skincare blog

The No-Shampoo Trend: Are You Ready?

gorgeous hairIt is not uncommon to find me deep in conversation with people about skin care and healthy aging, but when a friend recently asked if I had gone no-poo, all I could say was, “Excuse me?” Although I had certainly heard of the no-shampoo trend before, I had never heard it referred to in quite that way.

There are many different reasons why people are jumping on the no-shampoo bandwagon, with the main one appearing to be a concern about how chemicals in commercial shampoo may irritate the skin, dry out the hair and have a negative effect on overall health. Those same chemicals eventually find their way into the waterways where they can also be detrimental to the delicate ecosystem.

Not long ago, women would visit the local hair salon for their weekly shampoo and set with the hairstyle lasting a good number of days. Hair spray was de rigueur along with a scarf tied around the head at night to protect the “do”. Today, daily shampooing seems to be the norm. We equate healthy hair with a headful of lather and a squeaky clean feeling.

The misconception about going “no-poo” is that it implies not cleaning your hair at all. On the contrary, going no-poo for most means replacing commercial shampoos with either simply water or a natural combination of baking soda for cleansing and apple cider vinegar for clarifying and conditioning while simultaneously extending the time between washes.

If you’re ready to take on the no-shampoo challenge, here are a few tips to a successful no-poo transition:

  1. Be prepared for your hair to be oily. It may take up to 6 weeks for your scalp to adjust oil production to match your new routine, but be patient.
  2. Ease into it with a transition plan by starting off gradually: skipping a day for a week, then extending it to washing your hair every 3 days, etc.
  3. Say hello to your new best friend: dry shampoo. Some may say that this is technically cheating, but when you’re on the verge of giving up, dry shampoo may just save the day.
  4. Time your switchover to colder months in the year when the scalp tends to not feel so oily and hats can help mask the inevitable “bad hair days”.
  5. Don’t mistake no-poo with no-rinsing. If rinsing your hair with warm water makes you feel fresher, go for it.

Keep in mind that what works for one person may not necessarily work for you. If you’ve given the no-poo experiment a genuine shot and your hair looks oily, lank and lifeless, there’s certainly no shame in going back to shampooing as often as you need to. For those of us who have chemically-treated hair, using baking soda or vinegar may actually damage the hair, in which case a gentle shampoo with no SLS or parabens may be a better option. Although technically not the full no-poo method, you may be surprised at how much healthier your hair and scalp are with a few simple changes.

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Algae Sunscreen

tropical fish 2In keeping with the current trend of more natural products, scientists tasked with developing more eco-friendly sunscreens were recently inspired by the inherent sun protection of ocean dwellers. They noted that fish and aquatic plants are constantly exposed to UV light while remaining undamaged by the sun’s harmful rays.

In an extreme example of thinking outside the box, scientists have taken amino acids from algae, which act as natural sunscreen, and combined them with chitosan, a sugar molecule from crustacean shells, as the basis for a potentially new variant of sunscreen. While the amino acids from algae provide the protection, the chitosan acts as a carrier for ease of application. Tests have so far shown that these two materials work well together to withstand heat and light and were able to absorb both UVA and UVB rays to a surprisingly high degree. Researchers see potential for use not only on humans, but also other items that are exposed to the sun, such as clothing and outdoor products.

Researchers also have a more altruistic goal. While many commercial sunscreens on the market today are not considered biodegradable and can potentially have serious impact on marine animals, plants and coral reefs, scientists hope that an algae-based sunscreen will be able to address concerns that protecting humans from harmful UV rays is directly threatening the delicate balance of the ocean’s ecosystem.

Although it may be a number of years before we see any algae sunscreen on the shelves, algae already plays a key role in Apothekari’s A is for Anti-Aging retinal serum where it acts as a natural UVA-screening compound to protect the skin against photo-aging.

Scientists may be on to a good thing. After all, I’ve never seen a fish with sunburn. Have you?


