Krystal Blue Intl.

Green with Envy – The Beauty of Limes

GreeMargarita on Flag of Mexicon with Envy – The Beauty of Limes

Limes….not just for cocktails anymore!  Limes are a refreshing summertime treat, used in gin & tonics, margaritas, and Mexican beer.  But what about spa treatments?  If there’s citrus on the menu it’s usually standard lemon, orange, or grapefruit.   Limes however, can bring you great benefits so get ready to refresh yourself all over.

Limes contain even more antioxidant properties than their citrus cousins.  Remember your history, limes were eaten MP900387874[1]onboard ships to prevent scurvy because they offer twice the Vitamin C of lemons!  Limes can naturally lighten, brighten, exfoliate and purify skin, as well as nourish and tone.  They have astringent properties which can be helpful for oily or acneic skin issues too.

As an added benefit, the scent of lime can energize and rejuvenate your mood.  Lime provides clarity not only physically, but mentally as well.  It is uplifting, cheerful, mood enhancing, and may have anti-depressant properties.  So if you’re looking for a brighter complexion, to clarify breakout prone skin and to rejuvenate your mind and body, look to limes for your answer.

Some of my favorite lime spa treatments are Theravine™’s Crushed Pinotage Honey & Lime Buff exfoliating scrub.  I can’t get enough of the scent, it is the most delicious and intoxicating scrub I have ever experienced.  It’s refreshing and a true mood enhancer while exfoliating my skin and making me soft and smooth all over.

t521_NIF gentle_foaming_cleanserAlso in the zesty lime range is Theravine’s™ Gentle Foaming Cleanser.  This cleanser is sure to put a smile on your face each and everytime you use it.  It will help your problem skin and help you face the day ahead.  Limes, not just for cocktails!


Healthy Skin Care Tips to Protect Your Skin

As you grow older your skin becomes thinner and gets wrinkles. As you get busy in your life you do not get time to take care of your skin. The end result: your skin leaves the glow you had when you were born. Your skin care problems can be reduced if you avoid going out in sun, wash your face gently and apply moisturizer regularly.

Protect your skin from sun. Ultraviolet rays of sun can damage your skin resulting in wrinkles, liver spots, rough skin and serious issues like cancerous and non cancerous skin tumors. To protect your skin from sun try using sunscreen lotion, wear protective clothing and avoid sun during high intensity hours. Protect your skin from sun’s rays so avoid going out from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and wide hats. Certain clothing styles and fabrics can also protect your skin. Try wearing long sleeve shirts instead of short sleeve shirts. Wear denim fabric rather than knit fabric. Nowadays many companies design SPF clothing which will protect your skin from sun’s rays. Apply SPF 15 at least 20 minutes before you go outdoors.

Smoking can increase wrinkles on your face. Smoking can reduce blood flow, oxygen of skin and vitamin A that are important for skin glow. All these factors can harm to the elastic fabrics and collagen, which gives your skin strength and elasticity.

Avoid hot water while washing your skin. Instead use warm water. Hot water and long showers can remove oil from your skin. Take a bath only for 15 minutes or less. Avoid using strong soaps as it may leave your skin dry. Instead use mild soaps like Dove, Vanicream, Cetaphil and Purpose. If you have a sensitive skin, don’t use perfumes or dyes. These can cause allergy to your skin. When you’re removing eye make up use soft sponge, cotton cloth or cotton balls to avoid the damage that happen to delicate issues around the eyes. After taking a bath, pat your skin with a dry towel, so that moisture remains on your skin.

Moisturizers are very helpful for your skin. These avoid water from escaping or by slowly releasing water into your skin. The moisturizer that is best for you depends on your skin type, your age and do you have acne. A good way to test if you need a moisturizer is to wait 20 minutes after bathing. If you feel your skin is tight, your skin needs a moisturizer. Apply SPF 15 to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays. If you have sensitive skin, avoid products that have heavy dyes, perfumes or other additives. If your skin is very dry, apply baby oil. If you have an oily skin, avoid moisturizers.

Shaving is an inexpensive way of removing unwanted hair. For a smooth shave you should take care of certain things: Before shaving press a warm wash cloth on your skin to soften the hair. Or shave after a warm bath or shower. To remove the hair, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction of hair growth, not against it. After the whole thing is over, rinse your skin with warm water. If irritation still occurs, use a lotion that has ethyl or isopropyl alcohol.

