Natural Cosmetics

It is equally important to pay attention to what you put ON your body as well as what you put IN your body.

Fortunately for us, nature has provided an abundance of plants, roots, flowers and herbs rich in vitamins, enzymes, proteins, minerals and other biologically active compounds that have been used in the care of the body, skin and hair for centuries. Knowledge of the healing power of herbs and their special effects on the skin is used in the formulation of natural cosmetics. There are many natural cosmetics manufacturers producing only pure, carefully balanced products that contain the highest quality, naturally sourced ingredients, known to be skin compatible and proven effective. The natural cosmetics contain the finest food-grade, natural, organic and nutritional ingredients that deliver topical benefits to the hair and skin.

Natural Cosmetics Glossary:

AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids): A group of acids, often found in fruit, sour milk, sugar and others processed through bio-fermentation which, when applied to the skin, are believed to dissolve the glue-like lipids holding skin cells together in the stratum corneum; when their adhesive is dissolved, surface skin cells fall away, revealing younger-looking, fresher cells.

Amino Acids: The 'building blocks' of protein. A group of biological chemical compounds containing nitrogen form proteins.

Anti-oxidant: A substance which inhibits or prevents damage from free radicals.

BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids): A group of acids, often found in flowering plants and herbs. Most common is salicylic acid, believed to dissolve dead skin cells to leave a smooth, even surface.

Carboxylic Acid: Simply, a compound present in living organisms or organic, non-living substances that contains one or more carboxyl groups.

Carcinogen: Any substance capable of or contributing to causing cancer.

Chelate: Chelating agents are used in facial and body washes, body scrubs and shampoos to deactivate hard calcium and magnesium minerals which can form dulling, film-forming lime soap deposits when hard water comes in contact with the pure soaps.

Co-enzyme Q-10: Enzyme activator and anti-oxidant.

Collagen: Present in the dermis, gives the skin shape and structure, keeping skin smooth and wrinkle-free when we are young, allowing wrinkles to form as the quality of collagen lessens with age. Structurally, a protein made of amino acids: alanine, orginine, glycine, hydroxyproline, lysine proline. Present in the skin, bone, ligaments and cartilage, makes up about 30% of total body protein. (Animal origin by-product).

Elastin: Highly elastic albumin-like protein fiber found in the dermis, blood vessels, capillaries and other elastic tissue in the body. Allows skin to stretch then 'snap back' when we are young; contributes to sagging skin as the quality of elastin is reduced with age. (Animal origin by-product).

Enzymes: Proteins that effect the speed at which chemical changes occur, usually speeding up an action. Thousands of different enzymes are produced in the body. The skin is the body's largest enzyme-producing organ. (Vegetable and animal origins).

Fatty Acid: A fat soluble acid, found in the epidermis and in cosmetic products. Includes oleic, stearic, palmitic and linoleic acids. (Vegetable).

Flavinoids (aka: Vitamin P): A variety of over 3000 plant chemicals with a characteristic yellow color (flavis is yellow in Latin), they are the most prevalent pigments in the plant kingdom next to chlorophyll and carotenoids. All flavonoids are anti-oxidants; some are also circulatory stimulants, anti-irritants, anti-inflammatory or diuretics. Anthocyanins, anthoxanthins, apigenins, flavones, isoflavones, flavonois and bioflavonols are all flavonoids.

Free Radical: One or more unpaired electrons capable of independent existence. In the skin, stabilizers itself by stealing an electron form the atoms forming lipids, collagen, elastin, enzymes, hormones, hormone receptors (see all), keratin, cell membranes, and other proteins, fats and amino acid substances. Free radicals, whose attacks last less than a millisecond, are believed by many researchers to be the bottom line of aging and many diseases, including Alzheimeris, arthritis, schizophrenia, Parkinsonis, birth defects such as Downis syndrome, cancer, LDL cholesterol, lupus erythematosus, skin sclerosis and fibrosis, keloids, hyper- and hypo-pigmentation, acne, cellulite, overly sensitive skin, dandruff and even hangovers. Types of free radicals include hydroxyl and superoxide radicals.

Glucans: Polysaccharides with immune stimulating abilities; found on the cell walls of yeast, oat, barley and other plants.

Hormone Receptor: Molecules on cell walls that receive specific hormones into a cell.

Hormones: The body's chemical messengers; they stimulate or inhibit activities in the body, especially those involving growth, development, reproduction and other life processes. The skin is the largest hormone-producing organ of the body.

Hydrocortisone: An anti-inflammatory naturally produced by the adrenal glands and synthetically produced for use as a drug. Applied to the skin in cases of itching, redness, blistering and other signs of allergy. Also called cortisol. (Hard to replace naturally).

Hydroxy Group: The chemical group that defines a hydroxy acid. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (see AHA) attach this group to the alpha site of the molecule, while Beta Hydroxy Acids (see BHA) attach it to the beta site. Chemically, one or more hydroxyl groups in addition to the carboxyl group.

Lipids: Found between epidermal cells and in cell membranes, these fatty substances (some of which are also attracted to water) make up a large family of ingredients and biological components that act as moisturizers, reduce moisture loss, restore skin's supple, flexible nature, and reinforce the skin's natural barrier protection. (Animal and vegetable).

Natural: A material in its 100% natural state, with the original, naturally-formed chemical bonds intact. If the material is processed for use in cosmetics, only enough energy is used to change the physical form of the substance (grinding, chopping) leaving its chemical structure unaltered.

pH: A symbol representing the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. The pH scale extends from 0 to 14, with a value of 7 expressing neutral values of 6, 9 or lower expressing increased acidity and values of 7.1 or higher expressing increased alkalinity (base).

Protein: Composed of amino acids, proteins form most of a cell's structure and cell products, which include keratin, collagen, elastin, melanin, enzymes, hormones and antibodies. (Animal and vegetable).

Stratum Corneum (S.C.): The skin's barrier layer is the outermost layer of epidermis, about the thickness of one human hair, and is made up of 25-30 layers of flat, dead cells completely filled with keratin, a waterproof protein.

Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD): Enzyme which scavenges free radicals by using superoxide to form its molecular body. SOD is found throughout the body and is believed by some longevity researchers to be a primary element for long life. In the skin, it is destroyed by sunlight.

Vitamin K: Phytanadione. A component of green leafy vegetables first discovered in 1929. Vitamin K is produced in the intestines and is linked to the production of clotting factors in the body. Reportedly assists in healing broken capillaries and reabsorbing blood.


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