Where you breakout says a lot about your diet

Many of you have experienced the unwanted, irritating, and even debilitating effects of acne breakouts. You may be loving that COVID mask as it covers all sorts of bumps and blackheads! Or, maybe you even have the dreaded mask-ne? You may also have tried numerous products – only to see no results. Can we let you in on a little secret? The area of your face where your breakouts most often occur can actually explain why you are breaking out. It sounds crazy, but just keep reading; you’re bound to relate to at least one of these!

Forehead

Your forehead is linked to your digestive system, so if you’re munching on chips and cookies on the regular and continuously struggle with forehead pimples, then you may want to lay off the oily carbs and replace it with healthy snacks that benefit the digestive system. Try foods rich in prebiotics like bananas, kimchee, and fermented foods, and add a hefty dose of probiotics, either in tablet form or food like kefir and yoghurt. Another cause of forehead zits may be from wearing caps, wooly hats, and headbands. Don’t forget that using heavy hair care products, gels, and sprays can also clog pores. Opt for natural hair care products, and be sure to thoroughly rinse your shampoo/conditioner before you exit the shower. Also wash your hats frequently!!

Nose

Are you even a human if you don’t have blackheads on your nose? Your nose is actually linked to your hormones and your heart. The nose is often the first area to show signs of blackheads and sebum build up. Make sure you eat cleansing and hydrating foods, like loads of water, health herbal tea, and detoxifying fruits and veggies. Hello: cucumber, celery, apples and whoa: red meat and spicy foods! 

Cheeks

This is a common area to break out, but the most common reason is a sluggish lymph system and bacteria overgrowth! Dirty, gross makeup brushes may be the culprit of blemishes on the cheeks, so if yours haven’t seen water and brush cleaner in a while, now may be a good time to give them a good scrub. Sometimes just proper calibrated cleansing can help fix this annoying problem. This area is also linked to the respiratory system, so lay off the smoking, and exercise at least a few times a week to keep yours healthy and glowing. 

Jawline

The reason? Hormones of course. Hormonal changes are the most likely cause of pesky breakouts on the chin and along the jawline, and not always an easy fix. Diet, exercise, and eating organically will help. Organic meat, chicken, dairy, and fish are a must! 

Between the Brows

This area is linked to food allergies such as lactose intolerance, so if this is where you most commonly break out, you may want to start keeping a food diary to start figuring out what needs to leave your diet for good. 

Using the right products is also essential when dealing with breakouts, as many simply aggravate the skin and contribute to severe dryness. The Essential Exfoliation Kit is a must if you’re looking to clear up blemishes fast, without interfering with your skin’s delicate moisture balance.

Winter- Best Time to Exfoliate (& How You Do It Matters)

Exfoliation is essential in any good skincare routine, and winter is an ideal time to do a little deeper exfoliation as the sun is not as strong. Exfoliation helps to slough off dead skin cells that can clog up the pores and contribute to pesky breakouts and dull, flaky skin.

While exfoliation should always be simple, it can seem a little complicated when you’re faced with all the endless options out there. That’s why we have broken it down for you, to help you make the best decision based on your skin type so you can say bye-bye to dull skin and hello to healthy, glowing skin!

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Mechanical Exfoliation

Mechanical is the most common type of exfoliation and involves physically sloughing off dead skin cells. Unfortunately, most mechanical exfoliants often contain harsh abrasives (think: jagged, sharp-edged salt, sugar, nut kernels, etc.) that scratch the skin, creating small, microscopic tears in the skin. Not only is this just plain wrong, it causes inflammation (watch out for post-inflammatory pigmentation) and can create area of infection.

We highly recommend treating your skin with a gentle mechanical exfoliant like Clay. Clay has a rounded edge like a golf ball and provides a gentle mechanical exfoliation (think: how a snowball rolls to gather up more snow) instead of scraping the skin. Do try our CTRL: Soothing Triple Clay Mask at least 3 times a week to control excess oil, gently exfoliate, and provide the perfect dose of hydration, leaving your skin silky soft.

