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Valuable products from the honeybee hive


Contributions of honeybees to mankind are so overwhelming that we often forget to recognize how valuable and important they actually are. We remember that hive products offer food and practical medical support but we may forget that the major contribution to the global ecology is the sustaining by pollination of most of the wild and cultivated flora. No other insect species furnishes any useful products as do the bees.

Let’s review the many products that we can harvest from the honeybee hive.

Honey — Concentrated from the sweet nectar collected from blossoms, composed of 82 percent sugars packed with minerals, vitamins and enzymes. It is prized for cooking, and a multitude of important medical properties such as antiseptic and burn treatment. We enjoy its sweet, natural floral essence but need to remember that it is not just for tea!

Propolis — Amorphous, resinous material gathered from plant buds and bark to strengthen the hive comb structure, varnish the inner surface of the hive, with its antiseptic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. Widely used in topical and internal medications for its healing properties. Used in fine varnishes and in ancient embalming.

Royal Jelly — Special nutritious food produced by nurse bees to feed young larva, converting the ordinary worker larva to a fertile, female queen. Rich in lipids, amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes, widely used as food supplement and in dermatological cosmetics.

Bees Wax — Secreted by young bees, molded into strong hexagonal shaped comb cells to furnish support for brood and honey storage. Honey sealed n wax comb provides long (3,000 years) shelf life. Unique properties provide wide usage for candles, waterproofing, dentistry, polishes, and many healthy products.

Compared to petroleum-based paraffin, beeswax candles burn longer, give less smoke, less dripping, and fill the room with fragrant floral essence.

Bee Venom — Toxic liquid injected during a bee sting. Several proteins and enzymes cause painful inflammation during defensive stinging. Used by dermatologists test for allergy sensitivity. Bee sting therapy treats the symptoms of arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other auto immune conditions. For more information, visit American Apitherapy Society at

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Preemptive Skincare for Anti Aging Part 2

Preemptive skin care part 229In our ongoing quest for radiant, flawless, and youthful skin, a certain knowledge of anti-aging ingredients becomes not only helpful, but crucial. Here’s a handy cheat sheet, with all the basic ingredients you could ever want or need in a health-boosting, anti-aging skincare product.

Vitamin A,
Vitamin A is a drug but Retinol which is a derivative of Vitamin A is not. Vitamin A has been suggested to help promote the production of skin strengthening collagen fibers. These plump the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is also believed that retinol reduces the appearance of hyper-pigmentation (mottled colored spots on the skin).

Vitamin C Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant, crucial in the fight against skin-aging environmental free radicals, and essential for the formation of collagen in the skin. One thing to keep in mind is that Vitamin C is not very stable in skincare products, and it isn’t effective in small doses in topical skincare. While the jury concludes that Vitamin C is crucial in the fight against aging, it’s better when ingested in your favorite orange fruit.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs are a group of natural acids that act as powerful chemical exfoliants. These remove dead skin cells, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and deep cleanse the pores. Glycolic, lactic, citric, and tartaric acids are all AHAs, with lactic acids being the most gentle, and most prevalent. AHAs penetrate the epidermal (skin) cells to trigger the formation of new collagen, while reducing the appearance of surface wrinkles.


Peptides are small chains of amino acids, and the building blocks of proteins, which make up skin cells. Due to their small molecular size, peptide proteins have the ability to deeply penetrate the layers of the skin to stimulate the skin cell healing process, and to trigger skin repair. In essence, peptides activate the skincare repair and renewal process on the molecular level.

The plethora of anti-aging skincare options need not be confusing. With a basic knowledge of ingredients, youthful skin is a stone’s throw away.



Beauty Blogger
In her 20’s from New York City

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Edible Cosmetics Redefine Inner Beauty

Eat your way to clearer skin, healthier hair, and brighter eyes.

Beauty lotions and potions are so 2011. The newest way to make your skin glow, clear up acne, and brighten your eyes isn’t with a little bottle of face cream but rather chocolate creme—as in the case of Borba’s slimming chews and Frutel’s new acne fighter both made out of, yes, chocolate. Apparently eating it doesn’t make you break out or gain weight! That is, if you buy into it.

While women have long ingested pills and vitamins in order to grow healthier hair, stronger nails, and glowing skin, this next generation of edible cosmetics sees your puny Flinstone vitamin and raises you with a range of delicious products that include vitamins, herbs, fruit extracts, and a host of other good-for-you compounds. But why should we eat our makeup when we could get the same vitamins in their natural form by eating whole, healthy foods?

Tanya Zuckerbrot, the official dietitian of the Miss America pageant and co-creator of the edible Beauty Booster, says succinctly, “Juices have a ton of calories. Who wants to sacrifice their behind for their face?” Did we mention the Beauty Booster is calorie- and sugar-free?

