10 Summer Skincare Tips

We thought it’d never arrive, but summer is officially here! As we bust out the flip flops, cute ‘suits, and muscle shirts, it’s time to take a moment and reflect on the fact that summer has its own set of skincare rules we must follow, in order to keep our skin healthy, nourished, and of course burn-free!

  1. Butt-ne happens. Swimsuits, sand, Lycra running shorts all contribute to bumps on the butt. CLEAR is a gentle, non-irritating quick fix. Apply in the evening.
  2. Soothe sunburn. Despite our best efforts to be sun smart and wear proper protection, every now and then a little redness or sunburn creeps in. Treat it effectively in the evening after a shower with a layer of RESET topped with a layer of CTRL.
  3. Wash off sunscreen. Fun in the sun is GREAT … But ALWAYS wash your face after a day in the sun to prevent breakouts due to sunscreen! What does a clean face mean? It means it’s gently cleansed and all traces of dirt and grime from the day are gone, but the barrier function and essential oils on the face remain to protect it. The micro biome has not been destroyed. 
  4. Stay ageless. Stop premature aging and sun damage after a day in the sun by applying RESET every night.
  5. Get a glow. If you want a glow, catch the rays before 9:00 AM for 10 minutes or so. Make sure not to burn or develop any redness.
  6. Exfoliate. Summer leads to a thickened top layer of skin. Exfoliate twice a week at night with a thick layer of CLEAR for 10 minutes, and then apply a layer of CTRL over it for 10 minutes and wash off.
  7. Hydrate inside and out. HYDRATE the skin in the morning, and drink water for the body all day! Tired of plain old water? Add cucumber, ginger, or fruit to add pizzazz to your water.
  8. Get tinted. Need to wear make-up in the summer? Wait for our new tinted SPF. Coming soon.
  9. Put your best face forward. Pop a little BOOST on before you go out for a glowing, plumped, hydrated look.
  10. Prevent crows feet. Wear sunglasses daily to prevent squinting, and apply BLINK to your eye area nightly to prevent fine lines. 

This summer is going to be different from all the others, but summer skincare protocol is still the same! Keep your skin extra cleansed, exfoliated, hydrated, nourished, and protected!

Causes of Adult Acne & How to Manage It

At any age, experiencing acne is annoying at best and downright traumatic at worst. Adults who struggle with adult acne can be particularly embarrassed by a condition typically associated with teenagers. However, research tells us that adult acne is quite common and actually on the rise over the last couple decades. One study found that 85% of females and 15% of males have adult acne. 

Common Causes of Adult Acne:

There are many factors that contribute to adult acne. Let’s take a look at the top causes:

  • Genetics. Thanks, mom and dad.  Unfortunately, we don’t get to pick our genes, and sometimes, family lines are more predisposed to acne than others. Fortunately, we can still manage genetic adult acne with proper lifestyle adjustments and a strong skincare routine (as detailed below). 
  • Hormones. Changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone can aggravate acne.These fluctuations can be due to pregnancy, menopause, and menstrual cycles. Starting, stopping, or changing hormonal forms of birth control can also be to blame. 
  • Stress. When our stress increases, androgens also increase; this stimulates oil glands and hair follicles to increase acne. For some adults, balancing a career, family, and personal goals can be time-consuming and stressful (rewarding though it may be!). The additional stress of a pandemic, global economic uncertainty, and social unrest can aggravate and worsen existing acne in adults. These stressors might also be the tipping point for many adults to suddenly experience adult acne they didn’t have before.
  • Hair Products. Many hair products (shampoo, conditioner, gel, mouse, and more) are filled with silicones, colorants, and preservatives that are meant to coat our hair. These by-products end up coating our skin and clogging pores. 
  • Maskne. Love ’em or hate ’em, we will likely be wearing masks in public spaces for a long time. While these masks definitely help to keep us (and those around us) safe from disease, prolonged wear of a mask can lead to contact irritation, bacteria imbalance, and – you guessed it – acne. 

