deep within the pores to remove any blockages. If your skin becomes shiny with oil beginning in late May to early June, and if it is prone to acne breakouts because of it, add this acid to the list of ingredients with which to pamper your complexion this summer.

Hyaluronic Acid

A combination of constant air conditioning and intense heat can quickly dry out the skin, leaving your complexion looking dull at best and downright parched at worst. To keep your skin from feeling (and looking) like a sheet of sandpaper, add hyaluronic acid to your daily skincare regime. This ingredient not only boosts hydration beneath the skin’s surface but also, it helps the skin retain its moisture. Not only that, but hyaluronic acid has been known to make the skin appear plumper because of its water retention abilities.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Though not an ingredient in and of itself, alpha hydroxy acids are a class of ingredients that work wonders on the skin, especially during the summer months. Acids in this class include glycolic acid, citric acid and lactic acid. These acids have gentle exfoliating properties, which help to remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface without damaging the newly formed cells beneath. This careful balance helps to prevent the over-drying of the skin during what should be maintenance and healing processes.

Achieving and maintaining healthy skin throughout the summer months is a tough feat. However, with these five ingredients in your arsenal, you can accomplish what so many others before you deemed “impossible” — a beautiful, even and glowing complexion all summer long.

What Happens When You Use Expired Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is an essential part of protecting your skin and keeping it healthy. It shouldn’t be something you only use during summer months or beach vacations, but it’s not always easy to remember to apply it. That’s why many families end up with a bottle of sunscreen that’s still half full when it expires. So is expired sunscreen bad for you?

You Shouldn’t Use Expired Sunscreen

The quick answer is that you should never use sunscreen past the expiration date. Dermatologists universally agree on that. If you’ve had the same bottle for over three years, it’s officially time to replace it.

The fact that you’re interested in wearing sunscreen more often is a good thing. Get set up for success by checking the date on sunscreen in the house and tossing any expired ones.

Sun Protection That Doesn’t Work

The first reason to skip expired sunscreen is that old products lose their effectiveness. After several years, key ingredients stop working the way they should, so they don’t reflect sunlight properly or provide the necessary coverage. All types of sunscreen have this problem, both chemical and mineral versions.

Without a generous layer of high-quality sunscreen, your skin is vulnerable to many types of damage:

  • Greater risk of skin cancer
  • Faster aging
  • More wrinkles
  • Drier and thicker skin
  • Less skin elasticity

Using expired sunscreen would be like having a home security system but leaving the front door open all night. It doesn’t do the one job it’s supposed to: keep skin safe from damaging ultraviolet rays. Frankly, your skin deserves better than that.

Problems With Bacteria and Rashes

Another reason to avoid using sunscreen that’s past its expiration date is that it can cause breakouts, even if your skin isn’t normally sensitive. As the ingredients separate, they can even lead to allergic reactions.

One reason for irritation is germs inside the bottle. After years of beach trips and sweaty hands, sunscreen can end up with a bacteria problem. You can tell when this happens because the sunscreen will start to smell funny.

Signs Your Sunscreen Isn’t Working

Besides the expiration date on the bottle, there are other reasons why sunscreen can stop working. For example, leaving the bottle in direct sunlight for too long can ruin it, which means the SPF rating isn’t accurate anymore. Here are several signs that can mean something is wrong with your sunscreen:

  • Clumps
  • Sandy texture
  • Weird smells
  • Watery consistency
  • Separated ingredients
  • Different color (e.g. yellow instead of white)

To keep this from happening to a new bottle of sunscreen, store it at room temperature, not too hot or too cold. At the beach, wrap it in a small towel or keep it in the shade. Don’t leave sunscreen in your car’s storage compartment and expect it to last.

The Right Amount of Sunscreen

If you’re running into the problem of expired sunscreen, it probably means your family isn’t using enough. According to the Mayo Clinic, the right amount to use (per person) for liberal application is one ounce each time. That’s the size of a shot glass.

