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About Sun Protection

Sun Rays Diagram

The Summer is almost over and we’re heading into Winter. Why do I need to worry about Sun protection?

The sun exposes us to two different types of radiation:

  • UVA (Aging Rays)
    • Makes up most of our UV ray exposure
    • Longer wavelength, which means it penetrates deeper into the skin
    • Main ray for tanning and aging
  • UVB (Burning Rays)
    • Can burn year-round
    • Shorter wavelength, which means more visible damage to skin
    • Main ray for sunburns, redness, and skin cancer

The Effects of Sun Damage

  • Fine lines/wrinkles
  • Dark spots/uneven skin tone
  • Sun burns
  • Darkens acne spots and prolongs fading
  • Skin cancer and melanoma

When choosing a sunscreen, consider the following:

  • Physical: Deflects/ blocks rays from the skin and is very stable. This type of sunscreen usually leaves a white cast over skin. Ingredients to look for in a physical sunscreen are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide.
  • Chemical: Absorbs rays to prevent penetration, generally stable though some chemical sunscreens are not, and usually does not leave white cast over skin. Ingredients to look for in a chemical sunscreen are avobenzone, oxybenzone, helioplex, mexoryl, uvinul, homosalate, octisalate, and octylcrylene.
  • Mixture: Mix of both physical and chemical sunscreens and leaves minimal white cast. Ingredients to look for in a mixture of both would be a combination of either type of sunscreen.

How much SPF is appropriate?

  • Make sure to apply a sunscreen with the SPF of at least 30!
  • Make sure to apply enough! At least ¼ teaspoon for face and neck and about 1 ounce for body
  • Reapply often. UV rays are the strongest from 12 pm to 4 pm. Make sure to reapply every two hours.

Five Skin Vitamins

Five Skin Vitamins

  1. Vitamin A: Also commonly called Retinol, this vitamin is found is almost all topical acne medications. It forces your skin cells to “turn over.” This means fresh new cells are pushed to the surface, leaving your skin rejuvenated. Vitamin A will help reduce wrinkles by firming and tightening the skin. Be cautious because Retinol can be harsh on the skin. Protect that new layer of skin with an SPF of at least 30! Foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, lettuce, and dried apricots are good sources of this vitamin.

  2. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is your key to anti-aging skincare. Not only does it help fight against free radicals, but it also adds density, tightness, and glow to the skin, while eliminating uneven skin tone. Great sources of vitamin C include papayas, red bell pepper, broccoli, kale, oranges, strawberries, and cauliflower.

  3. Vitamin D: Our bodies do not naturally create it. In fact, to produce vitamin D ourselves, we need to have direct exposure to sunlight or UV rays. Research has shown that sufficient levels of vitamin D in the skin help minimize acne, boost elasticity, stimulate collagen production, enhance radiance, and lessen lines and the appearance of dark spots. This vitamin can be found in foods like salmon, fortified cereals, milk, eggs, mushrooms, and tuna.

  4. Vitamin E: This vitamin is essential to keeping your skin moisturized and is also an antioxidant known for neutralizing free radicals, protecting your collagen, and repairing your skin. Our bodies naturally create vitamin E, which is secreted on the surface of our skin as an oily substance seven days after consuming a vitamin E rich food. It creates a protective layer on our skin’s surface. Vitamin E rich foods include tofu, spinach, nuts, avocados, shrimp, olive oil, and cooked broccoli.

  5. Vitamin K: Vitamin K helps control blood clotting and helps your circulatory system, which is one of the main causes of puffiness under eyes. Applied topically, it can also help with popping veins. It may also contain retinol which thickens the skin and helps bulk up the translucent layer under the eye. Great sources of vitamin K include kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and collard greens.

Six Uses for Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

  1. Makeup Remover

    You have to get the raccoon eyes off somehow, but many makeup removers contain harsh chemicals that are very drying to your skin. It is recommended that you squeeze a bit of pure aloe gel onto a cotton ball and swipe away your makeup for a simple and effective alternative.

