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Keeping Your Skin's pH in Balance

Keeping Your Skin's pH in Balance

This post is about the importance of keeping your skin's pH in balance. We will discuss the pH level of healthy skin, what it means to have a balanced skin pH, what upsets skin pH, how can you maintain your skin’s pH balance and how can you test your skin pH.

Introduction

Many people think of skincare in terms of skincare products and beauty routines such as face scrubbing. But the secret to smooth, young, and healthy skin may already lie within your skin itself. 

Skin pH is something that most beauty enthusiasts may have heard about, but something that very few really understand. As such, an in-depth understanding of the natural pH of human skin may very well be what you have been missing in your skincare routine. To learn more about the importance of keeping your skin pH in balance, we’ll look at:

  • What is pH? 
  • The pH level of healthy skin
  • What does a balanced skin pH mean? 
  • What is an unbalanced skin pH?
  • What upsets skin pH? 
  • How can you maintain your skin’s pH balance? 
  • How can you test your skin pH? 
  • Better skincare

What is pH?

pH, which means potential of hydrogen, is a numerical value used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14. While 7 is neutral, the numbers below it are acidic. Those higher than 7 are basic (alkaline). Hence, a substance with a pH value of 0 is quite acidic, while one with a value of 14 is very basic. So, what is the pH value of healthy skin? 

The pH Level of Healthy Skin

Healthy human skin is expected to have a pH level of between 4.7 and 6. This means that the skin is naturally slightly acidic. If your skin pH is between 4.7 and 6, then your skin has a balanced pH. Anything more or less than that indicates more acidity or more alkalinity and is regarded as unbalanced. 

What Does a Balanced Skin pH Mean?

Many people do not pay attention to their skin’s pH, but it’s an important factor to consider. On the epidermis, which is the uppermost surface of the skin, there’s a protective layer known as the acid mantle. The acid mantle is made up of sebum, sweat, and dead skin cells. Your acid mantle acts as a barrier between the skin and external elements in the environment. This means that it protects the skin from the effects of pollution, harmful bacteria, and UV exposure. 

The mantle is slightly acidic, and this is what is referred to when natural skin pH is mentioned. Its optimal pH level is between 4.7 and 6. Anything more or less means that the acid mantle's pH balance is off. If the skin is too alkaline, it will be tight, dull in appearance, and dry. On the other hand, if it’s too acidic, your skin will become pimply, red, and oily. It will usually appear greasy, react sensitively, and feel irritated. It is, therefore, important to ensure that the pH balance is not disrupted to avoid having unhealthy skin. 

An unbalanced acid mantle means that your skin’s protective barrier has been compromised. As a result, the skin is vulnerable and exposed to harmful elements such as environmental pollution. 

Note that while the mantle fights harmful bacteria, it also encourages the growth of resident bacterial flora that is useful to the skin. These bacteria fight pathogens by competing for nutrients, stimulating the skin’s immunity, and at times secreting chemicals to eliminate them. In that way, bacterial and fungal skin infections are kept at bay. 

The acid mantle is also essential in maintaining both the skin’s moisture balance and a balance of natural oils. That helps to keep your skin soft, firm, and properly hydrated. 

What is an Unbalanced Skin pH?

An unbalanced pH level of skin is anything below 4 (too acidic) or above 7 (too basic) on the pH scale. Each of these situations manifests in different ways.

If your skin is too acidic, it becomes hypersensitive. That makes it red, itchy, and prone to infections. Causes of extreme acidity include using harsh cleansers on your skin or excessively scrubbing it, even during exfoliation. When the skin is exposed to such harsh conditions, its upper layer is stripped off. That gets rid of natural oils, which help to achieve a balanced pH level in the acid mantle. 

Skin with an alkaline pH tends to appear dry and tight. An alkaline skin pH is usually brought about by the use of cleansing products such as soap and detergents. Even water, which has a neutral pH of 7, can contribute to the alkalinity of the skin. This is especially true with tap water that has a slightly basic pH of 8 in some areas. When the skin is too basic, it has unbalanced enzyme activity. That causes inflammation, which normally leads to premature aging. It also breaks down collagen, a structural protein that keeps the skin firm, hydrated and smooth. As a result, basic skin easily develops acne. 

An extreme skin pH means that the skin’s immunity is down, and conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and acne can easily develop. 

What Upsets Skin pH?

Factors that affect the natural pH balance of skin can either come from within the body (endogenous) or from the surroundings (exogenous). Note that pH levels may differ in different areas on your skin. Usually, non-exposed parts such as armpits and the chest have a balanced pH. Parts such as the face and arms, on the other hand, can be slightly unbalanced due to their exposure to environmental factors. 

External factors that may bring about a very basic or acidic skin pH include:

  • Harsh abrasive action on the skin either using exfoliating skin brushes or washcloths. 
  • Washing your face too many times. Also using hot water that is warmer than lukewarm to bathe or taking a shower for more than five minutes.
  • Air pollution and dirt which, on contact, can lead to an increase in the number of free radicals on the skin. Free radicals affect the functioning of skin cells, ultimately compromising their DNA and basic functions such as the production of sebum and sweat. That disrupts the makeup of the acid mantle. 
  • Harsh face and body products whose pH may not be of the same level as that of your skin.
  • Soap and detergents, which are usually too basic compared to the slightly acidic skin.
  • Sudden changes in weather conditions, which include temperature and humidity. Low temperatures and humidity both disrupt the function of the protective barrier of the skin. As a result, it becomes more susceptible to irritation and allergies.
  • Skincare products that are used to exfoliate or peel off the outer skin layer, which is also the protective barrier. 

When the skin’s balance is affected by these factors, the protective barrier may take hours to recover. Exposing your skin to these harmful conditions repeatedly can lead to skin damage. If you’re exposed to environmental irritants, pollutions, and other external factors daily, your skin will need more time to recover. The situation becomes even more critical if the pH balance is upset several times a day.

Endogenous factors that can disrupt the acidity level of the acid mantle include:

  • Biological sex, whereby men’s skin is slightly more acidic than that of women. That can be attributed to the fact that men’s skin secretes more sebum. 
  • Lifestyle, which includes dietary choices. Foods also have pH levels that can disrupt that of the skin.
  • Age, whereby newborn babies have neutral skin which becomes acidic after a few weeks. Hormonal changes over the course of your life, for instance, as a result of puberty, affects your pH balance.

Skin diseases can also affect your skin pH. Examples of skin conditions are atopic dermatitis, eczema, and contact dermatitis. Other ailments such as diabetes can also have an effect on the acid mantle. 

How Can You Maintain Your Skin’s pH Balance?

