Tag Archives: skincare

Balancing Your Skin’s pH

Woman floating

If you’re trying to get this “science of skincare” down, you may feel like you are revisiting your high school chemistry class with a slightly more positive attitude. Maybe you can learn something useful about your skin while you’re keeping your brain cells from degenerating. Some of the concepts may even be starting to sound familiar. You vaguely recall the phrase PH being tossed about. Are you wondering what that has to do with your skin? Here’s a little rundown on how it all balances out.

pH Levels and Your Skin
In short, pH is a measure of the acidity of a substance. To provide perspective, on a scale of 1-14, battery acid clocks in at 0, while a level of 14 indicates the most alkaline, or basic substances. Your skin should come in at about 4.5-5.5. The measurement is a little more acidic than basic. The larger percent of acidity helps skin retain moisture and fight bacteria, allergens, wind, and pollutants. Environmental factors and UV light can throw off your skin’s pH resulting in all sorts of reactions, including inflammation, dry skin, and even eczema. To keep skin in its best shape, you should try to make sure you’re keeping that number as close to its recommended PH level as possible.

Soap on hands

Soap Cleansers
Most of us grew up putting our faith in soap. It kept us clean, our mothers were always telling us to use it. Since when did it become the bad guy? The thing about soap is that it has a pH of about 9-11 which is really much too basic for your skin. The most alkaline cleansers are used for heavy duty cleaning; drain pipe cleaners have a pH level of about 14. Look for cleansers that say “pH balanced or “soap free” to make sure your skin is maintaining a healthy level of acidity.

Don’t Over Peel
Most people are results oriented, and peeling products give quick results; however, there can be such a thing as too much of a good thing. Peeling is intended to slough off dead skin, but once the dead skin is gone, you’re removing more than that. If you’re breaking out, or experiencing redness and inflammation, you should probably take it as a sign to slow down. You’re breaking down your skin’s defences.

Woman eating salad

Eat Well
You’re always hearing about how you are what you eat, so it should come as no surprise that it is no different when it comes to your pH level. Since what you consume is filtered through your skin cells when you sweat; sweat has a lot of influence on your pH level. Processed foods tend to be acidic, so you need to make sure your diet has a lot of dark leafy green veggies to keep your skin balanced and protected against breakouts.

Product pH Levels
The good news is that you really don’t have to do much math to keep your pH balanced. It’s not a case of trying to neutralize a breakout caused by a high acid level by using alkaline products; you’re likely to go in the opposite direction. Most of the math has been done for you. Just look for products with the same pH level recommended for your skin, between 4.5 and 5.5. If you want to figure out how much pH is in a product, you an purchase pH testing kits from the drugstore.

We hope you enjoyed your chemistry lesson for today. Let us know what you’re doing to keep your pH in check, Let us hear your comments and suggestions.

5 Common Skin Care Ingredients That Can Cause Allergies

Woman checking face at mirror

Were you the kid in school who could never eat the cookies during snack time because you had a nut allergy? Life is rough for the allergy sensitive. Whenever there is something great that everyone seems to love, it makes you break out in hives or start sneezing uncontrollably. Like skin care products. Just when you find a skincare product that is really working for you, it turns on you, causing you to break out itching and scratching. While little can be done to stop your allergies, there are ways to save some heartache, by avoiding certain products, to begin with. Here are some ingredients to look out for when you’re buying products.

Salicylic Acid
Dendy Engelmen, MD, explains that salicylic acid is, “the same active ingredient in aspirin and three to five percent of the population is sensitive to aspirin too.” If your product contains salicylic acid, you’re probably using it to fight blemishes, but you should know that it’s likely to cause inflammation and hives as well. The allergy sensitive is better off using benzoyl peroxide.

Aluminum
Aluminum is usually found lurking in your antiperspirant or deodorant because it reduces sweating. However, because it is a salt, it can also cause itching, swelling, and redness. Engleman recommends using magnesium oil, which prevents sweating using ninasium chloride, or aluminum-free antiperspirants and deodorants.

Glycolic Acid
It seems that the things about glycolic acid that make it so good for your skin are the same things that make it so bad for your skin. David Bank, MD, explains, “This acid is so small that it’s very good at penetrating into the skin. On the efficacy side, it’s great. But that rapid entry can make it more irritating.” If you’re experiencing redness or drying from glycolic acid, you may want to replace it with lactic acid, which is, “physically larger so it releases more gradually over time.”

