Whoops! I promised I would post the remainder of Tess Dingle’s ND informative article about sunscreens and haven’t until now. The second half of this article really gets into the nitty-gritty of sunscreen ingredients. This means that you will know what you are looking at when you read the chemical names on the back of a sunscreen bottle and more importantly which of those are good, bad or downright ugly! Useful information indeed!
The second half of this article looks at some sunscreen agents commonly in use:
Octyl Methoxycinnamate and other cinnamates cause photo and contact allergy and do not effectively block UVA. We must ask, what is the point of using a sunscreen agent that causes allergy in the presence of sunlight?
Benzophenones/oxybenzone/benzoylmethanes do absorb some UVA radiation but have been found to cause photo/contact allergy and most significantly, they tend to imitate and therefore exacerbate existing skin disease (including acne).
Titanium dioxide effectively blocks out UVA radiation and therefore protects against skin cancer. Although this is also a photon scattering agent (UV reflector), it does absorb UV radiation which produces free radicals in the presence of water. Many manufacturers use different methods to “coat” the particles, making them less reactive.
Salicylates commonly cause photo allergy.
PABA (Paramino benzoic acid) is part of the B group of vitamins. Taken internally, it can help prevent UV damage. Used externally, it causes phototoxicity and sensitisation. PABA generates free radicals when exposed to sunlight, predisposing the skin to cancer. It does not effectively block UVA radiation. It is banned as a sunscreen agent in Australia.
Zinc oxide effectively blocks out UVA radiation, has the benefit of being inert on the skin (it does not absorb UV radiation) and has skin healing properties. It does, however, contain large particles and can form a paste when applied to the skin. The finer the zinc particles, the less visible they are on the skin. Micronised superfine zinc is the best choice for minimizing the “paste-effect” without resorting to nanoparticles.
Iron oxide is found naturally in mineral clays, which have an ochre colour due to the ferrous (iron) content. Due to the large particle size, iron oxide also acts as a UV reflector and is inert in the sun (does not produce free radicals). Natural mineral clays also contain varying proportions of other UV protectors such as titania.
It must also be noted that this discussion of the active constituents in sunscreens is academic without paying respect to the ingredients in the carrier or base formulation. Do they cause free radical damage themselves and in particular, how well do they stand up to sun exposure?
There are instances of people using sunscreens who have reacted to the excipients (base materials/carriers) included in the formulation, such as preservatives, fragrances and emulsifiers, which have caused contact allergies. So there is cause for concern not only about the active ingredients in sunscreens, but about the inert ingredients as well. Ed note: I don’t know about anyone else but standard sunscreens make my eyes sting and water particularly after swimming in the surf. I worked out that for me, it is probably the product fragrance that is causing this effect. In any case, it has been a long time since I have used a conventional sunscreen as I prefer to stick to zinc oxide based products.
There are a number of base ingredients to look for such as antioxidant vitamins C and E at effective concentrations. Vitamins C and E (tocopherol) are known to protect against skin cancer, particularly when applied topically as they prevent free radical damage from UV radiation. Certified organic shea butter, sesame and avocado oils have natural UV protective qualities, primarily due to their vitamin A and E content. Shea butter also protects against burning (UVB radiation) and is an excellent emollient, softening the skin and preventing the formation of wrinkles. Aloe vera, a plant which has been shown to prevent DNA damage to the skin following sun exposure and its use in treating burns of all descriptions is well-known and an excellent inclusion as a base ingredient. Antioxidant medicinal strength herbal extracts of ginkgo biloba, green tea and pomegranate are also excellent for their ability to protect against DNA damage from UV radiation.
Launched on July 21st, The Story of Cosmetics is the brainchild of Annie Leonard, a campaigner for safe cosmetics. This video may look cute but the message is serious – get toxins out of our skincare! Annie discusses how cosmetic companies get away with including ingredients that are potentially carcinogenic (cancer causing) in products such as baby shampoo and flow on effects of such action. The Story of Cosmetics will help spread the word to millions of people and in turn help effect the changes needed to ensure all the products we use are safe for us and our families.Twitter It!
The beauty of many natural skin care remedies is that far from being exclusive, they can be found in your kitchen cupboard, growing in your back yard or even in the supermarket isles. Generally they are inexpensive, costing as much as a teaspoon of honey or a tea bag. In some cases such as aloe vera, you can grow it in your own back yard. Made with ordinary ingredients, these remedies are easily available, simple but highly effective and can have powerful healing benefits.
