Stocking the Family Medicine Cabinet

Your family is the most important thing to you and you want to keep them all as healthy as humanly possible. However, there are always going to accidents or injuries that occur without warning, especially when your family includes young children. Make sure that you are ready for anything that comes your way by stocking, and maintaining, a medicine cabinet designed to keep your family healthy and happy.

Young girl having a headache.

Headaches, Fever and Pain
When a nasty headache strikes out of the blue of your child feels hot in the middle of night, you definitely want to be prepared. The following items are all recommended by health experts for your medicine cabinet or family emergency kit:

  • Thermometer
  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Children’s acetaminophen
  • Children’s ibuprofen

Health experts recommend not giving aspirin to children under the age of 12, as that can be harmful to a child’s health.

Woman pouring cough syrup in a spoon.

Congestion, Cough and Colds
You underestimate the importance of a cough syrup until you’re losing an entire night of sleep because you do not have any handy. Stock the following items in your medicine cabinet to ensure you, and the rest of your family, are not caught unprepared:

  • Decongestant
  • Cough medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Throat lozenges
  • Children’s strength decongestant
  • Children’s strength cough medicine
  • Dosing cups

Woman scratching her arm.

Allergies and Itching
Chances are if you have a family member with a severe, life-threatening allergy, you already keep epinephrine in your home. However, when mild allergies from dust or the change of the seasons occur, they can be uncomfortable and a pain. Make sure you stay ready to fight allergies/itching with:

  • Antihistamine
  • Allergy eye drops
  • Calamine lotion
  • Hydrocortisone cream

Young girl having a stomach ache.

Stomach and Digestive Issues
An upset stomach can be a mild discomfort or a sharp pain that causes disturbance in your life and activities. Deal with any potential stomach problems by keeping these in your family’s medicine cabinet:

  • Antacids
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Laxatives
  • Activated charcoal – this is in the event a child is poisoned as ipecac syrup is no longer recommended to treat an accidental poisoning

Woman applying band aid on her daughters arm.

Cuts, Scrapes and Burns
Children are especially prone to some bumps, bruises and minor cuts. Always have a remedy on hand by storing a good supply of the following in your family’s medicine cabinet:

  • Disinfectant wipes – for wound cleaning
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Gauze pads for cleaning wounds
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Bandages
  • Aloe vera gel

Mother applying sunscreen on her daughters face.

Miscellaneous
Life is unpredictable and sometimes it can be difficult to feel confident that you are prepared. These miscellaneous items help give you added peace of mind that you are ready for whatever injuries or ailments occur in your family:

  • Latex gloves – for wound cleaning
  • Medical adhesive tape
  • Antifungal medication
  • Insect repellant
  • Extra soap
  • Tweezers
  • Sunscreen

By spending a bit of time organizing the items your family may need, you save a lot of headaches in the event you are caught unprepared. Remember to check the medicine cabinet regularly (once a month) to see what may need to be repurchased so that you are ready for any malady that may occur.

Top Family Care Ingredients

With the end of summer approaching, it’s time to start thinking about the back to school basics. You have to spend time browsing through the stores for all of the school supplies, new clothes because your kids have outgrown last year’s, and of course, the lunch bags. Amidst all of the planning and preparation that goes into back-to-school time, it becomes all too easy to make the health of your family a priority. However, making sure your entire family is receiving the necessary vitamins and minerals they need. Back-to-school also means back to classrooms full of runny little noses, not enough hand washing and exposure to all kinds of germs. Vine Vera compiled a list of the ingredients that make for a healthy, happy family.

Calcium rich foods

Calcium
Every member of your family requires calcium. Your children need calcium to help grow strong, healthy bones and adults in the household need calcium to maintain strong bones. As you age your stores of calcium decrease significantly, so it is important to continue replenishing your body’s store of calcium. For children, the more calcium they get at younger ages increases the amount stored for when they eventually age and begin to lose calcium. You can get calcium from dietary sources like dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, salmon and leafy, dark greens like kale.