  2. Shaving Cream

    Pure aloe can be the perfect shaving cream: It’s antibacterial, which is great for nicks; it’s slippery, allowing for a nice close shave; and it moisturizes, too. You can use it on its own, or combine with other nourishing ingredients for a more luxe product.

  3. Soothing Ice Cubes

    Grab an ice cube tray, fill with aloe gel, and freeze. Pop them out and store in a freezer safe container. These are great after too much sun exposure, run-ins with your stove, bug bites, poison ivy, and even psoriasis.

  4. Exfoliator

    It’s not the most pleasant part of grooming, but exfoliation is important if you want to reveal glowing, fresh skin. Aloe is a great base for a homemade scrub because it helps soften your skin and supply oxygen to your cells, strengthening the tissue to create vibrant skin.

  5. Eyebrow Gel

    We love a strong brow and tidiness is key. Dip a clean mascara wand in some aloe vera gel and sweep over stray brows for serious stay-put power without getting hard or sticky.

  6. Hand Sanitizer

    Sick of your hand sanitizer drying out your hands? Mix ½ cup aloe vera gel, ¼ cup alcohol, and 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Pour into a spritz bottle. The alcohol fights germs while the aloe soothes your skin.

Foods To Make You Feel Beautiful

Beauty Foods

  • Olive Oil

    Extra virgin olive oil belongs in the kitchen and on your skin. Apply it directly to your skin; it’s got tons of vitamin E and good fats to give your skin all the moisture it needs.

  • Water

    Drinking water for skin hydration is a topic that is highly debated, so let’s break it down. Your skin is an organ and is made up of cells. Those cells (like most cells) are mostly made up of water. Without that water, cells and organs would not be able to function. You lose lots of water daily, naturally, so it’s important to rehydrate your body and your skin when that hydration is lost. The truth is that water will mostly likely reach all your other organs before it reaches your skin, so definitely make sure to drink a couple of extra glasses a day.

  • Avocados

    A fan of avocados? Great! These fruits are full of vitamins C, E and monounsaturated fats—great for locking in moisture and promoting over all skin health.

  • Fish

    Salmon, herring, trout, sardines, and mackerel all contain lots of omega-3s. Fish fats help to protect skin from the sun, reduce inflammation, and strengthen your skin’s cells.

  • Carrots

    Next time you take a trip to grocery store, steer towards some yellow and orange veggies. The reason certain veggies take on this color is because they have the antioxidant beta-carotene in them. This particular antioxidant helps to fight off the sun rays and other environmental aggressors and help prevent or soothe dry skin.

  • Spinach

    Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale contain iron, omega-4s, and vitamins A, B and E. All of those not only help your skin’s overall health, but help give your immune system a nice boost.

  • Fruits

    The majority of fruits contain lots of vitamin A and C which helps to replenish your skin’s nutrients and promote collagen production.

  • Nuts

    In just one nut you will find omega 3s, vitamins A, B and E, minerals, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants. Therefore, eating nuts throughout the day helps give your skin hydration, promote elasticity, protect you against free radical and pollutants, and regenerate cells.

  • Eggs

    Eggs have very high levels of protein which is great in aiding cell regeneration. They also contain sulfur and lutein, both of which help to promote skin hydration and elasticity.

The Benefits of Argan Oil

The Production of Argan Oil Using Traditional Methods

Argan Oil Produced Using Traditional Methods

Argan oil is produced from the plant kernels of the argan tree. It is native to Morocco. In Morocco it is commonly eaten as a dip for bread or drizzled over pasta or couscous. But argan oil also has a variety of cosmetic uses.

  • Nighttime Moisturizer

    Apply one drop to moisturize your whole face and keep it soft and smooth.

  • Skin Toner

    Add 2 to 4 drops to your toner to take advantage of the oil’s nutrients before moisturizing.

  • Exfoliating

    Mix with brown sugar and use as a facial scrub. It will exfoliate and promote healthy surface cell turnover.

  • Acne

    Argan oil’s high linoleum acid content helps to reduce inflammation caused by acne.

  • Razor Bumps and Burns

    Argan oil is an effective treatment for men and women after shaving and also speeds the healing process.

