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Here is a link to an incredible new documentary by the Smithsonian Channel about the cleaning up of the cosmetics industry. It’s a little less than an hour but well worth the watch.

http://www.smithsonianchannel.ca/shows/cosmetics-coming-clean/

As one of the players in the green cosmetics industry, Cocoon Apothecary was fortunate to make an appearance in this film. I was also pleased to see some familiar faces being interviewed such as Adria Vasil (The Ecoholic), Donna Bishop (Green Beauty) and Rick Smith (Slow Death by Rubber Duck).

It was interesting to see both sides of the argument – the environmentalist scientists vs. the chemical industry scientists. I want to emphasize that both sides are science-based because the chemical industry likes to make their opponents seem uneducated and discredit them. Overall, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong because consumers will make the ultimate decision about the direction this industry will go. I have witnessed many chemical industry spokespeople getting extremely frustrated and upset by this movement and I can’t say it didn’t make me smile.

 

A plant-based cosmetics and skin care industry can encourage the protection of species and forests all over the globe, but only if it’s developed responsibly utilizing a variety of species globally and practicing ethical agricultural practices. There is a dark side to using plants at a commercial scale and the most obvious industry that demonstrates this is palm oil. more…

Below are links to my latest article for EcoParent Magazine about breast cancer that they have generously allowed me to share with my readers.

I want to let you in on the back story for this. This issue is called ‘Keepin’ it Real’ . I decided to write about breast cancer because there are so many layers to this disease and it’s difficult to wade through all the pink that has dominated its culture. I personally feel that there is a segment of the population that requires a more intelligent discussion than what is being presented to us. Also, it is perfectly timed with the Causemetics campaign being launched by the Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund of which Cocoon Apothecary is part of.

After submitting the article to the editor, Alexis, I received some alarming news. She has been diagnosed with cancer. Talk about keeping it real. Sometimes we get into a cozy zone where we believe that it can’t happen to us but the reality is that it can and Alexis’ diagnoses is a stark reminder of this.

When I received the magazine in the mail a couple days ago, I was overwhelmed with emotion when I opened it up to see that my article had been paired up with The EcoParent Breast Cancer Resource Supplement in which 6 pages were dedicated to the leading breast cancer organizations in Canada. This is a amazing issue and I urge you to pick up a copy at your local newsstand or even better, subscribe!

pink ribbons: part 1

pink ribbons: part 2

Dictamnus albusRutaceae - Dyctamus albus

Some plants are meant to be admired from a distance. Case in point, Dictamnus albus or as it is commonly known, the gas plant. This beautiful flowering plant has essential oils that are flammable and can the whole thing can go up in flames with one strike of a match (which is why it is also called burning bush).  These oils are also extremely dangerous on your skin because they are phototoxic and will create a severe burn if you are exposed to sunlight. My friend who is professional landscaper, contacted me recently for a healing balm to help her arm after she had been pruning these plants one afternoon. Below is a photo of the damage it did to her skin. The is what was all over both her forearms and she may have permanent scarring.  This type of thing can also happen with citrus oils so be careful of what your are putting on your skin whenever you are going out in the sun. Some natural products contain lemon, orange, lime, bergamot and grapefruit and should be used with caution. Even getting lime juice on your skin can be a problem.

Burn from gas plant Dictamnus albus

Summer time and the living is easy. We’re outside finally enjoying this beautiful, joyful season on the beach, in the garden, and on long bike rides and walks so it’s easy to get carried away with the sunshine when we’ve been cooped up for so long. I was just in NYC and saw an ad that read, “Keep tanning. You look great in leather.” This is so true. You have to take extra care of your skin if you’re going to be outside. Always try to cover up, find shade and wear zinc or titanium-based (which are full-spectrum and safe) natural sunscreen and the second step is to practice after-sun care in order to rehydrate and reverse cellular damage that has occurred. The best way to do this is by applying natural lotions that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Lotions are ideal because they have a water component that will cool and rehydrate the skin while the wax and oils will lock the moisture in. Natural carrier oils, essential oils and butters contain antioxidants that will repair free-radical damage and many of these ingredients also contain anti-inflammatories that will soothe redness and burns. If you have a sunburn, apply, apply and apply some more.

Cocoon Apothecary creates fabulous lotions made with organic oils and extracts and for the next week we are putting them on sale for 30% off so you can stock up for the summer!

Kahuna – Virgin coconut oil, macadamia nut, lemongrass, ylang ylang
Magic Bean – Cocoa butter, sweet almond, vanilla, coffee
Touchy Feely – Olive oil, lavender, rosemary (especially great for burns)
Purist Unscented – Olive oil

suncare-sale-newsletter

Here is a link to my article on safer sunscreens from the current issue of EcoParent Magazine.

Page 1: safer sunscreen pdf

Page 2; safer sunscreen2 pdf

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

Bring Back the Parasol!

Bring Back the Parasol!

This is the time of year everyone is looking for sunscreen and I am sadly still behind on this. It’s not as easy to get an SPF rating but I am really hoping to launch something in 2015 *fingers crossed*.

In the meantime, I want to provide a few skin sun safety  tips to help you buy your sunscreen and keep protected this summer.

1. The best coverage is staying out of the sun or limiting your time in direct sunlight. Look for shade structures, bring umbrellas to the beach, use a parasol (we need to bring this accessory back into fashion) or find a tree.

2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, neck and chest. It provides amazing coverage and doesn’t stop working after a few hours.

3. Find a good zinc or titanium sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. This is a non-toxic, full-spectrum (meaning it protects you from UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen that blocks the sunlight by deflecting it from your skin. Petrochemical sunscreens can be toxic, persistent and can cause inflammation on the skin. Avoid nano particle zinc or titanium though because it can penetrate compromised skin and there isn’t enough research about the effect of particles this size entering the blood stream.

4. I want you to be really careful about SPF ratings when you are using natural formulas. Often the addition of anti-inflammatory ingredients (e.g. aloe vera) are added to reverse redness and therefore it exaggerates how much coverage you are getting. SPF ratings are attained by testing the amount of time skin can be exposed to UVB rays before getting red. If you have ingredients that reverse this effect, it’s going to extend the time superficially. You will still be getting UVA rays that don’t have any indicator of overexposure until you have developed sagging skin from break down of elasticity. Just be cautious about these products and treat them like they’re SPF 15 rather than 30.

To read my full article on this subject, pick up a copy of EcoParent on Canadian newsstands now. Or visit www.ecoparent.ca for a subscription.

Feel free to share any of your favourite sunscreens below.

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