Getting your best skin ever!!

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Who doesn’t want beautiful looking skin? You guessed it we all do.  Getting your best skin ever is achievable for all and can be fun to do as well.

 

As we already know, our skin is the largest living organ of the body so we must take special care of it with a daily regimen and feed it the right ingredients for the best results.  I believe the skin responds best when you avoid harsh chemicals or unnecessary preservatives and stick with ingredients the body can recognize and absorb.

 

Finding the right products for our skin can be more challenging with so many options on the market. Whether you have oily skin, dry skin, or acne or hyperpigmentation the type of ingredients and their source are very important to correcting your concerns and also improving the skin as a whole. With certain products, the promise of fixing one issue may come with side effects, which can be frustrating. This is where I find Organic Products really work great as they are able to correct and continue to improve your skin without unwanted side effects.

I will share some Ingredients that help correct without side effects and have healing and lasting benefits for each skin type along with how to incorporate into your regimen easily.

Skin Types and ingredients to look for: 

Oily Skin- The key with oily skin is not to dry it out or it will produce more oil.  Some great suggestions are gel -based cleansers & moisturizers without sulfates and contain natural astringent properties. I love eucalyptus and citrus actives as they help deep clean the skin, regulate oil production without drying out the skin.  

Some products to try from Eminence:

Eucalyptus Cleanser,  Pink Grapefruit C Gel

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Dehydrated Skin- Dead cells build up daily and when the skin is dehydrated one of the best things to do is exfoliate gently whether with an exfoliating cleanser or weekly exfoliant. For home care choose natural granules such as adzuki powder or micro fine olive seeds for scrubbing or gentle enzyme gommage to remove dead cells gently without abrading the skin or causing irritation.

Some products to try from Eminence:

Monoi Exfoliating Cleanser,  Stone Crop Fizzoliant

 

Hyperpigmentation- One of the trickiest skin conditions requires commitment and prevention.  Choose only natural lighteners as chemicals tend to cause more inflammation, the stemming cause of more pigment. I like licorice root or Giga White to help reduce inflammation and inhibit future pigment.  Stone -crop is a natural brightener with calming effects that also works great.

Some products to try:

Bright Skin Moisturizer, Bright skin Targeted Treatment

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Aging/Fine Lines- All skin is aging so we must always be preventing… I like to incorporate antioxidants and natural age preventing ingredients our skin has naturally.  One is hyaluronic acid – present in our skin as a hydrator that holds up to 1000 weight in water. We can get it from plants to use on our skin topically to replenish what we loose. I like marshamallow plant to help plump up the skin. Also I love to use plant stem cells to help regenerate our existing stem cells.

Some products to try:

Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer,  Firm Skin Booster Serum

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The Heat Is On!

The Heat Is On!

A blend of high temps, humidity and pollution make for tricky SKIN situations. Heat tends to exacerbate skin conditions like rosacea, acne and melasma, as well as contribute to inflammation and possibly heat rash. 
Let’s go over a few things we can do to best understand what happens to the skin in extreme heat.

Heat rash, which is also known as Milria, can affect any skin type so it is important to understand what it is. How does heat rash occur?  Is heat rash a breakout? 

Here are some simple facts about heat rash.  When your pores get blocked or full, your perspiration gets backed up and cannot evaporate.  This causes inflammation leading to a rash.  Children are particularly vulnerable to this as there sweat glands are not fully developed yet.  Heat rash will typically clear up on its own but if any pain or swelling persists you should contact your physician.  Do not pick or scrub the rash and stay clear of rich skin care products.  Another helpful tip is to wear loose, breathable clothing when in the sun or severe heat and try to keep the skin as dry as possible.

If you suffer from acne, rosacea, or melasma (like me) this time of year can be difficult to manage your skin and you might find yourself experiencing irritations.  It is common for skin conditions to flare up with stress, heat and humidity.  Here are some great tips on how to best manage your skin in these conditions.

1)      Stay hydrated internally and externally! Drink plenty of water and nix the sugar and alcoholic drinks as these lead to dehydration which can worsen skin conditions.  Use a hydrating tonique or cleansing water topically to keep the skin hydrated throughout the day!

2)      Less is more and a simple regimen is best.  Cleanse with a mild gel cleanser by using small circular motions to lift debris (avoid using a cloth and rubbing) then rinse and pat dry.  You may apply a light serum or gel to repair and restore (be sure it is free of actives or chemicals such as glycolic acid or vitamin C ) Choose serums with antioxidants and phyto-greens to reduce inflammation and protect from oxidative stress.

