Category: Skingredients

It’s Always Sunny: Your Summer Sunscreen Guide

The number one skin care mistake we all make is our ability to “forget” to use sunscreen. I preach it a lot, so long time readers know this, but just in case you missed the message: you should always be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 50. But you can’t just use any ol’ sunscreen—each skin type may react to ingredients in sunscreen differently. And it’s also important to pay close attention to the ingredient list in sunscreens. Believe it or not, sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug so what is in them is quite important. Another misconception about sunscreen seems to be that some people need it more than others. That’s simply not true. Everyone needs sunscreen.

The Skinny on Sunscreen

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Technically, both sunscreens have chemicals in them but, in this case, a chemical sunscreen blocks UV rays via a chemical reaction on the skin while a physical sunscreen blocks UV rays via scattering and reflecting away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens have recently made big waves in the news as Hawaii became the first state to ban the sale of chemical sunscreens as the ingredients are harmful to marine life (don’t worry, these ingredients are perfectly fine for humans). It’s also important to note that no sunscreen blocks 100% of UVA/UVB rays. An SPF 50 blocks 98% of harmful UV rays.

Top Rated Sunscreens for Summer 2018

Consumer Reports recently released their annual Sunscreen Buying Guide. They tested over 73 sunscreens and 32% of them didn’t quite live up to their protection claims.  Here are the top 5 according to Consumer Reports:

  1. La Roche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 ($20)—With a perfect score of 100 for a second year in a row, this sunscreen once again is the darling of the Consumer Reports list.
  2. Equate Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 ($5)—Coming in with a score of 99, this easy drugstore find sunscreen is efficient for your skin health and your wallet.
  3. Bull Frog Quik Gel Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($9)—If you’re planning to be in a super hot climate, this gel-based sunscreen is a winner. Consumer reports gave it a score of 95.
  4. Coppertone Water Babies ($7)—Also with a score of 95, this tried and true favorite is perfect for those with sensitive skin types.
  5. Coppertone Ultra Guard 70 ($7)—If you are headed out to the beach or simply plan on relaxing by a pool, this should be your go-to. With a score of 94, this sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Rose Hip Tips: The Power of Rose Hip Seed Oil

Everything is coming up roses for Valentine’s Day and since the flower of love is on everyone’s minds, it’s a great time to talk about rose hip (or rosehip?) oil. Let’s get all of the confusing stuff out of the way first. Rose hip seed oil comes from the bud-like “hip” (or fruit) of the rose plant. It is not pressed from rose petals (that would be rose oil or, more precisely, rose petal oil). Rose hip seed oil has powerful benefits for your skin whereas rose oil can be an irritant. I know. It’s tricky. Here’s a photo of what rose hips look like:

Rose hip naturally contains a high amount of linoleic acid and other fatty acids which are essential in helping to fight and prevent acne. But it also contains a high amount of antioxidants that aid in glowing gracefully. Rose hip seed oil is clinically proven to slow the sings of aging and studies often attribute this to the high amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, tretinoin, lutein, and lycopene amongst other ingredients.

There are many different types of roses and thus many types of rose hip seed oil to choose from. The most effective oils come from the Rosa Aff. Rubiginosa (Rosa Eglanteri), Rosa Moschata Herm, Rosa Mosqueta, or Rosa Canina types. When determining which rose hip seed oil is best for you, check the label and ingredient list to ensure at least one of the aforementioned types are listed.

Who is Rose Hip Seed Oil For?

Oily/acneic skin types will find Rose Hip Seed Oil to be their new favorite not-so-secret weapon. In addition to calming and preventing acne, rose hip seed oil is also clinically proven to diminish scars and other forms of hyperpigmentation. Those who may be concerned with wrinkles and fine lines will also find good use in rose hip oil. And, by the way, don’t let the term “oil” discourage you. Though this is technically an oil, it is non-greasy and absorbs quickly into the skin.

How Should I Use Rose Hip Seed Oil?

You can use the oil as a moisturizer or an astringent. If using as a moisturizer, you’ll want to put this on after serums but before sunscreen. If you’re using as an astringent, you’ll want to wipe a small amount over your face after cleansing. You can also use rose hip seed oil as a cleanser if you prefer the oil cleansing method.

