Facts About SPF

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

I think its safe to say that nearly all skin care experts agree that wearing sunscreen is one of the best things that you can do for the long term health and appearance of your skin.

Here are a few quick facts about sunscreen:

UVA/UVB

When choosing a sunscreen it is very important to choose one that is labelled as being broad spectrum because the ideal sunscreen must protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

UVB rays can be considered the more dangerous rays because these are the ones that can cause skin cancer. UVA rays are the rays that penetrate deep into the skin and can cause premature aging of the skin.

It is very important to wear sunscreen each and every day no matter how cloudy it is because as long as it is daylight the suns rays can affect your skin.

 

SPF

SPF literally stands for sun protection factor. Most experts recommend wearing an SPF of 30 or higher because an SPF of 30 blocks out about 95 percent of the cancer causing UVB rays and an SPF of 50 blocks out about 98 percent of the UVB rays and an SPF higher than 50 is usually not worth it because it won’t provide much more protection.

The More the Better:

One of the biggest mistakes that people make with sunscreen (other than not wearing it all) is that they do not put enough of it on. Most experts agree that you need to apply a filled shot glass amount of sunscreen to adequately protect your entire body and in my opinion you should apply a thick quarter sized amount to your face enough to cover your entire face including the eye area and even on (not in) your ears as well. And try to use an SPF lip balm for your lips as well.

Physical vs. Chemical:

A physical sunscreen contains either Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide or a combination of both these as its active ingredients. A physical sunscreen works kind of like a mask in the sense that once you put on a physical sunscreen it will immediately shield your face from the harmful rays.

A chemical sunscreen contains active ingredients such as Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Homosalate, Octycrylene, etc. As its name implies a chemical sunscreen causes a chemical reaction on the skin in order to protect the skin from the harmful UVA/UVB rays.

The logical question is which type is better?

From a safety and effectiveness perspective the clear answer is physical sunscreens simply because Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are more natural and well-studied ingredients whereas chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that have not been studied as widely and so as of now we do not know their true effects and safety. This is something that the FDA is currently studying and hopefully the results of this additional research will be released sooner rather than later.

In terms of effectiveness, most experts in the U.S. recommend physical sunscreens over chemical ones because while both types of sunscreens provide adequate protection from the cancer causing UVB rays the physical sunscreens have an advantage when it comes to the skin aging UVA rays.

The problem with chemical sunscreens in the United States is that they most often contain Avobenzone which is currently the only FDA accepted UVA filter in chemical sunscreens. The other active ingredients in chemical sunscreens are usually only UVB filters. Avobenzone is a decent UVA filter but the problem with Avobenzone is that it degrades very quickly when you are exposed to sunlight which may make you more susceptible to UVA skin damage.

European and Asian chemical sunscreens contain chemical protectors that are stronger and more stable. And these filters definitely make these chemical sunscreens more competitive than the ones we have in the U.S. Hopefully the FDA will approve some of these filters for use in the U.S. as well.

When it comes to ease of use anyone who has used both options will likely agree that chemical sunscreens are simply much easier to apply and they are much more cosmetically elegant.

The problem with physical sunscreens is that they are often very thick and dry and very difficult to apply on the face especially for those of us with dark skin. I notice that everytime I use a physical sunscreen on my darker skin tone it completely messes up my skin tone (my skin usually looks purple) and alternatively for people with light colored skin physical sunscreen can make them look excessively pale.

Chemical sunscreens usually go on very clearly without any residue. However, some sport chemical sunscreens can be excessively greasy but overall chemical sunscreens do not alter the appearance of your skin tone. The one drawback of chemical sunscreens is that they can be very irritating to those with sensitive skin.

Ultimately, I think that the best answer to this question is that the best type of sunscreen is the one that you are more likely to wear each and every day. This is a sunscreen that you are willing to put on each and every day no matter how busy and tired you may be.

Finally, many people only associate sunscreen with summer time. However, UVA and UVB rays affect us at varying levels during each and every season and so as we approach the colder and darker months we must continue using sunscreen on all exposed skin each and every day, rain or shine.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

Favorite Skin Care Youtuber

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

If you are anything like me and you are interested in learning more about skin care the internet anf Youtube in particular can be a great resource.

However, the problem with simply relying on any particular Youtuber is that the overwhelming majority of these famous Youtube skin care gurus and influencers are not experts. They may have experience but most of them do not have any degree or certification

This is what makes Dr. Andrea Dray such an incredibly important and reliable asset for anyone who is looking to learn more about skin care. Dr. Dray is a borard certified and practicing dermatologist who also happens to have a Youtube channel simply named Dr. Dray.