Chemical Exfoliation

Don’t let the name scare you off! Chemical exfoliants aren’t unnatural, but rather rely on natural chemical acids from fruit enzymes such as papaya or pineapple to work at a deeper level to stimulate cellular turnover, clearing out the pores and leaving skin radiant. There are two types of chemical exfoliants: namely AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids).

AHAs are better suited for dry skin, as they help to break down the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together. Sounds crazy, but the end result of baby soft skin is well worth it! AHAs are also water soluble, meaning they can’t penetrate too deep into the pores.

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BHAs, on the other hand, are ideal for oilier skin types, as they are oil soluble and can sink deep down into the pores to clean them out and remove old cell build-up. They also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits, which is exactly what you want to hear when dealing with sore, inflamed skin prone to breakouts!

The beauty of fruit acids as exfoliants is that they gently remove the dead cells, lift off unwanted sebum, and also help to brighten the skin. They can be used every night as a toner or exfoliant and even layered to do a mini “peel” type of exfoliation. This is ideal in the winter months. Always use sunscreen during the day when using a product that contains fruit acid. 

Try our Clear: Toner and Spot Treatment, which includes all natural BHA from Willow Bark. This spot treatment will help to clear up breakouts fast, without irritating or over-drying your skin.

We hope this helps to clear things up for you, pun intended!

My New Years Resolutions – a first for me!

Let’s be real- how many of you reading this make a New Years resolution and keep it? I am certainly guilty of not always following through with mine, and I was trying to think of why that is? Perhaps, it’s because I made them flippantly, and didn’t always measure their lasting value to me or my ability to sustain them. The saying goes that great things are born of change. This past year and pandemic was full of change and it reinforced three very important things to me; the value of time, health and working to create positive outcomes.

Rowerowe postanowienia na rok 2021. A co Ty sobie zaplanowałeś?

The first one, time, is not an infinite commodity. Time was a thief this year, depriving us of so many milestone celebrations and more; time not spent with loved ones, family and friends; time spent in the same space for months on end; important events untimely cancelled and never to be reclaimed again. On the flip side, there was deliciousness in the slowing down of time, and time available to me that I had not prioritized before. Previously, I had spent my time on needless commuting, tidying and the frenzy of getting and spending and consumerism. So, my first goal this year is to savor each wonderful minute and spend my time more mindfully.

The second thing I became more (mildly) obsessed with is my own health; both physical and emotional. I am always advising, reading and learning more about preventative health measures (which is particularly relevant when there is a pandemic)! More often than not, I am running through life way over the speed limit, between managing work, business, home, children, and other responsibilities and tend to neglect my own healthy lifestyle. I am by no means unhealthy, but having had the time to reflect on the shortcuts I take, and excuses I find, I am now taking ownership of being able insure I eat even better, that I exercise every day and above all, that I practice daily relaxation techniques. A little timeout and digital detox is also on the list!

The third thing I learned this year is that nothing is predictable, and we must learn to expect it and find our groove. Some constants I have come to nurture and value are our ability give to each other, to be supportive, and to adapt. Growing a business has had its challenges in ‘normal’ times- and this past year has came with its own unique obstacles. But, there were also opportunities. Spas closed down, the factory shut, and shipping was unpredictable. So we partnered with spas to drop ship, removed shipping costs and packed product from wherever we were to make sure we could keep supplying product to everyone. We reformulated the sunscreen due to regulation changes, introduced two new products and continued to adapt and work around whatever came our way.

Being a relatively new company, this year I am adopting the approach that change is good and am strengthened in my resolve to continue delivering the best quality and healthy skincare products to you. We will be updating the formulas and ingredients to include the lasted eco-certified and effective raw materials, and will continue with the excellent customer service you have come to expect and more.

Personally, I don’t want a new year and a new me. I want a stronger, wiser and better me. 2020 was filled with change and uncertainty for all of us, and it was a change over which we had no control. My goal for 2021 is to resolve on working on improving the things that only I have control over- the way I spend my time, my health and the products I make for you.

