skincare blog

Anti-aging Chocolate: Dream Come True?

woman-sleeping2If you’ve ever wished that eating chocolate would make you younger, brace yourself: your dreams may have just come true.  A UK-based company is in the midst of launching an anti-aging chocolate which combines the benefits of astaxanthin, a marine-sourced antioxidant, and the flavonol-rich properties of cocoa beans.  Is this a dream come true or too good to be true?

Geared toward young urban professionals who may want to take their health supplements in a more unique way than your run-of-the-mill pills and capsules, each individual daily serving of 7.5 grams of dark chocolate is conveniently packaged and sold in three-week supplies and will more than likely be available exclusively online and in specialty shops and spas.  Don’t expect to see this at your local drugstore.

Although taking daily dietary supplements in the form of luxuriously indulgent pieces of chocolate may be a novel idea, the science behind it is not new.  Astaxanthin has been touted as a super-anti-oxidant for a number of years now.  Studies have concluded that it is 6000 times more powerful than vitamin C.  As a daily supplement, its benefits are wide and varied:

  • Relieves pain and inflammation
  • Promotes eye health
  • Boosts endurance by improving muscle recovery after exertion
  • Minimizes UVA damage to the skin by neutralizing free radicals, which in turn can help slow down premature aging
  • Increases hydration to minimize appearance of wrinkles

The flavonols in cocoa beans have long been credited with such benefits as preventing blood clots, reducing levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol as well as cutting the risk of heart failure.  However, it’s debatable whether the chocolate we eat contains any significant amount of flavanols at all. In fact, flavanols, along with all their purported health benefits, are virtually destroyed once the beans have been heated and processed into the chocolate that we all love.

It is much too early to say whether anti-aging chocolate can actually give you the skin of a 20-year old.  For now, my bet is still on tried-and-true solutions: sunscreen, serum and moisturizer.

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Top 6 Sunscreen Secrets

tanning2By now, it’s a well-known fact that we at PharmacyMix love our sunscreen.  In a perfect world, every man, woman and child would be using a daily sunscreen that protects from both the burning UVB rays and the aging and cancer-causing UVA rays. In light of that, we’re letting everyone in on our top 6 sunscreen “secrets”:

1. The difference between and SPF 30 and SPF 50 is about 1% protection against UVB rays (those that cause Burning).  Theoretically, SPF 15 protects against 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 from 97% and SPF 50 from 98%.  However, you only receive full protection by applying sufficient amounts.

2. We really need to use more.  This may not be a secret, but translated into a real world scenario, we would be using 1 oz per application and reapplying every 2 hours.  So for a day at the beach, a 100ml/3.4 oz tube would be almost empty after three applications on one person.

3. Waterproof sunscreen doesn’t exist.  What sunscreen manufacturers gauge instead is water-resistance.  The industry standard for “water-resistant” sunscreen translates to 40 minutes’ effectiveness in the water. “Very water-resistant” translates to 80 minutes.  After coming out of the water and towelling off, however, you definitely need to reapply, regardless of time.

4. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are considered natural sun filters and act as physical barriers between you and the sun.  Titanium dioxide protects from UVB and short UVA rays.  Zinc oxide protects from UVB and both long and short UVA rays.  A combination of ingredients (whether physical or chemical) often delivers the best protection. Our sunscreen of choice?  We still think Anthelios with Mexoryl XL wins, hands down.

5. No sunscreen protects 100%, not even SPF 100.  The best plan of action is using your Sun Smarts: applying an effective, broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, seeking shade between the peak sun hours of 10am and 4pm and wearing protective clothing.

6. You can boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen by adding an antioxidant.  During the day, layering an antioxidant serum like Apothekari Undercover Agent (with vitamins C, E and ferulic acid) or Apothekari Super C Serum (with 18% vitamin c) can neutralize harmful free radicals generated by UV exposure.  Reapplying an antioxidant at night reinforces the fight against free radical damage, which continues hours after sun exposure.  For the body, look for a lotion that contains vitamin C as well.