  • Leave-in Conditioner

    This non-greasy oil makes for the perfect leave-in conditioner. Argan oil helps to tame frizz and fly-aways and protects against the heat of hot tools such as blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons.

  • Lip Conditioner

    Argan oil makes for a wonderful lip treatment or lip balm substitute. Rub 1 to 2 drops on your lips and wipe away any excess. This not only heals cracked lips but leaves your lips feeling soft, smoother, and conditioned.

  • Dry Feet and Heels

    If you are experiencing dry, cracking skin on your feet or heels, rub 2 to 4 drops onto your feet paying special attention to the affected areas. Cover with a pair of socks, let the oil soak in, and then remove.

  • Stretch Marks

    Argan oil can help to prevent stretch marks by improving the skin’s elasticity. Warm 2 to 3 drops of pure argan oil in the palm of your hands and gently rub into any problem areas.

  • Whole-body Moisturizer

    Add a couple of drops of argan oil to coconut oil (or any other natural moisturizing carrier oil) to enjoy all-over dry skin relief.

  • Overnight Deep Conditioning Treatment

    If you have dry, brittle hair, do an overnight deep conditioning treatment with argan oil once a week. Apply 1 to 2 drops of argan oil from the mid-lengths to ends of your hair and let sit until morning.

  • Nails

    Argan oil’s non-greasy moisture is an ideal treatment for cuticles and nails. Remove all nail polish from finger and toe nails and rinse thoroughly before applying argan oil.

Cucumber for Healthy Skin

Woman with Cucumber on Eyes

Cucumber slices can fight dark circles and puffy eyes.

Cucumbers may do more for your skin than for your palate. These fruits, members of the melon family, have properties that soothe and soften the skin. For an easy do-it-yourself skin treatment, reach into your refrigerator and pull out a cucumber. You can use it to make a toner, or a mask, or simply lay slices over your eyes to help you look refreshed.

  • Antioxidant Power

    The older you get, the fewer antioxidants you have in your skin to fight wrinkles and sun damage. Because your skin has the ability to absorb antioxidants, cucumbers can help restore some of these. Cucumbers are a source of several compounds that fight inflammation and aging, including cucurbitacins and cucumerin.

  • Vitamin Rich

    Cucumbers contain vitamin C, an antioxidant. They also have plenty of vitamin K—also an antioxidant—which fights dark circles under the eyes. That’s why a couple of cucumber slices placed over tired, puffy eyes in the morning helps you look refreshed. Vitamin B-5 is another compound found in cucumbers that helps your skin retain moisture. The vitamin A, or retinol, in cucumbers fights dark spots and freckles because it helps control your skin’s production of melanin.

  • Wrinkle Fighter

    Cucumbers are a source of silica, which, as a precursor to collagen, can help fight wrinkles. A May 2011 issue of the “Archives of Dermatological Research” published a study concluding that the presence of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, makes cucumber juice a particular effective ingredient in anti-wrinkle products. You can add cucumber juice to your favorite lotion; or make a toner by grating a cucumber, straining out the juice through cheesecloth, and mixing it with an equal amount of witch hazel or rose water. Use a cotton ball to apply it to your face.

  • Skin Irritations

    Cucumbers have high water content and a cooling quality, making them appropriate to help soothe mild burns, particularly sunburn. They can also reduce swelling and relieve minor skin irritations.

Treating Keratosis Pilaris

Arm with Keratosis PilarisEveryone wants smooth, healthy skin. If you’re bothered by pesky little bumps that feel rough to the touch, you’re not alone. Those bumps might be keratosis pilaris — check with your doctor or dermatologist to be sure. While the bumps are harmless and painless, they can be difficult to treat.

This condition is common in children and young adults and can sometimes resolve itself by early adulthood. It is important to have a skin specialist or dermatologist examine your skin to make a concise diagnosis.

If you run your hand along the back of your arm and it has a bumpy or rough texture, you could have keratosis pilaris. The bumps are often in patches and can resemble a “goose-like flesh” or “chicken skin”. They appear white and are somewhat hard to notice from a quick glance. They are most commonly found on the back of your arms, although they can also be found on the cheeks, thighs, and buttocks. They can become red, but are not painful, and are generally not itchy or cause any kind of discomfort.

