Ingredient Spotlight

Ingredient Spotlight; Borage

Ingredient Spotlight; Borage

 

Borage and Strawberry Salad

Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels

Borage, the herb of courage & bravery! Native to the Mediterranean, it was used by soldiers before going into battle because it was believed to encourage bravery.

 

The borage plant is a beautiful star shaped flowering herb, and can grow up to 2 feet tall. It is unique as all parts of the plant except the roots are edible. The flowers and leaves have a crisp, cucumber like taste.

 

Borage seed oil is used in skin care products for its anti inflammatory properties, and is commonly used for treating eczema and atopic dermatitis. Borage seed oil is abundant in GLA (gamma linolenic acid), an essential fatty acid with a plethora of internal and external benefits for the human body. It is actually the most abundant plant source of omega 6. I really love borage seed oil as an anti acne ingredient because it is so gentle. On the comodenigecity scale of 0 to 5, 0 meaning “will not clog pores”, and 5 meaning “will clog pores”, Borage seed oil is at a 2, which means “will not clog pores for most people’. Borage seed oil has been shown to improve skin’s barrier function, and helps to prevent TEWL (trans epidermal water loss). This is important for dehydrated skin, as keeping skin properly hydrated prevents many signs of ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles, and crepey skin. You can drink water all day, but if your skin’s barrier function is damaged, you will lose much of it from your epidermis.

 

Borage seed oil is commonly found as an active ingredient in cleansers, serums, and moisturizers. I encourage you to do your own research to discover if the borage plant can benefit you! 

 

Green Tea; A must have for your Skin, your Spirit, and your Body! 

Green Tea; A must have for your Skin, your Spirit, and your Body! 

Photo by Maria Tyutina from Pexels

 

Green tea originated in China, and is made from the buds and leaves of the camellia sinensis shrub. Green tea has been drank and applied topically worldwide by shamans, naturopaths, and everyday people. It has been claimed as a treatment for cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, aging skin, acne, heart disease, and inflammation, and many just consume it because they enjoy the flavor. 

Green tea extract is often one of the first 10 ingredients listed in skin care products used for wrinkles, acne, rosacea, or normal skin. Ingredients are listed in cosmetics and skin care products by potency, for example the first ingredient listed will be what makes up the most of the product, and the last ingredient listed makes up the least amount of the formulation, and so on for ingredients listed in between. Green tea being listed so high attests to its properties as an active ingredient. 

The plant polyphenols in green tea are naturally antimicrobial and anti inflammatory, so when applied topically can treat existing acne, prevent future acne, and soothe the associated redness. This glycolic renewal gel increases cell turnover, treats acne, and helps prevent wrinkles by increasing cell turnover. Green tea is added to prevent the typical inflammation associated with glycolic acid and keep it balanced while active.

Green tea is rich in antioxidants, helping prevent damage to the skin, and heal existing flaws. For this reason, it is often a super star ingredient in sunscreens, and rosacea remedies. Some of my favorites for hypersensitive skin types include: our aloe sleep mask, our hemp moisturizer, or our peptide treatment lotion.

The caffeine in green tea can be used to depuff those under eye bags. By increasing circulation and vasoconstricting the blood vessels those under eye circles we all seem to fight over 35 are history. Save your used tea bags for an eye pillow, or try an eye cream that already has the green tea extract in it. 

According to an article published in Medical News Today in 2018, Green tea helps with weight loss!

According to Cancer Research UK,although many people believe it helps with cancer, the research is inconclusive so far. 

The American Association of Retired Persons suggests that people with high cholesterol consume green tea to lower cholesterol levels.

I love green tea, my favorite way to enjoy it is hot with a teaspoon of CBD infused honey. Do you like green tea? What is your favorite way to enjoy it?

 

Can essential oils kill viruses in the air around you?


Photo by Mareefe from Pexels

 

The short answer is yes, but within limitations, and if used properly.

I am blogging  today because something(s) I am very passionate about seem to be under attack lately in the media. Specifically natural health, essential oils, and individuals abilities to determine their own plans for protecting themselves and promoting their own immune systems. I realize some people believe in essential oils and some do not. If you google the subject, half of what you read will claim it is all “witchdoctery”, while the other half praises their efficacy. This article, as with anything I write, is based on scientific research, classes I have taken, personal testimony, and books I have read.

