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Argan Oil

Argania spinosa

Certified Organic

Extraction: Cold pressed

Description: The argan tree grows to 8-10 metres high and lives to 150–200 years old in the semi-desert region of Morrocco, where it is endemic. It bears a fruit with a hard nut that is rich in oil. The thick skin is removed along with a fleshy pulp and the nuts are broken to release kernals which are then cold pressed into an oil. Most of this processing is done by women in co-ops.

Components: 44% oleic acid (omega 9), 30% linoleic acid (omega 6), vitamin E (four times higher than olive oil), polyphenols, carotenes, squalene, ferulic acid, phytosterols.

Benefits:

Softens and conditions skin
Very high in vitamin E
Rejuvenating and healing
Diminishes fine line and wrinkles

Found In: Argan Oil Moisturizing Serum, Eyewaken Eye Cream, Orange Blossom Facial Cream

One of the main causes of aging skin is inflammation. It damages cells and reduces collagen production, creating wrinkles and sagging well before they are supposed to appear. There are two types of inflammation – acute inflammation, which is the body’s healthy response to injuries and infection and chronic inflammation, which is when the body is continuously in a state of inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the body can trigger serious diseases such as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and diabetes. On the skin, it can lead to premature aging, rosacea, eczema and hyper-pigmentation. It is caused by eating the wrong foods, drinking excessively, smoking, stress, infections, immune responses, uv rays and the most common, harsh skin care products.

People inundate their skin with harsh ingredients every day of their lives because they are in so many products. Sensitive skin types know exactly what these products are because they will feel a burn, and develop redness and/or swelling. Other people won’t feel a thing but that doesn’t mean it is not incurring the damage.

Look for the following ingredients to avoid chronic skin inflammation in your daily routine:

1. Alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids – Includes glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid, salicylic acid and tartaric acid. The are chemical exfoliants that remove dead skin cells but can also damage healthy cells and barrier function. They also leave the skin vulnerable to UV rays.

2. Chemical sunscreens – These types of sunscreen turn UV rays into heat on the skin. They can be very irritating and cause redness and bumps to form. Look for products with zinc, a physical sunscreen that blocks UV rays by deflecting it off the face.

3. Fragrance – Can be an assortment of many chemicals, including harmful ones like phthalates and synthetic musks. Choose natural products with no fragrance or ones with gentle essential oils.

4. Detergents – These cleansers are currently in everything. They have even replaced bar soap for many people. They are meant to remove grease, dirt and pollutants but will also remove protective barriers and cause imbalances and inflammation in the skin. Use bars soaps and milk cleansers instead.

5. Retinoids – Retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, and retinyl linoleate are anti-aging ingredients related to vitamin A. They make your skin sun-sensitive and break down when exposed to UV rays to create free radicals that will damage your skin. Stick to anti-aging rosehip oil for a natural dose of retinoid, sans the side effects.

If one of the main causes of premature aging is chronic skin inflammation, then it is wise to keep inflammatories out of your life by way of lifestyle choices and the right skin care products. Natural skin care is the best choice for this because the ingredients are not only free of harsh ingredients, but they also contain anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that will reverse the damage that occurs.

aloevera_small

Aloe barbadensis

Extraction: Cold pressed

Description: A succulent plant with thick serrated leaves that contain a thick gel-like substance used medicnally for thousands of years. Showy yellow tubular flowers grow out of a tall stem in the summer.

Components: Antioxidant flavanoids anthone, chromone, polysaccharides, aloe verasin, and hydroxyaloin.

Benefits:
Healing, especially for burns, sun overexposure, and redness on skin
Rejuvenating
Antiaging
Soothing

Found in: Spotbuster Blemish Treatment

Plant-based facial oils have gained major traction in the last few years and thank goodness for that. North America had a period where oil was considered a ‘no no’ on the skin and that’s a shame because it is the most essential ingredient in a rejuvenating, anti-aging routine. The reasons are simple:

1. Essential Fatty Acids – Omega 3 (a-linolenic acid) and 6 (linoleic acid) are nourishing and anti-inflammatory both inside and out. Inflammation is one of the major causes of premature aging, brought on by sun damage, stress, smoking and unhealthy eating.

2. Antioxidants – All plant oils contain skin-loving antioxidants such as vitamin E, polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenes and retinoids. Antioxidants reverse free-radical damage in several different ways, which is why the more varieties, the better. Plant-based oils provide this multi-spectrum arsenal for healthy skin.

3. Skin Delivery System – One of the best penetration enhancers to deliver nutrients and antioxidants deep into the layers of the skin is Omega 9 (oleic acid). This fatty acid is contained in most plant oils in varying amounts.

