Tag Archives: skin care

Dissolving Fillers To Reveal Natural Beauty

woman getting filler-dissolving treatment

From the time we saw Bruce Springsteen drag her on the the stage in the “Dancing InThe Dark” video, the nation fell in love with Courtney Cox. We watched her grow up as the charming, if high-maintenance Monica on “Friends,” and then the naughty older lady on “Cougartown.” However, we began to notice a small change, at this time. Was Courtney’s face looking a bit stiffer? Her lips perhaps a little too plump? Had our girl been dabbling in facial fillers?

If you’re a Courtney fan, you may have heard of her latest brave decision to break ties with her facial fillers, in a decision that may be gaining popularity. If you’re thinking of following in Courtney’s footsteps, here’s a little info on dissolving facial fillers.

Why Filler Dissolves
Hyaluronic acid filler, which is usually injected in the lips and cheeks, come from a molecule that already exists in the skin to provide moisture. New York Plastic surgeon Dr. David Shafer says, “The only difference is in the laboratory, they connect them by chemical bonds, that’s what makes it stay in shape when it’s in your body. But over about eight months to two years, your body starts to metabolize it and break apart those bonds and then you just absorb it like you would normal, natural hyaluronic acid.

Dissolving Fillers on Purpose
If you don’t want to wait for your filler to dissolve, there are ways to speed the process. In the past four years doctors have begun to inject an enzyme that helps to break down the chemical bonds in the hyaluronic acid. “it’s breaking apart the gel under the skin and your body just absorbs it like it would your own natural hyaluronic acid.

woman receiving filler dissolving enzyme

What Is It Like?
Dissolving filters is a relatively quick process, in which the enzyme is injected into the area where the filler is using a small needle. Shafer says, “it’s not a painful procedure. Usually patients say they feel a little bit of warmth or tingling in the area as the enzyme is working.” Some results are noticeable immediately, while others take 24 hours to work completely. A follow up appointment is recommended two days after the first to see if the procedure was effective, and take additional steps if necessary.

Cost
The procedure commonly starts at $400 per treatment.

Fillers that Can’t Be Dissolved
While the enzyme is a great way to dissolve hyaluronic acid fillers, other fillers won’t response immediately. Those whose injectables are Radiesse, which is made out of hydroxyapatite, or Sculptra, which contains collagen stimulating particles, may just have to wait it out. Radiesse fillers last about a year to a year and a half, while Sculptra lasts 2-3 years.

Get It Right the First Time
Just because fillers are reversible, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in some consideration before you get them. Dr. Schafer says, “Fillers and Botox can make really nice changes for people, they just have to be done conservatively. If it’s getting to be too much or not looking natural, I’m going to tell people ‘no.'”

What do you think of getting fillers dissolved? Good move or bad? Let us know where you stand on the issue.

Beware These Bleaching Ingredients In Your Skincare Products

woman with good skin

One would like to think that society is moving forward; that we are beyond the point of endangering our health for our beauty; that we have come a long way from the days of using white lead to lighten our faces (as the ancient Romans did) or lead sulfate to remove our freckles (Rome circa 15th-18th century). But maybe we’re not as forward thinking as we would like to believe. While the days of full face whitening may be over, many women still use skin bleachers to fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots., and some of these products contain harsh chemicals. Here is a list of some of the chemicals you may not want to see on your skin cream label:

Hydroquinone
If you use skin lightening creams, you may have noticed this ingredient popping up on the label. Hydroquinone is a melanin inhibitor that works by preventing the production of skin pigments. Although it may look as if it is working in the beginning, long-term danger may await. Hydroquinone has been known to cause permanent skin discoloration, and has hence been banned in many countries.

Mercury
Mercury is another ingredient that often looms large in skin lightening products. However, while it may serve to lighten your skin, it may also be doing damage to your kidneys. Mercury in skin products can cause scarring, discoloration, and rashes, and has also been found to break down the skin’s resistance to bacteria and fungus.

