Jason Opland

Lessons In Body Skin Care

Lessons In Body Skin Care

When it comes to skincare and our bodies, many of us tend to take an out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach. Our face and neck are generally more visible than the rest of us, so the beauty industry tends to focus there—and so do we. But skin on the body is often prone to the same issues as the face, and it benefits from regular attention. Here we provide the best advice on how to care for the skin underneath it all.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

We cannot emphasize it enough: Your body needs moisture as much as your face does. While this is a time-honored skincare truth, too many people neglect moisture because of lack of time or laziness. The oil glands on the body are far less dense, so when people skip moisturizer the skin becomes extremely dry, resulting in cracks and fissures. Moisturizing every single day after bathing is essential for maintaining the skin’s barrier function and protecting it from stressors.

We suggest cycling moisturizers by season (lighter for summer such as Environ's Multivitamin Body Moisturizer, heavier during the colder months for optimal product retention such as a combination of Environ Multivitamin Body Moisturizer and A, C & E Enhanced Oil) and zeroing in on those with ceramides, squalene, and botanically derived oils. Shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil are body-hydrating triumvirate. There have been clinical studies on shea butter that show improvements in wrinkles and hydration levels in the skin. Cocoa butter melts at body temperature, so it’s perfect for good penetration. Rubbing coconut oil all over the body not only hydrates and restores the lipid layer with omega-3 fatty acids, but also increases metabolism at the cellular level. And while it may seem obvious, the most common moisturizing mistake (even for those who are dutiful) is overlooking areas like the hands, feet, neck, and knees. For skin that needs additional TLC (that’s most of us in the winter months), there’s a new class of body serums and masks with more concentrated active ingredients. The body can benefit from these more intensive treatments, like body serums, which can improve the tone and texture of the skin just like face serums do.

Don't Forgo Exfoliation

Exfoliation has the same benefits for the face as for the body: glow and a smoother, more even texture. It also builds an ideal canvas for anything that follows. Ridding your skin of dead cells allows products to penetrate better. Unfortunately, it’s often forgotten. Exfoliating is the key to great skin and makes a huge difference in the way skin looks, but it’s also the most frequently skipped step in at-home body skincare routines. Using a scrub on the body increases collagen production, makes skin smooth, maintains elasticity, and keeps breakouts at bay. For sensitive skin types and areas (like the décolleté), ditch the more intense scrubs in favor of a chemical exfoliant, which will be far less abrasive. Go through the motions at least once, but no more than three times a week.

For professional full body exfoliation we recommend our Age Management Body Treatment. This treatment includes a gentle cleansing, lactic acid is applied to assist in exfoliating, smoothing, and clarifying the skin. This is followed by a soothing and effective massage with oils rich in Vitamin A, C, E and Beta-carotene which serve to nourish and intensively hydrate your skin. The prior exfoliation serves not only to remove dead skin cells and improve your skin’s complexion, but also to enhance penetration of the nutrient rich oils and your home-care products allowing both to work more effectively. A seaweed masque is then applied to help re-mineralize, tone and smooth the skin’s appearance. This luxurious renewal treatment provides intense hydration, while tightening, firming and smoothing to create younger looking, healthy skin. This powerful treatment is highly effective in addressing: the visible signs of photo-damage, aging, and lax skin however, if you're looking to further enhance it's benefits we recommend combining it with Full Body Light Therapy. The effects of Phototherapy and LLLT are photochemical. When the correct intensity and frequency are used, the light energy photons, generated by the LED light sources, are absorbed by selected chromophores in the tissue. This process stimulates mitochondrial and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) production; promoting blood circulation and tissue oxygenation, leading to a reduction in inflammation, increased lymphatic flow and cell proliferation, while also facilitating the creation and extension of the anti-aging enzymes ultimately resulting in skin rejuvenation that includes: a reduction in wrinkles, toning, tightening and texturing.

You can also easily DIY a body scrub. A combination of yogurt, brown sugar, oatmeal, and a few drops of avocado oil; or a version with 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1 cup coconut palm sugar, 1 tablespoon organic matcha powder, and 1 teaspoon organic honey are recommended at home body scrubs. Coconut oil hydrates and gets rid of inflammation, sugar exfoliates without drying like salt, and matcha’s high levels of polyphenols increase skin cell growth. The more collagen in your skin, the firmer it will be. We also recommend the complete Body Range by Environ Skincare, which is formulated with vitamins, antioxidants and moisturizers that work together to enhance your skin's appearance and assist in revealing your natural beauty.

If a professional sloughing treatment is in your budget, we also suggest an occasional full-body microdermabrasion. It’s so luxurious, but also very results-oriented. You get glowing soft skin and an hour of true relaxation.

A Bid For Body Brushing

This type of body exfoliation—which can and should be done on a daily basis—is also one of the oldest. Dry brushing, whereby a stiff, dry brush is swiped across the skin to activate blood flow, was embraced by ancient Egyptians and is a cornerstone of any solid Ayurvedic practice. Dry brushing is a favorite method of body exfoliation because it helps stimulate the lymphatic system, and it’s incredible as a cellulite treatment because it increases elasticity. Before you shower, start brushing at the tops of the feet, heading upward toward the heart. Spend extra time on areas that tend to be more stagnant, like the inner thighs, and don’t forget the backs of the arms and the back.

Addressing Specific Skin Issues

Although similar conditions may rear their head, there are significant differences between the skin on the face and the body. The facial skin is studded with adnexal structures, or tiny hair follicles, oil and sweat glands, and nerve endings. As you move away from the face, the density of these structures diminishes significantly so the type of skincare and frequency of use is different. While acne on the face is often treated with retinoids, these products can over dry when you treat blemishes on the body—usually the back and chest—and actually lead to more breakouts. Retinoids are a mainstay of acne treatment, but they can be very irritating on the body, so we usually recommend washes with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or tea tree oil. Both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide help kill acne-causing bacteria (the former, a beta-hydroxy acid, also exfoliates) while tea tree oil has mild antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which are key for acne treatment. Red Light Therapy is also highly beneficial in treating body acne, as is our Back Purifier Treatment in treating acne on the back.

We also like charcoal (specifically Joanna Vargas' Miracle Bar) for drawing out acne-causing bacteria from the pores, and recommend dabbing Environ's Sebu-Spot Blemish Gel, or apple cider vinegar on pimples (or applying ACV all over breakout-prone areas). Drinking green juice daily will also help oxygenate the skin, so it will be better able to rid itself of impurities. Because eczema—which manifests itself as dry, irritated, and itchy skin—is caused by disruptions to the skin barrier, it’s essential to treat it with products that restore barrier function and lock in moisture. Look for ingredients like ceramides, free fatty acids, and hyaluronic acids in emollients and avoid products with scents and dyes. Colloidal oatmeal (or finely ground oats) is another classic eczema remedy; chamomile and rosemary are also beneficial. Just cook one cup each of chamomile tea leaves and rosemary in a large pot of boiling water for 15 minutes, then strain and add to a bath to heal dry, sensitive skin.

Keratosis pilaris, or rough protein bumps that surface on the arms, thighs, and buttocks, are another common complaint. We prefer chemical exfoliants, which can smooth bumps by promoting cell turnover, or more natural remedies. Lactic acid acts as a mild chemical exfoliator, using a product like Environ's Derma-Lac Lotion, and/or adding two to three cups of milk to a regular bath can help. Or try making a toner from one part apple cider vinegar, which contains alpha hydroxy acids, and three parts water. Apply with a cotton ball.

Some Bath Wisdom

A bath's "me time" potential is well-known (and well-founded), but keep in mind some rules so your skin benefits as much as your psyche from all that soaking. First, regulate the temperature. Baths that are too hot can disrupt the natural balance of oils on the skin and cause dryness and itchiness. If your skin is red when you step out of the bath, it’s a sign that the water was too hot. For the most skin benefits, swap fancy fragranced bath salts and oils for natural ingredients. Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral compound made of magnesium and sulfate that helps replenish magnesium levels and ease pain, inflammation, and sore muscles. Essentials oils (like lavender and rose) are acceptable additions as long as they’re properly diluted in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. We're definitely fans of adding green tea to baths. If the skin feels stressed, dry, and dull, putting chamomile and green tea in your bathwater will calm and brighten it. Green tea is also great for spider veins because it’s an antioxidant and will reinforce the strength of your capillary walls. While many dermatologists suggest capping your bath time at 15 minutes to avoid dehydrating, if you're adding any of these constituents we encourage luxuriating it up to 45.

