“I like to party. And by party, I mean diffuse oils and take naps.”

Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the crisp air; I love the beautiful fall foliage; I love bundling up in my warm chunky sweater and fuzzy socks and enjoying a nice, warm cup of tea. And I especially love the scents of fall. I remember from my childhood growing up in the Sussex countryside the smell of the open-hearth fires in the brisk air; of a rainy cool day. Smells like this bring a huge wave of memories and nostalgia back for me.

Unfortunately, this is also a time of the year where temperatures drop, the days are noticeably shorter, the sun’s rays are less and less, and we get the fall sniffles. All of these changes can affect our mood with lots of people experiencing depression and melancholy.

Good news is we can deal with the autumn blues in the most healthy, natural, and delightful way… with the use of essential oils. Here are some ways to enjoy them this fall season:

For the home:

  1. Add aroma to your fireplace by applying ten to twelve drops of essential oil to a dry log. Cedarwood, sage and pine are ideal for this purpose. Let the oil permeate the wood for at least a couple of days before burning.
  2. Refresh the air by adding twenty drops of your favorite oil to a small spray bottle filled with water. Peppermint, juniper berry and ginger are wonderful choices. Shake before use and spray as desired. This natural air freshener won’t irritate your sinuses.
  3. Relax your mind at the end of the day with chamomile, lavender, bergamot or cedar in your bath water or a diffuser.
  4. And talking of diffusers, they help in the kitchen too, and pretty much every room in the house. Clove and peppermint in a diffuser blend work wonders in the hallway and offers a warm welcome at the end of a busy day.

For the office:

  1. A diffuser on the desk containing a blend of spearmint, rosemary and lavender will keep you focused and able to concentrate on the most challenging of tasks. At the same time it keeps the air around you clean and safe.
  2. For better and safer car commutes, lemongrass and sage is best to keep you alert. Dab a few drops on a Kleenex or on your wrists or temples or on the car’s heating vents.

For self-care:

  1. Include an essential oil with any massage — the citrus oils are mood enhancing and lavender is super relaxing. Ylang-ylang and jasmine add a romantic touch. And grapeseed oil is an ideal base oil to use with essential oil blends.
  2. To sooth a headache, use peppermint, chamomile, and lavender.
  3. To hydrate dry skin, use a blend of rose and geranium and apply under your night crème.
  4. For more effective meditation, combine frankincense, cedarwood and geranium.
  5. Finally, with the holidays around the corner, take a blend of lavender and tea tree on board when you fly and dab a little under each nostril. It will keep those winter germs at bay!

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy essential oils and that’s kind of the same thing.

For more wellness tips, call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701, or check out our other blogs on Medium. And for skincare services, please visit us at 8448 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048. We have re-opened our doors and are happy to welcome you all back.

“Nature itself is the best physician.” — Hippocrates

I always look forward to hikes with my dear friend, David, along with his dogs every weekend. Aside from bonding with him and getting my dose of puppy love, it brings me closer to nature. Something about nature always soothes whatever ails me, takes away my stress, rejuvenates my body and makes me feel somehow stronger. And I truly believe a healthy body and mind leads to fabulous skin!!!

So, when I first heard about this natural health trend that has taken over Instagram chatting about Adaptogens, I just had to find out more.

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are herbs and plants with special properties that are naturally occurring in nature and can help the body resist emotional or physical stressors.

The medicinal practice of using these herbs can be traced back to 3000 B.C., in Ancient Chinese and Ayurveda practices. Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev, who coined the term, defines an adaptogen as a plant that increases the “state of non-specific resistance” when applied to stress. Meaning it can help protect the body against a range of stressors.

The idea that a pill could improve mental and physical performance in healthy people was devised during World War II with various stimulants given to pilots and members of submarine crews. For instance, the first studies on the stimulating and tonic effects of Schisandra chinensis were published in Soviet Union WWII military journals.

How do they work?

They work by targeting the body’s three stages of stress: Alarm, resistance, and exhaustion (which is what happens when the stress alarm stays on). As their name suggests, adaptogens support and adapt to the body in its present state rather than imposing a new remedy that may or may not work.

How do you take adaptogens?

Adaptogens can be taken in several ways — powder, capsule or tincture. They can be added to a beverage or yoghurt to make it easy to get them into your daily routine.

If you decide to incorporate adaptogens into your health care regimen, start slow — a little at a time. Consult your doctor if you’re on any prescription drugs and maybe talk to a homeopathist for guidance. That will help you craft a plan that is specifically for your needs.

