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Elysiann’s Beauty Vault

Dry Skin and Breakouts: Combo Requires Gentle Approach to Skincare

Posted on: March 2nd, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop

Dry Skin and BreakoutsIf you’ve left your teenage years behind, you probably expected acne, pimples, and breakouts to fade into the past, along with big hair and acid wash jeans. So it’s frustrating when faced with conflicting skin care challenges – and dry skin accompanied by breakouts certainly falls into this category.

Unfortunately, as hormone levels fluctuate with age, dry skin and blemishes can coexist. Because so many treatments for pimples can dry skin further, a gentle skincare approach is recommended.

Begin with a cleanser that thoroughly removes dirt, oil, and debris without drying. Actifirm Evening Cleanser is a perfect example. This gentle, foaming formula removes makeup and sunscreen without stripping the skin. Aloe and cucumber offer anti-inflammatory benefits to soothe flare-ups, while Mucor Miehei extract aids cell turnover, which can help prevent clogged pores.

Exfoliation is key to skincare for any skin type, and dry, breakout prone skin is no exception. Dry skin becomes smoother and more glowing, while cell turnover aids in keeping pores clear and preventing future breakouts. Actifirm Z-Peel is ideal for dry, blemished skin. Mucor Miehei mushroom extract lifts dead skin cells without harming living tissue, while the Z-Peel formula also hydrates.

Hydration is vitally important to dry skin, but a non-comedogenic formula is key to addressing dryness without exacerbating acne. Actifirm Renovation Cream is an intensive, botanical moisturizer that offers powerful anti-aging benefits, yet will not clog pores.

Of course, some of the same old rules for blemishes apply. Don’t touch the face, and definitely don’t pick at pimples – picking will only cause more redness, prolong healing time, and potentially leave scars. With a simple skincare regimen that addresses multiple needs, it is possible to treat dry skin and breakouts simultaneously.

Related Products:

Actifirm Z-Peel

Actifirm Evening Cleanser

Related Articles:

Glowing Skin for Expectant Moms

Holiday Skincare

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Beauty Sleep for Glowing Skin: Lack of Rest to Blame for Skin and Health Issues

Posted on: February 23rd, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop

It turns out that there truly is merit to the idea of beauty sleep. In fact, sleep deprivation not only contributes to cosmetic issues, but has become a major health hazard in our society as well. Lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity. Increased stress is a serious mental health issue with ties to sleep deprivation – and we all know how stress can manifest itself in the skin. In addition, sleep time is a key time for skin to repair and regenerate, as well as a time for hormonal and metabolic changes in the body that impact the skin.

How have we all become so chronically exhausted? Modern life offers many more distractions than the pre-electricity, or even pre-high-tech, era. From 24-hour cable television to the Internet to longer work days, there are many reasons we’re sleeping less. Caffeine and alcohol can also have an adverse effect on sleep quality.

What can you do to assure you’re well rested? Because screen time tends to be one of the biggest contributors to sleep deprivation, commit to a nightly cutoff for phones, tablets, televisions, and computers. It’s also a good idea to limit fluids after dinner – especially caffeine and alcohol. A minimum of seven hours and up to nine hours of nightly sleep is optimum, so work backward from your wakeup time to figure out the ideal mark for lights out. Then, stick to it!

Don’t forget to use that sleep time to your best advantage by letting professional skin care products work their magic overnight. With Actifirm 40 Winks Rest-N-Firm Cream, the name says it all. Apply this rich moisturizer before bed, and enjoy hydrated, firmer skin with less visible fine lines and wrinkles.

Even getting a single good night’s rest can make a difference in your appearance, but sleep has cumulative benefits for the skin and body, too. Giving your body ample time for cell renewal nightly can give your face and skin a brighter, smoother, more youthful appearance for the long haul.


Related Articles:

Healthier Lifestyle, Better Skin: 5 Ways to Improve Skin
Beauty Myths: Fact or Fiction?


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4 Reasons to Drop the Chocolate Guilt: Sweet Indulgence Offers Skin and Health Benefits

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop

FebruaryIs that box of Valentine chocolates bringing you more guilt than pleasure? Relax and enjoy – a high-quality chocolate bar can have five times the flavonoids of an apple. It turns out that cacao beans are rich in flavonoids, potent antioxidants that can help everything from your skin to your heart.

The challenge comes in selecting chocolate with a minimum of 70% cacao, or cocoa, content. Otherwise, fillers like sugar and butter negate the antioxidant benefits. Most experts recommend high quality chocolate in moderation – a small square daily, or a reasonable portion a couple of times a week. Here are just a few of the benefits chocolate can offer:

1.     Heart Health: Various studies have shown that a few squares of dark chocolate daily may reduce risk of death from heart attack by up to 50%. Those flavonoids in chocolate can prevent blood platelets from clotting, preventing blockages.

