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The Truth About Collagen

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Your collagen face cream might not be as useful as you think it is. There’s no denying that collagen molecules are essential for healthy, youthful looking skin, as they are what keeps skin feeling elastic, stretchy, and firm. But the makers and promoters of collagen creams sometimes neglect to mention one very important fact that may impact your decision on whether or not to buy one for yourself.

Collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin. Even if they are broken down and mixed with protein fragments to overcome this obstacle, if they were created synthetically, they will be unable to bond with your skin’s existing natural collagen molecules.

This is not to suggest that collagen creams are a completely useless waste of money. They do serve a legitimate purpose. Collagen molecules are one of nature’s best water binding agents, meaning they will act as humectants and help draw moisture into your skin.

To date, there is only one known way of increasing your skin’s own natural collagen reserves, and that is through ingestion. You may recall from our previous blog article on beauty ingestibles the mention of a collagen bone broth. This is but one way of boosting your skin’s access to collagen by altering your diet, though it might not taste very appetizing.

If you’re looking to boost your collagen levels through diet without having to stare down a bowl of unappetizing broth, the best thing you can do is simply eat healthy, balanced meals rich in protein, as protein is one of nature’s best producers of the natural collagen your skin can use. Some of the best dietary sources of collagen-producing protein include:

  1. Meats. Sorry vegetarians and vegans, but meat is one of the few dietary sources that includes a complete set of all the essential fatty acids necessary for collagen production. Chicken, beef, turkey, and fish are among the sources most high in collagen-producing proteins.
  2. Dairy. Again with apologies to all the vegans out there, natural dairy products are another excellent source of collagen-producing protein. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese are particularly useful dietary aids in the production of natural collagen.
  3. Fruits and Vegetables. Vegetarians and vegans, here’s your moment of glory. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamins C and K such as grapefruits, oranges, red peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli are a particularly good dietary choices for boosting your skin’s natural collagen levels.

avocado vitamin a d k creamSpeaking of vitamins, did you know that vitamins A (retinol palmitate), D3 and K2 are right up there with collagen as essential nutrients for beautiful, youthful skin? Best of all, these particular vitamins can indeed be absorbed through the skin, so be sure to look for them the next time you feel like shopping for a new face cream.

Beautify your skin from inside out? The beauty ingestible debate…

Saturday, January 24th, 2015
mudd's women - beauty ingestibles

Source: Startrek.com – “Mudd’s Women”

On October 13, 1966 an episode of Star Trek titled Mudd’s Women, whose plot revolved around three women who took illegal beauty enhancing drugs and seduced the crew of the starship Enterprise, aired on NBC. Now, thanks to the efforts of South Korean scientists and the Asian beauty industry, it looks like yet another Trek-inspired technology has become reality (and perfectly legal, at least in Asia.)

Beauty ingestibles, as they are commonly termed, essentially function like over-the-counter aspirin or vitamin supplements that are formulated specifically to enhance your appearance. There are reportedly entire stores in Asia dedicated solely to the sale of beauty ingestibles, and the ingestible industry earns well over $1 billion annually. So, why have so few even heard of these in the United States?

Are FDA regulations stalling the beauty ingestible market?

One of the most plausible explanations for ingestibles’ lack of popularity in the U.S. is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be hesitant to approve or even pass judgment on whether it has the authority to regulate the beauty ingestible market given that ingestibles do not fit neatly into any specific category under its purview. Are ingestibles new drugs that require dozens of clinical trials? Are they dietary supplements subject to FDA regulations on over the counter vitamins? Are they cosmetics and not subject to FDA regulations at all?

As many American cosmetics companies large and small have recently discovered, the FDA does not like products that blur the line between these three categories, nor does it recognize the term “cosmeceutical” as anything other than a drug. If this is the case with beauty ingestibles, companies that want to market them in the U.S. would be legally restricted from advertising any claim that their products affect the structure or function of any part of the body or provide any health or nutrition benefit.

Or have ingestibles been in the U.S. all along and we just didn’t notice?