How to Treat Adult Acne:

Fortunately, adult acne is perfectly manageable with the right tool chest. We recommend the following for combating adult acne and putting your best face forward: 

  • Reduce Stress. Easier said than done, we know. Consistent exercise, meditation, and ample “me time” can be an easy way to relieve stress and keep your stress hormone levels in check. 
  • Seek Clean Hair Care. Look for shampoo (and other hair care products) that are silicone free. Bonus if they are paraben, sulfate, and cruelty free (just like GR8 Skincare products).
  • Proper Post-Mask Care. After prolonged mask-wear, it’s important to immediately cleanse, tone, and apply a vitamin-rich serum. See this blog post for a more in-depth review of post-mask skincare.
  • Daily Skincare Routine. Make sure you follow a strict daily skincare regimen which includes:
    • Calibrated Cleansing: Cleanse the skin twice daily (and more often after sport and exercise) with a low pH cleanser that is also non-drying and exfoliating. Not only will your skin be free of oil and grime, clean skin is primed and ready to absorb key vitamins from other serums. (Hint: Calibrated Cleansing should also be applied to household linens like bath towels and pillowcases on a regular basis!)
    • Essential Exfoliation: Most of the causes of acne listed above ultimately result in clogged pores. The best way to prevent clogged pores is to gently exfoliate daily. This can be done mechanically with a gentle clay scrub or chemically with a fruit acid based toner
    • Vital Vitamins: No skincare routine is complete without Vital Vitamins, especially Vitamins A & C. Vitamin A is especially important because it normalizes cellular turnover in the skin. Simply put, Vitamin A prevents clogged pores by sloughing off dead skin cells. It also normalizes sebum production and helps repair cellular damage to the DNA of skin cells. We recommend this powerful Vitamin A serum that also contains probiotics, anti-oxidants, and hyaluronic acid. 

No one wants to struggle with acne, especially adults. The good news is that adult acne is treatable with a holistic approach that includes lifestyle adjustments and proper skincare.

Smart Skincare, Post Mask-Wear

Welp. It seems like we’ll be wearing masks in many public spaces for the foreseeable future. What does that mean for our skin?

Prolonged wear of a properly-fitted (read: tight) mask can sometimes result in the following:

  • Irritated and inflamed skin. This is due to pressure and friction from wearing the mask tightly against the skin. This is because the skin on our faces is relatively delicate and not used to such gear. 
  • Ecosystem imbalance. The humidity from our own breath inside the dark mask can create an overgrowth of bacteria and fungus. 

These effects from prolonged mask wear do NOT mean we should ignore official guidelines and store policies regarding the use of masks, however! It just means we get to spend a little more time on our favorite thing: skincare self care!

How to treat skin post mask-wear:

After prolonged wear of your mask, follow this routine to keep your skin on track:

  • Cleanse immediately with a low-pH cleanser like CLEAN. This will remove dirt, oils, grime, and bacteria. 
  • Exfoliate with a chemical exfoliant like CLEAR, to prevent congested skin and further kill unwanted bacteria and fungus. 
  • Apply a Vitamin A serum like RESET to normalize the skin’s cellular turnover and sebum production. RESET also contains probiotics that balance good and bad bacteria on the skin. 
  • Apply a thin layer of CTRL: Soothing Mask and rub in. The triple clays in CTRL will soothe inflammation, irritation, and redness, while CTRL’s hemp seed oil will hydrate. 
  • Wash your mask daily using non-scented detergent and the hottest water safe for the fabric. Do NOT allow bacteria to accumulate day after day…that’s just m-asking for trouble. (Sorry, we had to.)

Love ’em or hate ’em, it appears we’ll be wearing masks for quite some time in public. But your skin does NOT need to suffer. With fun, playful masks and a vigilant skincare routine, we are unstoppable!

Skin Cancer Fast Facts

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month. While we like to focus on preventing skin cancer 365 days a year, now is the perfect time to focus on preventing skin cancer, armed with knowledge. With summer quickly approaching and cabin fever rising, we will inevitably seek the great outdoors for recreation. 

Before we go outside without Proper Protection, take a look at these skin cancer fast facts from SkinCancer.org:

  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. 
  • More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.
  • Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
  • When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.

🧴 Proper Protection. 

It should be a no-brainer, yet most people still believe that daily sunscreen is the least important of the products to be purchased. In reality, sunscreens are the first line of treatment in hyperpigmentation and preventing aging! Sunscreens have become more complex and understanding the different forms of UVR is important:  

  • UVA: These are the longest rays, coolest rays and are present when there is light (even in rain or snow)! They penetrate the deepest, causing significant aging and also contributing to the development of melanoma.
  • UVB: These medium-length rays are warm, prevalent in spring and summer, cause erythema (sunburn) and superficial skin cancers (Basal cell and Squamous cell).

Search for a broadband sunscreen (protects your skin from both UVA & UVB rays) to use daily before you leave the house.

