skincare blog

4 Skin Care Misconceptions

smiling girlAs fortunate as we are to be living in an age where information is so close at hand, when it comes to skin care, it’s just as easy to get reliable information mixed in with lots of misconceptions and mis-truths. Here are a few that we’ve encountered, along with the facts to set the record straight:

  1. SPF Protection is Cumulative.  Using an SPF 30 moisturizer with an SPF 15 pressed powder will not equal SPF 45. Your total sun protection is limited to the highest rating of any of the products used. Since sun protection is, in our opinion, the number one step you can take toward anti-aging, it makes sense to start with a stable, broad-spectrum sunscreen like Anthelios that shields against both UVB (Burning) rays and UVA (Aging) rays. And since most of us don’t actually use enough to provide the full protection stated on the label, opt for a higher SPF product with a finish and texture that makes it easy to wear every day.
  2. Preservatives and Packaging are not Important. More of us are becoming wary of many cosmetic ingredients, including the preservatives commonly used to keep products fresh, free of spoilage and blended to the right consistency. Preservatives discourage contamination by bacteria or other substances that can be harmful to the skin. Without them, a product’s effectiveness and shelf life can be seriously compromised. That organic skin care treatment may be doing more harm than good unless it’s preserved properly. Appropriate packaging, like airless pumps and amber glass containers, are also essential to keeping ingredients safe and potent.
  3. Alcohol in Skin Care is Bad. It’s true that some forms of alcohol in skin care can be drying and should be avoided if at all possible. Many, however, can be beneficial to the skin. Known as fatty alcohols, these may function as emollients or humectants to moisturize skin. They may also possess cleansing properties and be added to formulations to thicken them. Fatty alcohols include cetyl alcohol (generally vegetable derived), stearyl alcohol or cetearyl alcohol, a common stabilizer.
  4. Antioxidants can Reverse Wrinkles. There is no doubt that antioxidants are an essential part of any anti-aging skin care regimen. They neutralize free radicals that activate enzymes which lead to the breakdown of collagen. Antioxidants slow down the aging clock by preventing skin damage, reducing premature aging and repairing existing photodamage. Although some antioxidants like vitamins C & E can stimulate collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, no single topical treatment can reverse wrinkles completely.

When navigating through the frankly staggering number of options available, it’s helpful to keep these facts in mind to aid you in choosing a skin care treatment that will help you look your best.

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Exercise Leads To Younger Skin


Exercise is good for you. We all know that keeping our bodies moving is important to staying fit and healthy. New research shows that exercise may also contribute to younger looking skin.

An article in The New York Times blog, Well, discusses research which demonstrates exercise not only appears to keep skin younger, but that it may also even reverse skin aging in people who start exercising late in life. As we get older, our skin changes. After about age 40, the skin’s outermost protective layer (stratum corneum) begins to thicken. Composed mainly of dead skin cells and some collagen, this layer gets drier, flakier and denser. Because it’s the layer that’s visible, skin can appear lacklustre and dull. As the stratum corneum thickens, the dermis (the layer beneath the stratum corneum and epidermis) starts to thin. A loss of skin cells and elasticity results in skin looking more translucent and saggier. These changes occur as time passes and are not dependent on sun exposure, which is one of the biggest contributors to aging skin.

The research is based on initial studies that involved mice, which demonstrated that steady exercise could stave off or even reverse the signs of early aging. The possibility that this may apply to humans as well, was tested in volunteers between the ages of 20 and 84. Researchers divided the volunteers by their exercise habits. What they discovered was that after age 40, those men and women who exercised more frequently had markedly healthier and thinner stratum corneums and thicker dermis layers in their skin. Their skin displayed characteristics more in keeping with 20 and 30 year olds, even if they were older than 65. These results were replicated when they took sedentary volunteers and had them embark upon an exercise program – their skin composition resembled that of a much younger person, compared to when they started.

It’s not quite clear how exercise changes skin composition and there is no evidence that it can reverse wrinkles or sun damage. It does, however, reinforce the idea that exercise does the body good.

Read the full article here

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How To Control Oily Skin

cleansing 2If you suffer from from oily skin you know that you are dealing with more than a little shine on the nose. Enlarged pores, acne, blackheads and a shiny, oily appearance that returns soon after cleansing and is not limited to the T-zone are the hallmarks of oily skin.

Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands, resulting in excess sebum (oil). Although we may think that oily skin is a teen problem, the truth is that adults can also be prone to it. There are many triggers that can cause the sebaceous glands to work overtime, including:

  • Genetics
  • Changes in weather and/or humidity. As temperatures warm up during spring and summer, the skin’s oil production may increase.
  • Hormones. Fluctuations during different periods of life, such as puberty, menopause and pregnancy, can all affect oil production.
  • Stress
  • Overcleansing. Initial instincts may tell us to scrub the face to remove excess oil, but in the long run, this only stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. The more you over cleanse the skin, the more you remove the natural layer of oil, forcing the skin to produce more oil in order to compensate. It’s a vicious circle.

Although genetics and hormones are not factors that can be changed simply by switching up topical skin care treatments, there are steps we can take to improve oily skin:

  1. Cleanse gently. While it’s tempting to cleanse often, this sends the wrong message to oil glands. Limit cleansing to twice daily and opt for a gentle, soap-free gel cleanser. La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser or Neostrata Clarifying Gel Cleanser are good choices. The latter has the added bonus of 2% salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid. BHAs can penetrate through oil as they exfoliate the dead skin sitting on the surface. This makes them particularly effective in unblocking the clogged pores that can lead to pimples, blackheads and other blemishes on the skin.
  2. Exfoliate regularly. Those with oily complexions often have thicker skin and pore linings from a build- up of dead skin cells. Regular use of an exfoliant like original MaMa Lotion can tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of pores. MaMa Lotion contains 10% mandelic acid which is naturally antibacterial and helps to absorb and control oil production.
  3. Moisturize. While adding moisture to oily skin may seem counter-intuitive, this step is all about sending the sebaceous glands the message to slow down production of oil. Go for a light textured, non-comedogenic lotion rather than a heavy cream.
  4. Control the shine. Until you get oily skin under control, oil-absorbing pr
    oducts can help reduce the shine. Clarex Oil Control Gel uses breakthrough technology in the form of invisible copolymers to absorb excess oil like a sponge. Skin looks matte and shine-free for up to 8 hours. Cleansing at the end of the day will remove the copolymers along with the excess oil.

The Golden Rule when it comes to dealing with oily skin, and most other skin conditions? Be consistent and give it time. The rewards are just around the corner.


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Skin Lightening Do’s and Don’ts

smiling2Whether dealing with hyperpigmentation and dark spots from sun damage or genetic age spots, there are some skin lightening do’s and don’ts that can significantly increase your chances of success. Here are some of our top tips to maximize results, minimize downsides and enhance effectiveness:

DO use sunscreen.  Daily use of a stable, broad-spectrum sunscreen like Anthelios should be part of any skin lightening regimen.  Skin lightening treatments disrupt the production of melanin which causes skin cells to darken, but a sunscreen is needed to protect the skin from UV rays, which trigger the production of more melanin.  An effective sunscreen may be the most important component in any skin lightening routine.

DON’T think that results are permanent.  Skin hyperpigmentation is a long-term battle that involves treatment as well as maintenance.

DO use a combination of products.  Any successful skin lightening regimen should involve a combination of products and ingredients to deliver maximum results.  Along with a skin lightening product (such as hydroquinone, kojic acid or arbutin) and a sunscreen, incorporating an exfoliant to remove existing hyperpigmentation and a retinoid to reverse damage and help cells communicate more like young, undamaged ones will all help jumpstart results. Skin lightening treatments attack the problem in different ways so combining a few is not a bad idea.

DON’T use all those products on the same day, though!  With the exception of the sunscreen, your skin lightener, exfoliant and retinoid products should be used on separate nights.  For example, try applying the skin lightener and retinoid on alternate nights.  Once or twice a week, use an AHA instead to exfoliate.  Remember: more is not necessarily better!  It’s wiser to introduce new products slowly into your routine while giving your skin a chance to adjust.

DO use any skin lightening product in a cyclic fashion to give your skin a break.  In order to reduce the potential for side effects, skin care professionals may recommend that you use skin lighteners in a cyclic fashion – four months on and two months off – then repeat cycle.

DON’T use skin lightening products with the intention of changing skin tone or shade. Many skin lightening agents are potent. Use them for what they were meant for: targeted spots and patches.

DO give it time to work.  Considering the time it takes for skin turnover (28 days is the norm, even longer as we age), don’t expect to see results after one week.  Skin lightening in an ongoing process, not an overnight transformation.

When dealing with hyperpigmentation, following these do’s and don’ts of skin lightening can help us all get closer to our goals.


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