skincare blog

Adult Acne

mature hand on faceYouth may be wasted on the young, but there’s one thing I don’t miss about my teenage years: acne. Unfortunately, sometimes what goes around, comes around again. And as adults we are experiencing, more than ever, the return of acne.

Teen acne is usually triggered by the rush of hormones during puberty, kicking the sebaceous (oil) glands into overdrive. Breakouts tend to centre around the T-zone and occasionally the upper back. With adult acne, fluctuations in hormone levels are also the main culprit, along with stress and airborne pollution. However, unlike the typically oily teen skin, adult skin tends to be drier with breakouts clustered around the chin and jawline (what some may call the U-zone), proof of which is no further than my mirror, alas.

Although the direct link between acne and foods such as chocolate is still being hotly debated, it makes sense that the cleaner your diet, the better off you are in general, regardless if you are dealing with teen or adult breakouts. Apart from keeping an eye on what may trigger blemishes, sticking to a regular skin care program with some tried-and-treatments can help minimize episodes. Here are our top picks to get you through that awkward acne stage – again:

  1. Apothekari AHA-Mazing Clean Gel: This soap-free gel contains a unique blend of active ingredients that not only cleanse but purify. Using a triple combination of AHA’s, including Sugar Cane Extract,  this pearly green gel gently exfoliates clogged pores while helping to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Paraben-free, fragrance-free and sulfate-free, this new generation cleanser is also moisturizing and anti-aging.  If you have very sensitive skin, opt for Apothekari Cloud Nine Foaming Crème Cleanser.  Also soap-free, this gentle cleanser never leaves skin feeling stripped of moisture, and with its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients to calm breakouts, we know you’ll love it.
  2. A is for Anti-Aging Retinal Serum: When the seemingly unfair confluence of acne and wrinkles occurs, there’s nothing better than a retinoid, skin care’s superstar. A is for Anti-Aging boasts retinaldehyde, a gentle yet effective retinoid.  Initially used to treat acne, vitamin A works as a cell communicator to encourage skin to act normally, essentially telling it to behave like younger, undamaged skin. Not only does vitamin A shrink oil glands and reduce breakouts but also increases cell turnover and stimulates production of collagen, all good things in the fight against visible signs of aging. If you’re new to the retinoid game, make sure you incorporate it gradually into your routine to allow your skin to build up tolerance. And as retinoids are sensitive to UV exposure, use this as part of your nighttime regimen.
  3. Neostrata Acne Clear Clarifying Solution: This toning solution gives acne the one-two punch with 10% glycolic acid and 2% antibacterial salicylic acid to exfoliate, unclog pores and deep cleanse. Like retinoids, you’ll want to introduce this gradually to build up tolerance. Glycolic acid can be drying for some skin types so you’ll want to gauge how often to use this: once a day if your skin can tolerate it or every other day if you find it too strong.  Don’t be under the outdated misapprehension that acneic skin needs to be “dried out”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The good news is that by the time menopause truly sets in and hormone levels balance out, adult acne should be nothing more than a memory.

Want to keep up to date on the latest in skin care and anti aging information? Visit this skin care blog updated 3 times a week. Sign up for our weekly newsletter with exclusive info and discounts on new products. Sign Up Here

Fragrance-Free Skin Care

beautiful-girl-with-flowers2Many of us who are becoming more aware of what we put on our skin on a daily basis are opting for products and treatments that are fragrance-free, even if we don’t necessarily see a reaction. And for many consumers, what’s IN our skincare has become equally as important as what’s NOT.

Fragrance is one of the most problematic ingredients in cosmetics and skin care products. Those of us with sensitive skin have a higher chance of reacting to fragrance (whether it is natural or not), and if your skin’s moisture barrier is compromised, the chances increase. Typical reactions include rashes, hives, stinging, itching and eczema, just to name a few.

Of course, you don’t have to have the typically sensitive skin in order to react negatively to fragrance. In fact, our skin may not show any outward signs of damage but below the surface, it may be a different story. Ingredients in fragrance may be slowly eroding the skin’s ability to produce collagen, may slow down cell turnover, break down elastin or decrease the cells’ ability to fight off free radicals. All of those functions are important to healthy and young-looking skin.

The main problem with finding truly fragrance-free skin care and trying to avoid ingredients that cause allergic reactions is the confusion around labelling. By taking a look down the ingredient list of products, you may run across the words “fragrance” or “parfum” which usually represent a concoction of any number of chemicals. Currently, neither the FDA nor Health Canada requires manufacturers to fully list those ingredients as these fragrance “recipes” are considered proprietary trade secrets.

Choosing products that are specifically labelled with the term “fragrance-free” simply means that no fragrance compounds have been added during the manufacturing process to specifically enhance the smell of the product. However, this does not guarantee that other ingredients, especially botanical-based ones or essential oils, will not contribute a fragrance to the end product.

Just because a fragrance is natural is by no means a guarantee that it will not cause a skin reaction.
Even more confusing is “unscented” products may contain added fragrance in order to mask the smell of any raw ingredients that may be less than pleasant to the consumer nose. “Unscented” in the cosmetics world simply means that the smell has been neutralized.

So does that mean “fragrance” in skin care is a deal breaker? That’s entirely up to you, but sometimes, less is definitely more.

