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Skincare Journal

What is an Essence?

What is an Essence?

If you've ever found yourself scrating your head, wondering what exactly a facial essence is, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The terms essence, toner, and serum are often used interchangible creating confusion for consumers.

In this post, we'll demystify facial essences and explain how this watery substance is the key to unlocking the full benefits of all your other skincare products and dramatically increases the results of your skincare routine.

What is a facial essence?

A facial essence is defined as a concentrated plant-based skin treatment designed to hydrate and enhance the absorption of other skincare products. 

It is typically a thin, watery leave-on treatment that serves as a vital step in a skincare routine.

Developed in Japan in the early 1800s as part of Geisha beauty rituals, skin essence was originally called beauty water. It were made by steeping botanical ingredients in water, similar in many ways to how today's hydrosols are made. 

Contemporary essences have come a long way, incorperating many additional ingredients that provide a sophisticated system to deliver moisture to the skin.

How does an essence work?

One of the best analogies used to explain how an essence works comes from gardening. Imagine you are trying to water plants in a garden where the surface of the soil has become hardened and dried out. The water will tend to run off, not reaching the roots of the plants below.

Now imagine you are watering a garden where the soil has been loosened, the water is easily absorbed and flows down into the earth providing moisture and carrying essential nutrients deep below the surface. 

An essence works in much the same way. By moisturizing the skin, it acts as a gentle catalyst, creating a receptive environment and allowing active ingredients to easily flow from the uppermost layers of the epidermis down into the deepest layers of the skin. 

By priming your skin with an essence, you will boost the absorption of all the active ingredients in your skincare routine.

Adding an essence to your skincare routine 

Adding an essence to your skincare routine is one the easiest ways to dramatically increase the effectiveness of your entire skincare routine.

Using a facial essence is especially beneficial for dehydrated, parched skin. It provides intense hydration, restoring the skin's natural moisture balance. 

For those of us with reactive skin, acne, or rosacea, an essence can help visibly calm sensitive skin, helping to reduce redness and inflammation.

Our Aspen Dew Illuminating Essence delivers progressive hydration with micro-molecular hyaluronic acid and soothing aloe that pulls moisture deeply into the skin, facilitating the delivery of all other skin nutrients. 

Always apply your facial essence to a freshly cleansed face before any other products. 

How does an essence differ from a toner or serum?

Unlike traditional toners, which were designed to cleanse the skin, and serums, which address specific concerns, essences act as a primer and support the benefits of other skincare products. 

They can also contain a variety of active ingredients.

By optimizing the performance of subsequent skincare steps, an essence ultimately improves the overall efficacy of your skincare routine.

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Chemical Suncreen Ingredients You'll Want to Avoid & Safe Alternatives

Chemical Suncreen Ingredients You'll Want to Avoid & Safe Alternatives

As a skincare brand with a focus on skin health and recovery, we’re frequently asked by our clients for sunscreen recommendations.

What’s hard about answering this question is that like skincare, we each have our own individual texture, spreadability, SPF, and scent preferences.

But choosing the right sunscreen is essential for both our skin health and environmental safety. 

And while we can’t suggest which exact sunscreen brandnames to use, we can share a list of ingredients you’ll want to avoid in your sunscreen plus those you will want and why.

Mineral vs. chemical sunscreens

Safe mineral sunscreens are made with non-nano zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. They offer excellent protection against the sun without any harmful side effects to your health or the environment.

Unlike chemical sunscreens, mineral options sit on top of the skin, reflecting UV rays without absorbing into the bloodstream. This makes them safer for both sensitive skin and long-term health.

Remember, not all mineral sunscreens are created equal. Be sure to choose a non-nano mineral sunscreen.

Chemical sunscreens on the other hand, often contain harmful ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone. These chemicals can penetrate the skin, enter our bloodstream, and act as endocrine disruptors, potentially leading to hormonal imbalances. 

In addition, ingredients like butyloctyl salicylate and octocrylene degrade into harmful substances that can damage aquatic life. Preservatives such as diazolidinyl urea and quaternion-15 release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

To make sure your sunscreen is effective and safe, look for formulas with non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. 

We’ve put together an ingredient cheat sheet for you to screenshot next time you go sunscreen shopping, which we hope is soon given that suncare is always in season!

Here’s what you DO WANT in your suncreen:

  • Non-nano zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide mineral sunblock.
  • Botanicals like Edelweiss, carrot seed oil, and raspberry seed oil have all shown natural UV protective properties. 
  • Supplements like astaxanthin may help to fortify skin from UV exposure from the inside out.
  • A big fashionable hat & long sleeves! 

