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We love Tamarind Fruit – But what about the Seed?

Most people know about Tamarind fruit in some form, in Tamarind juice, in Indian chutney or curry or in good old BBQ sauce… Tamarind fruit pulp is the base for what most of us know as Tamarind.  The pulp which is rich in Vitamins and minerals boasts a whole list of health benefits by itself, helping to regulate digestion, improving blood glucose levels, blood circulation and cholesterol.  But did you know that hidden inside that tangy-sticky fruit pulp of a whole Tamarind are seeds (3-12 per pod) packed with proteins, amino acids, essential fatty acids and minerals?  These little morsels of nutrition have surprising health benefits on their own!

For the Body:  Joint Relief & Other Benefits

Tamarind Seed holds great anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial benefits (1) when ingested.  Amongst its traditional uses is the treatment for joint pain and arthritis by ingesting roasted Tamarind Seed Powder.  Early research suggests that Tamarind Seed does indeed reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in joints, helping with pain and protecting bone and cartilage (2).

For Skin:  The Skin Hydration Optimizer

When applied to skin, Tamarind Seed Extract helps draw and bind vital hydration to the skin by feeding the skin’s natural moisturizing factor in the skin’s surface, similar to how Hyaluronic Acid does.  The genius lies in the molecular structure of Tamarind Seed Extract, which is able to penetrate the skin surface more deeply, resulting in deeper and more long-lasting hydration.  We use Tamarind Seed Extract in our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner, where it is combined with Hyaluronic Acid, Green, White & Black Tea and Rice Bran Extract to draw and bind vital hydration to the skin and feed the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF).

Make your own Tamarind Seed Powder!

While fresh whole Tamarind is now available in many Asian and Latin grocery stores in the US, Tamarind Seeds alone or Tamarind Seed Powder are not.  Fortunately, you can make your own Tamarind Seed Powder quite easily!

  1. Buy fresh whole Tamarind and save the seeds after eating the pulp as a snack or using it for cooking.  Wash and dry the seeds with a paper towel.
  2. Roast the seeds in the oven at 300 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively you can also roast them in a frying pain on low heat for about 5.  Let cool.
  3. Wrap the roasted seeds in a dish towel, place them on a thick wooden cutting board and roughly crush with a hammer. The kernels are very hard so you will need to use quite a bit of force.  When the Tamarind Seed cracks, the dark brown seed skin will come off, exposing the inner white seed.  Keep the brown skin.  It has nutrients as well!
  4. Grind the crushed kernels and seed skin in a coffee grinder until it is a fine powder. You will notice a nice, nutty aroma.
  5. Store in an airtight container. Keep cool and dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add 1 teaspoon of Tamarind Powder to your smoothie, juice or yogurt.  The powder does not actually dissolve in water, so I have found it easier to consume when it was suspended in a thicker medium like a smoothie or yogurt.

Enjoy experimenting!

Turmeric Bioavailability – Easy tricks to maximize its benefits

Turmeric is a key ingredient in Jamu, the ancient Indonesian herbal medicine.  Since the scientific community in European and American started taking an interest in this rhizome in the last 20th century, Turmeric has become one of the most studied herbs.  The key nutrient in Turmeric that has been shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and potential anti-cancer properties is Curcumin.  Unfortunately, the health benefits of Curcumin when ingested, cannot be fully realized because if poor bioavailability, meaning that Curcumin is quickly broken down and metabolized by the liver and intestinal walls before it can work its magic where needed.

The good news is that there are simple tricks to improve Curcumin’s bioavailability – tricks that can be done daily and easily as part of your regular diet:

1.Mix it with fat

Curcumin is fat soluble.  By combining or dissolving it with a fat, it is better absorbed into the bloodstream (1).  It’s easy:  Combine Turmeric with a heart-healthy oil in a vegetable stir fry.  Or add it to your smoothie together with coconut milk or full-fat kefir.

2.  Fresh Turmeric vs. dried Turmeric

Dried Turmeric powder is more widely available than the fresh rhizome, but fresh Turmeric actually has better “built-in” bioavailability (2) because is about 10% fat content.

