Tag Archives: Skin Care

Organic Personal Care Products – Are They Really Safe?

24 Jun

In a recent press release the Center for Environmental Health identified 26 companies that are engaged in the business of selling personal care products that are mislabeled as “Organic”. Sadly, this is not the first time that the personal care industry has been called out on ingredients contained in their products and labeling on their packaging.  At the center of the lawsuit is The California Organic Products Act of 2003, specifically section 110838.(a) of the Health and Safety codes that quote “Cosmetic products sold, labeled, or represented as organic or made with organic ingredients shall contain, at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients.” (Organic Products Act of 2003).

As I researched the 2003 act I found that the California Organic Program is the agency that is responsible for upholding the enforcement of the California Organic Products Act of 2003 as well as the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. This agency works in conjunction with many other agencies and organizations that help coordinate and facilitate enforcement actions necessary for regulation of organic foods and product. One very notable agency is our very own USDA!  So you may be getting the idea right about now that this is not just a California issue, this is a big deal and it could have a significant impact on the labeling of skin care and cosmetics industry wide, in my opinion this is not necessarily a bad thing. Considering the far reaching impact of this lawsuit, many major retailers are carrying these alleged mislabeled products and that are being distributed in mass quantities to consumers who may not be ingredient savvy. If there are truly toxic ingredients contained in the product being distributed by the companies mentioned in the lawsuit, the labels should provide clear warning to the consumer for the purpose of making an educated choice about what they are putting on themselves or their children. While reading the press release, the example of toxic ingredients reported on was a children’s hair care product that reportedly contains ingredients that are known to cause cancer. The article went on to provide examples of the warning labels stating blindness and serious injury if the product(s) was not properly used.

What do you think? Is this all hype? Or do you feel this is a serious matter? Should consumers be concerned about companies that are intentionally or otherwise mislabeling their goods?  Please post a comment and share your thoughts.

Sources/Information: Center for Environmental Health (CEH), View the full list of personal care products companies at CEH, The California Organic Program, Organic Products Act of 2003, News Coverage

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What are Cosmeceuticals?

22 Jun

When I tell people that I work with cosmeceuticals the first question that I get asked is “What are cosmeceuticals?”, my typical response is “Great question!”. I then describe the following:

Cosmeceuticals are topical skincare or cosmetic products that contain ingredients which combine pharmaceutical and cosmetic qualities. This definition means that in most cases portions of the product ingredients have been scientifically formulated to include bioactive ingredients that claim to provide benefits beyond your standard drug store moisturizer.

Though this definition is technically correct, there are many things that one should consider when choosing products that are considered to be cosmeceutical in nature. The term cosmeceutical is not a legally recognized term as defined by FDA regulations, thus the term “pharmaceutical” can be misleading as it implies that the products are tested and regulated much like any controlled pharmaceutical, drug, or medical product, which is simply not the case. If a product has a drug or any ingredient that must be prescribed by a doctor or otherwise makes claims associated with a treatment or cure, only a doctor of qualified professional may distribute or use it, thus you generally can not or should not purchase such an item over the counter or on the internet. There are also some professional grade products that Estheticians may use that are stronger than OTC (regulations and services provided can vary by state)  In addition, if a product contains a actual “drug” it must also be approved by the FDA before it can be made available for distribution and it must comply with FDA regulations on active ingredient, safety regulations, labeling and distribution requirements. Most people heavily immersed in the beauty and skin care industry know that the FDA does not regulate the cosmetic and skin care industry with the exception of tightly regulated ingredients. The cosmetic and skin care industry regulates itself and simply complies with marketing requirements as it relates to labeling or product and benefit claims. Outside of that, there is a great deal of wiggle room for skin care industry, and ther are lot’s of reasons to take caution with what you use on your body. I always think of the example of a highly popular eyelash enhancer and its use of a drug that was developed as a treatment for glaucoma, the attractive side effect of the drug was eyelash growth though there were alleged negative side effects as well including temporary to permement eye discoloration. 