Aloe is one of the best remedies for soothing irritated skin and healing burns including sunburn. Aloe contains constituents that have a demulcent (soothing)
effect and so can be used on grazed, red or inflamed skin; as well as a vulnerary (wound-healing) effect. Aloe inhibits the formation of tissue-injuring compounds that gather at the site of a skin injury and so can be applied to the wound site to promote healing. When applying fresh aloe from the leaves of the plant, use only the clear inner pulp of the leaf. This component has soothing and healing properties. The yellow/green sap that is exuded by leaf surface can be irritating to skin and so is best avoided. If you don’t have an aloe plant growing in your back yard, you can still harness the benefits of this plant by choosing products that are made with Aloe vera.
Raw, unprocessed honey is one of the most useful natural remedies we have available for wound healing. Medical grade antibacterial honey, particularly for chronic and poorly healing wounds such as ulcers has even proven its worth in clinical trials. Not all types of honey are effective for wound healing and the
differences related to the floral source. Manuka honey from New Zealand along with honey from the Leptospermum tree found in Australia, are considered the most effective medical honeys. Antibacterial honey is beneficial for wound healing because it has such a broad range of therapeutic effects. It offers wound protection by proving a physical barrier to antibiotic resistant strains of microorganisms thereby preventing cross infection. It promotes clean wounds by removing necrotic (dead) tissue and debris. Finally it promotes wound healing by maintaining a moist wound environment and encouraging tissue granulation. Medical honeys are available in typical honey form, which is ideal for oral use or incorporated into creams or lotions and even bandages for easier application to external wounds. Raw honey is also available in products such as Live Live Bee Yummy Skin Food and Eko Organica Calm Magic Balm (UMF16).
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has two qualities that make it one of the most effective essential oils as
a natural skin remedy. Firstly it is a powerful antimicrobial and antiseptic, active against all infectious organisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi. Secondly, it is a very effective immune stimulant, increasing the body’s ability to respond when in contact with any of the above micro-organisms. Tea tree oil is useful in the management of infection in minor wounds and even acne. In the case of mild infection, liberally apply 100% tea tree oil to the affected area. Further application of tea tree to any bandage may also be applied and then changed every 24 hours.
Apart from its soothing and relaxing aromatherapy benefits, 100% pure lavender essential oil can be used as an effective first aid remedy. When applied to minor
burns and bites or stings, the undiluted essential oil has an antiseptic and pain relieving effect. The sooner the oil is applied, the faster the pain relieving and healing effects of lavender will occur. Apply undiluted oil for burns or skin irritation or combine a few drops with a carrier oil such as jojoba for use as a relaxing massage oil.
Related Articles:Twitter It!
I love it when I come across a product that is just fantastic and by fantastic I mean that it provides a solution or exceeds expectations in some way. That is just what happened when I came across Live Live Bee Yummy Skin Food. A raw food product rich in unpasturised honey and honey cappings, Bee Yummy is a real solution for those with acne prone, oily or congested skin. The healing properties of the raw ingredients are extensive…too many to write about (can’t be getting RSI!) so of course, I have done a video blog instead (can you get RSI of the mouth?).
Just before we launch into the video blog, I want to mention the growing raw food trend. Emerging from the US, raw food is really coming into the fore in Australia of late and while I think that many Australians would do well to eat more raw and “live” foods, like many trends it has so many positive aspects and some downsides. I am going blog my opinion (because thats all it is!) about raw foods very soon however, I have to say, back to the product, Bee Yummy has all the best of the raw food/skin care trend and none of the downsides.Twitter It!
The other day I was browsing one of my favourite research sites www.ewg.org and I came across their list of Safe Shopping Tips for skincare. It is a useful list but I thought that it could be added to and so here an extended version of the Safe Shopping List from the Environmental Working Group:
true. If in doubt ask the manufacturer or retailer for proof of label claim.
I would love to hear if you can add any other safe shopping tips when it comes to skin care. Or if you have had any adverse reactions to skin care of any type, conventional or natural.
Reference: www.ewg.orgTwitter It!
Every day we are exposed to air pollution, sunlight, smoke and more all which give rise to the production of “free radicals”. Damage to our DNA, protein (collagen & elastin) and protein remodeling (skin healing) are all side effects of the production of free radicals. Internally the metabolism, the effects of stress and emotions and the result of everyday body process that utilize oxygen all create free radicals. Externally ultraviolet light from the sun and environmental stressors such as smoking, pollution, poor dietary habits and chemical exposure also contribute. The production of free radicals and the damage they cause is one of the key mechanisms of aging. As one ages, the skin’s structural foundation weakens. Specifically, collagen which keeps the skin firm and elastin which maintains elasticity and helps prevent the skin from sagging. Free radicals attack your skin’s collagen and elastin layers, accelerating the creation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Skin-aging caused by free radicals occurs over time however, the damaging effect of free radicals is exacerbated in the presence of an antioxidant
deficiency which can accelerate this process considerably. Consider for example the skin of a smoker aged 40 years compared to a non-smoker. In this case, the antioxidant defenses of the skin are far outweighed by the production of free radicals as a byproduct of the daily cigarette habit. Much research has been done with regard to the benefits of antioxidants to combat the production of free radicals. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that harm the cells, causing damage and premature aging. Specifically antioxidants help to maintain the health of the skin cells such as collagen and elastin which keeps skin supple.
