With Thanksgiving around the corner, the conversation inevitably turns to “What are you grateful for?”. We all want to feel thankful and be full of gratitude, but in our modern, plugged in, checked out giant world we are constantly striving to find happiness, meaning, and gratitude. The brain controls happiness and a sense of calm and well being with its intricate symphony of hormone balance involving cortisol, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. Not only do a balance in these hormones make you feel better — they also make you look better. With just a few small adjustments we can all look better, feel better and truly feel grateful.

When you feel happy or grateful this is what happens

Blood flow is optimal: This can occur due to the fact you’re not stressed out which can bring on sweating, redness or a dull pale complexion. Even blood flow means a clearer and more even-toned complexion.

Production of endorphins: Endorphins strengthen the skin barrier, have antioxidant properties and may help wounds heal faster.

Production of serotonin:  Serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ hormone, has been shown to help promote immune health-think getting sick less this winter and not feeling down or depressed.

Lower cortisol levels: Cortisol the ‘stress hormone’ can cause excess creation of sebum which can lead to breakouts, high blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, lowered immunity and the inability to burn fat. Cortisol is 23% lower in people who feel gratitude.

Laughing turns off the production of cortisol. Recently a study found that children laughed an average of 300 times per day, while adults averaged around 20 times per day.  Laughing also produces dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the ‘feel-good’ and ‘calming’ hormone. Laughing also relaxes muscles in the body, releases endorphins, decreases stress, increases blood flow and can help with pain reduction.

Of course, all of this sounds easy but let’s get real, it’s not always so easy.  We are busy, stressed, sleep-deprived, hormonally challenged, sometimes depressed. An easy way to jump-start into practicing gratitude is starting small.  Below are a few ideas we find helpful.

How to create gratitude?

Self-love: take the time to do something nice for yourself, your body and your brain. Be grateful for all the parts of you. This could be taking a bath, working out, stretching, telling yourself something positive in the mirror, taking a walk.

Express gratitude: Express your gratefulness to a friend, work partner, or family member. Do something nice for a stranger on the street, volunteer at a homeless shelter during the holidays or anytime, all these good deeds are considered gratitude.

Keep a gratitude diary: make a list of all the things you are grateful for, this can be as simple as ‘waking up in the morning’ to as detailed as your family, children, job, etc. Thanks to Oprah this became a worldwide trend.

We are grateful for you, our reader and loyal brand enthusiasts.  The Happiest of Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

 

For those of you who are not familiar with Liv on Labs, you’re in for such a treat. Liv on Labs is changing the game in the Vitamin world and we have been fans for a long time (all the Goldfaden MD team members use these!). We had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Kaili Carpenter, Executive Director, to learn more about her and her daily rituals. 

Kaili Carpenter, the Executive Director of LivOn Labs, was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. After finishing her undergrad at UGA, she worked in events management at two firms then established her own events business with a focus on continuing education in the medical field.

Kaili always helped with the family business, LivOn Labs, which was founded by her Uncle Les and Aunt Cindy Nachman in Las Vegas. She worked the LivOn booth at trade shows across the country for a few years explaining the science of LivOn products to attendees while continuously sampling product with the uninitiated.

An interest in exercise, health and wellness has been something Kaili has embraced since middle school. From horse back riding to competitive high school cheerleading, Kaili then evolved her interests into yoga, dance and Pilates. Currently Kaili keeps a regimen of exercise along with keeping her food intake healthy. She also has a specific interest in skin care, and skin health after years ago learning the key attributes of LivOn Vitamin C, B and Glutathione (I.e. some of our favorite Vitamins from their collection). 

What does good food mean to you?

Good food is whatever makes you feel good. For me, that’s feeding my body what it needs to run efficiently. You can’t put diesel fuel in an engine that requires gasoline and expect that engine to function. I feel my best when I’m eating real, whole foods: veggies, proteins, healthy fats, and lots of water.  

That being said, there is a place for a yellow cupcake with white buttercream icing on my “feel good food” scale. It’s many of my favorite childhood memories on a plate. It doesn’t fall in with veggies, proteins, or healthy fats, but when I occasionally indulge, I get that sugar-spike, giddy, nostalgic rush (almost always followed by a sugar crash — didn’t say I’d feel “good” for long). No guilt, though. That cupcake is a craving no avocado is going to sate. 

How do you start your mornings? 

First thing: I make my bed. It’s a quick, silent task that gets my brain and body slowly acclimated to the day. I am an ardent bed maker. Even in hotels. 

What’s your go-to am beverage? 

I have an AM beverage line up: Lots of water with a little bit of lemon, a shot of grapefruit juice with my Lypo-Spheric®supplements (VitaminC, Glutathione, and Acetyl L-Carnitine) then, a Fab Four Smoothie with Moon Juice Adaptogenic Protein. I met with holistic nutritionist, Kelly LeVeque (creator of the Fab 4 smoothies) at a goop function, and her smoothie approach reinvigorated my mornings. Also, you can’t beat Moon Juice protein powder.

What are your must use daily beauty products? 

I swear by the Goldfaden eyecream, De Mamiel’s Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar, Dr. Nigma’s Crème No. 1 and Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum and lip balm. Between the dry air and intense sun in Vegas, these products have made a world of difference. There’s a theme here: Moisture.

How do you de-stress?

I take a cardio dance class three days a week. The instructor/studio owner is a professional choreographer and former Broadway performer. She’s always coming up with new dances to current songs. I have to leave any stress thoughts at the door of the studio; I need to be completely present if I’m going to get through her choreography!

Favorite mood-boosting meal? 