When you aren’t using your rose hip seed oil, it is important to keep it refrigerated. This product tends to have a shelf life of 6 months or fewer. For this reason, I recommend going with The Ordinary’s Rose Hip Seed Oil which only costs $9.80. This way, you won’t feel too bad if your oil goes rancid before you have a chance to use the bottle up.

Think you’re ready to give rose hip seed oil a try? Add some into your skin care regimen and let me know how things go after two weeks. Wondering what exactly a regimen is and how to use one? Click the button below to book a complimentary consultation. If you’re not located in the SF Bay Area, I’m always willing to do a virtual consultation as well. Get started today!

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Chocolate: The Decadent Indulgence for your Skin

Chocolate is one tasty treat that seems to be irresistible no matter which way we indulge. As a skin care ingredient, the flavonols and antioxidants naturally found in cacao turn this edible delight into a skin care powerhouse. You will find that chocolate is most frequently added to skin care products such as masks and scrubs but you can find the ingredient adding a boost to chemical peels as well. You’ll even find luxury spas offering a decadent chocolate milk bath or full body chocolate scrubs. The possibilities of what you’ll find in chocolate skin care are almost endless. But how does the ingredient help you glow?

Since raw cacao has one of the highest antioxidant capacities, it can help protect your cells from oxidation, sun damage and premature aging. Cacao also contains other important minerals like iron, selenium, copper, zinc and manganese which keeps our skin looking healthy, vibrant and acts as an anti-inflammatory as well. The fat from the cacao seed— that is used to make cocoa butter—is filled with omega-6 fatty acids, which soothes, smooths, and protects the skin. You can also find caffeine and an antioxidant called theobromine which improves circulation of blood flow within the skin.

Chocolate Skin Care Treatments to Try

You can add a Chocolate Mask upgrade to any facial service. All it takes is 10-15 minutes to get a boost in collagen and the perfect perk to your skin to reveal a glow for the gods. If you really want to take things up a notch, the Chocolate Peel from GlyMed works wonders on the skin. In as little as two sessions you’ll see an immediate and significant improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation with little to no downtime. The Irresistible Kissable Chocolate lip treatment combines the power of chocolate in a gentle, moisturizing sugar scrub. The caffeine combined with other antioxidants are sure to perk up your pout.

Ready to indulge? Click below to book your skin care appointment with your Fairy Glow Mother today.

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Let’s Do Acid! 5 Stellar Acids to Improve Your Skin

No, no… this isn’t a post about dropping tabs or doing LSD for beauty. I’m not talking about that type of acid. This also isn’t a post about corrosive acid you might find in a battery or any other alarming chemical agents. This post is all about the types of acids that are actually safe and beneficial for your skin.

To the average person, putting acid on your face in the name of looking good sounds like a terrible idea. But devoted skin care enthusiasts know acids aren’t as bad or scary as they sound. Skin care acids typically provide a gentle, non-abrasive exfoliation that go a step above your average cleansers to enhance your glow. And though you may be picturing placing your face on fire, you’ll be relived to know that most acids (when administered properly) don’t cause a burning sensation. There are over 10 acids commonly used in the majority of skin care products but there are 3 acid families: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA). Like everything else in skin care, you should only be using an acid that’s appropriate for your skin type.

Which Acid is Right For Me?

If you have a normal/dry skin type and are looking to fade fine lines and other signs of sun damage then AHAs are right for you. AHAs are water soluble and derived from foods such as sugar cane (glycolic acid), sour milk (lactic acid), apples (malic acid), citrus fruits (citric acid), and grapes (tartaric acid). The most effective AHA is glycolic acid as it has the smallest molecular structure enabling it to penetrate easier and deeper into the skin. AHAs work within the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the skin) to effect keratinization. Using products with AHAs are clinically proven to safely boost collagen.

Most AHA products you can buy over the counter (or online) typically contain no more than 10% AHA. Anything above that should be administered by an esthetician or dermatologist because with those higher amounts you can start to feel the burn—for lack of better words—and irritation.

If you have an oily/combination skin type then BHAs are what you’re looking for. BHAs are oil-soluble and only derived from asprin (do not use if you have an allergy to asprin). They can appear on labels as willow bark extract, tropic acid, trethocanic acid, salicylate, beta hydroxybutanoic acid, sodium salicylate, and betaine salicylate. Because BHAs are oil-soluble they are able to penetrate into sebaceous filaments, pores and lift the oil up and out of your skin.