There are two ways to slow the effects of free radical damage on the skin:
Reduce the production of free radicals. You can’t really do much
about reducing free radical product that is the byproduct of everyday bodily processes however you can reduce your exposure to the environmental factors such as ultraviolet rays, pollution, chemicals and poor dietary habits. So the key advice such as minimizing exposure to midday sun and giving up smoking apply here.
Improve your antioxidant status. The neutralizing effects of antioxidants don’t prevent the effects of free radical damage however ensuring that your antioxidant status is optimal will certainly slow skin aging. Antioxidants can be increased internally and topically by:
Antioxidant Supplementation – specifically vitamins C and E, as well as lipoic acid and flavonoids (green tea and grapeseed), exert protective effect against oxidative stress in the skin and help protect the skin from damage caused by the sun. Lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin as a specific subset of carotenoids may also be used as oral sun protectants and contribute to the maintenance of skin health.
Whether in our diet, as supplements or topically applied, antioxidant play an important role in slowing down the aging process. Of course to get the best effect it is important to consider all three delivery methods. In addition, minimising your exposure to the environmental factors that cause free radical production, will significantly add to slowing the aging process, not just of your skin, but of your whole body.Twitter It!
The pleasure of a morning cuppa had been increased by the emergence of the many health benefits from tea of all kinds – black, green and oolong (white). Heart disease, gum disease, cancer and even weight loss. In addition to these health benefits tea has emerged as a significant therapeutic ingredient active against skin damage.
The many medicinal properties of tea are attributed to phytochemicals called polyphenols of which catechins are the
principle subtype. White and green tea has the highest concentrations of catechins with up to 25% being standard. While black tea contains 4% on average. There are many types of catechins but those that have been studied most extensively in relation to skin phyto-ageing are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Research assessing the benefits of green tea for skin has shown that topical application can reduce sun damage. Green tea does not have a UV ray blocking effect like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide however there is a synergistic effect when combined with either of these ingredients. The benefit is achieved by blocking free radicals and reducing inflammation and apart from reducing sun damage it may also help slow the skin aging associated with sun damage.
The findings above applied equally to white tea in clinical trials. Interestingly, while black tea contains less than a quarter of the EGCG of green or white tea, it also has a protective effect against sun damage and reduces erythema (reddening of the skin). Based on these findings it is worthwhile considering a sunscreen that contains green, white or black tea extract.
Green tea in particular has been showed benefits for papulopustular rosacea. The particular study used a lotion containing a
tea extract which produced a 70% improvement in rosacea when compared to use of a lotion containing the base ingredients alone. The most significant finding was a reduction in inflammatory lesions when compared to placebo.
While not focused on topical application an interesting result using oolong tea was achieved in patients with chronic atopic dermatitis. Patients in the trial maintained their standard dermacological treatment and at the same time drank 3 cups of oolong tea per day that had been steeped for 5 minutes. After only one month of treatment, which is a relatively short period of time, 63% of patient showed marked to moderate improvement and the response was still evident 6 months after the trial in 54% of patients. The authors of the trial suggest the antiallergic properties of the tea polyphenols are responsible for the result.
One study that looked at the role green tea may play in slowing photoaging gave participants a 10% green tea cream and 300mg supplement twice daily or placebo over an 8 week period. However, while there was a significant improvement in elastic tissue there were no obvious visible signs of skin improvement. Given the trial was only 8 weeks, longer supplementation may be required for clinical results to become obvious.
Another quite specific use for green tea is to reduce the skin damage from of radiotherapy. Skin toxicity is a common side effect of radiotherapy for solid tumors. In one study a green tea extract made by steeping a green tea bag in water was applied to damaged skin. It showed that green tea supported the restitution of skin integrity by inhibiting inflammation and mediating local immune responses. In addition the higher catechin content of green tea may be responsible for the considerable antibacterial effect often seen in super-infected skin lesions common to hospitalised patients. This study shows potential for green tea to have greater benefit than just reducing inflammation, in particular an antibacterial effect which significantly widens the scope of use in skin conditions such as acne and skin infections.