One ounce is the amount needed to cover your arms, hands, neck, ears and face. You should apply a generous layer every time you leave the house, even on cloudy days. A 50-ounce bottle of sunscreen should only last 1 1/2–2 months if you’re doing things right.

How Your Vitamin D Needs Change as You Get Older

Many people know that vitamin D is the vitamin that the body naturally produces when exposed to sunlight. Few people understand what it does, though. That may be one reason why vitamin D deficiency is so common.

Over 40% of adults in the United States don’t get enough of this vitamin every day. If only they knew how essential the sunshine vitamin really is!

What Is Vitamin D For?

Vitamin D is capable of impressive things. It boosts your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which greatly impacts bone health. Having sufficient calcium is essential for preventing osteoporosis.

Low vitamin D levels can also affect other parts of your body:

  • Heart health
  • Muscle strength
  • Mood
  • Metabolism
  • Blood sugar
  • Immune system (autoimmune diseases)

Why You Need Vitamin D — Especially for Aging

Calcium and vitamin D are a fantastic team, always better together. People who have a vitamin D deficiency can only absorb about 10–15% of the calcium in foods they eat. In contrast, with the right amount of vitamin D, that absorption goes up to 40%!

Maintaining proper calcium levels becomes trickier as you age. Bone growth slows significantly after age 50. Women going through menopause have a greater risk of osteoporosis because low estrogen levels can speed up bone loss.

Osteoporosis Statistics

The numbers show just how important it is to make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin D and calcium:

  • Nearly 45% of U.S. adults over 50 have low bone mass
  • Over 200 million people worldwide have osteoporosis
  • The percentage of women in the U.S. who have osteoporosis is increasing
  • About 33% of women experience at least one osteoporosis-related fracture
  • Women aged 65 have a 25% risk of osteoporosis

These statistics aren’t meant to scare you or depress you. Instead, they show that everyone needs to take care of bone health. The best time to ensure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D is right now, whether you’re 35 or 65.

Who Needs More Vitamin D

Getting enough vitamin D from a regular diet is almost impossible because few foods have any. Some manufacturers add vitamin D to their products, such as milk (cow’s milk and soy milk), cereal, oatmeal and orange juice. The main way to get more vitamin D is from sunlight.

Unfortunately, modern lifestyles mean fewer people get sunlight during the day. If you spend most days inside, or you live in a place with long winters and lots of cloudy days, chances are you’re not getting enough vitamin D.

As you age, your body has a harder time producing sufficient vitamin D, even if you do spend time in the sun. Lower vitamin D production and faster calcium loss at the same time is a double-whammy for your bones. Past age 65, vitamin D supplements are usually a necessity regardless of lifestyle.

How Much Vitamin D You Need

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, adults under the age of 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium. After age 50, women need 1,200 mg of calcium. For vitamin D, the recommended amount is 600 IUs until age 70 and 800 IUs a day after that.

Talking to a doctor about your bone health, calcium, and vitamin D needs is smart. Your physician knows if any medications are affecting your calcium levels or if you need a vitamin D supplement right now.

7 Myths About Sun Care That Put Your Skin in Danger!

By now, reminding you to wear sunscreen probably seems cliché. After all, everyone knows you’re supposed to wear it at the beach, right? Unfortunately, many people get confused about the reason you need sun protection. Here are seven of the biggest myths about sun care.

You Can’t Get a Sunburn on Cloudy Days: False

At least one friend or family member always tells you you’re exaggerating when you use sunscreen on cloudy days. “You can’t get a sunburn when it’s overcast,” they say. Stick to your guns! You can definitely get sunburned on cloudy, snowy or rainy days. Over 90% of ultraviolet rays can go through clouds and burn your skin.

The Purpose of Sunscreen Is To Prevent Sunburns: Partially True

Many people get confused about the reason you should wear sunscreen. While it’s true that you want to avoid sunburns, UV rays can damage your skin long before it starts to turn red. The main reason to wear sunscreen is to prevent skin cancer. Protecting yourself from UV rays by using sunscreen daily can reduce your risk of skin cancer by a whopping 40–50%!

