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Vitamin D is one of my favourite vitamins. It supports and boosts your immune system and since I improved my vitamin D levels, I am a lot less susceptible to those minor illnesses like colds.

A couple of recent studies have suggested that having good Vitamin D levels can help make you less susceptible to contracting COVID 19 and if you do get it, vitamin D helps prevent the infection from becoming so severe. Although it is early days and the results are not yet definitive, these studies are just are suggesting it is likely that Vitamin D plays an important protective role.

Unfortunately, vitamin D is notoriously difficult to get in adequate amounts from today’s diet. You can get vitamin D from exposing your skin to sunlight, that is why they call it the sunshine vitamin. But these days we are so conscious of sun damage and skin cancer, we tend not to get enough this way.

So most of us are deficient in vitamin D. One American study tested 16,000 people and found that 70% of them were low.  Reading this made me interested in finding out what our levels are like here in New Zealand. Our Ministry of Health website states that approximately 32% of New Zealanders have below the recommended level of vitamin D in their blood. So you have a one in three chance of being low, and that risk would increase the less time you spend in the sun.

So I think in light of these studies and considering our relatively high risk of being deficient in Vitamin D, it would be worth anyone at ‘high risk’ of covid 19 to talk to their GP about whether it would be wise for them to start supplementing.

Skin bathing gives the outer-most layer of our skin a drink. It is the most direct way to hydrate this layer and having a percentage of water present ensures all sorts of things function in the skin as they should. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is often weak and vulnerable.

One of the main things skin bathing does is promote enzyme action. We used to think that the outer layer of our skin was dead and useless but we now know that it has an important role to play. It protects us from environmental threats and helps protect us from premature ageing. There is also a huge amount of biological activity happening. All of this activity comes down to the action of thousands of enzymes found in the upper layer of our skin. These enzymes are willing little workers and carry out many jobs for us. All they ask for is a little bit of water. Unfortunately, most people’s skin is slightly dehydrated, and this impairs the action of these essential enzymes.

When I tell my clients their skin is dehydrated, they look at me as if I can’t possibly be right. They usually say “But I drink 2 or 3 litres of water a day. How can my skin be dehydrated?  But the reality is that the upper layer of the skin is too far removed from the bodies internal water reservoir. The water we drink is not going to have any effect on the hydration of this outer-most layer. It is going to be more impacted by the environment or what we apply to our skin. This is where bathing comes in. It very directly gives that outer layer of skin a drink.

So how do you bathe? Fill a basin with warm water, immerse your Bestow cloth in the water, wring it out well and hold it to your skin for the time it takes you to take five deep breathes. Repeat this twice more, giving your skin ample time to absorb all that precious moisture.

There are a few key things to be aware of. Once you have finished bathing your skin, you need to immediately apply your skincare products while your skin is still damp. This locks the moisture in, preventing it evaporating away. Leaving your skin to dry has the opposite effect to bathing. It causes rapid dehydration.

Secondly, your skin cannot hold on to water for longer than about 12 hours. So you need to bathe your skin morning and night.

What difference do you notice when your skin is hydrated? A topically-hydrated skin is going to be more supple, stronger and will have a beautiful glow.  It will also be more resistant to premature ageing.

This simple ritual has so many benefits. I hope I have convinced you to make it a permanent part of your skincare routine.

The Graces Soothing Serum and The Graces Soothing Oil are the latest product releases for Bestow. 

The Graces are a small collection of plant-based, topical skin care products, created by Bestow. They have been developed to address specific problems, and in this case, they help to soothe and strengthen skin that has become a little sensitised. 

So what does it mean to have sensitised skin? Sensitised skins occur when the barrier of our skin becomes damaged or weakened. Many things can cause this. Environmental conditions like wind, sun, cold or even spending the day in airconditioning can dry the skin and make it more fragile. Over-cleansing or using foaming cleansers removes the protective film, stripping products and peels thin our barrier and nutritional deficiencies can mean our skin can’t produce a strong barrier in the first place. Many things can cause this problem, so it stands to reason that most of us are going to experience a sensitised skin at some point. 

So how do you know if your skin is sensitised? Sometimes it is easy to spot. You have red, inflamed skin or you are suffering from a skin condition like rosacea, eczema or sensitive acne. Or it could just have become more reactive to skincare products or treatments. 

Other times it isn’t so easy to pick. Your skin could look dull and feel dry and tight. Alternatively, it could feel a little rough, like it needs a good exfoliation or maybe your skin just feels contrary and out of sorts. These are all signs that not all is well, and some strengthening is required. 

