Kindness: An Attitude Toward Others, Self & Skin

As we kick off a new year and a new decade, we want to reflect on kindness. What does it mean to be truly kind? We generally think of kindness as simply being nice to others. However, true kindness is so much more than the “keep your hands to yourself” we were taught in preschool. Of course kindness includes that, but kindness also encompasses:

1. The Golden Rule. Treat others as you would have them treat you. Not only is this generally good karmic energy, but recent studies show that acts of kindness increase happiness and overall well-being in the person doing the kind acts.

This golden rule also applies to the environment. No one wants a house full of trash, exhaust, and toxic waste; neither does the Earth. Be kind to others, including our planet. 

2. Self-Love. Be kind to yourself in your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Think of it as The Other Golden Rule:Treat yourself as your best friend would treat you. Be kind to your body by eating a balanced diet and exercising for a healthy heart. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in negative patterns of thought that only serve to keep you down. Be your own cheerleader; be kind to yourself always, and good things will follow. 

3. SKIN Love. Do not be harsh, abrasive, impatient, or inconsistent with your skin. Just as you treat others with kindness, treat your skin with kindness. This may sound silly, but your skin is your body’s first defender, so a strong skin barrier equals a healthier body all around. 

  • Use a gentle cleanser that does not strip the skin’s natural, protective oils. A great cleanser does not dry out your skin because dry skin leads to flaking, inflammation, and breakouts.
  • Don’t just moisturize – nourish the skin with Vital Vitamins (A, B, C, & E) and anti-oxidants. Vitamin A normalizes sebum production, helps repair DNA damage, regulates cellular turnover, and reduces hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C helps produce natural collagen, strengthen capillaries, and reduce hyperpigmentation. Anti-oxidants fight harmful free radicals and reduce inflammation. 
  • Protect your skin with sunscreen, the ultimate display of affection towards your skin. Light from the sun and digital screens has long-lasting effects including DNA damage, hyperpigmentation, and pre-mature aging.

In this new decade, set an intention to act in kindness – to others, to yourself, and to your skin. 

Skin Hangovers (& How to Avoid Them)

What does it mean for your skin to have a hangover? It means that your skin, as the largest organ in the body, is feeling the effects from the toxins in alcohol, not unlike how your stomach, head, and brain feel the next day. 

  • Alcohol dehydrates the skin; this accentuates dryness, fine lines, and wrinkles.
     
  • Alcohol is inflammatory and causes the release of histamines which can lead to flushing, redness, puffiness, and broken capillariesHello red nose. 🤡
     
  • Alcohol disrupts the microbiome of the stomach. A healthy microbiome helps to regulate our immune system, which is important in managing inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.
     
  • Sugar in alcohol triggers the insulin response which can have a negative effect on hormones, which will affect the skin in the form of breakouts, dryness, and dullness.

How to prep your skin before a night of responsible drinking:

  • Hydrate your skin with a cream rich in hyaluronic acid, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A & C, and anti-oxidants to protect it from the effects of alcohol.
     
  • Drink plenty of water. Also feel free to opt for coconut water or other electrolyte drink. 
     
  • Remember if you are drinking outdoors, nothing is more important than sunscreen. It protects from the outside and reduces the risk of broken capillaries that cause a red nose and cheek effect.

How to rehab your skin after a night of responsible drinking:

  1. First, rehydrate your body and your skin. Drink 2 liters of water throughout the day, and fuel up with coconut water or other electrolyte drink. Products that replenish moisture and contain hyaluronic acid, omega 3 essential fatty acids, and ceramides will help support the dehydrated barrier function of the skin and restore some moisture and plumpness to the skin. We recommend RESET or BOOST. Or both. 
     
  2. Support the blood capillaries that risk breaking due to flushing with a product high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps prevent collagen breakdown. We recommend HYDRATE as your go-to Vitamin C serum.
     
  3. Restore brightness to the skin with Vitamin A, which helps increase cell turnover and gets rid of dead skin cells on the surface. Vitamin A also help undo the fundamental damage to cells by the toxins in alcohol. Turn to RESET for a healthy dose of Vitamin A.
     
  4. The day after, do a very gentle cleansemild exfoliation, and follow up with that hydrating hyaluronic acid, omega 3, Vitamin A, C & anti-oxidant cream to reduce the effects of inflammation, dehydration, and collagen breakdown from the alcohol.