Here’s what you DON’T WANT in your suncreen:

  • Benzophenone-3, aka Oxybenzone: Absorbs into the bloodstream and pulls other toxic chemicals into the body.
  • Avobenzone: Skin allergen and irritant, degrades into free radicals which can damage skin health.
  • Butyloctyl Salicylate: Class 4 chronic aquatic toxin.
  • Cylcopentasiloxane / Cyclomethicone: Suspected reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors.
  • Diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin, and Hydroxymethylglycinate: Release Formaldehyde which is toxic.
  • Homosalate: Endocrine disruptors.
  • Methylisothiazolinone: Studies suggest this is a neurotoxin.
  • Nanoparticles: Ecotoxin, if you are using a mineral sunscreen, zinc, or titanium, make sure it is non-nano grade.
  • Octocrylene: Quickly degrades into carcinogen and endocrine disruptor benzophenone
  • Octinoxate / Octyl methoxycinnamate: Absorbs into the bloodstream, is an endocrine disruptor.
  • Parabens like Propylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben, and butylparaben: Mimic hormone estrogen.
  • Phthalates: Endocrine disruptors, that can cause reproductive issues in males
  • Quaternium-15: Suspected to release formaldehyde.
  • Retinyl Palmitate: When exposed to UV light breaks down into free radicals that damage skin.
  • Sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate (SLS/SLES): Toxic to humans and aquatic life
  • Clear Zinc Oxide: Highly toxic to aquatic life.

We hope this helps you choose the prefect sunscreen and that you feel better equiped to navigate the sea of choices on the market.

To you health! 

 

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Swiss Edelweiss Flowers: The Skin Benefits of this Alpine "Queen of the Mountain"

Swiss Edelweiss Flowers: The Skin Benefits of this Alpine "Queen of the Mountain"

Loving the outdoors and being active doesn’t have to take a toll on your skin. The winter wind, the effects of sun exposure, pollution, the lack of moisture in the air is no match for nutrient-packed Edelweiss, our superstar ingredient hand-harvested from the Swiss Alps twice a year.

Edelweiss flowers (Gnaphalium Leontopodium) are a rare, strictly protected mountain herbaceous plant. Collection in the wild is prohibited in most countries to avoid endangerment. Edelweiss is of Asian origin that settled in the mountains of Europe and arctic regions of the world during glacial periods of the planet. It is found predominantly in the highest mountain areas of Europe and Asia. 

Known for its high-elevation survival, this rare, short-lived mountain flower is closest to the sunflower family and symbolizes alpinism, rugged beauty, and purity of the Alps. It is often called 'Noble White', 'Snow Flower' and ‘The Queen of the Mountain’. 

But the power of this beauty goes deeper than just pretty blooms.

Edelweiss flowers thrive in rocky limestone habitats above 5,900 feet in elevation. As for Telluride, if you are lucky, there have been rare sightings of this remarkable plant above 13,000 feet!

Living at such high altitudes means these plants receive some major sun, wind, cold, and general severe weather exposure all of which has contributed to their ability to repair and fight free radicals. 

Adapting to high elevations includes protecting itself from ultraviolet exposure at the highest peaks of Europe by producing significant antioxidants that thwart oxidation caused by UV rays.

A true extremophile botanical, Edelweiss has the ability to fortify, renew and nurture the skin. It has been shown in studies to target skin RNA helping to improve their response to environmental stressors.

You won’t find Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) in all mountain regions, and you won’t see it as a common skincare ingredient but you can find sustainably harvested and protected Edelweiss flowers in our Aspen Dew Illuminating Essence.

So, what can Edelweiss do for your skin?

Rejuvenating

By supporting skin regeneration processes, Edelweiss helps contribute to a healthy and rejuvenated complexion. Rich in antioxidants leontopodic acid and isochlorogenic acid, Edelweiss can help fortify skin against environmental stressors, like UV radiation, pollution, and free radicals. Twice the free radical scavenging properties of vitamin C, Edelweiss helps shield skin from oxidative stress and slow premature aging. 

Calming

Edelweiss contains phenylpropanoids, a compound that posses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. These phytoactives can help  calm angry or reddened skin. This can be particularly beneficial for those with sensitive or reactive skin.