These bumps can also become inflamed, and can scar if they are picked at or scratched. Keratosis pilaris is caused from the build-up of keratin under the skin’s surface. The keratin develops a scaly plug that blocks the hair follicle at the opening. The result is bumpy skin.

If you have keratosis pilaris, you want to know how to get rid of the problem. While keratosis pilaris is not curable, you can lessen the appearance and signs. It can be challenging to treat, but you can usually reduce the appearance of the bumps and redness over time.

A topical retinoid therapy using Vitamin A can promote cell turnover and keep the follicle from getting plugged. A topical exfoliant or medicated cream containing alpha-hydroxy acids and moisturizers can soften the dried out skin and remove dead skin cells. Green tea also helps reduce the visible redness and bumps associated with irritated dry skin and keratosis pilaris.

Being consistent with your skin care will help keep your keratosis pilaris under control and replenish a smooth skin finish. Before trying medical grade products to treat this skin disorder, I would definitely recommend trying just a simple exfoliating scrub; this alone can do wonders for your skin tone and texture.

When using an exfoliating scrub, apply generously to the affected area and rub in with your hands in an upward motion to slough away dead skins cells more effectively. Do this one to two times weekly and apply a moisturizer after to keep the skin hydrated.

Benefits of Lemon Water

Lemon Splashes in Water on Black

Lemons are with filled with nutrients, including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Because of how hard lemon juice can be on the enamel of your teeth, it’s important to dilute it with water of any temperature (lukewarm is recommended). Drink it first thing in the morning, and wait 15 to 30 minutes to have breakfast. This will help you fully receive the benefits of lemon water, some of which are listed below.

  1. Reduces inflammation

    If you drink lemon water on a regular basis, it will decrease the acidity in your body, which is where disease states occur. It removes uric acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation.

  2. Aids in digestion

    Lemon juice not only encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract, it helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating.

  3. Suppresses hunger

    Lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in fighting hunger cravings.

  4. Cleanses your system

    It helps flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function, stimulating your liver.

  5. Keeps your skin clean and clear

    The antioxidants in lemon juice help to not only decrease blemishes, but wrinkles too! It can also be applied to scars and age spots to reduce their appearance and, because it’s detoxifying your blood, it will maintain your skin’s radiance.

  6. Boosts your immune system

    Vitamin C is very important for our immune system and lemon juice is full of it. The level of vitamin C in your system is one of the first things to plummet when you’re stressed, which is why it is recommended to take extra vitamin C during especially stressful days.

  7. Excellent source of potassium

    Lemons are high in potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function.

  8. Freshens your breath

    It helps relieve toothaches and gingivitis. Because the citric acid can erode tooth enamel, don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking lemon water. Wait a bit until the citric acid has been diluted from your teeth.

  9. Gives you an energy boost

    Lemon juice provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and it also helps reduce anxiety and depression. Even the scent of lemons has a calming effect on your nervous system.

  10. Helps you cut out caffeine

    Replacing your morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water can do wonders! You will feel refreshed, and no longer have to deal with that afternoon crash. Plus, your nerves will definitely be thankful.

  11. Helps fight viral infections

    Warm lemon water is the most effective way to diminish viral infections and the sore throats they cause. Plus, with the lemon juice also boosting your immune system, you’ll also help fight off the infection completely.

Benefits of a Monthly Facial

Woman Receiving Facial

Unless it’s for a special event, most people don’t understand the benefits that a good professional facial can offer. They wait until they see a skin problem—weird breakouts, dry itchy skin, dark spots—before coming in for a facial. But these frustrating problems can often be prevented by receiving proper monthly facials combined with counseling on correct home care products.