Unlike AHAs, BHAs retain the same amount of efficacy at lower doses so when you read your skin care labels and see one of the aforementioned further down the ingredients list, don’t worry. In addition to decongesting your skin, BHAs are helpful in reducing fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin texture.

If you have sensitive/dehydrated skin type then PHAs are the skin care acids that will work best for you. These are commonly listed as gluconolactone, lactobionic, and maltobionic. While you could probably use AHAs if you had sensitive skin, you might still experience some mild irritation. PHAs (widely considered the next generation of AHAs) have a larger molecular structure, designed to penetrate the skin more slowly, and also acts as a natural humectant. These types of acids don’t have any of the sensitizing side effects that come with traditional AHAs and can be used if you have rosacea or dermatitis.

You will typically find PHAs available in large amounts (30% being the most common). While it wouldn’t be safe to try to use an AHA at such high a concentration, it’s okay to use for PHAs. Again, PHAs have a larger molecular structure and are more gentle.

Top 5 Skin Care Acids (in no particular order)

  1. Glycolic Acid—this is the OG of skin care acids. Its tiny molecular structure allows for the acid to really get in your skin and make a difference by boosting collagen and stimulating cell turnover. While you’ll immediately have a refreshing glow, it is important to use sunscreen liberally immediately following the use of products containing this acid. Glycolic acid is known for causing sun sensitivity.
  2. Mandelic Acid—derived from bitter almonds, this skin care acid is great for oily/acneic skin and for treating hyperpigmentation. This is a great alternative to those with an asprin allergy looking to combat breakouts and it’s also high in antibacterial properties.
  3. Salicylic Acid—if you don’t have an allergy to asprin, this is hand down the best acid for getting control over breakouts and even cystic acne. You can find salicylic and mandelic combined to provide a more powerful exfoliation.
  4. Maltobionic Acid—perfect for getting a smooth texture, firmness, and hydrating the skin.
  5. Tartaric Acid—extremely gentle and packed with antioxidants. You’ll want to use this if you are looking to prevent sun damage.

With any acid, you want to pay close attention to the ingredients/labels and consult your physician to ensure you don’t have any allergies. Avoid using acids if you’re currently on any form of retinol. You should stop retinol use for at least 6 weeks before trying acids.

Pumpkin: The Powerful Antioxidant for Your Face

October is here which means that pumpkin spice season has arrived! I’m not one of those people that go crazy for the fall pumpkin spice flavored everything but I absolutely love pumpkin skin care, year round. Why is that? Well pumpkin is a natural enzyme that is filled with Folic Acid, Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E,  and Zinc. Sometimes referred to as “nature’s collagen”, this key ingredient works wonders in helping us to glow gracefully and brighten up a dull complexion. This is due to its small molecular structure which allows for deeper penetration into the skin. In the treatment room, pumpkin is usually combined with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to provide powerful peels that reveal a refreshing glow. Check out some treatments and products to try at home and add to your skin care regimen below.

Pumpkin Skin Care Products to Try

If you have acne, look for masks and toners that contain pumpkin. These products will help fight inflammation, control oil production and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. Peter Thomas Roth’s Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer is a cult favorite however it does contain Triethanolamine, a pH adjuster and surfactant that some people can have an allergic reaction to. Up-and-coming brand Lovinah Skin Care also has a Pumpkin Enzyme Mask with 10% glycolic acid and 15% Vitamin C in addition to green papaya and pineapple enzymes. Both have a similar price point in the $50 range.

Those with dry skin will want to add moisturizers and facial oils with pumpkin into their daily regimen. Dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu notes that pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin extract are very emollient and they help to repair your skin barrier and maintain moisture in the skin. PCA Skin’s Nutrient Toner puts pumpkin to the forefront and boosts with lactic acid and essential oils to help control and prep the skin. Too Cool for School’s Pumpkin Sleeping Pack is made primarily of silicone and fruit extracts. It works as both a moisturizer and moisturizing sleeping mask.

Want the ultimate pumpkin skin care power-up? Book an appointment with your Fairy Glow Mother for a pumpkin facial or peel today!