Always follow instructions in terms of usage and be patient with your body’s response. It can take a few weeks to feel the difference in your energy level. When using tinctures, it is sometimes recommended to hold them in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.

Here are some popular adaptogens to research. All of them are powerful antioxidants that help to fight free radical activity but there are many additional benefits.

Schisandra: Boosts memory, focus and mental performance and helps calm irritated skin.

Ashwagandha: Protects the body against stress and anxiety, acts as a humectant and has antimicrobial and skin lightening benefits.

Tulsi/ Holy Basil: Reduces anxiety, stress and inflammation and can be used to treat acne and itching.

Maca Root: Boosts mood and energy levels and fights free radical activity.

Reishi Mushroom: Helps the body create a healthy sleep pattern allowing the Circadian cycle to repair and restore balance to the skin.

Cordyceps Mushroom: Balances hormones and reduces breakouts.

Turmeric: Can help with uneven texture and dark spots.

Nettle Leaf: Acts as natural astringent, tightens and firms the skin, regulates natural sebum production, treats acne, promotes flawless skin. accelerates the healing process of wounds and burns.

Licorice: A powerful antioxidant that has been shown to lighten dark spots.

Passionflower — Helps to stimulate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source of living cells, and has anti-aging benefits.

Ginseng — Has been shown to help increase collagen production.

Goji berry — Excellent for wound healing and reducing scarring.

Chaga — Protects the cells against DNA damage.

Adaptogens have not been approved for use by the FDA, and some question the methodology of the studies that have been done on the subject. But these ingredients have been used for centuries and there is a lot of empirical evidence to show that they work.

For more wellness and skincare tips, check out my other blogs on Medium or call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701. We offer a virtual consultation, in-salon treatments, and home service facials to our valued clients.

“I’m not waiting for the stars to align… just my hormones.”

In my teens, I was at my ugliest. For the most part, I suffered from acne, bad hair days, and was just skin and bones (dogs thought I was a treat). Eew! So glad to be over that phase. The culprit… hormones.

So, what are hormones? And what do they do in the body?

Hormones are chemical messengers of the body produced by several glands transmitting messages to organs to control and regulate most major bodily functions such as hunger, reproduction, and our emotions. Hormones affect our skin too and are a huge component of how our skin looks.

There are several types of hormones in the body with different functions. However, I find the major stress hormone — cortisol and the happy or love hormone — oxytocin most interesting as they definitely affect the way we look and feel. And stress, unfortunately, is a constant presence in our lives exacerbated by the pandemic and the events of the past year. While love and happiness is what we need more of.

Let’s take a closer look at these hormones and what they do…

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone. It increases sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain function and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. However, too much produced by long term and extreme stress causes our skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more sebum a.k.a. oil. And too much oil in our skin can clog our pores and lead to breakouts.

Other ways cortisol shows up on our skin is through signs of aging. Increased cortisol production can accelerate the aging process, leading to the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and age spots.

Lastly, if you have skin conditions such as rosacea or psoriasis, you might experience flare-ups when you have high cortisol production.

On the other end of the hormone spectrum, we have Oxytocin produced in the hypothalamus. Oxytocin is often referred to as the ‘happy’ or ‘love hormone’ because of the physical and psychological effects it has on the body. It plays an essential role during sex, orgasm, childbirth, and lactation to aid reproductive functions, and it influences social behavior, including the ability to bond and be emotionally balanced. What is most interesting is that it can also be used as a treatment for depression, anxiety, and intestinal issues, all of which directly affect skin health.

Oxytocin also helps reduce inflammatory factors which promote skin healing and boost our immunity. Less inflammation and less inflammatory skin disorders lead to less acne.

So how do we access and balance these titans of the hormone world to obtain that glow we all hanker for?

Getting into a good mood is the first step. A good mood helps to keep your hormones in check, which means that annoying imbalances that can be at the root of skin troubles won’t be such a problem.

Meditation, diet, exercise, laughter with friends, hugging, cuddling, kissing, sexual intimacy with your lover, and occasionally indulging yourself, can make a big difference to your mood. Other ways include listening to music, getting a massage, petting your dog, performing acts of kindness, and spending quality time with your loved ones.

And forgive me if this sounds too simplistic, but there is some research that suggests that people who smile a lot tend to look younger — perhaps it’s the result of oxytocin being released. The words of that old ballad “smile though your heart is breaking” totally makes sense now. Smiling not only tricks your skin into behaving but might even lift your spirits.

The goal is to reduce stress and increase happiness.

For more skincare tips, check out my other blogs on Medium or call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701. We offer a virtual consultation, in-salon treatments, and home service facials to our valued clients.