Produced from the fruits of the Argan, a species of tree endemic to the calcareous semi-desert of southwestern Morocco, Argan oil has been touted to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, in addition to strengthening elasticity and improving skin’s overall youth and vitality. This rare and organic oil has been used by the Berber women of Morocco for hundreds of years for its beneficial use in skin, hair, nail and therapeutic treatment. As you can imagine, it has been building momentum in the U.S. - everyone wants to know what the hype is all about.

Argan oil is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, and contains high levels of vitamin E. It also contains squalene, ferulic acid, polyphenols or polyphenolic compounds, and carotenoids. Essentially, it's food for your skin. Due to age and environmental stress, our skin is deprived of the nutrients needed to maintain necessary levels of collagen. Argan oil is rich in linoleic and oleic acids, which help to protect and maintain skin resilience, smoothness and radiance. However, it is known to be comedogenic, and therefore, may not be suited for those prone to acne.

There is plenty of research out there supporting the effectiveness of the organic oil. And curious minds want to know (especially mine). You can find many product lines that utilize Moroccan argan oil, such as ar457, Eden, Argan Oils, Kaeline L'Huile de Beaute, Argan Body and Babor Argan Cream. I am eager to try it and will be testing argan oil over the next couple of months. If you want to try it for yourself, prices run the gamut from the above listed websites.

This article is dedicated to Laurie (thank you).

Many of you want to learn about products that are natural, organic and/or vegan. I am happy to bring two great product lines to your attention that are vegan based. The quality for both lines are exceptional.

1_zoom.thumbnailMatt and Nat I have been a fan of Matt and Nat for years. I am so impressed by their latest line showcasing vegan leather. The price point is ridiculously fabulous - making it affordable for consumers to get into quality and stylish handbags and wallets.

duchessmardentitle.thumbnailDuchess Marden I had the pleasure of meeting Marla Steuer, Founder and Proprietor of Duchess Marden, a few weeks ago. Not only is she a delight, her products are, as well. Her philosophy is built around creating an "experience" that engages your olfactory and limbic systems to enliven emotions, memory and behavior. Marla uses pure, natural plant-based elements without the use of petrochemicals, parabens or chemical preservatives. Look for my review of Duchess Marden next month!
It never fails, the mornings I have somewhere to be my eyes decide to pack their bags and come along for the ride. I have a special eye mask ice pack (if it's really bad), and yes I have tried tea bags, as well. But really, we want something a bit more simple, right? Having tested many a product, I have come to rely two fabulous eye creams that really stick to their claim.

I stumbled upon DermaRadiant Ageless Eyes a few years ago after much frustration. It's so good, I am a perpetual member (see review). My husband even requests it! It contains hesperidins methyl chalcone which decreases fluid by strengthening the capillary micro vessel barrier, dipeptide VW which mobilizes fluid in the tissues and drains it by activating the lymphatic pump, and peptide palmitoyl-GQPR which reduces local inflammation and restores cutaneous firmness and elasticity. You can feel it working.

Another fabulous one to try is Theraderm Peptide Repair Eye Crème. I use this as my everyday eye cream and have turned many onto this incredible product (see review). It stimulates collagen production and helps to reduce the appearance of three things we all dislike; wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness. The patented soluble keratin peptides from natural sources increase collagen production leading to restored thickness of skin thinned by aging.

Now I can at least say I am armed and dangerous when it comes to dealing with under eye bags. Try and get me now!
We already know that Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is one of the most widely used skin care ingredients. We also understand its effectiveness against wrinkles and fine lines. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, a key structural protein of the skin. And it helps reduce skin damage caused by free radicals. If properly delivered into skin cells, there is a good chance to reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. So, how do we decipher which products are the best to deliver this powerful antioxidant?

I have been testing skin care products since my early 20s. I can tell you that, while Vitamin C does possess scientifically validated merits for wrinkle reduction and skin rejuvenation, not all products on the market are created equal. I rely heavily on research, as well as results. So it's no surprise that I am a big fan of Dr. Beckman and his Theraderm products. Not only are his products backed by substantial research, but they truly deliver. Dr. Beckman's Theraderm OPC serum contains the natural ingredient from the French Maritime Pine Bark, Oligomeric ProanthoCyanidans. These complex, large molecules have many more active chemical receptor sites that are active free radical trappers. He explains,
OPC is the most potent free radical scavenger known. It is, in fact, 20 times more effective as a free radical scavenger than Vitamin C. This is true whether the comparison is from either one taken orally or applied topically.
An interesting research study done in Finland compared living skin cell cultures exposed to UV rays. Unprotected skin cell cultures subjected to UV rays did not survive. Skin cell cultures that were coated with a layer of OPC (only 1/2 the concentration of Theraderm RS-OPC) on the surface and then exposed to the same UV dosage resulted in not one skin cell killed. More remarkable, is the fact that there was no evidence of any DNA damage for four succeeding daughter cell populations.

When applied topically to the skin, the water-based Theraderm OPC serum easily penetrates to the dermal layer of skin and functions as a free radical scavenger to protect skin tissue from harmful injury from UVA or UVB rays. It assists and enhances Vitamin C during collagen synthesis. In addition, are three other active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Aloe Vera and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant (attracts water to itself) that, in this case, attracts 1000 times its own weight. Lipoic Acid causes the redness of rosacea to subside with daily use. It also has been shown to reduce redness from post laser skin in just a few days.

While I have experienced incredible results with Theraderm OPC, I want to be clear that there are other fantastic products on the market rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C. My other recommendations include SkinMedica - three excellent products are TNS Recovery Complex, Vitamin C Complex and Dermal Repair Cream; iS Clinical's C-15 Serum and EnPointe's Eclairci C Serum. The key is finding an antioxidant that immediately penetrates the skin and cannot be diluted by other products. For more information, please feel free to contact me.
I wanted to pass along some phenomenal promotional discounts to you from [my] style files. There will be a few more specials coming up this month, as well, that I will be sure to share. Enjoy!