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When it comes to figuring out what I should be using topically on my hair and skin, it becomes a bit overwhelming. Which are the best?
Sure, I want healthy, radiant skin and hair. I'm at least halfway there by using sun protection, eating healthy, and getting plenty of sleep (I'm talking about 9 hours of sleep!). But when it comes to figuring out what I should be using topically on my hair and skin, it becomes a bit overwhelming. There are so many agents and ingredients out there—which are the best?
So I asked Aruba Aloe's in-house skincare therapist and product specialist, Anna Posner, to share her top 10 ingredients for hair and skin wellness. I'll be sure to carry this list with me as I engage in the various experiences that will be offered this June during Aloe Wellness Month Aruba!
Aloe vera gel is perhaps one of the best natural moisturizers around for the skin, scalp, and hair. It is also well-known for its ability to heal and repair damaged skin. In fact, Aloe vera's moisturizing and healing superpowers have been known for centuries—sources claim that Cleopatra herself used Aloe Vera as part of her skincare regimen (and she was a pretty smart—and beautiful—lady!). The gel is also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-aging, and packed with antioxidants. Due to its versatility, Aloe vera can be used to treat acne, rashes, skin burns, and chronic skin conditions. Of course, Aruba Aloe harnesses all of Aloe Vera's wellness qualities in each and every one of its highly acclaimed hair and body care products.
Coconut oil seems to be the new panacea—and for good reason. We reap mega benefits by consuming it, but it's also great for direct use on our skin, scalp, and hair. High in vitamin E, coconut oil is a great moisturizer that can help heal damaged skin. It also reduces signs of aging, strengthens the epidermis against cellulite, and helps fade stretch marks. It's even known to help eliminate keratosis pilaris, more commonly known as “chicken skin,” a condition caused by an overproduction in the skin that clogs the pores.
Vitamin A works by normalizing the various functions of the skin, so it's effective in treating all types of skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis. But vitamin A is perhaps best known for its age-defying properties. Vitamin A thickens and stimulates the dermis, reducing wrinkles and increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin. It increases the deposition of collagen, thereby slowing the normal breakdown of collagen and elastin. It even helps to fade brown spots. If you're serious about fighting the signs of skin aging, make sure you have vitamin A in your arsenal!
Vitamin E also fights honorably in the battle against skin aging. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E blocks those nasty free radicals in order to maintain the skin's elasticity and reduce wrinkles, thus keeping the skin looking youthful and toned. It also helps in the recovery of dry, irritated skin, lowers inflammation due to sun exposure, and lowers the risk of skin pigmentation after sun exposure. Vitamin E is best used in combination with a sunscreen to help the skin maintain the benefits of the vitamin.
An antioxidant like vitamin E, vitamin C has three primary functions in the skin. It stimulates collagen production and elasticity, thereby preventing and reducing wrinkles; it fights hyperpigmentation by specifically targeting the hyperpigmented areas, and it fights inflammation. Just had a breakout? Vitamin C helps to fade post-breakout red marks by improving the skin's healing process. Aruba Aloe's Island Remedy Face Crèmes are packed with vitamin C to deliver all these great benefits.
If your scalp is dry, irritated, or flaky, shea butter can provide critical moisture. Shea butter can also be applied to the hair to moisturize the individual strands, reducing dryness and breakage. Over time, a healthy scalp and reduced hair breakage will result in longer and healthier hair. Shea butter also soothes rough, dry, and chapped skin. It melts easily on the skin, forming a non-greasy coat that effectively seals in the moisture. (Yes, you read that right—non-greasy!) It's the perfect remedy for dry, cracked feet!
Jojoba oil is unique in that it's very similar to the oil naturally produced by the skin, so it's easily accepted by the skin. Like the skin's natural oil, it assists in sealing in moisture and creating an effective barrier to external elements. Jojoba oil can also help control oily skin by making sure that the skin is properly hydrated, thereby sending a signal to the oil glands in the skin to reduce production. Finally, since jojoba oil can easily penetrate the skin, it acts as a deep cleanser, unclogging pores and removing impurities. Have you tried Aruba Aloe's Special Care Lotion? It contains a healthy dose of jojoba oil!
Glycerin can be an excellent moisturizer. As a humectant, it pulls moisture into the skin and hair and retains it. However, it can also work the other way around. If you are in a dry environment, glycerin may pull the moisture out of the hair and skin—so only use it in humid conditions. Glycerine also helps in healing and removing scars caused by skin infections, acne, and even wounds. Looking for an ingredient to smoothen those rough patches on your knees and elbows? Glycerin is your answer for that too. One of the easiest ways to take advantage of the benefits of glycerin is to use glycerin-based body soaps, like Aruba Aloe's oh-so-wonderfully-smelling Fruity Soaps. (I especially love the Wild Kiwana and Summer Splash!).
This antioxidant strengthens the skin by inhibiting the activity of enzymes involved in the destruction and breakdown of collagen. It can also reduce the damage to skin caused by UVA and UVB exposure. Like glycerin, it can soothe rough skin by promoting the growth of new skin cells. Lycopene also promotes the functioning of melanin, thereby helping to reduce skin darkening and age spots.
Even if you don't like sweets, your skin and hair love honey. Using honey in hair masks and other hair products will help ensure silky, shiny locks. It's also great for getting rid of unwanted hair in a totally safe and natural way. When applied to the skin, honey removes impurities while leaving skin soft and supple. And while eating sweets might give you pimples, using honey on your skin will help make them vanish. Try out Aruba Aloe's DIY Silky Locks Hair Mask, which features honey as a key ingredient!
I'm off to try that hair mask! And I can't wait to have my hair and skin nourished by these other ingredients at participating island spas during Aloe Wellness Month Aruba. Join me!
This blog post is made in collaboration with our friends at Aruba Aloe, producing the world's finest aloe since 1890.
Aloe Wellness Month Aruba, Hair & Skin