Author Archives: Victoria Santalesa

vine vera banner presents Got Zinc In Your Sunscreen?

Got Zinc In Your Sunscreen?

Just when you thought it was safe to go out in the sun….. All summer you tried to be the sun protection poster girl. You applied sunscreen (SPF 30) half an hour before going out to let it sink in. You made sure you got the tops of your hands and the tips of your ears. You used a golf ball-sized application and reapplied every two hours. What more could you have done in the name of avoiding skin damage? How about not done any of it? Recent studies show that sunscreens contain a number of chemicals that can actually increase the risk of skin cancer. Read onto find out what some new evidence is revealing about the safety of certain sunscreens and why you might want to think twice about your sun protection.

Physical and Chemical Sunscreens
Sunscreens usually fall into one of two categories: physical and chemical. Chemical sunscreens are made in laboratories and contain chemicals such as PABA, oxybenzone, and cinnamates. They work by absorbing UV rays to reduce sun damage to the skin.

Physical sunscreens, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are made of natural elements from the earth. These work by scattering or blocking UV rays, preventing them from entering the skin at all. Physical sunscreens are considered safer than chemical sunscreens because they offer more broad spectrum protection. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, have been linked to hormone disruption. Research has shown that chemical sunscreens can mimic estrogen in the body, and throw natural hormones off balance and that the chemicals in the sunscreen can be absorbed into the body, leading to allergic reactions.

SPF
SPF is sun protection factor, which is a measurement of protection from UVB rays. UVA rays are considered to be more dangerous, because of their ability to penetrate more deeply into the skin, but SPF does not take sunscreen’s protection against UVA rays into account.

Another problem with SPF is that the numbers are misleading. An SPF number is the number you can multiply the time you can spend in the sun without burning unprotected, by to get the amount of time you can spend in the sun without burning with the protection of sunscreen. In other words, if a person normally burns in ten minutes without sunscreen, an SPF of 15 will multiply that number by 15, which means that individual can remain in the sun for 150 minutes without burning with sunscreen.

By this reasoning, it would seem that an SPF of 30 would allow individuals to remain in the sun for twice as long as they could by wearing an SPF of 15. In truth, the difference between the two is minimal. An SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks about 97% and an SPF of 50 blocks about 98%. So in essence, the increase in SPF stops making a difference after a certain point.

vine vera banner presents Got Zinc In Your Sunscreen?

Zinc Oxide
Zinc Oxide offers broad spectrum protection which can shield from both UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, zinc is an essential mineral that we need in our bodies and the only active ingredient in sunscreen approved by the FDA for infants under the age of six months.

The Best Formula
If you are considering investing in a physical sunscreen, here are some of the natural ingredients you may want to look for on the label:

Zinc Oxide: This is the safest option for sunscreens. It’s the only one the FDA has recommended for infants and offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Antioxidants: These protect skin from oxidative stress, to give skin extra defense against sun damage.

Natural Ingredients: Natural soothing ingredients like hemp seed oil and lavender naturally sooth skin keeping it cool and calm. Moisturizers can be effective against flaking and dryness caused by the sun.

Tell us what you think about chemical vs. physical moisturizers. Which do you prefer? Let us know!

vine vera banner presents Quit Peanut Butter For Better Skin

Quit Peanut Butter For Better Skin

Sometimes, life is cruel. We grow up eating the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches mom packs for lunch, believing it is keeping us healthy. Then someone comes along and makes Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and we believe we have discovered nirvana. A literal peanut butter explosion ensues. We begin to invent new places to put this delicious spread. Peanut butter shows up in ice cream, in pretzels, as fillings in donuts, in cereals, on the ends of celery and carrot sticks it’s a veritable peanut butter breakout; but could the peanut butter breakout be responsible for the breakouts on your skin? New evidence shows a link between peanut butter and acne. Read on if you can bear it.