I’m sure you all read about the recent post made by a social media influencer, and beauty guru where she wrote that essential oils being diffused into the air would kill the coronavirus because they were anti viral. Then later a famous western medicine dermatologist claimed “Sorry, anti viral essential oils don’t exist.”  while publicly shaming the original poster who was trying to help others. It saddened me and made me a bit angry that the doctor was so close minded to something she clearly did not want to understand. First let me define the word antiviral.

Antiviral as defined in the book Essential Aromatherapy means it prevents viral growth.

 

The facts are:

  1. Antiviral essential oils do exist.
  2. There is plenty of scientific research to support their efficacy.
  3. Diffusing antiviral essential oils into the air can prevent further growth of viruses, preventing their spread when used properly.

 

I will preface this by saying that my resources for this article are:

 

  1. The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, By Valerie Ann Worwood, PhD
  2. Essential Aromatherapy, By Valerie Ann Worwood, PhD
  3. The Aromatherapy Bible, By Gill Farrer- Halls

 

About the authors of the aforementioned books:

 

Valerie Ann Worwood

Valerie Ann Worwood is one of the world’s most well known experts on aromatherapy and essential oils. She is a consultant clinical aromatherapist with a doctorate in complementary medicine, as well as the author of ten books on the therapeutic use of aromatherapy. She has been Chairperson and Chair of Research for the International Federation of Aromatherapists, and she has acted as a consultant and expert on the clinical use of essential oils internationally. She is a reflexologist, and member of the London and counties society of Physiologists.  She runs her own clinic in Romford, England, conducts research on aromatherapy and its effects on endometriosis and infertility, and is a consultant to several natural beauty and health clinics. In addition, she lectures all over the world on the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils.

 

Gill Farrer- Halls

Gill is a Tibetan traditional Buddhist. She has spent extensive time in India and Nepal and has worked with the Dalai Lama. She is a writer and freelance producer based in London. She is considered an expert in Eastern Medicine, and specializes in the healing power of plants.

 

I apologize for the very long introduction, however I wanted to make the point that I was typing fact and not simply my own opinion.

 

Now let’s get to it! Let’s start with which essential oils have proven effective as antivirals.

 

  1. Cinnamon Essential Oil:

Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, and Jamaica. Cinnamon essential oil is effective at treating influenza, warts, coughs, colds, viral infections, arthritis, aches, and pains. Quote from The Aromatherapy Bible page 350; “Cinnamon is used less in aromatherapy than most of the other spices, but it is excellent in a burner to ward off colds, flu, and ALL other airborne infections and contagious diseases.” Cinnamon is warm, and comforting, and makes me think of being little and the smells in my great grandmothers kitchen after she would pick the peaches off the tree and make cobbler. Do not use cinnamon essential oil: during pregnancy, on persons under 18 years of age, on people with sensitive skin, in baths.


Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels
  1. Clove Essential Oil:

Cloves are native to Indonesia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, West Indies, and Zanzibar. Clove essential oil is effective in treating warts, toothache (because of its analgesic properties) , fungal infections, tummy troubles, viral infections, and stress. Clove is utilized in the kitchen as a traditional mulling spice. I adore it in the elderberry syrup we retail at the spa, it makes the immune powerhouse syrup taste like an apple pie! In ancient Egypt, clove was utilized in “mood perfumes” for its aroma, but also to create a pleasant mood. Do not use clove essential oil: during pregnancy, on persons under 12 years of age, on people with sensitive skin, in baths.

 

  1. Eucalyptus (Radiata) Essential Oil: 

Eucalyptus is native to Australia, Tasmania, America, Brazil, China, Portugal, Russia, and Spain. Eucalyptus is effective in treating viral infections, headaches, cough, sinus infections, colds, bug bites, and stings. The tree has been called “White Top Peppermint, and was first distilled in 1788 by doctors John White and Dennis Cossiden. Please note there are quite a few different types of Eucalyptus essential oil, the only one that is anti viral is “radiata”, the others “globulus”, “smithi”, and “polybractea”, etc do not have anti viral properties.  Eucalyptus has a menthol-like smell that is very crisp, cool,  and clean. There are no known contraindications for eucalyptus essential oil.

 

  1. Melissa Essential Oil:

Melissa is native to The Mediterranean, and Europe. Melissa essential oil is effective for calming anxiety, relieving stomach cramps, treating herpes, treating yeast infections, and viral infections. Melissa is a bit rare, and it takes a lot of the plant to produce essential oil, so melissa is one of the more expensive essential oils. The smell is similar to lemon balm. Bees tend to be drawn to the melissa plant. Melissa is one of the best essential oils for mental health as it is calming but also uplifting and reduces feelings of depression, and anger. There are no known contraindications for melissa essential oil.