It’s also possible that the beauty ingestible market in America is alive and well, and is just taking a different form than an over the counter pill. If you think about it, the concept of enhancing beauty from the inside out isn’t all that farfetched, nor is it all that different from going on a diet to lose weight or going on a juice cleanse to purify your body of toxins.

What if you were to try and boost your skin’s collagen levels by drinking a bowl of collagen-rich bone broth? Would that not qualify as a beauty ingestible? What about tanning pills or sunscreen pills? The FDA actually has approved several varieties of each (as drugs, not cosmetics), and while they aren’t very well known, they do exist.

avocado hemp regenerative cream tre'yoursIt’s also an irrefutable fact that a little over 100 years ago most all medicines came from plants, not laboratories. Aspirin, arguably one of the most common over the counter drugs in the nation, used to be made from willow trees. The medicinal properties of the oil extracted from the hemp plant (which is legal, can be refined to contain no THC, and has known skin care benefits as well) have also come to light in recent history thanks to the nationwide movement to legalize medical marijuana.

How to beautify your skin from the inside out

avocado adk face creamIf you live in America or another country where beauty ingestibles have yet to become the billion dollar industry they are in Asia, there is still plenty you can do to beautify yourself from the inside out using more conventional practices. For example, did you know that vitamins A (retinol palmitate), D3 and K2 work in tandem to maintain your skin’s health, vitality, and youthful appearance? Or that avocado oil is recognized as a natural sunscreen with one of the highest rankings by the Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology for sunscreen effectiveness?

The research is out there if you know where to look, and so are natural beauty products (both topical and ingestible) that take advantage of that research in their formulations. They may be prohibited from flat out saying that they fix skin problems x, y, and z, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth a try.

 

Need a Refill?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Castle Baths auto ship program keeps you well stocked on all your favorites

janet ebookcastle baths auto shipYou may remember Janet, the heroine of our free e-book: Once Upon an Uglier Time…, who came to Castle Baths for help after suffering a severe allergy-based case of eczema when the face cream she had used for 35 years underwent a formulation change. As you may recall, Janet tried expensive creams from the mall and supposedly natural ones from health food stores, but nothing would soothe her burning skin until she discovered Tre’Yours skin care line, fell in love with our avocado oil based formulations, and became a lifelong customer, living happily ever after.

Janet is indeed a real customer and her story is true, but until now we haven’t revealed what happened to Janet after she made the switch to Tre’Yours other than concluding with the ambiguous, cliché fairy tale ending, “happily ever after.” Today, we will finally share the details and logistics of how Janet maintains her happily ever after as a Castle Baths customer.

Janet is a member of our auto-ship program. At least we like to consider her a member. Our auto-ship program is new so we can’t technically list her shipping arrangement with us as being part of the program, but she did in fact inspire us to offer such a program. Before Janet, no one had ever requested to be regularly resupplied with one of our products. Now, whenever she needs a refill, she simply calls us and we ship her favorite Tre’Yours products to her using the billing and shipping info we have on file for her.

Our new and improved auto ship program eliminates even the need to call us before your refill is shipped. Now, you only need to contact us once to set up your auto-ship account and select which products for which you would like to receive regular refills.

auto ship details

We invite everyone to check out our auto ship page to see which products are currently being offered for auto-shipping and the details for how you can sign up and get discounts on your favorite Castle Baths products by placing them on auto-ship.

The Anatomy of the Perfect Scent

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Notes, anchors, and everything else you need to know about fragrances before you visit the perfumery

perfect scent perfumesPerfume oils, once a revered symbol of affluence and sophistication affordable to only the wealthiest of high society, seem to be growing more affordable and readily available every day. It would appear that modern chemists’ ability to replicate almost every scent in nature, as well as a few unnatural scents, cheaply and in large quantities via synthetic ingredients has done much to level the playing field. But has the substitution of chemicals and fillers for nature-made essential oils really done the world any favors?

