The Beet Shield

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The Beet Shield

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Ingredient Series: Hello Humectants!

“All I want for Christmas is… HYDRATED SKIN THAT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE THE SAHARA DESERT. Oh, and some eggnog.” The thirst is real, especially for our skin this winter. Hydration is key in helping our skin maintain that healthy glow, and our skin needs all the help it can get in these moisture-sucking months. So what better time to talk about our skin hydration and moisture concerns than while we’re dealing with them? To continue our Ingredient Series, we’re going to decode another helpful group of ingredients you might’ve heard a lot about: humectants! What are humectants? Source: https://blog.healthpost.co.nz/2014/the-miracle-of-the-skins-lipid-layer/ Humectants are a group of ingredients that ATTRACTS water to your parched skin! In other words, meet your skin’s personal hydration magnets. Just think of your skin cells as mini balloons that are slowly filled up with water, which is delivered to them courtesy of our lovely humectant friends. Last week, we talked about the 'mortar' part (lipids) of our skin’s stratum corneum layer (AKA the skin barrier), so today we are going to direct our attention to the brick-like part of our skin barrier: the skin cells. Humectants are naturally found in the cell layer, certifying them as Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF). These NMFs play a big role in our skin barrier army because they:  Maintain our skin’s hydration
  Regulate the shedding of dead skin cells from our skin’s outer layer (therefore preventing flaky, dry, rough skin)
  Maintain the skin’s acidity to prevent infection
 How amazing, right? Isn't it crazy how the more we learn about our skin, the more amazing and smart we realize it is? Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed in the NMF department. Studies show that people with dry skin, especially with eczema skin, lack these natural moisturizing factors making their skin more prone to dryness and flakiness.  I guess that just means we’re going to need to hire some more help in our hydration team then, aren’t we? Let’s get to work. How humectants work and why they’re tricky To recap, humectants are in charge of attracting water into our skin’s outermost layer (the stratum corneum). The most common source of this water is all around us: the humidity in the air! So seems like there’s nothing stopping us from calling in all of the humectant troops, right? Here’s the catch. Humectants are a little simple-minded when they’re doing their job, so they draw water from wherever there’s more of it to wherever there’s a shortage of it. When the humidity in the air surrounding us is low (dry), humectants will draw out the water content from your skin’s deepest layer rather than from the atmosphere. So your skin might feel hydrated and plump for a little while before it feels even drier than before, as the water is sent out from your skin and into the low humidity atmosphere. (Get your own moisture, atmosphere!)  That’s why we need to be cautious when using products that contain humectants during the dry seasons, so that we don't accidentally give up any of our hydration. And don't forget that the humidity in your home and living spaces can affect your skin too, so keep your living area humidified to prevent further unwanted water loss from your skin. Source: https://www.futurederm.com/sodium-hyaluronate-in-skincare-products/ Luckily, most products that are formulated with humectants account for this tricky situation by including an occlusive that acts like a barrier over your skin to prevent water loss.Here’s a convenient list of the most common humectants you can look for in moisturizers.    Glycerin
    Sodium hyaluronate
    Hyaluronic acid
    Propylene glycol
    Butylene glycol
    Sodium PCA
    Sorbitol
    Allantoin
    Honey 
    Aloe Vera
    Seaweed, algae
 Humectants may seem like they're really only made for people with dry skin, but don’t worry now—the humectant party is open to everyone. Humectants are just as awesome for oilier skin types as they hold more water/moisture in the skin without adding more oil to it. And of course, folks with drier skin can use humectants to say bye to their flaky, dry skin for good. We hope you now have a better understanding of how humectants can help quench your skin’s thirst this winter! Stay hydrated, everyone.

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Ingredient Series: Hello Humectants!

“All I want for Christmas is… HYDRATED SKIN THAT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE THE SAHARA DESERT. Oh, and som...

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Ingredient Series: Oils, why do we need them?