By now, it’s evident that your skin functions optimally and is extremely happy when it’s at the sweet middle spot. Your choice of skincare products and daily routine may be having a huge impact on your skin pH. The following are tips to keep your skin pH level balanced:

Use the Right Skincare Products 

Skincare products should ideally have words like “balances skin pH level” or “pH balanced.” That means the products have around a pH level of 5.5 unless otherwise specified. If skincare products sit lower or higher than that on the pH scale, this is how they will affect your skin:

  1. Low pH from 1 to 6—Skincare products with too low of a pH tend to irritate it.
  2. High pH from 8 to 14—While these skincare products may initially make your skin feel smooth, they will disturb your acid mantle and skin's pH in the long run, making your skin rough. They will also cause dryness, scaling, redness, and inflammation.

Even though the right skincare products should have a pH of 5.5, you can still choose products with a pH as high as 7 or as low as 4.5. As a general rule, slightly acidic is the most preferred option when it comes to skincare products.

Your moisturizers, toners, and cleansers contribute a lot to your skin pH. Alkaline products will not neutralize extreme acidity, and neither will highly acidic products neutralize high alkalinity. Hence, it can be hard to figure out which products have the right acidity level for your skin. Fortunately, some products indicate their pH level on their containers. If you’re unsure of the exact pH level of your favorite products, then you can carry out a pH test using litmus paper. Otherwise, you can go for mild products such as a low pH cleanser. 

Go Natural

You can also decide to go natural. Skincare products made with natural ingredients are mild on the skin and are not manufactured using harsh chemicals. Natural skincare products also contain antioxidants that fight free radicals. That keeps the cells healthy, providing enough protection from environmental stressors. Using natural remedies to restore pH balance could be your best alternative to products that upset your skin. 

Wash Your Skin Less

Washing your skin strips it of the outer layer, which includes dead cells, sweat, and sebum. That destroys the acid mantle, which usually takes an hour or two to be fully repaired. When you wash your skin too many times in a day, your acid mantle spends most of the time being restored, instead of protecting your skin. Washing your skin less keeps it intact for longer. 

Brush Away Dead Skin

Dry brushing is an excellent way to remove dead skins cells and dirt from your skin and also increase the production of healthy oils. Use a dry brush on dry skin before bathing and watch your skin become not only more even and smooth, but also more balanced.

Watch Your Diet 

The body’s internal pH level varies between neutral (7) to slightly basic (around 7.45). By having optimum body pH, your skin’s pH will also remain balanced. Body pH is highly influenced by what you eat or drink. It’s vital to stay well-hydrated all through the day. 

You’ll also need to have an inclusive diet of vegetables, fruits, and whole foods to maintain your body and skin pH. An alkaline diet that consists of antioxidant-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, asparagus, avocado, and broccoli is required for good skin. Low sugar fruits like berries, lemons, apples, watermelon, bananas, and pomegranate are also excellent. Include nuts such as chestnuts, walnuts, and almonds which are the best. Eat grains such as quinoa and seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin.

It’s advisable to follow the 20% acidic and 80% alkaline principle when choosing what to eat.

Wear Sunscreen 

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can wreak havoc on your exposed skin, damaging the cell structure. The rays can also cause burns, premature aging, sunspots, and even skin cancer. Using sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays. 

Remember, balancing skin pH requires constantly following all these tips. It’s true that the skin can restore its own balance. However, how fast it does that, and what it needs to keep doing that may be the difference between healthy skin and angry, unhealthy skin. 

How Can You Test Your Skin pH?

Smooth, healthy-looking skin can be an obvious sign of a balanced pH level. But when your skin has an unhealthy appearance, it can be hard to tell on which side of the scale it is. That’s why it’s important to know how to test your skin’s pH. The good news is that you can test it right from the comfort of your home. 

First and foremost, you’ll need to buy a skin pH testing kit at a pharmacy. The kit contains strips of pH paper and a color chart. Your next step will be to place a strip of paper on your skin. The paper will react with sweat and change color. The color will let you know on which end of the pH scale your skin is. 

Other tests that can be carried out with a pH paper are the urine and saliva test. By introducing these body fluids to the test paper, you’ll get a color change that you can compare against a pH color chart. While these two tests do not provide your skin pH, you’ll get your body pH, which can be an indication of that of the skin.

Better Skin Care

A good understanding of the pH of skin gives you a chance to explore more ways through which you can keep your skin youthful, vibrant, and healthy. Once you ensure you’re using the right products, maintaining a healthy diet, and living a healthy lifestyle, it becomes easier to maintain the ideal body and skin pH. In a nutshell, all you need to do is avoid harmful products, protect your skin from external pollution, practice gentle cleansing, and incorporate a healthy diet into your lifestyle.

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Beard Brushes: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

Beard Brushes: Complete Guide (Updated 2020)

In this post, we reveal everything you need to know about beard brushes, including how to use one and the different types of beard brushes along with their pros and cons. Let's get started!

Introduction

Some beards look better than others, and this is generally by no force of their own. A neatly groomed beard is the product of meticulous care and thoughtful routine, and there are certain tools used to facilitate this process. Read on and we’ll delve deep into the world of beard brushes in all their glory!

In this article we discuss the following:

  • What is a Beard Brush?
    • What Does a Beard Brush Do?
  • Why Use a Beard Brush?
    • What Does Brushing a Beard Do?
  • Beard Brush vs. Beard Comb
    • Should You Brush or Comb a Beard?
  • How to Use a Beard Brush
    • How Often Should a Beard Be Brushed?
    • Should a Beard be Brushed Up or Down?
  • Types of Beard Brushes
    • Boar Bristle Brush
    • Boar Bristle Brush Benefits
    • Heated Beard Brush
    • Beard Straightening Brush
    • Travel Beard Brush
  • Best Beard Brush
  • How to Clean a Beard Brush

What is a Beard Brush?

A beard brush is, quite simply, a brush for the human beard. This grooming tool is used by men around the world in an attempt to keep their facial hair looking structured and healthy. 

Most modern men will argue that one needs to make use of a beard brush or comb at least once a day should they desire to achieve any kind of long lasting control over their chin manes. To brush or comb a beard is to condition it slowly over time.

What Does a Beard Brush Do?

A quality beard brush will be made of a number of distinct parts. Namely, the bristles, the body, and the handle. Your average beard brush will have a body made from either wood or plastic. Some of the more retro brands make use of alternative materials, such as ox horn, to form their brush bodies. 

Ox horn as a production material for beard brushes dates back to the 1500s. Back then, ox horn was a major part of ancient Chinese medicine, and was said to help the quality of the blood. Ox horn also contains keratin, which is the same compound found in human hair. 

Nowadays, a quality beard brush is ideally made from wood or bamboo; plastic is slowly being phased out of the picture. The wood and bamboo brush types have proven to be more durable, as well as environmentally friendly. 

Traditionally speaking, beard brushes are rectangular in shape, with a handle on one end, and can be as long as two bars of soap. To the unknowing eye, beard brushes can often be mistaken for regular hair brushes. Some alternative designs produce beard brushes in palm sized oval shapes that can be easily held in the hand of the user. 

A beard brush is only as good as its bristles, and that’s the stone cold truth. 