The benefits for green tea are numerous and particularly effective in the area of sun protection and phytodamage. The issue with the use of creams that there is generally no indication of the percentage of extract in the cream and it could be anything from waving a tea bag over the top to significant levels up around 10%. In addition, the quality of extract may not be known or not specific for skin application. For example, the green tea extracts that are beneficial contain more caffeine (although
this isn’t the only active required) where as EGCG or catechins are required (as far as we know from clinical trials) to help slow sun damage.
’Our children will ask…. What were our parents thinking? Why did they produce toxic chemicals and then put them in and on our bodies? Were they so arrogant to think that our bodies would not be affected?’
– Dr Sarah Lantz (PhD)
Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World is a powerful read. Powerful in the way that it clearly lays out the links between the chemicals we are using on our kids and ourselves and the health implications they have. Powerfully motivating as it makes us aware of the issues and drives our choices away from toxic chemicals. And lastly powerful because it is educates so we can make informed choices for ourselves and our children.
Researched and written in Brisbane by Dr Sarah Lantz (PhD), Chemical Free Kids addresses the following issues:
Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World brings together compelling research that includes interviews with Australian families with kids who have been affected by environmental chemicals revealing how toxic chemicals in the environment play a critical role in our children’s everyday health and wellbeing – food additives; personal care products; over the counter and prescription drugs; household cleaning product; etc. In a practical sense, Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World teaches how to read labels and identify toxic and harmful ingredients leaving parents more empowered in asking the right questions about what is going into their kids’ bodies. Through her research, knowledge and experiences, the author of this book, Dr Sarah Lantz, brings new insights into a world of toxicity and related diseases caused by environmental chemicals that have gone relatively unnoticed for a long period of time.
Editor’s Note: Chemical Free Kids is aligned with my own thoughts about toxic chemicals in skin care…I take a precautionary approach which is that I avoid all known toxic chemicals and taking this a step further, avoid synthetic and artificial chemicals of unknown toxicity and choose instead natural and organic alternatives. In all honesty, the only products that I can’t find 100% natural or organic alternatives for are nail polish and hair dye. So I have found the best alternative, non-toxic versions of these products, which I have to say I am happy about because I am not ready to go gracefully grey (and I love nail polish)!
I would love to hear your comments about using non-toxic skin care. Do you agree, disagree or just don’t care? Or is it just that you can’t find a good natural alternative for your one favorite product?
I have many, many customers ask me what the alternatives to aluminium deodorants are and if natural deodorants actually work. With Summer coming this is even more of an issue. I give varying responses depending on the individual and how much they sweat, smell and the season. I have tried to encompass all those responses into one video and I also address the risks of aluminium and even more importantly, parabens in deodorants.
I would love to hear what you think about this issue. Do natural deodorants work for you? And if not, what do you use?
View our range of natural deodorants.Twitter It!
Recently lots of really interesting things have been popping up and I just have to let you all know. So this blog has exciting news for acne sufferers! My friend Fran Kerr hosts an acne specific site called highonhealth.org and I regularly recommend those suffereing from acne or breakouts check out her site – it holds a wealth of information about how to manage acne using diet, lifestyle, nutritional, topical and even emotional treatments. The great news is that Fran has just opened up a new acne coaching program and I think this is the best acne program I have seen (and that is saying something!). So I have put the details below.
This is the FIRST time anything like this has been offered on the net and I’m positive it’s going to change the way we treat acne in the future.
I’ve been itching to work closely with a select few acne suffers for quite some time now. So, I’m really looking forward to working personally with YOU to help you get clear skin for life!
Inside this program, you’re going to learn how to finally get beautifully clear skin and why everything you’ve tried before hasn’t been working.
And as a little extra bonus, I’m going to make sure you’re feeling happier, healthier, more self confident, and enjoying life that little bit more
What’s inside this course?
This is what you’ll get access to on the inside:
Now, there’s just one very important bit of detail that you need to know about…
I’m keeping the doors open for ONLY 2 weeks!
That means, if you are serious about getting clear skin too, you
MUST get on board with everyone else before I close doors again.
Once the doors are shut you will NOT be able to join again for a number of months. And I’m not even sure when I will be opening doors again.
So, if you really want to clear up your skin, make sure you join me today. It may just be one of your most exciting journeys yet!
PS: Please note, that because I want everyone to start at the same time, I’ll be closing doors in 2 weeks time from the time of sending this message. So make sure you join me before then, otherwise you’ll have to miss out!Twitter It!
Free eBook for clear skin:
Receive this free eBook by clicking on this link: Glowing Skin