Wishing you a very good and healthy year ahead.

Janine

Vital Vitamins in Your Skincare Routine

Most people talk about skincare referring to the term moisturizer. Most people still talk about skincare in terms of moisturizers and serums, when they should really have an understanding that these are just the delivery mechanisms to deliver essential nutrients to the skin. We believe if your skin is healthy, the barrier function will be intact and moisturizing is purely a temporary fix or plumping of the dead skin cells with no deeper benefit. The key is to nourish your skin. So make sure you Vitaminize and Anti-Oxidize! Our ‘moisturizers’ are serums rich in key vitamins feeding your skin every morning and night with essential nutrients to keep it healthy and strong!

Vital Vitamins. Everyone needs topical Vitamin C & anti-oxidants every morning and topical Vitamins A, C, E & anti-oxidants every evening.
 
The most Vital Vitamins are:
 
Vitamin A can be equated to being the conductor of an orchestra with the skin reflecting that perfect symphony when it has sufficient levels of Vitamin A. Vitamin A, in any of its various forms, is vital for the following functions:

  • Improving cellular renewal and the speed at which the skin cells turn over. This makes the surface of your skin glow.
  • Supporting skin immunity, so it fights off unwanted bugs and bacteria.
  • Managing the skin’s production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid = Anti-aging
  • Controlling sebum production = Treats acne
  • Working as a hormone on the skin, normalizing it.
  • Helps reduce hyper pigmentation and brown spots.

Vitamin C is equally as important because without it, our collagen would be brittle and non-existent.

Vitamin C, in any of its various forms does the following:
Topical vitamins are vital to your skin care routine, as these vitamins address most skin issues: hyperpigmentation, oily skin, dry skin, wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, eczema, rosacea, premature aging. Use Vitamin C in the morning and Vitamin A in the evening for an optimum daily routine.

  • It is a powerful anti-oxidant and helps fight the effect of pollution on the skin.
  • It is essential in the production of collagen.
  • It helps prevent and treat hyperpigmentation.
  • It boosts the natural SPF function in the skin.
  • It surrounds all the blood capillaries and prevents them from breaking. 

Topical vitamins are vital to your skin care routine, as these vitamins address most skin issues: hyperpigmentation, oily skin, dry skin, wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, eczema, rosacea, premature aging. Use Vitamin C in the morning and Vitamin A in the evening for an optimum daily routine.

Maintaining a Strong Skin Barrier Function in the DRY 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. You can thank the winter for those annoying dry 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 compromises 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. The contrast from outdoors to indoors doesn’t help either, adding to TWL.  
     
  • 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.

Sunscreen All Year Long

It’s fall in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere…

Q. Who should be using more sunscreen?
A. Both! Because the radiation levels are what predict the necessity for daily screening up.

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What Actually Impacts UV Radiation Levels?

  1. Time of Year. UV radiation changes throughout the year. The highest levels occur in the summer months, and the lowest levels in winter months. Although there are many factors that affect the intensity of the sun’s rays, damage can occur even on the coldest and cloudiest days – damaging UVA rays from the sun are present throughout the year and protection against them should always be worn. A great way to check how intense the sun’s rays are each day is to use your smartphone to check the current UV index.
     
  2. Cloud Cover. Clouds also do little to prevent UVA rays from reaching the earth’s surface. Thick, unbroken clouds can absorb and reflect certain UV rays and reduce their intensity. However, the sides of clouds can also magnify UV radiation back down to the earth’s surface and increase the amount we are exposed to.
     
  3. Air Pollution. Urban smog, smoke, and other forms of air pollution can reduce the intensity of UV radiation. The particles that make up air pollution can absorb or reflect UV rays back out of the atmosphere. However, there are many other health risks associated with pollution and the free radical damage to the skin is very high.
     