3.  Heat it up

Bioavailability of Curcuma is even further improved, when Turmeric is lightly heated in oil (3), which is why Turmeric is ideal to incorporate into your daily cooking, whether it is a stir fry or a curry sauce.

4.  Add a dash of Black Pepper

Black pepper contains piperine, which blocks the body from rapidly metabolizing Curcumin.  In fact, consuming fresh black pepper together with Turmeric, can improve bioavailability of Curcumin by 2000% (4).

5.  Combine it with Quercetin-rich fruits & vegetables

Quercetin is an antioxidant that gives certain fruits and vegetables their dark, blue-ish color.  Research shows that Quercetin blocks an enzyme that would metabolizes Curcumin, thus making it more bioavailable (5).  Quercetin-rich foods include blueberries, red grapes, red onions, green tea but also red apples.

 

In Skincare – Proven Effective

Turmeric has a long tradition in Indonesian beauty rituals as well, most famously in the Lulur bridal spa treatment.  While it is an age old recipe to boost skin radiance and luminosity, there is a growing body of recent scientific evidence that underscores topical Turmeric’s benefits in helping prevent and reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, acne, and signs of premature aging such as irregular skin tone and sun damage.  When we at JUARA craft formulations, we draw our inspiration from Indonesian tradition, but we also ensure that we select botanicals that have been tested for efficacy and safety according to today’s standards.

Several of JUARA products are formulated with Turmeric, including our

Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum, Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask, Radiance Vitality Oil, Sweet Black Tea & Rice Moisturizer and Miracle Tea Complete Eye Creme, but also in body treatments such as our Kartini Body Oil.

To explore JUARA treatments that feature Turmeric and other active Jamu botanicals, click here.

Tea Synergy: The Benefits of Togetherness

Antioxidants are supposed to be good for us, and most of us try to consume antioxidants through food, drinks or supplements. But ever wonder if a specific form of antioxidant is better? Like if I love to drink tea, should I drink green, white or black tea? Or should I cut to the chase and load up on antioxidant supplements?

First, what’s the difference between the teas?

Tea, first introduced as a traditional medicine in Asia, is from the Camellia sinensis plant and can vary by processing steps: Green tea and white tea are non‐fermented and minimally or lightly oxidized while black tea is fully fermented and oxidized. (Herbal teas are any teas not made from Camellia sinensis.) The different processing results in different bioactive compounds. Green tea has flavan‐3‐ols (catechins), proanthocyanidins (tannins) and flavonols. Black tea contains theaflavins and thearubigins while white tea contains l‐theanine and gamma‐aminobutyric acid (GABA), among others. The health benefit of teas has been correlated with these bioactive compounds, which have anti‐inflammatory, anti‐diabetic and anti‐cancer activities.

Why does it matter that there are different antioxidants? Don’t they all do the same thing?

Antioxidants, produced by the body or ingested, are part of the body’s defense system against damaging free radicals that are formed during the body’s normal cellular processes or when exposed to UV radiation, pollution or stress, etc. Different antioxidants operate in different parts of cells and participate in different chemical processes throughout the body. Some antioxidants suppress the formation of free radicals, while others “scavenge” to remove the free radicals before they do damage, or work to repair damage once it has been done.

Synergy, A theory of the whole is better than the parts

So it makes sense that combining different teas and herbs with various bioactive components might have synergistic (or antagonistic) effects in their bioactive efforts. Synergy is based on the idea that using a whole plant containing a group of chemicals working together or a combination of plants is more beneficial than using a single compound to achieve a specific effect.  For example, the equal ratio of of black tea, black pepper (Piper nigrum), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) showed higher antioxidant activity compared to that of the individuals. Research on the combination of  green and black tea showed a stronger antimicrobial effect than alone.

Tradition in science

So perhaps that synergistic antioxidant and antimicrobial effect is the reason that people in Indonesia and Asia use a mixture of leftover teas to rinse their face. And that is why the JUARA Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner uses a combination of green, white and black teas for that synergistic antioxidant effect post a day of stress, tiredness and pollution. Oh wait, and I will have a tea with that! Any tea, please!

Candlenut: The Balanced Nut!