Photo by Ian Panelo from Pexels
  1. Oregano Essential Oil:

Oregano is native to Morocco, Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Oregano is effective at treating respiratory infections, bronchitis, rheumatism, arthritis, general debility, muscular pain, viral infections, and bacterial infections. Oregano is one of my favorites, the smell is so potent it seems to purify and overpower any other scent in the air, and it grows so abundantly that the oil is super affordable for all. The crisp smell always makes me think of a zesty pizza sauce. Oregano is another one that bees seem to favor. Do not use oregano essential oil: on children under 18 years of age, during pregnancy, or in baths.

 

  1. Ravensara Essential Oil:

Ravensara is native to Australia and Madagascar. Ravensara is effective at treating viral infections, liver infections, lung infections, respiratory ailments, chicken pox, diarrhea, reducing fever, and wounds. It smells woodsy and camphor like. The seeds are used in cooking as “Madagascan Nutmeg”. Ravensara has also been used to make rum. There are no known contraindications for ravensara.

 

  1. Tea Tree Oil:

Tea tree oil is native to Australia and Tasmania. Tea tree is the most powerful disinfectant essential oil ever discovered as it is antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. Tea tree oil has effectively treated athletes’ foot, yeast infections, thrush, herpes, but bites, acne, shingles, and warts. It is also used to boost the immune system. Tea tree oil is 100X more powerful than carbolic acid (AKA phenol) and yet it is safe for humans! There are no known contraindications to tea tree oil, and it is one of the very few oils that can be used on the skin neat (without dilution).


Photo by Nadi Lindsay from Pexels
  1.  Thyme Essential Oil:

Thyme is native to Algeria, USA, France, Germany, Greece, Morocco, and Spain. Thyme is a versatile, necessary tool in your tool kit because it treats a huge variety of conditions. Historically it has been proven effective for treating viral infections, bacterial infections, fluid in the lungs, poor circulation, respiratory infections, gout, acne, anorexia, warts, lethargy, ADD, and much more. What is unique about thyme as an essential oil is that it is also a lymphatic stimulant, so it increases the removal of waste and toxins from the body, at the same time as it prevents infections. Thyme is also a natural bug deterrent.  Quote from Essential Aromatherapy; “Red Thyme is one of the best anti- infectious agents when diffused in the atmosphere”. However it is recommended that it be used sparingly. Do not use thyme essential oil: on children under 18 years of age, during pregnancy or breastfeeding, on persons with hyperthyroidism, heavily dilute for use on skin, and avoid prolonged use.

 

To diffuse any of the above oils please remember less is more. Do not overdo it, too much of a good thing can be toxic. Fill your diffuser with cold or cool tap water before adding oils, and always clean your diffuser before and after each use to prevent cross contamination. I suggest cleaning by just wiping out with white vinegar.

 

Below are a few virus annihilating blends using the aforementioned oils (but if you do not want to make something yourself, I have pre-made blend suggestions for you below, along with a discount to use if you’d like!).

 

A good rule of thumb for diffusing essential oils is 4 to 6 drops per ounce of water so it is important to know how much water your diffuser holds. For example, below recipe #1 contains 5 drops total will work well in 1 ounce of water, double the recipe for 2 ounces of water, OR recipe #4 contains 12 drops total so you need 2 to 3 ounces of water. So please take this into consideration when purchasing the correct diffuser for your needs.

 

  1. 2 drops melissa, 2 drops eucalyptus, 1 drop tea tree
  2. 3 drops clove, 3 drops tea tree, 1 drop cinnamon
  3. 3 drops oregano, 3 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops ravensara, 1 drop clove, 1 drop cinnamon
  4. 4 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops melissa, 3 drops tea tree, 2 drops thyme.
  5. 5 drops oregano, 4 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops thyme
  6. 2 drops melissa, 2 drops clove, 2 drops ravensara

 

Or just try a few drops of a single oil you really enjoy, such as 4 drops of oregano (my personal go to).

 

As mentioned, if you’re not keen on playing chemist in your kitchen you can always purchase a blend already put together by professionals such as on guard, or breathe. On guard contains wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils Breathe blend contains laurel, eucalyptus, peppermint, melaleuca (tea tree), lemon, cardamom, ravintsara, and ravensara essential oils.