If you asked Jennifer, a self-proclaimed perfume addict who, on impulse, bought a new celebrity-endorsed fragrance she saw advertised on TV and later spent her anniversary dinner feeling nauseous from the after-effects of its chemical formulation once the initial scent wore off, the answer would be a resounding, “No.”

You see, in her haste to acquire the advertised perfume, Jennifer neglected to check its ingredients or try a sample to check for allergic reactions before buying it, and ended up purchasing only toilet water.

Not literally, of course. Those familiar with perfume classifications may know it better by its native French term eau de toilette, one of the lower-grade classifications where a fragrance’s fragrance oil or essential oil content is only around four to eight percent. Other classifications include:

  • Eau de Cologne – FO/EO content: 3-5%
  • Eau de Parfum – FO/EO content: 8-15%
  • Parfum de Toilette – FO/EO content 15-30%
  • Parfum, or Extrait – FO/EO content: 30% or greater

The higher a fragrance’s oil content, the longer lasting the aroma will be when applied to the skin. Whether a fragrance adhering to your body for hours is in fact desirable or not depends largely on whether the fragrance is made from synthetic fragrance oils or natural essential oils. In 2010, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted an investigative study on perfume and cologne ingredients and discovered, to the shock of the nation, that the popular fragrance Pure Poison was, in fact, poison. Headaches and nausea are common allergic reactions to synthetic fragrance oils and chemical fillers. Many chemicals used to create synthetic fragrances are also known carcinogens and/or neurotoxins, and are not required by U.S. regulations to be disclosed as anything other than the umbrella term “fragrance.”

ewg study fragrance chemicals - source EWG.org

Fragrances made with essential oils rather than synthetic fragrance chemicals are far less likely to cause any sort of allergic reaction, and far more research is available on them to reassure people that they are not carcinogens or neurotoxins. Essential oils also have standards of purity, which can affect a perfume’s quality and price. For example, the essential oil of lavender that is made from the wild-grown lavender plants on the mountaintops of France via the time-honored process of steam distillation would be rated as one of the highest grades of lavender available, and the ideal choice for people such as aromatherapists who are interested in the oil for its therapeutic properties.

Of course, a perfume made with a generous percentage of the highest quality essential oils on the market will likely come with an equally high price tag, which is why perfumes advertised at a price that sounds too good to be true are usually the lower fragrance classifications or perhaps once were high quality but are now at the end of their shelf life.

Perfume Notes and Anchors

scentAnother consideration you should take into account before purchasing perfume is the breakdown a scent’s notes and anchors. High quality scents should be composed of at least three different essential oils, often referred to as “notes” in the perfume industry.

The top note is the first note you will notice upon spraying the perfume, and you likely won’t notice it for more than a second or two, nor will it stay with you throughout the day. It’s just the initial scent that makes up the perfume’s blend.

The middle note lasts longer than the top note, and the bottom note is the longest lasting. The bottom note is also what anchors the top note to the middle note to create an original, proprietary fragrance blend that is distinct from its component parts (kind of like a melting pot.) A well selected anchor will actually change how you perceive the other two notes blended together. Sandalwood is the bottom and anchor scent used in Tre’Yours Answered Prayer Perfume Oil, and Patchouli is the bottom and anchor for After the Storm, another popular fragrance by Tre’Yours. Both are made exclusively with essential oils, meaning they are 100% pure and contain no alcohols, synthetic ingredients, or fillers.

At Castle Baths, we consider the crafting of the perfect scent to be no less an art form than mixing the perfect color palette from which to paint a canvas. The careful selection and precise blending of quality essential oils takes dedication, talent, and creativity to ensure that the resulting natural perfume oil is indeed a masterpiece.

How to determine your skin type at home

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Embarrassed by your adult acne? There’s a silver lining to all those breakouts. People with naturally oily skin tend to be resistant to many of the physical signs of aging. That is, assuming your adult acne is due to having genetically oily skin – do you?