If you suspect your skin may have become sensitised, The Graces Soothing products are ideal for you. The Graces Soothing Serum contains healing, anti-inflammatory plants like aloe, kowhai, mamaku, honey, calendula, marshmallow and chamomile. It will help calm and strengthen your skin. It will also help reduce any inflammation that may be present. 

It is applied to damp skin that has been bathed with warm water first. While your skin is still dewy damp, apply The Graces Soothing Serum and follow this immediately with a few drops of The Graces Soothing Oil. The Graces Soothing Oil contains the lipids that our skin needs to rebuild. Oils like jojoba, avocado, raspberry seed and passionfruit seed oils and essential oils of lavender and Roman Chamomile help calm and strengthen your skin. 

Once applied wait ten or fifteen minutes for these products to have a chance to marry with your skin. Go and have breakfast or get ready for the day, then return to apply makeup. A good quality, pure mineral powder would be best as avoiding a lot of chemicals is essential when you are strengthening your skin. 

At night, you can cleanse your skin with a gentle lotion cleanser or if you are worried about the reactiveness of your skin, you can use The Graces Soothing Oil. Just apply a pump to damp skin, distribute it over your face to dissolve any makeup and impurities, then remove with a warm damp cloth. 

Follow by bathing your skin, apply The Graces Soothing Serum and complete your routine with a few drops of The Graces Soothing Oil. 

Don’t forget about the internal aspect of sensitised skin. We need to build our skin from the inside too. The best product to start with is the Bestow Beauty Plus Oil. This unique product supports all three levels of your skin’s barrier function. Lastly, if you have any redness or inflammation, become aware of foods and drinks that cause the fine capillaries in your skin to dilate, fuelling problems. We call these heating foods, and they need to be replaced by more skin-supportive alternatives.

Evening primrose oil became a popular supplement for women in the 1990’s. It was often prescribed to help with hormonal balance and skin health.

 

Evening Primrose Oil is still considered to be a good oil for skincare. We include it in the Bestow Beauty Plus Oil for this reason. However, I don’t recommend taking it on its own for two reasons.

 

Firstly, it’s most commonly available in capsules and I’m not a believer in taking oil in capsules. It may be convenient but it isn’t very effective. Capsules are quite small so you don’t get a lot of oil from them and because you can’t emulsify them into food, they are harder than liquid oil for your body to digest and absorb.

 

Secondly, evening primrose oil is rich in the omega 6 fatty acid family but doesn’t contain any omega 3. This means it only provides half the fats needed for health.

 

So to provide the complete solution, we use it in Bestow Beauty Plus Oil but blend it with other oils to provide a wider range of fats. This ensures we not only promote beautiful, glowing skin but support your general health and wellbeing as well.

  • August 31, 2020

Bestow Beauty Oils have a best-before date of 6 weeks upon opening because the oils it contains are easily damaged by heat, light and oxygen. When unopened it is protected from these factors. The oil is cold-pressed when it is first produced avoiding any potential damage heating pressing would invariably cause. When packaged, the bottles are first flushed with inert gases to remove oxygen and then the special bottle design prevents oxygen entering the bottle. To avoid light damage the oil is placed in completely opaque bottles. This is one of the reasons we don’t use glass. Even the darkest glass bottle will let some light in. Lastly, in New Zealand we don’t have to worry too much about heat because our temperatures don’t get high enough to damage the oil but it is recommended you keep the bottle out of direct sunlight. All of these things ensure the oil is in tip-top condition when it reaches you but once you open it, all bets are off!

Opening the bottle lets oxygen and more importantly, light in. This will start to damage your oil and that is why we have a best-before of six weeks upon opening. We are pretty confident your oil will still be in good condition in six weeks. But this is a guide only.  How you care for your oil after opening will have a big impact on how fresh it is after six weeks. For example, if you take your oil from the fridge, open it, use it and put it back straight away it is going to last a lot longer than a bottle that is regularly left open on the dining room table for half an hour.

The good news is, if you have struggled to take your oil regularly and consequently find some left after six weeks, then chances are you haven’t been opening and closing it a lot so it is naturally going to have a longer shelf life. In the end, the only way you can tell if your oil is still ok is by the taste. If it has been too damaged it will taste rancid. The taste of rancid oil is unmistakable and unpleasant. If it tastes good, it will still be good.

Just one extra tip, if you are going away for a while and for whatever reason can’t take your oil with you, place it in the freezer. This will keep it for quite some time. It also has a melting point not much higher than the average temperature of a domestic freezer. This means it will only take a few minutes before it liquefies and you can use it again.

So in summary, the six weeks best before is a guide only. The way you care for your oil is going to have a huge effect on how long it will last. Try to put the cap on promptly and put it back in your fridge. Lastly, be guided by the taste. If it tastes good, it will be good for you.

  • August 31, 2020