☀ The Process of a Sunburn

It all starts with UV radiation, which comes from not only the sun, but also tanning beds. Too much exposure (which can vary from person to person) sets forth a process that results in these 3 things:

  1. Damage to the skin’s DNA.
  2. Death of skin cells.
  3. Erythema, which is a fancy word for acute redness/inflammation of the skin. This is the actual burn that you can see on your skin. Sunburns are usually classified as first degree burns.

Typically, we only think about item #3 above. However, we should be very concerned with every part of UV effects. Changes in the skin’s DNA and cell death are permanent and stay with us forever.

🕒 Timing Matters

  • Within 1 hour, skin cells release enzymes that cause inflammation, in an attempt to protect your skin from more UV exposure.
  • Within 2 hours, damage to skin cells is visible. 
  • At 24 hours, you will see peak erythema.
  • Damage continues for 72 hours.

 😎 Post Sun Tips

Blast free radicals by applying topical serums full of anti-oxidants and aloe. Also incorporate anti-oxidants in your diet like berries, dark chocolate, leafy greens, pecans, apples, and green tea. YUM! Seek shade, stay hydrated, and keep your skin hydrated.

Powerful Peptides (+ Why Your Skin Needs Them at Any Age)

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 quarantine sweets), 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. 

As you can see, peptides are super powerful, multi-functional anti-aging agents. Add them to your normal routine of Calibrated Cleansing, Vital Vitamins, Essential Exfoliation, and Proper Protection, and you’ve got an unstoppable skincare routine that will reap benefits for years.

End of April Survival Countdown (Daily Activities To Keep Busy)

All month on our social media accounts, we’ve been doing a survival countdown till the end of April. Each day, we’re posting fun, outside-the-box tips to keep busy, engaged, social, and productive. If you’ve been following us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, you might have been following along – if not, there’s plenty of time to catch up and follow along the rest of April. Check them off as you go!

⬜ Day 28: (April 2) Learn how to play a new game, like Go. Did you know Go was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago? Go, you don’t look a day over 40. 

⬜ Day 27: (April 3) Call 2 people you haven’t talked to in a while. Focus specifically on someone who might be feeling particularly lonely or down. Reaching out to an old, gold friend will make you both feel cared for and connected. 

⬜ Day 26: (April 4) Host a dance contest in your living room! Best, most original moves win. 

⬜ Day 25: (April 5) Create a yard sign (or draw on the pavement with sidewalk chalk) to thank essential workers (healthcare workers, mail carriers, delivery drivers, police, fire, EMT workers, grocers, and utility workers). They are risking their lives to keep our society going! 

⬜ Day 24: (April 6) Give each other pedicures and massages. Pampering can go a long way to boost mental health! 

⬜ Day 23: (April 7) Have a bake-off! Yummiest wins. Actually everyone wins.

⬜ Day 22: (April 8) Have a sit-up competition… who can make 3 sets of 50? Get crunchin’ 

⬜ Day 21: (April 9) Set up an elaborate scavenger hunt. We’ve got nothin’ but time, so make it difficult with LOTS of destination points. 

⬜ Day 20: (April 10) Have an attitude of gratitude! Write down 10 things you are grateful for. Share your list with others. Practicing active gratefulness can have a profound effect on your mental health – try it!

⬜ Day 19: (April 11) Make a fabulous mocktail and video in friends to share! Try “The Cinderella.” Link to recipe: https://bit.ly/cindermock

⬜ Day 18: (April 12) Go to the Louvre! Okay, not really, but e-tour the museum at louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne

⬜ Day 17: (April 13) Cook a vegan meal and everyone takes a different course (starter, main, dessert, etc.). Find recipes at forksoverknives.com 

⬜ Day 16: (April 14) Sit down and write a physical letter to someone who would love to hear from you. Yes, we mean the kind with stamps, not ‘send’ buttons.

⬜ Day 15: (April 15) Make a piñata with a balloon and papier-mâché paste. Whether it’s for decoration or demolition, go for it and have fun! 

⬜ Day 14: (April 16) Turn your hallway into a bowling alley with water bottles and a ball. Funky shoes not required! 

⬜ Day 13: (April 17) Using painter’s tape, create an elaborate hopscotch board that involves tasks like spinning around and tapping your head. Hopscotch, meet Simon Says.

⬜ Day 12: (April 18) Play Desert Island. Decide which 5 movies and/or books you would take with you to live on a deserted island. And then watch them. 

⬜ Day 11: (April 19) Learn how to say hello, how are you, and thank you – in 20 different languages. 

⬜ Day 10: (April 20) Go through your wardrobe and set aside what you’d like to donate. But don’t donate until the quarantine is lifted. 