Avocado with a runny egg, hot sauce, and a side of sliced cucumber. 

What’s a dinner recipe you currently have on repeat? 

It’s summer, and it’s crazy hot here in Vegas. My recipes this time of year involve minimal heat in the kitchen. Lately, I’m making a quinoa /salad bowl combo. I make a large batch of quinoa to keep in the fridge to use throughout the week, chop up various veggies that look good at the moment, then combine. You can also add in some chicken, tuna, an egg, or whatever you have on hand. It’s the perfect no-cook dinner.  I found the recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Clean Platecookbook and was like, “Why didn’t I think of this meal earlier?”  Her miso ginger dressing is super simple and really makes the dish feel special. 

What is your daily mantra?

Pay attention to intention.

Meet uneven skin tone: Our skin cells contain melanocyte cells, a cell that produces melanin, a chemical that gives skin its color. Too much melanin leads to hyper pigmented skin – including freckles, darkening of the skin in patches, and age spots. Hyper pigmentation can occur from over sun exposure, trauma to the skin (i.e. laser treatments, peels, etc.) or as a side effect of certain drugs. While hyperpigmentation is not a serious medical condition, it is one of the most common skin conditions and arguably the most difficult to treat and correct. We had a chance to sit down with Dr. G to better understand the root cause of hyperpigmentation and what we can do to prevent and treat this skin condition.

What is hyper pigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is defined as any spot on your skin that’s dark enough to effectively stand out against the surrounding area. This phenomenon is usually the result of your skin’s efforts to protect itself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. It occurs when overexposure to sunlight causes the melanocytes in the deeper layers of your skin to produce cells that contain a skin-darkening pigment called melanin. These specialized cells known as melanosomes are picked up by your keratinocytes that are constantly migrating upwards toward your skin surface.

What causes hyper pigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when overexposure to sunlight causes the melanocytes in the deeper layers of your skin to produce cells that contain a skin-darkening pigment called melanin. These specialized cells known as melanosomes are picked up by your keratinocytes that are constantly migrating upwards toward your skin surface and cause the dark spots/areas. Hormones, birth control pills can also cause this and sunlight can increase the severity.

The different types of hyperpigmentation:

  • Age spots or sun spots (sun damage)
  • Melasma : caused by pregnancy, hormones and some birth control pills. Usually appears on the upper cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and nose. In severe cases during pregnancy melasma can appear as a mask, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”.
  • Post-inflammatory hyper pigmentationis usually temporary and can be caused by inflammatory acne, a severe burn or injury to the skin. While anyone can suffer from this, it is more common in dark skin types
  • Scarring : The difference between acne scars and hyperpigmentationcan be very difficult to differentiate. Acne scars can appear dark and be Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which should go away (as it is temporary). However, if exposed to the sun then this may become long-term hyperpigmentation. General rule of thumb, if the acne mark or lesion is still visible after 6-12 months then it is considered a scar

Is there a difference between hyperpigmentation, sunspots and freckles?

All fall under the umbrella of Hyperpigmentation. Sun exposure has a lot to do with the darkness and severity. If you have freckles and have sun exposure the melanin will be activated and the freckle will be darker.

Who is prone to hyperpigmentation, such as different races or skin tones?

Darker skin types are more prone. All skin generally has the same amount of melanosomes, the difference in lighter skin and darker skin is the size. Darker skin has larger melanosomes (what contains/distributes the melanin) hence more susceptible to hyperpigmentation.

How to prevent hyperpigmentation?

Wear an SPF at all times when exposed to the sun. Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them. Wearing sun protective clothing, long sleeves and a hat is also preventative.

How to treat and reduce the signs of hyperpigmentation?

Exfoliation can help the appearance as it removes dead, dry, dark skin cells fort he surface of the skin. Using proper actives to protect against sun damage and treat sun damage and dark spots. In office micro-dermabrasion treatments and laser treatments are beneficial as well.

What are the most effective ingredients people with hyperpigmentation should look for in daily skincare products?

Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid/Lactic, Alpha Arbutin, and Kojic Acid.

Is there a difference between sun spots and hyper pigmentation?

Sun spots/sun damage is hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is defined as any spot on your skin that’s dark enough to effectively stand out against the surrounding area. This phenomenon is usually the result of your skin’s efforts to protect itself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. It occurs when overexposure to sunlight causes the melanocytes in the deeper layers of your skin to produce cells that contain a skin-darkening pigment called melanin. These specialized cells known as melanosomes are picked up by your keratinocytes that are constantly migrating upwards toward your skin surface. The different types of hyperpigmentation are sun spots (sun damage), melasma (hormonally triggered), scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Do the best treatments for pigmentation on your face differ to those for your body?

Facial skin is more delicate than the body and therefore. Treatment for the body and face could be the same in some instances. Although the facial skin is more delicate, there are wonderful topical treatments as well as in-office procedures (microdermabrasion, peels and lasers). Rules to follow on the face and body areWear an SPF at all times, exfoliation (can help the appearance as it removes dead, dry, dark skin cells fort he surface of the skin), use of proper actives (Vitamin C) to protect against sun damage/dark spots.

Is there a part of the body/face that’s more prone to pigmentation?

The face is extremely prone to hyperpigmentation and particularly melasma. Melasma is caused by hormones, birth control pills, pregnancy, peri-menopause and menopause. Exposure to sunlight makes melisma darker and more difficult to get rid of.  Facial skin is delicate and needs to be protected properly. The neck and chest areas are also prone to hyperpigmentation as they’re not always properly protected and also very delicate. Always wear SPF and tops that cover the chest area when in sunlight.