  4. Altitude. UV radiation is much more intense at higher altitudes because the atmosphere is thinner and has fewer particles in it that can absorb or reflect the sun’s harsh rays. This is the reason to wear sun protection whilst skiing or doing any other such activities in the mountains – summer or winter!
     
  5. Latitude. The most intense UV radiation occurs at the equator, where the sun is directly overhead. It reduces as you move away from the equator but this does not mean use less sunscreen. The rays are still very prevalent!

We want to remind you about the study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that states that chemicals used in most sunscreens are absorbed into your bloodstream after just 2 hours. That means your body has already absorbed harmful, toxic chemicals before your fun in the sun has begun! Furthermore, these chemicals really make themselves at home. Oxybenzone can be found in the bloodstream up to 7 days after a single application.

Many Skin Whitening Creams Containing High Levels of Mercury Are Sold Online

This new information is not surprising to us, as skin cancer rates have been steadily rising over the last few decades. People are using more sunscreen than ever, and skin cancer is more common than ever. This highlights the alarming reality that while sunscreen is meant to protect us from skin cancer, it simply cannot do that job when it contains known carcinogens like benzones. You can avoid these chemicals altogether by choosing a sunscreen that relies on minerals rather than chemicals to protect your skin. Minerals like zinc and titanium dioxide sit atop the skin and reflect rays, much like mini umbrellas.

Vitamin D Deficiency

If you spend most of your time indoors, live north of the Tropic of Cancer, tend to avoid dairy, or follow a predominantly vegan diet, you are at risk of having low levels of Vitamin D. Known as the Sunshine, Feel Good vitamin, it is produced by the body in response to the skin being exposed to sunlight. It also occurs naturally in a few foods including some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, and fortified dairy and grain products.

Make no bones about it: why you should eat prunes, onions, salmon and  walnuts | Stuff.co.nz

What Does Vitamin D Deficiency Look Like?

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Rickets is a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. It also contributes to osteoporosis.

Subtle symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. 
Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention of a number of different conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and some autoimmune disorders. 

The best way to know if you are low in Vitamin D is to measure Vitamin D in your body with the 25-hydroxy vitamin D (D3) blood test.

Sunscreen inhibits Vitamin D production, but prevents against skin cancer. So be diligent with Screen and get your levels of Vitamin D checked.

COVID & Being Online: How Blue Light Affects Your Skin

Blue light (AKA high energy visible light – HEVL) is all around us. These days, with everyone working from home, online college classes and online schooling, we use our computers for everything and even more than before! It is in addition to our normal usage we are adding an extra 40 hours a week. Add that to the normal +/- 30 hours a week we spend on them and it’s a whopping 70 hours!  If we aren’t on our computer, we’re catching up on our favorite TV shows or scrolling through endless streams of social media content to keep up with friends, family, and our favorite celebs. 

There have been many reports, news articles, and opinion pieces regarding how screen time affects our eyes, attention span, brain development, sleep quality, emotional health, and more. But what about how this type of light affects our skin? 

Several studies have suggested that prolonged exposure to blue light can increase hyperpigmentation (dark spots on the skin, also called sun spots) as well as wrinkles and fine lines. 

While the research regarding blue light and skin isn’t overwhelming, it’s worth paying attention to, especially considering the dozens of other negative side effects of too much screen time. Do your skin (and body) a favor by following these tips to reduce blue light in your life:

  1. Less screen time. This is a no-brainer. If you want to reduce your blue light exposure, spend considerably less time on devices that emit blue light. If that means use an app-blocking app on your phone to limit your most addictive apps, go for it.
  2. Enable “blue light shield” mode. This mode (also called “comfort mode,” “reading mode,” or “night mode”) comes standard on most new phones, laptops, and tablets. Find it in your settings, turn it on, and forget about it. 
  3. Buy a blue light filter. Many companies make physical blue light filters for your plethora of devices. They aren’t very expensive, so it’s a worthy investment.
  4. Wear Blue light glasses when using a screen to protect the eyes and brain.