We hope you enjoy these tips for keeping your skin in tip-top shape in the midst of responsible drinking. Cheers!

Maintaining a Strong Skin Barrier Function in the Winter

Winter is coming at us fast, and while we love the festivities of the season, we don’t love what it does to our skin. Sure, holiday stress may be the cause of that stress breakout on your chin, but you can thank the cold air for those annoying flaky bits of skin you just can’t seem to get rid of. A healthy, strong barrier function of the skin is crucial to overall skin health, and this time of year is arguably the harshest for the skin’s barrier function.

Here are the many ways in which this season comprises your skin’s barrier function:

  • Winter’s cold, dry air alone is enough to contribute to dry, flaky skin. 
     
  • Most indoor heating systems make dry skin worse by zapping even more moisture out of the air.
     
  • Add a diet of increased sugar (see the warning below) and your skin can become inflamed and its barrier function diminished, thus allowing transepidermal water loss (which is just a sciencey way of saying “dehydration because water is leaving the body through the skin”).
     
  • People also tend to take longer, hotter showers in the winter (it just feels so good) but once again, this habit is sure to zap moisture right out of your skin.
     
  • As if that isn’t enough, people tend to drink less water in the winter because they think they don’t need to hydrate as much as they do in the summer. While this may be true to a small extent, feel free to trade in that eggnog for a glass of water every once in a while. 

Don’t worry; it’s not all bad news. There are plenty of ways to strengthen and maintain your skin’s barrier function and also reduce threats of dry skin.

Follow these tips all winter long to keep your skin happy and healthy:

  1. Choose the right moisturizer. True moisturizers give the skin structural fats (like ceramides, sphingomyelin, and phospholipids) which support & strengthen the barrier function of the skin and prevent transepidermal water loss. This enhances the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which allows your skin to build up its own natural moisturizing abilities over time. A great moisturizer will also act as a vehicle to deliver key ingredients (Vitamins A, C, & E and anti-oxidants, to name a few) in a fat soluble form that will allow that healthy good stuff to get where it needs to go: the deeper layers of the skin. 
     
  2. Use a humidifier. By replacing this lost moisture back into the air with a humidifier, you can start to breathe easy again (literally and figuratively) because not only will your sinuses feel soothed and hydrated, but your skin will start to glow with dewy hydration too. Phew!
     
  3. Diet: Pt 1. Cut back on sugar and processed foods. High sugar intake often leads to inflammation of the skin (and the rest of your organs). While it’s important to enjoy the holiday season and its plethora of candy canes and cookies, enjoy it in moderation. Your skin will thank you in the long run. Alcohol should also be limited or avoided (depending on the individual) as alcohol is a diuretic and therefore dehydrating. 
     
  4. Diet: The Sequel. We’re not here to only talk about what to avoid; we also want to encourage the eating of good things! It is so important to incorporate lots of healthy fats into your diet; this increases the strength of the fatty bonds in your skin cells. Chow down on salmon, avocado, nuts, and grass-fed beef. It’s also important to add simple hydration to your diet; fruits like strawberries, cucumbers, pineapple, and watermelon are a few of the top contenders when it comes to water content, but we agree that you may prefer a warmer alternative. Butternut squash, green tea, and homemade vegetable soups can give you hydration, warmth, and nourishment.

With a little dedication, your skin can stay supple and hydrated all year round by working to strengthen and maintain your skin’s barrier function.

Trend Toward Multi-Use, Effective Skincare

Futurologists and economists all predict future trends. Trends imply a movement in a changing direction but does not stipulate the duration of that trend. We are currently in the CBD/natural/organic/sustainable trend, but we are also in the million dollar indie beauty trend where brands compete on speed to market, with little thought to efficacy of product. The trend is a glutton of small marketing companies pushing for the limelight and the big buyout.

We predict the current trend to be that of a more educated, involved, and conscientious consumer. Call us naive, but we believe in the next generation who really do want to save the planet. Does that mean they will stop using products? Absolutely not, but they will be more cognitive in their choices and will be selective of criteria that have to be met. Long gone are bathroom shelves lined with several dozen throwaway products.

