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Monthly Archives

July 2014

Shine Be Gone: 5 Tips for an Oil-free Complexion

If you’re like me then oily skin is nothing new. As nice as the summer heat is, it isn’t exactly conducive to a shine-free complexion.  So, where exactly does our oily skin come from?

Well, chances are it’s genetic. If you have oily skin you most likely inherited the trait from either of your parents. Our hormones are another contributing factor, hence our oily skin during the teenage years, menstruation and not to mention during STRESSFUL times. Of course certain skincare products coupled with a few bad habits doesn’t help, but there’s nothing a few tips and tricks can’t fix!:

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Don’t wash as often: I know how it sounds. Not washing your oily skin as often can’t be good! Well, it is. Look at it this way: when you continuously cleanse your delicate face, your skin reacts by over-producing the oil that you just washed away. Our skin uses this lubrication as a way to protect itself. My oily skin only needs to be cleansed morning and night. No “if”, “and’s” or “but’s”!

Exfoliate once in a while: Constantly exfoliating your skin will do nothing for oilyness. In fact, it may have the same effect as over-washing: more oil. Exfoliating your skin is great to get rid of dead skin cells and dry skin, which could potentially lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Gentle exfoliating a few times per week is plenty to keep your skin bright and healthy. I stick by my Clarisonic for a gentle exfoliation 3 times per week.

 Switch up the moisturizer: Daily application of the same, pore-clogging moisturizer does no good for our oily skin. If you suffer from oily skin, stay away from the occlusive moisturizers such as petroleum jelly and mineral oil. These moisturizers hold moisture in while sitting on top of the skin. This may not be a good thing for oily skin since the sebum could become trapped and result in acne. Stick to a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that won’t trap in sebum or clog your pores.

Mask, mask, mask: Finding the right oil-controlling mask could be exactly what you need. Masks that remove excess oil without drying the skin are a perfect way to control the shine. My favorite is a pure bentonite clay mask. Simply mix the bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar to form a thick paste. Apply to the skin and allow to dry. Once I wash the mask away, I notice that my skin is smoother,brighter and shine-free! Bentonite clay can be purchased online or at your local natural health food store.

Blot, away!: If you’re in a bind and need to get rid of a shiny complexion stat, then try blotting papers. These handy little papers can easily fit in your bag and are a great way to get rid of the shine in a hurry. Simply pat the sheet (as small as a credit card) along the oily areas of your face. Most pharmacies carry oil control papers such as these ones from Walgreens.

Peace, love & coconuts!

-Zeena

Skincare Guide

Dietary Supplements: Are you taking too many?

Brown and coconut welcomes Lisa Bonet, discussing the important questionAre there too many dietary supplements in our diet?


 

 

Is taking dietary supplements a healthy way of making sure you get the vitamins and minerals your body and mind needs, or could it actually be causing your body unseen damage? For example, taking too high a dose of antioxidants can contribute to the development of cancer, exactly the opposite of why you’re supposed to be taking them, and large amount of vitamin C can cause kidney stones, which can be incredibly painful.

If you’re unsure which dietary supplements you should and shouldn’t be taking, and in what quantities, this article has some words of advice on what to do, as well as why.

Lisa Bonet
Contributor

Easy Core and Glute Workouts to Strengthen & Tone!

We may be halfway through summer but it is never too late to start getting that booty in shape! Matthew Ibrahim is a Certified Personal Trainer who teamed up with Brown & Coconut to share his fitness knowledge and simple yet effective core and glute workouts to tone and tighten your body!

Part 1: Core & Glute Workouts for Women


A few guidelines…

Start by organizing your spine

  • Use a Broomstick from head to hips to help avoid excessive lumbar extension (lordosis) and excessive thoracic flexion (kyphosis). Keep your spine in contact with the broomstick as reminder.
  • A subtle chin-tuck will help keep spine neutral (a neutral posture)

Use the “right” core muscles

  • Start by properly engaging your transverse abdominis muscle (TrA)
  • Pull belly button up and into spine (subtle movement)
  •  You should be able to have a conversation and talk while TrA is engaged (do not hold your breath)
  • This is “home”/safe position for spine
  • Always activate this muscle before/during every exercise
  • Perform deep-belly breathing rather than upper chest breathing (hand on belly; exhale twice as long as you inhale)