Omega -6 Fatty Acids
Aren’t these supposed to be good for you? Here’s the breakdown. You may know from looking at the label that peanut butter has a high fat content. Two tablespoons pack a whopping 16 grams. While most of that fat is mono saturated, 31% of it is polyunsaturated, which means it can trigger acne.
Omega-6 fats can cause inflammation. That means that when you get a clogged poor, a sebaceous gland could burst, which will cause your immune system to respond to what it perceives as an internal wound. When your body has an overload of omega-6 it has difficulty fighting inflammation, and that can make for some pimples that can stick around for a while. Try balancing omega-6’s with omega-3s to keep acne problems from becoming chronic/

Peanut Agglutinin
While it may sound like what a person turns into after eating too many peanuts, peanut agglutinins are lectins found in peanuts that can cause digestive problems. After eating, peanut agglutinin enters the blood stream and may well increase intestinal permeability. This means, it opens holes in the intestinal wall to make it easy for food particles to pass into the bloodstream. This may contribute to food allergies, autoimmune conditions, and systemic inflammation, such as “leaky gut,” which makes it difficult for the body to clear clogged pores before they develop into pimples, or full blown acne.

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Aflatoxin
Anything with the root word “toxin” could not possibly be good. Aflatoxin is a toxin created by molds which contributes to kidney and liver cancer, malnutrition, and virtue defects. Peanut butter is one of the most common dietary sources of aflatoxin. Although there is some evidence that the peanut butter making process may reduce aflatoxin by 89%, further studies need to be done to confirm whether or not the aflatoxin in peanut butter is a health concern. However, if aflatoxins are the problems, you’re probably better off with a processed peanut butter than a natural one, as the aflatoxin level tends to go down with increased processing.

Peanut Butter Is Addictive
“No kidding,” you say, as you scrape the last bit out of the jar. Peanut butter is what some might classify as a domino food, which means it may be a challenge to stop eating it. Remember,there are a lot of calories in just two tablespoons, and there’s a lot of tablespoons in a jar.

Sugar and Gluten
Most peanut butter on the market is made with sugar and hydrogenated oils, neither of which are very food for acne. Natural peanut butter may be a better choice, but you may want to put it on top of a banana rather than bread, and you may want to leave off the jelly, which will increase the sugar content.

Peanut Butter Alternatives
If you’re looking to cut down on the PB intake, cashew and almond butter are healthy alternatives, although they have yet to appear in Reeses products.

What do you think of these findings? Are you ready to cut down on the peanut butter? Let us know what you think.

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Don’t Use Face Moisturizers For Your Eyes

If you are a follower of the hot debates in the beauty world, you may be aware of the ongoing controversy over whether or not it is necessary to use an eye cream in addition to a moisturizer. While some swear by their eye creams, others insist they are simply glorified moisturizers designed to generate more sales for cosmetic companies. So which is it? Is CTM all we need, or is it necessary to bring in more players? The final answer may be somewhat divided, but it seems that at least some of us may benefit from a little attention around the eye area. Read on to find out how some experts weigh in on team cream vs. team moisturizer,

The Delicate Eye Area
The skin around our eyes is notoriously delicate. While our facial skin may be thinner than the skin on the rest of the body, the skin around our eyes can be as much ninety percent thinner than that. In addition, the area around the eye has fewer oil glands than the rest of the face, making it a prime target for dehydration and aging. The ocular area is a sensitive one, easily affected by environmental factors that can accelerate the breakdown of collagen, and facial expressions like squinting, winking, frowning, smiling and looks of surprise can all take a toll on the area. Combined with a lack of sleep, sun exposure, smoking and alcohol intake, these factors all contribute the wrinkles we commonly call crow’s feet.

Eye Cream Vs. Moisturizer
Eye creams and moisturizers both usually include two types of active ingredients: humectants and emollients. Emollients, such as paraffin, mineral oil, hyaluronic acid, and cocoa butter can soften and plump skin. Humectants, like urea, glycerin, and aloe vera gel, help skin maintain moisture levels. As the body ages production of collagen and elastin decreases along with a rate of skin turnover. Ingredients, such as vitamin A (retinol), peptides (ceramide) and antioxidants help with retaining collagen and elasticity.

Many women cite under eye darkness as a skin concern. Dilated blood vessels and thinning skin can heighten the appearance of under eye darkness. Lightning ingredients, like hydroquinone, vitamin K, and Kojic acid are useful for diminishing shadows under the eyes. Allergies and lack of sleep can lead to fluid buildup, causing bags under the eyes which require anti inflammatory ingredients such as caffeine, chamomile, and cucumber Polymers have tightening benefits to reduce puffiness and prevent wrinkles.

Product designed specifically for the eye area tend to be free of excess fragrance and are ophthalmologist tested for sensitivity issues. Eye cream used consistently can show results in as little as four to six weeks.