Before You Shave Or Deodorize

Shaving and traditional deodorants can pose problems for those prone to sensitive skin. To protect skin while shaving, we suggest letting warm water soften hair, prepping with an alcohol-free shaving cream or lotion, using a quality razor blade like the Billie (a 5 blade razor encased in 360° of charcoal shave soap to float over your skin and available at half the cost of comparable razor), and shaving with (rather than against) the grain. When choosing a deodorant, opt for one of the new-generation natural varieties free of aluminum or heavy fragrance, both of which can irritate your skin and cause redness and rashes. Discover great options at, A Guide To Natural Deodorants And Why You Should Switch.

Consider Waxing

Waxing is an effective treatment for the removal of hair that will leave your skin hair-free and smooth, and without scratchy regrowth or nasty rashes! The biggest advantage waxing has over all other types of temporary hair removal is that the hair takes considerably longer to grow back. Although the rate of re-growth can vary between each individual, typically no hair begins to reappear for over a week – a pleasant relief compared to the unsightly stubble which starts to emerge almost immediately after shaving.

Not only does wax remove the hair at the root but it also exfoliates the skin, providing ultra smooth, silky results. Potential side effects are relatively minimal with wax. We will advise you on after service care, including recommending products to ensure your results are hassle free and minimize ingrown hairs. We perform waxing hair removal services on all areas of the female body including the Brazilian wax.

Health & Beauty Tips

At PLEIJ Salon+Spa, we are committed to sharing health and beauty tips to enrich your life. Everyone deserves to live an empowered life and we want to help you get there.

10 Hair Related Questions And Answers That Might Surprise You

10 Hair Related Questions And Answers That Might Surprise You

For a lucky few, enviably long hair just happens. For the rest of us, it requires patience, effort and some very deliberate changes in our haircare routine. If went to short at your last salon appointment, or you've simply found yourself getting discouraged because your hair just isn't growing as long or as quickly as you'd like, don't reach for the hair extensions just yet.

Technically, on average, hair grows half an inch in a month—however, if monitoring the whereabouts of your ends has left you frustrated, then you’re in the right place.

Check out these pro tips to guide you (and your hair) in the right direction. And who better to counsel on how to grow your hair faster than a Columbus Ohio trichologist—that is someone who specializes in all matters of the scalp, including the science of the structure, function and diseases of the scalp and human hair? We spoke with Tiché Florence, PLEIJ Salon+Spa's owner and the salon's trichologist for her best tips on how to make your strands grow longer, faster, stronger.

Implement these recommendations and people will be calling your Rapunzel in no time.

1) Baby Shampoos...? Why and Should Adults Reach for Children's Haircare Products?

Baby shampoos are known to be exceptionally gentle in action so it is widely believed that these products take tender care of scalp and are free from irritating substances (synthetics, parabens and SLS). As such, consumers commonly reach for baby shampoos after overexerting either their hair or scalp. While it's true that children's shampoos display delicate action and cleanse gently, these products aren't designed to handle the needs of adult hair and aren't devoid of flaws.

Many adult shampoos contain an ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is a cleansing agent that can dry out your hair and strip color from color treated hair. Sulfates also tend to be pretty irritating to the skin and can over-strip the skin of oils, which can leave it dry and prone to allergic reactions. They can also irritate your eyes. Baby shampoos use amphoteric surfectants, a milder cleansing agent which is less harsh than traditional sulfates and clean without causing eye irritation. Amphoteric surfactants do not foam as well as sulfates and as a result they're not as good at removing oil and product buildup. While this doesn't tend to be a problem for babies, if you're an adult using baby shampoo you may have to lather, rinse and repeat (particularly if you use lots of styling products).

Furthermore, some baby shampoos contain a preservative called quaternium-15, which when used releases formaldehyde, which can cause skin irritation. To be fair, the majority of traditional adult shampoos also contain harmful chemicals. When shopping for baby shampoo -- or any shampoo for that matter -- read the label. Look for ingredients that contain the letters "-eth," some of which include polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, polyoxynolethylene, polyethylene and polyethylene glycol -- which may also be labeled "PEG."

If you're looking to go for gentle hair care, limit comedogenic and heavy hair styling products. Also, try reaching for a stronger shampoo of highly cleansing features once a week. Another good solution is applying scalp peeling and combine it with hair oil treatment. After all, natural oils know how to leave scalp perfectly clean and restore its balance

2) Is It Possible to Repair Split Ends?

Split ends stand in the way of great hair, and we're all susceptible to them. No matter the color, length, or texture of your hair, split ends can happen. When left untreated, they make hair dull, dry, tangled, and generally uncute.

Split ends occur when the protective outer layer of your hair, the cuticle, is damaged and worn away by heat styling, chemical processing, and everyday wear and tear. This leaves the inner core of proteins that make up your hair exposed, making them vulnerable to splitting and breakage.

When a piece of hair "splits," it’s rarely a clean, even break. If you put a split end under a microscope, it looks like a piece of fractured wood, with many jagged ridges and edges.

When it comes to fixing split ends, you CANNOT repair the damage that’s been done and get back to untouched, virgin hair. Furthermore, once the hair has split it often can progress further up the hair shaft. The only real cure for split ends is trimming them off, a process that sacrifices length, or a technique called hair dusting. Hair dusting allows you to get rid of only the damaged hair tips by snipping only the very bottom of each hair stand. Your stylist will smooth your hair out allowing the damaged hairs to pop up. Think of it in terms of removing fuzz from clothes.

If you haven't heard of this technique there's a reason why your hairstylist hasn't recommended it... it's really time consuming. In fact, it's almost like a second haircut after your stands are shaped and trimmed.

To achieve healthier hair, without going shorter, ask your hairstylist for a "dusting — not a trim.

But, with continued care and maintenance, you can keep your damaged hair looking and feeling as healthy as possible.

Use a weekly pre-shampoo conditioning treatment:
This will help to strengthen your ends and prevent splits from forming.

There are a ton of great conditioners that help with preventing split ends and repairing damaged hair, but one of our favorites is MELU by Davines.

MELU contains Villalba lentil seeds, which are rich in serine and glutamic acids, which just happen to be the most abundant amino acids in keratin. This makes it ideal for bonding ends back together, nourishing, and strengthening hair in the long run.

Purchase a gentle hairbrush:
"Your brush, being a tool you use every day, is very important. Avoid boar bristle and metal pronged brushes, as these can tear into the hair cuticle and result in split ends. Regardless of hair texture, choose a brush with rounded plastic prongs and a vented, cushioned base. These are gentle on both your hair and scalp. You can cater the size of your brush to the length and thickness of your strands. For instance, if you have long and coarse hair, pick a brush with a larger surface area."

Always brush correctly:
Start at your ends and gradually and gently work your way up. Starting at the top can snap through tangles, splitting strands.

Heat Style Responsibly:
Even when you’re being more conscious of preventing splits, you’re probably not going to stop doing the one thing that we all know causes them: heat styling. We get it! Since you can’t put down your styling tools we recommend using products that protect the hair from heat damage such as MELU Hair Shield and Invisible Serum, as well as tools that are gentler on your hair like the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, and any of the Styling Tools from ghd.

3) Is It True It's Better Not to Use Chemical Treatments During Pregnancy?

Although fairly limited, most research indicates the chemicals found in both semi-permanent and permanent dyes are not highly toxic and are safe to use during pregnancy. In addition, only small amounts of hair dye may be absorbed by the skin, leaving little that would be able to reach the fetus.

As such, this small amount is not considered harmful to the fetus. The same is considered true while breastfeeding. Although no data is available on women receiving hair treatments while breastfeeding, it is known that little of the chemicals would actually be absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, the chance of them entering the milk and posing a risk to an infant would be unlikely.

However, if you are hesitant to use regular hair dyes during pregnancy, there are some safer alternatives to consider. For example, having highlights put in your hair decreases any risk as the dye is only placed on strands of your hair and does not touch the scalp.

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that pregnancy itself can naturally change the hair’s texture. Pregnancy may also cause your hair to react differently to perming or coloring. It is an undisputed fact that, thanks to hormones, your hair, skin, and nails change drastically during pregnancy. You may get a perm only to realize that your hair is not reacting the same as it had in the past. Or your hair may not take color as well as it did before. So perhaps more than worrying about the chemicals, you might be worried about the way you will look after your hair treatments. There are many women who have been getting perms or hair color all their life, only to find out the hard way that their pregnancy hair didn't tolerate the procedures.

One option of course, is to find a professional hairstylist and a salon that uses only plant base hair coloring. Focus only on using semi-permanent hair coloring vs permanent treatments, these options are obviously not as long lasting, but serve as a temporary alternative allowing you to maintain your hair while you are pregnant.

4) Will Chlorine Used to Sanitize Swimming Pools Make My Hair Turn... Green?