Long popular in Europe and Japan, the new industry is just catching on in America, thanks in no small part to celebrities seen carrying the products and their almost-as-famous doctors. Designer Norma Kamali even has her own line of specialty olive oils said to be based on her Spanish-Lebanese upbringing saying, “Olive oil was part of our lives and not just on the table. My mother knew it was good for so many things, so I was indoctrinated quite early.”

Designer olive oil is one thing, but gummy bears that give you “gorgeous skin and anti-aging power?” Edible cosmetics are available in a variety of forms, including candy chews, gummies, drinks, and concentrates that range in potency. But the real question is do they work? Doctors and nutritionists are, naturally, dubious.

“Good skin does not come from slickly marketed beauty drinks and foods, but from vegetables, whole foods, and plain water,” critics say. The FDA is staying out of it, as they don’t regulate cosmetics.

It might be a while before all the research gets sorted out. In the meantime if you’re going to eat a granola bar, would it hurt to try one that also “improves skin tone” like the Nimble Bar?

What do you think of this new category of “neutriceuticals”? Would try edible makeup? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts!

By Charlotte Andersen

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Is your Smartphone giving you wrinkles?

woman-smartphoneIs your Smartphone giving you wrinkles?

Are you addicted to your smartphone? And do you have the ‘smartphone squint?’

Supposedly, gals are developing premature wrinkles from staring at their smartphones. Really?

According to Dr. Brian Glatt, a New Jersey board-certified plastic surgeon, “The trend for ‘BlackBerry Botox’ is highly increasing especially among women who are addicted to gazing on their BlackBerries or iPhones all day. Peering at a small screen causes facial strain, around and between the brows which may cause premature wrinkles on the face.”

Smartphone-related wrinkles are the latest condition that doctors attribute to overuse of technology. Others include ‘BlackBerry thumb’ – a form of repetitive strain injury caused by excessive texting.

Ok, we aren’t really sure we believe this, but we thought sharing these tips couldn’t hurt…

1. Take a break – It’s important to put down or at least glance up from your Smartphone regularly so that your eyes can rest. Though squinting is necessary when using a Smartphone, taking time to relax your eyes can make a significant difference in reducing this new type of strain on your facial muscles.

2. Turn the light down low – too much light and contrast can cause you to narrow the eyes to take in the brightness. A no-no for fresh-looking eye contours. Combat the dreaded ‘crow’s feet’ effect by dimming the screen in your ‘settings’ options – and see how low you can go on the light emission. The less, the better. (as a bonus, this will also help preserve your phone’s battery life!)

3. Enlarge the text – If you find yourself struggling to read the small text on your Smartphone and start holding it so close you wrinkle your nose so much it hurts, just enlarge the text by simply going to your settings and altering the text size. Also, the zoom function can be a fantastic thing – use it to focus in on images on your device so you can see much more clearly and avoid pulling the inner eye.

4. Looking after your eyes – If you can bear it, spend less time glued to your iPhone or Blackberry. And during this timeout, take some deep breaths to relax the face into a more natural expression, and gently massage the area around the eyes – a simple thing that can make a big difference to preventing those lines that starts subtly but can get deeper and more pronounced. Not only will your face be serene looking, you will feel more serene – and in a much better state to deal with any inbox horrors.

5. Don’t forget to smile! If you are experiencing stress from being constantly attached to your Smartphone, just think about the potentially negative effect this is having on your youthful appearance. Then, take time to do something that relieves the tension, like playing on a fun app, like TomCat or Angry Birds; this will help relax your face, soften your expression and prevent long term frown lines.

Do you think that excessive use of your smarphone will age your face?

In her 30’s from USA
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What To Eat For Healthy Skin

berries2By Where to find the vitamins and minerals your skin needs to make it look radiant

Achieving radiant, younger-looking skin takes more than just a good skin care regimen. In fact, what you eat has also a lot to do with it.
Think about it: your skin is the biggest organ in your body, so whatever you eat will also take its toll on your skin. To get good skin, you have to start from within, which means eating the right kinds of food.

