Natural Skin Care – Why Bother?

What is Natural Skin Care?Natural skin care is normally understood to refer to those products characterised by the absence of synthetic ingredients, such as preservatives, petrochemical derivatives, mineral oils, fragrances and harsh detergents.Typically, natural skin care products are made using natural ingredients such as plant oils, essential oils, herbal and floral extracts (both aqueous and waxy), that have been prepared in the “old fashion way”, without chemical processing or modification. Sometimes, ethically produced animal derivatives, such as beeswax, may also be present in natural skin care (1).Natural skin care made with approved organically produced raw materials and practices can be organic certified by the relevant organic organizations.Unfortunately, there are numerous products in the market that claim to be either natural or that are cleverly marketed for their singular botanical extract or vitamin, amongst a dense cocktail of synthetic ingredients. These are the “pseudo-natural” products (1). To help clarify if a skin care product is really natural, it is recommended to read the ingredients section in the label.Why is natural skin care better than synthetic?Products that are made from ingredients that have been extracted naturally from sustainably maintained plants and crops manifest the essence, the energy, the qualities and the benefits of the source raw material, in ways that synthetics ingredients do not.Simply put, the geographical location, the soil and the water the plants are grown in, as well as the sun exposure, the seasons and harvesting times contribute to the mature plants and crop yields in unique ways.These factors cannot be mimicked in the laboratory or controlled nurseries, as the natural exposure to the environmental conditions facilitates development of subtle differences in the plants. These are then reflected in the quality of the extracted oils, as well as on their specific composition, properties and benefits.Besides, synthetic ingredients are produced in laboratories using scientific, yet often hazardous processes involving the use of carbon dioxide, propylene glycol or hexane based methods. Although these chemical agents may only be present is trace amounts in the final synthesised ingredients, it is unclear what effect they might have as they accumulate in our bodies, over a prolonged period of exposure (2).Of course, some of the natural extracts and oils may also be affected or destabilised by the natural extraction methods used in their preparation. For these reasons manufacturers of natural skin care products give great consideration to the sourcing of their raw materials and how natural ingredients are prepared from the latter.What is Special About Plant Oils?Plant oils are made up of complex mixtures of different fatty acids (lipids). It is the specific mix and ratio of these fatty acids that determines the unique character of any oil. In addition to the main lipid fraction, there are also other very important bioactive substances such as the phospholipids, phosphatides, phytosterols, phytoestrogens, isoflavones and vitamins. These bioactives are known as the unsaponifiable fraction of the oil. They normally are present is small amounts and are unique signatures of the oils (3).To demonstrate how the oil composition determines the difference in functional properties, the typical fatty acid profile of apricot kernel and borage oils as described in Kusmirek (3) are compared below.1 – Apricot kernel oil is a mixture of 58 – 74% of oleic acid, 25 – 30% of linoleic, with the remainder 4 – 7% composed of palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic and alpha-linolenic acids. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 0.5 -0.75%.2 – Borage oil is a mixture of 30 – 40% linoleic acid, 8 – 25% gamma linolenic acid, 15 – 20% oleic acid, 9 – 12% palmitic acid, 3 – 4% stearic acid, 2 – 6 % eicosenoic acid. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 1%.Apricot kernel oil is a great nourishing and emollient oil that is easily absorbed. These properties are attribute to the high percentages of oleic and linoleic acids. Furthermore, apricot kernel oil is also an excellent source of vitamin A, present in the unsaponifiable matter.Borage oil is known for its nourishing and penetrating properties attributed to the presence of linoleic and oleic acids, but in addition the high content of gamma-linolenic acid confers its regenerating and firming qualities.The differences in the properties of apricot kernel and borage oils, as well as those of other oils not discussed here, demonstrate the importance to blend various plant oils for optimal skin care, so that the skin is adequately fed, continuously hydrated, smooth feeling and equipped to regenerate efficiently. These are essential to promote a healthy skin glow, regardless of age.But, even if the synthetics oils were to reproduce the exact mixes and ratios of plant derived fatty acids and unsaponifiables, it would be nearly impossible to mimic into the synthetic oils the contribution from the energy that is held in the plant, from which the equivalent natural oils were extracted. Thus, natural ingredients are different from their synthetic equivalents.What about essential oils and other botanicals?Essential oils are concentrated extracts of aromatic and other volatile plant substances, sometimes containing growth factors known for their regenerative properties. They are the source of the scents of nature and may be used to add scent to natural products. Because of their concentrated nature and high cost to produce, only small amounts of essential oils are used in natural skin care. Besides, as essential oils may be irritating to the skin, they should never be used