Enter the multi-use product, that is sustainable sourced, environmentally friendly and above all, effective. The idea is not a one-product-fits-all concept, but more a one-product-has-many-uses-for-different-skin-types. Facial oil products are a great example, only being used previously by dry, mature, and dehydrated skin. Oils are in fact a great multi-use product encompassing these uses:

  • Cleanser for both oily and dry skin (same effect but different mechanism)
  • Make-up remover
  • Moisturizer for dry skin
  • Treatment for dehydrated, acneic skin
  • Beard softener
  • Shaving aid
  • Hair/scalp treatment 
  • Cuticle softener
  • Pre-swim barrier to prevent dry skin

Brands should be moving away from an unending line of complicated products and more towards a small number of focused products catering to multiple skin needs.

Pregnancy & Vitamin A: Separating Fact & Fables

Vitamin A: The miracle vitamin for skincare enthusiasts everywhere. But what about Vitamin A during pregnancy? For years it has been said that too much Vitamin A during pregnancy can lead to fetal abnormalities, so pregnant women should avoid it. But we’re here to set the record straight.

Method Matters

It’s important to understand the difference between oral intake of Vitamin A and topical application of Vitamin A.

While oral intake of excessive Vitamin A has been linked to fetal abnormalities, we must recognize that there is no enzyme in the skin that will absorb topical Vitamin A into the blood stream. There is only one enzyme mechanism that binds retinol onto carrier lipoproteins, and that enzyme exists in the liver, not the skin. Unless you are eating heaps and gobs of topical Vitamin A products, the Vitamin A will remain trapped in the skin (right where you want it). 

In fact, in a study of 679 pregnant women, 235 were exposed to a variety of retinoids applied to their skin from early pregnancy, while 444 were not. There were no differences between the two groups in rates of birth abnormalities. Not a single child displayed features of retinoid embryopathy (birth defects caused by Vitamin A). 

The only exception in topical applications would be Retin A and other retinoic acid derivatives, which are prescription only and therefore much stronger.

Balance Matters

During pregnancy, a Vitamin A deficiency can cause fetal abnormalities; that’s why doctors recommend a healthy, well-rounded diet that includes whole foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli. However, excessive oral Vitamin A intake can also cause problems; this has been seen in cases of pregnant women taking Accutane, which is usually around 300,000 i.u. of oral Vitamin A.

Because Vitamin A serums are usually only applied to a small surface area of the body (face & neck), a typical application of a topical Vitamin A product would deliver approximately 35-350 i.u. of Vitamin A only. As we learned above, only trace amounts, if any, would be absorbed into the body. For comparison, an egg contains 260 i.u. of Vitamin A. Even if your body absorbed all the Vitamin A applied topically (which it doesn’t!), you would take in the same amount of Vitamin A as you would get from eating an egg. 

What to Avoid

To be clear: Supplemental, oral intake of Vitamin A (in drugs like Accutane, for example) should not be taken by pregnant women. Pregnant women are also advised to avoid prescription Retin A and other other retinoic acid derivatives.

Final Thoughts

Proper levels of Vitamin A are necessary for a healthy pregnancy – not too much, not too little (think Goldilocks). Topical application of Vitamin A is not metabolized into the bloodstream, so feel free to use topical, non-prescription Vitamin A products without fear, and be sure to maintain a healthy, balanced diet full of whole foods and natural vitamins & minerals. As always, talk to your doctor to find out what’s best for you.

The Miracle World of Peptides

The world of skincare seems to get buzzier by the minute. From CBD to crystals, it’s hard to keep up and know what’s worth the hype. We’re here to proclaim, once and for all, that peptides are 100% worth the hype. In fact, we think they’re worth their weight in gold. Here’s why.

Collagen 411

Collagen is naturally occurring in your skin. We love it because it’s essentially like scaffolding for your skin – it holds everything in place and prevents sagging, wrinkles, and dull skin. Skin abundant in collagen is plump, firm, and a sign of youth. 

Unfortunately, collagen breaks down over time due to pollution, DNA damage from exposure to UV light, movement (like facial expressions), excessive sugar intake ( step away from the Halloween candy), and smoking. To make things worse, not only are you losing collagen over time, your body produces less collagen as you age. 

Enter: Peptides

That’s where peptides come in. Peptides are small chemical compounds composed of short-chain amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein and collagen. Simply put, peptides applied topically send a signal to our skin to produce more collagen. Here’s a deeper dive into the benefits of peptides:

  • Collagen, collagen, collagen. Peptides aid in the production of collagen to keep your skin plump, firm, and wrinkle-free. 
     
