I was given a great resource the other day from the Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) organisation: a copy of their latest booklet “being cruel is uncool”. I opened the book an almost vomited on the spot – true! The picture that made me feel so queasy was of an animal that had had been used to test eye cosmetics. I won’t describe the picture more than to say it was gruesome. Images of cruelty aside this booklet contains a product list of preferred vegan and cruelty free products in Australia.
It also outlines the common animal tests including the following:
I strongly feel that cosmetic testing on animals is completely unnecessary when there are so many alternatives available. One of the things that appeals to me about using natural ingredients is that most of them have been used safely by humans for a very long time. This creates a history of safe use and so animal tests don’t even factor into the equation. Thank goodness.
The most interesting thing I noticed was that there are obviously many ingredients that are animal derivatives that are being used in some cosmetics that do have natural plant alternatives. A couple of examples I found:
From my perspective, not all the brands included are natural or even organic but it does list many natural ranges and some that we sell. I must say at this point that brands that test cosmetics on animals are automatically excluded from the ranges that we retail. We don’t even consider them – ever. Nor do we have products that include animal parts that are extracted from animals such as placenta. We do however have products that contain beeswax, goat’s milk, propolis and carmine and I will note that those products wouldn’t be endorsed by CCF.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.Twitter It!
It pains me to admit it but I have a skin issue – over the last 6 months I have developed two small red patches, each one about the size of a match head exactly where I hold my mobile phone. One is on my jawline and the other just in front of my ear. At first I wasn’t concerned and actually just thought one was a scratch, but then it didn’t heal and kept peeling and bleeding and this is when I became concerned. Given my pale skin and blue eyes (high risk factors for basal cell carcinomas) I took myself off to the sun cancer clinic for a 6 monthly check and the Doctor took a biopsy. I find out in a couple of weeks if one of the patches is a BCC. But if it isn’t, what is it AND why did both patches appear EXACTLY where I use my phone. Of course I have a few of theories:
Firstly, it may actually be a basal cell carcinoma – this still raises the question as to why the location in particular. I have come up with a possible reason BUT please note, this are just my own thoughts and certainly not proof.
Hot spots on the skin generated by mobile phone use are well documented and in fact (call me paranoid, my partner does!) I avoid using my iphone for long periods as it makes my ear and the left side of my head hot where I hold it. I usually use it on speaker or pick up a land line for long calls. Research conducted in Russia has shown that mobile use can increase the skin temperature at the site by up to 4.7 degrees Celsius. Professor Olle Johansson a Swedish scientist is concerned that microwave radiation (the frequency used by mobiles) may be altering skin cells. He says, “If microwave radiation is causing the skin to heat up it could also be having other effects – potentially causing abnormalities in cells.”
So, just imagine that this is the case, the hot spots from the phone perhaps combined with years of QLD sun exposure may actually be promoting the development of a BCC in my skin. I also have to note that the red patches have been worse since I took the protective plastic coat and case off my iphone and this may actually lead to it being another issue entirely…
A nickel allergy! Again it has been well documented that mobile phones (this research hasn’t been updated since the introduction of the iphone) containing nickel in the exterior coating can cause a type of contact dermatitis. I call it mob-i-derm (mobile phone induced dermatitis)! If this is the case I have to note, I have never experienced a nickel allergy beforehand despite wearing lots of cheap silver jewelry in the early 90s. However, the fact that it was worse once I removed the case means more direct skin contact and greater potential for an allergy. I did a quick search on Apple products and there are a lot of anecdotal reports of contact dermatitis from ipads and Mac Book Pro computers so at a guess, the iphone may also contain nickel.
Thirdly, and this goes back to hot spots but there are numerous cases of what is called “toasted skin syndrome” which is actually commonly associated with laptop use on bare legs. Ok so this hasn’t been linked with mobile phone use as yet but the similarity of the “hot spots” make it a potential but as yet identified cause. In addition, bringing us back to issues with carcinomas, those with toasted skin syndrome may have an increased risk of developing squamous cell cancer due to prolonged inflammation of the skin. However, at the point of writing this, there have been no identified cases so again, this is just a hypothesis.
Finally, and this is where it gets a bit out there, apparently a percentage of the population are becoming hypersensitive to electronics. The Swedish Association for the Electro HyperSensitive (yes there is such an association!) lists some of the warning signs as:
The only symptom that I can relate to is the first one and so I don’t think that I am personally hypersensitive to electronics but with the rise in use of personal electronic gadgets in our lives, it may be more common that we think.