My recommendation to anyone concerned about what they are putting on their skin is to become an informed consumer, check your labels and make an attempt to gain an educated understanding of ingredients from reputable resources. Since “organic” and “natural” ingredients are readily available and typically fall outside FDA regulations, when selecting natural products it is particularly important that you know your stuff.

Some helpful resources are linked below, but honorable and respectful mention goes out to Paula’s Choice by Cosmetic Cop, it’s a great starting point for research. I will caution to never just take one resource and run with the information, always validate your findings with at least two-three credible resources. Seek out information from sites that are focused on education, and sites where the motivation for providing such information is not just to get into your wallet.

You can find Paula’s Choice here.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmeceutical, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm074162.htm

Top Tanning Tips

17 Feb

It may or may not be a widely know fact that tanning devices have been available in the US since the late 1970’s. With a rise in popularity during the late 1980’s and through today, regulation and information about the use of the beds and booths have been widely debated by the tan loving community.

Tanning Basics

Tanning beds or booths work through the use of bulbs that emit ultraviolet radiation (like the sun). The user will lay or stand depending on if it’s a bed or a booth (lay for a bed, stand in a booth). The user will have goggles on and the bed will be on a timer. With goggles firmly in place, the user starts up the bed and the timer counts down to a luscious golden tan. The time allowed for UV exposure depends on your current tolerance to sun exposure, how often you’ve been in the sun during a period of time (generally they will ask about the last year), and other factors. One such factor will be the strength of the bulb as they can vary in wattage and technology, a higher ratio of UVA for example will be considered stronger than a UVA/UVB mix (so they say). All that said, the concept is pretty basic. You get exposed to UV rays and you get a tan.

Tanning Risks

The health concerns associated with tanning are primarily based on the concept of negative affects of over exposure to the UV radiation emitted by the tanning lamps/bulbs. Such health concerns range from premature aging of the skin to skin cancer. Publicized health risks even include compromised immune systems, and damage to the eyes via cataracts and photokeratitis which is described as being corneal sunburn. Ultimately, the risks associated with the use of a tanning device are similar to that of the sun with one exception, when in a tanning device you use no SPF protection against the harmful and damaging rays thus, you are deliberately exposing yourself to elements that will age and damage your skin and could have other known and unknown risk factors. Aging is enough of a risk to me. Ultimately, whether you use a tanning bed or booth is entirely up to you and I’m not going to get on my soap box. Speaking from personal experience, I prefer not the have leather skin and brown blotchy patches on my face and I really would rather make all reasonable attempts to reduce my risk for skin cancer. That said, here are my top tanning tips!

Tip #1: If you are worried about getting cancer from a tanning device, don’t use one. We are exposed to enough environmental factors on a daily basis so if you are going to get skin cancer, at least try to control one factor!

Tip #2: If you are worried about damaging your eyes by using a tanning device, don’t use one. Always wear protective lenses that have UV protection qualities.

Tip #3: If you are concerned about compromising your immune system by using a tanning device, do not use one. Take your vitamins, eat right, and exercise. Minimize external environmental factors.

Tip #4: If you are concerned about prematurely aging your skin by using a tanning device, don’t use one. This is a big deal; you will notice that your skin is getting aged even after just a couple of uses of a tanning device. Your skin will become dryer, more leather like to the touch…remember that tanning is just skin damage.

Best!

5 Quick Tips For Healthy Skin

3 Feb

Having healthy glowing skin is a desire of most people. Whether a teen or an adult, our skin is a large part of our own identity, and how it looks can have a major effect on how we feel about ourselves. In the words of a cliche’ saying “beauty is more than skin deep!”.

There are some quick tips that most of us can follow daily, even on a limited budget and schedule.

1.) Wash your face in the morning and in the evening. Sounds simple enough, but believe it or not, this is one of the first things that I always suggest for those in search of great skin because it is so often over looked as a twice a day requirement. If your skin is not cleaned, exfoliated, or otherwise freed of the day/night you’ve just put it through, it will not glow. By cleansing your skin twice a day, you help to remove dirt, oils, sebum and other nasty environmental elements that can drain your skin of nutrients.