  • Strengthened barrier. Strong, healthy skin starts with a strong barrier of fatty acids on the top layer of the skin. Peptides create proteins that strengthen these bonds. 
     
  • Hydration station. A stronger skin barrier means greater natural moisture. Not only does a strong barrier keep bad bacteria out, it keeps good, natural moisture in, right where it belongs. 
     
  • Complexion booster. More collagen in the skin means clearer and more even skin. 
     
  • Anti-oxidants? Yes please. If you know anything about us, you know we love topical anti-oxidants. Thankfully, peptides contain natural anti-oxidants that reduce disease-causing inflammation.

5 Tips for Halloween Makeup

With shows like “The Walking Dead,” it’s no wonder that everyone is clambering to be some variety of zombie for Halloween: a zombie nurse, a zombie army officer, a zombie cheerleader. For those who prefer something a little less gruesome, the elaborate Día de los Muertos getups are also wildly popular. 

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Unfortunately, both of these costumes—and a host of others—require significant amounts of makeup. We’re not talking about a little eyeliner and blush, but layers and layers of thick, cake makeup. Here are a few tips to keep your reflection the next morning from being scarier than your costume.

  1. Invest in your makeup. Don’t buy the cheap makeup palettes you find at Halloween stores. These products are often “comedogenic,” meaning they clog pores. They are also laden with toxic metals like lead and cadmium as well as nasty ingredients like toluene, styrene, ethylbenzene, and vinyl acetate. Instead, purchase higher quality theatrical makeup (we suggest Elegant Minerals). It might cost a little more in the beginning, but think of the money you can save on an extra trip to the dermatologist.
     
  2. Test it out. Before you begin plastering your face with makeup, test it out on a small area of your skin other than your face, like the inside of your elbow. This will alert you to any sort of allergic reaction or inflammation the makeup may cause.
     
  3. Get a barrier. Before slathering on that thick green makeup base, apply a barrier cream. This will prevent even non-comedogenic products from getting into your pores.
     
  4. Remove it! When All Hallow’s Eve is coming to an end, it can be temping to climb into bed, telling yourself that you will wash your face (and your pillowcase!) tomorrow. If you do this, however, you have more to worry about than laundry. Be sure to remove all makeup as soon as the festivities are over to avoid potential irritation. 
     
  5. Deep cleanse! Don’t just rely on your normal end-of-day routine for cleansing your face. Oil is the ultimate cleanser, so get on board! Pre-cleanse your skin with an oil (we suggest “THE OIL” by GR8 Skincare) and remove with a pH balanced cleanser (like CLEAN by GR8 Skincare).

The most important rule? Have fun!

Tag us (@gr8_skn) in your Halloween makeup pics! #IAMGR8.

Stock Up On Fall Foods Enriched With Skin-Loving Vitamin A

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again, when the wind starts to feel a little chilly, and the leaves turn an assortment of sunset-hued colors. With fall comes some exciting holidays, Thanksgiving at the top of our list!

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This is also the time of year when your skin can feel a little blah,and you can thank the dry air for that. It may be tempting to cover yourself up in a scarf, with just your eyes peeking out, but why not rather tackle your skincare woes head-on so you can enjoy radiant and bright skin, no matter how dark and gloomy the weather gets?

This is the season for PSL (pumpkin spiced lattes) and everything nice, including an array of fall foods that your skin will simply love! The one vitamin that most fall fruits and veggies have in common is Vitamin A. You may not know much about this vitamin now, but by the end of the article, you’ll be talking your friends’ ears off about the awesome benefits for your skin!

Keep reading to find out which fall foods rich in Vitamin A will do double duty at this year’s Thanksgiving feast – being equally delicious and seriously improving your skin. 

What’s the Big Deal About Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is absolutely essential for healthy skin, end of story. You may have heard of a retinol cream, but been unaware that retinol is actually Vitamin A derivatives that have some excellent benefits for your skin. In fact, did you know, that if there’s one product we recommend starting as soon as your early twenties, it’s a retinol cream? 

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Remember, it’s what you do now that sets the foundation for how your skin ages. Prevention is better than cure, so start now before you spot your first pesky wrinkle!