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Treat Pink Eye with Polysporin Antibiotic Eye Drops

Polysporin Pink EyePolysporin Antibiotic Eye Drops treats pink eye, one of the most common disorders of the eye. Pink eye is also known as conjunctivitis and can be caused by an allergy, bacteria or a virus. Polysporin Antibiotic Eye Drops’ “heal fast” formula treats pink eye and other eye infections.

Now available in a new easy-squeeze bottle, Polysporin treatment eliminates the bacteria causing the infection, speeds healing and offers fast acting relief of symptoms.

Signs of infection can include:

  • Redness in the white of the eye.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Itchiness or a feeling of having sand in the eye.
  • A discharge that tends to be clear when caused by an allergy, or thick and yellow-white when caused by a bacteria.

A viral infection may be accompanied by a sore throat and/or a tender node in front of the ear. The discharge also tends to be more watery than sticky. An allergic infection may be accompanied by swollen eyes and other symptoms of allergy, such as a runny nose. It also often occurs during the typical allergy seasons (spring and fall).

Note: Pink eye does not usually affect vision or cause pain. In the case of either of these symptoms, contact a doctor immediately.

To prevent the spread of pink eye:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an antibacterial sanitizing hand gel.
  • Avoid touching eyes.
  • Don’t share towels or washcloths.
  • Wash towels and facecloths in hot water.

Polysporin Antibiotic Drops are suitable for all ages. Apply 1 to 2 drops in infected eye 4 times a day, for 7 to 10 days. Avoid contact with the tip of the dropper to prevent contamination of the solution. If irritation occurs, in the event of serious infection or if infection has not started to clear in 2 days, discontinue use and consult a doctor. Consult doctor before use if the cause of the pink eye is unclear, or if there is a marked sensation of something in the eye, sensitivity to light, continuous, abundant discharge, pain in the eye, impaired vision or fever.

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Hemp for Good Health and Good Skin

hemp 2Here in the Pacific Northwest, we know a thing or two about hemp. What may be surprising is that it slowly, it has been making inroads in the health, cosmetics and skin care industry. Historically, hemp has been used for centuries for making ropes, textiles and clothing. Painted with the same brush by federal authorities as a narcotic like its more colorful cousin, marijuana, hemp was banned in North America in the 1930’s. Both are varieties of the Cannabis Sativa plant but with very different properties. The growing of hemp was outlawed until the late 1990’s in Canada and until even more recently in a handful of states in the US.

Since the reintroduction of hemp as a crop, its popularity has taken off. It has found a mainstream foothold in the health food industry and is slowly making inroads with skincare and cosmetic aficionados looking for the latest and greatest. Although still used for textiles, hemp is now a multi-million dollar industry building on hemp hearts and hempseed oil.

To take advantage of hemp’s nutritional value, look no further than your local grocery store. Hemp hearts are the way to go. Hemp hearts are shelled hemp seeds and can be sprinkled over salads, yogourt, cereal and muffins. Nutty in taste and crunchy in texture, hemp hearts are rich in vitamins and fibre. They’re also high in protein, containing all 20 essential and non-essential amino acids, giving quinoa a run for its money.

The beauty industry is also taking note of hemp seed oil’s high omega-3 and omega-6 content. When taken as a dietary supplement, hemp seed oil helped alleviate dryness and itching associated with eczema and psoriasis. As a topical additive, hemp seed oil can be widely found in creams, lotions and soaps and has been shown to prevent moisture loss. Hemp seed oil has also been touted as the holy grail by acne sufferers due to its anti-inflammatory properties and low comedogenic rating, although its use as a treatment for breakouts is not currently substantiated by clinical studies.

Despite its growing popularity, wider acceptance of hemp can still be held back by its connection to the more mood-alterating type of cannabis. Perhaps what it needs is the Hollywood touch: a good publicist to get the word out and create a buzz. Of the non-narcotic variety, of course.


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