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True Radical Honesty From Our Community

  • Is Aloe Vera The Secret To Flawless Skin?
    Photo by pisauikan on Unsplash
    The soothing skin benefits of aloe vera after a few hours in the sun cannot be beaten. But aloe offers so much more than instant, feel-good sun relief. In fact, it’s packed with nutrients to help heal, repair and hydrate your skin. Want the lowdown? You’ve got it.

    Otherwise known as aloe barbadensis, aloe vera is an evergreen, cactus-like succulent that’s just one of 500 species of the genus, aloe. Found naturally in North Africa, it’s been cultivated worldwide for centuries for the water-rich, medicinal gel that develops in its rosette of leaves and helps it survive in its naturally dry habitat. According to the Medical News Today the use of aloe vera can be traced back as far as the 16th century, and in ancient Egypt it was even known as ‘that plant of immortality.’ 

    Before we even touch on skincare, it's interesting to note that the benefits of aloe vera are endless. Not only has it been proven to fight cavities and heal ulcers on the feet, but further research shows that it may even help reduce depression, memory loss and irritable bowel syndrome. Additional studies are still required to back up these latter claims, but watch this space...

    By far the most well-known use for aloe vera, however, is as a topical skincare ingredient. In fact, it's so effective that it goes into every one of our products, here at TruSkin. Yes, you read that correctly. Every. Single. One. Here are five reasons why we believe in it so much.

    1. Aloe Vera Soothes Sunburn Like No Other

    Not only is aloe vera naturally cooling on the skin (yes, even for sensitive skin types), but it helps reduce itchiness, irritation and inflammation which can all be symptoms of over-exposure to the sun.

    The reason it’s so effective is two-fold. First, aloe vera contains polysaccharides (chain-like sugars) which are anti-inflammatory and help the skin retain water to stay supple and hydrated. It’s also rich in enzymes, active minerals and a whole host of vitamins including A, B, C, D and E which, together, accelerate the healing process.

    According to the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) you should always use a moisturizer containing either aloe vera or soy to soothe sunburned skin.

    2. It’s Great For Acne-Prone Skin

    Because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera is awesome when combined with other acne-fighting ingredients for effectively reducing mild to moderate acne lesions.

    It's great in cleansers to help remove bacteria and excess oils from the surface of the skin and thus reduce the development of acne spots. And if you want to target breakouts while you sleep, try it as an overnight treatment. It works especially well when combined with ingredients such as tea tree oil and salicylic acid.

    Try: Tea Tree Clear Skin Super Serum

    3. Aloe Vera Helps Fight Free Radicals

    The skin hates free radicals. And rightly so. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are formed in the skin after exposure to unwanted external aggressors such as light, heat and pollution. Because they have electrons missing from their outer shells, free radicals like to stabilize themselves by stealing electrons from other molecules such as DNA, collagen and elastin. This causes all manner of unnecessary damage to the skin.

    So, how do you counteract such savagery? With antioxidants, that’s how. Antioxidants are clever little actives that are happy to donate electrons to free radicals without losing their stability. This means all the good stuff in your skin gets left alone to do its job at keeping your complexion as healthy as possible, while those hard-working antioxidants take all the pressure.

    Along with other skin-loving ingredients like retinol, niacinamide, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, research published by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) has proven that aloe vera is a very useful antioxidant in skincare.

    4. Its Skin Healing Properties Are Second To None

    The healing powers of aloe vera don't just apply to sunburn. In fact, whether you’re hoping to heal an old zit, scab, scar or even a burn wound, aloe vera’s got your back.

    Remember that delicious cocktail of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals we talked about earlier? Well, they work synergistically to soothe, hydrate and repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier which can help heal all manner of skin concerns. Buh-bye blemishes.

    5. Aloe Vera Is A Super Effective Moisturizer

    As you might have gathered by now, aloe vera is packed with no end of nutrients to help maintain truly healthy skin. Well, it doesn’t stop there because the wonder-plant also contains another goodie: phytosterols. 

    Phytosterols are cholesterol-like molecules that help maintain the structure of cell membranes. They cannot be synthesized naturally by the body, so they have to be either ingested or applied topically. In the diet, phytosterols help reduce cholesterol and are found mostly in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and beans. And topically, thanks to skincare ingredients like aloe vera, they've been shown to increase collagen and hyaluronic acid production. This works to help prevent trans-epidermal water loss which strengthens, hydrates and protects the skin.

    Strong, super-hydrated, soft and supple? Now, that's the type of skin everyone strives for.

    Skincare
    Is Aloe Vera The Secret To Flawless Skin?
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  • Hyaluronic Acid: The Legit Skincare Must-Have
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
    Hyaluronic acid is neither new nor fancy, but the truth of the matter is it works. So, it’s time to forget your snail mucus and 24k gold-infused serums, and embrace this tried, tested and totally trusted wonder ingredient.