So, I guess after slightly over-thinking this issue the best thing I can do is wait to see the results of my skin biopsy…and use a headset for my phone in the meantime. I am prepared, although somewhat indignantly given the care I have taken of my skin for so long, that the patches may just be the result of sun damage (it is human nature to look for something else to blame…isn’t it???). I would love to know if anyone else has any thoughts about this issue, ideas about how to manage it or have experienced anything similar.Twitter It!
Skin type can be confusing to pinpoint particularly when you don’t seem to fit into a particular definition. I often have people ask me what their skin type is because they get dry patches around their cheeks and eyes and an oily nose or chin or T-zone. Commonly called combination this skin type can seem inadequate particularly when there are dry, flakey patches of skin combined with breakouts or oily skin that is sometimes oily and sometimes just congested. And really does it matter what it is called when you have no idea how to manage it. Products for oily skin tend to further dry out already dry areas. Products for dry skin just end up causing increased oiliness and/or congestion. This leads me to question how one product range for a particular skin type can actually manage a combination skin.
Of course there are products for combination skin types and these are a good start for mildly oily and dry combination skin types however, if you are experiencing lots of oiliness with dry skin or even dry skin with breakouts, combination skin ranges usually don’t do much to help.
A recent e-mail from a client illustrates this point: I have very (VERY!) oily, congested, red skin that is often itchy and quite sensitive. I usually have anywhere from 5 to 40 pimples at one time (usually those horrible deep ones that hurt!). I also tend to get eczema, although this is usually on my hands and arms and very rarely on my face, but that may be what is making my face so itchy lately. I can actually feel how congested my skin is and the oil is very hard to control. Any products I use for oily skin often leave my skin feeling tight and itchy. Please help!!
My answer took into account a number of factors which include:
So my reply was: The very first and most important thing I want to say is that the oiliness of your skin together with concurrent dry patches and eczema is likely a reflection of an internal imbalance of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and possibly also B vitamins. It is quite tricky to get EFAs out to the skin as the critical organs such as the heart and brain use them first. So I recommend the drink below as a really quick way of boosting your skin levels which will help relieve dryness and balance out oiliness in about 7-10 days. I have put the recipe below.
In addition I recommend the Remedica Clair Visage at night. This will help to balance the acid mantle of your skin which is currently not protecting your skin. It is a very light oil/hydrosol based serum which will help to nourish skin without contributing to congestion (Editors note: remember from previous blogs that you can use molecularly light oils on oily skin and it will actually help rather than hinder the condition). During the day I recommend the Treasured Earth Balancing Lotion. Daytime is when a lotion is needed rather than an oil as they help to prevent water loss when you are out and about. It is a light but nourishing product. Couple this with the Treasured Earth Mango Cleanser. It is an effective cleanser that doesnt strip the skin. One of the worst things you can do for your skin is to dry it out in hopes that it will stop oil production. Overwashing or using harsh cleansers dries out your skin and causes irritation and inflammation. Your skin will take that as a signal to produce more oil and therefore more acne lesions.
If you find the area around your eyes is particularly dry, use an eye cream. There are no sebaceous glads around the eyes and as such this area is more prone to losing moisture. Any eye cream you use can be richer than the day moisturiser. In effect we are managing your skin in zones, treating the dry areas differently from the oily areas. The Treasured Earth Rose Eye Cream is a nourishing eye cream without being too rich.
Lemon Flax Drink
Blend on high for 30 seconds. This makes one serve. You can double the quantity and have it before lunch or dinner as well.
Let me know how you go…you may not love the taste but it does such good things for your body.
To help you manage the underlying cause of the breakouts have a look at our Acne Information Page.
As with all things, sometimes we just don’t fit into a neat category. In these cases, don’t give up – look outside the box and try a different solution.
This Summer has been great for me from the perspective of minimal sun exposure…we have had so much rain that it has only been in the last month that the sun has really had a chance to make an impact. I do sun myself in the early morning and late afternoon – I need the vitamin D and the emotional “shine” that comes from sunshine. But really, I am mostly freckle and sun-damage free. Good news for me however, I have had so many people ask me about skin brightening and preventing pigmentation – what works, is there anything natural, how long it takes and what to do to prevent dark spots and sun damage next Summer?