Sulfate
Bank clarifies that “When people use the word sulfates, they’re particularly referring to sodium lauryl sulfate. These detergents are found in cleansers and shampoos and can cause redness and dryness on sensitive eczema-prone skin.” For a milder treatment, look for products which are sulfate free or shampoos containing sodium laureth sulfate instead.

Retinol
It may be great for fighting aging, but it’s also pretty good at drying out skin. Bank says, “Retinol still remains the gold standard for anti-aging, reversing sun damage and stimulating collagen, The major drawback is that it can be on the drying and irritating side.” He does add, however, that the unpleasant side effects tend to be more uncomfortable than toxic.

Allergic? Let us know what skin care ingredients you think we should avoid. We love to hear it.

Luxurious Skincare Ingredients That Are Trending Right Now

Woman on bed of flowers

Those of us who have done our homework will know that retinol has often been referred to as the “gold standard in skincare,” but what about gold itself? Could gold be the “gold standard in skincare” or are we talking about apples and oranges here? When it comes to skincare, it is no secret that most women are prepared to pay a king’s ransom for a product that works, and, while there is truth in the saying, “You get what you pay for,” you do need to know what you’re paying for. Let’s look at some skincare ingredients that give new meaning to the words, “pretty penny” to see if they’re truly worth their weight in gold.

Gold
We all know that gold is precious in and of itself, but can it also be useful? As it turns, out, the metal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can decrease acne and redness and protect skin from free radicals. Colloidal gold, which is composed of particles of gold suspended in liquid, has been used in injection for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Maybe the term “golden glow” has more to it than we thought.

Pearl in seashell

Pearls
Ever wonder why flawless skin is often referred to as “pearlescent?” While a relatively novel skincare concept in the Western world, pearls have been a long held beauty secret of Asian royalty since ancient times. Crushed pearls were used to give skin a luminous glow during the Ming Dynasty and pearls have been used in traditional Chinese medicine because of their detoxifying and anti-inflammatory abilities. Pearls also have high calcium content and contain trace minerals, amino acids, and conchiolin, a protein that helps restore collagen to skin.

Caviar
Largely popularized by the reported usage of Baerli sturgeon caviar by Angelina Jolie to rid her body of stretch marks resulting from the birth of her twins, fish eggs have been reputed to have beneficial effects on skin. While its effect on stretch marks is a matter of dispute, caviar does contain antioxidants like Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids that can promote production of collagen and prevent cellular inflammation. It also has selenium and potassium, which may increase skin’s elasticity.

Ginseng

Ginseng
Red ginseng is often used in skincare to relieve dryness, brighten dark spots and under eye circles, and reduce wrinkles and fine lines, According to a study published on the National center for Biotechnology information, fermented red ginseng is a “novel skincare anti-aging ingredient” that “offers increased anti-wrinkle efficacy and whitening efficacy.”

Bee Venom and Propolis
Bees certainly are busy! Not only are they constantly working to produce honey and pollen,they are also responsible for royal jelly, bee venom, beeswax and propolis. While honey has been a long time ingredient used in skincare as a humectant and antibacterial substance for wound heeling, bee venom is one of the newest bee production to be used in sincere. The bee venom works by using its apparent ability to trick skin into thinking it has been stung, which production tightening and plumping effects by relaxing the facial muscles. Propolis is a resin like substance used to seal chambers where bee larvae inhabit and also works as a natural disinfectant Although research is still being done on its benefits, preliminary studies show that it may have anti fungal and antibacterial properties that may be effective against acne. It is also purported to be an antioxidant and is currently being studied as a possible treatment for fighting cancer.

What do you think? Are you willing to lay out the big bucks for the good stuff? Let us know! We love to hear from you!

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!

Upgrade Your Skincare Routine With Hyaluronic Acid

Woman at mirror

If you are one of the many searching for the fountain of youth in a bottle, you probably have something in your medicine cabinet with the words “hyaluronic acid” on the label. If so, you’re probably aware that there are other kinds of acids out there than the kind that burns your skin and the kind that blows your mind. Hyaluronic acid is one of the many ingredients to be included in the phenomena known as the “science of skincare.” This may be enough to qualify the ingredient as the worthwhile investment that it is, but it never hurts to do a little private investigating.

What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is, in fact, a sugar molecule capable of retaining an impressive 500 to 1,000 times its weight in water (Doesn’t sound very comfortable). Our body produces it naturally, but the production slows down with age. When this happens, we may want to seek an outside source. Hyaluronic acid is used in serums and face creams to keep the skin plump, firm, and hydrated. The only problem is that the molecules used in most brands are too large to penetrate the layers of the skin and only offer a temporary fix.