3)      If you are in the sun, wear mineral sun protection, a hat, and seek shade as much as possible. If you are swimming in a chlorine pool splash the skin with cold water then reapply your sun protection and be sure to cleanse that evening.

4)      Avoid exercise during times of extreme heat - yes the one time you should not exercise….

5)  Get a gentle cleansing facial with LED light therapy to develop oxygen, eliminate bacteria, and reduce inflammation.

So to recap… Keep it simple and remember to Cleanse, Hydrate, Protect, and Relax.

 See you by the cooler!

Here Comes The Sun!

With summer approaching, we are all excited to get some much needed relaxation and enjoyment from the warmer weather.  Most people I know will be outside more and feeling happier.  The question is how to fully enjoy all the wonderful things about summer yet protect our skin from harmful sun rays which leads to photo damage.  How do you enjoy the sun and stay healthy?  Like the old saying goes and like most anything we enjoy the sun should be taken in moderation.  The sun does provide essential Vitamin D which is vital for overall health, just be sure you are protecting your skin in a healthy way without the toxic ingredients that are so common in most skin protectants.  

How does the skin tan?  Why does it burn?  And what is actually happening to our skin and what are the long term effects?

When we sit in the sun, the sunlight that reaches us is made of two harmful rays: Long Wave Ultraviolet A, or UVA and Short Wave Ultraviolet B, or UVB.  Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA rays in our lifetime.  UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and plays a major part in skin aging and wrinkling. 

UVB is the main cause of skin reddening and sunburn and tends to damage the superficial epidermal layers.  It also plays a key role in skin cancer and is a contributory role in skin tanning.  In the Eastern U.S. the most significant amounts of UVB rays hit between the hours of 10AM and 4PM.  

Depending on your skin tone and color, you may burn or tan quicker than others and be more susceptible to skin damage.  To understand different skin color classifications we refer to the Fitzpatrick scale which was developed as a way to estimate the response of different types of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light.  We are all at risk for skin damage and that includes even the darker skin tones, which are often more sensitive than lighter tones.  The Fitzpatrick scale also can indicate how the skin may pigment and how quickly it can be burned. 

Skin Type 1 – Light, always burns & doesn’t tan

Skin Type 2 – Fair, usually burns & tans with difficulty

Skin Type 3 – Medium, sometimes burns& slow to tan

Skin Type 4 – Olive, rarely burns & fast to tan

Skin Type 5 – Brown, rarely burns & easy to tan

Skin Type 6 – Dark, almost never burns & and tans dark

Please note that a sunburn or tan today could help cause, and show up in our skin later in life as post inflammatory damage, hyperpigmentation and skin cancer.  This is why it is vital to protect your skin with SPF while also seeking shade to minimize your sun exposure. 

As a skin care professional I get first-hand experience all the time as to what people have to say about SPF and sun exposure.  Here are two recent examples:

“I just want to get a base tan first and then I will use sunscreen” 

This actually will not only cause harm to your skin, but will not help you achieve the tan that you desire.  What it will do is promote a burn that can peel, resulting in an uneven tone and most likely leave post-inflammatory damage.

“Sunscreen breaks me out”   

This can actually be a combination of chemicals added to the sunscreen product in combination with sitting in the sun - sweating, clogging and irritating the skin.  If you are using an SPF that is healthy and does not contain chemicals you will have a very little chance of breaking out.  This is why I recommend healthy organic options as well as proper post sun care.   

So why is it important to use a good SPF?  Here are some pretty scary facts related to sun damage and skin cancer:

·       U.S. over 5.4 million cases of non- melanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people.

·       Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined cases of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung & colon. 

·      Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

·      One in five Americans will develop skin cancer.

These statistics can be somewhat alarming and it is why you want to take protections seriously.  Is it possible to get sun safely as well as protect our skin?  The answer is yes.  Below are some great tips that I would like to share on how to protect your skin and get the best SPF coverage with some healthy benefits as well.

With skin cancer cases rising dramatically over the last 20 years the FDA, in 2011, announced new regulations on sunscreens and labeling requirements.  Here are the revisions that were to be implemented for sunscreens on the market as well as any moisturizers that include an SPF.   

Broad Spectrum designation: Sunscreens that pass FDA's broad spectrum test procedure, which measures a product's ultraviolet A (UVA) protection relative to its ultraviolet B (UVB) may be labeled as "Broad Spectrum SPF [value]" on the front label. For Broad Spectrum sunscreens, SPF values also indicate the overall protection.  

Use claims: Only Broad Spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value of 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging if used as directed with other sun protection measures. Non-Broad Spectrum sunscreens and Broad Spectrum sunscreens with an SPF 2 - 14 can only claim to help prevent sunburn.  