Steroids
Banned in most countries without a prescription, topical steroids can cause skin thinning and fungal infections, and long term use can even lead to serious internal diseases. Steroids have also been associated with folliculitis and rosacea.

woman reading labels

Parabens
These preservatives are most often used to extend the shelf like of beauty products, but they have also been found to be carcinogenic. Parabens have not only been associated with an increased cancer risk, and they can also interfere with the endocrine system. Reports show that paraben can have an estrogen-like effect on the body which may disrupt the reproductive system.

Phthalates
Similar to paragons, phthalates are also carcinogenic in nature and should especially be avoided by pregnant women.

Fragrances
They smell lovely, but they may not leave your skin that way. Fragrances can be highly toxic and have an adverse effect on the central nervous system, possibly leading to irritability, hyperactivity, and depression.

Natural Alternatives
So now that you’re sufficiently scared of your skin lightening treatment, you may be wondering if there are natural alternatives, and the good news is; yes, there are! Plant testing has revealed a number of all-natural ingredients that suppress melanin production without the side effects of chemicals. Look for products including such ingredients as licorice, mulberry extract, arbutus, kojic acid, Emblica and vitamin C next time you are looking for a pigment reducer for effective results without the negative side effects.

What natural products do you use for hyperpigmentation? Let us know how you’re staying safe while looking gorgeous!

Vitamin B for Youthful, Radiant Skin

vine vera banner presents Vitamin B for Youthful, Radiant Skin

The vitamin B complex. It may be fair to say it’s the vitamin complex that puts the ‘B’ in beauty. Sure Vitamin A is the “gold standard” when it comes to aging, and vitamin C and E are both powerful antioxidants, but when it comes to strengthening skin, hair, and nails, you can’t really beat the B vitamins. Let’s have a look at this beautifying octet and see why B vitamins are so essential for youthful skin, healthy hair, and tough as nails.

Vitamin B
First thought to be one vitamin, later found to be eight, the B vitamins work together to keep our bodies working like the well-oiled machines they are. B1, B2, B3, B5, B7, B8, B9 and B12 all perform slightly different functions that help provide nutrients to our bodies and prevent everything from memory loss to migraines. However, lately vitamin B has been coming into attention from the beauty world, with a large number of studies showing how vitamin B’s inclusion in face creams can be a key component in the prevention of aging.

Nicotinamide, a vitamin B-3 derivative, in particular, has been shown to help the upper layer of skin retain moisture, with less dryness, flakiness, and fine lines, and has demonstrated skin brightening properties when added to moisturizers.

B Vitamins For Skin
Dull and unhealthy skin and certain chronic skin issues have all been associated with a vitamin B deficiency. B-12 regulates pigment location and production which can prevent darkening of the skin on certain parts of the body related to hyperpigmentation. Vitamin B3 can be used to minimize the appearance and degree of severity in some skin conditions, and B5 can help with acne by breaking down oils.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, supplementing with B5 can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels to promote healthy skin indirectly, and can, more specifically help to prevent acne by breaking down the oils in these compounds. Vitamin B5 has also been linked with a fast healing of wounds, especially when combined with vitamin C.

vine vera banner presents Vitamin B for Youthful, Radiant Skin

B Vitamins For Hair
B vitamins metabolize food, which means nutrition goes to the whole body, hair follicles included. B1, B2, B3, and B5 deficiencies can all result in weak hair follicle cells, and lack of B9, or folic acid, can slow cell division in follicles, slowing down growth.

Vitamin B7 or biotin, otherwise know as the “beauty vitamin” can help maintain strength, tone, and texture of hair and can even prevent hair loss caused by poor thyroid health and biotin deficiencies. Biotin can also be used to treat cradle cap in infants.

B Vitamins For Nails
Strong nails require a number of B vitamins to stay healthy. Vitamin B12 or riboflavin helps with iron absorption necessary for nail health, too little of which results in white, thin, brittle nails, and even abnormal nail growth. B12 also plays a role in the formation of red blood cells, hence the prevention of anemia, one of the symptoms of which is unhealthy nails. Vitamin B9, or folate, helps with the development of new cells, which contributes to nail growth.