So, I Need An Eye Cream?
The answer is; not necessarily. While eye creams can bring great benefits for those with the especially fragile skin around the eyes, some of us are lucky enough to not have puffiness, dark circles, or lines, in which case the use of a good moisturizer may suffice. The choice depends on the individual needs and preferences.

How do you weigh in? Team cream or team moisturizer? Let us know which side of the debate you’re on!

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Antioxidant Foods For Glowing Skin

Your friends are dying to know why you’re glowing. They think it must be a new love, or maybe pregnancy, or a new skin treatment. Should you tell them? Should you tell them that antioxidants are the reason behind your glowing skin? Antioxidants are the cause of a lot of the latest buzz in the world of health and beauty. You may know about how beneficial they can be to your skin in creams and serums, but did you know they can also give your skin a boost from the inside out? Here are some of the best ways of getting the antioxidant glow from what you put on your plate.

Kale
Kale is full of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients absorb free radicals from UV light, including the ones that actually reach the skin. One cup gives you 134% of Vitamin C and 133% of Vitamin A, both skins firming wonders.

Green Tea
When it comes to healthy foods, green tea can do no wrong. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank a beverage containing green tea polyphenols showed increased skin elasticity and had one-quarter less sun damage after UV light exposure, compared to a control group. Green tea has catechins like EGCG to help stimulate oxygen and blood flow to the skin to keep your complexion radiant and healthy.

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Olive Oil
Women in the Mediterranean have been known to slather olive oil directly on their skin for its antioxidant properties. One study in PLOS ONE analyzing diets of 1264 women, found that those who consumed over 8.4 grams of olive oil a day showed 31% fewer signs of aging than those who ate less than one teaspoon. Olive oil also topped the list of oils for its anti aging properties, deftly knocking out both sunflower and peanut. Researchers credit the 75% mono saturated fatty acid content with the anti aging properties, and say the antioxidant polyphenols in the oil could be responsible for quenching free radicals that cause skin damage.

Tomatoes
If you’re looking for a place to drizzle your olive oil, how about on some ripe tomatoes? A study found people who ate 5 tablespoons of tomato paste per day with a tablespoon of olive oil for a twelve week period, had 33% more sunburn protection than a control group who ate just olive oil. The antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes increases the natural SPF levels in the skin, however, it is not recommended that you abandon your sunscreen in favor of tomato paste just yet.

Dark Chocolate
Save the best for dessert! Dark chocolate is the newest sinful delight that is scoring high points for antioxidant levels. The treat is rich in antioxidant plant compounds called cocoa flavanols. Studies found women who drank a high flavanol cocoa powder beverage every day for three weeks showed less skin dryness and flakiness when compared to a control group. Unfortunately, though a dark chocolate binge is not recommended. Stick to one ounce, 150 calorie portion to get the good skin without the extra weight.

What are your favorite skin healthy foods? Let us know what you’re putting inside you to get that antioxidant glow on the outside.

food sources of magnesium

Here’s Why Your Skin Needs Magnesium

As the fourth most prevalent mineral found in every cell within the body, it should come as no surprise that magnesium is required for so many different bodily functions. In fact, your body uses magnesium in over 300 different enzymatic reactions.

When it comes to your skin, magnesium serves a number of different purposes, from clearing stress-related acne breakouts to preventing wrinkles, making it essential that you are providing your body with the required amount of magnesium each and every day.

Magnesium Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are directly linked to the health of your skin.

How?

Each time you feel stressed, your body releases the stress hormone, known as cortisol, which basically puts people into fight or flight mode.

However, when the body experiences chronic stress, cortisol levels begin to really build up, which then triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.

The result?

Clogged pores, inflammation, and, ultimately, acne.

In addition to causing acne, stress can exacerbate other skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea, and can also accelerate the visible signs of aging.

You’re probably thinking…

What does this have to do with magnesium?

Well, one of the incredible properties of magnesium is that it is a relaxation mineral, and supports adrenal function. Whenever cortisol is released into your body, your kidneys release some magnesium, as the mineral has the ability to regulate and reduce the effects that cortisol has on the body. This then minimizes the detrimental effects that stress can have on your skin.

However, when chronic stress is experienced, it does not take long for magnesium levels to begin running low…

When this happens, your blood vessels tighten and your blood pressure is raised, both of which end up magnifying the effects of stress.