    Everyone knows that moisturizer is one of the most important steps in an effective skincare routine. After all, if your skin lacks essential moisture, you may as well throw every other product you own in the trash. The real issue, however, is finding the perfect moisturizer for you. You know the one – that sweet product which makes your skin feel soft, supple and hydrated, without leaving you with that icky ‘just-dipped-your-face-in-a-vat-of-olive-oil’ glow.

    Well, chances are this much beloved product of yours will contain hyaluronic acid (HA), because when it comes to skin-loving moisturizing ingredients, HA is one of, if not the best. And yes, we know that may be a bold statement, but it’s one we firmly believe in.

    Need a little convincing? Then here’s some important information about the mighty HA that proves why it’s rarely beaten in the skincare stakes…

    What Is Hyaluronic Acid? The Science Bit

    Hyaluronic acid (also known as hyaluronan), might sound like something hippies ingested in the sixties, but au contraire, dear friends; it’s actually a type of polymer that’s found naturally in the body. Composed partly of sugars, HA is present in the eyes and joints where it functions as a powerful lubricant, but most of it (50 percent, in fact) is found in the skin's structure where it acts as a humectant. What is a humectant, you ask? It’s basically a water-loving ingredient that draws moisture in and helps retain it – kind of like a sponge. Get this: studies prove that HA can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. That means just one gram can hold up to six liters of water. Impressive stuff, right?

    HA not only acts like one big drink of water for your skin; it also stimulates collagen production, helps reduce inflammation, promotes skin healing and works like an antioxidant to fight free radicals and reduce the signs of premature aging. 

    hey-drink-water-more-glass

    Photo by Buenosia Carol from Pexels

    Why Your HA Needs A Boost

    If the human body, and your skin in particular, is overflowing with a readily available supply of hyaluronic acid, this begs the question: why do you need more of it in your skincare routine? Fair point. And if you’re reading this as a young, fresh 16-year-old, it’s a totally valid point. The thing is, just like collagen and elastin, levels of HA start to decrease from the age of around 18, and when you hit your 40s, these levels can drop as dramatically as 50 percent.

    What does this mean for you? Depleted levels of HA contribute significantly to the signs of aging including aching joints, dry eyes and obviously sagging, wrinkled skin. Sad times. 

    How To Up Your Hyaluronic Acid

    The good news is that HA supplements and injections are widely available from your physician if you’re suffering with mild to severe joint pain or issues like arthritis. Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are also a great choice for plumping hard-to-treat fine lines and wrinkles, and most reputable injectable brands (Juvéderm and Restylane, for example) use synthetic HA, which means it’s not derived from animal sources. We love that.

    When it comes to your skin, a simple way to help it retain hyaluronic acid on a daily basis is to ensure you eat a healthy, well-rounded diet with lots of fruit and veggies. Full disclosure: an apple a day will not create miracles for your HA levels, but it will certainly help.

    And then there’s our favorite subject of all: skincare. The best news is that as a skincare ingredient, hyaluronic acid is formulated to act like your own, naturally-occurring HA. This means it rarely causes allergic reactions, making it the perfect choice for all skin types, even the most sensitive. It also combines well with other active ingredients so is perfectly safe to use after chemical peels or with a retinol treatment, for example.

    Warning: Not All HA Products Are Created Equal

    When checking out the ingredients of your favorite beauty products, it’s good to know what you’re looking at. Manufacturers are obliged to list ingredients in order from the highest to the lowest concentration, but only until an ingredient is 1 percent or less – then they can be listed in any order they like. Research shows the ideal concentration of HA is at least 1 or 2 percent, so if you see it hovering around the bottom of your ingredients list, it’s probably not going to be all that effective.

    Unlike some skincare brands, we at TruSkin ensure you get a good dose of hyaluronic acid in every drop of our HA products. We even list the concentrations on many of our labels for full disclosure. Our hyaluronic acid is also synthetic, vegan-friendly and we believe in it so much that it appears in no less than eight of our products and every single one of our serums.

    And we think that speaks volumes.

    Hyaluronic Acid
    Hyaluronic Acid: The Legit Skincare Must-Have
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  • Antioxidants And Your Skin: What’s The Deal?
    Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash
    With their countless skincare benefits, antioxidants are to skin what Netflix is to your couch – sheer bliss. Here’s everything you need to know about these super-effective skincare powerhouses…

    Sure, many beauty buzzwords are on a need-to-know basis (yes, we’re talking to you glycosaminoglycans), but there are a few key terms and ingredients you really have to understand. And antioxidants are right up there.

    Here at TruSkin, we truly believe antioxidants are the key to a healthy, radiant complexion. How so? Fair question, so let’s buckle up for a few facts, shall we?