Sources
While the body usually produces its own vitamin B, food sources include fish, meat, and vegetables. Fish has the highest B content, with salmon, tuna, trout, and cod topping the list. Lamb, poultry, eggs meat, and dairy are also good sources of Vitamin B and certain fruits, vegetables and legumes also rank high on the list. Avocados, pomegranates, and berries are all high in Vitamin B, as are green leafy vegetables, potatoes, and squashes. Soybeans, lentils, and kidney beans also have high concentrations of the vitamin.

What do you think? Does Vitamin B complex put the “B” in beauty? Let us know!

The Benefits Of Resveratrol

Wine and grapes

If you are a follower of Greek mythology, you may know that Greek gods were superior immortal exceptionally beautiful beings believed to have powers over controlling the world or some aspect of it. You probably also know that the Greek gods drank a lot of wine. Did anyone ever make a connection between the two? Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound found in red wine and grapes. It is said to promote longevity and offer a range of health benefits from promoting weight loss to combatting cancer. Could it help us achieve god-like status? You be the judge. Here are some of the benefits of resveratrol.

What Is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant produced by some plants as a natural defense against stresses of the environment and is theorized to be able to do the same for humans. Antioxidants are compounds which have been shown to neutralize free radicals which cause aging, cancer, and heart disease. Although Japanese knotweed tops the list of plants with the highest content of resveratrol, a large amount is found in the skin of grapes. Resveratrol protects the grapes against sun damage and fungi disease, making red wine, produced with the grapes, a source of the antioxidant, although in an albeit small amount.

Woman drinking wine

Resveratrol and the French
Resveratrol is thought to be the cause of low rates of heart disease in France. Even with the French habits of smoking, coffee drinking, and the consumption of a high-fat diet, the incidence of heart disease remains low in the French population. The theory is that the resveratrol in the red wine the French consume counteracts the effects of poor health habits, and also contribute to the longevity of the French people.

How Does It Work?
Resveratrol helps to protect cell DNA and reverses the damage caused by free radicals leading to cancer, and aging.

Woman pondering

Benefits

  • Skin Care
    Research indicate that resveratrol can fight skin damage caused by UV light. A study publishes in the FASEB found that when directly applied to skin, resveratrol can protect against the effects of aging caused by sun exposure.
  • Weight Loss
    Scientific finding show that resveratrol can stimulate the production of adiponectin, which is a hormone throughout to fight obesity and insulin resistance. Animal based and test tube studies show that the compound can help to speed metabolism and slow down the formation of fat cells.
  • Brain Health
    A study published in the journal Neurology in 2015 showed that individuals suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease demonstrated small improvements in their self maintenance abilities after taken resveratrol supplements daily for a year.
  • Cancer
    A report from the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reveal a number of studies suggesting that resveratrol may have anti cancer properties. A study on cell cultures revealed that resveratrol helped to slow the progression of breast cancer in its early stages, and prevented estrogen from reacting to DNA molecules and forming compounds associated with the beginnings of cancer.

Have you taken resveratrol or used it in your skin care products? Let us know what you think. Is resveratrol the new miracle antioxidant?

A Moisturizer For Skin and Hair

Woman touching face

Today, many of us won’t touch a product unless it lists hyaluronic acid, retinol, or any of the other scientific-sounding ingredients that seem to be revolutionizing the face of skin care, and your own, these days. However, while much of this stuff has proven quite effective, there are still those of us who prefer natural ingredients, that have grown out of the same earth as we have. Shea butter is a natural ingredient used for centuries. In fact, Cleopatra was said to have used it in her beauty regimen, and they say Marc Anthony was not hard on the eyes. Here are some of the ways shea butter can be used as a moisturizer for skin and hair.