In addition to using magnesium to help lower stress, you should back this up with other stress-relieving methods too, whether this may be a workout or eating foods that lower the cortisol in your body. 

Magnesium Improves Sleep

Your skin needs quality sleep every night in order to thrive, with the time that your body is sleeping being when your skin really works to heal and regenerate itself.  

After all, it is referred to as beauty sleep for a reason…

Without sufficient sleep each night, here are a few of the skin issues that you may experience:

  • An increase in inflammation, which leads to the breakdown of collagen, the protein that gives your skin its structure and firmness
  • Poor water balance, leading to dryness and accelerated aging
  • Increases cortisol in body, meaning it has the same effects on your skin as stress does  
  • Exacerbation of existing skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and acne

So, how can magnesium help?

In a number of ways…

To begin with, as mentioned above, magnesium helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which in itself is enough to really help many people finally experience some quality sleep.

Magnesium also helps the muscles in the body to relax, which, as you would imagine, makes quality sleep much easier.

Another one of magnesium’s roles is in the synthesis of serotonin, which is the precursor of melatonin.

What is melatonin?

A hormone that your brain produces, which controls your sleeping and waking cycles. Studies have shown that those who take magnesium supplements have higher levels of melatonin in their bodies than those who do not.

Magnesium is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

There are many ingredients out there that are touted as being anti-inflammatory, but what exactly does this mean?

Well, inflammation is the way in which your body naturally fights off attackers, whether this may be bacteria, chemicals or even foods. In the short run, this is a good thing, but chronic inflammation is becoming increasingly common, and this is where the problems begin. 

Here are a few of the skin issues that inflammation can cause:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Premature aging, in the form of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin 

Magnesium has been proven to significantly reduce inflammation within the body, which would then help to reduce any skin issues that have been brought about by inflammation.

Magnesium also targets skin inflammation directly…

How?

Well, one of the ways it does this is by inhibiting e-selectin, which is a molecule that is responsible for inflammation within the skin. When your skin is damaged, it is e-selectin that sends inflammation to the site of damage, but, in the case of chronic damage, which can be caused by anything from sun exposure to smoking, e-selectin never stops working.

Magnesium can help with this, and therefore minimize and prevent the angry red lesions that e-selectin causes.

Magnesium Helps the Gut to Thrive

Many people do not realize that the health of their gut can have a direct impact on their skin…

Here are a few of the skin issues that poor gut health can cause:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Rosacea
  • Dry Skin
  • Psoriasis
  • Facial Redness

In addition to boosting immune function, mood and energy levels, improving the health of the gut has been scientifically proven to lead to clearer skin.

However, science has also proven that a magnesium deficiency will lead to noticeably lower concentrations of good bacteria in the gut.

There is an ideal balance required between good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut, and, without the right amount of magnesium in your body, this gets completely thrown off.

bacteria in human gut

Are you wondering how magnesium actually affects the gut?

To begin with, magnesium is key when it comes to activating the enzymes responsible for breaking down the food that you have eaten, meaning that, without enough of it, poor digestion will be experienced.

Magnesium is also important when it comes to controlling the contraction and relaxation of the bowel. Without enough magnesium, your bowel will be slower at emptying, which will then cause even more problems for the good bacteria in your gut.

Magnesium Helps to Fight Insulin Resistance

Just like cortisol, insulin is a hormone that is good in small doses, but detrimental to your skin when around for longer periods of time.

What exactly does insulin do?

It basically controls your blood sugar levels, keeping this low. It takes any excess glucose in your blood and helps to convert it into energy, rather than allowing it to become toxic to the body.

However, modern-day diets often contain far too much sugar, resulting in the body producing way too much insulin…

This then results in your cells becoming resistant to excess glucose, meaning that it is no longer converted into energy. The long-term result of this is diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

When it comes to the skin, insulin resistance increases the amount of oil that your sebaceous glands produce, which quickly leads to clogged pores, acne and inflammation.

However, studies have shown that those who increase the amount of magnesium they are consuming are able to lower their metabolic markers for insulin resistance by an impressive 71%. There are many other studies on this subject out there, with another one showing that magnesium was able to significantly prevent type 2 diabetes from developing.

How Much Magnesium Do You Actually Need?

When it comes to the amount of magnesium that you actually need, recommendations vary quite a bit, with some professionals saying around 300-400mg per day, while others say 800-1000mg per day.