I just recently discovered her channel and I have already learned so much. She posts a new video almost every day so she already has hundreds of skin care videos on a wide range of different skin care topics and concerns.

Here are just a few of the things that I have learned from her channel so far:

  • First and foremost, sunscreen is absolutely essential and you definitely have to put it on each and every day even if you are inside. Because even when you are inside the UVA rays which are the rays that lead to premature aging of the skin can actually pass through the windows.
  • One more thing about sunscreen is that you have to re-apply it at least two to three times a day because it loses its effectiveness i.e. the active chemicals break down when you’re exposed to the sun.
  • In almoat every video Dr. Dray emphasizes sunscreen so be sure to watch her videos for more info all about the different types of sunscreen, etc.
  • When choosing skincare products, especially those for thre face, try to choose fragrance free options because in the long term fragrance can be verry irritating to your skin.
  • Even if you don’t have sensitive skin its still good to opt for products that are created for sensitive skin because they tend to be more gentle and contain fewer irritants.
  • Vitamin C serums and collagen supplements are very trendy these days but Dr. Dray does not reccommend these products simply because she feels there is no scientific evidence showing that that these do anything for the skin.
  • Eye creams are not really neccassary. Your regular face moisturizer should be fine for the eye area as well assuming that it is fragrance free.
  • Less is more when it comes to skin care. The fewer products you use the less likely you are to have any adverse reactions.
  • Benzoyl peroxide is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial which makes it great for acne. However, its very drying and its best to use lower concentrations which can be just as effective.
  • Benzoyl peroxide is a topical antiniotic but you can use it consistently without ever becoming immune to it.

So far, these are just a few things that i have learned from Dr. Dray. If you are interested in learning about skin care from a very reliable source make sure to check out her Youtube channel!

 

With Love,

Yasmin

Personal Care Products and Safety: A Quick Guide to Choosing Safe Products

hygiene-870763_640Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

If you’ve ever read the list of ingredients on most of your personal care products (such as make-up, skincare, hair care products, or personal hygiene products) you will likely see a long list of chemicals.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) the average American women uses around 12 personal care products a day which exposes her to around 168 chemicals. Also, the average American man uses 6 personal care products a day which exposes him to around 85 chemicals a day.

Out of all of these chemicals, some of them are likely safe for long term use, however, consumers are reporting adverse reactions to certain products which shows that some of these chemicals may indeed have harmful effects on our health. These negative effects can be as minor as irritation or allergic reaction to more severe long term effects such as asthma or even cancer.

The large number of chemicals in a product makes it difficult for consumers and researchers to pinpoint exactly which chemical is causing the harmful effects.

Some chemicals that are thought to be harmful are parabens and phthalates. It is believed that parabens and phthalates effect the hormonal system of both men and women. They are also believed to effect immune function, metabolism, and thyroid function.

A huge point of concern is that here in the U.S. when consumers do complain about the health effects of a product to the company that made it, the company is not required to share this information with the FDA. Furthermore, companies are not required to list all of the ingredients.

For example, phthalates are often used to create the fragrance of the product but companies simply list fragrance without listing the ingredients that are used to create the fragrance.

In the United States, only 11 cosmetic chemicals have been banned by the government, however, in the European Union 1,328 cosmetic chemicals have been banned.

Although this information may seem discouraging the good news is that there some things that you can do to make sure you are using products with safe ingredients.

Read the Ingredients:

Okay, so I know that earlier in this post I mentioned that in the U.S. companies are not required to list all the ingredients. But in general, they do list the majority of the ingredients somewhere on the packaging of the product.

Just read through the list of ingredients and if you don’t recognize most of the ingredients you might want to think twice before you purchase the product.

If you want to be extra safe, visit the EWG’s Skin Deep database (ewg.org/skindeep) to type the name of the product into the EWG search engine to learn more about the safety of the product. The EWG Skin Deep database has rating and safety information for over 74,000 personal care products.

“Natural” May Not Really Be Natural:

After reading this post you might be inspired to only purchase products that are natural. Unfortunately, “natural” is not an FDA approved term so if a product claims that it is natural there is no guarantee that it won’t cause harm and there is no guarantee that the product contains all natural ingredients.

A safer bet is to look for products that have the USDA organic label. But if you have sensitive skin do a patch test of the product because some organic products contain common allergens.