For Skin

  1. Healing
    Shea butter contains fatty acids and plant sterols which do not convert into soap as easily as other nut oils and fats, which makes it a great healer for skin. Raw shea butter has been known to help treat skin rashes, and peeling after tanning and is effective on everything from scars, frostbite, athlete’s foot, stretch marks, arthritis, to insect bites.
  2. Antioxidants
    Shea butter consists of plant antioxidants, like vitamin A and vitamin E and catechins, which protect cells from damage by the environment and free radicals, and cinnamic acid esters to prevent skin from sun damage.
  3. Anti-Aging
    In addition to preventing sun damage, shea butter can stimulate the production of collagen, the protein building block of skin. The vitamins E and A lend their moisturizing powers, keeping skin supple and preventing premature wrinkles.
  4. Skin Elasticity
    As mentioned earlier, shea butter is non-saponifiable, which means it does not convert easily into soap. This and its vitamin F content make it vital in the maintenance of skin elasticity and tone.

Woman combing hair

For Hair

    1. Dry Scalp
      Got flakes? Try shea butter. It’s an effective treatment for dandruff or a dry itchy scalp. Shea butter is easily absorbed into the skin, so you don’t have to worry about greasy residue or clogged pores. Once penetrated, its vitamins A and E work to repair breakage, soothe dryness, and mend split ends.
    2. Moisturizer
      Shea butter can be used as a natural substitute for your conditioner. Its presence of A and E vitamins make it effective in locking moisture in without added weight and greasiness. Shea butter is widely used in the treatments of curly hair because of its emollient properties, It can also restore moisture loss caused by chemical treatments, such as perms and straighteners.
    3. Hair Protection
      Not only can shea butter protect your skin against free radicals, it can protect your hair as well. The small amount of SPF contained in the cream provides sufficient protection from sun damage caused by UV rays, and can actually repair preexisting damage as well. This is because shea butter coats the shaft of the hair to protect it from heat tools and other damaging materials. This is especially beneficial to frequent swimmers looking to protect hair from chlorine and to those with colored or processed hair.
    4. Hair Softener
      Brittle, dry hair? Shea butter to the rescue. Because of its non-greasy texture, shea butter can help control the spread of excess oil in the scalp and make hair soft and silky. Shea butter should be applied generously twice a week for moisturizing and improving hair texture and growth.

Do you use shea butter? Let us know which one of its myriad of applications you find most beneficial and how it is working for you.

Summer Skin Care Saviors

Girl on hammock

When Helena Rubenstein famously said, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones,” one might stop to think if that held true for the makeup mogul in the long lazy days of summer. When it was too hot to lift a finger, was Helena still lifting hers to extract hot rollers from her hair, or to apply that final coat of mascara? While the modern woman may not take Rubenstein’s words completely literally, she will understand the wisdom behind them. While the heat of summer may provide a good excuse to take a snooze on an outdoor hammock, it certainly is not an excuse to abandon your skincare, maybe just lighten up on it a little. Here are some great summer skincare tips for doing just that.

Lightweight Moisturizer
While the winter cold and dry inside air require the protection of heavy creams, the humidity of summer gives you a little more leeway. Melissa Pilang, MD, explains, “During the warmer seasons, lighter moisturizing lotions will likely provide enough moisture for the skin, while heavier and creamier formulations may lead to clogged pores and breakouts. The best summer products are the ones that contain hydrating ingredients, like resveratrol, which fights radical damage, and hyaluronic acid.

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are particularly important in the warm weather when the UV rays are strongest. Tsippora Shainhouse, Beverly Hills MD, says, “Not only can too much sun lead to direct DNA damage, but it can also break down collagen and elastin, due to UV-induced free radicals.” Avoid free radical damage by applying an antioxidant serum after cleansing your face in the morning and top with sunscreen.

