Can Fat Help Dry Skin?

EFAs

The dreaded F-word: fat.

Although many think fat-free is the way to go, if you find that not even topical ingredients help your dry skin, take a look at your diet.  While fats are given a negative connotation, they are a crucial component of good health as it helps your body retain heat, lubricates the skin and assists in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Not All Fats Are Created Equal

So does this mean you can overly indulge in french fries?  Wishful thinking, but no.  Fried foods don’t make the cut. However, the benefits you’ll reap from the good fats just may outweigh this notion and allow for the occasional treat.

Enter essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are acids the body can’t manufacture on its own and therefore need to be obtained through our diet.  EFAs are necessary for brain and body development, metabolism, and hair and skin growth.   At a cellular level, EFAs are important because cell membranes hold water in, and the stronger they are, the better your skin cells can retain that moisture.  A deficiency in EFAs can result in dermatitis (eczema), reduced barrier function, scaly skin and increased moisture loss.

 EFA Types: Omega-3 and Omega-6.

Linoleic acid is an omega-6 that is used to make important hormones and maintains the lipid barrier of the skin.  Linoleic acid is found in oils made from safflower, grapeseed, sunflower, corn, soybean, borage and flaxseed but is also found in raw nuts, seeds and legumes. *It’s important to note that high amounts of omega-6 can promote inflammation, so low amounts are key.  The typical American diet has an excess of omega-6.

Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 that is a popular nutrient for healthy skin and reduces inflammation.  The Mediterranean diet is high in omega-3.  Sources of omega-3 rich foods include salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, trout, cod, fish oil, walnuts, flax, pumpkin seeds and algae.

Dry skin, for the most part can be reversed with topical and ingested supplementation.  However, ALWAYS consult a medical professional and/or registered dietitian before implementing any changes in your diet to verify there are no contraindications with certain medical conditions or medications.

Do you notice a difference in your skin with certain foods you eat or don’t eat? Do share! 

Disclaimer:  The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.  

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Sephora Sun Safety Kit Review

Sephora Sun Kit

Sephora Sun Safety Kit, $32

Last week, Sephora released their annual Sun Safety Kit and I believe it is perfect timing since May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.  Since 90% of skin cancer is caused by the sun, I love that this kit provides an array of sunscreens you can try out.  This year, they included a lot more self-tan/bronzing products, which in my opinion is okay, but I would personally prefer more sunscreens.   All products are great for traveling and you can toss them in your purse, making it easier to reapply.  $20 of the proceeds go towards the Skin Cancer Foundation. Here is the breakdown of the kit, along with my thoughts and/or experience.

Sunscreens 

Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 20

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This is both a moisturizer and sunscreen, which is great if you want to cut down your morning/afternoon skincare routine time.  I find it has a slight medicinal-sunscreen like fragrance that while not overpowering, is prominent.  However, the scent does not linger after it is applied.  It feels a bit thick but it absorbed quickly into my skin and so far, has not broken me out.  Ingredients like enantia chlorantha bark extract and biotin can help control oil and it does contain a bit of vitamin C. *Note: No synthetic fragrances are added.

 

Bare Minerals ready Touch Up Veil Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Translucent 

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I really like that they included a pressed powdered sunscreen instead of the loose powdered one.  Definitely not as messy.  I also love that this is an easy way to reapply SPF, especially if you are wearing makeup.  It also can work to keep shine at bay for those with oilier skin.  It’s also formulated with antioxidants like green tea, vitamin C, vitamin E, and grapeseed oil.

 

Clarins UV Plus HP Ecran Multi-Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Titanium Dioxide 

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This is a 100% mineral based sunscreen (titanium dioxide).  Personally, this is not my favorite as it leaves behind a white cast on my face and feels like a heavy sunscreen.  I do keep this in my purse though and apply to my hands while driving to keep them protected.  It does contain two notable antioxidants, green tea and vitamin E.  However, I also see that alcohol is listed as an ingredient but it doesn’t state which kind so it may be irritating to some.

