Dr. Oz’s beauty blog has some very good advice on which anti-aging products don’t give you much bang for your buck. Last week’s post, Three Anti-Aging Products You Don’t Need points out it can be difficult to sort out the hype from the facts, especially when it comes to anti-aging products. Many of the ingredients being touted as providing the fountain of youth are actually still in the experimental stage.
Not mentioned are the “hidden costs” of some products or some of the solutions offered as alternatives. Some of these products may contain ingredients that increase your body’s chemical burden, and given the level of exposure we already face we don’t want to add to it by slathering potentially toxic materials onto our skin, especially when safe, easy and effective alternatives are readily available.
1. What you want in a cleanser
Cleansing: A cleanser is designed to clean your skin. Period. Because you put it on, then wash it off, you don’t need or want anything fancy. For daily cleansing, try tepid water only in the morning and a gentle cleanser at night when you need to remove make-up and accumulated grime. Dry sensitive skins like non-sudsing gels, but if you are partial to that super-clean feeling use a cleansing gel that contains a sugar-derived surfactant.
2. What to do for chapped lips
It’s a struggle to keep lips from chapping, especially in cold weather, but many people are hesitant, and for good reason, to use the one thing that REALLY seems to work, namely, petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is an excellent occlusive that holds in moisture splendidly, but putting a by-product of petroleum processing on your lips means you will almost certainly ingest some of the contaminants it is likely laced with. Here are some alternatives that I find work well.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, meaning it is solid at room temperature and thus quite thick. It is safe to use on the lips whenever desired, because in addition to its excellent moisturizing properties it is also a healthy food.
Shea butter, cocoa butter and mango butter are good occlusives, but are very hard at room temperatures. There are various chapsticks and so on that contain shea butter, and these are quite safe and pleasant to use.
Exfoliating lips with macademia nut butter is very effective. This butter is quite granular, so you get mechanical scrubbing action combined with great emolliency after the butter dissolves.
3. Keep retinols and AHAs separate
The problem: Ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids and retinols occupy important places in the anti-aging war chest: alpha-hydroxy acids like lactic acid exfoliate by dissolving the glue that holds dead skin cells together, leaving skin smoother and with more even skin tones, while retinols increase both cell turn-over rate and collagen production. However, each of these ingredients when used in excess has a tendency to irritate skin. Combining the two together in one product can also irritate skin, and the reason this doesn’t happen more often with dual combination products is due to pH incompatibility. AHAs are acids, that is they do their work at low pH, while retinols work at a higher pH.
The upshot is that in most combo products only one ingredient will be working, though you are paying for both. On the other hand, if you are “lucky” enough to have found a high tech product where one of the ingredient is encapsulated, allowing both to act at the same time, you might be getting what you paid for but more than you bargained for—if your skin becomes irritated it could be the product is doing its job too well! Either way the price is too high, especially when a simpler and much safer approach exists that lets you control the level of exfoliation so it is always appropriate for your skin type.
Using AHA’s and retinols effectively
AHA’s: When you are ready for an exfoliation try an AHA/BHA/enzyme peel, but no more than once a week. AHAs and BHAs can also be a part of your daily cleanser, but AHAs in a night time lotion are overkill. AHAs like glycolic acid should also never appear in your day serum, and especially never in a sunscreen.
Retinols: Use your retinol/Retin-A product at night according to your doctor’s recommendation, and feel free to use an oil blend or a night time moisturizer over it if your skin feels dry and irritated. Make sure the moisturizer does not contain an AHA.
Sunscreen: Your skin is thinner and more susceptible to UV exposure when using an exfoliating product (this includes retinols) so wearing sunscreen every day, rain or shine is a crucial anti-aging step. NEVER use a sunscreen containing either an AHA or a retinol.
Image source: Technorati
Comments + Full Article
There are two major reasons why body oils are better than lotions for your skin, the overall health of your body, and even the health of the environment! Both have to do with the chief components of each product. Lotions are principally composed of wax and water, with a few oils thrown in, and generally rely on a strong scent of some sort to give them their appeal.
By contrast body oils are usually composed of a combination of oils selected for their ability to nourish the skin and penetrate quickly. Their appeal comes from the fact that they make your skin feel smoother and more supple without leaving a greasy film. Of course, oils vary greatly in their therapeutic value, so it’s important to read the labels. We discuss below some things to be aware of when selecting a body care product. First let’s take a look at why oils are a more beautifying choice than lotions, then we’ll go on to examine why oils are also a healthier choice.
Wax and water vs oils
The recipe for most body lotions is a large amount of water and a small amount of oil held together with a plant or animal emulsifying wax. (As an interesting side note, a common practice in the skin care industry is to add a few organic botanicals to the water phase—if the botanical infusion (which is primarily water) content is 70% or higher the finished product qualifies as “organic” under current regulations.)
Waxes form an occlusive layer on the skin, which helps to hold moisture in. However, the law of diminishing returns eventually kicks in with waxes. Because lotions and creams hold in moisture they seem to work well at first, but as time goes on the wax barricade prevents oils from delivering nutrients, like essential fatty acids, to the skin, leaving it less equipped to prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). Many people then encounter the paradox that the more often they apply lotion to combat dry skin the drier their skin gets!
You’ve heard the expression, “works like a well-oiled machine”?
Like the rest of your body, your skin needs fats and oils for lubrication and optimal function, not wax. Wax build-up can also clog pores--waxes, not oils, are the one of the main causes of skin congestion. You wouldn’t put wax on your bicycle chain after all.