2.     Diabetes Prevention: Once again, the flavonoids have it. A small Italian study showed that eating dark chocolate may help control insulin sensitivity.

3.     Reduced Stress: Chocolate’s soul soothing benefits aren’t just in your head. A Swiss study showed that eating 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily can greatly reduce cortisol levels – the hormone that accompanies anxiety and stress. Reducing cortisol levels positively impact your entire body, including the appearance of your skin.

4.     Sun Protection: An English study found that enjoying chocolate varieties high in flavonoids doubled the amount of time for subjects’ skin to become red in the sun. Don’t forget to pair your dark chocolate fix with a broad-spectrum sunscreen when spending time outdoors.

Savor that box of Valentine chocolate over the course of several weeks, and reap the health benefits that fine chocolate can provide!

Related Articles:
Dark Chocolate and Skincare: Skin’s New Best Friend?
Date Night Glow: 4 Special Occasion Foods that Actually Benefit Skin
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4 Red Foods to Boost Skin Health: How the Color of Passion Can Be Great for Your Skin

Posted on: February 9th, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop

February2-2015-01Red is the color of passion, and a hue we associate with love and Valentine’s Day. As it turns out, eating certain red foods are like sending a Valentine to your skin. Read on, and learn about the skin health benefits of some delicious red foods:

Tomatoes: The antioxidant lycopene can actually raise the natural SPF of your skin. A study showed that subjects who ate five tablespoons of lycopene-rich tomato paste daily had 33% more protection of sunburn. Of course, use this information in conjunction with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Grass-Fed Beef: If you can’t resist a juicy, rare steak, you’ll love this one. Grass-fed beef is not only rich in inflammation-reducing omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, but also contains nearly 30 grams of protein in a 3.5 ounce serving. That protein is the basis of the collagen and elastin that keep your skin youthful.

Red Wine: The antioxidant reservatrol, abundant in red wine, may combat skin tumors. An Australian study analyzed 1,000 adults and found that those who drank just a half glass of red wine daily had a 28% lower rate of actinic keratosis – skin lesions caused by long-term sun damage.

Strawberries: Vitamin C boosts collagen production to keep skin smooth and firm, and a healthy Vitamin C intake may mean less fine lines and wrinkles. Luckily, a cup of strawberries boasts 130% of the US RDA of Vitamin C.

For Valentine’s Day, how about a delicious tomato salad, grass-fed steak, glass of red wine, and luscious strawberries for dessert? That’s a meal to feed the body and soul!


Check out our Valentine’s Day Deal!

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The Case for Winter Sunscreen: Why SPF is Important Every Day

Posted on: February 2nd, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop


If you’re like me, you wouldn’t dare step out on the beach mid-summer without a hat, sunglasses, and a heavy coating of broad spectrum SPF from head to toe. But it’s easy to overlook sun protection in the winter. Although most of your body may be covered by clothing, it’s no excuse to overlook exposed skin. In fact, the sun can be more intense in the winter than in the summer months.

Reflection off snow and ice can intensify the effect of winter rays, giving you a double dose of cancer and wrinkle causing sun exposure. What’s more, UV radiation increases by around 5% for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. That means that time on alpine slopes can damage your skin far more than equal time at sea level.

In addition, the ozone layer – our atmosphere’s natural sunscreen barrier – tends to thin out in the winter months, allowing more radiation to penetrate and impact our skin. That makes it all the more important for you to take control of your skin health.

The good news is that there is generally less skin to protect in the winter months – often just the face, neck, and hands are exposed. Because 90% of all skin cancer cases are directly related to sun exposure, your skin health is largely in your hands. By applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen generously on a daily basis, you can protect skin from premature aging and skin cancer.

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4 Beauty Tips for Cold and Flu Season: Look Better When You’re Under the Weather

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop

Beauty Tips for Cold And Flu SeasonWe’re in the middle of cold and flu season, and while catching a bug may be inevitable, it doesn’t mean you have to look as bad as you feel. Here are four beauty and skincare tips that will not only help improve your appearance, but may leave you feeling better as well.

Moisturize the Nasal Area: If you’re blowing your nose all day, it’s only a matter of time before your nose and surrounding skin is red, chapped, and irritated. Keep a rich yet non-irritating facial moisturizer, such as Actifirm Renovation Cream, next to the tissues, and apply regularly to keep your nose looking and feeling its best.