Ole Henrikson Protect The Truth SPF 50+

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I don’t particularly love this sunscreen but I don’t hate it either.  The consistency is light-weight but it leaves behind a little bit of a white cast effect too.  It’s easily covered when you apply your foundation on top though, works fairly well under makeup and it contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are excellent antioxidants.  Another downside: There is a minute amount of fragrance added but it appears last on the ingredient list.

Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturizer with White Tea 

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Another time saver in the morning as it is both a moisturizer and sunscreen.  The scent is kind of herbal and citrus like and it does tend to linger a bit.  The texture is lightweight and it is oil-free.  The addition of  white tea and resveratrol are great antioxidants and can strengthen the efficacy of the sunscreen.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a complete list of the ingredients online, so I can’t tell if it has any added fragrance.  Bottom line: It’s good but not my favorite.

Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion Sunscreen Lotion

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This sunscreen definitely smells like a traditional sunscreen and it does feel a bit heavier.  While it didn’t make me break out, it tended to make my skin feel a bit more oily.  *Note: It is a chemical sunscreen, so if you are sensitive to chemical sunscreens and are looking for a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide/titanium dioxide), you may want to skip this one.  Noteworthy ingredients: Vitamins A,C and E, allantoin (a calming and soothing ingredient) and panthenol (pro vitamin B5 which is an humectant).

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream+ Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ 

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Since the texture of this sunscreen is heavier, hence the cream factor, I think those who have a dry skin type would benefit from this.  What is great about this sunscreen is that it has the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal Of Recommendation for those who are active.  This means it “should protect the wearer from extended sun exposure, such as exposure received outdoors during recreational activities.”  It has also been found to include a water resistance factor, although as with any sunscreen, you must reapply every two hours or so, especially when outside.

Sunscreen Oil

Supergoop Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam Broad Spectrum SPF 50 

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I have not tried this one as I glanced through the ingredients and it contains coconut oil.  Although coconut oil may work for some, it makes me breakout when I use it on my face.  I feel this would really make me breakout and I would have to do more research on sunscreen oils.  Not entirely convinced on this idea yet. It is also a chemical sunscreen and lists tocotrienols (members of the vitamin E family), argan oil, grapeseed oil and shea butter among other ingredients.

Lip SPF

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15

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I am glad that the kit this year included a lip product with SPF as sometimes we (yes, even me!) tend to forget about protecting our lips.  Fresh Sugar lip balms in general are pretty moisturizing but fee light-weight.  This particular one has a lemon scent, which is pretty perfect for summer.

Oil Control with SPF

Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 

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I think this mattifier would work great on oily skin.  It contains cinnamomum zeylanicum bark extract, which is excellent for treating acne; biotin and niacinamide, great for controlling oil production; and antioxidant vitamin E.  My skin isn’t too oily yet, but I will keep this around and see how it works. 

Bronzers

Dr. Denis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Anti-Aging Exfoliating Self-Tanner with Active Vitamin D and Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Glow Moisture 

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I haven’t had luck with self-tanner towelettes and this was no exception.  In theory, this would be great because you receive exfoliation benefits as well as a nice tan.  However,  until I get the hang of how to use these, I will pass because they tend to streak and some areas are darker than others.

St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse 

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Of all the self-tanning products in this kit, I like this one the best.  It’s a dark-colored foam that is easy to apply and you can actually see where you are applying it.  I think this would work best on those who are fair-skinned.  The color looked the most natural on me but I am still working on learning how to apply it evenly.

 

Stila All Day10-in-1 HD Bronzing Beauty Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 30

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This is a BB cream with a bronze tint.  While I wouldn’t use it by itself, I may mix it in with my normal CC cream to add a hint of color.  It comes in a ‘universal’ shade, which by my experience won’t work on everyone.  Fragrance is listed rather high on the ingredient list so beware if you are sensitive to it.

Tarte Brazilliance Self Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanner 

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Sadly, this didn’t work out for me.  True to their claim, this did not turn orange, but on me, it looked muddy.  Definitely not natural.  I know the full size comes with a mitt so maybe that might make a difference.  This does contain vitamins A,C, and E but is also lists fragrance towards the top of the ingredient list.

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep Matte Bronzer

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Love this bronzer.  It is a matte finish (perfect for my skin since it tends to get oilier in the summer), great for contouring or adding a hint of color, is travel sized and has a mirror attached on the inside.

