Decollete Skin Care

Do you take care of your Decollete? Do you know what it is? Decollete is a French term given to the upper chest, neck, cleavage and shoulder areas. It is one of the first places on a woman to show age and so should be cared for in a similar way as we care for our faces.  If you spend much time outside, this area is often exposed to sun too but we tend to not pay so much attention to putting sunscreen here.  The Decollete is prone to hyperpigmentation and degradation of collagen that occurs due to exposure to UV light.

decolette

There are important physiological differences between the face and decollete.  Skin on the face contains more sebaceous or oil glands that help lubricate and protect skin moisture. The skin on the neck and chest is thinner and has less adipose tissue.  The dermis also quickly thins in the chest area. Together this means the chest is more prone to dry skin and ultimately results in a sagging, crepe – like appearance. Melanocyte activity also results in hyperpigmentation spots.  Erythema (redness) and telangiectasias are also common. Telangiectasias are dilated blood vessels or spider veins.  A common formation of wrinkles on the neck are those that occur in horizontal lines across the neck and are known as ‘necklace’ wrinkles.

Another condition found on the neck and chest is Poikiloderma of Civatte (PC). This refers to a combination of hyperpigmentation and dilated blood vessels that occur on the sides of the neck but avoids the front of the neck or throat area.  It causes a mottled appearance to the skin. This condition is related to sun exposure but also to cosmetics or perfumes that are worn in that area of the neck. It is also related to hormones and increases with menopause.

So how do we care for the decollete?

Be sure to apply your sunscreen to the neck and chest area as well as your face.

Remember to always moisturize your decollete area and massage the moisturizer into the skin.

Focus on ingredients in moisturizers that address firmness and elasticity – hyaluronic acid, palmitoyl tripeptide-5, vitamin A, vitamin C.

Focus on ingredients that address hyperpigmentation and redness – vitamin C, kojic acid, lactic acid (fruit extracts), green tea, algae, niacinamide. This may mean using a mask several times a week in this area as  you would on your face.

Products that we recommend for this area are Springtide Gold Face Cream, Razz Tightening Serum, Starbright Mask and Oasis Spray Lotion. Its not too late to care for your decollete! So go ahead and wear that great low cut dress and a necklace or earrings that draw attention! Realize your skin!

Hiking Milner Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park

Fall has got to be my favorite time of year. As the busy farming season slows down it give me a little free time to get to the mountains more. My goal was to drive across Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park before the road closed for the season. Trail Ridge Road goes through Rocky Mountain Park, covering 48 miles almost from Estes Park to Grand Lake. The elevation of the road peaks at 12,183 feet with more than eight miles lying above 11,000 feet. It offers some incredible mountain views. Because of the elevation and the difficulty in removing snow from the road, it closes when the weather makes passage difficult. It may be closed today as I write this because we had snow this morning so I was glad to have been able to make the drive on Monday.

We stopped at the Alpine Visitors Station, for bathrooms and the view. This picture is of Mummy Range off the back deck of the Visitors Center, well above tree line.

rmnp10_16alpinecentercompressed

 

Milner Pass

Continueing on the west side of the Park we came to Milner Pass at 10,759 feet. The trail starts right at Poudre lake. Its a quite steep trail that first goes past some very nice rock formations and continues through the subalpine forest. We took the split to Mt Ida split and hiked a little further. Its a beautiful trail that meanders through some wet areas with views of the Never Summer Range. We didn’t hike far and were completely unprepared for the cold temperatures and light snow. But we were very glad to be able to get out before the weather turned too cold as it is now. It was very dry and I was glad to have my Herbal Relief Lip Balm with me.

Stream at Milner Pass

Summer on the Farm

Summers are quite busy for us here at Colorado Aromatics. We are busy growing, harvesting, drying, processing herbs and getting them on the shelf for storage for making extracts the rest of the year. Many of the herbs though are distilled to make the watery extract sometimes known as a hydrosol and saved that way. We are also busy at Farmers Markets; both Longmont and Boulder. This means that sometimes I forget to keep up with blogging. We have several volunteers that come to the farm and volunteer to whom we are always grateful.