Vitamin C rich foods

Vitamin C
You probably are already aware that you need vitamin C to support healthy immune function, and you know you can get it from oranges. However, vitamin C does far more than improve immune system functioning. Vitamin C also helps strengthen blood vessels, providing antioxidant benefits such as fighting free radicals, increasing skin elasticity (great for the adults in the house) and helping your body absorb iron. Of course you can grab some oranges to get vitamin C, but you can also include items such as kiwis, goji berries, grapefruits, strawberries and red and green peppers.

Vitamin B rich foods

B Vitamins
B vitamins are an essential ingredient for all members of your family. These vitamins are largely responsible for energy production, and you’re going to need it as the school year starts. B vitamins also have some of the same benefits of vitamin C: they improve immune function and help with iron absorption. You can get your B vitamins in whole unprocessed foods like whole grains, lentils, potatoes, chili peppers and bananas.

Bowl of fresh spinach.

Iron
Iron is an important ingredient for your whole family. It naturally builds muscle and maintains healthy blood. You can add iron to your family’s diet by eating organ meats such as liver, clams and oysters. If your family, or a member of your family, is vegetarian there are still good sources of iron. Vegetables like soybeans, beans, spinach, pumpkin seeds and lentils all have significant levels of iron.

Sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps your immune system as well as improving your blood circulation. It is also an antioxidant that helps your body fight free radical damage. One of the greatest, and tastiest, sources of vitamin E is almonds. You can also add vitamin E to your family’s diet through tomatoes, sunflower seeds and sunflower and safflower oils.

Keeping your family healthy does not have to become your full time job. Incorporating a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables helps ensure your family are getting all the ingredients they require for their health.

All About Goji Berry Extract

If the gorgeous Victoria’s Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr can’t stop talking about a beneficial super fruit, you should probably listen up. Celebrities such as Miranda Kerr and Madonna credit goji berries gush about these tiny, scrunched up bits of fruit and there is a good reason. Vine Vera decided to do some digging on goji berries to find out whether this fruit deserves the hype.

Goji berries in a wooden spoon.

What are Goji Berries?
The goji berry is a miniscule fruit that is roughly the size of the tip of your pinky finger in it’s raw form. Typically, raw goji berries are hard to find in the United States and instead are more common in Asian and European countries. Goji berries are interesting because they are considered to be both a fruit and a herb. Due to this, they a characterized by a slight sweetness though with the aftertaste of an herbal nature. They are consumed mainly either raw, dried or as a juice. However, the simplest way to enjoy goji berries is in a dry extract. So why eat goji berries? Because goji berries are packed with antioxidants such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1, B2 and B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • 21 minerals including calcium, iron and zinc

Goji Berries and Your Health
It is true that goji berries are full of essential vitamins and minerals, and increasing your intake of these items is beneficial to your body. However, be sure to proceed with caution when it comes to other health claims made regarding goji berries. Used in traditional Chinese medicine, the goji berry is sometimes credited as being an antioxidant that is capable of reducing the risk of cancer but there is no scientific research to back up this claim. Additionally, there are individuals who may actually find that adding goji berries to their diet is harmful rather than beneficial (those taking blood thinners or on medication for diabetes or blood pressure), so it best to consult with a doctor prior to going crazy with goji berries. Though not all of the claims made of goji berries are true, goji berries are a powerful antioxidant with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. There has been some general research saying that feelings of calm and well-being increase, sleep quality improves and that goji berries do help with weight loss.

Closeup of goji berries.

How to Add Goji Berries to Your Diet
As previously mentioned, goji berries can be eaten in its raw form, as dried berries, as juice or as a dry extract. The easiest way to add goji berries to your diet is using goji berry extract. Goji berry extract is available in supplement form and sometimes as an additive to herbal teas. When purchasing goji berry extract, or regular goji berries, be sure to comparison shop prior to purchasing because many suppliers significantly increase the price of these berries.