You can purchase the kit at Sephora stores or you can ask for samples to try them out.  I hope this review was helpful!

How Well Do You Know Your ABCs?

may

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.  According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States…[and] over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.”   Since Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) is responsible for 90% of all skin cancers, taking preventative measures decreases your risk factor for this potentially deadly disease.  Here’s what skin cancer is, the different types, what to look out for and guidelines to prevent it.

About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer happens when DNA becomes irreversibly damaged, giving way to the growth of abnormal skin cells that are capable of invading and destroying surrounding normal skin cells and tissues. When the damaged cells multiply, a visible tumor is typically formed.

The difference between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor is that benign tumors are non cancerous, they won’t usually grow back when removed, and the cells do not invade the surrounding tissue, whereas malignant tumors are cancerous,  can grow back after they have been removed, and they invade tissues, organs and metastasize (invades surrounding tissue).

Types of Skin Cancer

melanoma

Melamoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer because of its ability to metastasize and spread to lymph nodes, blood, distant tissues and organ systems.  If it is detected and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it’s left untreated, it can often be fatal.

bcc

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

This is the most common form of skin cancer in the U.S.  It can manifest itself like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps or scars, or a brown or black lesion that could be mistaken for a mole.  Considered to be the most benign form of skin cancer as it grows the slowest and is the least likely to metastasize, removal can lead to scarring or disfiguring.

scc

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous Cell Carcinoma chiefly affects the superficial layers of the epidermis (top layer of the skin).  This type of skin cancer is characterized by a red, rough or flaky appearance and causes the skin to thicken.  It is most common in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the rim of the ear, lower lip, face, bald scalp, neck, hands, arms and legs.  97% of SCC does not spread, however if metastasis occurs, scarring, disfigurement or death is probable.

ak

Actinic Keratosis (AK)

Actinic keratosis can be a precursor to skin cancer that if left untreated, can develop into SCCs.  The appearance of AK is rough and scaly, and they can be tan, red, pink or flesh-colored.  Studies have shown that 60% of squamous cell carcinomas began as actinic keratosis.

abcsc

ABCDEs of Melanoma

Asymmetry  If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match.

Border The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven, irregular, scalloped or notched.

Color  Coloring varies from one area to another- different shades if brown, tan, or black- and it can become red, blue or some other color.

Diameter  Melanomas are usually larger than the size of the eraser on your pencil ( ¼ inch or 6mm) but they can be smaller when first detected.

Evolution  Any changes in size, shape, color, elevation or new symptoms such as bleeding itching or crusting.

prevention

Prevention Guidelines

  • Use broad spectrum sunscreen every day (SPF 15 or higher) and reapply every 2 hours or so, especially when outside
  • Seek shade, if possible, between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Do not burn
  • Avoid UV tanning and UV tanning booths
  • Wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses
  • Conduct yearly exams with a dermatologist and self-exam

I hope this post was helpful and remember: when in doubt, have it checked out!  It’s better to be safe than putting your life in jeopardy.

 

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.

My Summer Essential Product List!

With summer around the corner, I decided to write a post and share a few of my favorite must haves for summer.

PCA

PCA Skin Representative/Dermstore $40

PCA Skin Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45

Love this sunscreen!  True to its name, it has weightless, non-greasy formulation that has caffeine and silybin added as antioxidants.  It does not make me breakout and wears well under makeup.

too faced

Sephora, $30

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer

This is a matte bronzer, (no shimmer or shine) which I find perfect  for summer since my skin tends to be more on the oily side.  Sometimes I use it to contour my cheekbones and sometimes I use it as I would a blush to get a hint if color.  For some weird reason, the smell reminds me of those chocolate scratch and sniff stickers you would get in elementary school.