"Waterproof," "Sweatproof" or "Sunblock" claims: Manufacturers cannot label sunscreens as "waterproof" or "sweatproof," or identify their products as "sunblocks" because these claims overstate their effectiveness.  Sunscreens also cannot claim to provide sun protection for more than 2 hours without reapplying.  

Water resistance claims: Water resistance claims on the front label must indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing.  

Drug Facts: All sunscreens must include standard "Drug Facts" information on the back and/or side of the container.

As an organic and wellness advocate I believe in choosing the healthiest options for sun protection and routinely refer to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for their excellent work in guiding consumers to the safest products available.  This group and their research strive to educate consumers on the toxic levels and harmful ingredients that may be present in skin care and cosmetics.  

Many sunscreens have chemicals and toxins added to them that are unnecessary and can actually contribute to irritations and skin damage.  Below is a list of chemical sunscreen ingredients. 

In 2007, EWG published its first Sunscreen Guide, helping to distinguish the safe SPF products and the ones using phony marketing claims while not testing well against the approved standards.  Here are some great tips EWG has shared when looking for a healthy sunscreen that works.  Please take note and be cautious of these important facts.  

*High SPF numbers:  High SPF numbers are tricky as consumers think that higher is better.  Higher SPF ratings don’t necessarily offer greater protection from UV-related skin damage and may lead users to spend too much time in the sun.  I recommend SPF 30 and to reapply every two hours to ensure you are being protected.

*Increases in UVA filter use:  Over the past decade dermatologists and skin cancer researchers have concluded that good sunscreens should not only guard against sunburn, primarily caused by UVB rays, but also protect people from lower-energy UVA rays.

EWG warns that the FDA’s broad spectrum rule is still too lax.  When proposed, EWG estimated that 80 percent of products would pass the new test without any change to their formulation.  Europe sets a higher bar, requiring UVA protection to rise in proportion to SPF, which reflects only UVB protection. This year, we estimate that nearly every sunscreen EWG reviewed passed the FDA test, but that about half of them would not offer enough UVA protection to be sold in Europe.  

Despite concerns, sprays still dominate the market.  

Sunscreen sprays are popular with consumers. In 2007, just under 20 percent of the sunscreens EWG reviewed were sprays; this year, just under 30 percent were.  EWG is concerned that these products pose an inhalation risk and may not provide an even coating on the skin when applied.  In 2011, the FDA raised similar concerns.

Vitamin A

EWG remains concerned that a common sunscreen additive, a form of vitamin A called Retinyl palmitate, can harm the skin. Government test data shows more skin tumors and lesions on animals treated with this ingredient and exposed to sunlight.  In 2010, when EWG first voiced concerns about this additive, nearly 40 percent of the products they reviewed contained Vitamin A.  Since then, the use of this troubling ingredient in sunscreens has dropped by more than half, contained in only 16 percent of the products that were surveyed for 2016.

Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is a common UV filter in sunscreens. It is a hormone disruptor and allergen and the CDC has detected it in the urine of 97 percent of Americans.  Despite emerging concerns, the sunscreen industry continues to rely heavily on Oxybenzone as an active ingredient: it was in 70 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens that EWG evaluated for this year’s guide.

A great option that I prefer is mineral sunscreens with healthy ingredients added to give antioxidant support and moisturizing factors.  Mineral sunscreens are also considered physical active ingredients to scatter and reflect UVA and UVB rays.  

Zinc oxide, a naturally occurring mineral, absorbs both UVA (aging, cancer-causing) and UVB (burning) rays.  If zinc oxide is coating your skin via a mineral sunscreen, both kinds of harmful rays are kept from affecting your skin.

Titanium dioxide is the other mineral sunscreen active ingredient, but it is less effective for two reasons:

•     It doesn’t block the UVA rays like zinc does.

•     It is a less stable molecule, so when it absorbs the sunlight, it’s more likely to release energy in the form of excited electrons.

Zinc oxide is incredibly stable, so it can hang onto the UV energy it absorbs and simply release it as heat...perfectly safe. Zinc oxide is also the only option rated safe for babies.

Below are some of my favorite choices from Eminence Organic Skincare to use for SPF as well as some post care products to ensure your skin will look and feel its best.  All of these are hypo-allergenic and will work on every skin color.  These products work well to keep skin cool and to reduce oil production, rosacea & melasma flare ups.