There are five different skin types recognized by the beauty and dermatology industries? They are:skin type test

  • Normal
  • Oily
  • Dry/Dehydrated
  • Combination
  • Sensitive

Do you know which one you have? If not, you can find out easily by doing this simple home “tissue test.” ← click this link to see instructions for how to take the tissue test.

The benefits of knowing your skin type

When it comes to your skin type, ignorance is most certainly not bliss. Knowing your skin type will help you make informed choices about your skin care now so you can avoid some of the problems people who don’t know their skin type will face in the future.

For example, people with genetically dry skin lack sufficient natural oils in their skin, and tend to be more susceptible to the physical signs of aging. If you discover you have genetically dry skin (as opposed to temporarily dehydrated skin) you may want to think about investing in an oil-based moisturizer while your skin still looks healthy and youthful.

So, what are you waiting for? Take this simple home “tissue test” today and have your skin type results within an hour!

With Shea Butter, Quantity Matters

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

shea butterIs there enough shea butter in your body lotion to make a difference in your skin?

If the amount of shea butter present in your lotion of choice is listed at only 1-2%, or if the ingredient listing for shea butter is buried beneath dozens of other synthetically manufactured ingredients, the answer is, unfortunately, “no.”

Some manufacturers of bath and body products will add only a token amount of shea butter into their lotion formulas solely for the purpose of allowing them to advertise that their lotions are “made with shea butter,” and peak the attention of people like you, who are looking into the benefits of natural skin care ingredients.

Others actually will admit to shea butter’s effectiveness as a skin care ingredient, but be unaware of the fact that shea butter needs to be unrefined and present in quantities of at least 20% to be of any measurable benefit to your skin.

At any rate, the bottom line is, when it comes to shea butter, quantity matters.

When unrefined and present in quantities of at least 20%, shea butter is one of the best skin care ingredients in nature. The American Shea Butter Institute lists 21 reasons to use shea butter for skin care. These are just a few of the reasons why we use a minimum of 20% organic, unrefined shea butter in all of our hand & body lotions, and a minimum of 50% shea butter in our body butters.

And that’s not all….

Click here to learn more about the benefits of unrefined, organic shea butter for skin.

Rose Hydrosol, winter, and clay masks – what you need to know

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

One of the main winter skin care tips we find ourselves needing to reiterate is to avoid using clay masks during the winter months. The reason for this being that clay masks, while excellent detoxifying agents, can also strip your skin of its natural oils, which your skin needs left intact to maintain its outer protective layer and prevent loss of moisture due to the cold, dry air outside.

In place of clay masks, we often recommend people use either our Dead Sea Mud Mask or our Dead Sea Mud Soap to deep-cleanse and detoxify their faces.

But what if you’re under 40 and/or have sensitive skin, and the richness of Dead Sea Mud is too much for your skin?

Winter detox skin care solutions for sensitive skin and skin under 40

If you’re under 40 and/or you have sensitive skin, and you need a detox skin care solution safe to use during the winter months, we recommend you try mixing one of our sensitive skin masks with Rose Hydrosol.

What is Rose Hydrosol and why is it good for youthful, sensitive skin?

organic rose hydrosolRose Hydrosol, also known as rosewater, is the rose-infused water that is left over from the steam distillation of rose petals. Many beneficial properties of the steam distilled rose petals, to include flavanoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants are left behind in this diluted byproduct of rose absolute, but have nowhere near the same potency as a pure absolute.

This makes Rose Hydrosol an ideal skin care solution for people with youthful, sensitive skin who don’t need or can’t tolerate the potency of an absolute. When it is mixed with a detox skin care solution such as a clay mask, it can help mitigate some of the mask’s drying effects while infusing the skin with exactly what it needs to stay healthy and youthful.

To be sure, the use of a clay mask during the winter months will still have a slight drying effect on your skin, even if you use Rose Hydrosol in place of water as your mixing solution. This is why we definitely advise you to use an oil-based moisturizer afterwards (unless of course you already have oily skin and were using the mask to de-grease your face.)