Candlenut holds a special place at JUARA.  Our very first JUARA product we launched was our popular Candlenut Body Creme, a.k.a. Bali in a Jar, which became an instant hit with customers, editors and estheticians alike.  By popular demand, many more Candlenut treasures followed.

But what exactly is Candlenut?  Rarely do you ever see it sold in a regular grocery store because its consumption is usually limited to the region where it is cultivated, mostly South East Asia and Hawaii.  It looks like an oversized macadamia nut or hazelnut.  Even though it is not widely known, Candlenut is probably one of the most versatile and healthy nuts out there, having been used for medicinal purposes, cooking as well as skincare for centuries.

Omega 6 & 3 Essential Fatty Acids:  The Ratio is Key

Like most nuts, Candlenut has a high oil content (70%).  What makes Candlenut special amongst its peers is its high content of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA).  And not only that, it has what is considered an ideal ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.  While both EFAs have health benefits, it has been shown that the typical Western diet is by far too rich in Omega 6 fatty acids relative to Omega 3 fatty acid consumption, leading to chronic inflammation.  Nobody knows what the ideal ratio exactly is, but current estimates state a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of anywhere between 1:1 and 4:1 as ideal.  It is estimated that people in developed countries reach a ratio of about 15:1.  It has been shown even higher in the typical American diet, where it reaches levels of 25:1 due to a high consumption of fast & processed foods and fried foods which are typically rich in Omega 6, and a low consumption of Omega 3-rich foods like fish and certain nuts and seeds.  Candlenut has a ratio of Omega 3 and 6 of about 1.7:1, which is considered in the ideal range.  As a comparison, Walnuts have a ratio of about 4:1, Pecans 22:1, Flax Seeds 1:4, Sunflower Seeds:  312:1, Corn Oil 46:1, Wild Salmon 1:12, Canned Tuna 1:30.

Other Health Benefits

Candlenut is also rich in saponin, flavonoid and polyphenols, plant compounds that have  anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits as well as antibacterial effects.  Plus, it contains not only alpha tocopherol (the most familiar form of Vitamin E), but also gamma tocopherol, which works synergistically with alpha tocopherol to provide antioxidant protection.

Try it in Food!

In its native Indonesian and Malay, Candlenut is used in cooking as a thickener for curries and soups.  One easy way to incorporate Candlenuts is to roasted Candlenuts in the oven or frying pan, which brings out their aroma, before chopping or shaving them and sprinkling them over curry, soups or salad.

Try it on your Skin!

Candlenut is rich in EFA, the skincare benefits of which have been well documented.  EFAs help reduce inflammation, strengthens the skin’s own protective barrier, and Omega 6 essential fatty acid specifically helps acne-prone skin clear up clogged pores.  Candlenut’s boasting both Omega-3 and 6 as well as natural anti-microbial properties make it suitable for all skin types, ranging from dry to oily, including sensitive and acne-prone skin.

All of JUARA’s Candlenut products are formulated with Candlenut Oil, but we have added this precious oil to other treatments as well, including:

Kartini Body Oil – $58, 4 oz

The luxurious body oil fit for royalty (hence the name Kartini, named after a Princess who was also a big champion of women’s rights in Indonesia).  A truly nourishing blend of Candlenut, Plumeria, Passionfruit, Moringa and Turmeric Oil, with a silky, light-as-air texture with firming, brightening and softening benefits.

Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm – $20. 2.5 oz

Pure relief and moisture for dry, hard-working hands, that stays on even after washing your hands.  A replenishing blend of oils and butters, plus soothing oat beta glucan and brightening algae Energy immediately comfort skin & cuticles.  Result:  Hands that are soft and smooth, never greasy.

Sweet Black Tea & Rice Facial Moisturizer – $60, 1.7 oz

Energy for dry, dull skin. “Kombucha”, nourishing botanical oils and our unique Radiant Complex hydrate, firm, smooth and boost skin luster.  The perfect daily moisturizer for normal to dry skin. 

Miracle Tea Complete Eye Crème – $53, 0.5 oz

This miracle worker gives the fragile skin around the eyes the whole TLC package:  It hydrates, smooths fine lines & wrinkles, reduces the look of dark circles and under-eye bags for a refreshed look!