Want to keep up to date on the latest in skin care and anti aging information? Visit this skin care blog updated 3 times a week. Sign up for our weekly newsletter with exclusive info and discounts on new products. Sign Up Here

Customers Ask, We Answer: You Care What’s on Your Skin

44758030 - girlfriends friendship party happiness summer concept

Judging from the questions we get, our customers clearly care about what goes on their skin. And we love it. Keep them coming!

1. I have a skin disease call Ichthyosis. I had it since birth but didn’t realize it had a name until lately. I only thought I had really dry skin. I have been trying to research this disease and found that it doesn’t have a cure. In my research I found that Lac-Hydrin might help. Can you or do you have anything that might help this disease?

Lac Hydrin Lotion, Epi-lyt AHA Lotion or an alternate lotion containing an exfoliating ingredient and moisturizers should help with the dry, scaly skin of ichthyosis. Read more about it here in our blog post.

2. I recently started having bad acne (cystic) I am about to incorporate Vitamin C serum, Glycolic acid and Retinol into my skin regimen. Kindly advise the best way to use these products (day and night).

Vitamin C, glycolic acid and retinol all work in different ways to improve the health of the skin. We suggest using the vitamin C serum during the day (as it’s a great way to boost the protection of our sunscreen as well as fighting off free radicals that may be generated from UV exposure) and then using the glycolic acid and retinol on alternate nights so as not to overtax the skin and to minimize the chances of irritation. Read more about combining skin care treatments here on our blog.

3. I want to know what the difference is between Anthelios 60 with Cell-OX Shield and Anthelios 60 XL with Mexoryl? And which is better. Everything I read talks about Mexoryl and nothing about the Cell-OX Shield.

Thanks for your question. Anthelios sunscreens manufactured for the American market are often formulated with Cell-Ox Shield, a combination of 5 older-generation sun filters (Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene and Oxybenzone) These sun filters are not unique to Anthelios and can be found in many other sunscreens. Mexoryl XL and Mexoryl SX are some of the newest, technologically advanced sun filters available. They are both patented by L’Oreal so you will find them in sunscreen brands manufactured by them or their subsidiaries (Ombrelle and Anthelios, for example) . Safe, efficient and photostable, Mexoryl XL has been available in Canada and Europe for many years but has not yet been approved by the FDA for the US market as of yet. Read more about Cell-Ox Shield here and Mexoryl XL here in our blogs.

4. I am interested in buying the Vitamin C and Retinal serum. My question is that I am breastfeeding a 14 month old and I know that retinoid products are cautioned against when breastfeeding. I’m wondering if that only applies to prescription retinoid products and if this is okay since it is in cosmetic topical form.

Thanks for getting in touch. You are correct to avoid retinoids (whether prescription or not) during pregnancy and breast feeding. Although the retinaldehyde in our Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging Serum isn’t as potent as the prescription form of vitamin A, it is related so may carry the potential for similar side effects. The vitamin C and other ingredients (including ferulic acid and phloretin) found in our Apothekari Bespoke C+++ Serum are not known to be associated with side effects while breast feeding so should be safe to use. However, we advise that you check with your physician if you are at all unsure.

5. Which Leaping Bunny certified companies have the best retinoid/retinols in their product lines? I already have a BHA that I like from one company. Just not sure which cruelty free companies, (has to be Leaping Bunny certified) have retinols/retinoids with the highest percentage. Thanks!

Thanks for your question. Cruelty-free products have really come to the forefront with consumers within the last few years, some of which are certified by Leaping Bunny or endorsed by PETA. Others, which are also cruelty-free, have not gone through the formal certification process. If your priority is using products with the Leaping Bunny seal of approval, we suggest that you search their website, filter down the brands to those that manufacture Face Care and consider the options given. You may be more familiar with or partial to one or more particular ones. Start with those and check their websites for retinoid products. As for effectiveness, you may want to read our blog here about the different forms of retinoids and which ones may give you the best results. Remember, too, that the higher up on the list of ingredients, the higher the concentrations. Good luck!

Want to keep up to date on the latest in skin care and anti aging information? Visit this skin care blog updated 3 times a week. Sign up for our weekly newsletter with exclusive info and discounts on new products. Sign Up Here

The Stork Conception Kit

storkPharmacyMix may be best known as your source for Anthelios sunscreens with Mexoryl and effective, science-based skin care lines like Apothekari, Neostrata and La Roche Posay, but we also have an extensive “medicine cabinet” which includes the Stork, an innovative, home-use device that helps with becoming pregnant.

Whether you are just starting on your journey to parenthood or have been trying for longer, let The Stork optimize your chances of conceiving. This NEW treatment option is FDA-cleared for home-use without a prescription.

The Stork lets you take charge of your family planning, and act as a team while you do it. FDA-cleared applications for The Stork include common fertility difficulties attributed to both men and women, including:


  • Low Sperm Count
  • Motility Issues
  • Unfavorable Vaginal Environment (pH imbalance)
  • Unexplained Infertility

The Stork Conception Aid gives couples a way to use cervical cap insemination — an established conception technique — in the privacy of home. The Stork incorporates familiar elements with the condom-like sheath for collection and tampon-like delivery and removal of the cap, so you can use it at home, in private before having to try more aggressive treatments (or after having already tried them) – and without the same loss of intimacy.

Want to keep up to date on the latest in skin care and anti aging information? Visit this skin care blog updated 3 times a week. Sign up for our weekly newsletter with exclusive info and discounts on new products. Sign Up Here