skincare blog

Diet, Acne and the Paleo Connection

colourful fruits and vegetablesWho hasn’t heard about the Paleo Diet (aka the Caveman Diet)? While the jury is still out regarding its purported health benefits, proponents claim that the Paleo Diet may contribute to better health, including that of your skin. Can this diet minimize the risk of acne?

There has never been any dispute that acne, a common skin condition that many of us struggle with over the years, can be caused by hormones, bacteria and/or medication. But, what dermatologists and other health professionals cannot unanimously agree on is whether the food we eat can so categorically affect our skin.

A 1969 study by a few dermatologists concluded that consuming chocolate did not worsen acne, leading to the long-held belief that diet and acne are not directly linked.  Thirty-three years later, James Cordain, an anthropologist, published a paper in which he studied 1200 subjects in Papua, New Guinea and 115 subjects in Paraguay, none of whom consumed processed food.  Instead, they lived off the land.  What Cordain found was that not a single case of acne existed amongst the study groups, leading him to conclude that their clean diet was the answer.

Is there a Paleo connection? Loren Cordain’s name may not be familiar to most of us but unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you will have heard of his subsequent work in the field of nutrition and founding of the Paleo Diet movement.   Commonly referred to as the “caveman diet”, following the Paleo way of eating consists mainly of consuming fruit, vegetables and meat while avoiding grains, legumes, dairy products, processed foods and refined sugars.  It may not be big news to us that diet can affect our skin but in the dermatological world, more research and controlled trials are needed before a final verdict can be announced. There is, however, the old adage of “we are what we eat” so it makes sense that our diet can greatly affect the condition of our skin.

Dealing with acne is highly complicated, and what works for one person may not work for the next.  Eating a clean diet can also be challenging with so many easily-accessible temptations.  The answer may just be a combination of watching what you eat and taking good care of your skin by gentle cleansing, moisturizing and applying effective topical treatments such as Apothekari’s A is for Anti-Aging retinal serum or Neostrata’s Blemish Spot Gel.

And if changing your diet doesn’t improve the acne, it may be worth it simply for the overall health benefits of eating less processed food.

What do you think? Worth a try?


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Fall 2014 Makeup and Skincare Trends

woman_fall_leaf 2As much as I love summer’s long days, warm temperatures and sunshine, nothing is quite as exciting or fresh as the start of fall.  Makeup and skincare trends for the upcoming autumn season include many that will be easy to incorporate into your everyday routine.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Oil For the Body and the Face.  One look around the beauty department confirms that cosmetic and skin care companies are jumping on the oil-based band wagon in droves.  We’re used to seeing body and hair treatments that are oil-based, but cleansers, night treatments and serums are also available now in oil-based formulations.  With the colder, drier weather on its way, giving oils a try may be an easier sell than during the hot summer months.  Truth be told though, we never stopped using dry-finish argan oil for hair, lips and hands at night. Apothekari Argan Oil is wild-crafted if you want to give it a try.

2. Shine is Back but Just for the Lips. Neutral and coral give way to statement lips in bold reds and bordeaux with a glossy shine.  Although stained lips with a matte finish is more my style, going a bit darker with some shine will work nicely for dinner out with your partner (hint, hint).

3. Flawless Face.  Healthy skin and an even complexion have never gone out of style but with the #nofilter trend, it’s more coveted than ever.  Although there’s no app for getting a flawless face, we might just have the next best thing: legendary MaMa Lotion.  This ever popular gel-lotion with 20% AHA is the ultimate in reducing pigmentation, evening out skin tone, brightening the complexion and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Smokey Eye.  Does this trend every go away? For the latest version of the smokey eye, think less black, more earthy colors with a hazy finish, liquid eyeliner and lots of mascara.  So easy that even I will be able to master it.

5. Go for Grey.  Not strictly makeup or skin care, but there seems to be a lot of grey clothing rolling into the stores now.  And I love it.  My favorite neutral goes with almost anything, including pinks, whites, teals and navy, without the stark look of black.  Give me a charcoal grey sweater and riding boots and I couldn’t be happier.

Welcome, Fall!

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Skin Care: You Asked; We Answer

listening womanThroughout summer, most customers call us to talk about sunscreen, and although we are just as fanatical as the next person about sun protection, we at PharmacyMix are equally eager to discuss skin care in general.  Here are just a few questions (and answers!) that have popped up recently.  Keep them coming!