Stila Eye

Sephora, $20

Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

This eyeliner will last all day without smearing.  I have worn this without an eye primer and it didn’t budge.  The tip allows for both a thin, precise line or a thick bolder one.  Apply once and forget about it the rest of the day.

stila-convertible-colour

Sephora, $25

Stila Convertible Color

I received a deluxe sample of  this 2-in-1 product that is both a lipstick and a blush.  It is creamy without feeling heavy, sheer with buildable color, and you can toss it in your purse and take it on the go.  The color I got was Peony, a brownish rose that looks pretty and natural.

ysl

Sephora, $35

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Coutre Vernis A Levris Glossy Stain

These lip stains are on the pricey side, but in my opinion well worth it. Unlike other stains I have tried, these don’t feel drying, there is a great color selection and are nicely pigmented- one swipe and you’re good to go. The long-lasting staying power ensures you don’t have to reapply frequently and you don’t have to worry about it leaving a mark on your drinkware.

NYX

Drugstores, $5

NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss

These come in a variety of shades (neutral to bright) and the price tag allows for multiple purchases.  The consistency is a bit sticky ( not as moisturizing as I would have hoped) but they do last a good 2-3 hours on the lips and the color payoff is excellent.  I really like Cherry Cheese Cake as it is a wearable summer orange color.

Gio Sugar Scrub

Giovanni Cosmetics/Individual Representative, $14

Giovanni Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub

When I’m not making my own body scrubs, I like to use this one. The yummy chocolate scent makes for a sweet body treat that is not abrasive but still effective in smoothing away rough skin, especially on elbows, knees and feet.

Milani

Drugstores, $5-$10

Milani Total Lash Cover Mascara with 3 Zone Brush

This mascara is one of the few mascaras out there that doesn’t irritate by eyes.  Other mascaras leave a burning sensation on my eyes towards the end of  the day, but not this one.  I also love the brush as I can use the tip to coat harder to reach lashes such as the inner corners and bottom ones.

 I always love trying other products, so please share your favorites! 

What’s Your Type?

Our skin types are genetically determined.  However, to the joy of some and the dismay of others, they can change over time, or you can have a combination of several all at once.  Dry skin and a few breakouts here and there?  Yup.  As weird as it sounds, it can happen.

Do you know your skin type(s) or do you just recall what someone once told you your skin type was and have clung to that notion ever since?

Here are six common skin types and their characteristics to help you determine-or at least give you an idea of- of what would be beneficial to your skin.

normal skin

Normal

Normal skin (oh the lucky ones!) has a good oil-water balance and is soft and plump.  It has a healthy glow and color, with fine texture, small pores and no congestion .  Maintenance and preventative care are your main goals.

combination skin

Combination

I personally fall into this category and let me tell you, it can be gosh darn frustrating.  Combination skin is characterized by an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) while the cheeks tend to be on the dry side, causing a flaky appearance.  The goal is to control areas prone to oiliness while moisturizing areas that are dry, and to keep skin well exfoliated to help combat breakouts and dryness.

oily skin

Oily

Oily skin is characterized by an all over greasy shine, visible pores, coarser skin texture (akin to that of  an orange), little wrinkling (silver lining, no?), blackheads/whiteheads, breakouts.  Controlling sebum production, and clearing out the pores is key.  Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin are good at providing hydration.

acne

Acne

Not just for teenagers anymore as the number of adult acne is rising.  Symptoms range from blackheads/whiteheads, breakouts, painful cysts, inflammation and sensitivity .  Causes of acne can be genetic or a hormonal imbalance.  Deep cleansing facials, proper home regimen and soothing the skin are goals. Avoid excessive or harsh cleansers as it can make acne worse.

dry skin

Dry

If the Sahara desert would be envious, then you probably have dry skin.  Where oily skin produces a mass amount of oil, dry skin doesn’t produce enough. Visible dryness, small pores, tightness,and a propensity to wrinkles are indicators of dry skin.   Cleansing creams or milky cleansers are ideal as they don’t strip the skin while ingredients like shea butter or borage seed oil are great moisturizers.

sensitive

Sensitive

Sensitive skin is identified by fragile, thin, red skin that has an impaired barrier function and more reactive capillaries. It’s easily irritated by products (even sometime water) and exposure to heat and sun.  Avoid excessive rubbing, heat, exfoliation, or extractions.  Use calming, soothing ingredients like aloe vera, panthenol (pro-vitamin B-5), bisabolol, and niacinamide.

Has your skin type been consistent or has it undergone major changes throughout the years? 