undiluted.In contrast to oils, floral/herbal waters are the aqueous extracts from flowers/plants. Naturally produced oils and aqueous extracts are made through distillation, steaming, or infusion techniques. These are slow and often inefficient processes that add to cost. But, the products generated using non-synthetic approaches are much safer and healthier than those extracted with the use of artificial methods.Is there a problem with the variation in natural ingredient batches?The quick answer is NO!Certainly, naturally produced ingredients show “batch variation”, but this is part of nature, demonstrating the cycles of change. These are natural bio- rhythms, and as with everything in nature sometimes there is abundant sunshine, other times there are only clouds. Naturally, these weather changes affect the growth patterns of the plants.This means that periodically some of the natural ingredients may contain a slightly higher or lower percentage of one or even several of the components, but over a period of time, these variations balance out. The key point is that the overall effect of using natural ingredients is still beneficial in the long run.Supporters of the mainstream cosmetic industry object to this variation associated with natural ingredients. Instead they advocate that synthetic ingredients are a far better option to manufacture any products, including skin care. They argue that synthetic ingredients are scientifically controlled, exacting, standardised and can be made in a totally reproducible manner. But, at the end of the day…they are not natural!What about preservatives, stabilisers and emulsifiers?Sure, preservatives and stabilisers extend the shelf-life of any product, natural and synthetic (1,2,4). Because of this recognition European and USA organic and regulatory organisations have approved the use of certain preservatives for which there has been long standing accumulation of safety and toxicity data, e.g. blends of dehydro-acetic acid. These preservatives were designed to replace the paraben family of preservatives in the personal care products. Though natural products ought to have the minimal necessary amounts of preservatives.Without a doubt, preservatives such as the parabens, the phenol derivatives and the denatured alcohols are extremely effective, as they increase the product shelf-life almost indefinitely! But, they are also known to interfere with hormone balance and can be allergenic (1,2). Clearly, they are not health promoting substances. As they are readily absorbed by the skin and are long lasting, their long-term effects on distal organs are unknown, and thus undesirable.Interestingly, vitamin E is a powerful natural anti-oxidant, as well as a fantastic natural preservative for oil blends and emulsified oils (2). Extracts of rosemary and oregano are also considered natural preservatives because of their anti-bacterial properties (2). However, these are not frequently used as they impart a strong scent and may give rise to some skin irritation. This is an example of where caution has to be exercised with natural substances. Though these occurrences are more the exception than the rule.Alginic acid obtained from brown algae is sometimes used as a stabiliser (4). But, allantoin, an extract from comfrey root is a more suitable natural stabiliser for skin care preparations (2).Emulsifiers are substances that help to prevent the parting of the of oil and water fractions in a cream or lotion. In natural skin care these include lethicin and the wax cetearyl alcohol (1,2,4). Lecithin is extracted from soya beans and is known to soften the skin and help penetration of the skin care product. Cetearyl alcohol is a mix of the high melting point cetyl and stearyl fatty acids derived from either animal or plant fats. In natural skin care it is preferable to have plant sourced cetearyl alcohol. Apart from its great emulsifying properties, this fatty acid mix facilitates maintenance of skin hydration.So, what’s he take home message?Regardless of some of the limitations of natural skin care, the natural ingredients in these products are still far more beneficial than those that are completely synthetic. Synthetics are unable to reproduce the unique heterogeneous and nourishing character of the natural extracts and oils, as discussed above.Technology aside, it is also clear that there are major financial gains for manufacturers to use mostly, if not strictly synthetic ingredients. The cost of producing natural skin care products is of necessity higher than that of synthesising vast quantities of easy to make and use synthetic ingredients. Compared to their equivalent natural counterparts they afford versatility on the production line, on the shelf-life, as well as on profitability.These attributes of scientifically designed skin care in the 20th century satisfied the increasing market desire for youth elixirs. However, since the 1960′s growing conscious awareness of what was in our food, demand for natural and organic products increased. This requirement extended to the personal care sector also. Indeed, the natural and organic cosmetics market has been the fastest growing sector of the personal care products since the late 1980′s.Fortunately nowadays, the driver is not purely for skin care that makes you look good, but for products that can achieve this goal with respect for human beings and the environment.Bibliography1. Morrison, K & Whelligan, F. 2007. About Face. Random House NZ. Auckland.
2. Hampton, A. 1987. Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care. Organica Press. Tampa, Fl.
3. Kusmirek, Jan. 2002. Liquid Sunshine – Vegetable Oils for Aromatherapy. Floramicus. Somerset. England.
4. Winters, R. 1994. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Three Rivers Press. NY.