⬜ Day 9: (April 21) Have a 5-star Restaurant themed night. Set the table, cook, have a server, and dress up! Switch it up the next night. 

⬜ Day 8: (April 22) Transform a wall into a faraway scene, like a beach or a jungle. Use construction paper, pipe cleaners, chalk, or paint if you dare. 

⬜ Day 7: (April 23) Host a disco in your living room. Make a disco ball with old CDs or glitter tape. Hellooo bell bottoms! 

⬜ Day 6: (April 24) Go to Mars! Virtually, of course, by going to accessmars.withgoogle.com

⬜ Day 5: (April 25) Build a robot out of cardboard, and decorate it with anything you have around the house.

⬜ Day 4: (April 26) Movie night, but create a box office, charge admission, issue tickets, and usher your patrons to their seats! Popcorn anyone? 

⬜ Day 3: (April 27) Host a fancy tea party, complete with formal invitations. Black tie required. 

⬜ Day 2: (April 28) Time travel to any decade in the past. Dress and talk the part. Options are endless! 

⬜ Day 1: (April 29) Turn your hallway into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Excuse me, can I have your autograph?

⬜ Day 0: (April 30) Thank your local EMTs! They have been risking their lives tirelessly. Send a thank you note to your local firehouse and maybe include a gift card for food. 

Stay Healthy (Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally) During Quarantine: 8 Tips

With much of the country (and the rest of the world) experiencing some extent of quarantine due to COVID-19, experts warn of the dangers of isolation. We humans are highly social creatures; we don’t just enjoy social interactions – we need them. Isolation and separation from others can lead to anxiety and depression, while the global uncertainty of the pandemic can induce confusion and fear. 

These feelings are very real to us and can have a domino effect, causing a whole host of other problems including:

  • Poor diet. Some people eat in excess due to stress or boredom. Diets can also see an increase in fat, sugar, and sodium as our minds seek out comfort foods. Unfortunately, these foods are only comforting in the moment and can leave us feeling bloated, sluggish, and defeated. They also leave our skin dull and more prone to breakouts. 
  • Lack of exercise. Maybe you hit the gym every day at 5:00 PM, or maybe you’re an early bird and go for a run before work. Either way, without leaving the house, our daily routines have gone out the window and physical activity is on the decline. This sedentary life can increase feelings of depression and sluggishness. 
  • Increase in acne and other skin conditions. Prolonged periods of stress can increase cortisol and insulin levels in the body. This can cause our HPA (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) Axis to function abnormally and thereby wreak havoc on the body and skin. There’s a reason why you might seem to breakout more during finals or before a big job interview. 

These struggles can create problems that will last longer than our quarantine, so it’s in our best long-term interest to do everything we can to make the most of our time in quarantine.

Follow these tips to stay balanced, healthy, and happy, all while keeping your skin in check:

  1. Make a Plan. And stick to it. Find a routine that works for you, and write it out, whether it’s on a piece of paper or scheduled in your iCloud Calendar. Schedule time for work, meals, social check-ins, games, rest, creativity, and anything else is important to you.
  2. Keep Your Regular Sleep Schedule. With no commute, it can be tempting to snooze an extra bit in the morning and stay up later at night. This can be disruptive to your body’s natural circadian rhythm, which can cause tiredness and confusion. 
  3. Be Food Smart. If you find yourself eating when you’re not hungry due to stress or boredom, make an effort to recognize your food trigger and replace unnecessary eating with something else, like a hobby or connecting with a friend over the phone. 
  4. Reach Out. Just because you can’t have friends over, doesn’t mean you can’t have a virtual hang sesh. Connect with friends often because laughter is the best medicine. Reaching out to see how someone else is doing can also boost your own mood, as well as your friend’s. 
  5. Keep Moving! There is an untold number of workouts that can be done at home with little or no equipment. Basics include sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, squats, planks. If you live in a multi-story house, you can channel your inner Rocky. Or find an aerobics video online and put those neon leg warmers to good use. 
  6. Stop Moving! (i.e., Meditate). Meditation can be very different depending on the individual; it could be sitting cross-legged while chanting, “Om,” or it can be journaling, drawing, taking a relaxing bath, sitting quiet with a cup of tea, or following a guided meditation online. Any way to slow your mind is super beneficial at this time. Use this time to acknowledge your emotions, even the negative feelings, and even lean into them. Face them and recognize that these feelings will pass. 
  7. Challenge Yourself. There’s no time like the present to take up a new hobby, attempt a daunting puzzle, or tackle that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages. Maybe it’s time to deep clean the house or organize the garage. Challenge yourself mentally to keep active, and you will feel rewarded!
  8. Facials at Home! Follow this super easy step-by-step guide to your best at-home facial: 

We know these are unprecedented times, so it’s important to stay busy, take time for yourself, and keep connected socially in order to take care of our long-term mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Our bodies and our skin will thank us!