All-Day Sunscreen Protects You All Day: False

Sunscreen bottles that claim “all-day protection” are overpromising what their products can do. Even though the sunscreen itself may reflect UV rays for many hours, the protective layer wears off in a few hours. According to the FDA, you should reapply sunscreen at least every two hours — more frequently if you’re sweating.

Sunscreen Gets in the Way of Vitamin D: True

If you’re covered from head to toe with sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeve shirt and sunglasses, it’s true that your body probably isn’t making a ton of vitamin D. Surprisingly, experts say that it doesn’t matter. It’s more important for you to prevent skin cancer by wearing sunscreen.

Many foods in the U.S. have vitamin D added to them. So if your doctor thinks you need extra vitamin D to help with bone strength, it’s pretty easy to take a supplement and get your levels up

People With Tan Skin Don’t Need Sun Protection: False

Everyone needs sun care. It doesn’t matter if you have light or dark skin or blue or brown eyes. UV rays damage any kind of skin! Of course, people with lighter skin need to be especially careful to stay sun safe.

Also, don’t skip your lips. Lips and fingers are often overlooked for sun protection, but they’re just as vulnerable to UV damage

Sunglasses Can Help Prevent Cataracts: True

Sunglasses aren’t just fashion accessories. Keeping UVA and UVB rays out of your eyes is one of the best ways to prevent cataracts down the road. The color of sunglasses doesn’t matter; the important thing is 100% UVA and UVB protection.

You Don’t Need Sunscreen Indoors: False

Unless your home or office has windows that are treated with UV coatings, ultraviolet rays can still travel through glass and hurt your skin. If you work long hours near a window, apply sunscreen. Another option is to close the curtains between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Many health professionals recommend turning sun care into part of your daily routine. After having breakfast and brushing your teeth in the morning, put on sunscreen. That way, you can stay safe when you have to run errands.

Keeping Your Skin Hydrated in the Winter

The frigid winter air causes many problems for the skin, drying it out, resulting in flakiness and itching. Unfortunately, women often suffer more than men in winter, especially as they get older. 

According to dermatologists, as women age, their skin is less capable of maintaining moisture. The natural loss of moisture only compounds the winter dryness problem.

Dehydration leads to the compromise of the skin's protective layer. The compromise of this layer can result in further skin damage, including cracking and wrinkling. 

How do you protect your skin? What can you do to ensure you maintain adequate hydration even in the coldest and driest months of the year?

Look for Serums With Hyaluronic Acid

Skin serums help repair the damaged protective layer of the skin, and serums containing hyaluronic acid provide extra hydration protection. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in hydration, making it one of the best ingredients for super-thirsty skin.

When looking at the ingredients list for facial serums, look for the amount of hyaluronic acid. Some serums contain the ingredient but only in small amounts. You want to find the solutions that use it as a primary ingredient. Some manufacturers have as much as 75% hyaluronic acid in their serums.

Purchase Body Creams

While worrying about the face is one thing, you should also focus on the rest of your body. Many people experience winter flakiness on their chest, back, arms, and legs.

If you want to combat complete body dryness, look for moisturizing lotions and creams containing lactic acid and glycolic acid. The two alpha-hydroxy acids encourage skin cell turnover and hydration for a healthier, hydrated appearance. 

When looking for creams and serums, you should avoid products containing perfumes and other potential irritants or dehydrating ingredients if you have sensitive skin. Some of the elements to avoid include: 

  • Parfum, or perfume
  • Charcoal
  • Kaolin
  • Tea tree oil
  • Salicylic acid

Drink More Water, Maybe

Many people assume or advocate for drinking more water to relieve dry skin. The jury is still out on whether internal hydration will make a difference in wintertime dryness. According to dermatologists, an individual must be clinically dehydrated to experience any changes to their skin.