I’m sure you’ve heard it before – swimming pools can turn blonde hair green (darker hair can also develop a green tint to it also). While most people are under the false impression that chlorine is to blame., the truth is, chlorine is not the main culprit, but it’s a sidekick.  

It's actually not the chlorine that directly causes the color shift, but rather the effect is due to high concentrations of copper compounds found in the pool water, particularly those filled with well water. Copper can also enter pool water from certain copper-based algaecides.

The copper in the water is oxidized by chlorine, which then binds to the proteins in the hair strands. The metal will produce a green tint in the hair. Simple chemistry. Saltwater pools are not exempt as they contain chlorine as well. Instead of adding chlorine manually with tablets or powder, salt is added to the water, which runs through an electrically charged generator, turning the salt into chlorine. If you have copper in the water, and the chlorine created by the salt oxidizes it, it may turn your hair green just like a regular chlorine swimming pool. Furthermore, this effect isn't isolated to pools, and high levels of copper in tap water which also contains chlorine can also turn hair green.

Luckily, this damage is completely reversible. The solution to remove heavy metal and chemical buildup in your hair caused by hard water, swimming pools, and water softeners and the resulting greenish brassy hue is to get a Malibu Hair Treatment.

A Malibu Hair Treatment is usually done at a salon, although there are also at-home products like Malibu shampoos, conditioners and hair treatments. The best way to get the most effective Malibu treatment, is by visiting a stylist.

This treatment is also great for prepping hair for color, perms and relaxers. Think of each strand of hair as a small hallway. The more people you shove into the hallway, the less room there will be, and eventually, you will run out of space. When there is buildup in the hair, minerals and impurities absorb into the strands, saturating them. Therefore, when hair color or perms are applied to the hair, there just isn’t any room for the chemicals to absorb into it.

The Malibu Hair Treatment will often be applied right before professional hair coloring, perming or relaxing. Because it removes buildup, it will make room for these processes.

5) Is There Really a Difference Between Professional Salon Products vs. Store Bought?

Everyone at one point or another has thought to themselves—“ why spend more on a professional hair care product?  Is it really worth it?  Is it going to make that big of a difference in my hair?” The answer, YES.

Between the extensive training and our hands-on, day-to-day experiences, we understand that there’s a substantial difference between hair products. Here are some of the main differences, as well as client benefits, associated with salon brands versus store brands.

Better Ingredients, Better Products

Store brands often list many of the same ingredients contained in salon products, but they are far less concentrated. The ingredient list on the back of the store brands will often include the most desirable ingredients toward the end of the list. Simply put -- it’s in there, but not much of it. The other glaring difference often seen in store brands is the first ingredient which, in many cases, is water. By contrast, highly concentrated salon formulas last far longer, which means the cost differential isn’t nearly as wide as they may have initially believed.

Next... surfactants. Those detergents which generate lather are listed using names that can sound similar yet function very differently on the hair. For example, salon brands often contain sodium laureth sulfate which produces less lather but is much gentler on the hair. The less expensive store brands, tend to contain sodium laurel sulfate (or ammonium laurel sulfate), a far more abrasive option that robs hair of moisture and essential nutrients and can strip the hair of color applications. The latter options do, however, generate more lather which can lead consumers to think the product is doing a superior job of cleansing their hair.

Finally... the other “stuff.” A review of the ingredients in many popular store brands will quickly reveal the widespread use of harmful agents such as alcohol and ammonia which are acidic and damage the hair overtime. Some of these store brands have also begun using inferior grade waxing agents which tend to build up over time, thereby reducing the effectiveness of color treatments. What often happens, after extended use, is consumers begin to notice their hair becoming lackluster and dry, causing them to return to the store to find “hydrating” products to counteract the damage. By contrast, professional salon products include hair and scalp nourishing vitamins, minerals and healthy oils – all designed to keep the hair in optimal pH and condition.

Maintaining Color Treated Hair

For those with color treated hair, the difference in the store and salon brands may be even more pronounced. Of course, color treatments look best on hair that is healthy, shiny and well-hydrated – all of which are promoted by the ingredients found in salon products. Store products create buildup that prevents the color from penetrating the hair properly. Without that, the color simply does not last as long, forcing them to schedule color treatments more frequently.

Even those who occasionally use store products insist that salon products can cost less in the long run (because the amounts used may be less), help hair maintain shine and luster in the long run (as opposed to the short run), and have a long history of working better for those who use them consistently, correctly and in conjunction with other hair care practices/guidelines.

Furthermore, we guarantee both our chemical and color services when the products and services have been purchased and performed solely from/by Pleij Salon staff. If you choose to have chemical and/or color services done by Pleij Salon, it is imperative that you follow the at-home care regimen that is recommended to you by your stylist(s). We use a complete hair color and hair care system which works hand in hand to compliment and support one another. If a store-bought product (professional or not) is used at home after the service is performed we do not guarantee the results of the service.

While the initial outlay may be greater, so too, is the payoff – both in the condition and feel of the hair and in how the client feels while presenting their best selves to the world. To borrow from another phrase we all know well: ‘When you look good, you feel good.’

6) Does Sun Exposure Damage Hair?

We all know that excessive sun exposure can damage your skin. But did you know the sun can also damage your hair?

Exposing your hair to prolonged sun exposure, UVA and UVB rays can damage the outside cover of the hair strand, called the cuticle.

Signs of sun damage to your hair include discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning and frizziness. Damaged hair has a dry look and feel. Damaged hair also is unmanageable and won’t hold a curl or style. Usually, damaged hair dries quickly.

Your hair is particularly vulnerable sun damage if it’s fine or light-colored. You’re also more at risk for hair damage from the sun if you are African-American due to the flat and coiled shape of the hair

When you plan to spend long hours in the sun, reach for a hat that will shield your scalp and hair roots. Apply hair products with UV protection, which natural oils offer. During summer, keep exposing your hair to oil treatment and apply oils to the strands a few times a day. They won't only protect your hair against the sun but also against salty water. Spray conditioners are another good idea to make use of, especially those which don't have to be risen off and are easy to apply. Among them you can surely find bi-phase conditioners composed of silicon and oil phase.

7) Do Hair Supplements Work?

You've heard of hair growth supplements that claim to give you thick, voluminous, lustrous locks, but do these products actually work?  Whether your hair is thinning or you just want to accelerate the process, hair-growth supplements are a well-known "treatment."

To work properly and optimally, our bodies requires a continuous supply of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. For example, vitamins B6, B12 and folate may be helpful for hair growth as they generate red blood cells which carry oxygen to all of the body's cells, including hair cells. Iron also plays an important role in carrying oxygen to cells and women tend to experience deficiencies and anemia at a far greater rate than men. Biotin is a coenzyme that reacts with enzymes to make amino acids, the building blocks of proteins such as keratin, the protein hair is made out of. Eating foods or supplements which contain omega-3 fatty acids can help dry, damaged hair by adding luster, elasticity, and shine to dull locks. While, foods rich in protein serve to strengthen your hair, key to having long, lush strands.

For those with no clear deficiencies, experts say there's no good evidence that supplements can make a difference. Unfortunately most of us are nutritionally deficient this as a result of; dieting, poor nutrition, or intense stress. And when you’re not properly nourishing your body, and/or you're stressed out, your body will shut down your hair growth first and redirect nutrients and energy to the organs that need it most. While people who take antibiotics long-term or use antiseizure drugs, for instance, are more likely to be biotin-deficient. An over- or underactive thyroid may cause hair loss and dry strands. Iron-deficiency anemia can also lead to thinning hair and hair loss. If you’re deficient in fatty acids, this can impact your oil glands, which can cause your hair to look dull and dry. To enjoy healthy hair, that is stronger, thicker and fuller its advised to nourish it from the inside and outside.

The only way to know for certain if your body is deficient is to have your levels tested by a doctor (a service we offer through our Nourish, Balance, Thrive Program), but if you’re, on a diet, or simply not eating a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and healthy meats, while also overtraining in the gym, mourning a death in the family, or facing some other significant stressor, there’s a very good chance you’re lacking some nutrients.

If you’ve ever experienced a severe bout of physical or emotional stress, you might have noticed a sudden shedding of your hair a few months after. This is a delayed reaction to the stressor, and one that usually occurs three months later.

Stress and cortisol have a large impact on hair, and the ability to shift hair from growth cycle into resting phase which contributes to fall out and hair thinning. The anecdote? Adaptogens. Adaptagens help to reduce stress and rebalance cortisol level, allowing hair follicles to stay in their growth phase longer.