TIPS:

  1. Stop doing sit-ups and crunches; not good for your spine
  2. Train the function of the core, not the anatomy

So, what are your core functions?: anti-extension, anti-flexion, anti-rotation, stabilization, posture, breathing

The following Core and Glute workouts are great workouts to keep your core and glutes activated and engaged:

Part 2: Core Workouts

Core Exercises:

  • Plank
  • Push-Up Mountain climber (slow and controlled movements)
  • Side Plank with Knee to Chest

Part 3: Glute Workouts

Glute Exercises

  • Glute Bridge
  • Kettle bell Goblet Hold Reverse Lunge
  • Kettle bell Deadlift
  • Lateral Skater Hops
  • Sled Pull


These websites sell workout sleds for decent prices. These can be used both inside and outside:

You can also make your own for an even better deal. This article provides wonderful instruction on how to build your own sled.

Thanks to Matthew for sharing these awesome tips and workouts that can be applied to each and every workout! Check out Matthew’s website for more information about him and his workshops/trainings!

What are you waiting for?? Start working those coconuts!

10 Shocking Things That Are Ruining Your Skin

Ruining Your Skin

Your daily routine is ruining your skin. Pretty crazy, huh? These 10 shocking things that many of us do on a daily basis can result in irrevocable damage to our precious skin. We’re talking wrinkles, sagging skin, dark circles, age spots, acne, irritation and loss of moisture.  By avoiding these 10 routines, you’ll be 10 steps closer to a healthier you:

ruining your skin

10 Shocking Things That Are Ruining Your Skin

Make-Up

It’s no secret that makeup is filled with toxic chemicals. Despite it’s “beautifying” benefits, makeup that is chockfull of dangerous substances can have harmful effects on our skin (ahem, our largest organ!). Have you ever had an allergic reaction to makeup? Ever noticed increased breakouts? Most of our foundations, eyeliners, and mascaras (oh my!) contain carcinogens AND pesticides. Did I just say pesticides?! Yes! In fact, almost 90% of the ingredients used in makeup has not been evaluated by the FDA. SAY WHAT?! Common makeup ingredients like synthetic colors, parabens and phlatates often found in makeup can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions.

As if to make matters worse, makeup can disrupt our hormones; affecting our mood, menstruation and fertility. If you wouldn’t sleep in your makeup, then why wear it all day long? Amplifying your beauty doesn’t require avoiding makeup completely. Try looking for brands that use 100% natural ingredients.

 

Hot Water

A hot shower is ultimate treat after a long, arduous day, right? Wrong. Exposing your precious skin to hot water for extended periods of time dries out your skin. Our outermost layer of skin is comprised of a thin layer of oil that keeps our skin cells moisturized.

The continual exposure to hot water (and not to mention harsh body soaps) causes this thin layer of oil to wash away. The result? Dry, irritated and itchy skin. If you’re like me than right after a hot shower, you’ll apply a thick layer of lotion to soothe your dry skin. Makes sense, right? Wrong, again! Start at the root of the problem. Try showering with warm water: your skin takes MUCH less of a beating, while staying moisturized.

 

Sugar

It’s well known that sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies, but let’s not forget our skin. Consumption of sugar results in inflammation throughout our body triggered by an immune response. This inflammation results in redness and swelling (big no-no’s for skin!).

As if that is not scary enough: when sugar is consumed it attaches to proteins which produce new molecules. These new molecules damage the surrounding collegan and elastin. Collagen and elastin are vital for preventing wrinkles and sagging skin.

Best advice? Kick sugar out of your diet. Consume whole grains, avoid sugary drinks, candy, and other sweet treats.

 

Not Enough H2O

Water is one of the key ingredients for hydrated, supple skin. When you don’t consume enough water your skin may appear dry, flaky and dull. Dehydrated skin loses its elasticity, which is what keeps our skin from sagging.  Consuming the right amount of H2O keeps your skin moisturized from the inside out.