Stay Hydrated, Inside and Out: If you’re staying home to recuperate, consider it an opportunity to slather on a deeply hydrating moisturizer morning and night (try Actifirm Overnight Sensation) and combat the dehydration that comes with winter and being sick. Apply a natural lip balm regularly to prevent chapped lips. Keep a water bottle at the ready and drink often, and don’t forget that a warm cup of green tea is not only comforting, but rich in skin-boosting antioxidants.

Fight Puffy Eyes: Propping up on pillows to keep your head upright will help puffy skin around the eyes and nasal congestion. For extra relief, put your favorite eye cream (my go-to is Actifirm Renovation Eye Cream) in the refrigerator and gently pat around the eye area to soothe, cool, and reduce swelling.

If All Else Fails, Fake It: If you must leave the house and look presentable, try these cosmetic tricks. Try a tinted moisturizer and spot-apply concealer as needed – a whole face of heavy foundation can look cakey if skin is dehydrated due to illness. Use blush to create a healthy glow. For eyes, a light eye shadow with a hint of shimmer will brighten tired eyes, and a waterproof mascara will stand up to watery eyes. A hydrating lip gloss in a natural shade finishes the look.

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Citrus for Your Skin: 3 Healthy Reasons to Enjoy this Winter Treat

Posted on: January 19th, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop

Citrus for your skin

The silver lining of winter’s gray, dreary days is that citrus season is in full swing. Ripe now in the northern hemisphere, citrus fruits offer more than just a sweet and tangy taste of sunshine – citrus is packed with health benefits. Take a look at my top three reasons to make this winter treasure a part of your diet:

Vitamin C

You probably already know that citrus is high in Vitamin C – one small orange contains 53 mg of the recommended 75 mg US RDA. But did you know that Vitamin C helps produce collagen, which offers structure and elasticity to your skin? As an antioxidant, Vitamin C also helps destroy free radicals before they damage healthy cells.


These powerful antioxidants reduce inflammation in the skin and body and may even help prevent cancer. The theory is that flavonoids help the body eliminate carcinogens and destroy cancer cells. Because the membranes and pith of citrus fruit contain the bulk of flavonoids, eating the whole fruit can give you five times the flavonoids compared to a juice.


A small orange offers 2.4 grams of fiber – two-thirds of that is the soluble type that lowers cholesterol and regulates blood sugar, while the rest is insoluble for efficient removal of digestive waste.

The easiest way to enjoy citrus is freshly peeled and out of hand as a healthy snack, but citrus segments also complement a variety of savory dishes, from salad to fish and poultry. Add winter citrus to your everyday routine and your skin and body will thank you.

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Planning a Winter Staycation: Ideas to Boost Your Body and Soul

Posted on: January 12th, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop

Winter StaycationHere in the depths of winter, you may be dreaming of a tropical vacation or alpine getaway. But life can get in the way – maybe you can’t get away from work or family commitments, or for one reason or another you can’t allocate the finances. If that’s your predicament, a winter staycation may be the perfect solution.

In fact, a staycation can offer a more relaxing experience than a traditional vacation that involves travel. You won’t have to pack, spend money on transportation and lodging, or suffer the stress and jetlag of covering long distances. In short, a staycation at home can be great for rejuvenating the body and soul – if you approach it the right way. Here are a few tips for setting the stage for a true vacation at home:

  1. Take a few vacation days from work. If you are self-employed from home, create an auto reply message for email and change your voicemail message to indicate your vacation status. Then, put the laptop away until your staycation is over.
  2. Turn off your ringer. Whether it’s your home line or mobile, there’s no need to answer your phone unless you’re concerned about a true emergency.
  3. Take a technology break. Put the smart phone, tablet, and television on the backburner. Avoid checking the news or other favorite online haunts – vacation is all about a break in routine, and the Internet will be there when you return.
  4. Put chores on hold. Your staycation is not the time to catch up on laundry or clean the oven. Either catch up before your break, pay someone to clean, or postpone until after vacation.
  5. Set the mood. Let music set the tone for your staycation. Have books and movies on hand for curling up. Have your favorite bottle of wine on standby. Candles are a nice touch, too.

What to do on your winter staycation? While the options are endless, here are a few of our top picks for winter:

  1. Visit a local museum or historical site and discover the cultural treasures your local area has to offer.
  2. Tour a national park or recreation area if one exists in your area. In cold climates, you could try snowshoeing or cross country skiing, while warmer areas may be ideal for hiking this time of year.
  3. Check out a new restaurant (or two or three) you’ve been meaning to try.
  4. Visit a local spa, or have an at-home spa day. Stay hydrated with a big pitcher of water infused with lemon or cucumber slices. Try the Actifirm Z-Peel or Renovation Mushroom Mask for a skin treatment at home that gives professional results.
  5. Exercise – You’re on vacation, so not having time is not an excuse. Take in a free trial class at a local gym, try a yoga DVD from the library, or bundle up and take a walk around the block. It’s good for your health!
  6. Splurge on luxury hotel amenities. If it’s in the budget, treat yourself to a fluffy new robe or high thread count sheets. These are indulgences you’ll enjoy for years to come.