2.) Hydrate your skin at least twice a day. Easiest bet here is to moisturize after you wash in the morning and in the evening. I am not talking about slathering it with oil, but rather soothe your skin with a nice oil-free moisturizer that perhaps contains hyaluronic acid and antioxidants.

3.) Avoid pore clogging products. Some products are naturally heavier than others, and can feel heavy on the skin, but that can be a little misleading…just because the products are heavy, does not necessarily mean that it is the direct cause of unhealthy or congested skin. Look for products that are non-comedogenic, oil-free and even perhaps Dermatologist tested.

4.) Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet including plenty of fresh produce is vital to maintaining not just a healthy body but also healthy skin. Be sure to consume the daily recommendations of healthy foods and don’t forget those nuts, healthy oils, and lean proteins! Each have nutrients that are vital to healthy glowing skin.

5.) Take control of certain environmental factors that have a negative impact on your skin. Environmental factors whether self-inflictedBeautyTrix or not can mess with your skin. So what can you do about it? If you smoke, stop. In addition, limit your alcohol intake. Your party nights and smoking days do more damage than the embarrassing day after facebook photos or hang over you wake up with! You should also wear your SPF daily rain or shine to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun…and by all mean avoid those tanning beds like a man who refers to himself as a “baller”!

With these quick tips you can take the minimal steps to achieve a measure of healthy looking skin. This in not intended to be an exhaustive list, but rather just baby steps that you can incorporate into your daily life.

BeautyTrix XOXOX

Guilty Pleasure!

2 Feb

So I was just sitting here in front of my computer thinking that I need to start writing again. There are so many great blogs out there that I’ve been reading. Everyone talking about the Grammy’s and fashion, beauty, makeup and just all sorts of beautiful things! I wanna talk about beauty and stuff too!!! Haha!

The one thing that prompted me to log in to my wordpress this week is that I recently started using Babor’s Sea Creation Concentrate and Sea Creation Rich Cream, retail price on these are respectively $262.00 and $450.00. These products are actually really nice…the consistency is about what I would expect for a treatment serum and ultra rich cream and they smell wonderful, as do all Babor products, so no surprises there. I’m about two weeks into the products and can honestly say that I don’t see a huge difference, which is to be expected at this point, but I totally feel a difference.

My skin, which is normally super dry, has become smoother and more elastic. The results are pretty impressive in the sense that normally when I apply my makeup I have to go super light otherwise my laugh line become more defined no matter what I do. With the Sea Creations even the thickest application of my powder based mineral makeup looks absolutely flawless.  Based on my observations, the results appear to be associated more with what is happening under the skin.  I like the results so far and will stick with it until I run out of the product.

My vote on this one is simple, Guilty Pleasure! If you can afford it, it is worth it as I can only imagine that the results will become more visible over time. Would I buy it again? It’s more than a little pricy for me, but I totally would if I could afford it. Otherwise, Peter Thomas Roth’s Mega Rich Cream is a fantastic alternative if your primary concerns are anti-age and dry skin, and the consistency of that is much like Crème de la Mer which is really popular with us older divas!

Babor Sea Creations is available many places but the manufacturer has a website that you can purchase products from as well at www.babor.com or you can go right to the Sea Creations page.

XOXO ~ BeautyTrix

How to get healthy skin – part two

8 Aug

How to get healthy skin – part two

Can the secret to healthy skin really be demystified? I am here to let you in on my secret…there is no “secret” to healthy skin, just a lot of common sense!

In part one of “how to get healthy skin” we discussed the benefits of a healthful diet abundant in vegetables and fruit and moderate in healthy proteins. We also talked about the importance of antioxidants and how to make food selections which optimize the external benefits on the skin. With no single correct answer on how to get healthy skin, we will explore our second common sense factor – your skin care regimen.

So many wonder if healthy, beautiful, luminous skin is really possible just by eating right…it’s not likely. Others wonder how they can retain the skin of their youth…nothing lasts forever! So let’s dive into our second article. 