    First, a small science lesson. As far as your skin is concerned, antioxidants are naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals that help prevent damage caused by free radicals. What are free radicals? They’re the result of exposure to light, heat, pollution or other external aggressors and for fear of bombarding you with too much chemistry spiel, they’re highly reactive, unstable atoms with unpaired electrons in their outer shells. This means that to stabilize themselves they tend to snatch electrons from other atoms or molecules (think DNA, collagen and elastin), resulting in what’s known as oxidative stress. And this is where antioxidants come to the rescue. Unlike other vital skin cell components that become damaged when they lose electrons, antioxidants can donate them to free radicals without losing their own stability.

    Still with us? Good! :-)

    The human body naturally has a very efficient antioxidant defense system. Unfortunately, the inevitable aging process, together with overexposure to the sun, pollutants or other lifestyle nasties such as smoking, alcohol and poor nutrition, disrupts this defense system and free radicals start to take over. This causes damage not only to your skin, but to the health of your entire body.

    Staying out of the sun, wearing a high, broad-spectrum sunscreen and having a healthy, balanced diet are all important ways to protect your skin from the visible effects of free radical damage such as lines, wrinkles, sagging and discoloration. But include a hard-working, clinically-proven antioxidant (or two) in your daily skincare routine and you immediately ramp up your skin’s ability to win the war.

    Here are some of the best antioxidants the skincare world has to offer…

    The TruSkin Big 5

    1. Retinol: The Ultimate Age-Fighting Hero

    You’ll see retinol splashed all over the skincare shelves. And for good reason. As a vitamin-A derivative that gets converted into retinoic acid when applied to the skin, retinol works by increasing cell turnover to help exfoliate, repair and strengthen the complexion. Unlike full-strength prescription retinoids like tretinoin, however, retinol needs to go through two steps to become retinoic acid. This makes it much gentler and tolerable on the skin and why it’s seen as the darling of anti-aging, antioxidant ingredients.

    Great For: Improving fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and poor texture.

    Find It In: Retinol Moisturizer

    2. Niacinamide: The Gentle Skincare Giant

    If there were a prize for the most unassuming hero of antioxidants, niacinamide would win, hands down. This water-soluble form of vitamin B3 is found in many foods like meat, grains and leafy greens, and its skin-loving powers are often harnessed by the beauty industry. Why? Because niacinamide has the innate ability to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier by increasing its ceramide and fatty acid levels. This not only helps prevent environmental damage, but visibly improves the appearance of the skin.

    Great For: Reducing redness, blotchiness, brown spots and enlarged pores. Sidenote: it’s also well tolerated by sensitive skin types.

    Find It In: Tea Tree Clear Skin Serum Serum

    3. Vitamin C: The Super Antioxidant

    Skincare skeptics may try to convince you that topical vitamin C is unstable and therefore pointless. Not so. Vitamin C is a super-effective antioxidant that boosts collagen production, lightens pigmentation, adds clarity, provides UV protection and, well, the list goes on. You just need to find the right form of vitamin C, which, in our opinion is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP). SAP is known for being much more stable than l-ascorbic acid, and many find it to be much less likely to cause irritation. Win-win.

    Great For: Boosting radiance, reducing inflammation and breakouts, and improving poor texture.

    Find It In: Vitamin C-Plus Super Serum 

    4. Vitamin E: The Sun Damage Savior

    A seasoned skincare vet and loved by many, vitamin E is a big-hitter when it comes to helping prevent and correct sun damage. It’s also a darn good moisturizer. There are many types of vitamin E, but you’ll most commonly see this lipid-based antioxidant listed in your day cream as tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate. On its own, however, it’s easily oxidized so can quickly become ineffective on contact with the skin. This is why you’ll generally find it combined with another antioxidant powerhouse like vitamin C which instantly makes it more stable and beneficial. Antioxidant cocktailing, hey? You’ve got to love that.

    Great For: Treating dry, rough or photodamaged skin.

    Find It In: Vitamin C Serum

    5. Hyaluronic Acid: The Moisturizing King

    Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is arguably one of the best, most effective skincare ingredients available. Found naturally in your body and particularly abundant within the skin’s structure, HA is a humectant, which means it works like a sponge to trap moisture in your skin – up to 1000 times its own weight in water, in fact. The problem is, it gradually depletes as you age, which is why including a topical botanical HA in your skincare routine is such an awesome idea. Along with its moisturizing prowess, HA also reportedly promotes collagen production, reduces inflammation and fights free radicals. Yes, it’s that good.

    Great For: All skin types (even sensitive) to help maintain soft, supple skin and fight premature aging.

    Find It In: Hyaluronic Acid Serum For Skin & Face

    Hyaluronic Acid
    Antioxidants And Your Skin: What’s The Deal?
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