We should also mention that Rose Hydrosol is useful for much more than mixing clay masks to offset their drying effects during winter. It is also a great facial toner and has many other skin care uses too. Click here to learn more about the many benefits of Rose Hydrosol.

Rosy red cheeks? You might have Rosacea

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

rosaceaRosy red cheeks are perfectly normal during the winter months, and even idolized in some cultures (i.e. “Santa’s rosy red cheeks and fluffy white beard” referenced in the popular children’s poem The Night Before Christmas by Maj. Henry Livingston.)

But if your rosy red cheeks are accompanied by acne-like spots, or if you’re still noticing these symptoms even though you’ve taken a vacation to the Caribbean to escape the cold, you may have Rosacea.

Living with Rosacea

Rosacea is most common in fair-skinned women aged 30-50, and, while there is no known cure, the condition is dermatologically harmless aside from some minor discomfort.

That being said, unless you were intentionally going for the combination teenage-acne/Santa Claus look this holiday season, living with Rosacea can be a little embarrassing. So, here are a few tips for minimizing Rosacea flare-ups.

You may also wish to try this Avocado Corrective Face Cream, which can help balance out your facial redness with its natural green color to even out your complexion. It’s also packed with anti-aging superfoods for your skin, and can help with many other skin care needs in addition to Rosacea.

Rice Bran Oil: a cold weather beauty secret of the orient

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Have you ever wondered how so many Japanese, Chinese, and other oriental women manage to maintain a youthful, blemish-free, soft and glowing appearance even in the dead of winter?

We certainly used to, until we discovered the natural anti-aging secret oriental women have been using for decades. If we asked you to guess what it was, you might suggest green tea, and, while green tea certainly does possess many beneficial anti-aging properties, it’s not the beauty secret to which we are currently referring.

The secret to which we are referring is actually cold-pressed rice bran oil.

exotic earth cold pressed rice bran oilCold-pressed rice bran oil is great for use year-round, but particularly so during the winter months when your skin needs extra oil to help maintain its outer protective layer and lock in moisture when out in the cool, dry air.

It is also the only known source of the powerful antioxidant oryzanol, which is even an even more powerful anti-aging substance than Vitamin E. It’s also great for hair!

rice bran oil for hair and skin

Click here to learn more about the benefits of cold-pressed rice bran oil for skin.

Find the best natural product ingredients for your skin’s needs…

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

skin care product ingredients

… with our helpful product ingredient guide

Did you know that 1,300 chemical ingredients are banned from use in cosmetics in the European Union, but only 11 are banned in the U.S.? Scary, isn’t it.

Even scarier is the fact that you can’t always tell if a skin care product contains one of these potentially hazardous ingredients, as many are cleverly disguised on cosmetics labels with innocuous-sounding euphemisms or overly complex chemical terminology.

Here at Castle Baths, we believe you have the right to know exactly what it is you’re using on your skin, which is why we disclose all our product ingredients.

Our product ingredients page isn’t just a simple list of the ingredients we use; it’s your guide to natural skin care, featuring in-depth informative articles on each ingredient so you can learn:ingredients

  • Why each ingredient is good for your skin
  • The specific skin conditions for which each ingredient has shown to be effective
  • Where each ingredient comes from
  • How each ingredient is extracted from its natural source
  • Which of our products contain high concentrations of each ingredient

For example, if you click the link to our Shea Butter article, you’ll learn that in order for Shea Butter to deliver all of its numerous benefits to your skin, it must be present in quantities of at least 20%. If you click the link to our article on Palm Oil, you’ll learn that unprocessed red Palm Oil is much better for your skin than refined, clear Palm Oil.

A note about preservatives & product ingredients

ingredientsYou can also find information on the few natural preservatives we use in our products, to include Vitamin E (which really isn’t a preservative, but still can help extend a product’s shelf life), Rosemary Extract (which is also not really a preservative but still helps extend shelf life), and GeoGuard Ultra, the only preservative accepted by ECOCERT for use in Certified Organic cosmetics.

As always, if you have questions regarding our product ingredients that we haven’t answered yet, feel free to contact us!