If you struggle to get down at least 2 L of water a day, try purchasing a fun water bottle. Sounds silly, but if you have something fun and exciting to look forward to you will be more likely to consume your required water intake!

 

Alcohol

Alcohol dehydrates your body. With that dehydration comes thirsty, puffy, red skin (not exactly how we all want to look in the morning). Although that beverage may be delicious, your skin thinks otherwise. Consuming alcoholic beverages ages our delicate skin. The result?: premature wrinkles and reduction of elasticity and collagen.

Not to mention alcohol depletes important nutrients our body requires for healthy skin. For example, Vitamin A. Vitamin A keeps our skin looking young by regulating cellular growth, rebuilding tissues to heal wounds, and reducing wrinkles.

The “flushed look” you may experience after consuming alcohol is a result of vasodilation (bringing blood to the face). Because of this vasodilation, the skin appears puffy and red. The continual consumption of alcohol can result in permanent redness or blotchiness.

In order to have healthy skin, you do not have to stop drinking alcohol completely. Try limiting your intake to only 1 drink per day while increasing your water intake. If you don’t drink? Great! Your skin will thank you!

 

Hair Products

No matter how many times you flick it away, if your hair is resting against your precious face for extended periods of time, breakouts will eventually find you. THEY. WILL. FIND. YOU.

Pomade acne (acne caused by the use of pomades) is the result of bacteria and oil becoming trapped in the pores on your forehead, temples and scalp. This results in clogged pores which can lead to acne, white heads, black heads, the list goes on…

Now don’t panic. If your hair is known to be quite the “face-brusher-upper”, have no fear. Keep your skin breakout free by maintaining clean hair. Increasing your hair washing frequency keeps your hair cleaner: CLEAN HAIR=LESS BREAKOUTS. Try using hair care products that have less pore clogging ingredients. If you wouldn’t put the ingredients directly on your face, then keep it out of your hair.

 

Lack of Sunscreen

Not protecting your skin from the sun may not seem like big deal while you’re young, but once your skin continues to age you’ll notice some startling effects. Exposure to the sun’s harmful rays without sun protection can lead to wrinkles, discoloration, increased pigmentation, dilated blood vessels, sagging skin and not to mention skin cancer.

The UV rays damage the collagen and elastin in our skin which results in sagging, fragile skin. Applying sunscreen (SPF 30!) daily is the best way to protect your skin. Your future self will thank you!

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Skipping out on the ZZZ’s

It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is vital for our skin. Skipping out on your ZZZ’s means dark circles, puffy, sagging skin, increased stress hormones, and wrinkles. The increase of stress hormones can result in acne as well as premature aging. Scary!

During sleep is when our skin cells are hard at work: new ones replace the old ones, a vital process in maintaining glowing skin! By getting a good night’s rest you can allow your skin to take care of itself after a long, hard day. If you struggle to fall asleep, try following these tips for a better night’s rest.

 

Smoking

Smoking can result in irrevocable damage to your skin.  The chemicals in cigarettes and second-hand smoke damage the collagen and elastin in our skin. Your skin will become leathery and sag, especially under the eyes. The reduction of collagen and elastin means premature aging AKA wrinkles.

Smoking reduces the amount of nutrients that can travel to skin which results in an uneven skin tone. With the loss of elasticity comes the classic smoker’s lips: wrinkles around the mouth caused by the chemicals and “smoking motion” of the lips. Smokers may also develop psoriasis and other skin conditions. Not only is smoking bad for your skin, but for your overall health. Quitting smoking will greatly improve your health and wellness.

 

Product Choice

Choosing the right products for your skin is an arduous process. Some work and others may never work no matter how much you like it. Treating your skin with the right products is the best away to treat and prevent breakouts and irritation, while maintaining a clear complexion.

Skip any products that contain harsh ingredients (basically anything you can’t pronounce). Aim for 100% natural products that aren’t too harsh on your skin. Keep your regimen simple; our skin doesn’t need 45 products to maintain it’s beauty. Can’t decide on the best regimen for your skin? Try starting with a good cleanser, mask, exfoliator, and moisturizer. Seek out samples to find out if the product is right for your skin.

 

Peace, Love & Coconuts

 

-Zeena