Goji berry, and the extract of goji berries, can be a healthy addition to your diet. However, if you already are taking prescription medications, it is best to consult with your doctor before adding goji berries. Try a supplement for a convenient, easy way to receive the health benefits of goji berries.

What Blueberries Can Do for Your Health

July is national blueberry month and to celebrate Vine Vera is giving you even more reasons to love this super fruit. When it comes to berry popularity in the United States, blueberries rank second in terms of consumption, and there is a good reason for that. These tasty little treats are not just a healthy snack, they also provide your body with multiple health benefits.

Blueberries in a basket on a wooden table.

Blueberries and Your Health
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, flavanoids and phenol compounds, all of which are aids in the fight against free radicals. These are also great for anti-inflammatory purposes. One of the phenol compounds in blueberries is resveratrol, which is our favorite antioxidant. Additionally, blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which benefits both your skin and immune system. While blueberries help your body in many ways, we’ve chosen a few of the most awesome health benefits of blueberries to profile below.

Healthy Bones
You need strong, healthy bones to carry out nearly all of your daily tasks and the calcium provided by milk is not the only substance that contributes to bone health. Iron and zinc found in blueberries play a critical role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of both your bones and your joints. Other items found in blueberries that help keep your bones healthy and strong are:

  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin K

Woman holding a bowl of blueberries

Heart Disease
Blueberries contain several things that help prevent heart disease, and they lack a major contributor to heart disease: cholesterol. Vitamins C and B6, fiber, potassium, folate and phytonutrient content, and the lack of cholesterol, all play a role in keeping heart disease away. The fiber is important because it decreases your blood pressure while vitamin B6 and folate work to prevent homocysteine buildup. When there is an accumulation of homocysteine, you are susceptible to blood vessel damage and heart problems.

Cancer
Because blueberries are packed with antioxidant such as vitamins A and C, resveratrol and other phytonutrients, they are helpful in the fight against free radical damage. Antioxidants also decrease any inflammation in your body and they help inhibit tumor growth. The folate contained in blueberries also contributes to DNA synthesis and repair. When getting a healthy amount of folate in your diet, such as from blueberries, you help prevent cancer cells from forming due to mutations in DNA.

Woman having blueberries from a bowl

Weight and Skin
If the above reasons aren’t enough to get you super excited for National Blueberry Month, these two may help. The antioxidants in blueberries, because of their power to fight free radicals, help protect your face from sun damage, environmental damage and signs of premature aging. In addition, the vitamin C in blueberries is essential to the production of collagen in your skin, which helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.

While eating a container of blueberries isn’t going to make you skinny, eating blueberries can help control your weight. Foods high in dietary fiber, like blueberries, help you to feel fuller for a longer period of time, which can help decrease your snacking.

Blueberries are delicious on their own, but there are so many ways you can incorporate these into your diet. Add a handful to your morning smoothie, toss some in with your salads or top your Greek yogurt with some blueberries. Celebrate National Blueberry Month with new and exciting ways to increase your intake of blueberries.

Level Up Your Skin Care Ingredients

The various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your skin needs to be it’s healthiest come in a variety of forms. For instance, retinol (vitamin A) comes in many forms ranging from retinyl palmitate to tretinoin. Figuring out which form of a specific ingredient you need is tricky business, and ultimately will depend on your skin and it’s needs. However, we have a bit of a guide here that explains the different forms of ingredients and how they may, or may not, be what you want to look for in your skin care.