We had a great lavender harvest this year, but looks like the calendula harvest will be minimal. Most of the other 30 herbs we grow are doing well too. While I love farming and being here in our little paradise, farming leaves little time to hike and visit the mountains. Hopefully fall will be more cooperative for our other outdoor activities.

Here are a few pictures of the farm of things other than plants! We added a few new goats and chickens to our farm recently. Credit for the first two go to Gavin Wahl, credit for the chicken goes to Nancy Reaume.

 

20160821_0314

Still

wyandotte

Enjoy the Harvest Facial Mask

One way to enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at this time of year is to use overripe produce in a facial mask. Just about any type of fruit or vegetable can be used and they are all packed with goodness for the skin including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

Here are three fruits/vegetables easily found at farmers market this time of year that you can try:

watermelon

Watermelon contains vitamin C, vitamin A and pantothenic acid among other nutrients. Eating watermelon is a great way to get those skin benefits, but you can also make a face mask and apply the watermelon directly to the skin.

Peaches are rich sources of alpha hydroxy acids for exfoliation, vitamin A related compounds that include beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene and lutein to support skin cell regeneration and vitamin C to support collagen in the skin giving it more structure and reduce wrinkles as well as to help fade sun spots.  Peaches also contain vitamin K to help fade dark circles under the eyes and vitamin B to help skin maintain moisture and decrease redness.

Even that zucchini that you can’t seem to get rid of is high in vitamin C, vitamin B-6, vitamin K, vitamin A, copper and magnesium – all good nutrients for skin.  Zucchini also contains anti-inflammatory polysaccharides like homogalacturonan to sooth skin.

When choosing produce for a facial you can use overripe and bruised produce, save the very best for snacking.

To make a facial from your produce, cut a piece about 1/2 the size of your palm. How much you need is really dependent upon how juicy the fruit is. Place this in a small blender and add about a teaspoon of facial clay. Mix well. Check to see if the consistency is good for spreading. If not ajust accordingly. If it is good, apply to the face in smooth strokes. Sit back for 10 minutes or so and enjoy a fruit snack! Rinse off with warm water and enjoy how smooth your skin feels.

You can get your herbal clay mask base here.

Herbal Clay Mask

For more information about using farmers market produce on your skin see these posts

Peach Facial

Kale Facial Mask

Radish Vinegar Hair Rinse or Foot Soak

 

How to do a Facial Massage for Lymph Drainage

A guest post by

Karen Kress, LE

Do you ever feel unusually puffy in the face? Maybe your head feels stuffed up? Excess lymph fluid clogged in your sinus could be the culprit.  If you have ever had a professional facial you may have noticed how light and clear your head is afterwards.  Part of the reason is the lymph draining massage techniques that your aesthetician uses.  In my practice, I have seen the most remarkable change in a person’s look and comfort level after proper lymph drainage. There is nothing better for clearing clogged sinuses due to allergies or a cold!

 

sinuses

Sinuses (credit CFCF – CC BY-SA 3.0)

Since most of us prefer a clear head and sinus, I have laid out the steps for doing a manual lymph drainage massage so you can experiment at home.  A hot shower is the best place to try this technique, as drainage starts and ends with your shoulders and they need to be exposed. It can work just as well wrapped in a towel while applying serums and lotions too.

  1. Assuming you are in the shower – Start with a good quality facial cleanser, cross your arms and massage, in a circular motion, around your shoulder joints with firm pressure. Spend at least one minute massaging each area in a circular motion then firmly stroke down to your arms from each higher starting point.
  2. Next, move to your shoulders, still using a circular motion while you travel toward your neck and then firm strokes towards and down your arms, then circle back up adding the neck and stroke back down to the arms.
  3. Maintain the “circle up, stroke down” pattern while working your jaw bone from chin to ears and your cheeks from ears to nose. Then stroke down to your arms.
  4. Start with small circles around your eyes to loosen and use large strokes around the whole eye area, working from the temples to the nose and all the way down to your arms.
  5. Circle back up to your forehead, ending with your scalp (a good time to shampoo) and stroking and moving the lymph through each area, all the way back down to your arms.

**Note** While we loosen in a circular massage from the bottom up, we drain in stroking motions, reworking each area from the top down.  This is extremely important because you can push loose lymph toward a clog and exacerbate the problem.  The idea is to loosen and move the lymph down away from your head into your arms. Pushing it down the arms is also important so the lymph passes your shoulders, from where it can travel to the heart.