Hydrating

Edelweiss helps hydrate the skin and prevent moisture loss by restoring hydration and supporting healthy skin barrier function to those suffering from dry or dehydrated skin.

Firming 

Edelweiss can help to support collagen production, which is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. As we age, our collagen production declines, which can lead to the development of wrinkles and fine lines. Edelweiss contains phytonutrients that may help to improve skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and promote more youthful-looking skin.

Smoothing 

Edelweiss can help to improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin by helping promote cell renewal and regeneration. Natural phytochemicals such as chlorogenic acid, luteolin, bisabolane derivatives, and beta Sitosterol, subsequently assist in improving the appearance of wrinkles and aged and/or irritated skin.This can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone, and promote a more radiant complexion.

Brightening

Certain compounds found in Edelweiss extract are associated with skin brightening effects which help to reduce hyperpigmentation, fade dark spots, and reveal a more even and radiant skin tone. In addition, Edelweiss can help fortify your skin against sun-induced aging.

These botanical powerhouse components help provide antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory defenses for the skin. 

Edelweiss flower extract is truly an alpine treasure, bringing a myriad of health benefits to your skin. From its concentration of free radical scavenging antioxidants to its hydrating and soothing properties, this alpine wonder can transform your skin's look, feel, and health.

Edelweiss survives and thrives

Look closer and you’ll see that the beautiful Edelweiss grows dense hair over its leaves and flower, like a little fuzzy snow hood, to help protect itself against the harsh environment where it thrives so beautifully. So clever!

Adapting to survive, extremophile plants like Edelweiss, produce secondary metabolites that provide cytoprotective properties that also feed your skin with vitamins necessary for vibrant aging. These phytonutrients withstand brutal winter climates then repel pests, fungi, and intense UV radiation in the summer growing season.

Aspen Dew’s custom formulation delivers the benefits of these plants’ powerful response to stress right to your cells to help protect them from the stress from your own environment.

Uniquely protected and sustainably sourced

Sustainable sourcing is an important topic in today’s botanical skincare and an important part of the Telluride GLOWPromise.

Edelweiss is cultivated in high alpine areas in the French speaking part of Switzerland, and the flower is cut only partially while the stems and roots of the plant are left untouched until a second cut later in the year. After the snowy winter the cycle is repeated to ensure the vitality of the plant remains intact, as is the ground it grows from.

Together with perfect ratios of other skin perfecting actives, Aspen Dew with Edelweiss visibly firms and assists in brightening, plus incredible moisture balance while keeping skin-damaging free radicals at bay.

See what this highly adaptive flower can do to illuminate your skin with our Aspen Dew Illuminating Essence.

Inspired by the shimmering aspens surrounding Telluride, Colorado, this is a luxurious hybrid between a micro-serum and a skin conditioner, delivering quadruple humectants for a dewy glow. Niacinamide (B3), Phytoceramides, Aloe Vera and micro-molecular Hyaluronic acid meld with Edelweiss and other regenerating alpine plant actives in a weightless veil for deep, progressive hydration and defense against premature signs of aging.It stands alone beautifully, or pair with The Alpine or Purist serums for amplified skin recovery.

Sources:

Cho, Won Kyong, et al. "Anti-Aging Effects of Leontopodium alpinum (Edelweiss) Callus Culture Extract through Transcriptome Profiling." Genes, vol. 11, no. 2, 2020, p. 230, doi:10.3390/genes11020230.

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A Peek into The World of Alpine Extremophiles

A Peek into The World of Alpine Extremophiles

Effective recovery skincare starts with premium ingredients that go well beyond average. Our science-backed secret at TellurideGlow is integrating high-performance and high-grade extremophiles, with minimal processing, into every TellurideGlow formula. 

Extreme-O what?!?

An extremophile is an organism that thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on Earth. Extremophiles hail from the harshest environments on the planet, including mountainous regions. In the plant kingdom, botanical extremophiles are also known as  extremophytes.

Not all antioxidants are alike. It is the very nature of extremophiles to thrive where other organisms cannot, doing so by producing potent secondary metabolites that manufacture an abundance of phytonutrients, the real workhorses of antioxidants that encourage regeneration, discourage inflammation and defend against aggression.

Palpable botanical benefits are the phytoceramides, essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals in abundance that help keep both plants and skin healthy and vitalized.

Think of extremophiles as the Olympic athletes of plants. They continually train harder and perform better than the average plant, and the results are more profound.