Synthetic Fragrances vs essential oils
The biggest problem with most body lotions is that they are heavily scented with synthetic fragrances. Being mostly wax and water they lack intrinsic health benefits, so are marketed instead as feel-good/smell-good “treats” for body and soul. The parallel between highly scented body care products and junk food is quite exact—no nutritive value but you get hooked on the smell and/or taste and associate them with a feeling of comfort. Unfortunately, getting hooked on scents can, over the long term, have as much of a negative impact on your health as being a junk food junkie. Here’s why:
In “Making Sense of Scents
,” Julia Kendall et al tell us: “In 1986 the National Academy of Sciences* targeted fragrances as one of the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing
. The report * states that 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxics and sensitizers - capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.”
"Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace" (Report by the Committee on Science and Technology. U.S. House of Representatives, Sept, 16, 1986) [Report 99-827]
2) Phthalates are present as a component of most synthetic fragrances, and are used to fix the scent. Jane Houlihan
, Vice President of the Environmental Working Group research Group, wrote recently about the phthalate risk to public health: “Over the past seven years a series of scientific studies has demonstrated that the U.S. population faces chronic exposures to complex mixtures of phthalates. Over that same period scientists have published a number of epidemiology studies linking the chemicals to birth defects in baby boys and reproductive problems in men. This evidence joins many dozens of laboratory studies proving phthalates to be potent reproductive toxicants that target the male reproductive system, posing the greatest risks during development.”
One way to limit your risk is to avoid products that list “fragrance” or “parfum” as one of the ingredients.
But beware, “unscented” does not mean the product contains no fragrance—it means that a masking fragrance in addition to other fragrances may be present. You can look for “fragrance-free” on the label, but bear in mind that fragrances and trade secret formulas are exempt from the FDA requirement that all ingredients contained in a product be listed on the label.
Accentuate the positive
Most body care products smell like something—the public demands it. To make sure your product does not contain synthetic fragrances you can look for fragrance-free on the label, which is helpful in some cases but not always.
You can also look for essential oils on the label. Essential oils are volatile liquids extracted from plants that retain the smell and taste of the original plant. Contrary to synthetic fragrances, many essential oils don’t just smell wonderful, they also have therapeutic properties. Responsible organic companies (and some do exist) do not use synthetic fragrances, and list the essential oils that they do use on their labels.
Comments + Full Article
We’ve scoured the Net for this week’s Saturday Spin top picks of resources worthy of your time. You'll learn about the rising concern regarding nanomaterials, how consumer products are wrecking your immune system, how to add more vegetables to your diet (painlessly), how to stay hydrated and why Andre 3000 is smitten with kale.
10 Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables
The love of vegetables can be deceptive. Even though I adore Brussels sprouts, and kale and I should have made it legal years ago, I recently realized with a jolt of surprise that I don't eat nearly the amount of vegetables this love affair would suggest. Something didn't add up. To help me (and you) out, here are the top 10 tips from our readers on packing more vegetables into real-life meals and cooking. Read more
With Prevalence of Nanomaterials Rising, Panel Urges Review of Risks
Tiny substances called nanomaterials have moved into the marketplace over the last decade, in products as varied as cosmetics, clothing and paint. But not enough is known about their potential health and environmental risks, which should be studied further, an expert panel of the National Academy of Sciences said on Wednesday. Read more
The New Immune System Wreckers: Consumer Products
Never heard of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)? They’re used in many of the most common consumer products, including non-stick coatings, waterproofing chemicals, and stain-resistent coatings on clothing, furniture, food packaging, non-stick pans, shiny coatings in pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, etc. They get into food, drinking water, and dust from coated products. And, then, into our blood and bodies. Read more
Outkast's Andre 3000 Gets His Kale On
"Being that I'm from the South, I've eaten collards, mustard and turnip greens all my life. I was introduced to kale a few years ago and fell in love with the way you can instantly stir fry or pan fry it. Kale is also nutritious, and by not boiling it to death like classic southern greens, most of that nutrition stays intact." Read more
How to Stay Hydrated Effortlessly & Indulgently
One of the main reasons why so many suffer from dehydration is because they just don’t like drinking plain water. I feel you. Unless I have reached the level of extreme thirst, I don’t typically reach for a bottle of water. Since I don’t enjoy waiting until I reach that point to hydrate my body, I have found some tasty ways to keep my body well hydrated and feeling awesome. Read more
A Very Special Event with our Founder Marie Veronique Nadeau
You are cordially invited to join us in celebration of Valentine's Day. Sip on champagne, nibble on chocolates and meet our founder, Marie Veronique Nadeau. You'll have the opportunity to experience our entire natural skin care line, and receive a complimentary skin consultation with recommendations on how to address your individual skin concerns.
Everyone present will be entered in a drawing to win a special 8 ounce bottle of their Anti-Aging Rose + Neroli Body Oil (valued at $126). Additionally, guests will receive a 1 ounce bottle of the luxuriously-scented body oil with any purchase that day.
Learn more: http://mvorganics.com/valentine
Latest from our Blog
Lactic Acid: Safe, Natural Skin Lightening Alternative
It’s no secret, we are huge believers in the natural power of Lactic Acid. From anti-aging and anti-wrinkles to sensitive skin conditions like rosacea and hyperpigmentation--lactic acid is a versatile and safe alternative to the harsh toxins and carcinogenic alternatives in most of today’s skincare products. Read more
Lactic Acid: Best, Natural Defense Against Aging and Wrinkles
Most recently, new information regarding LA as an effective ingredient used in anti-acne treatments has brought this powerful, natural skincare staple into the limelight again. And, while many within the skincare industry increasingly tout the benefits of lactic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids--we’ve been lactic acid fanatics since our humble beginnings in a Berkeley kitchen. Read more
Comments + Full Article