Woman applying sunscreen

SPF
Of course, the lazy days of summer suffer no lack of intense sunshine. While the application of SPF should occur every day, it becomes even more vital during the summer months. Dr. Dendy Engelman warns, “Incidental sun exposure, even for only ten to fifteen minutes a day, adds up over time and can cause significant sun damage, photo-aging, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.” She suggests the use of a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of at least 30 (ideally 50) to reduce accumulation of UV damage associated with aging and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Reduce Retinol
Even though retinol works wonders on wrinkles, it can actually make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which can be somewhat counter productive. According to Joel Schlessinger, MD, “Retinol boosts cell turnover, which means it eliminates dead skin cells and replaces it with new ones, and these healthy, new cells are more sensitive and prone to burning from the sun’s rays.” Don’t fret, however, you don’t have to completely abandon your precious retinol in the summer months, just cut the frequency to one or two times a week and wear enough sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat to reduce sun exposure to your face.

More Astringent Cleanser
More humidity means more sweat and more sweat means more shine. However, you can control both shine and sweat with the use of a slightly more acidic cleanser. S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, says, “Spring days become much warmer in the afternoon than the morning. Your cleanser should keep your skin clean and sweat-free throughout the day, which a more acidic cleanser is likely to do.”

How are you changing your skin routine on these warm, lazy days. Let us know what your favorite summer skincare go to’s are!

Powerful Peptides

Woman examining face

The science of skincare. Some of us have no interest in the way an ingredient works, as long as it does. And that’s fine. After all, results are the bottom line. As long as the buzz is positive, we’ll try it. Others, on the other hand, have a vested interest in exactly what products do for your skin. Both groups have probably heard the word peptide being tossed around by skincare experts. To the latter group, here is some information that you may find fascinating. To the former, here is some more buzz about peptides.

What Are Peptides?
Peptides are pieces of proteins made of amino acids. When the amino acids combine, they create specific peptides. That’s why you may have heard the word peptide mentioned in athletic doping scandals, pepto bismal, and skincare; there are hundreds of types used for many different things. We’ll keep to skincare, to keep the lesson brief. When peptides combine in a certain way, they make proteins and proteins are the building blocks of skin. Without them, skin texture changes, wrinkles appear, and skin becomes saggy.

Woman at mirror

Peptides and Skincare
While peptides are a clear member of the “ingredients to look for in a skincare product” team, it is important to remember, that this is just what they are, a part of a team, albeit very important ones. There is no single solution to all the aging problems, and peptides are no different. However, they do play a valuable role, helping to make skin more resilient and providing support for the skin’s fundamental building blocks.

Collagen Production
Collagen is a protein made up of peptides, and forms peptides when it is broken down. The result goes into your wrinkle cream. When the collagen supply in your skin lowers with age, the peptides signal your skin to make new collagen. The most popular peptide for this function is palmitoyl pentapeptide (matrixyl). Smart consumers will look for this on the ingredient labels of items they are considering for purchase.

Copper
The small size of peptides enables them to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin. When combined with copper, the peptide will deliver copper to those layers. Research shows copper has healing properties and seems to act as an antioxidant and promote collagen production.

Woman reading product label

Read Before Buying
Even though peptides are capable of great results, many things have to happen to ensure that they happen. Because they are products of broken down proteins, peptides may continue to break down in a topical cream, until they are rendered useless. They also need to be in a cream which will be thin enough to penetrate the skin. A peptide in a thick cream may sit on the surface of the skin, only to wash off before going to work.

Have you tried peptides? What do you think? Did you get the combination right? Let us know!

The Many Benefits of Vitamin A

In history, there have been many noteworthy firsts: the first baseball player to hit 50 home runs in a season, the first man to walk on the moon, the first talking movie, the first female Supreme Court justice, and the first vitamin to be discovered.

The first suspicions of Vitamin A’s powers were recognized by the ancient Egyptians, who realized night blindness could be treated by eating liver. But it wasn’t until its formal discovery in 1913 that it officially claimed the first letter of the alphabet for its name.