How it all started

Our founder, Mary Alice, had a mission to not let the unforgiving climate of Telluride, Colorado win the battle over healthy skin. Depleted skin became the norm from living about 9,000 feet above sea level with low oxygen and humidity, intense UV radiation, and extreme wind, snowfall, and temperatures. Nothing worked, at any price. 

Her research led right outside of her window in the 13,000 to 14,000 majestic peaks surrounding Telluride. The most brutal growing conditions in the world also produce the most powerful, high-performance plants in the world, and those plants became integral to TellurideGlow’s Recovery Skincare.

TellurideGlow delivers results with some of the industry’s highest concentrations of powerful nutrients from 13 fortifying alpine survivalist plants to transport the energy of nature right to your skin.

We harness the power of over 50 of the highest-grade botanical ingredients for complete skin-beautifying nutrition. Every product is 100% natural with actives that help to accelerate regeneration, way beyond average.

Alpine plant power is at the heart of every TellurideGlow creation, formulated with the highest ratios and the greatest variety of cytoprotective alpine botanicals on the market for unsurpassed skin revival.

 “I love this oil! It's the best moisturizer for this dry, rotten climate I live in!” ~Cynthia 

Hardworking alpine recovery botanicals restore skin health 

We step beyond the boundaries of Telluride to find extremophile plants with the most active, skin-boosting whole-plant ingredients that can only be found in exotic higher elevations, and make them the foundation for elevated recovery skincare.

Antioxidant-rich Cloudberries withstanding temperatures of 40 below zero in Arctic Scandinavia

Rare and protected Edelweiss from the Swiss Alps with more free radical fighting ability than vitamin C

Himalayan Sea Buckthorn Berries with over 190 micronutrients that feed your skin

Rare, mineral-rich Glacial Clay from the Southern Alps of New Zealand

Skin-smoothing Aspen Bark plus mountain meadow Arnica to boost circulation

Actives from these survivalist plants keep your skin feeling so nourished that you can walk out of the house without giving it a second thought.

“You have a beautiful product! Yesterday I went to physical therapy, so no makeup. Everyone kept telling me how beautiful my skin is!!” ~G. Johnson

Vibrant skin to withstand urban agression

Harsh weather. Pollutants. Stress. Aging. Sensitivities. Outdoor lifestyles. They all contribute to skin aging faster than normal. And while we know we can’t stop aging, we know we can slow down its effects. 

 “Harsh weather conditions disrupt the skin surface barrier affecting the skin’s ability to retain moisture.” ~ Dr. Hextall, dermatologist, The Harley Medical Group    

Thanks to Mother Nature and her extremophiles, your skin can reclaim strength and resiliency, withstanding any modern-day stresses, anywhere. 

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The Restorative Skin Benefits of Alpine Wildflowers

The Restorative Skin Benefits of Alpine Wildflowers

Summer means wildflower season in Telluride and forays above the tree line become resplendant with a riot of colorful alpine blooms.

Peeking from rock crannies and flourishing in lush alpine meadows, these high altitude flowers are a vital part of every TellurideGlow product.

Possessing unique medicinal properties, alpine wildflowers have been used since ancient times to nourish the skin and uplift the spirit. These flowers and their essences are one of our most powerful allies in the quest for a healthy, balanced and radiant complexion. 

Many contain high levels of free-radical fighting antioxidants to combat oxidative and environmental stress, posses unique cellular detoxification and regeneration abilities, and contain especially concentrated phytonutrients.

It's a bonus that they present incredible fragrance with no artificial additives!

Below you can learn more about the unique restorative and revitalizing properties of some of the alpine wildflowers chosen for our nourishing serums and essence.

Swiss Edelweiss

This protected alpine flower has been a coveted skin-healer for centuries thanks to its powers of renewal and abundant antioxidant protection, both of which work to improve the overall appearance of skin.

To read more about the incredible rejuvenating powers of this tiny bloom check out our article on Swiss Edelweiss.

Arnica Montana

Arnica Montana grows wild in Telluride's Imogene basin and is used for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also encourages increased circulation to help diminish puffiness and swelling.  

High Altitude Lavender

This high altitude essential oil has a higher linayl acetate content, giving it a fresh, clean fragrance and more relaxing components than other varieties. Calming lavender works to help purify the skin and improve clarity. The oil is traditionally believed to have sedative, carminative, anti-depressive and anti-inflammatory properties.

Roman Chamomile

Roman Chamomile has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory abilities that help to decongest clogged pores, and is also rich in flavonoids and antioxidants effective in helping to protect the skin against free radicals that cause aging.