Chemical formula of Vitamin A on a blackboard

Vitamin A
Vitamin A, or retinol, has long been considered one of the most effective skin care ingredients in the fight against aging. Additionally, there are numerous acne treatments that harness the power of retinol. According to skin experts, retinol can be broken into certain potent compounds known as retinoids. Vitamin A, retinol and retinoids are terms that are usually used interchangeably, but each has its own regulations and distinctions. Retinol is labeled as a cosmetic ingredient and can be used in any formulations. The other forms of retinol that are rated as cosmetic-grade and can therefore be used in any formulation include retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate and retinaldehyde.

Which one is right for you? It depends on your skin and your needs. Basically, in order to be effective retinol must be broken down into retinoic acid to be most effective to your skin. Retinoids, then, must be broken down from retinyl acetate to retinol to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid in these forms are mostly used in over-the-counter skin products. For severe skin issues, consult a doctor or dermatologist about the use of prescrition retinoids such as adapalene, tazarotene and tretinoin.

Sliced oranges.

Vitamin C
Another vitamin with tons of skin benefits is vitamin C. The “best” form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid (or L-ascorbic acid). Perhaps because this form of vitamin C has the most research on skin benefits, this is the form of vitamin C that most frequently appears in well-formulated skin care products. Ascorbic acid helps produce new and younger looking skin and fades problems like sun damage or post-acne marks.

Other forms of vitamin C include ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, retinyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphates. These are all derivatives of vitamin C that come with their own unique benefits, but largely include the repair and protection of free radical damage.

Chemical formula of vitamin B3.

Vitamin B
There are many types of vitamin B that are included in skin care and beauty products, many of which are used to treat specific skin care concerns. Vitamin B3 is also known as nicotinic acid and niacinamide and is a form of vitamin B to look into if you require skin care that focuses on anti-aging properties.

Vitamin B5 is another common ingredient in skin care and is also referred to as pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid may help with acne issues and has been proven to provide hydration and healing properties to the skin. Panthenol is the alcohol form of pantothenic acid and is a frequent addition to beauty formulas for its humectant properties. It improves the barrier function of the skin and helps improve the cells responsible for creating collagen.

The cosmetic and beauty industry is an ever-changing business always featuring new technology and improved ingredients. Ultimately, the forms of ingredients that you desire will depend on the needs your skin has. However, with a little help from Vine Vera, you can get started on discerning what ingredient forms are best for you.

Next Level Ingredients to add to Your Skin Care Routine

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it definitely deserves pampering and a little extra TLC. The first step in having great skin is by eating a balance diet full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. But equally important to what you put into your body is what you put onto it. A good skin care routine doesn’t have to be 12 steps every night, but you should definitely get started on developing a routine that works for you. Because we’re passionate about skin care, we’ve uncovered some of the newest skin care ingredients that take your skin care products to the next level.

Diamonds

Gems
Okay, so these have been around for a while but they are getting renewed attention when it comes to adding them to skin care products. Precious gems such as emeralds, diamonds and pearls are being touted as excellent exfoliants. When these gems are crushed, they turn into a very fine dust and when added to other skin care ingredients, they are perhaps the most gentle exfoliant you could desire. Crushed pearl is also being credited with brightening properties. It should come as no surprise that skin care products containing crushed gemstones are a significant investment.

A-F33
Though the name is reminiscent of the newest aircraft, this ingredient was actually thoroughly researched by one of the most familiar names in the beauty industry, Avon. In fact, the research conducted on this substance is Nobel-prize winning and is sure to provide impressive results to your skin. Aminofill-33 is a unique ingredient in that it unlocks unused collagen and repairs skin, rapidly. The Avon products already containing this ingredient claim that results can be seen in as little as three days to one week.

Probiotic bills

Probiotics
You may already take a probiotic as a health supplement, but new research is showing that probiotics are beneficial when applied topically as well. Probiotics are thought to benefit your skin by balancing the pH level. Additionally, probiotics can actually improve your immune system when used on your skin.