Stop Using Premoistened Wipes:

Premoistened wipes (such as make-up removers wipes) contain a preservative chemical (methylisothiazolinome) which has been labeled as being completely unsafe by the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Public Safety.

Minimize Products:

Its a good idea to go through all of your personal care products and see if you can stop using certain products. Sometimes without even realizing it, we use two or more products with the same purpose or benefit. By getting rid of a few products we can reduce the number of chemicals we are being exposed to.

Is the Scent Really Important?

On certain products, if the scent is not important, consider choosing a fragrance free product. By doing so, you can limit your exposure to parabens and phthalates.

Buy From Safe Sources:

Trust me, I am all for looking for deals and trying to find the cheapest option. However, when it comes to personal care items, there is nothing wrong with finding a deal but make sure that if you’re shopping online, you only buy from authorized sellers on large websites such as Amazon or eBay. Research has shown that certain products sold online by unauthorized sellers have dangerous ingredients such as lead.

Stay Informed:

If you are interested in finding out about product recalls and warnings that have been  issued by the FDA you may want to consider signing up for the FDA’s Cosmetics News email updates. Click here to sign up for updates.

Make Your Voice Heard:

If you do ever experience any adverse effects from a product make sure to report it to both the manufacturer of the product and the FDA . To report to the FDA, you can call them by phone (800)-332-1088) or you can report online by visiting http://www.fda.gov/safety/mediawatch and click on “Report a Problem”.

I hope that you find these tips to be helpful!

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

Quick Guide to Layering Your Skincare

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

During my free time I love learning about (and then implementing)  new skincare regimens. I feel that lately the idea of layering skincare products has really been trending and I definitely think that this trend has been inspired by Korean beauty.

As a side note, the university that I attended had a large Korean population and I was always mesmerized by their flawless and glowing skin. So, late last summer after graduating, I learned about Korean skincare and I got a little too excited and I ordered a bunch of random Korean skincare products.

The products that I ordered (from Amazon) were all nice products with good quality. However, I have acne prone skin so some of the products were a little too moisturizing for me and they caused me to breakout. I know this sounds really obvious but make sure to buy products that will actually benefit your particular skin.

For those that are interested in layering their skincare products or they just use a number of different skincare products and they’re curious about the correct order of applying their products, here is a very brief guide:

  • The first and foremost step to any skincare regimen should be to wash your face with a gentle cleanser. The reason behind this is that most skincare products need to penetrate into the skin and they cannot do this if there is bacteria, natural oils, or other forms of impurities on the skin.
  • It is also a good idea to go from the thinnest to the thickest textures. Start off with liquids such as toners and then work your way up to the heavier and creamier products. If you do use a face oil, that should be applied last.
  • The exception to the above rule is products that have acids or retinol. These are active ingredients and they should be applied on clean skin so they can penetrate properly. Be sure to wait a minute or two before applying another product to allow it to penetrate.
  • Don’t forget about your eye area! The skin around our eyes is especially sensitive so it is often the first area that shows signs of aging. If your moisturizer is gentle enough you may be able to use it around the eyes as well. However, if you have a specific eye cream that is a serum or gel make sure to apply it before your general moisturizer so it can better penetrate the skin.
  • Finally, the last step to any skincare routine should be a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.

The above guide is a very ideal skincare regimen and to be completely honest I rarely follow all the steps because I can get really lazy. However, one thing that I learned about Korean skincare is that for many people who follow the lengthy Korean skincare regimen, they view taking care of their skin as a therapeutic and almost meditative act and I admire this mindset!

With Love,

Yasmin

10 Uses of Coconut Oil

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

A few weeks ago, I posted about some of the benefits of coconut oil for hair. Since that post received a lot of positive feedback I thought I would create another post about some of the benefits of coconut oil for the skin and skin related conditions. As a reminder, in all of these cases its best to use virgin organic and unrefined coconut oil.

Moisturizer:

Coconut oil is a great skin moisturizer. A little bit goes a long way so just take a dime sized amount and rub it on your face or on any rough or dry patch of skin.

Coconut oil actually has a small amount of SPF sun protection (like around SPF 4) so if you’re going to be inside during the day, coconut oil can help protect your skin from some of the harmful radiation from the sun that might for example, come through the window. However, obviously it is no substitute for sunscreen.

Coconut Oil and Acne:

If you have acne prone skin I would recommend approaching coconut oil with caution because some people claim that coconut oil makes then breakout but then others argue that coconut oil can actually help with acne due to its antibacterial properties.