Bristles on a brush will be the determining factor of your beard’s overall health and quality. Poor quality bristles can actually do lasting harm to beard hair, or even promote hair loss. Brush bristles are either made from natural hair, or synthetic hair. 

Natural bristle brushes generally make use of boar hair or horse hair. These are widely renowned as being the best bristles for hair as both of these animals excrete sebum within their follicles. Human beings also excrete sebum through head and facial hair. 

Horse hair is becoming more rare within the beard brush game. Beard experts argue that a boar bristle beard brush is the optimum choice, solely because boars’ hair is able to detangle human hair quite easily, reducing the element of egressing during use. 

Why Use a Beard Brush?

It is a common perception that men who take the time to use a beard brush tend to take more pride in their appearance and usually have better personal morale. This is a trait that is deemed valuable within almost every workplace and industry. 

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of investing time into beard care is the hygiene benefit. If you’ve ever encountered a poorly kept beard, you’ll know that it can be a breeding ground for all kinds of impurities. Like the scalp, beards excrete natural oils, which can accumulate and give the beard an unattractive and unclean appearance. More than this, beards are notorious collectors of food and dirt, which only contribute to a poor state of affairs for an unkempt beard. 

Using a beard brush is one of the easiest ways to remove dirt and excess natural oils before they turn a promising beard onto a dark path. There is more to cleaning and detangling a beard than meets the eye; in the process of grooming their beard, a skilled beardsman is gently sifting out any problematic particles of dirt and oil that might not yet be visible to the human eye but which can become a mounting problem if not addressed quickly. 

What Does Brushing a Beard Do?

Brushing a beard has more than just a therapeutic effect on the user. In ancient cultures it was often regarded as a form of morning meditation, a time where an individual could connect with themselves and their body for 10 minutes of self-care. 

Regular use of a quality beard brush has been shown to visibly improve the quality of one’s beard over a certain period of time. Users of beard brushes have noticeably thicker and healthier beards when compared, aesthetically, to those who opt not to brush. 

Why is this? Well, using a beard brush pulls the sebum from the root of the hair all the way down through the strand. This is a form of natural moisturization, resulting in a less dry, better looking beard over time. Leaving sebum to build up at the root is actually bad for humans; it’s what causes acne and skin irritation. 

Stimulating your beard follicles with a beard brush also promotes blood circulation where the hair meets the skin. The result of this is that essential nutrients are delivered directly to each follicle, allowing them to exist in optimal health. 

Too often, men neglect to take care of their bushy beards, and over time begin to notice the skin beneath has become clogged by dead skin cells and is  in a constant state of irritation. They use this visual to justify never shaving off their beard; why would they do so and reveal the problematic skin below?

Unbeknownst to them, the reason their skin is so irritated is simply because they’ve never bothered to care for their beard. Beard brushing is a form of exfoliation. The skin is massaged and the dead cells are able to fall away, eliminating clogged pores. 

Beard Brush vs. Beard Comb

To brush or to comb? That is the question.

Most men either have a beard brush or a beard comb, but rarely both. It’s personal preference and usually influenced by how the elder men in their lives tended to their beards growing up. 

Today, beard experts and barbers advise their fellow beardsmen on starting out with a beard brush, and incorporating a comb into the routine when the beard is older than three months. But this stage, the hairs should be long enough to reap the benefits that come from beard combing. 

Should You Brush or Comb a Beard?

The short answer? You should do both. A brush and a comb should be used in unison to obtain the utmost level of care for any beard older than three months. 

Prior to this point, the use of a brush alone will suffice. But once the beard gets older and longer, there are certain tasks a comb can perform that a beard brush simply can’t. 

A comb is the easiest way to style a wild beard, particularly a long one. Hair is easier to control via a comb compared to a brush. Combs are also very convenient as they can be used on both wet and dry hair, whereas use of a beard brush on wet hair is not advised because it can damage the beard hairs which soften when they become wet. 

Similarly, a comb works wonders in moving beard oil through the body of the hair. Oil is actually a great supporting element for smoother, less aggressive combing. It softens the flow of the hair, allowing tough knots to slide away from themselves. 

The wide teeth of a comb are good for particularly knotty beards and can help dig into intense tangles. Combs also make trimming one’s own beard a walk in the park; this is not something a brush is able to facilitate due to its bulkiness.

As a general rule, always use your beard comb before your beard brush. This is the order of events in the beard tending world. Combs are intended to do the heavy lifting, and create a suitable foundation upon which a brush can descend to apply the finishing touches. 

How to Use a Beard Brush

In the previous paragraph we touched on the order of events when it comes to beard grooming. A beard comb comes first, and your beard brush comes second. 

We also made note that a beard brush is only suitable for use on dry hair. It is not advised that one use even a high quality boar bristle brush on hair that is fresh out of the shower. Wet hair is naturally more vulnerable than dry, and driving into it with a brush is much too abrasive. Use your beard comb to comb out the excess water, and towel dry your beard at very least before commencing with brushing. 

If you notice you’re losing beard hair post shower, your hairs are breaking off. Allow a few extra minutes for the beard to properly dry before starting your care routine. 

How to brush a beard depends entirely on the nature, or personality, of the beard in question. Is it young? Is it old? Does it like to be shaped? Does it sometimes flake? All these things contribute to the style and routine you’ll adopt in your beard care ritual. 

How Often Should a Beard Be Brushed?

We say ritually, because we mean ritually. This is a practice that should be observed daily, if you intend to see optimum results in your beard’s physical and aesthetic quality. 

As human beings, the hairs on our head and face love regular stimulation and treatment. This promotes renewal of collagen and, in turn, accelerated growth. Once a day is sufficient, but there isn’t really any risk to brushing a beard two or more times every 24 hours. 

Beard experts recommend that one’s daily brushing take place first thing in the morning. Anyone with a beard will know that the hairs have a determination to go in a certain direction, especially overnight when they’ve been left untouched for so long.

Grooming and shaping your beard every morning will slowly guide the hairs into your most desired direction, which overtime means you can do things like swim in the ocean or sweat in the gym, without your beard restoring to its default settings. 

Should a Beard be Brushed Up or Down?

This is entirely dependent on what ‘look’ you’re attempting to achieve by grooming your beloved beard. 

For some men, they prefer the well oiled, toned, sleek look, and for this it would be necessary to brush the beard from the top down. This is particularly true of thick or bushy beards, where the grower has some centimeters of hair to suppress. In these cases, brushing the beard from top to bottom can help make it look a lot more tame and ‘orderly’.

On the contrary, individuals who seek a fuller, thicker looking beard should start their brushing process from the neck area, and work the hairs upward toward the cheeks. This will create a teasing effect in the most dense areas of the beard and, when the hairs are filled back down, the beard itself will appear far more full. 

Regardless of whether you’re going up or down, it's important to always work with the grain of the hair, and never against it. Brushing from neck to cheek might not feel comfortable when moving directly upward; one might need to brush outward to the left and right first, before shifting the grain directly upwards from this position. 