Radiance Vitality Oil – $70, 1.0oz

The Queen of Face Oils (Face Oil of the Year, Self Magazine 2015) addresses all signs of aging with 12 pure plant oils and extracts by helping to firm, nourish, smooth and revitalize, with results you can see and feel after only one application.

Nourish your natural beauty all over with Candlenut in JUARA products here!

Cinnamon: For Health & Holiday Cheers!

‘Tis the season for all things Cinnamon!  Ahhh…what would the holidays be without Cinnamon’s signature aroma.  Whether we’re talking aromatic cookies, spiced cakes or hearty stews, Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices, loved and revered around the world.  Its use originates as far back as Ancient Egypt as a key ingredient in the embalmment ritual.  While Cinnamon is readily available in regular grocery stores today, it was so highly prized and considered so precious in the past, it was a gift reserved only for royalty or deity.

Not surprisingly, like many popular spices, humans began using Cinnamon primarily for medicinal purposes first, before it became a popular flavoring agent.  Native to South Asia and South East Asia, Cinnamon has a long tradition in Jamu, Indonesia’s traditional herbal medicine.  What ancient healers have known all along, modern medicine has only begun to discover are the many health benefits of Cinnamon.

CHEERS UP YOUR METABOLISM

While Cinnamon has well-documented antimicrobial and antioxidant properties (…hence a key preservative-like ingredient when the Ancient Egyptians embalmed their kings & queens), a particularly exciting discovery has been that Cinnamon can improve metabolic diseases such as glucose intolerance, high cholesterol and triglycerides (1).  While more studies are necessary, in one study volunteers ate half a teaspoon of Cinnamon daily for 40 days, which cut their cholesterol by about 18% and blood sugar levels by 24% (2).  The theory is that Cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity while also reducing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a carbohydrate-rich meal.  And unless you have an allergy Cinnamon or liver disease, this spice can be consumed safely daily in food, drink or as part of a meal.

GOOD FOR SKIN INSIDE & OUT

A healthy glucose metabolism is crucial for healthy skin from the inside since high blood sugar causes inflammation and premature aging in the skin in a process called “glycation”.  What about applying Cinnamon  topically?  Cinnamon is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, which makes it a great ingredient to prevent skin aging.  Its antimicrobial properties also help break-out prone skin, where proliferation of acne bacteria cause acne blemishes.  JUARA Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Oil-Free Moisturizer combines anti-aging, oil-control and break-out-fighting benefits all in one refreshing gel-crème that contains a potent Jamu combination of Kombucha, Ginger and Cinnamon plus Hyaluronic Acid.

EASY TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE

Having gone through gestational diabetes and fluctuating blood sugar issues myself, I try to stick to a balanced diet that avoids blood sugar spikes and dips. Cinnamon has become part of my daily ritual – not just in my skincare.  A dash on my morning oatmeal combined with nuts and apples – delicious!  A dash in a cup of Ginger Tea – so soothing!  And in the occasional cookie to indulge…because it’s all about balance!

How Oil Can Help Break-Out Prone Skin

Ever since I was a teenager with pimples all over my face, I was told to AVOID oil on my face at all cost.  Even today, our instinct is still to run away from oil, when we are battling break-outs.  At best, we look at a non-comedogenic oil as something that won’t make our problem worse provided of course we use it sparingly.  But can oils actually – GASP –  improve break-out prone skin…?  Let’s look at how an acne pimple is formed.

At the beginning of a break-out is a pore that’s clogged with a sticky combination of sebum (your own skin’s oil), dead skin cells (and maybe some other external debris), that forms a plug.  Add to the sticky plug the proliferation of acne bacteria, a.k.a. Cutibacterium Acnes, plus the resulting inflammation, and, voila:  You get a break-out!  How can an oil help when oil is part of the problem?

