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SPF is a number that’s put on sun protection to tell you how much longer you can stay in the sun than if you weren’t wearing any protection at all. So if you can stay in the sun for 10 minutes without burning, then with a Sun Protection Factor of 15 you will be able to stay in the sun for 150 minutes without burning.

I want to explain these numbers a little bit more and how they come up with them. First you need to know about the UV rays. There are 2 types of UV rays that we get exposed to. One is UVB and that one [causes] more of a surface damage, so the first few layers of the skin get affected by the UVB rays, and these are what cause burns. The UVA rays are not as easy to detect because you don’t get red, but they are doing damage at an even deeper level into your skin, and they can attack collagen and elastin. UVA rays are what actually cause a lot of aging and wrinkles.

Tanning beds are so bad for your skin because they’re mostly UVA rays, and they will just age your skin like nobody’s business. That’s a definite no-no!

I want you to be aware of something. The FDA and the Environmental Working Group suggest that you do not use Sun Protection Factor over 50, and this is why; when they do testing for SPF in the lab, they’re only testing UVB ray exposure because they look at how fast the skin goes red. What companies have learnt to do is put antioxidants and anti-inflammatories into their formulas so that the redness is reversed by these ingredients, and it jacks up the SPF. What’s wrong with that is you are still getting exposed to these rays, you’re just not getting red because it’s being reversed. This is giving a false sense of protection for people; you’re getting a lot more sun than you think you are, because it’s not about redness at this point because there are ingredients that are counter-acting it. This doesn’t mean you’re not getting the harmful rays, your DNA is not being attacked, whatever – it’s still happening. Just be aware of that when you’re using these really high SPFs. My preference is that you use lower SPF and you take care of your skin other ways; you don’t go outside as much, you find shade, you go under an umbrella at the beach, you wear a hat, you wear UV-protective clothing. The 60+, the 50, even, it’s just giving a false sense of security to people, and I really do believe people are damaging their skin and they don’t know any better because it’s not going red when it would usually go red. So keep that in mind and stay protected.

We’ve just gotten into the months that we’re starting to spend a lot of time in the sun so it’s really important that we’re protecting our skin from damage; from skin cancer, from premature aging, from everything that overexposure to sun rays will do to it.

There are 2 types of sunscreens you can choose from. The first I’m going to talk about is physical sunscreen; zinc or titanium oxide. Those 2 minerals get applied to the skin and they act like tiny little mirrors deflecting the rays off your skin. The second kind is chemicals; oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octyl salicylate. These cause a chemical reaction by taking the light and turning it into a different form of energy, and it’s usually heat. This is why if you get these in your eyes, it burns badly, and uh…not fun. My preference is definitely the first one, the physical sunscreen, because it’s gentle on your skin; it’s not going to absorb into your system and create a toxic stew, whereas we know now that these petrochemicals tend to absorb in, and there’s all kinds of issues that we’re starting to understand, such as endocrine disruption, and, you know, cancer.
I’m not saying that sunscreen causes cancer, but I’m saying that you have to be careful of what you’re putting on your skin every single day, and the impact it could have on your body. Not to mention the fact that oxybenzone is a known hormone disrupter – one of the more common ones in the market – and is eco-toxic. So if you go and swim near a reef, it can bleach the reef, and it is responsible for a lot of human damage of reef around the world. And that should tell you something about the actual chemical.

Physical sunscreens all the way! I love zinc; it’s not as whitening now, because before we had these larger molecules, so when you think about zinc you just think, like, white – everywhere. But fortunately they’ve gotten the molecule nice and small – micronized – and so it’s not as whitening. You want to go small but not too small, because the nano-sized, the nano-particle zinc, does absorb to damage skin, does absorb through it, and we really don’t know what this nano-sized zinc, or titanium for that matter, is going to do to your system. There’s just not enough research at this point in time. There have been some damning reports about it being eco-toxic as well, so look for non-nano versions.

My favourite sunscreen is Goddess Garden. It’s non-whitening, a super non-toxic formula, and it doesn’t clog up my pores; I have to be very careful about using stuff that’s too greasy or heavy because I will break out.

The ingredients I really want you to avoid are; oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate – because apparently when sun hits retinyl palmitate it can create a carcinogenic type of damage to your cells, so stay away from that – and citrus essential oils, because they contain furocoumarins and they are phototoxic so they will make your skin more vulnerable to UV rays. I just read an article this morning about how even drinking orange juice, they’re linking that to melanoma, so because of these furocoumarins they’ll make your skin just super vulnerable to the sun. So if you see a skin care product that has sweet orange, lime, lemon, bergamot, or grapefruit, stay away! Stay away from the summer, because if you’re going to be out in the sun with it…I don’t think it’s ever a good idea in skin care, but especially if you’re going to be out in the sun.