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Importance Of UV Protection Clothing

There is no doubt that UV protection clothing is important and also a necessity in the contemporary world due to a variety of reasons. We all know that the world we live in today is full of tanned people in the streets and most of the runways are composed of highly desirable individuals who have their image of glitz, glamour and gold. When it comes to nature, the heat that we receive from the sun seems to be much stronger as compared to the previous years so it is essential that we consider UV protection clothing. The reason for this is due to the ozone layer which seems to be thinning day by day. An individual has several ways in which he or she can be able to prevent the sun’s heat from damaging his or her skin.

It does not matter whether the heat is that of summer or it is that of dead of winter but one has to consider protecting himself or herself. An individual can select from several options such as the umbrella, polarized sunglasses, hats, sunblocks and sunscreens. There is usually no such thing as UV protection clothing which many individuals might consider to provide maximum protection from the sun’s heat. These methods of protection against the sun’s heat are useful and some of them like the sunblocks and sunscreens have been available for a long time. These products are manufactured from certain ingredients that prevent the ultraviolet rays of the sun from damaging an individual’s skin.

Such ingredients found in the products include oxybenzone, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. However, research conducted by scientists has proved that some of these products are inadequate as the ingredients that are used to manufacture them are not effective when it comes to preventing the ultraviolet rays from damaging the skin. Research has also proved that some of these ingredients are harmful as they are potential carcinogens which increase the risk of getting cancer.

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The Importance of Sun Protective Clothing for Your Skin

People seem to think that staying under the sun for over long periods of time to achieve that perfect tan is fun and perfectly fine. What they don’t know is that they are exposing themselves to the risk of UV damage. These ultraviolet rays have a damaging effect that may cause painful sunburns or worse, skin cancer. This is why it is always necessary to find ways and means to protect your skin from these harmful rays of the sun. Another way to do that is by covering your skin with sun protection clothing.

Some people think it is enough to wear sunblock, but the extra layer that sun protection clothing provides is a better preventive measure to block the harmful rays of the sun. This type of clothing is designed specifically to shield the person from ultraviolet rays which may cause deadly skin diseases. The fabric used to produce this is rated because of its high levels of ultraviolet or UV protection. Some manufacturers even use fabrics and textiles that are pre-treated with anti-UV ingredients that will enhance its capacity to block UV rays.

Regular clothing cannot compare to the high level of protection that sun protection clothes can give. The usual tops and bottoms only rate as low as UPF 5 which basically does nothing to reduce the UV rays exposure. Ordinary clothing alone does not provide any skin protection again sun’s harmful rays. On the other hand, sun protection products are tested and proven to provide the highest sun blocking rating. They have a rating equivalent to UPF 50+ which is about the highest rating for blocking over 97.5 percent of the sun UV rays.

To strengthen your beliefs in using this sun protection clothing, here are some value-adding factors to be considered:

This type of clothing is highly reliable. The good thing about using sun protected clothes is that it protects you from UV rays consistently and constantly. When you use sunscreen to protect you from the rays of the sun, chances are, it would fade or wear off during the day. But UPF-rated clothing will not fade nor wear-off. It stays with you the whole day unless you take it off.

You can also protect yourself from UV rays for a fraction of the cost. You buy clothes only once and you can use it again and again until you have outgrown it. You can also use this in different seasons because UPF-rated clothing does not necessarily mean summer clothes.

Wearing sun-protected clothing is not sticky or oily. You don’t have worry about allergens or whether this has the right chemical balance for your skin. It is not messy to apply and parents can let their kids wear these clothes without having to worry about anything.

You don’t have to be anxious about UVA and UVB. Aside from having protection against the extreme heat coming from the sun, these clothes also provide protection against UVB and UVA.

When you start purchasing sun protection clothing just make sure that it is UPF rated. Look for high UPF rating like 50+ because this gives about 98 percent of UV protection.

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Natural, Organic, Cosmeceuticals – Oh My!!

You can’t pick up a skincare product without seeing one of these words on the label but what do they really mean?  Is one better than the other?  I get confused too so here’s the skinny….

The truth is that in cosmetics and skincare, these terms can mean many different things.  So my advice – Buyer Beware!

The closest you get to regulation is “Organic”.  The US Department of Agriculture’s “National Organic Program” certifies food grade ingredients (honey, avocados, etc.) which may be used in cosmetics.  If the ingredients are farm-raised, the USDA has jurisdiction and can certify the crop as organic, allowing the use of the “USDA ORGANIC” seal.  The caveat though is “farm raised” – essential oils and plant materials are not USDA regulated.   