While hair supplements do make sense, they should be supported with complimentary haircare products and professional services which will strengthen and protect hair, thereby enhancing the growth and quality of your new hair, while also treating your existing strands. You see while vitamins will help the new hair that you’re growing, hair grows only half an inch a month, and thus it will take 6 to 7 years of taking supplements before your new, healthy hair even reaches your shoulders.

If thinning hair is your issue, it's important to figure out why hair loss is happening before choosing a path: Are you losing hair because of changing hormones? Do you have a dermatologic or medical condition causing discrete bald patches? Or have you over-processed to the point where your fried locks are brittle, breaking, and simply falling out? Better understanding the reason for your hair loss or thinning is important in determining what products might be helpful. Talk with your doctor or a Trichologist / Hair Restoration Specialist about the possible causes of your hair loss to determine which treatment suits your needs.

Health & Beauty Tips

At PLEIJ Salon+Spa, we are committed to sharing health and beauty tips to enrich your life. Everyone deserves to live an empowered life and we want to help you get there.

7 Foods That Can Cause Acne
Acne is a common skin condition that affects nearly 10% of the world’s population (1). Many factors contribute to the development of acne, including sebum and keratin production, acne-causing bacteria, hormones, blocked pores and inflammation (2). While the link between diet and acne has been a bit controversial, recent research has demonstrated that diet can play a significant role in acne development (3). This article will review 7 foods that can cause acne and discuss why the quality of your diet is important.
1. Refined Grains and Sugars
People with acne tend to consume more refined carbohydrates than people with little or no acne (4, 5). Foods rich in refined carbohydrates include:
  • Bread, crackers, cereal or desserts made with white flour
  • Pasta made with white flour
  • White potatoes and foods made with them (french fries, potato chips, etc.)
  • White rice and rice noodles
  • Sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Sweeteners like cane sugar, maple syrup, honey or agave
One study found that people who frequently consumed added sugars had a 30% greater risk of developing acne, while those who regularly ate pastries and cakes had a 20% greater risk (6). This increased risk may be explained by the effects refined carbohydrates have on blood sugar and insulin levels. Refined carbohydrates are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which rapidly raises blood sugar levels. When blood sugars rise, the body responds by raising insulin levels to help shuttle these sugars out of the bloodstream and into your cells. While it's widely known that high blood sugar damages nerves, blood vessels and organs, setting the stage for dangerous complications, what's perhaps not as well known are the effects of elevated insulin levels and the role this plays in acne. Insulin makes androgen hormones more active and increases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This contributes to acne development by making skin cells grow more quickly and by boosting sebum production (7, 8, 9). Low-glycemic diets in the other hand encourage stable blood sugars and reduced insulin levels and are associated with reduced acne severity (10, 11, 12). While the research on this topic is promising, more is needed to further understand how refined carbohydrates contribute to acne.
2. Dairy Products
Many studies have found a link between milk products and acne severity in teenagers (13, 14, 15, 16). Two studies also found that young adults who regularly consumed milk or ice cream were four times more likely to suffer from acne (17, 18). It is not yet clear how milk may contribute to the formation of acne, but there are several proposed theories. Milk is known to increase insulin levels, independent of its effects on blood sugar, which may worsen acne severity (19, 20, 21). Cow’s milk also contains amino acids that stimulate the liver to produce more IGF-1, which has been linked to the development of acne (22, 23, 24). In addition, most commercial milk comes from pregnant cows, and thus contains other hormones that are also known to trigger the production of sebum. Furthermore, milk has growth hormones that can encourage the overgrowth of skin cells, potentially blocking pores. In 2005, researchers studied data from the famous Nurses Health Study II, and found that participants who drank more milk as teens had much higher rates of severe acne than those who had little or no milk as teens. More research is needed to determine if there is a specific amount or type of dairy that may aggravate acne, in the mean time we'd recommend alternatives such as almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk.
3. Fast Food
Acne is strongly associated with eating a Western-style diet rich in calories, fat and refined carbohydrates (25, 26). Fast food items, such as burgers, chicken nuggets, pizza, hot dogs, french fries, sodas and milkshakes, are mainstays of a typical Western diet and may increase acne risk. One study of over 5,000 Chinese teenagers and young adults found that high-fat diets were associated with a 43% increased risk of developing acne. Regularly eating fast food increased the risk by 17% (27). A separate study of 2,300 Turkish men found that frequently eating burgers or sausages was linked to a 24% increased risk of developing acne (6). It is unclear why eating fast food may increase the risk of developing acne, but some researchers propose that it may affect gene expression and alter hormone levels in a way that promotes acne development (28, 29, 30). However, it is important to note that most of the research on fast food and acne has used self-reported data. This type of research only shows patterns of dietary habits and acne risk and does not prove that fast food causes acne. Thus, more research is needed.
4. Foods Rich in Omega-6 Fats
Diets containing large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, like the typical Western diet, have been linked to increased levels of inflammation and acne (7, 31). This may be because Western diets contain large amounts of corn and soy oils, which are rich in omega-6 fats, and few foods that contain omega-3 fats, like fish and walnuts (32, 33). This imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids pushes the body into an inflammatory state, which may worsen acne severity (34, 35). Conversely, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids may reduce levels of inflammation and has been found to reduce acne severity (36). While the links between omega-6 fatty acids and acne are promising, there have been no randomized controlled studies on this topic, and more research is needed. 5. Chocolate Chocolate has been a suspected acne trigger since the 1920s, but so far, no consensus has been reached (37). Several informal surveys have linked eating chocolate with an increased risk of developing acne, but this is not enough to prove that chocolate causes acne (38, 39). A more recent study found that acne-prone males who consumed 25 grams of 99% dark chocolate daily had an increased number of acne lesions after just two weeks (40). Another study found that males who were given capsules of 100% cocoa powder daily had significantly more acne lesions after one week compared to those given a placebo (41). Exactly why chocolate might increase acne is unclear, although one study found that eating chocolate increased the reactivity of the immune system to acne-causing bacteria, which may help explain these findings (42). While recent research supports a link between chocolate consumption and acne, it remains unclear whether chocolate actually causes acne. 6. Whey Protein Powder Whey protein is a popular dietary supplement (43, 44). It is a rich source of the amino acids leucine and glutamine. These amino acids make skin cells grow and divide more quickly, which may contribute to the formation of acne (45, 46). The amino acids in whey protein can also stimulate the body to produce higher levels of insulin, which has been linked to the development of acne (47, 48, 49). Several case studies have reported a link between whey protein consumption and acne in male athletes (50, 51, 52). Another study found a direct correlation between acne severity and the number of days on whey protein supplements (53). These studies support a link between whey protein and acne, but much more research is needed to determine whether whey protein causes acne. In the meantime those with acne who wish to supplement their protein consumption are encouraged to consider whey alternatives such as collagen protein. 7. Foods You’re Sensitive To It has been proposed that acne is, at its root, an inflammatory disease (54, 55). This is supported by the fact that anti-inflammatory drugs, like corticosteroids, are effective treatments for severe acne and that people with acne have elevated levels of inflammatory molecules in their blood (56, 57, 58). One way that food may contribute to inflammation is through food sensitivities, also known as delayed hypersensitivity reactions (59). Food sensitivities occur when your immune system mistakenly identifies food as a threat and launches an immune attack against it (60). This results in high levels of pro-inflammatory molecules circulating throughout the body, which may aggravate acne (61). Since there are countless foods that your immune system could react to, the best way to figure out your unique triggers is by completing an elimination diet under the supervision of a registered dietitian or nutrition specialist. Elimination diets work by temporarily restricting the number of foods in your diet in order to eliminate triggers and achieve symptom relief, then systematically adding foods back while tracking your symptoms and looking for patterns. Food sensitivity testing, such as Mediator Release Testing (MRT), can help determine which foods lead to immune-related inflammation and provide a clearer starting point for your elimination diet (62). While there appears to be a link between inflammation and acne, no studies have directly investigated the specific role of food sensitivities in its development. This remains a promising area of research to help better understand how food, the immune system and inflammation affect acne development (63). What to Eat Instead While the foods discussed above may contribute to the development of acne, there are other foods and nutrients that may help keep your skin clear. These include:
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, and regular consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of developing acne (64, 65, 66).
  • Probiotics: Probiotics promote a healthy gut and balanced microbiome, which is linked to reduced inflammation and a lower risk of acne development (67, 68, 69, 70).
  • Green tea: Green tea contains polyphenols that are associated with reduced inflammation and lowered sebum production. Green tea extracts have been found to reduce acne severity when applied to the skin (71, 72, 73, 74).
  • Turmeric: Turmeric contains the anti-inflammatory polyphenol curcumin, which can help regulate blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity and inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria, which may reduce acne (75, 76).
  • Vitamins A, D, E and zinc: These nutrients play crucial roles in skin and immune health and may help prevent acne (77, 78, 79).
  • Paleolithic-style diets: Paleo diets are rich in lean meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts and low in grains, dairy and legumes. They have been associated with lower blood sugar and insulin levels (80).
  • Mediterranean-style diets: A Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grain, legumes, fish and olive oil and low in dairy and saturated fats. It has also been linked to reduced acne severity (81).
In short, consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, green tea, fruits and vegetables may be protective against the development of acne. Vitamins A, D and E, as well as zinc, may also help prevent acne. The Bottom Line While research has linked certain foods to an increased risk of developing acne, it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind. Overall dietary patterns are likely to have a larger impact on skin health than eating — or not eating — any one particular food. It is probably not necessary to completely avoid all the foods that have been linked to acne but rather consume them in balance with the other nutrient-dense foods discussed above. The research on diet and acne is not strong enough to make specific dietary recommendations at this time, but future research is promising. In the meantime, it may be beneficial to keep a food log to look for patterns between the foods you are eating and the health of your skin. You can also work with our estheticians and if needed a registered dietitian for more personalized advice.
Everything You Need To Know About CBD, THC & The Endocannabinoid System