While drinking more water might not help your skin, many people do not realize they are already not drinking enough. Experts recommend consuming half your body weight in ounces to remain adequately hydrated.

Try Other Remedies for Dry Skin

Serums, lotions, and water are not the only things you can try to rehydrate your irritated winter skin. Many people find that using a humidifier can make a world of difference. Additionally, wearing the proper clothing when going outside can help. For instance, wearing gloves, a scarf, and a winter coat can protect your skin from the damaging wind and cold.

You can also alter your diet to include more antioxidant-rich foods and omega-3 fatty acids. For instance, eating blueberries, carrots, tomatoes, peas, lentils, and beans can contribute to skin health by removing toxins from the body and promoting healthy cell production. Salmon can also contribute to glowing skin.

You have many options. Some of the other things you might want to try include:

  • Oatmeal baths
  • Coconut oil
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Lukewarm showers

Dry skin in the winter is a struggle. However, by adopting the proper skincare routine and staying hydrating, you can protect the health and beauty of your skin.

How do you keep your skin moisturized in the winter? Comment below.

Are You Using Too Much Disinfectant?

One question that has popped up during the coronavirus pandemic is whether it’s bad to disinfect. Does getting rid of germs around the house weaken your immune system?

Protect Your Health Without Going to Extremes

According to many health professionals, the idea that your immune system suffers in a clean home is just a myth. There’s no reason to think that cleaning and disinfecting are bad for your family. Keeping your kitchen clean, vacuuming carpets, dusting furniture and disinfecting bathroom surfaces are all good for staying healthy.

It is possible to overdo disinfecting, but the risks are different from what you think. Disinfecting too much is dangerous because of the side effects of the cleaning chemicals you use, not because of your immune system.

Keep Disinfectant Chemicals Away From Your Skin and Food

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, calls to poison control centers in the U.S. increased by 20% practically overnight. Some families exposed themselves to serious health problems by using disinfectants in dangerous ways:

  • Never wash food with bleach or other disinfectants

  • Never apply disinfectant chemicals to your bare skin

  • Never breathe chemical vapors on purpose

  • Never gargle with any type of cleaning chemical

  • Never soak clothing in disinfectants or use chemicals in your washing machine

Disinfectants are only designed for cleaning hard surfaces.

Be Balanced With Hand Sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be a lifesaver when you’re at the supermarket or in public, but you should be careful not to overuse it. Too much sanitizer can irritate your skin or trigger eczema. If possible, avoid sanitizers that contain antibiotics such as triclosan.

At work and home, go with soap and water. Many antibacterial soaps have hydrating agents that keep your hands from drying out.

Follow Safety Tips When Using Disinfectants

How can you stay safe and keep your family safe when using disinfectants? These tips can help protect you:

  • Follow label directions: Many people think that if the bottle says one capful, then two capfuls are twice as effective. A stronger concentration doesn’t improve cleaning! All it does is potentially expose you to skin irritation and other health problems.
  • Wear gloves: Many cleaning and disinfecting products can be absorbed into your skin. The best way to protect yourself is to wear gloves when wiping down countertops or cleaning bathroom surfaces.
  • Open a window: You have to be careful not to breathe cleaning chemicals. Make sure there is adequate ventilation, either by opening a window or turning on your exhaust fan.

Be especially careful with bleach. Never use bleach directly. Always dilute it according to label directions, and wear gloves.

Never Mix Disinfectant Chemicals

One of the most dangerous situations is when people try to mix different cleaning chemicals. Here is a complete list of things never to mix:

  • Vinegar

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Bleach

  • Ammonia

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Acids

These chemicals produce toxic vapors if you mix them. This can lead to breathing problems, chemical burns or even death.

Disinfect Safely

There’s no need to go crazy with disinfectant most of the time. Of course, if someone in your family is sick, it’s OK to clean more frequently than normal.

Clean the surfaces that you touch the most, such as faucets, door handles, light switches and appliances. Wipe down tables, desks and dressers. Keep your kitchen and bathroom especially clean, and wash your hands when you come home with antibacterial soap and water.