Every story has its good guys and its bad guys, and in our skin journeys, we’ve been conditioned to view oils in all shapes and forms as THE ENEMY. We've been told countless times, “You’re getting pimples because the oil on your skin is clogging your pores.” It’s no wonder we’ve become so obsessed with removing every last bit of oil on the skin like it’s some uninvited guest who doesn’t know when to leave. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, why the heck does our skin produce oil in the first place?!First of all, our skin works as our personal shield🛡️to keep us protected from the dangers of the outside world. On the outermost layer of our skin, we have something called the stratum corneum– AKA the skin barrier– that defends our skin with its brick and mortar-like structure. Today, we’re going to give our attention to the superstar mortar holding our skin barrier together­: the natural fats in our skin called lipids. Source: https://blog.healthpost.co.nz/2014/the-miracle-of-the-skins-lipid-layer/ In our founder, Liah’s, videos, you’ve probably heard a lot about lipids such as ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids, and that’s because these guys are the essential components that make up the ‘mortar’ of our skin barrier. This army of lipids prevents skin moisture loss and protects our skin from environmental microbial infections. Now keep in mind that while these lipids and our skin’s sebum (the substance we’re so busy blotting away) play similar roles in protecting and sealing in our skin’s moisture, these oils are not one and the same. We can tell the difference between the two based on how they’re made: sebum is produced by our skin’s oil glands whereas ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids are produced by our skin’s cells. Source: https://www.ceradan311.com/the-science-of-eczema/the-skin-barrier/ Sadly, most skincare stories are struck with the tragedy that is the modern skincare practice, which has basically trained us to rip this army apart with over-cleansing, over-stripping, over-exfoliating and constantly abusing the skin. Yeah, that’s totally our bad, skin 😞. Luckily, we can make it up to our inflamed, red, and sensitized skin by implementing a skincare product into our lifestyle to replenish the skin’s mortar and keep our skin barrier stronger than ever. And you guessed it– this calls for a product that contains ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids! To break this down a little more: ceramides are healthy fats created in our skin that are proven to increase your skin’s hydration and overall barrier function, and cholesterol helps speed up skin barrier’s recovery and improve elasticity. Fatty acids get a little more complicated, so hang tight. Every oil on this planet has a variety of fatty acids, whether they are essential or non-essential.  Essential fatty acids are: Linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid Found inside the skin but not on the surface (helps out in the sebum-producing department) Acne patients have a linoleic acid deficiency Linoleic acid is an essential structural component of skin ceramides Plant oils have been used both cosmetically and medically since forever ago due to their various skin benefits. However, not every plant oil is created the same. In particular, the biggest factor in how each plant oil functions for your skin stems from the percentage content of the two fatty acids, linoleic and oleic acid. But what is the difference between the two acids except for that “lin” part, you ask? Let’s get into it. Linoleic acid vs Oleic acid Linoleic acid = omega-6 = essential fatty acids = can’t be produced by our bodyLinoleic acid is an essential structural component of ceramides, so how much of it we have in our skin largely affects how easily substances can get in and out of our skin’s barrier. People with acne-prone, oily skin generally have lower levels of linoleic acid in their skin, essentially making their oils thicker and more prone to “clogging the pores” to cause acne in the first place.This is where supplemental application of linoleic acid can help to improve sebum production and control acne formation, basically increasing our skin’s linoleic acid concentration to make our skin’s oil thinner and less-prone to clogging any part of our skin. Since our body can’t produce this fatty acid on its own, we’ll need to supply it ourselves through eating a balanced diet with omega-6 or even applying it topically.Some popular oils with high amounts of Linoleic acid:  Safflower oil, hemp seed oil, rosehip oil, grapeseed oil, evening primrose oil, etc Oleic acid = omega-9 = non-essential fatty acids = produced by our bodyUnlike linoleic acids, oleic acid are naturally produced by our body and are found in our sebum. So yup, you guessed it­– people with acne-prone, oily skin have higher levels of oleic acid. Oleic acid gives a rich and heavy consistency to our skin’s oils, providing a nourishing and moisturizing effect that’s super awesome for dry skin.Some popular oils with high amounts of Oleic acid: Olive oil, avocado oil, marula oil, hazelnut oil, sea buckthorn oil, etc   We hope that you now have a better sense of which oil is best suited for your skin concerns and fatty-acid needs. Now, we’d love to introduce you to the plant oil that really helped our founder Liah on her journey to clear skin: tamanu Oil! Tamanu Oil's Fatty Acid Profile: Oleic acid: 34-41% Linoleic acid: 29-38% Stearic acid: 13% Palmitic acid: 12% As you can see from the numbers, tamanu oil has a great balance of both linoleic and oleic acid, with a slightly higher oleic acid content that gives the oil its rich texture. Tamanu oil is well known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is even used to accelerate the wound healing process (our hero <3). So whether you have sensitized skin, acne-prone skin, dry skin, or whatever it is you’re dealing with, this oil can come to your rescue. And to top it all off, tamanu oil is also an antioxidant powerhouse! What’s not to love about this oil? The KraveBeauty team is so eager to share the tamanu oil love that we’ve been developing our very own tamanu-oil based serum! We can’t wait to share it with you all!

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Ingredient Series: Oils, why do we need them?

Every story has its good guys and its bad guys, and in our skin journeys, we’ve been conditioned ...