On that note, beard experts also recommend brushing outward to the left and right before bushing a beard downward. The outward brushing technique is the best way to create space for certain hairs to detangle. 

Whether brushing up or down, beard oil is your friend. Beard balms are also a popular alternative at the moment, as they can work to lubricate the follicles so that you can work your way through them with ease. 

If you’re using a high quality device, such as a boar bristle brush, you’ll want to observe proper cleaning techniques to care for the brush itself. Like hair brushes, beard brushes collect hair between the bristles. We’ll get into proper care procedures by the end of this article — keep reading!

Types of Beard Brushes

Beard brush makers know that no two beards are the same. What works for one may cause havoc for another, so the industry has had to become somewhat diverse to cater to the ever changing demand for different options. 

Your beard is not the only determining factor for what brush will be best for you. The external environment of each individual plays a part as well. If you live somewhere particularly dry, you’ll need a brush made from materials that stimulate sebum excretion. Similarly, if you live somewhere more humid, you might prefer a brush that doesn’t pull too much excess oil from the beard. 

The following are the more common beard brushes you’ll encounter while navigating the market!

Boar Bristle Brush

A boars’ hair beard brush is a brush that makes use of natural hair from wild boars as the bristles for the brush. It is thought by many that using boar hair on a beard works to promote natural shine and healthier hairs, due to the fact that boar’s hair and human hair both excrete sebum. 

Most of the best boar bristle brushes for beards are in the traditional rectangular shape, featuring an extended handle on one end. There are also some brands that have started fashioning palm-shaped boar bristle brushes for beards. These trendy new designs make boar brushes easier to travel with, albeit harder to clean. 

It goes without saying that any individual who values cruelty free and vegan self-care products should opt for a beard brush made from synthetic hair or ensure that they are buying a boar bristle brush that is made with minimal harm to animals. In many cases, animals are unfortunately harmed in the making of these products. As a bonus, synthetic bristle brushes are generally more affordable than their animal-derived counterparts. 

Boar Bristle Brush Benefits

Boar bristles make for the best beard brush, and there are actually benefits to choosing boar hair over horse, badger, or synthetic replicas. Boar hair is the only bristle that won’t tear, split or fracture your beard follicles. 

Since boar bristles are thick at the lower shaft, and thin at the upper, they work well to stimulate a kind of massage sensation on the face of the user. Regular facial massage works to stimulate collagen production, which in turn causes hair to grow faster and become more nutrient dense. 

A boar bristle brush beard will work to condition the entire beard with either the body’s natural oils or the beard oil you choose to apply independently. The bristles have a unique way of working liquid substances through each follicle, root to tip. The result is a far less itchy beard for the individual in question, and less susceptibility to dandruff as the beard grows longer. 

Badger hair has similar benefits to boar hair brushes, but is far less common. Most brands use badger hair in the making of their shaving brushes as opposed to their beard brushes. 

Heated Beard Brush

A heated beard brush is one of the best beard products on the market. A heated beard brush refers to a beard straightener, and these can shave minutes off of your daily grooming routine.

A beard straightener is simply a beard brush that has an electrical connection, just as a conventional straightener would. The handle holds the chord that eventually connects to a socket, and the brush heats up at the root of the bristles. 

Men with particularly curly hair will find their beards reflect the same. Those that want a straight-beard look for daily life can use a heated beard brush to straighten their beard hair into a more obedient style. 

Beard Straightening Brush Benefits

Before getting into the benefits of beard straightening brushes, one first needs to be aware that the minute your beard gets wet it will generally snap back to its original curly state. 

A beard straightening brush makes for one of the best beard brushes because it can be used as both a straightener and a regular beard brush. Using it cold gives you all the benefits of a regular boar brush, and using it hot adds the benefit of dead straight hairs. 

Most beard straightening brushes work via the same power sockets that beard trimmers do. Store them just as you would a regular beard brush made from boar or other bristles. 

Round Brush

Some brands offer their regular beard brushes in a rounded version. What this means is that the body is cylindrical, instead of rectangular. This gives us a brush that looks like a styling brush one might see in a hair salon, and the kind you might playfully use as a microphone. 

Round beard brushes are considered to be more ‘heavy duty’ and ‘invasive’. Tough tangles and unsolvable knots are no match for these devices, as they roll right over areas that are particularly compromised. 

Travel Beard Brush

The palm-sized beard brushes that fit perfectly inside of tough, manly hands are also known as travel beard brushes. These devices are much smaller and more compact compared to regular brushes, and can easily be taken on business trips in hand luggage or even in a work briefcase. 

Pocket beard brushes are almost always made from wood. They vary in size so you’ll be able to choose the most suitable ones for your travel needs. There are even beard brushes as small as a nail brush, so you can even keep one in your blazer pocket at all times if necessary. 

Quality branded travel beard brushes usually come in some sort of case or tin. This is to keep the bristles safe from damage whilst rolling around inside of a luggage or toiletry bag. It is advised that you hang onto the case that your beard brush comes in as it will greatly extend the longevity of your brush. 

Best Beard Brush

These are two beard brush brands that we know, trust, and love! Your local barber will likely be able to source them for you or, alternatively, you can order them directly online. 

Best Overall Beard Brush 

Beardbrand Brush 

We love everything in the Beardbrand range, but their brush is the overall shining star. Made from 100% boar’s hair, the brush is a sleek design featuring dark wood and silky varnish. It’s a product that is made to last; you can tell just by looking at it. 

To sweeten the deal, Beardbrand offers their boar’s hair brushes in regular sized, cylindrical form, and travel sized. Given the quality, the bushes are very reasonably priced. You could snag all three for under $80, or just invest in the one that sticks out most. 

This is the quintessential beard tool — their words, not ours!

Best Travel Beard Brush

Husky Beard Brush

We also enjoy the ruggedness in design of this travel sized beard brush by Husky Beard. Also made with 100% boar’s hair, this brush is suitable for use on beards of all lengths and densities. 

The brush pairs well with any oils and balms you might want to use. Husky Beard claims that their travel brush works to prevent dandruff, which is a common occurrence when moving between different climates. 

At under $10, this brush is a bargain!

Cleaning a Beard Brush

A quality beard brush is an investment, and any reputable beardsman will tell you so. Beard brushes will deteriorate naturally over time, especially ones made with natural bristles, and the best way to prolong their life is to follow proper care procedures every so often. 

Experts recommend a mixture of shampoo and water to clean the bristles of any beard brush or comb. If the brush has a wooden body, you’ll want to submerge only the bristles in the solution to prevent warping of the wood. Plastic or bamboo brushes can be fully submerged in the water and shampoo mix. 