Copper
You definitely know what copper is and you may be thinking that it does not belong on your face, but don’t be so quick to judge. When used as a skin care ingredient, copper is generally in the form of copper peptides. Copper peptides are derived from a type of acid and are majorly beneficial for your skin. While copper peptides are not an antioxidant, they work in much the same way. Copper peptides help your skin retain more collagen, keeping your skin firmer. They also promote the healing of wounds, provide protection against free radical damage and encourage tissue repair.

Yeast

Yeast Fermentation
We know, it sounds pretty gross, but Pitera (the result of the yeast fermentation process) is one of the newest ingredients to come out of Japan. Pitera evens your skin tone providing an overall brighter look to your face.

It can be super beneficial to try new skin care ingredients and products, but don’t forget your tried and true ingredients that produce reliable results. Ingredients such as vitamins A, C and E, resveratrol and other antioxidants are still incredibly beneficial to the skin. For the best results, look for product formulations that contain both new and trusted ingredients.

Best and Worst Sunscreen Ingredients

You know you need to apply sunscreen every day to protect against damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays. You may even be an individual that dutifully applies sunscreen before heading outside no matter what season it is. However, there are some ingredients in sunscreens that could be doing more harm than good. We’ve rounded up a list of the very worst sunscreen ingredients that you should avoid at all costs, and their counterparts, the very best and beneficial sunscreen ingredients.

Worst Sunscreen Ingredients

Chemical formula of Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone
Oxybenzone is almost always number one of the list of ingredients you should be avoiding when it comes to your sunscreen. This ingredient is in your sunscreen because it is a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin more effectively. However, while it does help other ingredients penetrate the skin, it also absorbs into the skin and can create allergic reactions or eczema-like symptoms. Unfortunately, that isn’t the worst of what oxybenzone does. Skin care experts and doctors believe that oxybenzone circulates in your system and mimics, blocks and changes the level of hormones in your body.

Octinoxate
This is one of the most common ingredients in sunscreen and like oxybenzone, it helps other chemicals be absorbed by your skin. Unlike oxybenzone, octinoxate is rarely a cause of allergic reactions, but it is still a dangerous ingredient. Most people wear sun protection in order to prevent signs of premature aging, but octinoxate may enhance premature aging as it creates free radicals. Additionally, octinoxate is another sunscreen ingredient that disrupts the hormone levels in the body.

Chemical formula of  Retinyl Palmitate

Retinyl Palmitate
Also known as Vitamin A, this ingredient is an antioxidant added to sunscreens. And while antioxidants are generally great for your skin, there is a major problem when it comes to retinyl palmitate. When this antioxidant is exposed to the sun, it breaks down and creates dangerous free radicals. Free radicals are destructive and may be linked to cancer as they are toxic to cells and damage your DNA. In fact, studies conducted by the Food and Drug Administration suggest that retinyl palmitate can accelerate the development of malignant cells and skin tumors.

Best Sunscreen Ingredients

Woman applying sunscreen

Zinc Oxide
Zinc oxide is a common ingredient in physical sunscreens. It is an inorganic compound that protects mainly against UVA rays. When used in a sunscreen, zinc oxide is a very finely milled powder and famously results in the white cast that physical sunscreens often leave.

Woman pouring sunscreen in her hands.

Titanium Dioxide
Titanium dioxide is the other most common ingredient in physical sunscreens. It is also widely used in the cosmetic industry and has a variety of uses. The reason that titanium dioxide is most helpful in sunscreens is that it actually absorbs UV rays produced by the sun. It is a highly stable sunscreen ingredient that helps your skin remain protected from the sun.

It does not matter if you prefer physical or chemical sunscreen, but it should be worn before exposing yourself to the sun. When reading ingredients be sure to avoid the worst ingredients to keep yourself as healthy as possible. If using  chemical sunscreen be sure to apply 20 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every two hours or after immersing yourself in water. And, of course don’t forget to enjoy the sunshine (safely!).