4. Conditions and lock in water – Oils softens the skin and keep water in so it remains plump and hydrated.

The amount of oil required depends on skin type with some people only being able to handle a small amount in a cream while others can put several drops on twice daily. Surprisingly, some people have found success using straight oil on acne because it nourishes the skin and doesn’t contain a wax, like a cream, lotion or balm would. It can always be added to damp skin for dilution purposes or used only at night as a moisturizing treatment.

Sweet Almond Oil

Prunus amygdalus dulcis

Extraction: Cold pressed

Description: A small tree indigenous to the Middle East that grows from 3 – 7 meters and bears white or pink blossoms in the spring. The almond fruit has a fuzzy green outer reminiscent of an apricot. The oil is extracted by pressing it from the nuts. The result is a golden, slightly viscous liquid with a mild marzipan scent.

Components:
Fatty Acids: Oleic acid 71%, linoleic acid 21%
Antioxidants: Vitamin E, catechin, caffeic acid, epicatechin and gallic acid

Benefits:
Moisturizing and protective
Soothes inflammation, dryness, redness in skin
Anti-aging and rejuvenating
High oleic acid content allows greater skin penetration and nutrient delivery

Found in: Magic Bean Body Lotion, Eyewaken Eye Cream, Petal Purity Facial Cleanser, Petal Purity Exfoliating Facial Cleanser.

donnaandgirlsWhat an amazing morning at Cocoon Apothecary. Donna Sheehan, Founder and Executive Director of the Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund (CBCSF) came into our store today to receive a very special donation from 3 local elementary school students. Danica, 8, Shaughnessy 6, and Jaidan, 9 have raised $311 by making and selling rainbow loom bracelets at their school, St. Agnes in Waterloo. It took them about 3 months and 4 different events to raise this money. Thanks girls!!! You make us all proud.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund is near and dear to our hearts because they raise money to go directly to breast cancer patients undergoing treatment. This is a very difficult time for people and the added stress of not being able to work and make ends meet can be devastating. There are enough organizations dedicated to research so this is such a refreshing initiative.

Cocoon Apothecary, along with some of the top non-toxic brands in Canada (such as Ella’s Botanicals, Consonant Skincare) are part of a campaign launched by the Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund called Causmetics. With the help of advertising agency Cheil Canada, one product from each brand has been relabelled for this line where a portion of each sale (around $10) goes the CBCSF. You can purchase these products at Holistic Nutrition Nature’s Apotheke Waterloo in the Bauer Lofts, on the Causemetics website (www.causemetics.ca), or on Well.ca.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AP), affects 10% to 20% (up from 2% in 1960) of the population and is the most common skin disorder in the world. Canada’s rate is higher than the worldwide average. It is skin inflammation caused by a breakdown in the protective barrier, which allows allergens and pathogens to create havoc. This results in dry, flakey, red, itchy and sometimes oozing skin. People are often prescribed topical steroids, which will clear it up momentarily and then stop working. There seems to be a lack of answers for something that is often irritating, painful and unsightly.

There are several ways that your skin barrier can breakdown.

Detergents: From day one, babies are exposed to anionic detergents, which are known to disrupt barrier function. Hospitals typically use Johnson & Johnson baby wash on newborns, which contain several harsh ingredients and can create a problem that can last for years. We are a detergent-obsessed society, using it within our hand soaps, shampoos and body washes. I suspect our growing demand for these types of products are the cause for the dramatic increase in eczema from 1960.

Stress: A study published in the Archives of Dermatology (2001) concluded that there is a link between physiological stress and weakened barrier function. This was the case with my sister who didn’t change a thing in her diet or beauty routine but suddenly had a severe case of red, leathery skin all over her face and eyes that looked like she had been punched. She finally figured out that it was being caused by the recent stress in her life and went away as soon as she was able to relax again.

Winter: Cold temperatures, dry indoor environments and lack of vitamin D can exasperate a skin barrier dysfunction.

Environmental pollutants: Harsh chemicals in the environment and in contact with your skin can lead to barrier dysfunction. Think household products, pesticides, and some personal care products. I have a friend who only gets eczema if she is around lawns that have been sprayed. Now that bylaws against pesticides in effect, she doesn’t have this problem.

The best way to treat eczema is to prevent further damage to the skin’s barrier and stay away from things that may inflame it. Avoid all anionic detergents, which are in most commercial cleansers, body washes, shampoos and hand soaps. Look for more gentle versions such as natural soap, liquid castile or even gentle detergents like glucosides. If it is stress-related, look for ways to manage this more effectively. This is your body’s way of communicating that enough is enough.  You can strengthen the skin’s barrier by applying protective moisturizer to the area. Your best bets are thick balms and ointments because they will sit on the skin and not allow allergens and pathogens to penetrate. Things that can further inflame the condition include food allergens (such as wheat, dairy, soy, and nuts), pet dander, dust mites, and synthetic household and body care products so be mindful of this when a reaction occurs and take the necessary precautions. Maintaining healthy doses of vitamin D and essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9) can help as well.

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