Make May YOUR Melanoma Awareness Month

It’s finally May and that means it’s Melanoma Awareness. So let’s talk about the importance of sunscreen.  I know it’s a redundant topic but I think it’s always worth reading about a few important measures we can take against skin cancer.

Each year May reminds me of warmer days and the time to visit my dermatologist for a skin analysis.  As I’ve blogged about before, our skin is exposed every day to harmful rays.  Although 15 minutes of sun gives us our needed daily dose of Vitamin D, anything over that amount of time can do damage.  To help prevent daily accumulative damage, we need to wear a daily broad spectrum sunscreen.  Broad spectrum just means that it prevents both UVA and UVB rays.  Studies have shown that using a daily sunscreen can reduce the risk of developing skin cancer by 40%!  Plus, people who wear daily sunscreen show 24 percent less skin aging than those who don’t!  Who doesn’t want to look younger?????

For years now I have been wearing a daily mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide.  I prefer to use a sunscreen with niacin which helps to fade existing sun damage and prevents future damage.

While walking to the bus stop, gardening or running errands, you are exposed to harmful UV rays.  So, I suggest making sunscreen part of your daily ritual and apply it to your face, neck, chest and hands.

Keywords when shopping for sunscreen: mineral, broad spectrum, zinc oxide and anti-aging.

~Skincare Warrior

Warrior tip:  Check out this article I recently came across that explains the difference between physical and mineral sunscreens at  Women’s Health

Vitamin C is more than just an antioxidant.

The benefits of Vitamin C for the skin is amazing.  It’s known as the anti-aging triple threat due to it’s multiple benefits as it’s more than just an antioxidant.

Daily exposure to UV rays and pollution can cause our skin to age and increase risk of  skin cancer.  The antioxidants in Vitamin C skincare products help to neutralize the damaging effects and protects our skin cells.

Vitamin C is sourced from ascorbic acid which is also a mild exfoliant.  So a product containing Vit C can help with hyperpigmentation and prevent the formation of new spots. (And of course using daily SPF – no matter the weather. You get just as many damaging rays on cloudy days.)

What I find most impressive about Vitamin C is it’s ability to promote collagen.  The antioxidants in Vitamin C have been shown to stimulate our skins fibroblasts – cells that produce collagen and restore elasticity.  I recently read an article about a study that showed higher Vit C intake was associated with less wrinkled skin and ingesting it helps more with collagen production than applying it. So whether you take it in supplement form or load up on vit c rich foods, it’s a win-win for your skin!

When I first started using a Vit C product, I noticed redness and irritation.  I tend to have sensitive skin.  So if you decide to incorporate a Vit C product, I suggest you start off by maybe using it one or two times a week and gradually increase the frequency.  Some of my favorite lines such as IMAGE, Skinceuticals and Environ all carry Vit C serums and moisturizers.

~Skincare Warrior

Why clay can brighten your day.

Clay has been around since first used by Ancient Egyptians and is said to be one of the original skincare treatments. It’s been known that Egyptians made clay from ash, minerals and earthly compounds.  They must have known what they were doing because fast forward to today and clay facials are a mainstream in skincare treatments.

My first experience with clay masks was less than appealing. Oftentimes, they smelled of sulfur (think rotten eggs) and I found my skin left very dry.  However, today’s clay masks are made with a variety of ingredients and provide multiple benefits.  Clay masks can remove toxins, brighten skin, tighten pores, reduce acne AND leave skin hydrated.  Almost every type of skin can benefit from incorporating a clay mask once or twice a week into a skincare routine.  If acne is a concern, clay made of bentonite would be beneficial.  I prefer a mask that helps to brighten and promote cell regeneration and, therefore, prefer a kaolin based mask.

Choosing a clay mask that’s right for you is based on your skin’s needs and what result you are looking for.  When choosing a mask, think like the Egyptians and find one that uses naturally derived  ingredients.  Two product lines I like are Eminence and Origins as both carry a range of masks for all skin types.

Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know your favorite clay mask.

~Skincare Warrior

 

Your face needs exercise too!

Chances are if you stop to think about your face at this very moment, you are either pursing your lips, clenching your jaw, or wrinkling your forehead.  It’s amazing what stress and years of repetitive habits can do to our face.  As we awake each day to the uncertainty of this unprecedented pandemic, I think it’s so important to take time to destress and focus on staying balanced.  It’s amazing how turning on the news, checking our social media and even texting with family, friends and coworkers can elevate our stress.  So, how do we destress?

Exercise is probably the number one way to destress the body.  However, when was the last time you exercised your face?  I’ve been exercising my face for a few months now and still find myself pursing, squinting and frowning, but I have become much more aware of it.  Aside from the visual benefits you will start to see from facial exercises, it really relaxes you and keeps you aware of facial habits.