I have written an article about the individual ingredients that assist with skin brightening before. You can read that here: My Skin Lightening Experiment
In this blog I am going to review 3 skin-brightening products and discuss how they are best used. I will just note that I use the terms “lightening” or “brightening” with reference to pigmentation only as opposed to lightening the natural skin tone.
Prevention/Sun Damage: La Mav Brightening Complex – this product is more effective for evening out skin tone rather than lightening specific pigmentation areas. It is effective for helping to prevent sun damage and inhibiting melanin formation. Use this to prevent damage or for evening skin tone.
Melasma/Sun Spots/Small Area Sun Damage: Devita Skin Brightening Serum – this product is specifically designed to help fight the appearance of Hyperpigmentation that is primarily caused by hormones, birth control pill use, chemical peels, waxes etc. SBS works using the natural skin lighteners Kojic acid and Arbutin which work synergistically to help break-up hyperpigmentation, along with Emblica fruit extract, a proven skin lightener, all which help give the look of a balanced skin tone. SBS is applied to small areas or for spot application. One bottle will last up to 6 months.
Chemical Peel Discolouration/Large Facial Area Sun Damage: Devita Complex KBA – this is from the Devita professional Rx range. It has been formulated to lighten the appearance of skin, which has been discoloured from chemical peels, age spots, sun-spots and freckles. A cream rather than a serum, it spreads over the entire face rather than being used for spot or area application.
Remember any skin lightening treatment takes up to 8-10 weeks to see significant effects.
I have blogged about the benefits of dry skin brushing before – it is great for stimulating the lymphatic system, promoting good circulation, sloughing off dry skin cells and even helping reduce cellulite. In this video by Jodie from Bodecare, she shows us how to properly brush your butt to get the circulation and lymphatic flow moving. Every time I read or see something about dry body brushing I am reminded of how fantastic it is and how my skin benefits from daily brushing…even though I only manage about 4 or 5 times a week it still makes a huge difference.
This second video is about skin brushing in general and outlines the benefits of daily dry skin brushing.
See the full Bodecare range here
I have been having a few problems with congestion on my chin…again! I think it is due to the warm weather and not having a bathroom – our house is mid-renovation and so I have nowhere to put my skincare. As such my skin is suffering a little! So I pulled out my emergency bottle of Devita AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and have applied it 3 nights out of the last 6. I can already feel the difference – my chin feels less rough. I have put down a little about fruit acids below – how they work and what to look for in a good AHA product.
Fruit acids have long been shown to promote rapid change in rough skin by encouraging the rate of cellular turnover which can bring the appearance of smoother, younger looking skin, reduced pore size, and to give a healthy glow. The other benefits of fruit acids include helping to minimize break-outs particularly if they are related to congestion or makeup use, and milia bumps, reduce the appearance of fine lines, deeper wrinkles and darkened areas on the face. With past use I have noticed a reduction in pore size on my chin and nose. I have no wrinkles on my chin so cannot comment about their size reduction!
Using a therapeutic fruit acid blend will help manage the damaged upper layers of skin. They work by destroying the ‘glue’, which holds dead skin to the surface. As this dead skin is lifted, the other ingredients carry the individual flakes away and a water rinse neutralizes the skin. The result is a much-smoother skin surface and a more youthful appearance. A secondary benefit is fruit acid’s ability to draw moisturizers into the newly-exfoliated skin surface. It is always recommended to follow fruit acid use with a good quality moisturizer. New skin will absorb more of any product applied, both good and bad so it is best to use a natural or organic moisturizer.
Sources of Hydroxy Acids
How often can Fruit Acids be used?
It is ideal to use Fruit Acids no more than 2-3 times a week and preferably at night. Night-time use is due to a potential increase in sun sensitivity. Your skin can be more easily sunburnt when you use fruit acids as they are revealing newer, younger skin so ensure that you use an SPF30 sunscreen during the day.
The concentration (or %) of acid needs to be above 8% to be effective. Anything below 8% will not have significant skin benefits. Devita AHA is a potent blend of all natural fruit and sugar acids (12%). The high concentration means that this product will gently help retexturize the skin.
Please note with any concentrated product it is possible to over-use and over-stress the skin. A less is more approach is recommended and more is not better in this case. Use any AHA product as directed.
Read more about Devita AHAs
Free eBook for clear skin:
Receive this free eBook by clicking on this link: Glowing Skin