I hope you enjoy your clear, light head!

 

Why Exfoliate

Exfoliation is the process of removing the outer layer of cells from the skin, how much depends on the type of peel. This has several positive results. By removing the dull, dead cells, skin automatically gains a more vibrant glow and smoothness. It also speeds up the renewal of skin cells. And by removing that dead layer of cells your skin care actives are more readily absorbed by skin and are able to do their job better. Exfoliation can help decrease acne and breakouts. improves skin texture, and decrease the appearance of pores. Overall, exfoliation reduces the fine lines and wrinkles on your skin.

Face Mask

There are many degrees of exfoliation and we recommend mild exfoliation. Using a washcloth to wash your face is one mild way of exfoliating.

Two  main categories of exfoliants are chemical exfoliants and mechanical exfoliation.

Mechanical, or physical exfoliation uses particles or roughness to exfoliate or a brush or washcloth.  Examples in our line include our Botanical Salt Scrubs for the body and our Meadow Mist milky cleanser for the face. This cleanser uses jojoba beads. You may have heard of microbeads and their negative effect on the environment. Well, jojoba beads are wax beads, not plastic and are completely natural and biodegradable. Don’t let the product get too hot though as the wax can melt.

Some people like to use salt on the face for exfoliation. If you do, be very gentle. Its better to use  something smoother and rounder on the face such as jojoba beads. But if  you like using a salt scrub, go ahead, just be gentle.

A natural bristle brush is a nice way to exfoliate the face. Again, make sure the brush is wet and be gentle. For your body, try dry brushing before taking a shower.

Clay is another method of mechanical exfoliation and can be used as a mask.

Don’t let the term chemical exfoliation scare you as this can also be very gentle. We recommend alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that are readily found in fruits or beta hydroxy acids which are similar. Fruit enzyme masks are also becoming popular as a relatively gentle means of exfoliation. One fun way to use fruit enzymes is to make fresh fruit masks in the summer. Exfoliation using AHAs can increase your sensitivity to sun so its best to do this type of exfoliating treatment at night. We use fruit acids in our Starbright Mask. Salicylic acid is a good way to exfoliate oily and acne prone skin.

Exfoliation of both body and face can be 1-3 times a week.

Exfoliation, however, can cause negative side effects, the most common of which is dry, irritated and damaged skin. Over exfoliation can damage the barrier function of the skin. This barrier function is important for protecting your skin from environmental assaults, bacterial and fungal attacks and protecting it from loss of water. This skin barrier is the most important function of your skin.

Signs of damaged skin include a tight feeling, sensitivity, irritation, inflammation, redness, and drying. Inflammation can lead to premature aging – the very thing you are trying to delay by exfoliation.

Be more careful of exfoliation if your skin is thin. You might want to exfoliate more if you have clogged pores, congestion, or oily skin or your skin is very sun damaged.

After exfoliation, use a soothing, anti-inflammatory product to help your skin recover. We recommend Springtide Gold.

A deep chemical peel actually is a mild wound that causes the skin to heal. They can be superficial, medium or deep. Superficial peels stay in the epidermis, while deep peels go into the dermis, removing all of the epidermis. These types of peels are done by a medical professional and can use AHAs, beta hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid and phenol. The barrier function of the skin is completely removed and the patient is at risk of not only dehydration but also infection and contact dermatitis. Scarring, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation and lines of demarcation can also occur. Sedation is often used for deeper peels because of the pain involved. Some chemical peels can cause scarring and changes in pigmentation; either darker or lighter.

Although mild exfoliation plays an important role in holistic skin care, we feel there are very few clients who can benefit from deep peels.

Why Antioxidant Rich Skin Care?

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are compounds that bind to free oxygen radicals preventing them from damaging healthy cells.

What do free radicals do?

Free Radicals are unstable and cause oxidative damage to DNA, lipids, and proteins in the cells as well as damage to cellular structures including membranes.

Free radicals increase the rate of cellular aging and cause cell death. Free radicals also cause additional free radicals in a cascade like fashion.

Free radicals result in inflammation.