Is Deodorant Dangerous? 5 Ingredients To Watch For

Whether you prefer spray-on antiperspirant, roll-ons or classic stick deodorant, these beauty products come with a long list of chemical ingredients. Some of the names are so long and confusing that you can’t even pronounce them, like aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex. Should you be worried about these chemicals? Is deodorant dangerous?

How Dangerous Is Deodorant?

The answer backed by many scientists is that you have nothing to worry about. According to the available data, most women can whatever deodorant or antiperspirant they like without worrying about developing serious health issues such as breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, there aren’t any solid studies linking cancer and antiperspirants, and “very little scientific evidence to support this claim.” The National Cancer Institute takes things a step further, saying that “no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer.”

Why Do Some People Worry Anyway?

Just because scientists can’t definitively prove a link right now doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Also, there aren’t many studies on deodorant because it’s not a priority.

Even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can make mistakes. A study found that out of over 200 products approved as safe by the FDA, about 30% needed to have safety warnings added later. Three of those products that were “safe” ended up being pulled from the market.

Something similar happened with Teflon, which used a chemical called PFOA to make nonstick cookware (remember those pans?). For almost 60 years, this chemical was considered to be perfectly safe. Now, scientists understand it’s linked to everything from cancer to diabetes.

Another problem is that the US approaches chemicals as “innocent until proven guilty.” It takes a lot of evidence to get a chemical banned in the United States. More than 40 countries worldwide have banned 1,400 chemicals used in cosmetic products. What about the U.S.? Just 9 chemicals are prohibited here.

What Deodorant Chemicals Do Some People Avoid?

Now, I’m not telling you about this to scare you. After all, it's impossible to completely avoid chemicals in today's world. I just think it's important for you to be able to make an informed decision that you’re comfortable with. Here are a few ingredients some people prefer to live without:

  • Parabens: These preservatives are used in many skincare products, including some deodorants and moisturizers. Some scientists worry they may mimic female hormones and contribute to cancer problems.

  • Phthalates: These chemicals help fragrances stay on your skin. They may interfere with hormones and potentially cause problems with fetal development.

  • Denatured alcohol: Cheap alcohol ingredients such as denatured alcohol, isopropanol and propanol are very irritating for skin.

  • Aluminum: Some scientists think that aluminum (found in most antiperspirants) may make it easier for breast cancer to grow. If you have severe kidney problems, you should talk with your doctor before using antiperspirant because your body may have trouble getting rid of the aluminum.

  • Fragrance: Manufacturers can include practically any ingredient and label it as “fragrance.” That makes it hard to know what chemicals you’re putting on your skin. For some people, synthetic fragrances cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

The good news is that If you prefer to avoid certain ingredients, there are plenty of options on the market. You can choose a fragrance-free alternative or look for “paraben-free” and “phthalate-free” on the label. Put simply, the fewer strange chemicals on a product’s label, the fewer things you have to worry about.

 

5 Surprising Ways You Can Use Ginger in Your Health and Beauty Routines

I just recently learned that ginger is one of the best-kept secrets for your skin and immune system. It’s very effective at minimizing inflammation (which we all know is one of the most common causes of skin blemishes, joint pain, and premature aging). And the best part is that it won’t cost you a fortune as some top-of-the-line beauty products will.

It’s one thing to know that ginger is a great health and beauty ingredient, but it’s another thing to know how to use it. So I’ve put together this guide of five surprising ways you can start incorporating ginger into your health and beauty routines, starting today.

1. Anti-Inflammatory Skin Cream

To get the skin-healing benefits ginger has to offer, try creating your own anti-inflammatory skin cream. To make it, peel two, 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, then place them in a pot with 2 teaspoons of apricot kernel oil and 2 teaspoons of light sesame oil. Add ½ cup of cocoa butter and 2 teaspoons of vitamin E. Warm on low heat just until the cocoa butter softens and all the ingredients blend together.