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Winter Series: What is Eczema?

Does this sound familiar to you? The cold winter weather just makes my skin so RED, DRY, and ITCHY. The pain is almost unbearable… No matter what moisturizing products I apply, my skin just isn’t getting better. If you checked all of the boxes above, chances are that you’re dealing with a common skin condition known as eczema.Let’s make sure we’re on the same page here. Eczema is the general name for a group of conditions that make your skin red, itchy, and inflamed. And while it may seem like you’re the only one struggling with it, eczema is actually very common. Here are the facts: 10.1% of the U.S. population is affected by some form of eczema (That’s over 30 million Americans) 7.2% of Americans suffer from the main form of eczema known as Atopic Dermatitis. (Over 21 million Americans) Although so many people deal with eczema on the daily, there’s a huge chunk of the population who still don’t know how to keep it at bay and don’t even realize they have this skin condition at all. So we’re here to equip you with the knowledge you need to treat your skin conditions at their source-- and that means, getting to the bottom of understanding what eczema exactly is and how you can treat it.    The Physical Effects: On the outside, you can identify eczema by its red-colored scaly, almost crusty-looking plaques that feel insanely dry and itchy. On the inside, eczema is characterized by a severely damaged and malfunctioning skin barrier, along with high levels of inflammation within your skin. The Emotional Effects: Medical journals often focus on what physical discomfort eczema causes, but it’s just as important to recognize what mental and emotional hardships that the skin condition causes too. People with eczema not only feel self-conscious about being seen in public with red and flaky patches of skin, but they also have to miss out on the foods and activities they love in order to avoid aggravating their eczema more. Do’s and Don’ts of Eczema If eczema is like your personal bully, then the harsh winter weather conditions are like the bully’s posse who exist to make your life even worse. Eczema flares up in the winter not only due to decreased skin moisture levels and a sensitized skin barrier, but also because our skin is exposed to less sun and thus receives less vitamin D, our skin’s natural anti-inflammatory agent (why did you have to end, daylight savings :( ). So for all our eczema and sensitive skin sufferers out there, here’s our simple list of do’s and don’ts for how you can stand up to the winter weather bullies. DO: Take warm, NOT hot showers Pat your skin dry with a towel, DON’T RUB Moisturize consistently and liberally Use fragrance-free, dye-free products Know what your skin is triggered by or allergic to and AVOID THEM at all costs DON’T: Stand in a hot steamy shower for 10+ minutes (it feels so good in the moment, but your skin will be crying later) Wear scratchy/wool clothing without an additional layer over your skin Use abrasive products or devices on the skin (e.g. scrubs, Clarisonic, etc.) Use alcohol based hand sanitizers or products (say bye-bye to moisture) Scratch your skin (wearing mittens can help against scratching when you’re sleeping) Stress! (Our skin’s worst enemy) Petroleum Jelly Is Your Best Friend Petrolatum, more commonly known as petroleum jelly, gets a pretty bad rap in the skincare world, but this moisturizing ointment can actually work wonders for soothing eczema. Not only is this wonder jelly dermatologist-trusted to be eczema friendly, but it’s also one of the least irritating ingredients you can apply to your skin. The real reason why eczema causes stubborn skin inflammation comes back to a common culprit of many of our unfavorable skin conditions: a weakened skin barrier. Essentially, your compromised skin barrier allows your skin’s immune cells to come in contact with the nasty pathogens outside that they’re not meant to interact with. This is where petroleum jelly comes to the rescue by acting as a surrogate barrier between your skin and the outside world, so your immune cells and outside pathogens don’t get involved with each other. So don’t be afraid to slather that jelly on! Additionally, unlike aqueous/gel-based occlusives (like sleeping masks), petroleum jelly will not disrupt your barrier’s lipid organization or increase your skin’s sensitivity. Work From the Inside We always like to remind you that our skin is a reflection of our internal health, so we can definitely implement positive lifestyle changes within our bodies to help our skin function at its best. Applying this mindset to eczema, which is largely caused by an overactive immune system, we can holistically lower inflammation in our bodies overall with two classic yet effective methods: nourishing the body from within and getting our beauty sleep. If you need professional medical help to combat an overactive immune system, be sure to seek out a dermatologist to see what your treatment options are. Nourish the body with nutrients A healthy gut acts as our body’s natural bouncer for keeping inflammation out, so make sure to fill your body with the nutrients it needs to do its job! Here are some awesome anti-inflammatory nutrients you can start incorporating into your diet: EGCG found in green tea omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish oil anthocyanins found in berries and grapes curcumin from turmeric sulforaphane from broccoli, and more Vitamin D supplements    Off to bed! When you’re running low on sleep, your body’s stress levels will naturally increase and signal your immune system to be on alert mode. But if your immune system is working at 100% at all times, it’ll only a matter of time before it breaks down on you. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep to reduce your overall stress levels, so that your immune system can take a breather and work hard when duty calls.    And that wraps up our breakdown on how to treat your sensitized/eczema skin this winter! Let us know of any other tips and tricks not mentioned here that have helped you deal with hypersensitive skin! Coming up next week, we’re going on an intimate date with our skin barrier to gain a deeper understanding of what makes it tick, and how we can build it back up.