So where do you actually get magnesium from?

Well, historically, magnesium was found in high concentrations in the soil, which meant that it made its way into the food that people would eat.

However, the soil that is used to grow our food today has been severely over-farmed, and is seriously depleted of magnesium.

Of course, magnesium can still be found in small amounts in certain foods, such as:

  • Dark, leafy greens – the darker, the better
  • Oily fish – such as sardines and mackerel
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate

10 foods high in magnesium

However, keep in mind that today’s food really only contains magnesium in tiny amounts.

For example, in order to consume your daily requirement of magnesium, you would need to eat more than 33 cups of spinach every day, or over 22 cans of sardines.

This is where magnesium supplements come in…

Unfortunately, in today’s world, this is really the only way to ensure that your body is obtaining its required amount of magnesium each day.

Even if you do not take any other supplements, magnesium is one that you really should consider. As you will have read above, this is a mineral that is so vital when it comes to the various daily functions within the body.

While it is usually better to opt for whole foods that contain the nutrients that you need, this just is not possible when it comes to magnesium, making supplements essential.

Choosing a Magnesium Supplement

magnesium supplement

There are so many different types of magnesium supplements out there, and it can be really difficult knowing which one you actually need.

Magnesium supplements are not all created equally…

The biggest factor that they vary in is how bioavailable they are to the body.

Here are a few of the most common magnesium supplement types:

  • Magnesium Oxide – inexpensive but can have a laxative effect
  • Magnesium Citrate – budget-friendly and more bioavailable than magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium Sulfate – also known as Epsom salts, these also provide sulfur, which is great for soothing aching muscles
  • Magnesium Chloride – highly bioavailable
  • Magnesium Glycinate – optimum bioavailability

Wondering how much you need to take?

As mentioned above, the guidelines vary quite a bit. Some people experience great results with just 250mg a day, whereas others need about 700mg a day to notice a difference.

Your best bet is to start off with a low dose, and then gradually increase this. You cannot really go overboard with taking too much, and it would be really difficult to cause magnesium toxicity, but, as always, exercise common sense.

Topical Magnesium

In addition to consuming magnesium, you can also apply it to your skin topically.

There are many skin care products out there that are formulated with magnesium, or, alternatively, you could use a magnesium oil. Since this is quite a concentrated product, it should not be applied to the face. Instead, apply it to a part of your skin that encourages absorption, such as your inner arm, and then let it soak in.

Epsom salts are another great source of magnesium, and you can absorb this mineral through your skin.

How?

By taking a soak in an Epsom salt bath. Your skin will absorb just the right amount of magnesium that your body needs, and you will also be gaining the benefits of sulfur. Baths with Epsom salts have been proven to be an even better source of magnesium than consuming supplements, making this a method definitely worth trying.

How much should you be adding to your bath?

The recommended amount is around two cups for a well-filled bath, and you should soak in this for 10 to 15 minutes. While it may be tempting to indulge in the bath for a little longer, do not forget that leaving your skin to soak in hot water for so long will bring about its own detrimental effects. 

To boost the amount of magnesium that enters your skin during the bath, try giving your skin a dry brush beforehand.

Avoiding the Things That Inhibit Magnesium Absorption

While magnesium absorption is something that happens naturally, there are certain things that can inhibit this, and therefore leave you more magnesium-deficient than you would have thought.

Eating foods that have been laden with pesticides is one of these things, as is drinking water that contains fluoride.

Prescription drugs are also best avoided when possible, as is dairy, soda and sugar.

With around 80% of Americans being deficient in magnesium, this is a mineral that you need to take extremely seriously. The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are so varied, so it is well worth trying out a magnesium supplement and seeing how this could not only benefit your skin, but also your overall health.

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Ingredients To Avoid In Your Skincare

Hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, peels, exfoliants, mud, clay, retinol, vitamins A-Z, ceramides, essential oils; sometimes it seems like there are too many skincare ingredients to fit in one product, much less on the human face. Add that to the new layering trend, and, it may even seem like companies are creating more room on the human face for even more products. If you’re confused about which ingredients to look for when you’re looking to buy your next skin care product, maybe you should focus on what not to use. The FDA has only so much say in what goes into and what stays out of your cosmetic products, so for optimal health, you may need to be the one who makes the decisions. Here are some ingredients to avoid in your products to help you narrow it down.