To make matters worse, the term Organic has four flavors when it comes to skincare labeling:

  1. Organic Ingredients– this is the broadest category, containing less than 70% organic food grade ingredients.  You cannot display the USDA Organic seal.  However, even if the products contain 1% certified organically grown ingredients, manufacturers can use this claim.
  1. Made with Organic Ingredients – If the product contains more than 70% but less than 95% organically grown food ingredients, the manufacturer can use this phrase.  You cannot display the USDA Organic seal.
  1. Organic – How much harder can the labeling laws make this???  Who can ever keep this straight?  This category contains at least 95% organically grown food ingredients and can display the USDA Organic seal.  Most skincare companies seeking the Organic certification will fall into this category because let’s face it, you need some preservatives in your products so we all don’t get “flesh eating disease” from using old cosmetics!
  1. 100% Organic – this category can display the seal.  It is difficult for cosmetic companies to create a product from just food grade ingredients with any type of shelf life.

Besides the US, Australia has the “Australian Certified Organic” or ACO seal and Europe now has “COSMOS” or “Cosmetic Organic Standard”.  These agencies will certify your products as long as you meet the guidelines and standards put forth by the association.

Now let’s talk about “Natural”….this can mean just about anything as long as it comes from a “natural source” (botanical, mineral or animal, according to most agencies).  Fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, beeswax, honey, essential oils, herbs, spices, etc.  All parts are included too, like seeds, nuts, stems, bark, roots.  What isn’t natural?  Synthetic or artificial ingredients (fragrances, colorings, additives).

But again, just like “Organic” the term “Natural” can be misleading.  Many “natural ingredients” need to be extracted or synthesized before being added to the cosmetic or skincare preparation, thus altering the original state of the natural ingredient.  So is the ingredient still “natural”?

From the American Academy of Dermatology, “Most compounds as they exist in their natural state cannot be formulated into skin care products. They first must be chemically altered before they can be incorporated into cosmetics, thereby negating the claim of being natural. Enhanced natural ingredients, which have been chemically altered, tend to be more stable, penetrate better and have more long-lasting effects on the skin than unaltered plant extracts.“

“Cosmeceutical” is another term with an ambiguous meaning that tries to blur the line between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals (drugs).  Cosmetics are meant to “beautify” the skin and can alter its appearance, but not its structure or function.  Pharmaceuticals on the other hand, are meant to cure and treat disease and they can alter the structure and function of any biological system within the body, including skin.  

Cosmeceuticals are not regulated by the FDA because even though their chemical components alter skin, they do so for appearance enhancement purposes only, not medical purposes.  Included in this group are peptides, antioxidants, and growth factors.  If you’re looking for performance cosmetics and the elusive fountain of youth, this is the group you need to look towards.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of skincare labels and their meanings.  After all, it’s jungle out there…..lions and tigers and bears, oh my!    

Natural Remedies for Eczema & Psoriasis

Whether you’re an infant, child or adult, if you’ve experienced the pain and intense itching of Eczema or Psoriasis you’re not alone.   Many people are trying to find that miracle in a bottle to alleviate the harsh symptoms.   While Psoriasis and Eczema share many of the same symptoms including dry, scaly, rough red patches on the skin, they are actually very different skin disorders.  However, they can both benefit from natural remedies to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks.