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Happy redolence friends!

 

 

 

 

Licorice root is a powerhouse ingredient for fighting sun damage!

 

Licorice is a native weed to Europe and Asia. Its Root is widely used for its oddly sweet extract. You may be familiar with licorice candy, although like everything else these days, its rarely actual licorice root used in candy anymore, instead usually a man made flavoring.

 

The Ancient Egyptians first documented use of Licorice in 360 A.D. They thought of it as a universal remedy for pretty much all ailments from eye disorders, to tummy troubles, to skin rashes and everything in between. They made it into beverages for easy consumption. The plant was dried and placed inside King Tut’s tomb.

 

The Chinese believed it beneficial for treating coughs, colds, flu, depression, lethargy, bad breath, and more. It is still a popular choice amongst Chinese herbalists.

 

Licorice Root is a robust anti oxidant,which helps fight free radical damage when applied topically. Antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage, environmental toxins, and premature ageing. Licorice is also used to hush hypersensitive skin being one of the few proven ingredients to have a calming effect on rosacea and eczema. It’s anti-inflammatory properties make it super effective for calming skin and reducing puffiness, making it an excellent go to for under eye treatment products. I always recommend products containing licorice root to my clients with hyper-pigmentation, sun spots and/ or  melasma because it contains liquirtin and licochal which reduce melanin production. These components of licorice have been shown to be as effective as hydroquinone (a drug prescribed for hyper-pigmentation) at reducing enzyme activity that produces melanin, according to a 2009 study done by The Pakistan Association of Dermatologists. When combined with a good old retinol (vitamin A derivative), the duo reduces pigmentation, while increasing cell turnover, out with the old, in with the new! It can even be found in many sunscreens. Another unique benefit of using licorice to treat sun damage is because it naturally contains UV blocking enzymes, it doesn’t increase the risk of sunburn during treatment (photo-sensitivity) like its competitors. 

 

Licorice root can also be taken internally. Licorice is similar to the popular drug mucinex in how it causes expulsion from the lungs. It cleanses the lungs by ridding them of old mucus, while producing new mucus to protect. No wonder the Chinese have used it for many years to treat coughs and colds. Licorice is also an effective treatment for heartburn when ingested. Licorice also balances the bacteria in the gut, and has been used to treat Dysbiosis. 

 

I think we can all agree this is one weed that we shouldn’t be pulling, unless it’s to make tea or tinctures. 

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Lactic Acid! My favorite Alpha Hydroxy Acid for my face!

Lactic Acid, and what you need to know.

Lactic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). It is a unique AHA as it exfoliates the skin but also hydrates the skin. Perhaps this is why Cleopatra was well known for taking milk baths, while she likely did not know why it made her skin soft, or made her appear more youthful, she must have noticed the beneficial effects to continue to do so.

Lactic Acid is usually derived from sour milk, however can sometimes be found in vegetable sources, such as fermented pumpkin. Fun Fact: Pumpkin skin care products are super popular, because in using them you get the benefits of one of the top three strongest natural enzymes (the other 2 being pineapple and papaya), in addition to the benefits of naturally occurring lactic acid. Although you probably never even thought about why it worked while you were using that pumpkin mask you love, now you know why it makes you glow! 

Lactic Acid is the must have ingredient in treating hormonal acne, ageing skin, and post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. Ageing skin with hormonal acne is a bit more complicated than treating acne or ageing one at a time because unlike teenage acne once we are over 30 our skin is typically drier, so our previous go to’s such as salicylic, benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur are too drying and can make hormonal acne worse because the overly dry surface skin can clog the pores more. 