 

 

 

 

Why Squeaky Clean Can Be Mean

soap

At some point, whether it be morning, mid-afternoon, or evening- perhaps even all three- we walk ourselves over to the sink or shower to cleanse our face.  The accumulation of sebum, dirt and environmental pollution can leave our skin feeling grimy and we think that tight, squeaky clean feeling after cleansing means we have gotten rid of it all.  Often, the choice of said cleansing is soap, and well, why not? It’s convenient, fairly inexpensive, and if it’s tough enough to remove oil and dirt from our body, hey, why not extend its use to our face, right?

Wrong!

Aside from removing debris and oil, soap tends to remove the fats between the skin cells known as intercellular lipids. Our skin has what’s know as an internal cellular matrix,which is the lipid (fat) substance between cells that protect the cells from water loss and irritation.  Excessive removal of these lipids results in dry skin and skin disease.

Take a quick trip back to your chemistry class by glancing at pH (potential hydrogen) scale below.

 

pH scale

 

The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of any substance that contains water and extends from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.  Anything below 7 is considered acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. Soap also has a high pH level, 9-11, while the natural pH of skin can range from 4-6.  Since sebum and sweat create a barrier on the skin’s surface known as the acid mantle, this protects against certain forms of bacteria and other microorganisms.  Extreme variations in pH can damage the skin’s barrier functions and cause sensitivity, aging, dehydration, and can worsen skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.  Also, highly alkaline solutions can form an insoluble film, leaving skin feeling dry, irritated and itchy.

Considering the information above and knowing the skin on our face is a lot more delicate than the skin on our body, using facial cleansers that are soap-free or pH balanced are best.

I hope this post was helpful in explaining why using soap to cleanse the face isn’t an ideal option.

Have a great Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

Shine On…Just Maybe Not Too Much

oil

Oh, oil.

You can be a dry skin type’s best friend by creating an ethereal glow and an oily skin type’s worst enemy causing us to look like one hot mess.  While oil is a natural substance found in our skin that helps keep skin supple, too much of it can cause problems such as acne and blackheads.

Aside from genetics, there are other factors that can contribute to less than a desirable amount of oil production.

Causes

Genetics, of course

Yup, you can thank your ancestry for this one as skin types are determined by your genes.  There is a chance however, that your skin type may change with age.

Hormones/Stress

There is a reason why the majority of breakouts occur when you are a teenager.  Your sebaceous glands (glands that are charge of producing oil) are typically dormant before puberty, and spring into life after puberty. Hormones at this time are also raging out of control.  The adrenal glands produce testosterone in women, thereby increasing sebum production.

Continual chronic stress also increases hormone levels and also increased sebum levels.

Environment

Heat and humidity increase oil levels.  Individuals who work in kitchens or laundry mats or who live in hot and humid places can often find an increase in oil.

Harsh products/Not using a moisturizer  

Excessive drying of skin or not moisturizing the skin may cause the sebaceous glands to overcompensate by producing an excessive amount of sebum to replace the moisture lost.

Solutions 

Although you can’t really reason with genetics, figure out what your triggers are and read these options available to help keep sebum at bay.

Relax and slow down if stress seems to be the issue.  Take a small amount of time out of your day/night (even if it’s only one minute!) for yourself and do something you enjoy. Exercising, reading, meditating, and aromatherapy can work wonders.

Hydrate!  Humectants, which include glycerin, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA, attract water (not oil) to the skin and cinnamon bark, borage seed oil, wheat germ oil, niacinamide, zinc glucanate, caffeine, enantia bark, yeast extract, horse chestnut and biotin can regulate oil production with regular use.

Stay balanced! Using a pH balanced cleanser, something that is NOT soap, can help keep you from over drying the skin. Cleansing your skin about twice a say should suffice, or you run the risk of over drying the skin as well. Those who have acne may want to be careful about over using ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, which although can be great for acne, can also be very drying.

Nutrition  Zinc can help regulate oil glands.  Zinc rich foods include oysters, crab, liver, mushrooms and spinach.

Other Blotting tissues, using oil-free makeup, and certain primers can also keep shine to a minimum.

If you have oily skin, what product do you swear by?