Sun Protectants

Tropical Vanilla - SPF 32 for the face and the body

Sun Defense Mineral SPF Powder – SPF 30

Persimmon and Cantaloupe – SPF 32

Tomato Sun Cream – SPF 16

Rosehip and Lemongrass Lip Balm – SPF 15

Post Care Products

Rosehip and Lemongrass Repair Balm & Cream

Stone Crop Masque

Stone Crop Body Lotion

Once you select the healthiest option for you follow some of these easy tips:

*Apply sun protection 30 minutes in advance to sun exposure and be sure to reapply every two hours.

*Seek shade when you can – use a beach umbrella if you are at the beach and always wear a hat when in the sun. You may also opt for UPF clothing for all water sport activities.

*If you sweat and swim reapply directly after to ensure you are protected.

*Stay hydrated with drinking water throughout any amount of exposure.  You may also eat food high in beta carotene which have been proven to reduce skin burning.

*Wash your skin with cool water and a gentle cleanser.

*After sun exposure be sure to apply post care products to reduce heat and inflammation. 

Organic and Beautiful!

Thank you for visiting my blog!  I am excited to feature my view on all things skin, beauty and wellness as well as highlighting current topics in the evolving skin care industry.

At Kristen Leigh Organic Skincare my mission is to help others with their skin with a healthy approach of Organic, Biodynamic and Botanical ingredients & specialized techniques.  When you use the best ingredients your skin will thank you as it is the largest organ of the body, absorbing up to 60% of what we put on it.  It is truly important to use healthy options. 

The first time I used organic products on my clients I was pleasantly surprised how immediate the response was for improving the skin while also providing a sensory experience like no other.

What led me to learn more about ingredients and their importance was the desire to get results for my clients while keeping integrity in using a healthy approach.  In searching for the best products one of the first things I learned is that skin care products and cosmetics are not regulated here in the US!  This shocking fact magnifies the importance of knowing what is in the products we use and how the ingredients affect the skin.   Harmful and unnecessary ingredients may cause side effects and/or irritations.  Did you know some ingredients may be truly toxic or cause the skin to react?

I often treat clients when they are experiencing chronic issues with their skin.  In these cases we carefully look at their whole regimen including what products they are using as well as medications or topical prescriptions…everything factors in.

I also believe that what you put inside the body reflects outside on your skin.  When you eat processed foods you will see an effect on the skin as well as your overall health with increased inflammation, digestion problems, and glycation that can promote aging.  If you eat healthy, whole foods that provide nutrients, your body will reflect positively with a more energetic and balanced feeling.  Perhaps you can apply this same approach with the skin care products you apply topically; when using the right ingredients for your skin you will see an improvement in your skin’s appearance and health.

Why Organic and what does it mean? Organic essentially means the produce is grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers.  Many years ago we did not hear about Organic as there was not as much focus on chemicals in our farming.  There are also other factors in our farming these days such as GMO (genetically modified ingredients) - which are the seeds used to grow products synthetically.  These are not considered Organic.  It has been a controversial topic as to whether GMO farming is causing illness and other issues to our bodies.  Currently in the US there is no mandatory labeling for products that use GMO ingredients, so look for products that carry an independent NON GMO verified label.  For skin care products the same applies, the ingredients used in skin care that is labeled Organic must be grown without chemical fertilizers or GMO’s.

Biodynamic farming is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming that was first developed by Dr. Rudolph Steiner in the 1920’s.  Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility.  Many farms are more and more looking into adopting these practices in their farming to make a bigger impact to our environment as well as our health and society.

When looking for Organic and Biodynamic, look for certified produce and skincare to ensure you are buying authentic products.  Important certifications are Demeter, Biokontroll and USDA here in the United States.

It is also great to check out your local Farmers Markets for locally grown organic produce – be sure to ask about their farming practices and if possible visit the farm.  I have recently seen local farmers using Organic and Biodynamic practices.  With spring finally here there are many farmer markets already open.

To recap when you eat nutrient rich food and use cleaner products, it will reflect in an improvement in your energy levels while promoting healthier skin.

In facial treatments offered at Kristen Leigh, I carefully choose Organic, Biodynamic, and Botanical products that are of the highest quality.  They give instant results without chemicals and carry certifications so you can be sure you know you are getting true Organic.  

My go to Organic Skin care line that I trust is Eminence Organic Skin Care. I always feel confident delivering treatments with such active and safe products that leave the clients looking and feeling beautiful.

I look forward to sharing more skincare tips in future posts…see you at the farmers market!

Where to locate a local Farmers Market:

www.GrowNYC.org

www.Localharvest.org

Certifications:

www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/organic-standards

www.nongmoproject.org

www.biokontroll.hu/cms/

www.demeter-usa.org/learn-more/biodynamic-farm-standard.asp