Eczema is actually a form of dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).  Atopic eczema is seen frequently in children and is a condition which may be caused by external allergens (chemicals, environmental factors) that come in contact with skin or internal, diet related allergens.   It is associated with red blotchy rashes on sensitive areas of the skin such as the back of the knees, inside the elbows, etc.  However, both psoriasis and eczema can occur anywhere on the body.
Psoriasis is believed to be an internal response to factors inside the body and involves a genetic dysfunction that triggers an immune response causing the rapid production of new skin cells. Psoriasis is more common in adults than children and is characterized by silvery scales over the reddened skin.
There are several natural treatments that can provide some relief, aiming to soothe and hydrate the skin, calm the inflammation and reduce itching and redness.  Skin can become highly sensitized due to the constant scratching.  It’s important to control the outbreaks and prevent infections and scarring.
Some Suggestions to Follow:
1. Maintain your humidity level.  Forced hot air, a fireplace/wood stove or central air conditioning dry the air so use a humidifier.  Healthy skin needs moisture.
2. Wear clothing that allows your skin to breathe, like 100 percent cotton.
3.  Avoid harsh soaps, chemicals and detergents.  Use gentler, mild, baby safe products.
4.  Avoid hot baths or showers which dry skin further.  Use tepid water to retain moisture.
5.  Use natural anti-inflammatory products like aloe vera gel, witch hazel or oatmeal.  Mix a home-made paste of ground oatmeal with some aloe vera and witch hazel to apply to affected areas.
6.  Probiotics have a calming effect on the skin and spread good bacteria throughout the body.  Eat live probiotic yogurt cultures if tolerated or ingest probiotic supplements.
7.  Essential Oils can also help aid skin conditions.  Lavender is healing, has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties and soothes skin.  Chamomille (both Roman and German) work equally well as anti-inflammatory and skin soothing treatments.  German Chamomille and Yarrow have a high azulene content and are dark blue in color.  Effectively used in skin treatments for centuries, these natural remedies are finding their way into more and more medicine cabinets across the globe.
8.  Jojoba, Calendula and Rice Bran oils are also effective skin conditioners and moisturizers with anti-inflammatory benefits, as are Shea and Cocoa Butter.   Jojoba Oil is actually a liquid wax that mimics the sebum in skin.  It has natural moisturizing and healing properties and can benefit all skin types.   Rice Bran Oil is high in Vitamin E and has been used by Japanese women for centuries to nourish the skin.  Its skin softening and moisturizing ability along with proanthrocyanidins which preserve collagen and elastin make it an excellent choice for Eczema or Psoriasis.  Calendula Oil, which is part of the marigold family, possesses great anti-inflammatory and skin soothing properties.
Shea Butter is derived from the seeds of the Karite Tree nut and has been used in Africa to heal & moisturize the skin.  Cocoa Butter is extracted from the cocoa bean and contains CMP (Cocoa Mass Polyphenol) which inhibits the production of the immuno globulin IGE, which is known to aggravate symptoms of dermatitis and Eczema.  When applied topically, both Shea and Cocoa butter create a barrier between sensitive skin and the environment, helping to retain moisture.
9.  If you live in Long Island, NY, stop in to Healthy Alternatives in Babylon and see my line of essential oils and products, Valerie Graham Essentials, LLC.  You can try my Children’s Lullabye Bath and Body Oil based in Jojoba, which is child safe and can be used in and out of the bath.
10. Remember, natural cures may be a safer alternative than prescribed steroid treatments, but everyone can react differently.   If you are allergic to any of these ingredients, please do not try them and always consult your physician before altering your course of treatment.

Valerie Graham is a licensed esthetician and the owner of Valerie Graham Essentials, LLC, specializing in aromatherapy and natural, unscented skin care products. She has worked at  Healthy Alternatives, 79 Deer Park Avenue Babylon, NY  11702.

What’s the #1 Skincare Hydrator?
March 6, 2012, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Healthy Skin | Tags: , , ,

Hyaluronic Acid!  HA, also known as hyaluronate, acts like a sponge and can hold 1,000 times its weight in water.  Occurring naturally in the skin, it’s a good choice for those who want to avoid synthetics or manufactured ingredients.  It is the secret to Juvederm and Restylane, those popular fillers used by Dermatologists to plump lines and wrinkles.  Hyaluronic Acid adds volume to the skin which helps iron out and prevent wrinkles.  These qualities should make Hyaluronic Acid your new BFF in skincare!

Hyaluronic Acid keeps skin moisturized and hydrated.  It plays a vital role in how the skin functions and is found in almost every cell in our body, including the deeper dermal layer of the skin and the outer most epidermis.  Like everything else, as we age the HA content in our skin diminishes, which in turn increases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  The continuous moisture HA provided to young skin is drastically reduced.  The good news is you can repair your skin by adding HA to your skincare routine.  The addition of topical HA in serums and moisturizers will allow the skin to plump again and reduce the depth of wrinkles as it is absorbed.

Replenishing lost Hyaluronic acid will make your skin look and feel younger, both in moisture content and firmness.  HA nourishes and hydrates your existing collagen.  Think of Collagen as a rubber band, becoming dried out, over-stretched and breaking as it ages.  Hyaluronic Acid keeps that collagen moisturized, maintaining its elasticity and diminishing its potential for breakage.  Since the half-life of HA in skin can be as little as a day, it is important to incorporate Hyaluronic Acid into your daily skincare routine.       

The addition of HA in serums and moisturizers is an important part of any anti-aging routine.  It helps make active ingredients more effective.   Your skin acts younger and functions better.  What’s to loose except your age?

Check out Krystal Blue International’s performance skincare lines:

Oxygen Botanicals -– Hyaluronic Hydrating Gel contains 30% Hyaluronic Acid and can be used under your favorite moisturizer to improve hydration and skin suppleness or over your moisturizer to create a barrier for severely dehydrated skin.




PCA Skin — C-Quench Antioxidant Serum contains both Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C to help fight free radicals and hydrate skin at the same time.