1.  The Role of Linoleic Acid (Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acid)

The presence of oil alone does not explain a break-out.  There are plenty of people with oily skin that don’t get break outs, and people with dry skin that do.  It turns out applying an oil rich in Linoleic Acid, which is an essential fatty acid, can help reduce break-outs.  Why?  It has been shown that the surface of break-out prone skin tends to be low in Linoleic Acid.  Interestingly, this is independent of having a Linoleic Acid deficiency inside your body.  Apparently the deficiency on the skin’s surface leads to your skin not self-exfoliating properly and dead skin cells accumulating inside the pore.  Hence applying Linoleic Acid aids the skin’s own pore-clearing process.  Oils high in Linoleic Acid include  Candlenut (Kukui) Oil, Passionfruit Oil, Hemp Oil, Rosehip Oil, Safflower Oil and Rice Bran Oil.

2.  The Role of Your Skin Barrier Function

Our skin barrier is our skin’s own defense structure, of which Linoleic Acid is a key component.  A weak skin barrier (which can be due to genetics, use of harsh products or hormonal changes) makes skin more prone to dryness, dehydration, irritation and inflammation, which in turn can make break-outs worse.  Imagine having break-out prone skin that is also dry and sensitive!  Applying an oil high in Linoleic Acid not only helps reduce the cause of break-outs themselves , it also strengthens the skin’s own defense structure, making it less vulnerable to external stressors and irritation.

3.  Targeting Acne Bacteria

While a number of moisturizing oils like Jojoba or Passionfruit have natural antibacterial properties and help balance skin flora, there are several essential oils that target the acne-causing Cutibacterium Acnes specifically.  The most famous one is Tea Tree Oil, but Lavender and Rosemary Oils have been shown effective as well and offer a natural alternative to salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide if you have mild acne.  If you have persistent break-outs or moderate to severe acne, however, it is best to also consult with a dermatologist.

So next time you are shopping for your skin wondering which products can help with break-outs, take a closer at those skin oils.  You might find one that will become your skin’s best friend!

Acne in your 40s: 4 Ways to Fight it Naturally

Is that a pimple in my wrinkle? Does my concealer even hide that topography? Acne at 40…REALLY?  Is my future going to be filled with time spent hiding mountain ranges and molehills on my face.  Maybe I should delve into the art of living incognito with big sunglasses and scarf wrapping. Then I realized that fear is no way to live, it would probably be easier to figure out what are the causes of adult acne and how do I fight it naturally?

STRESS

We all have deadlines, people to take care of, errands, relationship woes, etc. It’s surprising I don’t have more acne if I think about my daily life. But did you know that with stress comes the adrenal hormone cortisol, and with cortisol comes a little bit of testosterone that in women can cause oil gland overactivity?

Resist: Meta-analysis  shows that yoga asanas decrease cortisol production. And meditation practice decreases your body’s physiologic response to stress.

HORMONES

Perimenopause, post pregnancy, and pre-period (did you know that women over 33 are more likely to get pre-period pimples?), along with hormone related health issues like PCOS all affect hormone levels and thus increase oil production, pore clogging, inflammation then pimples.

Retaliate: Use non-stripping cleansers along with salicylic acid treatments that exfoliate gently to unclog pores. Then follow with oil-free, inflammation fighting moisturizers. Finding the balance in your skin is key. And see your doctor for the health issues.

FOOD and ENVIRONMENT

I don’t mean fried foods and chocolate, but sugar.  Sugar increases your insulin which has been found to also bump up the oil provoking hormones. Although the link between pollution and acne is still being established, there’s no denying that the particulates of pollution are probably not good for your skin.

Resist: Cut out high glycemic foods. Not sure what causes that insulin high, check out the estimated glycemic load of your foods.

SKINCARE ROUTINE

Overwashing, as in more than twice a day, or harsh cleansers and exfoliants can dry out skin and cause overproduction of oil. And with aging and sun damage, the collagen of your skin breaks down and pores become bigger making them easier to clog.

Retaliate: Exfoliate gently and regularly to remove the build up of dead skin cells. Gentle cleansers with oil free or non-comedogenic moisturizers keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Boost that healthy skin with collagen building, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory actives.