Since then, Vitamin A has been delighting acne-prone teens, wrinkle prone ladies, and fighting to protect humans from all sorts of symptoms of malnourishment and cancer. So, as we do with all famous firsts, let’s take a moment to commemorate. Here are some of the many benefits of Vitamin A.

 Eye Health

Vine-Vera-Healthy-Eyes
Beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A in plants, plays a vital role in the prevention of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness. An Age-Related Eye Disease Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that people at high risk for eye disease had a 25% reduced risk of macular degeneration when they took a daily multivitamin containing Vitamins A and C, zinc, and copper over a six-year period. Another showed that vitamin A drops were an effective treatment for dry eyes and that OTC eye drops containing vitamin A were as effective as expensive prescription formulas.

Immune Support
Vitamin A regulates genes involved in immune responses, which means it is a crucial component in fighting everything from the common cold to autoimmune diseases and cancer.

A London-based study showed that Vitamin A supplements reduced child mortality rates by 24% in low to middle-income families, while the deficiency in the vitamin made children more vulnerable to infections like the measles and diarrhea.

Fights Inflammation
The antioxidant properties in vitamin A can help fight free radicals in the body that causes cellular and tissue damage. Vitamin A prevents cells in the immune system from becoming overactive to food proteins, creating food alleges and inflammation.

Vine-Vera-Vitamin A-Fights

Intake of the vitamin can also reduce the risk of certain food allergies altogether. The decrease levels of inflammation have been linked to lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Supports Health and Growth of Skin cells
Vitamin A is needed for skin regrowth, wound healing and plays a powerful role in skin cancer prevention. It is also necessary for a good complexion, fight acne and improve the overall health of the skin. Vitamin A produces collagen, which can keep lines and wrinkles from appearing as well as contributing to healthy hair.

 Prevents Cancer
A study at the University of York showed the intake of vitamin A can treat several forms of cancer because it is able to control malignant cells in the body. Retinoic acid (a vitamin A derivative) plays a significant role in cell differentiation, development, and treatment of cancer.

It has been credited with suppressing breast, lung, prostate, bladder, ovarian, and cystic cancer and has been linked to the reduction of melanoma and hepatoma. Most recently, researchers have discovered evidence suggesting that the molecular mechanisms found in the acid may have an effect on the fates of cancer cells.

Where do you get your vitamin A from? Tell us what supplements, foods, or topical treatments provide you with nature’s first vitamin.

Nighttime Beauty Habits To Start Now

Woman smiling

While the moon is channeling its inner powers of rejuvenation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing the same. The nighttime is the ideal time for you to bring out your inner eternal Goddess, cleansing and exfoliating away the terrestrial grind and revealing your true heavenly self. Here are some “moon time” beauty habits to help you find your lunar beauty.

Wash Your Face
Resist the temptation to fall into bed without cleansing properly, no matter how tired you are. If you leave makeup on, it will spend the night grinding into your skin, stretching out pores and causing breakouts.

Cosmetic dermatologist Lisa Ginn, MD, advises an oil-based makeup remover which is gentle, and can remove even the most “long lasting” formulas without tugging on skin. Apply the remover to your skin with a cotton pad and follow with a mild cleanser.

Vitamin A
As we age, our skin produces less collagen, which, Ginn says, is the main cause of wrinkles. “If you never stopped making collagen and never damaged collagen, you would never get a wrinkle, your pores would stay small, you’d never get a scar, and your skin would stay nice and tight,” she says. “Collagen is key.”

Woman in bathroom mirror

And how can we keep this precious collagen working for us? Ginn recommends vitamin A which stimulates collagen production, tightening pores, and smoothing fine lines. The doctor recommends applying the vitamin in the form of an over the counter or prescription retinoid nightly. The retinoids also work to lighten brown spots, as an added perk.

Eye Cream
The skin around our eyes is the thinnest of all the skin on our bodies, and becomes thinner with age, making it especially vulnerable to hollowing and under eye circles.

