Although we cannot avoid ageing eventually, healthy skin will not age prematurely and will radiate it's healthy glow into old age. At Lyonsleaf we create simple, affordable skincare solutions based on a modern understanding of skin function and an ancient wisdom that harnesses the power of natural ingredients.
We believe attitudes to skincare have gone a little awry since our love affair with artificial chemicals and modern convenience caused us to forget lessons learned over millenia. Somehow we have come to a situation where watery, often toxic concoctions laced with plumpers and silicones, full of promise but no long-term benefit, are pushed onto us for vast sums of money.
Where did it go wrong?
We also believe information is power. Understanding your how your skin works, should be your first step to beautiful skin and part of a growing skincare revolution.
We all want younger looking skin. Understanding underlying causes of premature ageing will help you address them confidently and effectively.
There are two fundamental causes of premature skin ageing that can be easily addressed, oxidative stress (or free radical damage) and dry skin (caused by excessive moisture evaporating through the epidermis).
You can't reverse or even stop the damage caused by oxidative stress, but you can slow further damage considerably.
If you are suffering from dry skin (and you may be surprised to find you probably are - even if your skin seems oily) your skin will look older than it needs to. Rectifying this issue will give instant improvement and avoid irreversible damage.
It's never too late to start, so read on and see how easy it is to achieve glowing skin.
Oxidative stress or free radical damage is the same process that causes metal to rust. In the same way that a small patch of rust spreads to destroy a huge machine oxidisation causes our bodies and skin to deteriorate.
Some oxidization occurs naturally in our bodies and is an unavoidable result of essential chemical reactions that make us tick. However, much oxidisation is a result of exposure to the sun (photo-damage), exposure to pollution, and exposure to toxins absorbed into our bodies, via the skin, from beauty and cleaning products and other day to day chemicals.
Unstable oils that we apply to our skin also oxidise and start these damaging chain reactions.
Antioxidants stop free radical damage chain reactions in their tracks. So the along with avoiding the triggers mentioned above, applying antioxidants to your skin and consuming as many as possible in your diet will undoubtedly keep you looking and feeling young.
Our range of products are made with a high percentage of oils from warm climates. These oils are naturally stable which means they will not oxidise and cause free radical damage when exposed to sunlight and oxygen. They are also packed with antioxidant compounds that will naturally boost your body’s own defenses against free radical damage.
Although tropical oils do not block the sun and will not prevent you burning, they are a great way to protect your skin from the indirect damage caused by day to day sun exposure. Sunscreens actually contain chemicals which cause free radical damage and will stop your skin from making vital vitamin D. Many voices are questioning whether sunsceens are such a great idea, especially since skin cancer rates have increased since we all started using them in the 1980's. If you are uncomfortable with using sunscreens tropical oils are a must for your skincare regime.
If you do use a sunscreen, the best choice is a mineral sunscreen. These contain naturally occuring minerals (zinc oxide or titanium oxide) which sit on top the skin and reflect the UV rays. Avoid these minerals that have been reduced to nano-particles to allow them to soak in, you don't want them in your skin. Unfortunately mineral sunscreens can be difficult to apply and can make you look pale. Using our Beauty Balm or Body Butter underneath can make them much easier to apply evenly and give you the extra antioxidant protection.
To avoid free radical damage we choose only natural oils and no colours or synthetic perfumes. We avoid artificial chemicals found in other natural and organic preparations by leaving out the water. This means no anti-microbial preservatives or emulsifiers are necessary at all. It also means 100% of our ingredients are active and bursting with those valuable antioxidants vital for glowing skin.
Heating destroys the beneficial compounds and antioxidants in natural oils, which is why we only choose cold pressed oils and blend them at low temperatures.
We do not use refined oils. Refined oils are subject to use of solvents to extract every last bit of oil from the crop. They may also be bleached and deodorized. These processes destroy therapeutic compounds.
There is much debate regarding refining and whether it leaves a chemical residue in the oil. Refined or heat extracted and oils do not legally need to be labelled differently from pure cold pressed oils in cosmetic ingredient lists. Even organically certified ingredients can be refined or heat extracted.
Dry skin is actually caused by excessive moisture evaporating through the outer layer of the epidermis. Skin loses it's plumpness and sags when dry and if not addressed, permanent damage will occur.
Oily skin is caused by over production of sebum which comes from the sebaceous glands deeper in the skin, you can have dry skin and oily skin at the same time.
To understand how to avoid dry skin it helps to know how your skin works, here's a brief explanation…
Your skin is made up of two distinct layers; the dermis and epidermis.
The epidermis is the outer layer of your skin. It allows your insides to live in the hostile environment that is the world. The epidermis has two main functions.
We tend to think of the epidermis as a water-proof membrane that stops anything getting in, but this is far from the truth. Your epidermis allows a certain amount of water to be lost to regulate your body temperature and it absorbs moisture from the air as well as drawing water from inside the body to keep itself moist and able to function correctly.
The outer protective layer of the epidermis is called the Stratum Corneum, hardened skin cells are arranged like bricks and held together with a lipid (natural oil) ‘cement’.
The Stratum Corneum prevents excessive ‘trans epidermal water loss’ thereby protecting the rest of the epidermis and the dermis below from drying out. If the Stratum Corneum itself dries out, cracks appear, pathogens can get in and excessive water is lost, leading to a vicious circle of further drying and further damage.
Pathogens can cause (for example): spots and acne (bacterial) cold sores and warts (viral) or athlete's foot (fungal). Continual dry skin will lead to premature ageing.