Knowing that pimples are just a normal part of life make having them much easier. Also knowing there are a few ways I can control breakouts by changing some things in my daily life make me freakout less. All in all, these problems and solutions are manageable and easy to employ.  Maybe now my mountain will turn back into that molehill. Do you have any other tips for managing breakouts?

What Happens When You Go to Bed Without Washing Your Face?

We all do it once in a while (and I have certainly done it more often since I had kids…).  It happens!  Yes, I know it’s bad to leave make-up on your skin overnight, and no, I don’t like how my skin looks the next day, but the world won’t end if it happens once in a while, right?  But…I do wonder: What actually does happen when I don’t wash my face before I go to bed at night?

1.  Fertile Ground for Clogged Pores & Pimples

While pretty much all make-up or sunscreens these days are non-comedogenic and won’t break you out per se, it is still “stuff” that, when it remains on the skin for an extended time, will mix with our skin’s own sebum, as well as dirt and bacteria (how often do you touch your face throughout the day?) to increase the risk of clogged pores and bacterial proliferation, resulting in new pimples or existing ones getting worse.  Even if you don’t wear make-up, the mix of dirt, sebum and added bacteria can lead to pore congestion over time.

2.  Skin Irritation and Inflammation

Throughout the day, we are exposed to micro-particles, pollutants and allergens that can more or less stick to the skin unless we wash it off.  And depending on your immune system and how well your skin’s own protective barrier functions, those allergens, micro-particles and pollutants can irritate and sensitize skin.

3.  Less Efficient Natural Exfoliation

Your skin sheds naturally all the time, although you wouldn’t see it with your eyes.  But having a sticky mix on your skin at the end of the day and through the night impedes the natural exfoliation process, making your skin look dull and possibly clogging pores.  Washing your face with a regular cleanser at night helps your skin’s shedding process, even if it does not contain any actual exfoliators agents.

4.  Skin Dehydration

Even with proper moisturizing, we loose water through the skin throughout the day and night in what is called transepidermal water loss (TEWL).  Not washing your face on a particular night probably also means that you are not applying any treatment products either, that would replenish hydration.  I’ve always wondered why my skin feels grimy, yet parched the morning after not washing (and treating) my face.  Well…after 24 hours of TEWL without replenishment, skin will loose its suppleness…

5.  Missed Opportunity

Your skin acts differently at night than it does during the day.  If not washing your face at night also means not applying any treatment before bed, that means you are missing out on nourishing your skin in a major way during a time when its in peak recovery mode.  If have issues with break-outs, you are also missing out on helping your skin battle pimples and other issues without the typical day-time interference like sunscreen and make-up.  So even if not-washing your face once in a while isn’t a big deal, not treating your skin is still a missed opportunity.

Lately, to motivate myself to wash my face at night, even if I am super tired, I try to visualize how it will help my skin breathe more freely.  And knowing how much better my skin looks and feels the following morning if I go through my skincare ritual usually gets me moving toward the sink as well.  What helps motivate you to wash your face even when you are tired or feeling lazy?

UV Radiation Primer with 6 Easy Sun Protection Tips

Is that another sunspot on my 3 year old daughter’s face?!? We put sunscreen on her face everyday, but yes, I skip a day or two when we are rushing out the door. Pool season is here, and I have been a BAD mother. I have not properly shielded her from a life of wrinkles, saggy, rough and dull skin! Another thing for her to blame me for when she becomes eighteen. Thankfully, my non-paranoid rational brain kicks in and reminds me that it never hurts to freshen up on UV radiation and how to protect oneself from the sun.

UVA/UVB Primer

Big picture reference: UV Radiation is shorter wavelength than visible light (700-400nm) in the electromagnetic (light) spectrum.

UVA I (340-400nm) and UVA II (320-340nm) together make up 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface, where we humans live. UVA is present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours, throughout the day, and can penetrate clouds and glass. Wait, I spend more hours in the car than I would care to discuss, and UVA penetrates glass. Plus, windows of cars do NOT have UV protective film. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB, to the dermis (skin photo-aging and wrinkles!), but does some dirty work in the epidermis layer above the dermis where it damages skin cells in the basal layer – basal, squamous, and melanocyte.