Pour the mixture into a lid-sealed container, then put it in a cool, dry place where you can use it often! I recommend applying it after you wash your face. The ingredients are very moisturizing and soothing.

2. Ginger Massage Oil

We all know how quickly excessive stress can cause us to look and feel much older than we really are. But a good massage has a way of melting all our troubles away as it restores our vitality and sense of well-being. To enjoy the relaxing benefits of massage as well as the anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger, recruit someone you love to massage your back, neck, or feet with diluted ginger oil. Your skin and mood will feel so much better!

3. Mint and Ginger Mouthwash

As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to gum disease and other oral issues. While regular mouthwash can help rid our oral cavities of unwanted bacteria, it can also leave our mouths feeling dry. That’s why I prefer making my own mint and ginger mouthwash. Both mint and ginger are known for their antibacterial properties, which make them a great duo for oral health.

Here’s how to make my surprisingly refreshing and effective mint and ginger mouthwash recipe. Start by pouring about 1 ½ cups of filtered water into a pot, then adding approximately 10 fresh peppermint leaves and one sliced 3-inch ginger root to the water. Bring the mixture to a light boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add about 35 drops of peppermint essential oil to the mixture, then cover the pot and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a sealed jar. You can store this mixture at room temperature for about a month, or put it in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.  

4. Natural Pain-Reliever

Would it surprise you to hear that ginger is a natural pain-reliever? Some research shows that it’s very effective at relieving migraines. So the next time you feel a headache coming on, sip ginger tea or try munching on some candied ginger.

5. Ginger Detox Bath

Ginger is known to help the body fight off bacterial infections. So if you feel like your immune system is fighting something off, grate about ½ cup of fresh ginger and sprinkle it in your hot bathwater. Soak for at least 15 minutes to get the full effects of this detox remedy.

So, what do you think about these unusual uses for ginger? I’d love for you to give them a try and see if they work for you!

Seven Spa-Ready Recipes for a Professional Facial at Home

With a bit of prep and the right ingredients, you can achieve an at-home facial that rivals the services at the swankiest spa in your area. Get ready for a day of pampering without leaving your abode with this guide to our favorite tips, tricks and recipes. 

Remove Dirt With Raw Honey

If you're into natural beauty, you'll appreciate this no-fuss cleanser. Simply rub raw honey into your skin then remove it gently with a warm, damp washcloth. If you prefer not to put the sticky stuff right on your face, try shopping for skincare products that incorporate honey. This ingredient has antiseptic properties that sweep your skin free of bacteria. Fans of honey also report that it helps hold in moisture without making the skin oily. 

Banish Blemishes With Banana

This mask blends 1/2 tsp. each of turmeric and baking soda with a single mashed banana. The vitamin A in the flesh of the fruit helps keep pores clear and encourages skin cell turnover, which helps rid your complexion of acne. Baking soda soaks up excess oil for an ultra-matte finish while turmeric kills germs that contribute to blemishes. Turmeric also reportedly helps even skin tone and reduces the appearance of acne scars and sunspots. Let this mask set on your skin for 20 minutes and then rinse with cool water.

Tone Up With Vinegar

Effectively remove bacteria and residue from the skin after cleansing without the harshness of traditional alcohol-based toner. Try adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 2 cups warm water for a custom facial rinse that's as gentle as it is powerful. 

Calm Skin With Lavender

You already know lavender has mood-boosting effects with a calming scent that can help you sleep better at night. This flowery herb can also soothe redness and inflammation that impact your complexion. Make a paste out of a ripe avocado, which delivers moisturizing, disease-fighting antioxidants. Add a few drops of your favorite lavender oil along with a teaspoon of coconut oil for even more hydration and a bit of honey to keep acne at bay.

Enhance Texture With Yogurt

Plain old yogurt from your fridge can encourage rapid cell turnover that keeps skin looking soft, supple and youthful. This basic dairy product is packed with lactic acid, which you might recognize as an active ingredient in high-end skincare lines. Mix it with equal parts turmeric and honey and let dry on your skin for 10 to 20 minutes.