A constant barrage of blue light may be causing long-term damage to your skin. Play it safe and limit exposure early to keep your skin at its best! Use a great anti-oxidant serum twice daily to help give your skin that extra protection. 

Dirty Digital Devices (& Acne)

Ever wonder what’s lurking behind your keys on your computer, or screen on your phone or tablet?

Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus and even a little E.coli can contaminate the surfaces. This can be multiplied with a greater number of germs if more than one user shares the device. The most common bacteria that are found on our keyboards tend to come from our skin, mouth, and nose and these survive up to 24 hours on keyboards. Most of these cause no harm but can aggravate skin that is susceptible to infections like acne, rosacea or eczema. Hence, cellphone acne or local inflamed and infected pustules may appear when lots of time is spent on digital devices. Like during COVID online schooling, college, and work!

There are easy solutions to this.

  1. Wash you hands before and after using your digital devices.
  2. Shut off your computer, turn the keyboard upside down, and gently tap it over a trash can. This will get rid of old food crumbs and other yucky stuff.
  3. At least once a week, clean on and around the keys with a slightly damp alcohol swab, and then use a dry lint free cleaning cloth to wipe down the keyboard.

This will insure a clean device, less chance of making any skin conditions worse, and a happy online experience!

Stress on Your Skin (& How to Manage It)

In the midst of a global pandemic, we are all feeling added stress. Parents might be worried about what the new school year is going to look like. Students could be stressing about learning in a totally new environment. And maybe we’re all just generally stressed about staying healthy, paying bills, and maintaining some semblance of a social life. 

Not only is stress an immense burden on our mental health and sense of balance, stress also comes with some undesirable side effects of its own; stress can upset the skin, causing breakouts, dull skin, and premature wrinkles.

How? Increased production of cortisol during stressed times results in an increased availability of glucose in order to facilitate the fight-or-flight response. More glucose means more insulin is released, and eventually the HPA Axis (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis) gets out of sync. This causes us to develop abnormalities in our natural cortisol daily rhythm and an insensitivity to insulin. (This leads to elevated glucose which wreaks havoc on the body!) There is also evidence shown that the HPA axis hormones can be linked to certain stress-related skin diseases and skin tumors. This happens when HPA axis hormones become hyperactive in the brain, as a result of stress.

What is the best way to manage stress and keep your skin in check?

  1. Diet! Good FRESH food, plenty of healthy fats, lean protein, green, red and yellow vegetables, and PROBIOTICS. (We love full cream, plain Kefir. It contains protein, good fat, probiotics, and calcium all in one cup!) Avoid salt, sugar, processed foods, and bad fats; these increase inflammation and risk of disease in the body and the skin.
     
  2. Exercise. Get that heart rate up! 📈 Exercise every day with one day of rest a week. We know it’s hard to keep a consistent exercise routine, especially during the pandemic, but pick a time that you normally feel energized during the day, and schedule it!
     
  3. Regular Sleep Patterns. Seriously, get those 8 hours every night. Avoid daytime activities (like reading, watching TV, and working) in your bedroom because your body will associate wakefulness with your bedroom. Reserve your bed strictly for sleep! 
     
  4. Stress Management. Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, calm music, whatever gets your heart rate down. 📉 Try something that might be new for you, like guided meditation tracks or binaural beats. 
     
  5. Make Time for You. The world demands a lot from us. Make sure you set aside time for you to unwind with your favorite hobbies, whether it’s reading, painting, fishing, or basket weaving! 
     
  6. Screen-Free Time. While our devices are the primary way to stay social these days, it’s always important to make a concerted effort to take a time-out from screens daily! A constant stream of attention-grabbing and often-emotional data can really keep us keyed up. 
     
  7. Skin Care Self Care. Not only is proper skincare good for your skin, that pampering can be soothing for your soul if you allow it. 💆‍♀️ Treat your skin right with calibrated cleansingessential exfoliationvital vitamins, and proper protection

These are the fundamentals to good health and a positive mental attitude, which helps keep the HPA Axis in check and your skin looking its best.