 

Lactic Acid Specifically benefits the skin by:

  1. Exfoliating while hydrating
  2. Stimulating collagen production
  3. Brightens complexion, without causing redness
  4. Lactic Acid peels are mild enough there is typically no down time, however you will instantly see a more glowy appearance
  5. Fades Sun Spots
  6. Decreases fine lines and wrinkles
  7. Being the only AHA gentle enough for use on skin with rosacea or eczema

 

 While exfoliation is important for preventing acne, and premature signs of ageing, we also have to hydrate the skin and increase barrier function. That sounds crazy and complicated right? Yes it is, how do we increase barrier function while removing dead skin cells? Well, it is a complicated answer:

  1. Use a cleanser that contains lactic acid as an active ingredient.
  2. Use an excellent moisturizer that contains small amounts of glycolic acid in addition to lactic acid.
  3. If a Glycolic Moisturizer is too harsh for you (it sure is for me), consider an antioxidant moisturizer to fight free radical damage and prevent inflammation.
  4. Consider enzyme treatments over chemical peels first as enzymes only digest dead cells, and do not go after live cells, while peels have no distinction.
  5. Don’t buy a drug store serum, your serum is the single most important step in your daily skincare regimen, get a good one! A few of my favorites are A vitamin C serum, an AHA serum, or an antioxidant serum.
  6. Exfoliate once every 2 weeks or up to 3 times a week, depending on your skin, while my sensitive skin can only handle gritty exfoliation every 2 weeks or so some of my clients with more durable skin need to exfoliate a few times each week. Remember just because something worked great on your sisters skin, your skin is unique to you, and you might require something completely different. And remember your skin might need a very gentle exfoliant, while someone else might need a medium strength, and someone else might need something more heavy duty,.  Don’t know what’s best for you? Just email me, we will get you set up with a correct routine!  OldMechanicsvilleHealthSpa@gmail.com
  7. Mask at least once per month. I like a good resurfacing lactic acid mask, but my sensitive skin can only handle something like this every once in a while because it can be drying, but it sure does give me a complete resurfacing at home. For a gentler enzyme exfoliating mask at home a papaya/ pumpkin can be used 2 times per month.
  8. Always wear an SPF daily, for the rest of your life. Active ingredients can make you more sensitive to sun exposure, and sun exposure is the #1 cause of premature ageing.

Keep in mind Lactic Acid containing products should be avoided if you are on certain medications such as Accutane or Retin- A, as too much exfoliation can strip your acid mantle (your skin barrier), and cause your skin to be over processed (just like your hair, this is not a good thing!)

 

Ultimately talk to your skin therapist, or dermatologist to determine what is best for you and your skin. Keep glowing, friend!

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Aloe isn’t just for burns anymore!

Aloe Vera is my absolute favorite of all skin care ingredients. It’s an oldie but goody. Often overlooked as a reason to purchase a product and seen as antiquated, but it shouldn’t be, there is certainly justification for the ancient Egyptians regarding it as the “plant of eternity”. Aloe is beneficial for your whole self, inside and out, and can be drank, added to smoothies, rubbed on your skin, and even massaged into the hair and scalp. Best of all it is very reasonably priced, or even free as you may be staring at an aloe plant in the corner of the room you are in collecting dust right this minute.

Let’s start with the internal benefits, because being healthy on the inside is imperative for beautiful healthy skin on the outside. Aloe Vera Juice can be purchased at most grocery stores, or health food stores. Drinking aloe vera juice is an amazing post workout recovery beverage, because it is 99% water it is super hydrating (and without all the added sugars, artificial coloring, and other unnecessarily added ingredients found in many post workout drinks).  Your body should be 70% water at any given time, so you can imagine how important staying hydrated is. It addition to its high-water content aloe vera juice also contains probiotics (good bacteria your body needs), enzymes, and vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B6, and B12 (which is super rare in plants, usually B12 is found in animal proteins). If all the above listed reasons don’t already have you making the trek to go get you some, aloe also contains minerals needed by the human body, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper and manganese. Since B12 is so rarely found in plant sources, daily intake of aloe vera juice is an essential part of a balanced vegan or vegetarian diet. Manganese is an essential trace mineral that when deficient in the human body can cause disorders such as tinnitus, so if your ears have been ringing, you may want to give this old remedy a try and see if it helps you.  Aloe Vera is also high in amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, making it amazing for increasing muscle. In addition to building muscle by adding proteins it also helps eliminate the stuff we don’t want in our guts because it’s a gelatinous plant it absorbs and eliminates toxins and waste as it travels via the peristalsis movement in our intestines, making it a great choice for those looking to lose weight. It has also been shown to be beneficial for people diagnosed with celiac, crones, diverticulitis, or other GI disorders to help heal leaky gut, and rid the body of toxins while they adjust to dietary changes associated with these disorders. Aloe Vera is also naturally antibacterial, antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antimicrobial, and germicidal making it a wonderful addition to your immune boosting shelf (or entire cabinet in my case). Additionally, Aloe Vera is naturally alkaline, so when drank it makes the body less acidic, increasing natural immunity because disease cannot survive in an alkaline environment.