Brighten and Glow With Papaya

This tropical fruit is your antidote for dull skin. For an even, glowing complexion, mash a quarter of the pulp with a bit of aloe vera gel and a tablespoon of cacao powder. The aloe is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that heal and hydrate while sloughing off dead cells that can clog the pores and lead to breakouts. Cacao helps repair the skin's moisture barrier, which declines in quality as we age. 

Exfoliate With Sugar

This sweet scrub combines sugar and honey to remove bacteria, dead skin and other debris. Measure out 3 tablespoons of raw honey and mix in brown sugar until you get a paste-like consistency. Add a tablespoon or two of coconut, olive or almond oil, which adds hydration and helps create a spreadable texture. You can use this on your face or anywhere on your body as long as you don't have sensitive skin. Leave on for up to 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. 

For the price of a bag of groceries, you'll have a complexion that looks its absolute best and an easy, affordable skincare routine to maintain.

When Was the Last Time You Pampered Your Scalp?

Your hair probably gets a lot of tender, loving care, and you may spend time every night moisturizing your hands or face. When was the last time you pampered your scalp? You won’t believe the difference it makes!

The Benefits of a Healthy Scalp

The scalp has approximately 100,000 hair follicles, each one responsible for a single luxurious strand. When your scalp is healthy, so is your hair.

You can see the results in the mirror. Taking great care of your scalp makes your hair stronger, longer, shinier and brighter. The way it looks and bounces practically shouts to the world “I feel amazing!”

Tips for Great Scalp Care

1. Know Your Scalp

Every woman’s scalp is unique, just like her skin. Pay attention to the specific needs of your scalp. Does it tend to feel oily or dry? Even hormonal changes can make your scalp more sensitive to ingredients at certain times of month.

If you notice dandruff after using certain shampoos or hair coloring products, try avoiding them. There’s nothing embarrassing about using products designed for sensitive skin. It’s just part of listening to your body.

2. Exfoliate At Least Once a Month

You may not think of exfoliation as something important for your scalp, but it’s one of the most vital steps. Even if you don’t have oily hair, you still need to cleanse your pores of dead skin cells and bacteria. I promise your scalp will love this revitalizing care. Here are my favorite options:

  • Scalp mask: These gentle options remove dead skin cells, grease and grime. If your scalp is on the oilier side, try a clay mask.

  • Olive oil and baking soda: This blend exfoliates and moisturizes at the same time, perfect for dandruff relief. Mix equal parts olive oil and baking soda, then massage into your scalp and let sit for five minutes before rinsing.

  • Apple cider vinegar: This natural ingredient is antimicrobial, so it can calm itchiness, irritation and inflammation. Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. Use your fingers to apply it directly to the scalp.

3. Shampoo Your Scalp, Too

Don’t ignore your scalp when you’re shampooing and conditioning your hair. Ideally, most of your time should be spent massaging your scalp, moving your fingers in a circular motion.

4. Moisturize

You know how important moisture is for your skin. It’s just as important for your scalp. That’s why using conditioner after shampooing is a great idea. You get the cleansing you need, but you also ensure your scalp stays hydrated.

Personally, I like to use a few drops of essential oils at bedtime. Rosemary, tea tree and lavender smell amazing and help keep your skin moist and healthy. Just massage them gently into the scalp. As an added benefit, I’ve noticed this routine helps me fall asleep more quickly.

5. Pamper Yourself

Pamper yourself. Enjoy a soothing massage. Take a bubble bath. Watch a romantic movie with someone special. Less stress translates into a healthier scalp, too.

Scalp health is also related to good nutrition. Your skip needs the right “ingredients” to repair, nourish and rejuvenate itself. If your hair and scalp don’t look as vibrant as you want them to be, add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet with fresh fish or supplements. Probiotics also make a huge difference.