Aluminum
Aluminum is a chemical salt you don’t want to find in your skin care products. It is used for its disinfectant and absorbent properties and is most often found in deodorants and antiperspirants. Recent studies of breast cancer patients detected higher amounts of aluminum is the outer areas of the breast, where deodorant is normally applied. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health showed that the accumulation of aluminum in bodily tissues can lead to bone disease, tissue damage, impaired kidney function, and has also been found in the brains of those suffering Alzheimer’s disease. Opt for aluminum free natural deodorants and antiperspirants.

Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is a compound commonly used for lightening of freckles, melanoma, age spots and discolorations which has been found to increase exposure to UV rays and cause mutations in laboratory studies. The chemical has been shown to cause contact dermatitis, and degeneration of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Doctors warn pregnant women to avoid its use during pregnancy and nursing, and the Environmental Working Group has assigned a hazardous warning to the compound. Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid may be a better choice for skin brightening.

Fragrance
Fragrance can be intoxicating, in more ways than one. Apparently, fragrance can contain up to 200 undeclared ingredients, some of which may be hormone altering preservatives called phthalates, and you may have no way of knowing. Since companies don’t have to give a chemical breakdown of fragrances, it is difficult to tell the exact components of the scent. Problems such as coughing, vomiting, hyper pigmentation, allergies, skin rashes, and dizziness have all been known to occur from the use of synthetic fragrances. A word to the wise: avoid the word “fragrance” on the ingredient label unless it is derived from essential oils.

Parabens
Parabens can include propyl, butyl, methyl, and ethyl parabens. This group of preservatives extend shelf life of cosmetics, and are estimated to be contained in over 90% of all beauty products. A 2006 study of the urine sample of healthy adults showed evidence of parabens in over 90 percent of the participants.

Phthalates
You probably don’t want to find any chemicals used to make plastics in your cosmetic supplies. Phthalates are chemicals derived from oil, often found in product like perfume, hair spray, and nail polish and are often used to help the product cling to the skin, nails, and hair. The fear is that these products may be absorbed through the skin, fingernails, and lungs. Animal studies have shown an association between phthalates and kidney, liver, lung, and reproduction system damage. Human studies have shown abnormal development in male infants whose mothers show high levels of phthalates in their bodies. You may especially want to look out for dibutyl phthalate (DBP) di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and butylbenzylphthalate (BBP) on ingredient lists.

What ingredients are you looking to avoid on your beauty products? Let us know! It may be helpful!

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Don’t Believe These Beauty Myths

Some myths die hard, others, we’re pleased to let go of. The big reveal about pizza and chocolate not causing acne may have been a little easier for many to accept, the one about Santa Claus may have been a little more difficult. However, like it or not, eventually the truth will come out. Here are some of the latest “facts” about beauty that are turning out to be, not so factual. Hopefully, they won’t be too hard to part with.

Myth 1: Skincare Products Should Be Chosen According to Age
We often see skin regimens and care products targeted at certain age groups, however, it is important to make a distinction between age groups and skin types. While there are certain skin issues associated with aging, there is no guarantee that a woman in her 30’s does not face the same concerns as a woman in her 50’s. Clogged pores don’t automatically disappear when you reach 50, and wrinkles can occur on women in their 20’s. The bottom line is, fighting aging should begin as soon as possible. It is never too early to start on a healthy skin regimen.

Myth 2: Hypoallergenic Products Are Best For Sensitive Skin
Hypoallergenic is a term which means that a product is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, and is better for sensitive and allergy prone skin. However, there are no regulations for determining if a product can be labelled as hypoallergenic. Rather than looking for the word, “hypoallergenic” on the label, look at the ingredient label. Fragrance free, gentle ingredients are more friendly to sensitive skin.

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Myth 3: Age Spots Are A Part Of Getting Older
The term “age spot’ is something of a misnomer. The brown spots and discoloration come from years of exposure to the elements that lead to visible imperfections in the skin, and can show up at any age. The best skin brightening products are those that contain niacinamide and vitamin C. Plant extracts such as arbutin have also been shown to have skin brightening properties, but none of these ingredients will work without the application of a broad spectrum sun screen. If a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is not applied 365 days a year, the uneven skin tone and spots will not take a turn for the better.