Everything You Need To Know About CBD, THC & The Endocannabinoid System

Given the recent widespread increase in medical cannabis legalization across the US, it’s certainly no surprise that CBD has seen a meteoric rise in both use and popularity over the last few years. And of course, given the fact that a few of its success stories have been covered by the likes of CNN, Forbes, and USA Today, the attention of millions have started to seriously turn onto this all-natural, 100% plant-based therapy.

Have you noticed the new trend of hemp-based products to hit the market recently? Extracts from the cannabis plant can now be found in skin care products, make-up, medicinal products, drinks in cafes, infused flavored water, infused food products, and the list goes on and on. If you’ve been wondering exactly how cannabis extracts can be used in these applications, how it’s legal, and what the health benefits are, then keep reading as we explore it all.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in the flower of cannabis that contains therapeutic properties. CBD is a safe, non-addictive substance and is one of more than a hundred ‘phytocannabinoids’ found in a cannabis plant.

Health Benefits of Using CBD

The effects of CBD are 100% therapeutic in nature – it produces no psychoactive or intoxicating effects whatsoever.

Some of the most common conditions that people use CBD oil for are chronic pain, anxiety, depression, arthritis, and insomnia. However, CBD interacts on a cellular level with essentially every system in the human body, give it the potential to be an all-encompassing therapy for any range of medical issues. In fact, in the more than 20,000 published scientific studies involving cannabinoids (cited below in an article released by NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), it has been documented that CBD oil may have potential to help treat:

  • Cancer-related symptoms
  • Pain relief
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Supporting bone and heart health
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Gut disorders
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Neuropathy
  • Skin disease
  • Seizures / Epilepsy
  • Spasticity / Muscle spasms
  • Fibromyalgia


And this is by no means a complete list – like we mentioned earlier, the simple fact that CBD oil interacts with endocannabinoids and their receptors in every cell and tissue type in the body, truly does give it the potential to be an all-encompassing therapy for any range of medical issues.

What is The Difference Between CBD & THC?

So now that you understand what CBD is, let's talk about THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short, is the compound that causes the high that cannabis. THC can be used in smaller doses for medicinal purposes, but hemp only contains trace levels of THC - so you’re not going to get high from your new face cream!

Both CBD & THC carry significant therapeutic attributes, but they work in different ways, especially when sending different receptors to the brain and body. THC isn’t fully legalized everywhere, but thankfully CBD products are becoming more and more widely available.

Will CBD Oil Get You High?

The short answer is no but instead can provide relief for conditions like chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, inflammation, and depression and has even been found to carry anti-cancer properties.

Studies have also found that CBD products to an effective treatment for seizures and are used by patients with epilepsy.

In December 2017, the World Health Organization declared in a report that cannabidiol (CBD) should not be internationally scheduled as a controlled substance and that in its pure state, cannabidiol does not appear to cause harm or cause abuse potential.

The Endocannabinoid System

In order to understand how CBD works in the body to produce its therapeutic effects, one must first have a general knowledge of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.

CBD impacts our bodies in it's many different ways, through the regulation the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is essentially is the human body's very own "internal" cannabis system. That's correct, our bodies endogenously manufacture active compounds which are virtually identical to those found in CBD. Research has found that the endocannabinoid system is the largest neurotransmitter system in the human body and one which plays a vital role in regulating homeostasis through a range of physiological processes that affect our everyday life.

In fact, the naturally-occurring neurotransmitters and receptors that make up the ECS are so widespread throughout the body that doctors have labeled it as perhaps the most “central component of the health and healing of every human being.” The only reason we haven’t heard much about it over the years is because it’s only recently been discovered – in the 1990’s to be exact, by famous Israeli scientist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam.

On a therapeutic level, CBD works by interacting with ECS receptors in the body’s various cell, organ, and tissue systems. And since its receptors are found literally all throughout the body, it makes sense that cannabis – and CBD oil in particular – has the ability to effectively treat any range of medical challenges.

From our mood, sleep and energy levels, intestinal fortitude, immune system function, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, pain threshold, stress, appetite and hunger, apoptosis (programmed cell death), the ECS affects them all.

The three main components of the endocannabinoid system are cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes.

Cannabinoid Receptors
Cannabinoid receptors lie on cell surfaces throughout the body and transmit information about changing conditions to the cell’s inside, which sparks a cellular response. The two major cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. They are not the only cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, but they were the first ones to be discovered and are the most widely researched.

CB1 receptors are predominately found in the brain and central nervous system, and to a lesser extent in other tissues. THC binds to these receptors, which causes users to experience the high associated with this compound.

CB2 receptors on the other hand, are abundantly found outside of the nervous system and in the peripheral organs, especially in the immune system. Both of these receptors can be found throughout the body.

Endocannabinoids are endogenous cannabinoids that bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors, similar to the way that plant cannabinoids do. These cannabinoids are produced naturally by cells in the human body and help regulate many biological functions.

Metabolic Enzymes
Metabolic enzymes perform various cellular functions that are vital for homeostasis. When working with the endocannabinoid system, metabolic enzymes get rid of endocannabinoids after they have been used. FAAH is an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, while MAGL breaks down 2-AG.

These enzymes ensure that endocannabinoids are only used when they are needed, but not after they have been used. This allows endocannabinoids to be distinguished from other molecular signals in the body, such as classical neurotransmitters or hormones that remain for later use.

The three main components of the endocannabinoid system can be found inside almost every major system of the human body. When something brings a cell outside of its “middle range”, the body relies upon these components to get the system working properly, thus bringing back homeostasis.

So when the endocannabinoid system stops functioning properly, what happens next? Scientific research has found that the result of a chronically deficient or overactive endocannabinoid system can be linked to pathological conditions.

Including CBD as part of a treatment plan to monitor a deficient or overactive endocannabinoid system has been linked to regulating a poor endocannabinoid system and has been known to slow - or in some cases stop - disease progression.

Is It Safe to Take CBD?

One of the main draws to using CBD over other pharmaceutical (or even over-the-counter) drugs, is that it has shown to be extremely safe in terms of its almost complete lack of side effects.

In fact, just last year (2017) the World Health Organization issued a massive statement to governments all over the world, essentially proclaiming its effectiveness as a medicine and the fact that it is not associated with any adverse side effects. Here is one of the official statements that was released at the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence in November 2017:

| “…[based on evidence from studies, it has been determined that CBD oil] is safe, well tolerated, and not associated with any significant adverse public health effects.”

Moreover, WHO went on to say that the active cannabis compound is “not associated with abuse potential, does not induce physical dependence, [and is] is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”

In short, to answer the question of “is it safe to take CBD oil,” the answer is a resounding YES.

How to Use CBD?

CBD products can come in many forms and are an easy addition to your current health routine. Once the CBD compound has been extracted from a cannabis plant, it is then packaged in the form of a concentrated oil or cream for a range of applications. CBD can be found in pharmaceutical products, beauty creams, shampoos, oils, make-up, food and candy, vaping products, flavored water, and can even be purchased as an all-purpose palliative for your furry four-legged friends who may suffer from anxiety.

How CBD should be used depends largely on what it’s being used for. We suggest talking with your health practitioner before using CBD oil.

