Feeling Anxious About Aging


back aging

My body is strong, my mind is strong, and I embrace aging. But I have a confession: There are days that I get a little rattled about aging. 

But there are also days that seeing my face in the mirror or looking at the skin on my legs in a yoga pose really messes with me. There are moments when I feel uneasiness. When I'm not feeling grounded, it can be hard not to look at a woman 20 years younger and compare her to myself... which reminds me of one of my great aunts (known to be outspoken) that I was a bit self-absorbed as a teenager (this was after she'd had had a few gin and tonics) that there better be more to me than looks.

She told me that when (like she) started to age, my looks would not be so good (she did not mince words)... and that I had better start getting my act together and not rely on a rich husband who only appreciated me for my appearance to ride me through my older (less good looking) years. Keeping in mind that I was brought up with a bit of a princess complex, I was shocked at her blatant remarks at the time but now I look back and relish her words of wisdom. 

'There’s nothing tragic about being 50. Not unless you’re trying to be 25 ' - Sunset Boulevard.

This takes me back to the self-esteem issues and intense anxiety I experienced as an anorexic teenager. I had zero confidence, except that people said I looked pretty. I recently came across an old diary and my entries were pretty grim.

That said, I wouldn't trade the good looks that came with those dark days - except that now, I hope that 'that' pain can help educate others. I hope my work in the natural skincare world can help empower to those much young than myself and my contemporaries dealing with the aging process. 

How do you deal with aging? 

My Relationship With Aging



I happened to have turned a year older this week and not surprisingly the whole birthday thing prompted me to think about my relationship to the notion of aging. 

Having had a friend unexpectedly pass away in the last few months I am still in shock that she died at such a young age and I am feeling incredibly grateful and excited to embark upon another year. Aging well is such a privilege. 

I find that instead of feeling badly about turning a year older (as I have in the past) I am thankful for the privilege of being able to embrace lots of lifestyle choices that help me feel (and look) great. I lead a much better life than I used to and shudder at how I used to treat my body. 

Thanks to low self-esteem and a stubborn eating disorder, I suffered for years from some mental health challenges before I learned some coping mechanisms to manage myself. 

My aforementioned disordered eating happened to leave me with early onset osteoporosis which after working diligently for the past few years with both a naturopath and family physician, I have actually been able to regain some bone loss. I attribute this to eating a whole food, mineral-rich diet based on the principles of holistic nutrition, moving my body, and adding weight training to my yoga routine.

My ND has also helped me realize that when one is in a state of constant stress this creates acidity in the body and this leaches out important minerals which can contribute to bone loss so I always try to take some time for myself every day to have quiet time.

Since I usually work late at night (yes, I'm a nighthawk) I like to keep my mornings uneventful. That's not to say that I don't work in the AMs but I also make sure I do something nourishing for myself - like cooking food for the day so I don't skip lunch or skimp on dinner. I love to take my dog for a walk. Do some yoga stretches. Put on a meditation tape. or just lie back and take some time to breathe. 

Having a spirituality oriented meditative practice, and navigating through some personal challenges (like the breakdown of marriage, late miscarriage, financial distress and a questioning of my life purpose) have also helped me to develop resilience and reprogram my mind, the positive result of which manifests outwardly in my body, even in my face and how I look at the world. 

Let me tell you, not properly nourishing your mind and body is your fastest ticket to aging quickly and badly. Looking back at the not-so-great choices I made for myself in the past totally fuel my fire to live well now. 

As we age our skin produces less and less oil, which causes the moisture barrier to break down. Your skin tends to become drier, which magnifies fine lines and wrinkles. 

Like many (myself included before I became holistically inclined) if you have used (or are using) harsh synthetic products in the past (think accurate, retinol and intense acids peels) your poor face may well have experienced intense moisture loss exacerbating the above-mentioned problem. 

To age is to live and to live is to age.
And aging is a privilege that not everyone gets.

Starting this business at in my middle age as a single parent has been humbling and it has taught me that it really is possible to reinvent yourself. This was not the life I thought I had signed up for but it's an amazing one and I'm glad my hand was forced to choose a path less trodden instead of a secure, prosperous marriage. 

One more thing! I think it's all too easy to forget that looking good should mean looking like you. Looking good is also feeling good in your skin... like that French phrase about looking bien dans sa peau or literally 'looking good in one's skin'. Talking about skin, my best birthday gift is happy customers who feel good (if not great!) about their skin and are passionate and committed to nourishing their skin with awesome plant powered superfood ingredients. 

As a small thank you for all that you do, my gift is to offer you a whopping 50% off our Superfood Serum.

superfood serum

This super luxurious oil blended with precious superfood oils will actively nourish and brighten your face. It’s really potent, so remember that a little goes a longggg way!