Vacation Beauty Recovery

Vacation is one of the absolute best things about summer. You get a few days to get away from your busy life and to indulge in activities, foods and experiences that bring you pleasure. However, all of this hedonism can wreak havoc on your skin. Add the potential for a completely different climate and you may experience some seriously stressed skin when you return from your vacation. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this list of ingredients to look for to aid in your vacation beauty recovery.

Woman drinking water

Water
Yes, it’s not technically an ingredient in the way we are suggesting, but it is important that you hydrate yourself from the inside out. Drinking water flushes toxins out of your systems helping to clear your skin. Many beauty experts swear by drinking a warm cup of lemon water every morning to maintain beautiful, blemish-free skin. Simply boil a bit of water and wait until it cools to a comfortable temperature. Then squeeze half of a lemon into the water and enjoy.

Aloe vera moisturizer

Aloe
Aloe is especially beneficial if you find that you’ve returned from vacation with a bit too much sun. Aloe have natural soothing properties and decreases irritation, inflammation and redness. You can look for an aloe vera lotion, gel or simply tear a leaf off of a fresh plant and cut it open to use pure aloe vera.

Rose oil in a bottle

Rose
Rose essential oil is another ingredient that helps soothe stressed out skin. You can use rose essential oil on your skin using a carrier oil, such as almond or jojoba, or you can look for rose in other formulations. Rose water is a popular way to calm down skin and is available in convenient spray forms that you can mist over your skin as many times a day as you need to.

Closeup of the witch hazel flower

Witch Hazel
You may already have this in your beauty routine as witch hazel is a popular natural toner. Witch hazel provides antiseptic properties which will clear up any acne caused by bacteria you may have encountered on your trip. Additionally, witch hazel decreases inflammation and calms redness.

Hyalorunic acid written on a tablet.

Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient for post-vacation skin. Travel, particularly by plane, can dry skin out and hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient to help re-hydrate your skin. Hyaluronic acid adds moisture to the skin, but more importantly, it significantly increases the skin’s natural ability to retain water making sure your skin stays moisturized.

Vacation is without a doubt one of the greatest parts of summer and is something you probably look forward to all year. And when you return from vacation, there’s enough stress to deal with without your skin being one of them. Keep as much of your regular skin care and beauty routine going while you are on vacation to help reduce stress to your skin. While you can’t prevent all of the skin problems that may come with getting away for bit, you can definitely remedy them when they occur. And don’t forget the sunscreen to protect against burns and other skin problems such as signs of premature aging.

Vacation Beauty Preparation

You want to look your absolute best on your vacation, but carting around your entire skin care and beauty product collection is impractical and may even be impossible. To minimize the amount of products you need to take, you can prep your skin before you travel using some of the following ingredients.

Woman applying moisturizer.

Moisturizers
Moisturizers are especially important if you are traveling by airplane because the air in planes is so dry it literally sucks all the moisture from your skin. Prior to leaving, look for moisturizers with extremely hydrating ingredients. One of the most beneficial ingredients for hydrating your skin is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid not only adds moisture, but it increases your skin’s ability to retain moisture which helps combat the dryness of plane cabin air. Additionally, you may want to look for vitamin E, which helps add moisture to your skin. Aloe, while not necessarily the most hydrating ingredient, does help soothe upset and uncomfortable skin, so it can be beneficial to invest in a product containing aloe before you travel.

Woman getting an exfoliating session in a spa

Exfoliants
Part of what keeps your skin looking it’s best is regular exfoliation. If you exfoliate regularly, you remove dead skin cells and help unclog your pores. You also stimulate cell turnover revealing newer, healthier skin cells. It isn’t just your face you want to exfoliate, your entire body can benefit from consistent exfoliation. Products with ingredients such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid help gently exfoliate your skin and can be used daily if desired. Scrubs, such as sugar or salt scrubs, should be used no more than 2-3 times each week and are most beneficial for your body. Exfoliate prior to leaving for vacation to get glowing skin before you leave.