The best treatment for skin repair around the eyes, according to Ginn, is a serum or eye cream with vitamins A, C, E or K. If you choose to use a serum, however, the doctor suggests using a light eye cream in addition to keeping skin moisturized.

Alternate Sleep Sides
Ginn says she can determine which side a person sleeps on by looking ar the lines in her face. While some experts say anti-wrinkle pillows are the solution, Ginn recommends trying to lie on your less favored side. She says that even if you end up reverting to your usual side during the night, you still will have prevented some damage. You can avoid any contact with the pillow by sleeping on your back, if you can manage it.

Hand and Foot Care

Hand and foot care

Foot Care
To keep your piggies lovely, rub your heels and toes with a 12% lactic acid lotion to get rid of dry skin and top with a heavier one, such as one which contains shea butter or glycerin. Cover feet with socks and wake up gorgeous. However, Ginn warns against excessive sock wearing as a possible breeding ground for fungal infection.

Hand Care
The nighttime is the perfect time to slather on that heavy duty hand cream that’s too cumbersome for daily activities. Remember to include your cuticles while you slather.

Let us know how you channel your moon goddess! What’s your nighttime beauty ritual consist of?

Protect Your Familys Skin Against Harmful Chemicals

Mother and child

It seems the definition of a good parent has expanded in the last few decades. It used to be if you could satisfy the basic needs of your child, see they remained somewhat groomed, hugged them a few times, and remembered to pick them up from school and pack lunch, you were doing okay. But that was back in the ‘ignorance is bliss’ days, before we became aware the existence of an ozone layer and harmful chemicals that were in danger of obliterating it.

Now, you need to develop a superpower that enables you to deflect harmful ingredients from infiltrating their little bodies at the speed of light. Not likely to happen. You’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way. Here are a few tips on keeping protecting your family’s skin from chemicals.

Stay Out of The Sun
The sad fact is that a lot of sunscreens out there do not protect against UV rays, and a host of them contain chemicals that can damage our skin. While it would seem that the best advice would be to stay out of the sun, that is often easier said than done when it comes to the average child. Sure, you can cover them with heavy clothes and a hat, but the likelihood is that most of it will end up on the floor of the playground. So what can you do to ensure your child stays active and chemical-free?

Couple smiling

Sunscreen 101
There are two forms of sunscreens:

  • Physical sunscreens
    These contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which form a film on top of the skin that reflects UV light.
  • Chemical Sunscreens
    These absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, zinc oxide provides extensive UVA and UVB protection.

However, if you want a chemical sunscreen, be aware, while they protect against UV rays, they also contain chemicals which can be absorbed by the skin and end up circulating in your blood stream.

Check the Label For Chemicals

  • Dioxybenzone and Oxybenzone
    The most problematic chemicals found in sunscreen are dioxybenzone and oxybenzone. These two are among the most potent free radical producers and are also known to be disruptive to normal hormonal function.
  • PABA
    You’ve probably seen PABA listed quite frequently on sunscreen labels. Para-aminobenzoic acid is a dye that absorbs UV-B light. It contains a benzene ring which enables electrons to shuffle between different locations inside the structure, absorbing UV-B energy by converting light into heat. PABA can damage DNA, release free radicals, has estrogenic activity and has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people
  • Octyl Methoxycinnamate
    This is the main chemical use to filter out UV-B light in sunscreens. Its toxicity level, which can increase in sunlight can kill the cell in mice.
  • Benzophenone
    Benzophenone is a sunscreen ingredient that protects the products in the sunscreen from breaking down due to the sun rays. According to naturopath Nicole Bjilsma, it also disrupts hormones, interferes with thyroid function and lowers testosterone.

Baby

Check The Ratings
How does your sunscreen measure up? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates sunscreens on safety and protection. You can download their tip sheet on the best and worst chemicals in the cosmetics department, sunscreens included.

What are you doing to make sure your family’s skin stays free of harmful chemicals while avoiding the sun’s rays? Let us know how you do it.