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Winter Series: What is Eczema?

Does this sound familiar to you? The cold winter weather just makes my skin so RED, DRY, and IT...

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Winter Series: Guide to Choosing Winter Skincare

Winter is coming– and it seems like it’s here to stay a while. But we're cool with that because we've got all the tips to help you brave out these nippy months. So let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered us anyway. (Okay, last winter reference– we promise 😉) Last week, we went over how the changes in weather make it harder for our skin to hold onto its water content, and that we should modify our lifestyle, such as our skincare routine, to include products that help our skin perform how it should. So this week, we’ll give you some pointers on what ingredients to look for to combat the cold, dry winter conditions.   Our skin faces three main concerns in the colder months: 1) Increased TEWL The lower humidity in the air means that water will be sucked out of your skin at a higher rate than in the warmer, humid months (because, just science). Luckily, we have a trusty and familiar skincare family to help us out in this department: humectants! They were there for us throughout the summer months to keep us hydrated, and they definitely help us out in the winter too. But wait a sec! We need to be smart about when and how we use them. Think of it this way: the function of humectants is to grab onto surrounding moisture and pull it into your face. So if the surrounding air has less moisture than there is within your face, the humectant will be grabbing water from your face rather from than the air (which is NOT okay). Therefore, in the winter, it's best to use humectants when you’re in a space with higher humidity levels. For example, when stepping out of the shower into a humid bathroom or when next to a humidifier, etc. Let the humectant ingredient absorb that glorious moisture into your skin while you hang out in the humid environment. Do we hear the perfect excuse for a steamy bath? Humectant Ingredients to Look For: hyaluronic acid, glycerin, sodium PCA, urea, vitamin B5 (Panthenol), honey 2) Easily damaged skin barrier Once we’ve stocked up on that wonderful moisture, the next step is making sure that it’s all sealed in. Our natural skin barrier faces a lot more stimulation and irritation in the winter months thanks to harsh winds, fluctuating temperatures between the indoors and outdoors, scarves, masks, and more. So not only will your skin lose its water content faster, but it will also suffer more inflammation and redness as our weakened barrier isn’t strong enough to protect and calm itself down. Pay a little more attention to what your skin is saying and look out for these holy-grail ingredients below! Skin Barrier Repairing Ingredients to Look For: ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids Inflammation Calming Ingredients to Look For: honey, cica/tiger grass, and vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) 3) Decreased oil/sebum production One of sebum’s main functions is to essentially lubricate the surface of the face, reducing the friction our skin goes through on a daily basis simply as we speak or make facial expressions. However, since we naturally produce less sebum in colder weather, our faces are prone to feeling “tight” and can be easily irritated even with the slightest smile. This is where we turn to our lovely friends, emollients, for help. “Emollients” are a rather broad term in skincare, as they can include anything that provides the skin with softness and “glide.” In other words, they help our skin achieve the same well-lubricated surface as normal levels of sebum production would in milder conditions. For emollient basics, we recommend that your moisturizer is not only able to relieve your skin’s feeling of tightness, but also feels breathable. Facial oils can also help you prevent potential skin tightness and friction. An emollient power combo to try out this winter is to supplement your regular moisturizer with a few drops of a facial oil that works for your skin. Beware of: Over-occlusion Occlusive ingredients are a popular choice in the winter, as they work like a blanket over your skin to keep the moisture in. In particular, sleeping masks have become ALL the rage within the beauty blogger community and skincare industry in general. But while these sleeping masks can be useful in replenishing our skin’s nutrients and moisture levels with occasional use (keyword: occasional), piling on occlusive products in an already damp environment (like a gel-based sleeping mask) can lead to further skin barrier disruption and increased skin sensitivity. So while it may be tempting, try not to over-do it! Less is more.   Our philosophy is to give our skin the tools it needs to do its job properly, not slather on all the products in the world hoping to see amplified benefits (our skin just doesn’t work that way!). The products you use should be to supplement and treat where your skin is lacking to help it function at its best. That’s it. We hope that this survival guide helps you feel more prepared to protect your skin throughout the winter. Next week, we’ll dive a little deeper into a skin condition many of us suffer from (even if we don’t know it!) and that usually gets worse in the winter: eczema. Till next time!

