Beauty Inside & Out
A more "Natural" Approach to Beauty
May, 2008 - Issue #43
"You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman."
Forty-one years ago when Aretha Franklin sang that tune, there were no Botox injections, chemical peels or laser treatments around to make a woman look younger and lovelier.
Beauty and "aging gracefully" were pretty much take-what-you-get Mother Nature processes done largely without assistance from Father Time-defying needles, scalpels or compounds.
Today - and despite numerous advances in dermatology/cosmetic treatments - many women seek a more "biological" path to beauty and vitality. Rather than an "alternative" means for looking and feeling great, it's about finding something more natural, safe and with the fewest amount of chemicals. Such focus also offers a holistic direction for de-stressing the body - so important for health, attitude and appearance.

A Natural Approach
With so many options, it's hard to decide where to begin. While determining what works for you is a personal process, informed recommendations are a good place to start.

Gail White of Saje Wellness in Valencia informs us that Saje's products are "drug free, chemical-free, with absolutely no preservatives or additives." The Canada-based business carries a wide range of products including those for skin care,
beauty, home or office fragrancing, therapeutic care, and much more.

White's suggestions are as follows:
Saje EyeAmaze A "100-percent botanical formula that eases puffiness, soothes lines, encourages new skin cell production and tones and firms the delicate skin around the eyes. Has genuine essential oil of rose, which nurtures skin and helps heal blood vessels and broken capillaries, organic Jojoba, avocado, vitamins A and E, and wheat germ oil."

Saje Sweet Dreams facial moisturizer
A 100-percent botanical moisturizer that nurtures and rebuilds tired, mature and dehydrated skin. Contains aloe vera, rose, Vitamin E, sandalwood, chamomile and thyme.

Plant extracts Can repair and nurture the skin. Include: lavender, known for sedative/relaxing qualities, also heals sunburn and reduces blistering from excessive sun; hemp seed and olive oils combined with lavender and Roman chamomile heal and deeply moisturize freshly shaved or waxed skin; rose oil, with its powerful healing properties, can "work wonders" for dry or damaged skin; kelp sea salt, grapefruit oil and juniper berry oil - "smooth out cellulite and make legs look 'swim-suit ready.'"

Saje body butters Contain aloe vera, Shea and mango butter along with therapeutic-grade essential oils that leave skin vibrant and healthy.

Beauty, Harmony and Nature
Beyond Harmony Med Spa in Canyon Country offers numerous products and services, many influenced by nature, says spa owner and licensed esthetician, Rosemary Murphy. "As the field of wellness and beauty has grown, Beyond Harmony has grown with it, putting into practice the principles behind a more nature-influenced mindset," Murphy said. Murphy described a sampling of her products and services:

Natural Mineral Cosmetics Natural pigments (versus petroleum dyes) that are high performance, water resistant and non-comedogenic (non-acne producing).

Parafango Body Wrap Warm herbal paraffin mud applied to specific areas to "stimulate lymphatic flow and lessen the appearance of cellulite."

Detoxifying Body Wrap The entire body is wrapped in a warm herbal-infused sheet to "draw toxins out from pores and promote absorption of nutrients."
Pumpkin Enzyme Peel Comprised of a fruit acid/enzyme, an exfoliation accelerator, a powerful anti-oxidant, and a mild retinoic acid substitute, this acts as natural repair therapy for skin and can help combat oxidative, free-radical damage.

Oxygenating Uplift Facial European technology that helps lessen the appearance of fine lines and accelerates all facial benefits, oxygen (on the cellular level) skin therapy can produce "an overall improvement and radiant look." (Also successful in treating acne, Murphy adds.)

Weight Loss Koh-Style
Excess weight carries major baggage - from a reduced sense of worth and attractiveness to serious health hazards. Helping clients lose weight via a more natural, "total person" approach is something Dr. Koh and his New Hope Acupuncture Medical Group in Valencia specialize in.

New Hope treatments, the doctor said, encompass a variety of personalized therapies and include Lipo acupuncture and ear acupuncture, vibrating exercise, detoxification, air pressure, natural herbal supplements, and more.
"Besides these natural therapies, there is one weight loss treatment used by New Hope that is beyond state-of-the-art. New Hope is the only acupuncture weight loss center in Southern California to offer the LIPODREN/LIPODR certified machine by the Korean Oriental Association for the Study of Obesity (KOASO)," Koh said, adding that "more than 10 years of medical research was involved in the development and use of this machine."
"The specially designed machine performs a three-step weight loss process," he said, noting that it includes: the physical process of breaking down fatty acids; firming of the treated area; drainage and elimination of loosened fatty acids.

Permanent weight loss does not come easily, nor does it happen by focusing on just one aspect, said Koh, who is trained and licensed in Oriental Medicine. "Any successful weight loss program must holistically treat the person in order to achieve long-lasting and life-changing results," he adds.

Caution, Please
"Au natural" is always 100 percent natural, right? Licensed Esthetician Carol L. Donnelly, who specializes in medical esthetic skincare at her Dermal Solutions practice in Valencia, offers some cautious words on the matter.
"In the consumer's world 'natural' means safer, greener, better for both you and the environment. However, this belief may not be entirely grounded in reality. ...Many people have no idea that there's no such thing as an all-natural cosmetic product," Donnelly said.

Personal care and cosmetic products (sold in any kind of retail capacity) are industry-regulated to have a one- to two-year shelf life and must contain some form of chemical stabilizer and/or preservative, she explained. If they did not have these added ingredients, products would be separated and contaminated within weeks of sitting on a store shelf, Donnelly stated.

She also says that at her practice, clients frequently ask her about making "natural" preparations at home. Donnelly's answer: "As much as it may seem like a simple thing to make a natural personal care product at home, a large amount of thought and hygienic preparation needs to be addressed first."

For instance, she said, you want to apply an avocado mask: Is the avocado organic or does it contain pesticides? Next, what kind of cutting board do you use to cut your item? Is it the same one you use for cutting meats and other vegetable items? Are you cross-contaminating your own face in the hopes of making your skin healthier?

While Donnelly does not discourage people from making natural preparations at home, she does advise they utilize solid researched information behind what they do. She also recommends becoming retail "product police." "Be the ones who responsibly govern and review products for their purity, efficacy and safety," she said.

Going "more natural" makes sense, especially since we're already exposed to a multitude of immune system-affecting chemicals each day in our food, water, cosmetics, air, etc. Further, many of today's popular beauty and age "reducing" treatments generally carry some form of risk. So why not consider a more "wholesome" approach?
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