Types of CBD Products

  • Oils: CBD oils are the most potent and unprocessed form of cannabidiol. The oil is removed directly from the flowers, stalks, and seeds of the plant during the extraction process.
  • Tinctures: A tincture is usually extracted with alcohol or another solvent.
  • Concentrates: A stronger dosage of CBD.
  • Capsules: Typically a capsule will contain 10-25 milligrams of CBD and can be taken with water.
  • Topical: More and more topical products are popping up in the market in the form of lotions, salves,  and balms. These can benefit the skin, joints, and muscles, working once absorbed by the skin.
  • Edibles: Also becoming more popular, although difficult to measure exactly how much you are getting. Edibles come in the form of chocolate, coffee, baked goods, gummies, and more.
  • Powders: Powders are another way to ingest internally and can be added to water, juice, teas, or smoothies. Be sure to do research on how to look for the highest quality powder.
  • Vape Oils: A vape pen can be used though this requires heating which can have an effect on the CBD oil.
  • Sprays: Sprays usually contain a lower dosage but can be another way to ingest internally.


Where Can I Get CBD Oil?

Though a quick search for CBD products on Amazon serves up more than 3,000 results for expensive tinctures, fancy lotions and overpriced bottles of gummy bears, Amazon’s selling guidelines prohibit the sale of CBD and products containing cannabidiol.

That means most of those products that come up on Amazon when you search “CBD” probably aren’t the real deal. Instead, they’re most likely made of hemp oil, sometimes called hemp seed oil, which is extracted by cold pressing hemp seeds, so it doesn’t contain THC and contains very little CBD, generally.

On the other hand, most real and authentic CBD products don’t come cheap, and there’s a scientific reason why.

Because the CBD industry is still fairly young, it’s important to do your homework and find products that are truly pure. Price is often a marker of purity; if you find a CBD oil claiming 100-milligram potency for under $40, chances are that the CBD is not pure and cannot be sold throughout the country.

But below you will find a couple of CBD product recommendations. We will be adding to this list as local laws and this new industry evolves.

Hemp CBD VESIsorb Capsules

If you're new to CBD and aren't sure where to start, enjoy the ease of adding Pure Encapsulations Hemp Extract CBD VESIsorb Capsules to your supplement routine with the convenience of a capsule. Their Hemp Plus capsules contain high-potency, solvent-free cannabidiol (CBD) with a patented delivery system for enhanced absorption. Broad spectrum product containing 10+ phytocannabinoids, including 25 mg CBD per capsule, 10-12mg beta-caryophyllene (BCP), and other terpenes and help provide support for normal, everyday stresses* and recovery from exercise*. $79.70

Hemp CBD Oil

Metagenics Hemp CBD Oil is an organic, broad-spectrum hemp extract sourced from aerial plant parts (stalk, stems, seeds, and flower) that consists of naturally occurring phytocannabinoids and terpenes, which have been shown to support body function and general health.*. $49.95

Seventh Sense CBD Muscle Balm

Seventh Sense CBD Muscle Balm is infused with a potent blend of menthol, peppermint, ginger, comfrey, camphor and 100% hemp-derived CBD to provide soothing, cooling comfort where your sore muscles need it most. The ultra-effective formula penetrates deeply to deliver instant relief you have to feel to believe. Start spreading the word. $19.50

Seventh Son CBD Foot Cream

Step into your best self with Seventh Sense CBD Foot Therapy, made to relieve tired feet and soothe dry, cracked skin. Infused with ginger, peppermint, menthol and 100% hemp-derived CBD, this luxuriously soothing formula eases aching muscles with cooling comfort, so you can continue on, wherever the path takes you. $19.50

29 states in the U.S. have legalized the medical use of Marijuana and 44 states legally allow usage of CBD Oil and none intoxicating hemp oils (those with THC counts of less than .3%). The law differs from state to state and country to country so it’s best to do some research for your area. For now, Ohio only allows true CBD Oils, that is those with contents  higher than .3% to be sold through licensed dispensaries.

Locally, dispensaries will sell medical marijuana plant material for vaping, and in oil, tinctures, lotions, patches, and edibles. Ohio’s law prohibits smoking marijuana or growing it at home. Patients with one of 21 qualifying medical conditions can buy and use medical marijuana after registering through a certified marijuana doctor in Ohio.

Provisionary dispensary locations in Columbus, OH include Terrasana; Greenleaf Apothecaries, 111 Vine St.; 127 OH, 1361 Georgesville Road; Harvest of Ohio, 2950 N. High St.; and Verdant Creations, which will be on Cassady Avenue.

Check Where You Source From

With the boom of CBD products, it’s no wonder that some are taking the chance to capitalize and get involved in this growing business so it is more important than ever to do your research on what you are buying and where it is coming from.

Don’t be confused by hemp seed oil and true CBD oil. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant, it won’t have the same benefits of a CBD Oil. Hemp oil has been available and legal for years, and although a great oil for cooking and your skin, the cannabinoids found in hemp oil are quite low - again close to 0% and less than .3%.

Be sure to read the labels and find out the total milligrams of CBD in the entire product vs. how many milligrams in a standard recommended dose of that product. All products will vary and it will also depend on what your individual goal is.

You will also want to check the CBD and THC ratio. Some products will have microdoses of THC but if you are looking for a product that is strictly CBD, you will want to look out for this when choosing a product.

Be a savvy buyer and ask questions! If you’re looking for a high-quality CBD oil, make sure you are buying full-spectrum hemp extract that contains the beneficial cannabinoids.

With America moving fast into the future of medicinal and wellbeing use of cannabis, we can’t wait to see other countries follow suit. We’ll continue to watch this trend unfold and share more information.

We would love to hear about your personal experiences with CBD and how you incorporate it into your daily health and wellbeing routines. Share in the comments below.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Peptide Therapy – What Is BPC-157?

Peptide Therapy - What Is BPC-157?

BPC157 is a peptide that has unique regenerative properties, from increasing collagen synthesis, reducing inflammation, promoting healing and tissue regeneration, protecting organs from toxins and damage, may imporve depression and anxiety, and it may balance blood pressure. It has also been shown to treat ulcers, heal inflammatory bowel disease as well as the upper and lower GI tract and conditions such as leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability) with remarkable efficiency. It has even been shown to heal damaged organs and influence the brain.

What is BPC 157?

BPC157, also known as Body Protection Compound 157 hinting at it therapeutic potential, is synthetic peptide based off of naturally occurring peptides secreted by the gut. [R] . Scientists consider it a blueprint for an entirely new class of organ-protective/healing drugs.

BPC157 is a protein, and a short peptide chain that is present in stomach acid.

BPC 157 promotes muscle and tendon healing by triggering the formation of new blood vessels – a process called angiogenesis (by increasing VEGF). This explains its regenerative potential and why it might also help heal wounds, cuts, and other types of damage in the body [R, R]. In rats, this effect even held true when they were also treated with corticosteroids (steroid drugs like hydrocortisone), which can slow the healing process [R, R, R].

By increasing new blood vessels, it might help with IBD, in which healing of the inflamed gut lining is slow [R].

Additionally, BPC 157 may promote wound and tendon healing by blocking the growth-inhibiting effects of a specific molecule (called 4‐hydroxynonenal) [R]. Specifically, it may help tendons heal by causing tendon cells to make more receptors for growth signaling molecules. This, in turn, allows the tendon cells to grow and move during injury repair, speeding up the process [R, R].

It can also reduce inflammation, which is probably involved in its effects on wounds, ulcers, and tissue protection [R, R]. BPC 157 injections also reduced inflammation in relating to both stomach ulcers and arthritis [R].

BPC 157 has also been proven to influence the activity of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. In turn, it might help with depression, seizures, pain, and may further promote gut health through this method of action. More research is needed to understand exactly how it works in the brain [R, R, R, R].

Lastly, it can increase the production of nitric oxide (NO), which lowers blood pressure and helps to reduce the effects of high potassium levels [R, R].

Benefits of BPC157

  • Increases collagen synthesis [R]
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Accelerates healing and tissue regeneration (burns [R], corneal injuries[R], fistulas[R, R, R], intestinal anastomosis, liver [R, R], muscle[R, R, R], nerve damage [R], scar tissue [R], spinal cord injury [R], tendons [R], ulcers [R, R])
  • Decreases recovery time
  • Stimulates the formation of new blood vessels
  • Repairs the brain
  • Improves depression and anxiety

Potential Side Effects

No side effects have been observed from the use of BPC-157. As it is proangiogenic, it could enhance growth of cancer. [R]

How To Take BPC157

BPC-157 has a systemic effect on the body.

The subcutaneous method is the easiest and least painful because it involves inserting the injection under the skin, preferably in an area as close to the injury or pain-point as possible.

Alternatively, you can inject BPC-157 intramuscularly, which means stabbing the needle right into the muscle. Needless to say, this is a very painful method, especially when you consider that it’s typically done in an area that’s close to the injury as well.