Unless you have a specific skin concern you are trying to work on, such as acne, or hyper-pigmentation, then once a month is an ideal schedule for a facial. Your stratum corneum—the outermost layer of visible skin—completely renews itself about every 28 days. During this time, your skin cells are being replicated from the treated cells to replace the old cells. If you give your skin a head start with a great facial, your skin cells will replicate the now healthier cells. This results in a better complexion. Also, most skin products can take up to six to eight weeks to start to treat active skin cells. But by speeding up the renewal process with a facial, you can make these products work faster and more effectively.

Here are my top ten reasons why you should consider receiving monthly facials:

  1. Facials allow you to relax. They feel live heaven, and are healing to the soul. The power of touch, massage, proper technique, and professional products can heal.
  2. Facials increase circulation of the blood under the skin. That allows the skin to facilitate the renewal of skin cells.
  3. By manipulating the lymphatic system that lies just under the skin, facials can decrease waste underneath the skin that can cause puffiness and fluid accumulation. Facials also aid in detoxification.
  4. A good facial and facial massage can help smooth fine lines and promote collagen production—the builing block of the skin—to prevent premature aging, wrinkles, and sagging.
  5. A facial cleanses the pores on a much deeper level than home care. Even non-acneic skin can use a good deep cleanse. Extractions–cleaning out the pores–can help maintain clear skin and prevent acne formation and the appearance of larger pores. When left unchecked, pores can start to stretch and widen with the accumulation of oil and debris.
  6. Facials provide deeper exfoliation than you can achieve at home. Exfoliation smooths the skin, allows for deeper penetration of moisturizers or serums, unclogs pores, improves the skins ability to retain hydration, and evens skin tone.
  7. Receive counseling from a professionally trained esthetician on the best products for your skin that you should be using at home. This alone is worth the investment, as the skincare industry can be a difficult and expensive area to navigate without assistance.
  8. Facials can help even skin tone and lighten dark spots. Dark spots visibly age our appearance.
  9. Facials slow the aging process. They allow your skin to feel healthier, smoother, and look more radiant. Facials reduce fine lines, age spots, and relieve dehydrated skin. With these benefits, facials make us feel better about our skin. With the use of exfoliation, massage, and the penetration of nutrients and antioxidants, facials also fight to reverse aging. We will all age, but we can do it more slowly with glowing, firm, and hydrated skin.
  10. Although they are not a miracle in an hour, facials do give you a fresh start to a healthier and balanced complexion. Regular facials help you maintain optimal skin health.

Choose the Correct Sunscreen Product

Drawing of Sunscreen Bottle

Although many only use sunscreen during summer months, sunscreen is an essential skincare product we should use every day of the year. Of course the sun is brighter during the summer, so it is especially important then, but sunscreen protects against skin damage from UV radiation all year round.

It is advisable to apply sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before going outside to allow the drying time on all exposed body areas. Re-apply every two hours when exposed to the sun in general, even on cloudy days as 80 per cent of UV rays can penetrate the clouds. When out on a beach, it is advisable to re-apply sunscreen every 15-20 minutes. Wash your face or wipe off the area with a wet tissue before re-applying.

But different skin types should use different types of sunscreen. Here’s how to choose the right sunscreen for you according to your skin type.

  • If you have normal skin:

    Normal skin types are the least problematic. The tissue does not reveal any traces of oil and looks clean, smooth and has a good circulation and a healthy complexion. Opt for a cream-based sunblock. In case of oiliness, dab with a tissue to remove the excess oil.

  • If you have dry skin:

    Dry skin has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. The skin has a parched look because of its inability to retain moisture. The skin usually feels tight and uncomfortable after washing unless a moisturizer or cream is applied. Lotion or moisturizing SPF is the best choice for dry skin. When opting for the right sunblock, one has to keep in mind that a certain thickness is required in the base to protect the skin from sun damage. With this in mind, always opt for the ones that are thick and not light (matte finish, for example). The higher the range of the SPF, the more oily the formulation.

  • If you have oily skin:

    Oily skin is one of the most problematic skin types. The face has spots of facial oil, normally located in the t-zone. The face usually looks greasy, thick, coarse, and shiny and also has large enlarged pores and tends to breakout in acne. For oily skin, gel or aqua-based SPF formulations work the best. These have a drying effect and do not make the skin look greasy.