Myth 4: You’ll Outgrow Acne
Unfortunately, acne is not only a rite of passage. Adults up to the age of 60 can get blemishes, and the products that treat them are the same for any age group. The causes of acne are not age related, and the conditions can be triggered at any time. Another common misconception: having clear skin as an adolescents does not exempt you from acne in later life.

Myth 5: Makeup Triggers Acne
There is no research showing a link between makeup and acne, but if you don’t remove makeup completely and correctly, you may run into problems. When you leave traces of makeup on your skin at night, the anti acne products you apply to your face cannot penetrate the pores, which means they are less effective if at all. It is not the makeup itself that triggers acne, but its likelihood to block pores which prevents the acne medication from absorption that pulls the trigger on blemishes.

What beauty myths shocked you? Let us know your favorite busted myth. We love to get your comments.

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You’re Missing The Mark With Your Sunscreen

You may have seen the “epic sunscreen fails” on social media. Those are those pictures of the suntans that start below the shorts, the weird patterns across the back, the white marks left from the brim of a hat on an otherwise red face. Why is it that we’re so bad at applying sun screen? Is it some ancient art that humans are not capable of mastering? Bad sunscreen application can be amusing, but it can also be dangerous. After all, we are using it to protect ourselves. If you find yourself among the sunscreen application impaired, here are a few areas you want to keep in mind the next time you find yourself charged with slathering on the SPF.

Skin Around Eyes and Eyelids
The skin around the eyes in the thinnest and most delicate on the body and eyelid cancer accounts for 5-10% of all skin cancer. According to Dr. Anjali Mahto, spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, “Sunglasses are your best defense. Choose quality glasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays and cover as much of the eye area as possible.” She adds that no malignant skin cancers are quite common, and surgery for their removal can be disfiguring. If the thought of sunscreen getting into your eyes is unattractive, you must sport your sunnies.

Parts
The scalp is another target for skin cancer, and cancer can often go undetected there because it’s a spot that is so hard to monitor. Dr. Mahto says,” Men with thinning hair should wear a hat and make sure sunscreen is applied to the hairline.” Pigtail and braid wearers should also be wary. If you have a severe part in your hair, your scalp will be vulnerable.

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Tips and Behind Ears
Dr. Mahto calls these high-risk areas and reports them as a common site for freckling. Says she, “(Freckling) is more common in men than in women, but everyone should be vigilant. The ears are the third most common place on the body to develop basal cell carcinomas.”

Tops of Hands and Backs of Feet
Many of us already have a horror of aging hands, and the sun will not be much help in this department. With hands, you’re not only at risk for wrinkles and dehydration but an increased risk for age spots. Be kind to your feet, as well. Remember that they haven’t seen the sun all year and are likely to be more prone to a bad burn when exposed.

The Decolletage
Another area of aging concern, the décolletage is often a target for overexposure (to the sun, that is). Dr. Mahto gives specific directions for this part of the body. “The easiest way to ensure this area is properly protected is to apply your sun cream before you get dressed,” she says. “That way you don’t have to work around bra or bikini straps. This is a part of the body that gets full exposure all summer, so use a high SPF regularly.”

Word to the wise….
If exercise or a hobby means that you are spending a lot of time outdoors, Dr. Mahto advises, “The legs are the most common site for melanoma in women, so don’t forget your SPF before you go for your run.” If sweating under your sunscreen is an issue, choose a lightweight formula that doesn’t block pores.

Are you among the sunscreen application challenged? If so, let us know the spots we’re likely to miss!

Six Reasons To Use A Serum

woman examining herself in the mirror

CTM. Cleanser. Toner. Moisturizer. It’s all you need. The three basic steps. Everything else is just unnecessary, right? We’re all into compacting our skin routines, finding products that multitask and cutting out the extraneous, and these can be valuable time-savers. However, the serum may be a rare exception. It’s one of those products that is worth investing a few extra minutes a day for. In fact, if you’re already using a serum, you might even say it’s worth sacrificing a few minutes of sleep for. What is it about this wonder product that makes it such a great investment? Read on to find out.