This mixture will work to loosen any dirt and grime living between the teeth or bristles of the brush. If you’re struggling to get some noticeable grime or stray hair out of the device, use an old toothbrush to scrub into the smaller gaps. Some people also use cotton balls to clean in those hard to reach sections. Use a drop of beard oil on the cotton ball whilst doing so for optimal results. 

Bathrooms tend to be moisture rich parts of the home. Beard brushes are best stored in cool, dry zones. If it is not convenient to store your brush outside of the bathroom, at least keep it in a zoned off area such as inside of a vanity cabinet. Anywhere the brush doesn’t have to come into direct contact with steam from the shower or sink will be ideal. 

Summary

We hope you had enjoyed this article and learned a thing or two about beard brushes! If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in learning about body brushes, which can be used to remove dead skin cells and support the health of the lymphatic system. To learn more about this subject, check out our comprehensive post on the subject here.

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Dry Brushing Skin: Everything You Need to Know

Dry Brushing Skin: Everything You Need to Know

In this post, we discuss the benefits of dry brushing your skin as well as how to do-it-yourself at home. We also discuss the history and origin of dry brushing, how to clean your dry brush, and precautions to follow when dry brushing.

Introduction

It is common to cleanse and scrub the skin with a washcloth or loofah and a rich foamy lather when bathing. But have you heard about dry brushing? In a nutshell, this skin-pampering regimen involves sweeping the skin with a dry brush to exfoliate and promote a number of other benefits.
 
Incorporating this simple step into your bathing regime can make a big difference. It’s incredibly gentle, soothing, and easy to do. 

History

More than anything else, dry brushing helps to exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation has been practiced for hundreds of centuries by different cultures, which include the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, East Indians, Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Turks, and Scandinavians. This was mainly achieved by mechanical exfoliation. Some of the tools used by our ancestors include corn cobs, crushed seashells, and sand. 
 
Skin brushing has been around since time immemorial. The Egyptians were said to have used dry brushing techniques thousands of years back as well as exfoliating in sour milk and wine. 
 
The ancient Ayurvedic practice of Gharsana (which means friction by rubbing in Sanskrit) also involves dry brushing and massaging certain points in the body. In Ayurvedic principles, Gharsana is believed to reduce “ama” (undigested food or emotions that manifest into a toxic and sticky substance that can extend to the gastrointestinal system and other parts of the body). Gharsana can stimulate movement in the lymphatic system, which can help increase the rate of detoxification. It is also believed that Gharsana revitalized the modern-day concept of dry brushing.
 
In a Holistic Health Report by Matthew Scott B.Ac, MA, he reinforces the Chinese perspective on dry brushing and the health benefits it can bring. Historically, the Chinese used dried fruit and vegetable (such as squash) fibers and fashioned them into sponges. He notes that regular dry brushing can help the body eliminate waste, which can be as much as one kilogram or two pounds per day. Dry brushing also assists the body’s cleansing process by activating the sweat glands and opening the pores further. It can also help relax tense muscles, especially a stiff neck, back, or shoulders.
 
The Japanese used loofahs to brush their skin before taking a hot bath to clear their skin of dead skin cells and grime. The Greeks used strigil, a sort of metal scraper, to remove dirt from the skin after they performed robust physical activities. 
 
In modern times, dry brushing continues to be part of women’s beauty routines and is gaining popularity once again. Celebrities and supermodels such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle McPherson and Miranda Kerr have tried dry brushing to help keep their skin and bodies in excellent condition. Luxury spas have also incorporated dry brushing in their overall pampering sessions.

Benefits of dry brushing

Here are some of the top benefits of dry brushing the body:

    1. Improves the lymphatic system’s overall condition

      The lymphatic system is where the body flushes out toxins, waste, and other unwanted debris. The lymphatic system circulates through the body and carries white blood cells that fight infections.
       
      Dry brushing is said to help stimulate the lymphatic system and enhance the detoxification process. There are about 600 to 700 lymph nodes that are positioned in different parts of the body, some of them near the lungs and heart, while others are close to the surface of the skin, for example near the armpits and groin. These nodes function as filters for the lymph and are where the production and storage of white blood cells occur.
       
      When the lymphatic system fails to function properly, waste and toxins remain trapped in the body, which can make a person sick and vulnerable to diseases. Some severe medical conditions that can affect the lymphatic system include lymphedema, where the lymph nodes are blocked and begin to swell, and lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymph caused by the excess production of lymphocytes.

      2. Minimize the appearance of cellulite

      Cellulite can give the skin a dimpled and lumpy appearance reminiscent of an orange peel and is most commonly located on the thighs and buttocks. It is more common in women than men since the layers of fat, muscle and connective tissues are different in both genders. In women, the skin and connective tissues are thinner while the fat layer is thicker. On the other hand, in men the skin layer is thicker. The thighs and buttocks are usually the areas where fat is stored in women, while for men it is stored in the abdomen. Cellulite is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. It occurs in women of all sizes and fitness levels.
       
      For those looking to address cellulite, dry brushing can help prevent the formation of cellulite and can help the skin become tighter and increase blood flow and cell renewal. While there are no scientific studies to prove or refute this claim, many find a reduction in the appearance of cellulite when dry brushing on a daily basis.

        3. Exfoliation

        Dry brushing can help remove dead skin cells. Desquamation is the skin’s biological process of shedding the outermost layer (called the Stratum Corneum). New cells positioned in the deeper layers of the skin push these old cells out which are then sloughed off. A cell known as the desmosome functions as an adhesive for the skin cells. The desmosome’s stickiness weakens as the skin cells are pushed to the Stratum Corneum. Old age, hormones, and environmental factors can affect the desmosome’s process, and can result in the build-up of dead cell layers. Exfoliation is vital at this stage to help eliminate the buildup of dead tissue.

        Exfoliation can be done two different ways: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical methods (including dry brushing) involve removing the dead skin tissues with the use of motion and abrasives. On the other hand, chemical methods use acids and solutions (toners, cleansers, peels, etc.) to dissolve dead skin cells.

        Dry brushing is a gentler, easier and more affordable way to incorporate regular exfoliation into your daily routine. If the idea of using chemical peels is intimidating, dry brushing can be a great alternative. It can be done anytime and anywhere, whether you’re at home or traveling. You really only need to invest in a dry brush once since it does not run out like chemical solutions.

        4. Aids in circulation

        Not only is dry brushing good for the integumentary system, but it’s also great for the circulatory system. The latter is the body’s vital transport system for blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Dry brushing can help improve poor blood circulation by stimulating circulation which helps keep the blood flowing.

        Other benefits of dry brushing include:

        Opens the pores;
        Develops muscle tone;
        Relaxes muscle tension;
        Refreshes the nervous system;
        Helps in digestion; and
        Relieves stress.

            How to dry brush

            Finding a dry brush

            First, you will need to buy a dry brush. Choose one that is made of soft natural bristles, such as plant fibers, animal hair, or copper. Synthetic bristles such as plastic will be too stiff and harsh for your skin. They may even cause cuts and small wounds on your skin that could become infected.