Here’s a list of foods you might want to pick up the next time you make a grocery run.
1. Low-fat yogurt. Low-fat dairy products not only give you a calcium boost (which helps prevent osteoporosis), but it also contains Vitamin A, which helps in the development of skin cells. Basically, your skin cells depend on Vitamin A to regenerate, making you look younger and healthier. Without it, you get dry, dull skin.
Added bonus: yogurt also contains live bacteria that’s good for your intestinal tract. A healthy digestive system reflects on good skin.
2. Berries. We’re talking strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and even plums! These babies pack lots of antioxidants and phytochemicals which protect us from free radicals — such as sun exposure and pollution — that can damage our skin cells.
Berries also help our bodies manufacture collagen, which as we all know, makes skin smooth and supple. Buy some and toss them in yogurt for an extra sweet treat!
3. Salmon. Salmon is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which helps make cell membranes stronger and healthier. Stronger cells are able to hold in more moisture, which leaves you with plumper, youthful-looking skin. Plus a good amount of Omega 3 also helps keep your heart in good shape.
You can also get your dose of Omega 3 from avocados, walnuts, and dark, leafy vegetables.
4. Green Tea. Sip on this: green tea contains catechins and polyphenols which have anti-inflammatory characteristics and may even prevent certain skin cancers!
Research has also shown that the antioxidants found in green tea help reduce the risk of UV damage on skin cells. Plus, a cup of the stuff is high in Vitamin C, D, K, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Heck, no wonder green tea is used in so many beauty products!
5. Almonds. Almonds have tons of flavonoids, antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor characteristics.
These antioxidants deactivate free radicals in the body which help keep your skin cells healthy and happy. Plus, almonds are rich in Vitamin E and have essential oils that keep your skin moisturized from within.
The best way to enjoy them? Raw, unsalted, and with their skin on.
6. Water. Your body is made up of 60% water. If you don’t chug down H2O during the day, you become sluggish, dehydrated, and your skin gets dull and dry.
Water not only quenches your thirst, but it also washes out unhealthy toxins in your body — toxins which, if left to linger, show up on your face.
Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and more if you’re doing activities that cause you to sweat. Remember, if your body is well-fed and hydrated, you’ll feel and look better.

By Maui V. Reyes for Yahoo! Southeast Asia
In his 20’s from Manila, Philippines
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The ABC’s of BB Creams

7The universe of BB creams—also known as beauty balms (or interestingly, blemish balms), is just starting to hit its stride.

The next step up from tinted moisturizers, BB creams are available from both prestige and mass brands, and all offer a unique twist on benefits and functional pay-off to entice consumers. Chief among these benefits are skin hydration and smoothing as well as brightening, makeup priming and skin protection from SPF; a sheer or light tint to help hide discoloration and redness, and antioxidants and other free-radical fighting elements.

In addition, many BB creams now feature light-diffusing properties to help soften the appearance of fines lines and wrinkles. Tall order for one cream! To get a better idea of just what consumers really think of all that BB creams do and deliver to the skin, we asked more than 400 women to share their thoughts, impressions and take-aways—here’s what they had to say for themselves: Awareness of beauty balms is high. Nearly 100 percent of women have heard of BB creams, 83 percent feel they understand how to use BB creams and 80 percent of women are using them. Of that group, nearly half are using their BB cream on a daily basis and 41 percent a few times a week. When she uses this product, most women are applying it just as they would their moisturizer—with their fingers (80 percent), with only a small percentage opting to use more advanced artistry techniques such as makeup sponges (15 percent) or a makeup brush (5 percent) and two-thirds would replace their favorite moisturizer with a BB cream. It appears consumers view BB creams as a functional, “work-horse” sort-of product, like a moisturizer or sunscreen rather than a finishing product, like foundation or powder, and these hybrid products are fitting seamlessly into her daily beauty regimen (a coveted spot for any product), adding value and benefits to her overall daily beauty experience.

Of the many benefits that beauty balms provide (and there are dozens), leading benefits for consumers include the multi-functional/all-in-one effect (75 percent), the lightweight feel (67 percent), the moisturizing properties (65 percent), the sheer color (56 percent) and the SPF (55 percent). Touted benefits that didn’t score as high were surprising including: added antioxidants (35 percent) and oil-free formulations (36 percent). Given that consumers with dry skin would naturally need a more hydrating formula and not be attracted to an oil-free beauty balm, the low appeal scores for an oil-free formula are perhaps not surprising.

But a lower appeal for added antioxidants seemed contrary to the kinds of benefits women most often demand from their moisturizers, and suggests when it comes to formulating new BB creams or balms, brands should more closely look at what they are promising in order to differentiate their offering from the pack in a way that she’s seeking. As far as BB cream performance goes, consumers are generally satisfied. Ninety-six percent agree BB creams make their skin feel smooth, hydrated (95 percent) and their skin look flawless (79 percent). Additionally, 85 percent of women agree BB creams layer well under foundation, and 81 percent agree they are ideal for all skin tones. However, where BB creams still need to improve is in the tints and colors provided. Only 79 percent feel the sheer tint of most BB creams work on all skin tones, and only 74 percent feel they offer enough coverage to forgo wearing foundation.