Woman applying sunscreen in a beach.

Sun Protection
Whether you prefer a chemical or a mineral sunscreen, the fact is you need to be using sun protection. You should be using a sunscreen every single day (yes, even in the winter), but it becomes especially important in the summer months when there is increased sunshine and decreased skin coverage. While sun protection is an ingredient to look for in your moisturizers or body lotions, this is something that you need to use before and during travel. Don’t forget to protect your lips using a lip balm or conditioner that contains an SPF of at least 15.

While the above are beauty ingredients you want to look for in products prior to your vacation, there are some ingredients you should steer clear of before heading to your destination. Avoid any ingredients that increase your sensitivity to the sun, particularly if you are headed someplace sunny. The exception here is if you require a medication that may increase sensitivity to the sun in which case you should continue taking the medication as directed and increase your sunscreen application. Also steer clear of products that contain alcohol. Some people think alcohol is beneficial to the skin, especially in a toner. However, while alcohol may cut through the oil in skin, it dehydrates the skin in the process which leads your skin to produce more oil in an attempt to avoid dehydration.

Pack travel size beauty staples to decrease the amount of stuff you have to lug around. Avoid using brand new products that you have never tested on your skin before to ensure that you don’t have an adverse reaction during your vacation. Always apply sunscreen, drink plenty of water and of course, enjoy your vacation. Bon voyage!

Skin Care Ingredient No-Nos: What to Avoid

You know that what you put onto your skin is just as important as what you put into your body. When grocery shopping and deciding on food you probably stop to read labels and find out what is really in the food you are eating (and if you don’t do this…start now!). You may not know, though, that you should be doing the same thing with all of your skin care products. Think all beauty and skin care products are created equal? Think again! If you see any of the following ingredients on a beauty label, put the product down and look for something else that will help, rather than harm, your skin.

Chemical formula of Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde
If you are familiar with formaldehyde you may be shocked to learn that it can be an ingredient in your beauty products. Yes, this is the formaldehyde used in preserving dead bodies. Formaldehyde can be found in nail polish and nail polish treatments, shampoo and conditioner, body washes and cleansers and eyeshadow. Formaldehyde is a recognized human carcinogen (cancer causing agent) by the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. In other words, if you see formaldehyde in an ingredient list, drop the product immediately.

Parabens
Parabens, along with sodium lauryl sufates, have gotten tons of attention in the past few years where beauty products are concerned. Parabens are used in the vast majority of makeup products, cleansers, shampoos, body washes and deodorants. They sound like a great thing – they are used as preservatives to avoid bacteria growth in products. However, they are a highly suspected source of increased breast cancer risk.

Chemical formula of Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol
This does not sound like something you want on your face or body and it certainly isn’t. While this ingredient may not be quite as hazardous to your health as formaldehyde, propylene glycol is definitely something to avoid. Often found in moisturizers, conditioners and shampoos, propylene glycol is a known skin irritant and is far from soothing, which is the intended use.

Fragrance
This skin care and beauty product ingredient is a tricky one to identify and pin down because it is hard to define a fragrance. The term was originally used to protect the secret formulations of beauty companies, but this works against consumers who want to be informed of what they put on their skin. Some fragrances are irritants to the skin and are unfortunately found in many skin and beauty products from shampoos to foundations.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Free Sign

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate 
This is an ingredient that has gotten a lot of buzz in the beauty community. This surfectant is located in somewhere near 90% of all foaming products, such as cleaners, shampoos, body washes and soaps. Sodium lauryl (and laureth) sulfates are known to be irritants to the skin, lungs and eyes. Additionally, there is concern that sodium lauryl sulfates can combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.

Toxic beauty ingredients can be seemingly hard to avoid because they are so prevalent. However, beauty companies are now catering to consumers desires for safety and effective products. Be sure to read the labels on all products you use and look for natural options when you can to decrease the risk of irritation and illness.