Just use the code BIRTHDAY at checkout to redeem this offer. This promotion runs from Friday October 19th to Sunday October 21st 2018. 

So as they say, please remember that age is just a number. Do me a favour by doing something good for your body, mind and spirit today.  

Malachite – Beauty and Protection


One of the most luxurious and innovative ingredients that we have included in the Fullmoon Serum is malachite complex. You read that correctly, we have included that deep emerald, semi-precious stone in our newest serum. Malachite is known as a guardian stone, worn to transform energy and promote harmony, health and balance. Topically malachite detoxes and protects the skin from oxidative stress. Oxidative damage occurs when free radicals (atoms with unpaired electrons that are highly unstable and reactive) damage cells and DNA in their search scavenge and electron.

What is Malachite?

Malachite is a precious gemstone believed to have curative, protective and magical properties. Malachite is a symbols creativity and change; it was traditionally used by ancient Egyptian healers, shamans and priestesses to balance, harmonize and protect the body. This gemstone has proven to be effective in skincare by providing skin nourishing trace elements such as zinc, copper, selenium, and manganese. These elements act as antioxidants to protect the vulnerable DNA of cells from free radicals. Malachite offers several levels of antioxidant protection – it acts directly on the biggest free radical “troublemaker” by inhibiting the superoxide anion and increases the production of the master antioxidant, glutathione.

Not only are the trace elements found in malachite extract potent antioxidants but the rich copper content of malachite extract is particularly effective at increasing the amounts of collagen and elastin produced by fibroblasts; this helps maintain the youthfulness of the skin. Basically, malachite extract protects the skin from aging free radical damage and helps to rebuild the collagen and elastin architectural matrix needed for youthful skin.

Benefits of Malachite:

  • Antioxidant protection from free radicals
  • Increase collagen and elastin production by fibroblasts
  • Increases keratin production within the skin
  • Promotes cellular detoxification by increasing glutathione
  • Provides a beautiful blue colour


The research into malachite extract has focused primarily on its antioxidant properties. Oxidative stress (ie. exposure to environmental pollution, consuming an inflammatory diet, emotion/physical stress, or simple cellular respiration) triggers superoxide anion release; malachite extract was found to deactivate the superoxide anion very effectively (~71-99% depending on potency within a topical formula). It was also found to increase the regeneration of glutathione (the master antioxidant) by ~30%.

Who should use skincare products with malachite extract?

The malachite extract within the Fullmoon Serum is ideal for anyone living within a urban city exposed to environmental pollution, anyone looking to prevent and reverse the signs of aging, and anyone looking to enhance the health of their skin by increasing antioxidants…so pretty much everyone can benefit from including products containing malachite extract in their skincare ritual. This extract offers both physiological and energetic benefits that sooth, nourish and protect the skin.

What else is in the Fullmoon Serum?

Learn more about collagenpeptideshyaluronic acid, anti-pollution complex and retinol

 Dr. Jen Newell is the founder of Naturopathic Skin Care Clinic at the Integrative Health Institute. Also Graydon Skincare's resident ND! :) 

Why Your Skin Barrier Is Important

It turns out having ‘thick skin’ is not only good for your emotional well-being but also plays a big part in your skin health as well.

skin barrier

So lemme ask you, how is your skin barrier doing? If you don't know how to answer that question, fret not, you're not alone!  

An easy way to think about the health of your skin barrier is to imagine a brick wall. A soundly built brick wall will be stacked and packed with mortar so the structure won't budge. Despite rough elements: wind, rain, hail and even pollution, nothing can penetrate the wall.

But what if the bricks start to crack or if there isn't enough mortar to go around? Eventually, it will start to decay, debris will enter, and inevitable the structure will crumble. 

Well, guess what? The structure of your skin is like a brick wall.

The uppermost layer of your skin, your skin barrier (aka your stratum corneum) is your first line of defense against bacteria and environmental stressors like harmful UV rays, pollution, and toxins. When weakened, it’s easier for irritants to infiltrate and causes your skin to be more prone to sensitivity.

This resilient layer of your skin also happens to have a light film on top of it known as your acid mantle which is made of natural oils and sweat which sounds like no big deal BUT it also consists of proteins and molecules that your skin uses for defense, like UV-absorbers, inflammatory mediators, and antimicrobial peptides.

That's a lot to digest but your takeaway from this is that this outer protective film is critical for its ability to protect your skin and body within from the outside world. 

When everything is going well, your skin barrier works effectively (hello plump and dewy skin) and contains the right amount of lipids that make your skin look healthy and well moisturized.

However, if the skin barrier gets damaged, it becomes easier for skin to experience irritation. Dry patches, redness or breakouts along with flaking or a 'tightness' in the skin are all signs that your skin is having difficulty. 