UVB (290-320nm) varies by season, location, weather, and time of day. In the northern hemisphere, significant UVB rays only make it through from about 10am to 4pm, October(ish) til March(ish), depending on what city you are in. UVB is the only ray that makes vitamin D. But to get the right amount, it has to be between those months and times on sunny days, full body exposure for about 15 minutes, depending on your skin color, age, etc. UVB tends to damage skin more superficially in the epidermis, and cause reddening and sunburn. This can be throughout the year, even with cloud cover. But bright side, UVB doesn’t really make it through glass!

Both UVA and UVB rays can have an 80% bounce rate on reflective snow, water, or ice! That’s almost double the damage! Both rays can damage and age your skin and eyes resulting in wrinkles, sagging, thinning skin, or cataracts. On the good side, both rays can be blocked or absorbed by protective clothing, hats, or the appropriate sunscreen protection, and sunglasses. We usually do these, but sometimes we forget!

Protection is Key! Make it Easy and a Habit!

  • Broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen everyday, or most days
  • Long sleeves unless it’s 90F out
  • Broad-brimmed hat when we spend time outdoors
  • But wait, I realized I had not factored in the amount of time we spend in the car. So today, I booked an appointment to get UV blocking film applied to my four door car, about $300, but lifetime warranty!
  • UV blocking Sunglasses- not the cheap kind. Get one from a reputed store. A tinted lens is not the same as a UV blocking lens.
  • And the clincher – placement of the sun accessories by the door with a mirror, especially if you have children. Visual cue to start the sun protection habit.

Do you have any additional ideas on sun protection? Please share! I need all the help I can get.

A UV primer only gets you so far. Next up, I have to dig deep and consider whether to sacrifice sun protection for Vitamin D (there’s a whole host of research on why vitamin D is great for you!) and find out more about how UV rays affect the skin and eyes. Then ingredients that block and absorb, clothing that protects – SPF and UPF…. Anything else you can think of so I can learn more to keep my daughters’ skin healthy and dewy? And mine as well!

Deliciously Soft, Juicy Skin with this Quick & Easy DIY Mask

By JUARA Co-Founder, Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

“OMG, you have to check this out, I can’t stop touching my skin!”  That was my chat message to my partners Metta and Jill, after I experimented with a new DIY face mask recipe to help with my winter-parched, rough skin.

I love to experiment when I cook.  No matter how specific a recipe is, I can’t help but tweak it somehow, even if in small ways, just to see what happens to the flavor.  Same thing with skincare.  I am constantly experimenting with products, not only with what I use, but also how I use them.  That’s how I stumbled across this easy and quick DIY face mask that left my skin soft, supple, almost juicy…simply yummy.

What makes this so easy is the fact that you are combining 2 actual products, JUARA Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner and Radiance Vitality Oil, with 2 readily available food ingredients:  brown sugar and honey.  This mixture together makes for a luscious treatment that polishes, hydrates and smooths skin immediately.  The toner is packed with hyaluronic acid, tamarind seed extract and soothing green tea, white tea and black tea extracts.  The face oil nourishes skin with 7 different omega fatty acids (3, 5, 6, 7 & 9) and Vitamin C.  Sugar acts as a polish but together with honey also acts as a wonderful humectant.  This recipe is so quick and easy, you can do this mask any time of the day, as a quick pick-me-up or as part of a relaxing ritual.

Ingredients & Directions:   

Brown Sugar  – 2 teaspoons

Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner – 2 pumps

Radiance Vitality Oil – 1 dropper-ful (not just 1 drop!)

Honey – Big Drizzle, 0r up to 1 teaspoon

 

Gather all ingredients.  Add all ingredients in a small glass bowl and mix with a spoon.  Add more of the ingredients to get the right consistency.  As the sugar starts to melt, it will become a slushy consistency, that spreads easily on the skin.

Apply all over face massage lightly in circular motion.  Leave on for 10-15 minutes.  I even leave it on for an hour or so, while I do all kinds of household chores and other work.  Rinse off with lots of tepid water and pat dry.  You can follow with a moisturizer for added dewiness, if you like.  For my normal to dry skin type, I usually don’t.

Enjoy smooth, supple skin!