Of course, all this is a moot point if you don’t have a sunscreen that you love to wear.  Give us call and we can help you.  And that’s no secret.

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Honey and Skincare

honeySkin care ingredients fall in and out of fashion but the popularity of honey has been steady for centuries, going back as far as the Egyptians and Cleopatra (who was reportedly no slouch when it came to beauty).  As the trend continues toward natural ingredients for the face and body, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this golden sweet ingredient increasingly featured in skin care products, and for good reason.

Besides tasting great, honey boasts some impressive properties that can benefit all skin types but it is especially beneficial for problematic skin, including:

1. Dry Skin – Honey is a natural humectant.  Its ability to retain and attract moisture makes it an ideal ingredient for incorporation into moisturizers. Skin will feel hydrated and supple.

2. Sensitive Skin – With its anti-inflammatory properties, honey makes an ideal cleanser for sensitive skin.  Yes, you heard me, a cleanser.  A teaspoon of honey patted over the skin and left on for a few minutes will rinse easily away with warm water and leave the skin feeling clean and refreshed.

3. Aging Skin- Aging skin may not be problematic per se, but it’s a problem if you’re not happy about it. To be honest, not everyone embraces aging skin.  Honey can help with its inherent antioxidants.  Use it as a gentle face mask, shut your eyes and take a break from the world.  That in itself should take off a few years.

4. Acneic Skin – Again, honey as a facial mask once a week will allow acneic skin to take advantage of its antibacterial powers.  These same potent antibacterial properties have been effectively used to prevent infections and promote successful wound healing in hospitals across Asia and Europe.

5. Lacklustre, Dull Skin – Combine the moisturizing magic of honey and the grittiness of brown sugar to make a delicious DIY scrub. Used twice a week, this sweet mixture will help speed up the skin’s natural exfoliation process.

With all the good things going for it, I think it’s time to make a beeline for the honey.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

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What is Bioavailability and How Does it Affect Skin Care?

Happy SkinAs cosmetic companies continue to make advances in skin care, consumers are hearing more about bioavailability, a term that we may not be familiar with but can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of our skin care.

What is bioavailability?  According to a popular medical dictionary, bioavailability is “the degree to which a drug or other substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration”.  In the world of skin care, bioavailability encompasses three main factors:

 

  1. Is There Enough of The Active Ingredient to Make a Difference?  We’ve written previously about the importance of the concentrations of active ingredients in order for them to be truly beneficial.  An ingredient’s placing on the ingredient list can give you a good indication of how much is included.  Although companies often omit the percentage of active ingredients for reasons of ‘trade secrets’, the FDA does require companies to list ingredients in order of highest to lowest concentration.  Check to ensure that the active ingredient(s) you are paying for appear near the top of the list.  If listed in the second half, the product may not include enough to make a difference.
  2. Is The Active Ingredient in the Right Type of Base Carrier to do Its Job? This is where inactive ingredients come into play.  These can include water, oil, stabilizers, emulsifiers, thickeners and preservatives, to name a few.  While inactive ingredients don’t exert a specific action on skin, they do perform important functions in making skin care products effective.
  3. Can the Ingredients Reach the Epidermal Layer Where it Will be Most Effective?  The molecular size and weight of active ingredient both play a crucial role in whether it can reach its target cells.  Too large of a size results in the active ingredient sitting on the surface of the skin, preventing it from reaching the epidermal layer and doing its intended job.  The condition of the skin can also hinder the active ingredients from penetrating deeply into the skin.  Residue from makeup and sunscreen as well as dry skin cells can all create barriers and influence the efficacy of a product.

The skin care industry involves extensive research and scientific expertise as it continues to make advances in the effectiveness of the products offered.  The next time someone asks why your skin looks so great, tell them it’s all about bioavailability.

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