External stressors like pollution and smog can play a role along with stress, alcohol and just the natural process of aging, but in many cases, you are just using products that are way too harsh for your skin.

Piling on more products can do more harm than good if you’re not looking carefully at the ingredient list. Here's what to look out for and what to avoid. 

Ingredients to Avoid

The next time you’re shopping for personal care products make sure to look out for common irritants like benzoyl peroxide, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate is a common culprit in cleansers), synthetic fragrances and dyes.

SLS, in particular, can have an alkalizing effect on the skin, throwing off your skin’s pH balance which makes your skin more susceptible to bacteria and infections. 

Stay away from acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid until your skin barrier repairs itself. Cleansing is an important step in your skincare regimen but using something gentle is key. Our Face Foam uses apple cider vinegar and white willow bark to gently cleanse the face without stripping away natural oils. 

Ingredients to Look For 

The good news is it’s possible to strengthen your skin barrier and get your skin glowing again with just a few changes. Search for products heavy with antioxidants like our Berry Rich Cream uses blueberry and raspberry oil. and does a great job of repairing your skin.

Certain plant oils also help to increase your lipid count, so your skin barrier is able to retain water better (The result? More radiant looking skin). We use sunflower oil in many of our products and avocado oil in our Green Cream.

Jojoba oil is especially good for those with red or damaged skin. It’s a proven anti-inflammatory and has a high concentration of wax esters that help repair weakened skin barrier. You can find jojoba oil in our Putty, a soothing lotion for red prone and/or dry skin.

Other great ingredients like hyaluronic acid keep moisture locked in, your skin looking 'plump' and encourages collagen synthesis. You can find this in our latest product Moon Serum. This anti-aging serum also includes a botanical collagen to reverse the signs of aging. As we age, our collagen production slows and breaks down so this is the ultimate skin barrier repair product!

Along with loading your beauty regimen with skin-benefiting superfood ingredients, make sure to take preventative measures with your skin health. If you are going to be out in the sun, look for products with sun protective oils and minerals. Remember that even on a cloudy day when it's not hot and sunny, your skin is still susceptible to damage from UVA and UVB.

Our Elements is a daily defense moisturizer that contains non-nano zinc to protect you from harmful UVA/UVB rays. If you are wearing make up, apply sunscreen beforehand or use a product that contains sun protective oils like Face Glow that can double as a tinted moisturizer for sheer looking coverage.

Using the right mix of products will help keep your skin barrier strong and your face glowing.  

Anti-Pollution Complex – Protect Your Skin From the World You Live In

moringa seed

Anti-Pollution Complex – Protect Your Skin From the World You Live In

One of the really amazing ingredients that we included in Fullmoon Serum is an Anti-Pollution Complex to shield you against environmental pollutants and oxidative stress.

What is Anti-Pollution Complex?

Anti-Pollution Complex is derived from moringa seed extract. It prevents the adhesion of particles to the skin thereby preventing against oxidative damage caused by contact with environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke and toxic heavy metals. It essentially creates a protective shield on the surface of the skin.

The inclusion of an anti-pollution complex within skincare is the latest advancement in ‘anti-aging’. Your skin is particularly susceptible to the impact of environmental pollution. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are tiny particles, emitted primarily by cars and other vehicles, which penetrate through the outer layers of the skin. These PAHs alter the skin barrier and disrupts the connections between healthy cells. By weakening the dermal barrier, these PAHs penetrate even deeper within the skin where they cause oxidative stress and trigger chronic inflammation. This chronic inflammation leads to unwanted pigmentation and the destruction of collagen; it essentially ages the skin more rapidly.

Researched anti-Pollution Complex Benefits:

  • Decreases reactive oxygen species/oxidative stress
  • Calms inflammation
  • Detoxifies the skin and reduces the adhesion of pollution
  • Protects the skin from signs of premature aging
  • Prevents the development of acne blemishes caused by oxidation of sebum

Anti-Pollution Complex Research:

Some of the most promising research with the use of the Anti-Pollution Complex in skincare showed that it reduced pollution-induced inflammation by ~50% and oxidative stress by ~51%.

Who should use skincare products with Anti-Pollution Complex?

Skincare products that contain ingredients like the Anti-Pollution Complex that create a protective barrier on the skin are ideal for those living in urban centres or those with sensitive skin. The Anti-Pollution Complex included in Fullmoon Serum is also beneficial for those wanting to slow the signs of aging as well as those struggling with acne or other inflammatory skin conditions. This unique ‘anti aging’ serum is the perfect complement to a number of targeted skincare routines.

What else is in the Fullmoon Serum? Learn more about collagen, malachitepeptides, hyaluronic acid and retinol

 Dr. Jen Newell is the founder of Naturopathic Skin Care Clinic at the Integrative Health Institute. Also Graydon Skincare's resident ND! :) 

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