The Case for Cleanliness

Now more than ever, cleanliness should be front and center in our minds. Cleanliness is not only important for reducing the spread of germs, it’s also beneficial for managing breakouts and simply having peace of mind in your environment. Cleanliness-related matters come easier to some, so follow these tips to keep yourself, your face, and your home squeaky clean!

1. Disinfect. It’s a no-brainer to disinfect high-touch surfaces as much as possible. Your favorite surface-appropriate cleanser will do. Here’s a list of things to disinfect regularly that might get forgotten about: phones/devices and keyboards/mice, doorknobs, light switches, refrigerator handles, faucet handles, mailbox handles, home exercise equipment, remotes, keys, banisters, musical instruments, writing utensils, gaming consoles. It’s also a good idea to wash bedding frequently. Phew, that’s a lot. 🧽

2. Wash Hands. Good hand hygiene is SO important! Without it, you lose a lot of progress from all that disinfecting you just did.  Not only is it important to wash your hands frequently, you should also focus on getting a good lather and washing for a full 20 seconds (which is way longer than it seems). To help you get the time right, we’ve created helpful, song-based hand-washing charts for fans of The OfficeFriendsParks and Recreation, and Seinfeld. Or you can make your own here!

3. Don’t Touch Your Face. We get it – it’s a nervous habit. However, your fingers and hands are crawling with germs, bacteria, dirt, and oils. Trust us, you really don’t want those nasties anywhere near your face – or pores! Breaking this habit can be very difficult, but it’s worth the effort. By not touching your face, you can reduce the chances of catching an illness AND reduce breakouts. Win-win!

4. Isolate. It’s a mad, mad world out there. Sometimes it’s best to just hunker down and keep your distance from others. That means extra time for movies, that book you’ve been wanting to read, arts & crafts, and of course home facials! Follow this super easy step-by-step guide to your best at-home facial: 

Skip Tan Now – Save Money (& Life!) Later

Tanning. In case you’re new here, we’re not big fans of it (see this). There are heaps -and heaps- of studies outlining the dangers of UV exposure, particularly that of artificial tanning beds, but here’s one more piece of compelling evidence. 

Researchers in this study compiled data to estimate what would happen if the U.S., Canada, and Europe banned indoor tanning altogether. Their data is staggering. Here’s what they predict would happen if the U.S. and Canada banned the practice:

What’s more, the ban would save 428,781 life-years and $3.5 billion in medical and other related expenses. They also estimate that productivity would increase, resulting in gains of $27.5 billion

They argue that while many states in the U.S. have banned indoor tanning for minors, it’s not enough. The risks of tanning bed exposure are a hazard to all skin, including people in their 20s and 30s, who are certainly not strangers to social pressure of having an ideal body image.

The numbers from this study clearly demonstrate that skin cancer risk can be seriously mitigated by simply avoiding indoor tanning.

We think your skin color is perfect just the way it is, but if you must have a sun-kissed glow, we recommend seeking sunless tanning lotion instead of harmful UV rays. However, be very wary that many sunless tanning lotions contain toxic chemicals that can disrupt hormones. We recommend using the Think Dirty app to find a safe sunless tanner. NKD SKN brand sunless tanning products consistently have a 0 rating (safest) from Think Dirty.

How Sodium Affects Your Skin

What’s the best part of any movie-going experience? Everyone knows it’s the popcorn; that buttery, salty, delectable snack seems to transform a movie into a full-blown event. But your skin (and body) will pay the price. Why?

Sodium. Most people in the US should get less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Compare the recommended intake with average actual intake of 3,466 mg of sodium, and you can see there’s no shortage of salty foods.

A diet with excess sodium has the following negative effects:

  • Increased Blood Pressure. This leads to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
  • Bloat & Puffy Eyes. Excess sodium causes the body to retain water, causing bloating around the stomach and puffy eyes. 
  • Dehydrated, Dull Skin. Too much sodium can interfere with the homeostasis of the body by pulling water in and out of skin cells. This worsens dehydration, making skin dull and lackluster. 

To maintain a healthy body and healthy skin, limit your sodium intake by avoiding processed & prepared foods (like takeout, lunch meat, frozen meals, etc.), and instead focus on eating whole, natural foods. 🥗