Sunday, December 28, 2008

Food’s only skin deep!

Yolanda Owens stirs a stockpot of a thickening creamy concoction, bubbling over an open flame. She adds freshly squeezed, organic carrot juice. Owens has several recipes in motion: Silver bowls swish with lime juice or churn with oatmeal and brown sugar.
But while her southwest Atlanta kitchen begins to smell like a bakery, her customers don't bite into these desserts. These sweet mixtures are meant to glide on top of the body. Customers exfoliate with grits, scrub their feet with coffee beans and splash their face with "It's Like a Salad" face toner.
Owens, a self-proclaimed "skin chef," joins an emerging group of businesses making fresh and even perishable skin care products. She even sells mini-refrigerators for proper storage of her line of preservative-free skin care made with fruits, vegetables and grains purchased in bulk from the DeKalb Farmer's Market. Her Iwi Fresh (stands for "it is what it is") products are sold online and at six metro Atlanta day spas.
The 2-year-old company dips into a $60 billion-per-year cosmetics and skin care industry as it's undergoing an Earth-friendly makeover.
Last year, Spa Sydell introduced fruit masks that change with the season —- crushed cranberry pomegranate masks in winter, blueberry toppings in springtime and a grapefruit cleanser during the hottest months.
From Body Shop's seaweed exfoliater to Bath & Body Works' organic honey and pear body scrub (which has a shelf life of only six to eight months), the skin care industry is increasingly turning to Mother Nature.
The green shift in skin care products is being fueled by growing consumer concerns about chemicals in everything from water bottles to children's plastic toys to what's inside that night cream (it's common for face products to include paraben preservatives and petroleum-based ingredients).
So with Americans opting for BPA-free water bottles, and wooden toys, why not puree an avocado to moisturize your face?
Skin care experts say they understand the appeal of lathering up with fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, but they are not convinced food-based beauty products are necessarily safer, more nourishing or even more gentle on the skin.
"Just because it's squeezed from a fruit doesn't mean it's going to be more benign," said John Bailey, chief scientist at the Personal Care Products Council. "The acids of citrus fruits can be more irritating. Traditional products have been around for a long time, and they have been shown to work and be safe."
Dermatologists also raise concerns about the all-natural mixtures not containing SPF, which protects the skin from sun damage.
Additionally, experts warn about using perishable cleansing brews past their expiration dates. Skin products made without preservatives are prone to bacteria growth, the way a piece of bread gets moldy.
So rubbing a freshly made pumpkin scrub on your face after it's past its prime could cause acne, warns Dr. Amy Kim, a dermatologist at Metropolitan Dermatologic Surgery.
Warnings aside, Jody Artale of Fayetteville finds it refreshing using an edible skin care line without any chemicals, dyes or preservatives. She believes she gets everything she needs from her Iwi Fresh collection, which includes the "14 Carrot Glow," a tonic made from lettuce, and the "Brown Sugar" body scrub.
"I look and feel great," Artale said. "And I like knowing what I am putting on my body."
Melissa Grill Petersen, director of operations at Blue Med Spa in Atlanta, said she loves the idea of green products but believes they don't always get the job done.
The spa continues to whip up fresh-to-order hair smoothies made with bananas, avocados, cantaloupes and olive oil in its Green People Salon.
But it no longer sends batches home with customers because the smoothies last only one month —- even if refrigerated.
And perhaps the biggest challenge is fighting Mother Nature with her own output.
"There are great things that are naturally based that can help you feel better and make your skin smoother, but is it going to take away lines and wrinkles?" Petersen said. "I can't say there's any olive oil or a pear that's going to do that."
Back in Owens' southwest Atlanta kitchen, she's experimenting with tropical recipes for a spa at Atlantic Station.
She's draining coconuts and slicing starfish. She jots down ideas on her poster-sized paper on an easel. After spending two years mastering the carrot product, she's prepared for many trips to the farmer's market —- and many hours in the kitchen —- to get this Caribbean-inspired line just right.
She hopes to one day open up an organic fruit and vegetable juice bar —- for skin.
Kiwi Skin Firmer
Kiwi contains vitamin C. It improves the overall look of the skin and makes it more elastic. Honey is a natural hydrater and moisturizer.
1 ripe kiwi (peeled) 1 teaspoon of honey
Mix the kiwi in a blender or mash with a fork if it is soft. Strain the excess liquid and add the honey.
Apply the mass on the face and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
Source: Iwi Fresh
Banana Face Smoothie (Face Cleanser)
Yogurt and sour cream refresh, moisturize and cleanse the skin, while banana and honey rehydrate it.
1 banana
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
Mash banana in a bowl. Add sour cream and yogurt and mix to a smooth paste. Drizzle in honey. Blend to smooth texture.
Apply a small amount to a clean face and neck in a upward circular motion. Rinse with warm water.
By Helena Oliviero/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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Afterglow Cosmetics said...

Wonderful and healthy tips for a good meal..carrots...honey all these are all very god ingredients to good health.

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Afterglow Cosmetics said...

Good to know of them...age old recipes for the skin have been passed on over the generations for better care and nourishment of the skin.Lovely post.

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