June 1, 2015 marks exactly one year of being in our new space at 72 St. Leger St. Kitchener, Ontario. It took until December to be fully up and running. It was a huge project – PHEW. Very happy and grateful every day I come into work!

Check out our before and afters. This is where we manufacture, ship, receive, retail and admin.

before.jpg

after1 after2 after3 after4 after5 after6

In my experience, the best mature skin that I see belongs to women that have been using natural products for an extended amount of time. Their wrinkles are minimal and skin is taut and firm thanks to all the topical nutrients they’ve been getting. The second best skin surprisingly belongs to people that claim to use nothing at all. They say things like “I just splash water on my face” or “I just use soap”. This is leading me to believe that conventional, petrochemical products are aging people’s skin prematurely. It makes sense since many of these chemicals are harsh and inflammatory and can stress the skin.

You may wonder why some celebrities have beautiful skin when they are clearly purchasing luxury lines that don’t make any ‘natural’ claims. This is because most of those high priced lines use a lot of botanicals in their formulas. Take for instance the very popular and expensive Crème de la Mer. It contains seaweed extract, lime, eucalyptus, lanolin, sesame, alfalfa, sunflower, and almond. Natural ingredients take up a good portion of this formula so it would be similar to a natural line in performance. When you look at a low priced (under $10) cream that you would buy at a drug store, it will be 100% petroleum and palm-based synthetics, which is how those massive companies are able to price it so low. This is where the bad performance comes in.

Natural is the way to go and the best thing about the green beauty industry is that you get the best bang for your buck because you get luxury ingredients that aren’t priced that way.

PAO-Period-After-Opening-Symbol

If a red, raised area suddenly appears on your face for no reason and doesn’t go away no matter how much balm or coconut oil you put on it, you might be dealing with unwanted bacteria from a skin care product, cosmetic or makeup brush. Staphylococcus, candida and e.coli are just some of the microbes that can be found in expired, abused (not stored properly) or under-preserved formula.

You will need to treat this area with an antibiotic ointment and/or anti-microbial essential oils. The most effective oils against staph are cinnamon, oregano, clove thyme and savory. These potent oils can be irritating to the skin so must be diluted to a maximum of 1%. You don’t want to further inflame the area. If it still doesn’t go away or improve after one day, visit your doctor. This is not something you want to mess with.

Prevention Tips

  • Throw out whatever you used before the infection appeared. You will probably know exactly what it was – something old or maybe a DIY formula.
  • Stay on top of your product’s expiry date. It will either be printed somewhere on the bottle or you will see a symbol of an open jar with a number inside that will indicate how many months after opening you can use it.
  • When you’re buying from small batch producers, ask them about the preservative that they use. If they say none, be skeptical. This is not a responsible way to create products and there are many great non-toxic, sustainable preservatives out there.
  • Buy products and use them up THEN buy more. Don’t stockpile them in your closet to never be seen again. If you don’t like it, throw it away or give it to someone that does.
  • Clean your make up brushes regularly.

Here is a chart showing the costs of the most common fixed oils (as in fatty, not volatile essential oils). I think this is great information to have when you are purchasing products. It’s important to know the value of what you are buying when you read the ingredients.

Cost of oils used in the beauty industry.

Cost of oils used in the beauty industry.

Ban The Beads

What a way to start Earth Month. In exciting, hopeful news…Canada is coming very close to banning plastic microbeads from personal care products. These beads found in facial washes, scrubs and toothpastes have been located in samples from all of our Great Lakes because they are washed down our drains and make their way into our water systems. The plastic pollutants do not break down so they will continue to build up in our oceans, lakes and wildlife unless we do something about it. Similar bans have been put in place in Illinois and New Jersey but we will be the first country to do it if we pass the bill recently introduced to the House of Commons by the NDP.

Until then, you can ban the beads from your bathroom. Look for the words ‘microbeads’ on labels as well as “polyethylene” and “polypropylene” in the ingredients list. There’s also an app that will scan barcodes and let you know if the product contains them at http://www.beatthemicrobead.org. There are eco-friendly alternatives that are made from rice, sunflower, bamboo or jojoba, which we have been using since 2008!

We had already scheduled our Petal Purity Exfoliating Facial Cleanser promotion to honour Earth Month so this perfect timing to put this water-safe product on sale.

watersafeppex

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