Exploit Internet’s Amazing Marketing Powers: 4 Most Important Tips

We are living in the age of Internet Marketing, also known as Content Marketing. Here, online visibility is a must, to stay on top and relevant, and make more money.
If you don’t have a good web presence, and aren’t busy promoting and expanding your business, via effective Internet Marketing, you won’t survive for long.What’s Internet Marketing?It’s the new age marketing of a business or brand and its products and services over the Internet, through different tools, employing content, e-mails, search and paid media strategies, to help drive traffic, leads and sales.
Internet Marketing techniques are mostly organic by nature, but these (the techniques) could be paid as well.
Organic internet marketing may not lead to great results instantly, but it would help businesses grow and expand eventually, if done the right way.Content Marketing is the FutureAs per a study, 91% of businesses, across the globe, believe that Internet Marketing is an indispensable and exciting marketing tactic.
Content Marketing involves offering valuable, readable and steady content. It’s the marketing of the present and future.
It stimulates, educates, and guides prospects, and builds trust, authority and connections. When it happens, and when you offer help and value to your customers and prospects, they reward you by becoming your customers and utilizing your products & services.Content Marketing vs. Traditional MarketingContent Marketing is Inbound Marketing and not Outbound Marketing, also called Traditional Marketing. By and large, the latter is interruptive, obstructive, and invasive, besides being costly.
A research shows that, presently, 615+ million devices in the world have adblockers.
What does it mean?
It means traditional marketing may not be very effective.
As per another study, Content Marketing or Internet Marketing is 62% less costly, vis-à-vis the traditional marketing though it pulls over 3 times more business and profits.Visuals & Videos RuleVisuals–in the form of exciting videos and infographics–are comparatively more powerful in attracting new customers and others. Brain processes visuals 60,0000 times faster than texts.
As per another report, people are consuming over 500 million hours of video content daily across the globe.
In an age where majority of us suffer from attention-span problem, it certainly pays to make videos and visuals–that informs, empowers and entertains–a crucial element of our content creating & promotion strategies.
Online videos swiftly increase awareness, stays top of mind with new customers, and also leads to conversions from high-intent viewers.
These also give any brand the power to reach, engage, and convert its most prized audiences in the right moments – whether they’re exposed to a completely new brand for the first time, or are just a few minutes away from striking a deal, and making a purchase.
When brands are present and useful in those moments, the chances of results following are high.4 Exciting Tips for Successful Content MarketingTo harness the amazing powers of Internet Marketing, in the most fruitful way, make Search Engine Optimization (SEO), grammar & spelling, storytelling, and videos an important part of your overall content marketing strategy.1. SEO: Optimize your content for better visibility and improved performance on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). If your content fails to find a place on the first page, it won’t lead to the results you could be keen in.2. Grammar & Spelling: Ensure that your blogs and articles are grammatically correct, and have the right spellings. A piece of content–with glaring grammatical errors and misspellings–won’t’ impress your readers and prospects even as your brand’s value will diminish.3. Stories: Master the art of storytelling for higher traction. Most of us love stories. If there’s a beautiful and inspiring story woven cleverly in your piece, it will pull the ‘emotional trigger’, and lead to better ‘connections’ with your readers and prospects.4. Videos: As per a report, in India, online video is behind over 70% of the nation’s total data usage. As the nation’s online population continues to increase, so will the figure of the video-famished consumers, browsing the web. So, use videos and attractive designs to create persuasive visual content!Summing-up, make Internet Marketing a vital cog in your business establishment and expansion wheel. Follow the marketing strategy tips shared to make more money, and get the best possible business results.

Pharmacy Technician Schools

Pharmacy technicians are persons who know about the medicines as well as their after effects. Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy technicians should undergo training. There are schools with best facilities to teach them the importance of pharmacy technicians. These schools have certified courses to become a pharmacy technician. The exams conducted in these schools help candidates to become licensed technicians and secure jobs. There are many online schools to facilitate them in becoming licensed technicians. Some of the well known online schools are Penn Foster Career School, Anthem College and University of Florida.Candidates who want to become pharmacy technicians should pass the National Pharmacy Technician Examination and have a National Pharmacy Technician Certificate. This exam will enhance the capability of an individual to become a pharmacy technician. The candidates who have a high school diploma and a pharmacy trained certificate will be recognized as pharmacy technicians. This exam is held at various locations and several times enabling the candidates to attend with convenience. Pharmacists always look for pharmacy technicians with certificates as they are aware that certified technicians will have the right skill and alertness to take care of patients.Pharmacy technicians who are certified should recertify for every two years. During this period of two years, they must work at least for 20 hours in the fields related to pharmacy. Only people who have completed these minimal hours with pharmacy oriented work will be eligible for recertification. During these 20 hours, they can attend lectures or do collegial work, but specific time should be allotted strictly for concentrating and knowing about the laws regarding pharmacy. These hours can be utilized for earning money too. They can earn from various sources like taking classes at pharmacy colleges or by conducting programs for pharmacy technician training candidates.The pharmacy training schools mold the candidates perfectly to become pharmacy technicians. They are taught and made responsible to be active, honest, and dedicated towards their job. They should be ready to take instructions and also work with responsibility as their job involves risk of lives. Certified pharmacy technicians should be able to work without any guidance.