By far the easiest method is to spray the peptide into your mouth. Just make sure to hold the liquid inside your mouth for about 90 to 120 seconds before swallowing.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Peptide Therapy – What Is RAD 140?

Peptide Therapy - What Is RAD 140?

RAD140 increases lean muscle mass, strength and endurance as well as sexual performance in men.

What is RAD 140?

RAD140, also known as Testolone, is a peptide that is popular for its muscle-building effects. RAD140 belongs to a class of compounds called selective androgen receptor modulators, or SARMs.

SARMs work by binding to androgen receptors that are found in different areas of the body. Normally these receptors interact with androgens, which are a group of steroid hormones. Androgens like testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and androstenedione are naturally produced by the body.

SARMs and testosterone have similar effects because they work on the same receptor. Some of these effects include influencing the muscles, bones, and the liver.

The advantage of SARMs is that they are selective about where they work. They mostly target muscle and bone tissues while having minimal effects on other organs. This allows SARMs to potentially treat hormone-related or muscle-wasting disorders with fewer side effects.

Additionally, the structure of RAD140 is also very different from that of steroid hormones like testosterone. This means the body isn’t able to convert RAD140 into other hormones like estrogen that may have undesirable effects.

RAD140 works by selectively stimulating androgen receptors in the body thereby stimulating muscle growth by promoting the development of muscle cells and proteins. It targets receptors in the muscle and bone and has little to no effect on the reproductive organs.

RAD140 has become popular among men with low testosterone levels who wish to avoid testosterone replacement therapy but are looking to maintain their physical and sexual performance.

Androgens also play an important role in protecting the brain. They can increase brain cell growth, improve memory, and decrease amyloid beta accumulation. Amyloid beta proteins are believed to be the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease [R].

In a study in rats, RAD140 activates receptors in regions of the brain that are injured. This triggers a signal called the MAPK pathway that helps protect cells against injury from amyloid beta. Additionally, RAD140 and testosterone were equally effective at protecting against neurotoxins [R].

Research is currently investigating RAD140’s potential role in fighting breast cancer and showing promising results in a common form of the disease called androgen and estrogen receptor positive (AR/ER+) [R,R]. AR/ER+ is sensitive to hormones and medications that affect these receptors, like SARMs, may have cancer-fighting potential [R].

In a cell study, RAD140 stopped the growth of AR/ER+ breast cancer cells by blocking the effects of estrogen [R].

Specifically, RAD140 appears to suppress the ESR1 gene. This gene is responsible for creating estrogen receptors. Without sufficient receptors, estrogen may be left powerless and inactive [R].

Benefits of RAD 140

  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Increased strength
  • Improved energy & endurance
  • Protects brain cells
  • Improves fat burning

Potential Side Effects of RAD 140

Based on how SARMs work, RAD140 should cause fewer unwanted effects than testosterone. That said, RAD140 still has the potential to cause testosterone-related side effects. These may include [R, R]:

  • Breast tenderness/growth in men
  • Abnormal body hair growth in women
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Male pattern baldness/hair loss
  • Mood swings and anxiety/depression
  • Nausea and vomiting

Bodybuilders have reported hair loss as a side effect, which is reversed once they stop taking RAD140. It's worth mentioning the bodybuilders tend to take much higher dosages than are recommended and this is far less common when taking standard dosages.

Peptide Therapies

The peptide therapy protocols (Amino Acid Analogs) prescribed by our providers are also known as secretagogues (pronounced se-creta-gog), a substance that promotes secretion. These amino acid chains communicate with the body to produce or release growth hormone. Hence a secretagogue causes the body’s own natural processes to produce growth hormone. Secretagogues do not act as growth hormones but rather stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete your stored growth hormone. The subcutaneous injection route of growth hormone stimulation is a preferred route to help slow down age and environmental reductions in growth hormone levels.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Peptide Therapy – What Is IGF-1?

Peptide Therapy - What Is IGF-1?

IGF-1 maintains muscle, connective tissues, brain and heart cells.  Find out what it is and why it is widely used in anti-aging therapy and athletic training protocols.

What is IGF-1?

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF 1) is a protein, produced primarily by the liver, responsible for a wide range of cellular functions including normal growth and health maintenance. Similar in molecular structure to insulin (hence the name), this hormone helps to transfer glucose through the cell membranes and helps to supply the raw materials that cells need for growth and repair including muscle, heart and nerve cells.

While insulin is made in the pancreas, IGF 1 is produced in the liver. The two hormones work together, back and forth to determine what the body will use as fuel. When you eat, insulin kicks in and the body is fueled by glucose. During fasting periods, fat is primarily utilized for fuel. Over time, if the liver becomes fatty, the body can lose the capacity to produce IGF 1, thus causing the body to create more insulin, resulting in diabetes.

IGF-1 plays an important role in childhood growth and continues to have anabolic effects in adults. While IGF-1 is produced throughout life, the highest levels of IGF-1 occur during puberty, and the lowest levels during infancy and old age.

Production of IGF-1 is stimulated by growth hormone (GH) and can be diminished by many factors including malnutrition, GH insensitivity and lack of GH receptors.

Variation in levels of GH and IGF-1 in the body include: insulin levels, genetics, disease, age, sex, ethnicity, nutrition, stress and fitness level.

Benefits of Increased Growth Hormone Levels

Increasing levels of GH and IGF-1 enhances muscle and cognitive performance. Therefore, optimizing the production and secretion of GH can be a great addition to any fitness regimen, wellness, or anti-aging program.

When the volume of human growth hormone (HGH) produced by the pituitary gland increases, it causes an increase in the production of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) by the liver and results in several health benefits such as:

  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Increased strength
  • Improved energy & strength
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Helps combat insomnia
  • Increases physical and mental performance
  • Enhances calcium retention
  • Bone density Improves
  • Improves immune function
  • Improves fat burning
  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Aids in connective tissue repair post injury

IGF-1 Supplementation

Both GH and IGF-1 are known to enhance performance, and increasing GH leads to increased IGF-1.

IGF-1 maintains muscle, connective tissues, brain and heart cells so it is widely used in anti-aging and athletic training protocols. Because IGF-1 is a protein, it cannot be absorbed orally as it is rapidly broken down in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus injection therapy is the preferred method.

Peptide Therapies

The peptide therapy protocols (Amino Acid Analogs) prescribed by our providers are also known as secretagogues (pronounced se-creta-gog), a substance that promotes secretion. These amino acid chains communicate with the body to produce or release growth hormone. Hence a secretagogue causes the body’s own natural processes to produce growth hormone. Secretagogues do not act as growth hormones but rather stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete your stored growth hormone. The subcutaneous injection route of growth hormone stimulation is a preferred route to help slow down age and environmental reductions in growth hormone levels.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Peptide Therapy – Ipamorelin and CJC 1295

Peptide Therapy - Ipamorelin and CJC 1295

What is Ipamorelin and CJC 1295?

The combination of the peptides Ipamorelin and CJC 1295 is effectively used for anti-aging purposes as well as those with inflammatory conditions, disease or people that have low IGF-1 levels.
Learn about the benefits of Ipamorelin and CJC 1295 and how they work together to increase the natural production of growth hormone for improved energy, fitness and overall health.  

What is Ipamorelin?

Ipamorelin stimulates the pituitary gland to produce more endogenous growth hormone. With virtually no negative side effects, Ipamorelin is one of the safest, most effective forms of growth hormone (GH) restoration, widely used to support age management, disease management, sports performance and GH deficiency treatment protocols.

Many patients use Ipamorelin short term (3-6 months) for fat loss benefits and overall improvements in body composition. Ipamorelin increases fat metabolism, so when age starts to become a factor in a person’s ability to lose weight, this peptide can create a more efficient and sometimes faster process. Patients that are also physically active tend to notice even faster benefits while using Ipamorelin, as it aids recovery from workouts and allows for faster progression and typically more fat loss. Once a patient’s desired weight has been achieved, Ipamorelin use can be discontinued, and weight maintenance can be achieved through diet and lifestyle changes.

Other benefits of Ipamorelin include broad anti-aging properties, including improvements to sleep, energy, mood, bone density, immune function, and body composition. Ipamorelin can also be used to achieve a more youthful and energetic state though long-term use (6-12 months).

Ipamorelin is a pentapeptide, meaning that it is composed of five amino acids, that mimics the body’s natural GH release.  Ipamorelin is a growth hormone releasing peptide (GHRP) and analogue of the hormone Ghrelin. It induces GH release and increases the number of somatarophs(cells responsible for GH release) in a GH pulse by suppressing somatostatin.