            Types of handles

            There are several varieties of handles you can choose. The most common type is a handheld brush with a strap across it allowing you to grip the brush. This allows you to easily and thoroughly access hard-to-reach spots in your body, like the back of your knees, elbows, and shoulders. It also gives you more control over the pressure you exert on the brush.
             
            Another variety comes with short and long handles. Handle measurements can range from 9 to 17 inches. Brushes with a long handle can be great for targeting the back; however, often the handles can break or detach. Overall, we recommend a high-quality handheld brush with a strap to help keep the brush in place.
             
            Before starting to brush, remove any clothing and accessories. It’s best to do this in your bathroom completely naked and just before showering or bathing.

            Brushing method

            1. It is suggested that you always brush towards the heart. Start at your feet and brush upwards towards the legs. This is believed to help stimulate the lymphatic system. Strokes ideally should be done 7 to 14 times on each portion of the skin.
            2. Next, move on to your hands and make upward sweeping strokes to your arms.
            3. Next target the neck area. Working on one side of the jawline, start from the earlobe and sweep all the way to the chin. Repeat on the opposite side.
            4. From the base of the back of the neck, sweep all the way to the collarbone. Start with one side, and afterwards work on the other.
            5. Targeting your breast area, brush with light strokes towards the heart starting from the collarbone. The pressure should be very light.
            6. Move to your belly and brush up towards the heart.
            7. Move on to your armpits and with your arm extended overhead, brush down and towards the chest.
            8. Next, start from your hips and sweep upwards to your armpits. Start with one side and repeat on the other side afterwards.
            9. Moving to your back, start from the tailbone sweeping up towards your head. Have someone help with the back for the places you can’t reach.

            Precautions

            • Stop dry brushing if you experience pain, skin irritation, or broken skin.
            • Do not dry brush areas on your skin that have wounds or infections.
            • Always dry brush on dry skin. Never wet your brush or brush wet skin during a shower.
            • Don’t store your brush in areas where it is humid otherwise moisture can accumulate. If the brush has copper bristles, the humidity can compromise the bristles. If the brush has natural bristles, the humidity can cause bacteria to grow on the brush.

            Cleaning your dry brush

            • Copper is naturally anti-bacterial, so there is no need to clean your ionic body brush in the same manner as you might clean an ordinary brush.
            • Dead skin will accumulate in the brush, so we recommend rubbing the bristles several times with a dry cloth, or tapping the brush with the bristles pointed down on a washable surface, such as a sink basin, in order to remove any skin particles. We suggest that you do this after every each use.
            • Please make sure never to wash your ionic body brush with water or soap.

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              The Lymphatic System: Complete Guide

              The Lymphatic System: Complete Guide

              In this post, we discuss the lymphatic system's many essential functions and why it is important to give it our attention. We also discuss a few easy ways to naturally detoxify the lymphatic system, including through the practice of brushing your skin with a dry brushing to encourage lymphatic flow.

              Functions of the Lymphatic System

              The lymphatic system is one of the most significant systems in the human body. A network of vessels that can be found in almost every part of the body, the lymphatic system assists in the movement of a fluid called lymph, which resides within nodes. The lymphatic system is one our body’s primary weapons against toxins, wastes, and other unwanted elements that invade our system.

              The lymphatic system has three main functions: to maintain fluid balance, to help in fat absorption, and to assist the immune system.

              Fluid is found in the tiny spaces between tissues and cells. Our lymphatic system collects any excess fluid found in these spaces and deposits them into our bloodstream. Without it, our tissues and cells would swell. Blood volume and pressure would also be negatively impacted, to the point of becoming fatal if not addressed. The lymphatic system also plays a key role in absorbing fats from the digestive system, and helps in transporting these fats to the venous circulation.

              The most notable function of the lymphatic system is to help protect the body against infections. The lymphatic system comes into action whenever other lines of defense fail such as the skin (physical barrier) and acids in the stomach (toxic barrier). The lymphatic system creates white blood cells, or lymphocytes, which travel through the body until they reach the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes become activated when they come into contact with or fight bodily infections.

              There are about 600 lymph nodes in the body, and most of them are concentrated in the neck, armpits and groin areas. You can determine whether your body is fighting an infection if you notice swollen glands, or lymph nodes, located in these areas. Lymphocytes become activated whenever they encounter pathogens or infections, communicating with each other to set off a defense response. This causes the swelling you end up seeing and feeling.

              The activated lymphocytes then travel through the lymphatic system until they reach the bloodstream, unrolling the immune response throughout the body. Immunologists call this the Adaptive Immune Response, which stays with us throughout our lives. This makes it easier for the lymphocytes to react if the same infection affects the body again. A healthy lymphatic system means a stronger and more resilient immune response against infections.

              The lymphatic system can become stagnate if it is blocked or swamped with toxic remains. As it does not have a pumping mechanism of its own, it depends on the muscles and joints to be able to move, which pushes along the fluid. If the lymphatic system is not kept in check and becomes overwhelmed, the immune system can be compromised. Warning signs of a poor lymphatic system are swollen fingers, bloating, unexplained feelings of exhaustion, constipation, and dryness and itchiness of the skin. Much worse, it could lead to cellulite build up, edema, swollen lymph nodes, eczema, arthritis, and various infections of the ears, nose and throat, as well as the respiratory system. Thus, it is very important to maintain a healthy lymphatic system.

              There is no need to worry, as taking good care of your lymphatic system does not require much work. In the next section of this post, we will discuss some simple yet effective Ayurvedic treatments to keep your lymphatic system healthy.

              Ayurvedic Practices to Keep Your Lymphatic System Healthy

              Opt For Lukewarm Water

              Drinking lukewarm water can effectively eliminate the buildup of toxins in your lymph fluid. Some of these toxins can be acquired through external means such as unhealthy food and environment. These toxins are known to be sticky and greasy by nature. Drinking lukewarm water can help dissolve such sticky buildup. As a comparison, consider how hot or warm water helps dissolve tough grease on dishes.

              Ayurveda recommends sipping warm water to gradually and comfortably flush the toxins out of the lymphatic system. Warm water is effective in hydrating and softening hardened muscles or tissues and is also effective in detoxifying gut-associated lymphoid tissues. To maximize the effectiveness, it is advisable to sip warm water every 30 to 60 minutes. Keep in mind that the frequency of sipping warm water is more important that the quantity of how much you sip. Doing this consistently and regularly will not only flush out toxins, but will also help keep your lymphatic system clean.

              Include Red Foods in Your Diet

              The digestive system can also impact the way the lymphatic system works. As mentioned earlier, lymphatic vessels are present in the digestive tract and can be easily impaired with an unhealthy diet. You can help keep the digestive system healthy by eating naturally red foods. Incorporating naturally red foods in your diet will not only strengthen your immune system, but will also reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

              Ayurveda encourages the consumption of naturally red foods such as berries, cherries, cranberries, beets and pomegranates to stimulate an underactive digestive system. Naturally red foods can effectively alkalinize the digestive tract, making it a difficult environment for pathogens to thrive. In addition to fiber, red foods also contain enzymes and bioflavonoids that can help break down all the accumulated toxins and free radicals in your intestines.

              Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing

              The diaphragm acts as a pump for the lymphatic system. The very act of breathing aids in the movement of the lymph towards our chest. Whenever you breathe in and out deeply, you are actually stimulating the thoracic duct located at the neck area, which helps the lymph fluid move easier. Thus, it is very important that you practice proper diaphragmatic breathing in order to avoid lymphatic congestion. To do so, you need to slowly breathe in through your nose, while deeply pushing the stomach out as your lungs fill with air. It is important to keep this in mind as you want to breathe into your belly rather than into the chest region. Release the air through your mouth just as slowly. Doing about 5 to 10 repetitions of diaphragmatic breathing daily will help move lymph fluid, transport the correct amount of oxygen to the blood, and encourage relaxation. Aside from being a great way to send the body to sleep, it is also nice to practice diaphragmatic breathing outdoors after you wake up when the brisk morning air is freshest. You will be amazed by the benefits!

              Get Plenty of Exercise or Practice Yoga

              The lymphatic system also depends on body movements to maintain its flow. There are various ways in which the lymphatic system can be stimulated, such as external massages, muscle expansion/contraction, and intense exercise. Any physical movement can help avoid lymph clogging and stagnation. In other words, the more you move, the more active the lymphatic system becomes.

              There are plenty of physical exercises you can do to make sure the lymphatic system remains efficient. Any exercise that involves the legs prevents clogging of the inguinal nodes located in the groin area, while any exercise that involves the upper body such as lifting and swimming will help move fluid through the axillary nodes in the armpits. Exercises that encourage flexibility, such as yoga, also stimulate the lymphatic flow. Inversion poses, such as handstands and headstands, will reverse the typical effect of gravity, which helps move the lymph towards the heart. Twists squeeze the muscles which will help flush the lymph out of the tissues.

              Practice Dry Brushing

              Dry brushing can also positively improve the lymphatic system. The skin, being the largest organ, detoxifies and protects the body against many negative elements. There are also many lymph vessels running under the skin’s surface, which is why stimulating the skin using a dry brush can be so beneficial.

              Dry brushing is a favorite Ayurvedic practice and removes dirt, reduces cellulite, exfoliates dead skin cells, and gently stimulates lymph circulation. Not only can dry brushing stimulate the skin, it can also have a positive impact on how your digestive system and kidneys work. Most of all, dry brushing is very relaxing. Dry brushing is a simple exercise that can be practiced daily before bathing. Using a dry brush with soft bristles, brush your dry skin upwards towards the heart starting with your feet and working your way up your body. The face is much more delicate and can require a softer dry brush or a more gentle touch. You can further boost the lymph circulation by bathing in warm water afterwards.

              As a bonus tip, you may also want to consider using a dry brush with copper bristles to help boost your lymphatic system. In ancient Ayurvedic practices, it was discovered that copper ions absorbed by the skin through dry brushing with a copper dry brush supported lymphatic flow resulting in a healthy immune response.

              Conclusion

              It may be the most underrated internal system, but the lymphatic system plays a critical role in maintaining your overall health. If the lymphatic system is not kept in check, the immune system can be compromised which will negatively impact your well-being. Try incorporating some Ayurvedic practices into your daily routine such as drinking warm water, eating red foods, practicing diaphragmatic breathing, exercising, and dry brushing to help keep your lymphatic system healthy for years to come.

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              How to Get Rid of Cellulite: Complete Guide

              How to Get Rid of Cellulite: Complete Guide

              In this post, we cover everything you need to know about cellulite: what causes cellulite, natural ways to prevent cellulite from occurring, natural ways to minimize cellulite’s appearance, and natural ways to get rid of cellulite. 

              Introduction

              Having cellulite on your body is normal, but, whether you admit it or not, seeing its symptoms can definitely impact your self-confidence. Cellulite is fairly common; in fact, about 90% of women and 10% of men develop it at some point in their lives. Believe it or not, even people who are very physically fit can also develop cellulite.

              While it is obviously not a life-threatening condition, it remains an issue of aesthetic concern to many people. There is nothing wrong with having cellulite; however, you may want to reduce its appearance and learn how to get rid of cellulite.

              What is Cellulite?

              Gynoid lipodystrophy, more commonly known as cellulite, is a natural occurrence where the skin begins to have alterations in the form of lumps (or bulges) and dimples (or puckers) that give it a not-so-attractive appearance. The term was first used during the 1920s to describe an aesthetic change in the appearance of the skin’s surface; its appearance resembles that of an orange-peel skin, cottage-cheese or a mattress cover. The symptoms affect certain areas of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, legs and buttocks; the dimpling may appear small and scattered, or may also have larger indentations.

              As mentioned above, women have higher chances of developing cellulite, especially at some point after puberty. This is because women's fat cells are arranged differently than men’s fat cells. In women, the fat cells and their connective tissues are vertically arranged, whereas in men the fat cells and its connective tissues are arranged in a criss-cross structure.

              To better understand the concept, the starting point is that there are fat cells present underneath our skin. These fat cells are tethered by connective tissues (which run vertically between the fat cells) that attach the outer layers of your skin to the deeper ones. These connective tissues have pouches where normal-sized fat cells are also located. When these fat cells expand beyond their normal size, the pouches will consequently become swollen; this phenomenon is characterized by the appearance of bulges or small bumps on your skin. The connective tissues meanwhile remain attached, but become overstretched and eventually harden, which causes the skin to be pulled downwards. This phenomenon is characterized by the appearance of puckers on your skin.

              Cellulite also has stages or grades of development, as per the validated cellulite severity scale published in 2009. Grade 0 is characterized by having no symptoms of cellulite in the body. Grade 1 or mild is characterized by having symptoms of cellulite only while sitting, but none while standing up. Grade 2 or moderate is characterized by having symptoms of cellulite while sitting or standing up. Lastly, Grade 3 is characterized by having symptoms of severely raised and depressed skin either while sitting or standing up. In general, many women experience cellulite legs, cellulite on thighs, or cellulite on stomach. As discussed below, there are several options for cellulite treatment and removal.

              What are the Causes of Cellulite?

              You may be surprised to learn that the exact cause of cellulite is still not clear. Its exact manner of causation is difficult to identify as there are many processes that happen both sequentially and simultaneously, which makes the condition all the more complicated.

              The condition starts at some point after puberty and also gets more common as people age. As the skin gets thinner with age, it becomes easier for cellulite to develop and become noticeable. Additionally, lighter-skinned people have a greater likelihood of developing the symptoms.

              There is not one single root cause of cellulite, but, as discussed below, there are various factors that are linked to a person's likelihood of developing cellulite.