You may be asking at this point, what does any of this have to do with my skin? Well firstly healthy inside, healthy outside. Unhealthy diet shows up in your skin, and your sweat, we discussed above about how aloe helps to eliminate so I just want to reiterate here how important eliminating the junk from our intestines is to maintaining clean, clear, beautiful skin. Basically, if you aren’t eliminating it the right way, it starts coming out of your pores, like sometimes if you have been eating a poor diet and have noticed a difference in the way your sweat smelled during your workout. Secondly, because of the antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties we discussed earlier it’s great for killing bacteria on the skin and drying up acne. The antioxidants naturally occurring in aloe vera gel fight free radicals, decreasing the signs of aging. In addition, because aloe is so hydrating it makes a great skin moisturizer, without being overly greasy. It also reduces inflammation and creates a protective barrier when applied to the skin, which is why it is well known to heal and soothe burns.  It has also been shown to help eczema and psoriasis, when applied topically. The enzymes contained in aloe make it a great natural exfoliator when used topically (recipe for an amazing anti-aging, anti-acne DIY mask to follow). More and more people, myself included have started using an oil moisturizer at home on our faces. I personally like how much more breathable it feels on my skin then a creamy moisturizer (which feels highly occlusive to me, just my opinion). However, those of us using an oil moisturizer, or a cream and still not feeling hydrated must remember oil doesn’t moisturize, water does, so a water or aloe-based toner or serum is imperative under our moisturizer to truly achieve that youthful appearance and maintain healthy skin, since your moisturizer shouldn’t penetrate the epidermis, but a serum or water/ aloe based toner should. I also would suggest a soothing aloe & azulene mask every 4 to 6 weeks for someone still feeling dry or inflamed as this will hydrate and increase barrier function preventing external damage from the environment. I personally like to give myself an Acne LED treatment over my aloe (or any gel mask) so im getting a double whammy of benefits at one time, which i think is great for any busy mom with a limited amount of time for home care.

I also mentioned hair care in the first paragraph! We all want beautiful, shiny, soft, healthy hair, right? Well aloe is you one stop shop! The natural enzymes found in aloe act as an exfoliator by digesting dead skin cells, so massaging it into the scalp, helps prevent dandruff by increasing cell turnover, and by removing the dead cells on top of the epidermis, it helps hair grow thicker and healthier by creating a clear path for the hair follicles. You can also make your own aloe vera hair mask by massaging into wet hair during your shower, cover with a shower cap leave on for 10 to 15 minutes then rinse out revealing shiny, resilient hair.   

A few tips for utilizing aloe vera at home:

  1. If drinking daily as a supplement, swish around your mouth for 30 seconds or so prior to swallowing because the good bacteria we talked about earlier in conjunction with its antibacterial, antiviral, and germicidal properties are great for preventing gum disease by killing bacteria, and germs and creating an alkaline environment. Bonus: this also helps prevent bad breath! Yay Aloe!
  2. If you are getting your aloe directly from the plant (like me), make “aloe cubes”! Once you have scraped the aloe gel from the inside of the leaves and ran through the food processor, place portioned into an ice cube tray, then once frozen, place 1 cube each into small freezer bags and keep frozen until ready to use. Keep in mind freshly sourced aloe wll go bad in less than 24 hours at room temperature because we haven’t added preservatives, like the gel you buy in stores. A frozen aloe cube feels like heaven on a burn, an inflamed acne pustule, or calming the skin after an exfoliating cleanse, I could go on but I think you get my point and probably already have an idea of how to use your aloe cube in your mind right now.
  3. When using on hair apply a thin layer as a leave in treatment or use it as a hair mask as I mentioned earlier.

DIY Aloe Enzyme Mask:

1 ½ inch cube of fresh pineapple

1 ½ inch cube of fresh papaya

2 Tbsp. aloe vera gel, or freshly scraped from inside a leaf

2 drops of apple cider vinegar

Run all ingredients through your food processor, apply to cleansed face, if it instantly burns or hurts remove it, otherwise leave on for 1 to 3 minutes (no longer than 3 minutes, this recipe is powerful), a slight tingle and itch is normal, but pain or burning is not. Remove with cool, damp towels, apply your normal serum, moisturizer and sunscreen.  

I hope you enjoyed hearing about an amazing plant!