The cells in the Stratum Corneum are constantly shed and replaced by new cells continually regenerated at the lowest level of the epidermis. As they work thier way to the outer layer the cells harden and die. They excrete the lipids used in the 'cement'. Because the Stratum Corneum is effectively dead, (it is no longer connected to the blood stream and cannot be nourished by the blood stream), it must be maintained from the outside with topically applied oils and creams.
Your skin care routine must maintain the Stratum Corneum by protecting and repairing it’s lipid cement. Using 100% natural oils and butters rich in fatty acids identical to those in you Stratum Corneum will nourish, bolster and repair cracks. These substances are completely accepted by your skin and will not upset its natural balance.
There is no need to add water as water is naturally drawn from the lower layers and from the air. Successful moisturising is all about preventing excessive moisture loss as this is the cause of dry skin. Adding water to moisturisers plumps the skin giving an impressive, but temporary feeling of hydration and firmness. In fact adding water to the epidermis can disrupt the Stratum Corneum and actually be a cause of dry skin (which is why people who have their hands in water regularly suffer with dry skin).
We use Shea Butter in all our formulations because it has excellent humectant (moisture attracting) qualities. It helps your skin attract extra moisture it requires from humidity in the air.
Petroleum based synthetic emollients are ‘occlusive’. They sit on the surface as a slimy film. They stop water loss to some extent, but they also stop your skin from fuctioning correctly and drawing moisture in. They can cause blocked pores, contact dermatitis, folliculitis and, ironically, dry skin.
Emulsifiers, necessary in water-based creams, build up in the epidermis seriously disrupting the delicate balance of lipids and moisture. By avoiding an aqueous element in our products, we avoid emulsifiers.
You may think that applying oil based products to you skin would leave it greasy, but by using oils that contain short and medium chain fatty acids (literally smaller molecules) it is possible to create product that quickly absorb beautifully into the skin. See our oil based moisturisers page for more information.
Detergents and harsh soaps also disrupt the Stratum Corneum. For glowing skin consider using only natural soaps or better still use the oil cleansing method, especially on your face.
Even oily skin benefits from using natural oils. Many products for Acne and oily skin strip it of it’s natural oils. The skin naturally reacts by overcompensating and creating more oil thus exacerbating the problem.
Many people with Acne and oily skin are realising that using non-comedogenic (non pore-blocking) oils for cleansing and moisturising dramatically improves skin (see oil cleansing method)
Certain essential oils like Geranium and Palmarosa are invaluable for their ability to regulate natural sebum production.
The dermis is the lower largest layer of your skin. Nourishment is mainly delivered via the bloodstream. The dermis contains (among other things) sebaceous glands, hair follicles, nerve endings, sweat glands, lymph valves and blood vessels.
The dermis is a matrix of collagen and elastin. It’s a bit like a sponge, the collagen and elastin are the fabric of the sponge and all the holes are filled with gel like substances that hold water, for instance hyaluronic acid (which can absorb 1000 times it’s weight in water). When the sponge is full of water your skin looks firm and plump. When it’s dry it doesn’t.
Collagen, Elastin and Hyaluronic Acid are constantly regenerated. Cell regeneration naturally decreases as we age but with the correct nutrition, hydration, and by protecting yourself from free radical damage you can promote cell regeneration and fend off the natural ageing process for a very long time.
Because the dermis is fed by the blood supply what you eat will affect it dramatically. Eating a healthy diet and drinking enough water is vital to its maintenance. (See our foods for healthy skin page)
Only certain substances can penetrate the epidermis into the dermis. Anything with a molecule small enough to get in between the ‘bricks’ of the Stratum Corneum may wend it’s way right through the epidermis into the dermis and even enter the blood stream. Anything with a large molecule will stay in the Epidermis or even sit on the skins surface.
The bad news is, lots of nasty cosmetic ingredients can infiltrate and head straight for your blood stream avoiding the filtration systems that our food is subject to (the Liver and kidneys). These filter out a lot of toxins. Your skin is a superhighway to your bloodstream, substances applied (if they are small enough) have nothing standing in their way. You should undoubtedly think just as carefully about what you apply to your skin as you do about the things that you eat.
The good news is that lots of beneficial compounds like those found in essential oils and herbal extracts can be very successfully administered via skin care creams.
Applying essential oils and herbal extracts that promote cell regeneration and healthy circulation are of great benefit to the dermis. They can encourage the dermis make Collagen, Elastin and Hyaluronic Acid as well as having other therapeutic effects like relieving tension or balancing sebum production.
Applying products that actually contain Elastin or Collagen is pointless. These molecules are way too big to pass through the epidermis.
The case of Hyaluronic Acid is more complicated. It’s molecules come in different sizes, the smallest can pass to the dermis and may help it retain water (although there is some debate about this). Larger molecule versions will stay in the epidermis. They will temporarily plump the top layers making skin smooth and even reducing the appearance of fine lines (briefly), however, no long-term benefit is achieved.
Beauty product formulators do not need to specify which size molecule they use. Worse still because Hyaluronic Acid attracts water so effectively, in low humidity, if it sits in the epidermis, it will take excessive water from the dermis below. This water will evaporate when the epidermis is saturated and more water will be taken, effectively draining the delicate dermis. There are further issues regarding its affects on the more complex mechanisms in the skin such as anti-inflammatory processes.
The safer, cheaper and more effective way to boost your reserve of Hyaluronic Acid is, believe it or not, chicken soup! See our Foods for Healthy Skin page for more info.
We believe we are part of a paradigm shift in skin care that is well overdue.
Lyonsleaf Ltd • Registered address: Cheddarlea Farm, Cheddar Road, Compton Martin, Bristol. BS40 6LD • Tel: 01761 221 267
Company Number: 09749596