Mullein

A natural anti-inflammatory, this cherrful yellow flowering herbaceous plant grows in the wild in many alpine meadows. We source and use our Mullein whole. Mullein can help with irritated skin and supports healing, thanks to its unique, regenerative properties. It also has antioxidant benefits to shield skin from oxidative stress.

Evening Primrose

Evening primrose oil touts high concentration of gamma Linolenic acid, essential for collagen production. Balances the skin between oily and dry.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know our unique alpine wildflowers a little bit better.

Ready to experience the transformative power of these resiliant blooms for yourself?

You can find a gorgeous bouquet of high altitude flowers in our Alpine Phytonutrient Serum which was inspired by the resilient wildflowers growing above the treeline in Telluride, Colorado.

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Restorative Alpine Botanicals For Sun Stressed Skin

Restorative Alpine Botanicals For Sun Stressed Skin

Let’s talk about plants, specifically alpine plants. From low oxygen levels, limited rainfall, windy peaks, and high elevations, alpine botanicals have had to adapt to extreme environments. They are also exposed to roughly 30% more UV rays than plants at lower elevations. 

These harsh conditions have led alpine botanicals to produce phytochemical defenses to protect themselves from these environmental stressors, including damaging UV rays. 

Powerful botanical constituents like polyphenols, pigment-rich carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytoceramides all work to help alpine extremophiles shield themselves from harmful UV rays.

Unlike alpine botanicals that have evolved to thrive in extreme conditions, too much sun exposure on our skin can cause a host of problems. From oxidative damage to increased inflammation, UV exposure can lead to premature skin aging and collagen breakdown or worse. You can read all about the effects of UV rays in our previous post, “5 Ways UV Rays Damage Your Skin.”

The good news is that the phytonutrients from alpine botanicals have been shown to help revitalize sun-stressed skin. They provide critical micronutrients that improve skin barrier health at the deepest level and help support the skin’s own defense mechanism against environmental assault.

To help fortify and restore your skin from the damaging effects of  UV rays, consider incorporating alpine adaptogens into your skincare routine. 

The following five alpine plants have been specifically selected to support skin barrier health, helping it to bounce back more quickly from environmental stressors like UV exposure.

Fortifying & Restorative Alpine Adptogens

Edelweiss Flower Extract

Edelweiss flower extract (Gnaphalium Leontopodium) is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help fortify the skin from UV-induced oxidative stress and inflammation. With 2X the free-radical scavenging power of vitamin C, Edelweiss is an alpine powerhouse that should be in every recovery skincare routine. You can find it in our Aspen Dew Illuminating Essence.

Bearberry Leaf Extract 

Bearberry leaf extract (Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi) contains arbutin, a natural skin-lightening agent that can help reduce the appearance of UV-induced hyperpigmentation, combat photoaging, and age spots. 

Alpine Sea Buckthorn

High-altitude Sea Buckthorn oil (Hippophae rhamnoides) contains a wealth of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and E, as well as essential fatty acids. These nutrients can help promote skin recovery, soothe reddened angry skin, and fight photo-aging. You can find Sea Buckthorne in our Alpine Phytonutrient Serum.

Moringa

Highly nutritive Moringa seed oil (Moringa Oleifera) contains powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help boost skin recovery, promote skin renewal, combat premature photoaging, and moisturize skin at the deepest level.

Rosehip Seed Oil

Rosehip seed oil (Rosa Canina) is non-comedogenic and is quickly absorbed by the skin. It is packed with antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A and C, which can help improve skin texture, reduce fine lines & wrinkles, and promote a healthy skin barrier. An excellent choice for acne sufferers.

Takeaway on alpine adaptogens

Incorporating these powerful alpine ingredients into your daily skincare routine can help fortify your skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation and assist in restoring healthy happy skin after you’ve been in the sun. You can find all of the above alpine botanicals in our Vibrant Skin Duo.

Please remember that these botanical actives should be used as a part of a comprehensive skincare routine that includes proper sun protection measures, such as applying a non-toxic mineral-based sunscreen with at least SPF 30+.

Always consult with a dermatologist for personalized skincare advice and recommendations tailored to your specific skin concerns and needs.

In the meantime, make sure to spread the word about Skin Cancer Awareness Month and the importance of sun protection to help others take care of their skin too.

What are your favorite sun protection tips and skincare ingredients? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and don't forget to spread the word about the importance of sun protection!

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