Her biggest frustration? Knowing which BB cream to pick; half of women feel it is hard to know the right beauty balm to choose, 31 percent feel they are too expensive and 30 percent feel they don’t offer enough coverage. In fact, when it comes to cost, most consumers feel prices on the lower end of the cost threshold are ideal, and a majority (59 percent) are only willing to pay between $10 and $20 for a beauty balm, and less than 20 percent are willing to pay more than $30. As BB creams continue to flourish, the next great skin care product—CC creams, only just now making their entrance into the U.S. beauty landscape—are already garnering significant consumer awareness. Nearly half of all women (47 percent) have heard of CC creams. It would seem multi-functional products are here to stay.

by Alisa Marie Beyer

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5 other ways to protect your skin

Stashing a bottle of sunscreen in your purse or beach bag is key to protecting your skin. So is wearing a wide-brimmed hat and washing your face every day. But there are several other serious skincare steps that you might be overlooking. Here are five essential ways to keep your skin healthy and safe that you might not think about — but should.

Check your medication.
Do you take any medications? (Yes, the occasional aspirin for headache and pain relief also counts.) If so, it may be making you extra sensitive to the sun, which could put your skin at risk. According to Reader’s Digest, the following medications can make you photosensitive:
  • NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Skin treatments with vitamin A
  • Antibiotics
  • Beta-blockers
  • Saint John’s Wort
  • Diuretics

Even if your medication didn’t make the list, talk to your pharmacist about whether your medication might be increasing your vulnerability to the sun. Be especially diligent with your sun care routine, and apply sunscreen with SPF 30 at a minimum every few hours. Also, check out these 10 lesser-known facts about smart sun protection.

  • Use antioxidants. Various vitamins can deliver vital nutrients to your skin and keep it healthy. One effective way to foster healthy skin is to fortify your skin’s outer protective barrier. Vitamin B3, for instance, helps to boost the production of ceramides and fatty acids, which are components of your skin’s barrier. Specifically, a brawny barrier helps skin retain moisture and keep irritants out, Leslie S. Baumann, M.D., director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute, tells Prevention. When searching for skincare products with B3, look for the ingredient niacinamide.

Also, seek out formulas with vitamin C, which defuses skin-damaging free radicals. Other skin-protecting antioxidants include coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid. If you’re not sure what type of product you’d like, consider investing in a serum. Serums are usually highly concentrated and can sink deeper into the skin. Here’s more information on how various antioxidants can help your skin.

  • Beware harmful bacteria. According to Dr. Baumann on The Skin Guru, her Yahoo! Health blog, bathrooms are a breeding ground for cosmetic contamination — and in some surprising ways.

Do you keep your cream in the shower? Have acne and use a loofah? The humidity can harm your products and your skin. In fact, humidity fosters fungi growth and can even decrease a product’s effectiveness. Instead, keep your products in cool, dark locations. Using the same loofah when you have acenic skin can spread the acne to other spots of your body. Rather than cleansing with a reusable loofah, Dr. Baumann suggests using Pond’s Cleansing Towelettes.

Other ways to prevent contamination concerns? According to Dr. Baumann, avoid sharing makeup with others, don’t use your saliva to remove eye makeup (it can cause an eye infection) and wash beauty brushes once a month and makeup sponges once a week (be sure they’re thoroughly dry before using).

  • Know when products expire — and ditch them. You might be surprised to learn that both skincare and beauty products can spoil, and keeping them around any longer once they’ve expired can actually harm your skin. You may feel guilty about throwing away a half-used product, but beauty products that’ve gone bad can cause everything from eye infections and recurrent cold sores to skin irritations and allergic reactions. Check out ourcomprehensive guide to expiration dates on when to pitch products — and how to prolong their shelf life.
  • If you have a skin condition, be cautious at the spa. Do you have eczema, rosacea or psoriasis? Some spa treatments can worsen these skin conditions, according to dermatologist Susan Evans, M.D., on her blog, Healthy Skin, on WebMD. Before scheduling an appointment, Dr. Evans suggests asking the spa if they specialize in your skin condition.

If you have rosacea, avoid getting microdermabrasion or chemical peels, she says. Go to a dermatologist for these treatments instead. Also, avoid facials with “alcohol, eucalyptus, fragrance, menthol, peppermint or witch hazel,” she says, along with potentially triggering “hot towel treatments to the face, facial steaming, steam baths and saunas.”

If you have moderate to severe acne, avoid spa treatments, like facials, altogether. For instance, estheticians should never perform extractions on inflamed acne lesions like nodules, according to About’s acne guide Angela Palmer, M.D. If you’re using a retinoid formula, exfoliation is also prohibited. Overall, it’s best to make an appointment with a dermatologist. And if you’re thinking about having a spa treatment, consult the dermatologist about that, too.

In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to research any spa you’re thinking about attending and to inquire about the esthetician’s experience. Here are some general tips on selecting a spa.

Keeping skin healthy and safe means following a few important steps: checking your medication to see if it boosts your sun sensitivity, using antioxidants to fight free radicals, ensuring your skincare products are safe and still effective and taking precautions when visiting the spa.