Some of my favorite facial exercises are below.  I hold each one for six seconds and repeat them 5 times. I try do this a few times throughout the day. They are all going to make you look silly, trust me I’ve had my share of looks at red lights:
-pretend  you are saying a great big WOW and hold it
-protrude your chin as if making underbite and smile
-try lifting your eyes to the sky w/out raising your eyebrows

Just as we trained our muscles to hold facial stress, we can train them to destress while simultaneously improving our appearance.  There are lots of facial exercises you can find on the Internet and YOUTUBE.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay stress free.

~Skincare Warrior

Kick your moisturizer into high gear!

As Fall approaches and the cooler temps kick in, I start to swap out my lighter clothing for thicker, warmer clothing.  Just as I turn to heavier clothing, I also turn to heavier moisturizer.  The cooler temps bring drier air and can wreak havoc on our skin as it craves more moisture.  I make sure to do the following to help alleviate itchy, dry skin: use a heavier, cream-based moisturizer;  moisturize while my skin is still damp; and, continue to layer skincare products from thinnest to thickest.  I also add a few deep moisturizing masques to my weekly routine.  Lastly, I continue to exfoliate.  You can add the best moisturizer in the world to your skincare routine but, if you don’t exfoliate and get rid of the dead skin that we are meant to shed, you are wasting your product and your money.

~Skincare Warrior

Warrior tip:  Apply a few drops of argan or coconut oil to your moisturizer and apply it after a warm (never too hot) shower/bath.

 

Vitamins for your skin’s health

I recently blogged about the benefits of using a Vitamin C skincare product which got me thinking about the importance of other vitamins when it comes to skincare.  It seems that when it comes to vitamins, Vitamin C isn’t the only one with benefits, here are some others:

Vitamin B Complex: Taking a Vitamin B Complex or foods rich in Vitamin B (oats, potatoes, avocados, eggs, lentils) can help with tightening sagging skin.  Adding a skincare product containing Vitamin B can improve your overall skin tone and help to keep it hydrated.

Vitamin A: This is probably the most well-known vitamin for skincare.  When you take in adequate amounts of Vitamin A, the skin produces more collagen and as a result assists with keeping the skin plump.  Adding a Vitamin A derived skincare product to your regimen can increase collagen production, help diminish fine lines and tighten the skin.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is known for its anti-aging prevention and its ability to safeguard the skin against free radical damage.   Vitamin E not only tightens the skin but infuses moisturizing properties into the skin.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K is probably best known for remedying dark circles.  As we age, our skin gets thinner and collagen production decreases causing loss of elasticity. Vitamin K assists with maintaining the acid protein in our skin and assist with wrinkle prevention.

If you are interested in adding vitamins to your skincare routine, I suggest checking out your local healthfood store.   One of my favorite (and affordable) vitamin based skincare lines is Dermae.  On the Dermae website you can search for products by key ingredients.

Whether you choose to increase your vitamin intake through supplements, eating more vitamin enriched foods or adding a topical vitamin skincare product to your regimen, you can’t go wrong with vitamins and the overall effect it can have on your skin.

~Skincare warrior

HydraFacials….here’s what you need to know

Hydrafacials are becoming increasingly more popular. It seems that more and more spas are offering the ‘HydraFacial.’ Recently, my esthetician offered me a hydraderm facial. I was not familiar with this type of facial and was interested to find out more. I learned that similar to microdermabrasion, the hydraderm facial removes dead skin by exfoliation, however, the HydraFacial simultaneously deeply infuses the skin with toner, serum and oxygen giving the skin an instant, youthful glow. A series of HydraFacials can greatly improve aging skin by smoothing wrinkles and scars, diminishing age spots, shrinking pores and evening out complexion.

I always love the way my skin looks a few days after my facial and microdermabrasion, but with the HydraFacial I found I had an instant glow and my skin was significantly hydrated. After only one HydraFacial, I can see why this has become the latest craze and Hollywood’s current ‘go to facial.’  The results speak for themselves.

If you are looking to instantly hydrate your skin after a long winter of dry air and indoor heat, I highly recommend trying the HydraFacial. I found two medspas in my area both offering the HydraFacial for $99. I promise that with this investment you will see an immediate return on your money.

~Skincare warrior

Warrior tip: Be extra conscious and diligent to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen after any type of microdermabrasion.

Jade rollers: do they really work?

Lately, ‘ve been obsessed with Asian skincare videos.  It’s hard not to envy their porcelain, taut and even-toned skin. I do think their high fiber, vegetable based diets together with a large consumption of green tea has a direct affect on their glowing skin. However, the Asian culture has been practicing holistic skincare for centuries. One tool they tout as having anti-aging benefits is the jade roller.  There must be a reason why this skincare tool has been around since the 17th century. The Chinese began using the jade roller for its healing properties.  However, over time it became a popular skincare tool used to help drain lymphatic fluid, depuff the eyes, and improve the skin’s elasticity. It’s been 2 weeks since I started rolling and I have to say I really like it.  Here’s why:

jade

Just like that refreshed feeling of splashing your face with cold water in the morning,  the cold stone feels so good sliding across my face.  I can honestly say that it instantly helps with my sleep wrinkles and relaxes my facial muscles (I tend to hold mouth tension while I sleep). I struggle with under eye bags and the roller helps to flatten the overnight fluid accumulation.  I’ve even done a test and I would love for you to try it too (if you decide to buy a jade roller). Look at your face in the a.m. and notice any puffiness, sleep wrinkles or swelling. Next, roll just one side of your face from the center of your face to your hairline i.e., start at the center of your chin and roll to your hairline, repeat this a few times; then roll from the center of your lips to your hairline, repeat this a few times; continue rolling from the center of your face to your hairline until you have finished one side.  For the eyes, you want to use the smaller roller and go from the inner eye to the outer eye pushing the fluid toward the temple.  After you are done, go back to the mirror and compare it to the unrolled side. Now doesn’t the side you rolled look fresh, a little tighter and less puffy? NOW, DON’T FORGET TO DO THE OTHER SIDE.

Most jade rollers I’ve looked at are about $10 (I got mine at Marshalls). I’m not sure that all jade rollers are made with actual jade stone but I think using a cold stone to flatten and roll fluid accumulation after a night’s sleep makes a difference.  So why not try it especially since it’s super affordable and takes less than a minute of your day.

I would love to hear your comments.  Happy rolling!

~Skincare warrior

Warrior tip:  I keep my jade roller in the fridge so that it’s super cold!

Vitamin C Skincare

Most of us know Vitamin C (a/k/a ascorbic acid) as a supplement that boosts the immune system and contains antioxidants. However, Vitamin C has become one of the most popular ingredients in today’s skincare products. I have seen so many skincare lines that have started carrying a “C” line.  The antioxidants found in Vitamin C can help neutralize free radicals (molecules that cause aging and tissue damage), prevent future sun damage, promote new collagen, visibly reduce signs of aging and alleviate inflammation.

As I’ve learned about the benefits of Vitamin C skincare, I’ve taken the step of adding it to my daily routine. After sampling various moisturizers and creams, I’ve found that a serum containing Vitamin C seems to be the most beneficial as it’s thinner in consistency and more easily absorbed. Similar to retinols, Vitamin C products can be harsh for sensitive skin. I suggest starting off with a Vitamin C product a few times a week and then increasing frequency to build up your skin’s tolerance.

As I mentioned in past posts, one of my favorite OTC product lines is LaRoche Posay. I really like their ActiveC10 which is thin and serum-like and absorbs quickly into my skin. One of Skinceuticals most popular products is C E Feurilic. Studies have shown that the feurilic acid stabilizes the Vitamin C and, therefore, boosts its efficacy.  Vitamin C tends to oxidize quickly and can lose its potency so it’s important that it’s properly packaged and stored. If you decide to add a Vitamin C product to your regimen, I suggest making sure that it’s in a sealed container that needs to be pumped or squeezed out to help avoid oxidation.

With Spring approaching and lighter colored foundations just around the corner, now is a perfect time to add a Vitamin C product to your daily routine to rid your skin of pigmented spots and reveal a healthier looking you. If you are currently using a retinol, I suggest using your Vitamin C product during the day and your retinol product at night.

Reminder….applying sunscreen on a daily basis is always a necessity for younger looking skin but especially if you are using Vitamin C products.
~Skincare Warrior

Warrior tip: When it comes to applying products think thin followed by thick. Apply thinner products before applying heavier thicker products i.e., serums then moisturizers then sunblock.

Bakuchiol…the retinol alternative you need to know about

As I’ve blogged about previously, I consider retinol the tried and true ‘fountain of youth.’  Retinol is in a league of its own when it comes to anti-aging and is a skincare routine necessity.  However, I know many of you (including myself) who have struggled with its harsh side effects. It took years to tweak my skincare regime to be able to start and stop my use of retinol without having to deal with the side effects of dry, flaky, irritated and red skin. For those of you who swore it off because of its irritating side effects, let me share some good news….BAKUCHIOL! This exciting skincare newby is a plant-based, natural alternative to retinol. Skincare lines are now introducing anti-aging products containing Bakuchiol because it has the same benefits as retinol without the harsh side effects.

Strivectin recently released its  Starlight retinol night oil which is a Bakuchiol based anti-aging oil. Studies released by Strivectin showed that those who used the product had zero irritation while all subjects saw 100% improvement in fine lines, wrinkles and skin texture. OLEHENRIKSEN has also released  Glow Cycle Retin-Alt Power Serum which is a blend of Bakuchiol, alpha hydroxy acids and extracts that help to lighten sunspots and targets fine lines and wrinkles.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to share this news with you. If you are one of many who have had a negative experience with retinol and have sworn it off, why not consider one of these products containing Bakuchiol and start seeing your renewed skin today!  Click on this link Glowsly for a list of 10 products (including the ones I’ve mentioned above) that all contain Bakuchiol.

~Skincare Warrior