An excess amount of free radicals is called oxidative stress.

rosemary

Rosemary is rich in antioxidants

 

Where do free radicals come from?

Free radicals can come from intrinsic sources meaning inside the body and extrinsic sources meaning outside the body. They are formed naturally by the body through metabolism and increase with increased exercise. Most of the time the body can handle this, but when external factors come into play the stressful environment is more than the bodies natural defenses against free radicals can handle and oxidative stress occurs.

Extrinsic free radicals come from UV light, cigarettes, and pollution. People who spend a lot of time outdoors are exposed to many sources of free radicals.

The skin is particularly subjected to free radical damage because it is constantly exposed to the environment and works to protect the rest of the body. Although getting enough antioxidants in your diet is important for health, it is also necessary to apply them topically so that they benefit the outer layers of skin, the stratum corneum. Skin must constantly be repaired to combat oxidative damage and requires the necessary nutrients and antioxidants to perform this regeneration.

Antioxidants and Regeneration

Oxidative stress leads to accelerated aging of the skin by breaking down proteins including collagen and elastin which leads to wrinkles. Premature aging also decreases the skin’s immunity which can lead to increased risk of infection as well as cancer.

Antioxidants that are made by the body include glutathione, lipoic acid, and CoQ10. Levels of these antioxidants decline with age. Vitamins C and E are not produced by the body and must be obtained from the diet or applied topically to the skin.

Vitamin C content in the skin decreases with age, another reason to look for vitamin C in your skin care. Exposure to UV light, pollutants, cigarette smoke and ozone can also lower vitamin C content, primarily in the epidermis.

Antioxidants to look for in skin care include vitamin C, vitamin E (also known as tocopherols), alpha lipoic acid, green tea extract, and flavonoids. Flavonoids as such will not appear on the label, but are abundant in herb extracts such as calendula, rosemary, parsley, lemon balm, mint and raspberry leaf.

When applied topically, these antioxidants act in the epidermis to help revitalize skin that has been exposed to extrinsic oxidants including UV light (sunlight), elevation, wind and more. For people who love to be outside using antioxidants to combat this is very important. Damage to the epidermis can lead to more severe problems including a break down of the skin’s barrier function. The barrier function not only helps to keep skin moisturized but also helps to keep toxins out of the body.

At Colorado Aromatics we think that using herbs as one of the primary sources of antioxidants in skin care is important for skin health and recovery. Herbs contain a multitude of highly effective antioxidants to reduce the oxidative stress of skin.

 

 

Beer in the Spa

I love a pint of  a good American IPA and find that it does help relax me and brings me stress relief. Hops have been known for years by herbalists to be a nervine herb that supports the nervous system.  It has pain relieving properties, is sedative and promotes sleep.

In fact, we grow hops on our farm and use them in our dream pillows to help promote sleep. Hops are also very useful for skin care because they decrease inflammation and promote skin hydration. The phytoestrogens in hops help reduce wrinkles and improve collagen.

Beer Spa

Some skin care professionals have taken note of these, both in Europe and the US. We do use hops in several of our products including Coolness Aftershave and Red Rocks Beard Oil, but some spas also use beer in treatments. I find this so intriguing and appealing that I am going to give a presentation on Beer in the Spa next month at one of our local micro breweries, 300 Suns. Can you imagine sitting in a tub filled with beer as you pour yourself a pint from the spout? Ahhh. Ok, maybe that is a figment of my imagination, but please, let me have my fantasy. Here’s the details on the talk that you are going to want to attend!

For a mere $15 you can attend the presentation, have a pint of your choice and give yourself a beer facial mask!

This happens on Wednesday April 13 from 6:30-7:30 pm at 300 Suns,  335 First Avenue (they are practically our neighbors), Longmont.  You can purchase your tickets here. No time for dinner? Did you know 300 Suns now serves food?

We’ll see you there!

I’ve previously written about hops here.

Three Herbs for Skin Care

Why do we use herbs in skin care when there are so many scientific actives to choose from? Herbs are complex chemical factories that are churning out a multitude of their own antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Many of these active compounds in herbs have not even yet been identified, but we know that they do good for our skin. Herbs are also a renewable resource that we grow right here on our own farm. By sourcing in this way you get a more sustainable, farm to skin product. Herbs grown at higher elevation such as in Colorado are thought to be richer in aroma and active ingredients. Our herbs are grown under the watchful eyes of Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker that rise in the distance.