Ipamorelin is very similar to the growth hormone releasing peptides (GHRPs) GHRP 2 and GHRP 6 in that it mimics ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and targets a specific HGH pulse. However, unlike other GHRPs, this peptide doesn’t affect the release of cortisol, acetylcholine, prolactin and aldosterone thereby minimizing side effects experienced with other GH therapies, such as increased hunger. Because there are virtually no negative side effects, Ipamorelin can be prescribed more aggressively and more frequently than other therapies without the risk of elevated cortisol and acetylcholine blood plasma levels. This helps optimize HGH levels for a longer period of time, leading to more successful health outcomes.

Ipamorelin can be taken as a subcutaneous injection or a sublingual RDT tablet taken under the tongue, and it is taken before bed to coincide with the body’s natural growth hormone spike. Because Ipamorelin is a more specific acting peptide, side effects are very uncommon, with rare occurrences of headaches or nausea.

What is CJC 1295?

CJC 1295, also called GRF 1-29,  is a 29-amino acid peptide hormone, primarily functioning as a GHRH analog.  CJC 1295 has shown promising results as a GHRH analog.

Research supports that CJC 1295 stimulates GH secretion, and can lead to a more youthful and amplified release of GH and IGF-1 with minimal effect on cortisol and prolactin levels.

This peptide generates similar increases in growth hormone secretion, but without the appetite stimulation and increase in cortisol, acetylcholine, prolactin, and aldosterone seen with other peptides in its class.

The benefits of CJC 1295 therapy include increased protein synthesis, improved recovery, reduced body fat and immune system support.

The Benefits of CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin Combined

The peptides CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin combined gives you both a GHRH(amplifier) and a GHRP (or inducer). This combination will promote the increase of GH by both increasing the strength of the pulse of GH release along with increasing the number of cells that secrete GH (somatotrophs).

This is a great option for those who are looking to promote a steady and improved release of GH to get the benefits of increases in growth hormone and subsequently Insulin Like Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1) with almost no side effects. This therapy is effectively used for anti-aging purposes as well as those with inflammatory conditions, disease or those who have low IGF-1 levels.

Benefits of Increased Growth Hormone Levels

Aging often comes with many undesirable effects on our bodies including increased fat, decreased muscle muscle mass and low energy.  Some of these issues can be caused by adult growth hormone deficiency. Peptide therapies provide a healthy option to reinvigorate the natural release of growth hormone in the body and reverse the negative effects of aging.

The increased volume of GH produced by the pituitary gland causes an increase in the production of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) by the liver and results in several health benefits such as:

  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Increased strength
  • Increased cellular repair and regeneration
  • Improved energy & strength
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Helps combat insomnia
  • Increases physical and mental performance
  • Enhances calcium retention
  • Bone density Improves
  • Improves immune function
  • Improves fat burning
  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Aids in connective tissue repair post injury

Peptide Therapies

The peptide therapy protocols (Amino Acid Analogs) prescribed by our providers are also known as secretagogues (pronounced se-creta-gog), a substance that promotes secretion. These amino acid chains communicate with the body to produce or release growth hormone. Hence a secretagogue causes the body’s own natural processes to produce growth hormone. Secretagogues do not act as growth hormones but rather stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete your stored growth hormone. The subcutaneous injection route of growth hormone stimulation is a preferred route to help slow down age and environmental reductions in growth hormone levels.

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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What Are the Health Benefits of Hot Stone Massage?

What Are the Health Benefits of Hot Stone Massage?

Hot stone massage therapy melts away tension, eases muscle stiffness while increasing circulation, metabolism as well as detoxification (through increased lymphatic flow). Each 1-hour hot stone massage therapy session promotes deeper muscle relaxation through the placement of smooth, water-heated stones at key points on the body. Our professional massage therapists also incorporate a customized massage, with the use of hot stones which offers enhanced benefits. Hot stone massage therapy is exceptionally efficacious in that the direct heat of the stones relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist access to their deeper muscle layers. The hot stones also expand blood vessels, which encourages blood flow throughout the body, while also producing a sedative effect that can relieve chronic pain, reduce stress and promote deep relaxation. The overall combination of hot stone protocols with accompanying full body massage provides a very healing and effective experience.

What happens during a hot stone massage?

During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat. Hot massage stones are typically heated to between 130 and 145 degrees. The stones may be placed:

  • along your spine
  • on your stomach
  • on your chest
  • on your face
  • on your palms
  • on your feet and toes

Massage therapists may hold heated stones as they massage your body using Swedish massage techniques such as:

  • long strokes
  • circular movements
  • vibration
  • tapping
  • kneading

Sometimes, cold stones are also used during a hot stone massage. Cold stones may be used after hot stones to calm any engorged blood vessels and to soothe the skin.

6 benefits of hot stone massage

All massages generally fall under the alternative medicine umbrella. They’re becoming a popular complementary therapy for many conditions. Here are some advantages of getting a hot stone massage:

1. Helps relieve muscle tension and pain

Heat has long been used to ease muscle tension and pain. It helps increase blood flow to the affected area. It may also reduce muscle spasms, while increasing flexibility, as well as range of motion improving mobility and movement. Cold therapy helps relieve inflammation. Depending on your symptoms, alternating hot and cold stones during your massage may be helpful. Hot Stone Massage also helps to provide relief from the pain associated with fibromyalgia, arthritis and carpal tunnel.

2. Reduces stress and anxiety

It’s the position of the American Massage Therapy Association that “massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.” Research supports their opinion. A 2001 study showed that a ten-minute massage improved cardiovascular responses such as stroke volume. A 1997 study found that 15-minute, onsite chair massages in the workplace significantly reduced stress compared to a 15-minute break without massage. A 2015 study found that people who underwent abdominal colorectal surgery had less pain, tension, and anxiety after receiving post-operative massage.

3. Promotes sleep

A 2006 literature review found massage may be an alternative to sleeping pills in adults with insomnia. The research showed that back massage helped promote relaxation and sleep. While a 2001 study showed that infants with sleep problems who were given a 15-minute massage by their parents went to sleep faster. They were also more alert, active, and positive upon awakening. Although it’s not completely understood why, massage has proven to help improve sleep quality allowing you to enjoy deeper, more restorative sleep.

4. May help relieve symptoms of autoimmune diseases

Hot stone massage may relieve painful conditions such as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread, chronic pain. According to a 2002 study, people with fibromyalgia who received a 30-minute massage slept longer, had fewer trigger points, and had decreased levels of substance P (a substance involved in transmitting pain signals) than people with the condition who received relaxation therapy. While more research is needed before massage becomes a standard fibromyalgia treatment, the evidence supports this. A 2013 study found that people with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from a moderate-pressure massage, such as hot stone massage. Participants in the study experienced less pain, greater grip strength, and a greater range of motion after one month of massage therapy.

5. May help decrease cancer symptoms

A large, three-year study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management examined how massage affected pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, nausea, and depression in 1,290 people with cancer. The study showed all massage, but especially Swedish massage, improved cancer symptoms, even in those with substantial symptoms. Researchers believe the comforting use of human touch played a role.

6. May boost immunity

Massage may give your immune system a boost. According to a 2010 study, a single session of Swedish massage therapy had a positive and acute impact on immunity. Blood samples taken before and after the massage showed a decrease in arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure and water retention.

Who may benefit from a hot stone massage?

Anyone who is experiencing muscle tension and pain, insomnia, or stress may benefit from a hot stone massage. If you have a chronic condition that causes pain, talk to your doctor to see if a hot stone massage is a good option for you.

Risks and warnings

When performed by a trained therapist, a hot stone massage is generally safe. There are some circumstances where it should be avoided. Consult your doctor before getting a massage if you have:

  • a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners
  • burns on your skin
  • open wounds
  • a history of blood clots
  • have had surgery in the last 6 weeks
  • a fracture or severe osteoporosis
  • a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
  • diabetes

A prenatal massage may help relieve stress and ease uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Still, most massage therapists won’t use hot stones on pregnant women. If you’re pregnant, you should consult with your doctor before having any form of massage therapy, and only under the hands of a trained prenatal massage therapist. Check with your therapist to see how they heat the stones. A professional massage stone heater should be used. Never use stones that have been heated with a:

  • microwave
  • slow cooker
  • hot plate
  • oven

The bottom line

Studies show that a hot stone massage may be a helpful way to reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and ease pain and muscle tension, while increasing circulation, metabolism and detoxification. It may be helpful for a variety of conditions and circumstances. To ensure you have a positive hot stone massage experience, only use a massage therapist specifically trained in this technique. You may feel sore during your massage or the day after. This may be due to deep tissue manipulation and pressure. You should not feel pain. If you are uncomfortable or experience pain during your massage, let your massage therapist know right away.