The bottom line: Don’t give up the idea of a vacation just because traveling long distances isn’t in the cards. With a little planning, a winter staycation can be every bit as relaxing – and maybe more so – than a trip away.

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New Year’s Resolutions: Success Starts With Small Steps

Posted on: January 5th, 2015 by Elysiann Bishop

2015-01 Blog

Happy 2015! With the changing of the calendar comes a sense of new beginnings – and, of course, New Year’s resolutions. While many of us make them, Time magazine reports that less than 10% of us follow through and keep these traditional promises to lose weight, eat better, get fit, or spend less, to name just a few.

How can you keep your resolutions this year? Being realistic, stating specific changes, and breaking the process into small steps can make a big difference over the long haul. Self-improvement gurus such as Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project and Leo Babauta of the Zen Habits blog advocate this sort of process for lasting change. Let’s test this theory using skincare and skin health as an example.

Our dear friend, to be addressed as Jane Doe, has the terrible habit of not washing her face before going to bed. But that’s only the beginning. She also never uses moisturizer, and applies expired cosmetics using dirty brushes. Jane dislikes drinking water and her parched skin reflects this. Oh, and she’s more likely to win the lottery than exfoliate.

Typically, Jane Doe would start the New Year with a bang, purchasing a multi-step skincare regimen including complex specialized treatments, along with new makeup and brushes. She’d also throw in a fancy new water bottle to inspire hydration. Jane would begin January by spending 30 minutes every evening executing her new skincare regimen, drinking plenty of water, and washing her makeup brushes weekly. But then one day, she’d lose her water bottle on the subway, then come home too exhausted to bother with complex skincare. Within days, Jane would give up the whole plan on the grounds that it’s just too complicated for her lifestyle.

Let’s rewind and try this again. What if Jane acknowledged up front that she might not be the type to spend hours each week on her skin? What if she simply added one small skin habit per month? It might look something like this:

January: Cleanse face each night

February: Add moisturizer

March: Exfoliate once a week

April: Start carrying water bottle

May: Purchase new makeup and brushes

June: Wash makeup brushes weekly

Granted, it might seem silly to put off some of these habits when Jane knows the changes could immediately have a positive impact on her skin and overall health. But isn’t it better to have a healthy, lifelong routine in place by summer than to flounder and fail in January?

Whatever your resolutions may be, remember that even small changes can make a big difference in your health and quality of life. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015!

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5 Bad Skincare Habits to Lose Before the New Year

Posted on: December 26th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Start 2015 Right With These Holiday Changes

Bad Habits to break New Years You know that taking care of your skin is important. I’m here to tell you that proper skincare is far too important to put off until the New Year. After all, the holidays can take a toll on the most flawless of complexions — poor diet, too many cocktails, not enough sleep, and cold dry air all contribute to the problem. Without further ado, here are five bad skincare habits to ditch before the New Year.

Using Dirty Makeup Brushes: Using dirty makeup brushes can completely sabotage your best skincare efforts by introducing dirt, oil, and bacteria to the skin. To clean your makeup brushes, simply work a little facial cleanser, such as Actifirm Evening Cleanser, through bristles. Rinse well, gently squeeze out excess water, and allow to air dry.

Not Removing Makeup: Leaving makeup on overnight is just asking for a breakout. Luckily, Actifirm cleansers remove not only debris and excess oils, but also cosmetics. For dry winter skin, try Actifirm Serenity Cleanser. You’ll have clean, soft, makeup-free skin in one simple step, with anti-aging benefits as well.

 Over Exfoliating: You can have too much of a good thing. Too much exfoliation can irritate the skin and even cause damage. Actifirm Z-Peel offers the benefit of exfoliating only dead skin cells – leaving healthy living tissue intact. With Z-Peel, all natural Mucor Miehei mushroom extract exfoliates and has an “automatic turn off”, so it’s impossible to over exfoliate.

 Skipping Sunscreen: This one always bears repeating. Find a broad spectrum, SPF 15 or higher sunscreen that you like and wear it. Every day. On all exposed skin. End of story.

 Ignoring Décolleté: The chest area has delicate, thin skin and all too often sees more than its fair share of the sun. When exposed, be sure to apply sunscreen. Beyond that, a targeted product can help. Actifirm Décolleté Firm lives up to its name and more – in clinical trials, it was shown to firm, hydrate, and protect skin with a blend of natural botanicals and antioxidants.

Banish these bad skincare habits now, and enjoy the results before 2015 arrives!

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