Part two of the “how to get healthy skin” series focuses on incorporating a healthy skin care regimen. In short, gently cleanse twice a day for normal, combo and dry skin, cleanse more if you are oily. Treat your skin for any concerns such as acne, wrinkles, crow’s feet, rosacea, dark circles etc. Moisturize twice a day, even if you are oily…don’t freak out oily folks! I will explain how to moisturize your skin with out adding oil. Exfoliate 1-2 times per week except in the summer. Protect your skin daily using an SPF30 during all seasons. 

Cleans: Most individuals can cleanse each morning and each night with out causing any concerns. Individuals who are oily may wish to cleans more often, be careful to not over cleans your skin by washing too often (more than 4 times per day) unless you are instructed to do so by your dermatologist. Why cleanse at night? Your skin regenerates at night while you sleep. While you sleep your skin is actively working to repair damage done during the day; this is when your cells are most actively turning over. When you sleep with make-up or other environmental elements on your skin, such as pollution, you are damaging your skin and providing a great foundation for other issues to crop up. Believe it or not, some experts state that you age up to two days for every one night you sleep without cleansing your face before bed. Perhaps that is just a scare tactic to sell more skin care products BUT think about it, how good can it be to sleep with all of the day’s exposure on your skin. Eventually you will see congestion, possible break outs and you will experience generally dull skin. For cleansing, use gentle products with minimal fragrance; remain clear of those apricot pit scrubs! Those are terrible for your skin. Use warm, not hot, water for best results as hot water will over dry and scold your skin. I suggest using an eye make-up remover if you wear mascara and eye liner.

Treat: For those of you that need or like treatment (anyone over the age of 20), most treatments are applied before a moisturizer. Some individuals use a toner and a treatment after cleansing, and this is fine. Toner is applied first, then the treatment. In most cases toner is not entirely necessary but many love it…so tone away if you’d like. For treatment, I am referring to retinol treatments, vitamins (A, C, E), alpha hydroxyl acids, beta hydroxyl acids, antioxidants, etc. Whatever your choice of treatment, they are generally applied under your moisturizer.

Moisturize: This is a critical step in your skin care regimen. Adding hydration to the skin no less than twice per day will help in the appearance of your skins tone, texture and suppleness. Select your moisturizer carefully as you do not want to add oil to your skin, just hydration! Remember moisturizer does not have to mean oil! There are a lot of oil free moisturizers on the market today, nearly every one of your high end or dermatologist recommended products will have oil free hydration options for your skin. Individuals with oily skin should be aware that adding hydration to the skin can greatly help reduce the amount of oil that your skin produces, thereby reducing you’re your chances for acne to form. When you over cleans your skin, or add too much treatment, the skin will naturally produce more oils to help protect itself! Image that! If you would like suggestions on selecting a moisturizer let me know. 

Exfoliate no more than twice per week using a mask, peel or scrub. Reduce exfoliation in the summer to once per week or even every other week as your skin will become more sensitive to the sun through the exfoliation process. If you would like recommendations, let me know, I can post some goodies!  

Protect: Always wear a sunscreen during the day. Exposure to UV radiation (UVA/UVB) is damaging to the collagen fibers and elastin proteins in your skin. The damages cause premature aging in the form of wrinkles, rough skin, hyperpigmentation, dryness and sallow unattractive skin.

Regardless of the season, sunscreen containing SPF30 or greater should be worn for prolonged sun exposure or anytime when you will be spending more than a few minutes in the sun. If you are just walking from your car to the office, an SPF20 should be fine. If at the beach, gardening or other outside activity, you may want to consider wearing a hat to protect your skin further for the sun’s harmful rays.

Stay tuned for more tips on – how to get healthy skin – part three!

How to get healthy skin – part one

7 Aug

How to get healthy skin – part one 

Have you ever walked past a person, male or female, who had absolutely beautiful, radiant, perfect skin and thought to yourself, “wouldn’t it be nice to know his or her secret!” 