Eczema:

People of all ages who suffer from eczema, including babies and toddlers, can benefit from coconut oil. All you have to do is rub a small amount on the affected area or as a preventative measure rub some of the oil on areas that generally tend to flare up.

Ideally the best time to do this is after a shower or bath. Coconut oil can help with eczema due to the fact that it has vital nutrients such as lauric acid, caprylic acid, and vitamins E and K. Coconut oil can really help ease the itchiness associated with eczema.

Sunburns:

Its important to mention that you should always wear a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to prevent a sunburn. However, if you do get a sunburn the first thing you should do is apply a cool damp towel on the sunburn for around 15 minutes to hopefully cool down the skin and ease the burning sensation.

After a few hours have passed, apply some coconut oil to the affected area. The coconut oil can prevent the sunburned area from becoming excessively dry and it may even speed up the healing process.

Mosquito Bites:

If you get a mosquito bite or other bug bite, consider applying some coconut oil to the affected area. It can protect the affected area from bacteria and it can help quickly stop the itching and reduce swelling. It is best to use warm coconut oil so it penetrates faster and reapply two to three times a day until symptoms improve.

Lip Care:

If you’re like me and you have dry chapped lips, coconut oil can be a great natural alternative to most lip balms that contain alcohol. At night, you can dab a small amount on your lips and overtime you will wake up to softer and more moisturized lips.

Alternatively, you can mix one tablespoon of melted coconut oil with two tablespoons of brown sugar to create an easy and effective lip scrub to exfoliate your lips.

Also, the MCT, or the good fats in coconut oil can help speed up the healing process of cold sores. Or, alternatively, if you feel a cold sore is about to pop out rub some coconut oil on the area to prevent it from getting larger.

Fungal Infections:

The lauric acid and caprylic acid in coconut oil help fight many different types of fungal infections. Just cleanse and dry the area and apply warm coconut oil and massage it in. For more severe cases, consider adding a drop of tea tree oil to the coconut oil and then apply to the affected area.

Make-up remover:

Coconut oil is very helpful in removing make-up from the face. It is especially useful in removing stubborn eye make-up. It can even remove waterproof mascara.

Shaving Cream:

Coconut oil is a great all-natural shaving cream. Just apply warm coconut oil onto your legs and make sure to spread it evenly over the area you will be shaving. Then, just shave the area and if you take a shower afterward your legs will feel extra soft and smooth.

Cracked Heels:

Coconut oil can help soften and heal the rough skin on your heels. First, while you’re in the shower use a pumice stone or any other exfoliator to slough off some of the dead skin and then rub coconut oil onto your heels once or twice a day.

A few additional uses:

Mouthwash: thanks to its antibacterial properties you can take a spoonful of coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for a few minutes to help freshen your breath and fight bacteria.

Coconut oil is also great for gum health. Just massage the oil onto your gums for a few minutes to prevent gum damage.

My father was taking a medication that can cause gum damage as a side effect. He found that rubbing coconut oil helped decrease the damage of the medication on his gums.

Coconut oil is also great for your nails and cuticles. The fatty acids in coconut oil can lead to healthy nails and cuticles. It can also help strengthen weak and brittle nails and thanks to its anti-fungal properties coconut oil can help prevent nail fungus.

You may have never considered rubbing coconut oil on your armpits but the coconut oil can act as a natural deodorant. It won’t prevent you from sweating but thanks to its antibacterial properties it can kill the bacteria that causes the bad smell.

A Word of Caution:

Without a doubt, there are many great topical uses of coconut oil. However, it is important to mention that the American Heart Association warns against eating a lot of coconut oil. This is because coconut oil consists of 80 percent saturated fat which is more than lard or butter. Saturated fat can increase bad cholesterol so its best to limit your intake of coconut oil.

I really hope you found these tips to be helpful!

With Love,

Yasmin

My Skin Care Tips

Hey Everyone,

Hope you’re all doing well!

I have been very hesitant about sharing my skin care tips on this blog because first of all I really don’t do anything too special or noteworthy but mostly I have been hesitant because I really believe that there is no such a thing as a magical product or set of products that will work for everyone. We all have very different skin care needs and what may work for one person may not work for another.

Even if we suffer from a common problem such as acne, there are a multitude of different causes of acne, and thus there likely is no single effective treatment and different treatments may work for different people.