              1. Hormonal Factors

              Hormonal imbalance, primarily between estrogen and testosterone, plays an important role in cellulite formation. If too much estrogen is present compared to testosterone, the cellulite levels may increase. This is also one of the major reasons why cellulite is more common in women than men. On the other hand, reduction in estrogen, which is what happens during menopause, can also significantly increase the chances of developing cellulite. Imbalance between these two hormones are caused by many factors, such as poor sleeping patterns, lack of physical activity, stress and excessive physical training.

              Testosterone levels can also become lower when the liver is overburdened. Liver detoxifies the blood by removing harmful substances (such as alcohol), and it also removes estrogen from the blood. However, estrogen removal will not be the liver's priority when there is too much toxicity present in the blood. Additionally, consumption of foods preserved in lacquer-coated containers, as well as use of cosmetic products, perfumes, pesticides, and most plastics can also be a culprit, as these products contain xenoestrogens (which are estrogen-like substances).

              High levels of insulin may also contribute to the formation of cellulite, as insulin stimulates lipogenesis, or the formation of fat, in the body.

              2. Aging

              Aging does not directly influence the development of cellulite, but its biomechanical properties (extensibility, retractability and elasticity) do. In particular, cellulite tends to worsen with age as the skin loses its elasticity, muscle mass and gains more fat. In 2008, a study was conducted using 94 healthy females who were divided into three age groups of 21 to 30, 31 to 40 and 51 to 60, and into two cellulite grade groups of 0 and 2. Both the biomechanical properties and skin thickness were tested using ultrasound. The results showed that the shadowed surfaces in females under group 2 were significantly different (i.e. smaller and more numerous) after the age of 30, which showed that the biomechanical properties of the skin significantly decreased with age.

              3. Genetic Factors

              Genetics plays an important role in a person's rate of metabolism, fat distribution, and circulatory levels, all of which can affect the likelihood of developing cellulite. In addition, a study published in 2010 found that 2 out of 25 genetic variants were found (via DNA extraction) in a randomly selected group of 200 women who had cellulite. The study paved the way for the development of genetic tests (such as the CelluliteDX Genetic Test) which aim to identify a gene variant responsible for cellulite formation, as well as predict if a person is at risk for developing moderate to severe cellulite.

              4. Dietary Factors and Lifestyle Factors

              People who eat foods that are high in fat, sugar, carbohydrates and salt have a greater likelihood of developing cellulite. In addition, smoking, long periods of seating or standing and lack of exercise can also increase one's chances of developing cellulite. In addition, wearing tight clothing can limit proper blood flow which may cause or worsen the appearance of cellulite.

              Natural Ways to Reduce Cellulite

              Presently, researchers have not yet found a guaranteed solution for cellulite nor a treatment method that can perpetually reverse the condition, as cellulite is more of a structural issue within the body. A handful of expensive scientific techniques are already available today; these techniques aim to reduce cellulite appearance by altering the bands of the connective tissue underneath the skin. However, the success rate of these scientific techniques still remains questionable.

              Fortunately, there are a number of simple, natural, and inexpensive strategies as well. One thing that contributes to cellulite production is the accumulation of toxins in the adipose tissues (or the tissues used by the body to store fat), which all of us can definitely do something about. The techniques that are described below focus on the elimination of such toxins. Applying these practices regularly will not only help eliminate the toxins that cause cellulite, but will also promote a long and healthy life.

              1. Gradually increase your intake of fruits and vegetables

              Toxins accumulate in the body's cells, tissues and organs, and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to remove those toxins. Fresh fruits and vegetables are considered alkaline-forming foods, which means that they make your body more alkaline. The alkalinity created by fruits and vegetables draws out the acidic toxins in the cells, which is caused by acid-forming foods like red meat, eggs, and other high-protein foods. Gradual increase or slow transition is considered more effective as the body cannot flush out a large amount of toxins all at once. If the increase is done abruptly, some of the toxins will just circulate again and settle in the body.

              2. Hydrate using only pure drinking water or fresh vegetable juices

              When done in combination with the above-noted practice, drinking pure water or fresh green vegetable juices can effectively flush toxins out of the body. Drinking pure water is a healthy habit especially when done first thing after waking up. For variety, adding some fresh lemon juice or slices to your water is a great option. As for green vegetable juices, it is best to consume them on an empty stomach and only when freshly prepared, as that is when it holds the most nutritional value. If green vegetable juices are consumed during or after a meal, it will be hard for the body to absorb the healthy benefits of the juice as the body will become occupied working on the excess waste from the consumed dense foods.

              3. Avoid using refined or table salt

              Usually sold in supermarkets or offered in restaurants, table salt has a lot of added synthetic chemicals. Some of these chemicals are iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, and many more. Needless to say, most commercially sold salts are culprits for dehydration and are bad for the body. Additionally, they are unhealthy and contains a lot of toxins. Sea salt and crystal salt are much better options, as these are alkaline and can provide many benefits to the body, including thyroid and adrenal function support, hormone balance support and healthy metabolism support.

              4. Engage in vigorous exercise to achieve a high heart rate

              Achieving a high heart rate by engaging in vigorous exercise is another effective approach to reducing the appearance of cellulite. It doesn't matter what kind of exercise is being performed - uphill running, interval training, swimming or any other routine - as long as endorphin rush is achieved. If that occurs, the body's metabolism will be boosted, thus burning fat. On the other hand, any low intensity exercise such as yoga or walking will not be as effective in reducing the appearance of cellulite. Of course, for those who have health restrictions, low intensity exercises are better than nothing at all.

              5. Practice regular colon cleansing

              Toxic waste materials that have been drawn out of the cells by consuming alkaline-forming foods still need to be completely removed so that they will not resettle in the body. The body's main elimination channel, which is the bowel, does just that. The body's bowel system is where a large percentage of waste materials go. However, some people may have a weakened bowel system which is ineffective at purging all toxins from the body. In such case, helping the bowel remove waste materials by regular colon cleansing, either through a home enema kit or a professional hydro-therapist, can be helpful.

              6. Practice dry brushing regularly

              Many people find that using a dry brush on their body on a regular basis leads to significant improvement in the health of their skin and a dramatic reduction in the appearance of cellulite. Brushing the skin using a dry brush stimulates the lymphatic system, which in turn helps toxins circulate and eventually find their way to the body's various elimination channels. In other words, a dry brush essentially works as a cellulite massager. It is for this reason that dry brushes are commonly referred to as cellulite brushes or anti cellulite brushes. Additionally, dry brushing is also a great way to temporarily promote the widening of the capillaries under the skin. This encourages greater blood flow under the skin surface which helps rid the body of toxins.

              Final Thoughts

              While cellulite may be a normal condition that affects many people regardless of size or gender, it may not be aesthetically pleasing to some people. Fortunately, incorporating the above habits into your lifestyle will not only keep cellulite at bay, but will also keep you healthy and beautiful both inside and out.

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