Some of our favorite herbs to use in skin care include:Calendula Basket

Calendula (Calendula officinalis). This small orange flower produces a resin that has been found to stimulate wound healing; part of the mechanism involves increased collagen production. Calendula is rich in vitamin A related components (carotenoids) which benefit skin. It has often been used for treating skin problems such as dermatitis and eczema. Calendula also provides a n abundant number of antioxidants which can help reduce skin damage caused by the environment, it is especially useful for dry and damaged skin. You can find calendula extract in Springtide Face Cream, Oasis Spray Lotion,  Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion,  Knuckle Balm, and Sole Pleasure Foot Butter. Calendula is an annual that we plant each summer and harvest throughout the summer.

Mint (Mentha x piperita). Mint is such an fresh and uplifting scent, and has a cooling feeling on the skin or when eaten. The menthol is mint also has pain relieving qualities which is why we use it in our Herbal Foot Soak. Mint contains antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, and B-complex as well as vitamin-K. Mint is toning to the skin and is great for hair as well. You’ll find mint in our Mint Lip Balm, Angel Falls Shampoo, Botanical Salt Scrubs,  Sole Pleasure Foot Butter, Chalk Creek Deodorant Powder, Oasis Spray Lotion and Clear Creek Hand and Body Cleanser. Mint is a perennial and comes back strong every year without replanting. Each year our mint patch gets a little bigger which is good because each year we need a little more. We also distill mint for the hydrosol to use as a facial mister.

mint

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis and Lavandin x intermedia). Lavender is by far my favorite herb to grow and it’s beauty and aroma are captivating. Lavender is a great crop for the typically dry climate of Colorado. Lavender is a very calming and anti-anxiety herb, for the nervous system as well as for the skin. Its great in a spa experience as it helps a person relax. Most of what we know about lavender is it’s aromatherapy benefits but it is helpful for most skin types but especially on dry and inflammed skin. Lavender also provides antioxidants to the skin.  Products that contain lavender include Allure Lip Balm, Angel Falls Shampoo, Chalk Creek Powder, Lavender Rose Body Oil, Botanical Salt Scrubs, Lavender Scented Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion, Coolness Aftershave Lotion and Herbal Foot Soak. We also distill lavender to make lavender water for use as a face mister.

lavender_cut Lavender is a perennial that comes back each year. It doesn’t spread like the mint does, and we plant more and more lavender each year. The past few years, our area has gotten much more rainfall than normal which has caused some problems for our lavender and many have died.

We grow over 30 different herbs for use in our Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care Line.  We’ll let you know about more of them in another blog post.

New Product: Allure Lip Conditioner

Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care, releases its new Allure Lip Conditioner (anti-aging Lip Balm) formulated to help your lips look their best despite your love of being outside.

lips

Coloradans who love to play at high altitude realize that their lips show early signs of aging. High altitude and severe weather often seen in Colorado can make lips dryer and more easily chapped and damaged. Allure lip conditioner is intended to help condition and plump lips, especially for people who love to be outdoors.

Allure Anti-Aging Lip Balm has antioxidant rich herbs including lavender, geranium, horsetail and violet to repair sun and wind damaged lips. We also use ingredients to support collagen production and to plump the lips.  Emollient oils, including Cupuacu butter, soften and protect the skin while improving elasticity. Keep your lips looking younger with Allure Lip Conditioner from Colorado Aromatics. We recommend using Allure Lip Conditioner twice daily. This product is also suitable for use by estheticians as part of a Colorado facial.

These products are formulated by Dr. Cindy Jones who brings a scientific perspective to the field of herbalism and natural products formulating. Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care products are formulated for the outdoor lifestyle that Coloradans love. Women and men who love being outside hiking, gardening, biking and more now have a highly effective skin care line made from all natural ingredients.

You can buy Allure Lip Conditioner here. You can order Allure online or buy it in our store. Unfortunately, we will not have it at the Farmers Markets because of its softer texture. But you can still buy our lip balm tubes and Herbal Relief Lip Balm at the Market.

Allure Lip Conditioner