Nowadays there are a lot of bloggers and YouTubers out there who promote various skin care products and I truly believe that the majority of these are well intentioned people and I believe that most of them are promoting products that have worked for them. However, I think that before rushing to buy the latest products it’s important to remember that just because it worked for that person may not mean it will work for you. Perhaps the best solution is to start looking at the ingredients that are used in various products and making a decision to purchase a product based on its ingredients.

The products that I am going to recommend below have worked for me but once again they may not work for everyone. However, before listing the products I think it’s important to mention a little about my skin. I have brown normal to slightly oily skin that is acne prone. I do feel that the products mentioned below have helped me control my acne.

Witch Hazel

I don’t wear makeup very often so I often do not use a facial wash or cleanser on my skin. I do wash my face with water but I just don’t use soap. Instead I use Witch Hazel poured on a cotton pad to clean the extra oil and impurities off my face. I do this every morning and every night.

What I love about Witch Hazel is that it is a natural product that is extracted from the bark and leaves of the Witch Hazel plant which is native to North America. Witch Hazel is a toner that cleans the skin without irritating it. Witch Hazel is reported to have antioxidants and it is anti inflammatory.

It has also been reported that Witch Hazel also helps constrict body tissues and blood vessels so I usually dab some under my eyes to prevent my eye puffiness from worsening.

Tea Tree Oil

After removing all of the impurities on my face with Witch Hazel I then use Tea Tree Oil as a spot treatment for my acne pimples. Tea Tree Oil (otherwise known as Melaleuca alternifolia) is derived from the leaves of the Tree Tree in Australia (this is different from the tea leaves that we drink).

Tea Tree Oil is antibacterial and anti inflammatory so it is beneficial for a wide range of conditions such as acne, fungus, and dandruff to name a few. Aside from the skin care and beauty industry, Tea Tree Oil is becoming a trendy ingredient in household cleaning products as well.

I personally only use Tea Tree Oil for my acne. In fact, studies have shown that using Tea Tree Oil for acne can be just as effective as Benzoyl Peroxide. Tea Tree Oil may take a little longer to work but it can definitely be an effective remedy for acne.

I use Radha Tea Tree Oil and I really like this brand because it is 100 percent pure Tea Tree Oil that is steam distilled. In the past I have tried other acne spot treatments with Tea Tree Oil as their active ingredient but unfortunately such products didn’t really work for me. I would honestly only recommend a product that has pure Tea Tree Oil.

I apply Tea Tree Oil every night. The one thing that I have to mention about Tea Tree Oil is that it has a very strong scent. I don’t really mind the smell but I know some people that absolutely hate the scent of it.

If you have an extra stubborn pimple that you really want to get rid of I would recommend using Neutrogena’s On the Spot Acne Treatment cream which has 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide and then topping this with some Tea Tree Oil directly on the pimple. In my experience this is a very effective treatment but I wouldn’t recommend it all the time because it can be very drying to the skin.

Eye Cream:

I definitely believe that taking care of the skin directly under your eyes is very important because this area is extra sensitive and prone to early aging. In my teens I started developing under eye bags and I believe that this is just something that is genetic and there is no non surgical way to get rid of them however, I do use an eye cream twice a day to prevent them from getting worse. I am currently using Baebody Eye Gel. This product is a bit on the pricier side but it lasts a long time and I like it because it feels very cool and soothing when I apply it in my skin and it also has a number of natural ingredients. It is a gel and not a cream or lotion so it might not be the best option for those with extra dry skin.

Moisturizer/Sunscreen:

I have to admit I am not that great at consistently using a sunscreen and moisturizer because I feel like if I put anything moisturizing on my skin, it will cause me to breakout. However, I think it all comes down to using the products that have ingredients that are non comedogenic and non irritating for your skin.

If I will be spending my day mostly indoors I use Amara Organics Aloe Vera Gel. I love this product because it’s not oily and it’s ideal for my acne prone skin. However, if you have dry skin I wouldn’t recommend this product because it’s not very moisturizing for dry skin.

If I know I will be in the sun I will put on Eucerin Daily Protection SPF 30 this is definitely more moisturizing but it’s still not excessively oily and I feel that it is suitable for my acne prone skin. My skin is sensitive to some active ingredients in sunscreens so this has been the only sunscreen so far that hasn’t irritated my skin because the main active ingredient is zinc oxide.

Once again, these products have worked fairly well for me and I wanted to share them with you with the hope that at least some of this information will be of benefit to you!

With Love,

Yasmin