The truth is – there is no secret. 

The so called “secret to healthy skin” has long since mystified women and men in epic proportions. Fortunes have been made by savvy “experts” who appeal to our desire to retain the skin of our youth. Conversely, fortunes have been spent by women and men just like you and I in our quest for beauty…how many products do you have in your skin care collection? 

This series of short articles will provide a basic understanding of some of the fundamentals of skin care. Though no single solution for healthy skin should be considered the ultimate solution, certainly there are some things that all of us can do to achieve that healthy glow of beautiful skin. 

Part one of this series focuses on on eating healthy. Eat a healthy, well balanced diet rich with leafy green and colorful vegetables, fruits and lean protein. Drink 8-10 glass of water everyday, really??…more on that to follow.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) women between the ages of 31-50 should have at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and 1.5 cups of fruit daily. It is important to note that 2 cups of leafy greens is a 1 cup equivalent according to the USDA. The daily recommendation for men within the same age group is 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit. Daily recommendations for protein is 5 ounces for women 31-50 and 6 ounces for men in the same age group, though some individuals may require slightly more or less based on activity levels and overall health. 

Fruit: If you are looking for healthy fruit options I would focus my efforts on those rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, strawberries blackberries and plumbs. Antioxidants are important to the body as they help to eradicate those pesky free radicals that scavenge electrons from other molecules in our bodies, all the while causing genetic alteration and cell damage. From a skin care perspective the consumption of antioxidant rich fruit is a necessary support process that provides a solid foundation for the external benefits of healthy and radiant skin. Experts in the skin care industry believe so strongly in the benefits of antioxidants that supplements have been developed to compliment healthy skin care regimens. Dr. Brandt’s Antioxidant Water Booster is an example of this trend (the pomegranate tastes the best, but they are still pretty bland!)    

Veggies: Choose veggies rich in vitamins and minerals to help boost your skins health. Choices such as spinach, broccoli, squash, arugula, watercress, and onions (to name a few) are great options. Adding veggies to your diet is generally a good thing! Most nutritionists would recommend a balanced approach that includes green, yellow, red and orange vegetables. There are some possible dietary restrictions for individuals who may have health concerns, so use common sense and select veggies (and fruit) that are appropriate for you.  

Protein: Most people think of protein as a big juicy slab of steak perfectly grilled on the BBQ…well, there is more to protein than just meat! Sources of protein include eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans…and yes meat, fish and poultry. Red meat should be consumed in moderation, choosing alternative options such as beans may be a way of not only getting your protein, but saving on your daily intake of fat and calories. A lean healthy serving of protein can be as simple as a 1 cup serving of lentils which has less than a gram of fat, 17.9g of protein and 230 calories. When you compare a 6oz. porter house steak at 15g of fat, 45.7g of protein and 330 calories, the fat content alone makes the lentils a much healthier choice. 

Finally, let’s chat a moment about the benefits of water. Water helps to dilute toxins while they are being flushed out of our system as we excrete waste through the urine. Water helps to carry nutrients through our body and our body relies on water for it basic functions. Here is my take on water; a very small amount of water you consume is used by the skin alone. Fact: our body is made up of 60-70% water so the idea that water is critical to your overall health certainly holds water – pun intended! Here is a common sense factor – consume enough water to replace the water that you use each day in order to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can do a number on your body and your skin! When you sweat, urinate, or even breath you are losing water…have you ever fogged a mirror or your eye glasses to clean them…well, that “fog” is water! The thought behind 8-10 glasses of water is to keep your natural systems functioning properly, thus the benefits of water consumption will reflect in the radiance of your skin based on your over all health and properly working irrigation system. Make sense? If you drink soda, replace with water or a tea with high antioxidant content, you will see a difference in your skin. 

It is important to note that there are other factors that can influence your water intake requirements. This is an educational article that I found be the Mayo Clinic http://snipurl.com/pcp26.       

 There is more on how to get healthy skin…stay tuned for “how to get healthy skin – part two”.

 Source: USDA / Mayo Clinic.

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