They’re Powerful
According to Zoe Weisman, director of product development at Advanced Clinicals, it has a lot to do with content. “Serums tend to be more concentrated when it comes to the active ingredient.” That means that whatever the star ingredient in your serum, be it retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid or another noted skin enhancer, a serum is likely to have a more potent dose that your average moisturizer with the same active ingredient. Weisman also advises looking for a product in an opaque bottle with an airtight lid to prevent oxidation. Smiling woman in white at mirror

There’s One For Everyone
If your skin tends to be on the dry side, Weisman suggests investing in a serum with hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin, which will help to plump up lines and fill in depressions. If dark spots are your concern, vitamin C will prevent damage and hyper pigmentation, while vitamin A (retinol) will increase cell turnover and decrease wrinkles.

Layering
Another of benefit of serum is their light weight and easy absorption, which lend themselves to layering. That means you can combine serums to address different problems, or add one under your moisturizer, SPF, or foundation without creating a pile up.

Eye Serums are the New Eye Cream
If you’re looking to compartmentalize your beauty routine, while still incorporating a serum, you may want to give your sticky eye cream its walking papers. “The ideal,” says Weisman, “is a milky serum. You get the light texture and high potency of serum plus the milky aspect that makes it moisturizing.”

Happy woman applying eye serum at mirror

Benefits Go Below the Neck
If you love your serum, why stop at the jawline? There are serums designed for the neck and décolletage. “If you think about it, ” says Weisman, “this is a bad time for necks since we’re always hunched over our phones.” In fact, if you’re really serum happy there are full body serums to soften stretch marks, and smoothen cellulite, and hand serums to moisturize and treat age spots.

Penetration
Penetration. We’re always wondering whether it happens or not. With serums, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Serums’ lightweight formulas absorb better and penetrate more deeply into your skin than moisturizer, so you get better results with no residue.

Why do you love your serum? Let us know what your serum does for you!

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Don’t Let Sand Rub You the Wrong Way

Ah, the beach! That salty air! That beach smell! Don’t you wish you could just take it home with you? Many of us wish we could capture the essence of the beach, but when it comes to bringing it your house, there may be certain elements better left at the shore. Sand fleas can feast on human flesh, carrying diseases and transmitting viruses, and you certainly don’t want them making your body their home. Read on to find out little more about these pests and how you can make sure they don’t get in the way of your summer fun.

Sand Fleas On Humans
Don’t judge them by their size. They may be quite small, but sand fleas can cause big problems. Because they are so close to the ground, your ankles, feet, and legs, are their most convenient targets, and they can’t jump more than 20 to 40 centimeters, so unless you’re lying in the sand, your upper body should be relatively safe. These creatures are nocturnal, so you’re most likely to get bitten in the evening, at night, or at dawn.

There are two types of sand fleas bites to look for. The first resembles a mosquito bite. You’ll get these when the flea bites and sucks your blood and they move on to another host. As they do this, they leave behind saliva which prevents blood clotting, and this clotting that may cause an allergic reaction. The second type of bite is inflicted by breeding females. These fleas will burrow themselves into the skin and stay there until their eggs hatch. The bites of the female breeding fleas are characterized by a swollen area with black spots in the middle. The black spots are the fleas.

Both types of bites can cause symptoms like pain, discomfort, and itching. If you have an allergy to sand flea bites, these symptoms can be more severe. When breeding fleas burrow into your skin, you may experience fever and infection, which may develop into tungiasis, which is an inflammatory skin disease that needs treatment to prevent further infection.

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Treatment
If you are bitten by and fleas, here is some advice for treatment

  • Don’t scratch the bites. This will only increase the chance of infection.
  •  Examine the bite for breeding sand fleas who can live under your skin sucking blood for weeks.
  •  Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to control itching, and take painkillers for pain and swelling. See a doctor if treatments worsen. He or she may suggest the use of an antihistamine cream.
  •  A combination of baking soda and water may prove soothing. Just apply to the area and let it work.
  •  Soak in a lukewarm (not hot) oatmeal bath to reduce itching.
  •  Aloe vera may provide relief from itching and help bites heal.
  •  Essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, and cedar wood, may all relieve discomfort

Preventing Further Attacks
Prevention is, of course, the best treatment. Here are some suggestions for those who want to avoid sand flea bites.

  • Stay away from the beach in the morning and evening, and when it has recently rained. Sand fleas are more active when the air is moist and cool. If you do visit the beach during any of these weather conditions, bring insect repellant.
  • Cover yourself when lying down or sitting to avoid bites on your legs, back, and feet.

Have you ever provided a home for a sand flea? Let us know your experiences and how you rid yourself of these bloodsucking parasites.