Injectable Hyaluronic Acid
What many users may not know about hyaluronic acid is the fact that the only way for the hyaluronic acid to the deepest layers of the skin is by injecting it. Otherwise, it will still work, but it will sit on the surface of the skin. There it will work to decrease wrinkles, and draw moisture from the air, but the improvements will not be permanent. However, due to recent innovation in the topical use of the product, the effects may soon be able to yield longer lasting results. Intensifiers work around the size of the pores, using a cocktail of ingredients to encourage the skin to produce more of its own hyaluronic acid. Users report a 30 percent increase in hydration, although they do caution that it may take a few weeks before results become apparent.

Woman reading product label

Buying Hyaluronic Acid
When looking to buy products containing hyaluronic acid, you don’t always get what you pay for. Don’t let a high price fool you into thinking you’re buying a superior formula. Instead, as Randy Schueller, cosmetic scientist advises, “Always check the label and make sure hyaluronic acid is one of the first few ingredients.” This is the best way to ensure the dose of the ingredient is strong enough to have an effect. Be aware that hyaluronic acid may also appear on labels as hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid or sodium acetyl hyaluronate.

The Upshot
No matter how big the molecule, you should feel a difference, however short lived. But if you want the good stuff, you need to know where to look.

Have you or do you use hyaluronic acid as part of your routine? Let us know what you think? How permanent are the changes you experienced?

Natural Ingredients To Add To Your Daily Routine

If you subscribe to the long-held belief that ignorance is bliss, it will logically follow that the less ignorant we, as a society become, the less blissful we will be. Case in point: Until not long ago, we were carelessly lying in the sun, eating our McDonald’s, and using doorknobs in doctors’ offices. We now know UV light produces free radicals, our foods are packed with preservatives and artificial ingredients, and just about every surface we touch is swarming with bacteria. What’s next? Our beauty products? According to Dr. Axe, the majority of commercially available beauty products are packed with fragrances, artificial colors, stabilizers and preservatives that can be absorbed through the pores of the skin, leading to a range of potential negative long-term effects on our health, specifically hormone imbalance, and irregular periods. Luckily, there are natural alternatives to ensure your skin remains radiant while your body remains healthy.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar
This inexpensive natural skin care product can help to kill pathogens, such as bacteria, and clear skin problems arising from gut issues. Apple cider vinegar was first used by Hippocrates who believed in its anti-fungal properties as a useful treatment for skin sores and ulcerations. Additionally, ACV contains beneficial vitamins, such as potassium and magnesium, which make it an excellent detoxifier when taken internally.

Raw honey

Raw Honey
Raw honey is known to reduce breakouts and scars, boost hydration, help to heal wounds, and fight allergies. Because raw honey is unprocessed, it is able to keep its nutrients intact, unlike most store bought honey. It has been used to heal everything from dandruff to diaper rash to psoriasis and can be used to treat acne when applied to the skin for ten minutes.

Sea salt

Sea Salt
You may have seen this ingredient popping up on food labels lately as a replacement for regular table salt. Sea salt is packed with nutrients like calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium which it absorbs from salt water. Luckily, these are the same types of mineral found in our skin, which is why sea salt is so effective in balancing, restoring and protecting our skin. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties for removal of dead skin cells, the balance of oil production, maintenance of skin moisture levels and calming of breakouts.

Avocado

Avocado
A much loved fatty fruit, the avocado contains vitamin A, D, and E, all able to penetrate the skin to soothe sunburn, increase production of collagen and treat age spots. It can be applied externally or eaten to reduce skin inflammation and combined with essential oils or honey directly to skin.

Coconut oil

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a plethora of benefits, including the ability to strengthen skin tissue, remove dead skin cells, and protect against sunburn. Research shows that the antibacterial and antioxidant properties of the oil can even fight skin disease and defects in the epidermal barrier. Coconut oil can be used on both skin and hair, to cleanse, moisturize, and heal wounds, and because what we put inside us can effect how we look on the outside, the oil can help keep skin radiant when taken internally to wash away toxins and help with digestive function.

Tea tree oil

Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been used to combat redness, inflammation, and breakouts on skin for centuries. It provides a mild alternative to harsh acne treatments which can cause side effects and dry skin. Tea tree oil contains anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and its phytochemicals make it one of the most effective of the skin care essential oils.

What do you think? Are you ready to scrap your serums and creams for avocados and coconuts? Let us know how you weigh in!

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.