1. Do retinoids thin the skin?  And can they be used long-term?

Retinoids actually help thicken the skin as they boost collagen production and increase cell turnover, giving a plumper and smoother look to the face.  As for long-term use, retinoids not only correct existing damage (wrinkles and dark spots) but also work as cell communicators to regulate skin cell functions that deteriorate with age and sun exposure.  If you are using a prescription-strength retinoid long-term, it’s recommended to continue regular consultations with your doctor or dermatologist.

2. I stopped using hydroquinone when I was pregnant, but now that the baby has been born, can I go back to it?

Hydroquinone should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.  If neither of these conditions apply, then hydoquinone use can be continued.  However, it is still wise to test for skin sensitivity when treatment is resumed after a long period of time.

3. I have lines around the mouth they call Marionette lines. They are not real bad but I am looking for a product that will help make them less noticeable, and maybe more firmer. I was thinking of starting the Green cream level 6. What can you recommend that would help me?

Either high-potency retinol Green Cream Level 6 or gentle Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging retinal serum would be very good choices to start with for the lines around your mouth. Retinoids in general boost collagen production, leading to smoother and “plumper” skin. Incorporate gradually into your skin care routine and give it at least a month to work (skin renews itself every 28 days) and you may find that it is a great alternative to more invasive procedures. If you prefer not to go the retinoid route, look for a cream with peptides as they also boost collagen production and help plump the skin to fill in wrinkles for a smoother look.

4. I have little bumps on my upper arms and thighs. They look kind of like acne.  Can I use acne creams to get rid of them?

From your description, it sounds like you may have keratosis pilaris (KP), a common skin condition that presents itself as dry, rough patches of skin or small acne-like bumps, often on the upper arms, legs and face.  Although they are painless and not medically serious, KP can occasionally look red and inflamed.

KP occurs when the human body produces excess keratin, which is a natural and hard protein designed to protect the skin from harmful substances and infection. This excess keratin forms a scaly plug that surrounds and traps hair follicles in the pore. The result is hyperkeratinization (or the formation of many plugs) that lead to rough, bumpy or sandpaper or ‘chicken skin’.

Although there is no cure for KP, effective treatment to control the condition includes moisturizing and exfoliation using an alpha hydroxyl lotion such as Lac Hydrin or Neostrata Body Smoothing Lotion.  Often keratosis pilaris will resolve on its own, but it can sometimes take months or even years. If you are susceptible, the condition is likely to recur so it is important to continue treatment on a regular basis.

5. I’ve been using skin lighteners for a long time and heard that hydroquinone can cause cancer.  Is this true?

Although issues of carcinogenicity and skin lightening have been raised in the past due to a study involving rats being injected with large doses of hydroquinone, there have been no concerns raised with topical use either on humans or animals.

The risk of side effects is small if hydroquinone products are used wisely:  stick to concentrations of 4% or less, use in a cyclic fashion of 4 months on and one month off, and pay careful attention to applying a thin layer to target areas only.  However, if you are still concerned about using hydroquinone or unable to tolerate its use topically, consider alternative skin lightening agents such as bearberry, kojic acid, alpha arbutin and PhE-Resorcinol.

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Helixia Cough Prospan Syrup – New!

helixia-cough-syrupHelixia Cough Prospan Syrup is new. Used for more than 20 years in Germany, it is ranked the world’s #4 best-selling expectorant and #1 best-selling herbal expectorant. Made from a naturally-sourced medicinal ingredient, ivy leaf extract, and backed by a breadth of clinical trials and solid worldwide experience, Helixia Cough Prospan Syrup is used as an expectorant to help relieve coughing and loosen mucus and phlegm.

Helixia’s non-drowsy formula is also free of sucrose, gluten, dyes and alcohol with a pleasant honey-like taste.  Indicated for use by adults and adolescents over the age of 12, Helixia should be taken for at least 1 week or longer depending on the nature and severity of your condition. It is recommended to continue taking Helixia Cough Prospan for 2-3 days after your symptoms have disappeared.

Helixia Cough Prospan Syrup also comes in convenient 5ml ready-to-use single-dose sachets, ideal for use on the go.  These handy pre-measured dosages can start relieving your cough as soon as symptoms appear, no matter where you are.

Parents will be pleased to know that Helixia also comes in a formula made specifically for children aged 1 to 11. Relied on by moms and dads in 85 countries, it has an excellent safety and tolerability profile with scientifically proven relief, backed by several clinical studies.

As with any over-the-counter medicine, do not exceed the recommended daily dose and keep out of reach of children. Helixia should not be used for by those with allergies to ivy, sorbitol (sweetener), or other ingredients in the product. Consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist or worsen.

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