We could write an essay about the benefits of Vitamin A for your skin, but all you need to know is that it will hydrate your skin cells, smooth your skin texture, increase blood flow, regulate sebum production, and normalize cellular turnover. The exciting thing about increased blood flow is that not only will your skin start to rival Jennifer Lopez’s famous glow, you’ll help promote the formation of collagen in your skin, so your skin will stay firm and plump as each birthday rolls around.

Try our Rebooting Night Serum, rich in Vitamin A and probiotics and wake up to happier and brighter skin!

Fall Foods Rich in Vitamin A

Our top fall veggies, rich in this antioxidant vitamin include:

  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Apples

Be sure to include these foods in your diet as often as you can through the chilly season; your skin will thank you.

What Happens When You Don’t Wash Your Face

We all know somebody who has perfect skin and claims to never wash their face. Or they wash with bar soap (eek) and moisturize with coconut oil (double eek). Their best skincare advice to you is probably, “Drink more water.” To someone who is breakout-prone, this sounds like the stuff of unicorns and other mythical stories. 

Because you know that good skincare encompasses Calibrated Cleansing, Essential Exfoliation, Vital Vitamins, and Proper Protection, you have to wonder if these perfect-skin peeps are lying.

No, they’re not lying; they just have good genes. Genetics play a majority role in determining whether or not someone is breakout-prone. Other lifestyle factors can either alleviate or exacerbate the presence of acne in those who are genetically acne-prone. These factors include: 

  • Makeup. Frequent use of makeup, particularly heavy & occlusive products can block pores and make breakouts worse. Those with flawless, low-maintenance skin likely don’t wear much makeup. 
     
  • Exercise. While exercise followed by proper cleansing typically helps to improve skin overall, exercise followed by poor or no cleansing can worsen acne. Sweat can block pores, and bacteria-laden gym equipment can wreak havoc on the acne-prone, fast
     
  • Time in the sun. It’s a common myth that a heaping dose of sunlight can help acne. While moderate exposure to Vitamin D is good for the skin, it’s important to recognize that too much sun can dry out the skin, reducing the skin’s barrier function. Too much sun also damages skin and causes thickened skin that can disrupt cellular turnover, thus aggravating acne. 
  • Smoking. Just, no. A million times, no. Not only is smoking terrible for lungs, heart, brain, the environment, and bystanders, it’s terrible for skin. Cigarettes contain toxins upon toxins, and they accelerate aging. Those with naturally-great skin are likely non-smokers. 

Acne is on the rise,due to lifestyle, more screen time, increased use of pore-blocking sunscreens, pollution, more rigorous exercise, and increased processed foods. Unless you have great genes and don’t participate in the above, your skin will likely need Calibrated Cleansing.

Without thorough cleansing, your skin will accumulate dead skin and grime, blocking pores. Breakouts, blackheads, and dull skin are on the horizon. Skin that hasn’t been properly cleaned is also unable to absorb Vital Vitamins that nourish, enrich, and protect the skin. 

No matter what you hear, daily Calibrated Cleansing is the first step in proper skincare!

5 Foods for Healthy, Hydrated Skin

We all know how important it is to take special care of your skin by applying sunscreen and cleansing regularly, but what about what’s on your plate? Your skin is what you eat, so let’s talk about nourishing the skin from the inside out!

1. Watermelon. This juicy treat is mostly water, so chow down for some much-needed hydration. Watermelon also has plenty of Vitamin C, which aids in collagen production as well as anti-oxidants, which bust up nasty free-radicals from the sun.

2. Salmon. Known as a superfood, this popular seafood dish is brimming with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for collagen production and oil regulation.

3. Coconut Water. Put down that sugary juice drink! Coconut water is full of electrolytes, and it will hydrate your skin. Hydration is key! 

4. Cucumbers. It’s nice to lay cucumber slices over your eyes to soothe puffiness, but cucumbers are also a refreshing treat for your skin. Again, this green veggie has a super high water content, so you can feel good about replenishing your hydration levels. Super Hack: Freeze cucumber slices and add them to a glass of water – it works as a delicious, refreshing drink chiller!

5. Kiwi. This hairy (yet delicious) little guy is bursting with Vitamin C, which is your best defense against the sun’s free radicals. Just like watermelon, the Vitamin C in kiwifruits will also aid in collagen production to help keep your skin looking its best. 

Bon appétit, my friends!