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Winter Series: Guide to Choosing Winter Skincare

Winter is coming– and it seems like it’s here to stay a while. But we're cool with that because w...

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Change in Weather = Change in Skincare

Here it is: the annual change in weather = change in skincare blog post you’ve probably seen a million times while roaming the world wide web. And the gist of it always is packing on more moisturizing and hydrating products, but did one ever actually tell you why your skin feels tighter and more uncomfortable in the colder months? We’ve got you covered. At Krave Beauty, we believe you need to truly understand your skin and its struggles so that you can decide on the best plan of action to help your skin thrive --and we’re here to help. So yes, a change in your skincare routine is one of the many steps you can take to minimize your skin’s discomfort during the colder, drier months, but let’s get to the bottom of why the heck our skin is even acting out. Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin To start, let’s clear up what the difference between dry skin vs. dehydrated skin is because they definitely are not one and the same. Dry skin = your skin is lacking in oil production Dehydrated skin = your skin is lacking in water content We know how tough it can be to decipher what the heck your skin is trying to tell you every day, like determining whether your skin is either dry or dehydrated (note: dehydrated skin can still be oily and feel tight, while dry skin may just feel tight). And just when you feel like you’ve got a handle on your skin, the colder seasons decide to throw you off course with a whole new set of challenges, like the drastic changes in indoor-outdoor temperatures and overall lowered humidity levels. But the key to solving a problem is understanding it. So let's break down what happens to your skin during the colder seasons even more, shall we? Weather Effect 1: Your oil glands produce less oil, and now your skin is drier and more dehydrated Regardless of whether you have oily or dry skin, the skin’s oil glands are programmed to produce less oil when they’re exposed to colder temperatures. And when our skin produces less oil, which acts as its natural moisturizer, water escapes more easily from our skin and leads to further dehydration and dryness. Weather Effect 2: Lower humidity levels and intense indoor heaters are NOT our friends. We all love that feeling of walking into a toasty, heated room after being out in the cold, but this is an absolute nightmare for our skin’s hydration levels. Indoor heaters pretty much zap any moisture in the air and the lower humidity levels also allow water to escape from our skin (aka increased TEWL) and further dehydrate our skin. (Image source: https://www.blisterprevention.com.au/blister-blog/the-problem-with-lubricants) Weather Effect 3: Skin Dehydration -> More Oil Production -> Less Water Retention And so begins the vicious cycle— (1) the cold weather conditions make your skin dehydrated (2) if left untreated (unmoisturized) your oil glands produce more oil, (3) more oil production means your skin is less focused on retaining its water content, and (4) repeat throughout the entire, frigid season. This cycle leaves our skin looking more cracked and feeling tighter, which is definitely NOT the look and feel we’re going for. So now that we know what our skin is going through, the next big question is what do we do to prevent this from happening? 5 Tips to Prevent Dry and Dehydrated Skin Keep your skin hydrated and moisturizedThe obvious one, but: The key here is to not only hydrate your skin, but to also seal that hydration in. It’s inevitable that the drier seasons will cause more water to escape from your skin, but you can help your dehydrated skin out by applying hydrating products with a potent occlusive that make it more difficult for the water to escape in the first place. Face oilsFace oils can be your ultimate savior during these trying times. To compensate for your skin’s lowered amount of oil production, an oil based skincare product can help to add and seal hydration in your skin and further prevent the vicious cycle of dryness and dehydration. Use a humidifierHigher humidity level = less water escaping from our skin. Using an indoor humidifier increases the moisture level in your room, which helps your skin retain its hydration and any extra you’ve been feeding it through your skincare products. Avoid long hot showersThis one’s a tough one, because who doesn’t like a hot steamy shower after a long day? However, putting your skin through a consistently high temperature like that will suck out your skin’s internal moisture and you may walk out of that shower feeling ironically more parched. Last but not least, apply sunscreen!!!We’re sorry to mom you here, but sunscreen is just THAT important. No matter what the season is, what it looks like outside, you should apply sunscreen EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, but sun damage due to UV ray exposure is the number one cause of accelerated aging and UV rays strike through windows, clouds, etc. Just because the sun does not feel as hot in the colder months doesn’t mean it’s not there and doing the same thing to the same effect! Let us know what your tips and tricks are to keep your skin feeling hydrated and moisturized during the colder months!

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Change in Weather = Change in Skincare

Here it is: the annual change in weather = change in skincare blog post you’ve probably seen a mi...

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