Does our skin always absorb what we put on it?

Have you heard that “fact” that says what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream within 26 seconds? I heard it for years, and I would knowingly use toxic shave cream and body wash and frantically rinse it off before my 26 second in-my-head countdown went off!

Now that I’m more educated on what is safe for our skin, lungs and other organs, I can’t help but laugh at the sheer lunacy of my in-shower ritual.  There is an idea in the clean beauty industry that EVERYTHING we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream and causes dire health consequences. And that’s simply not true.

 

WHAT IS THE ABSORPTION CAPACITY OF OUR SKINCARE PRODUCTS?

The everyday product I’m most passionate about helping others switch to safer is SKINCARE. Why? Because the average woman uses 12 products on her skin daily which can contain upwards of 100 different chemicals – most of them with little to no safety testing and many of them with proven harmful effects such as immunotoxicity, hormonal imbalance, reproductive/fetal harm, infertility, PCOS, autoimmunity, and cancer. 

 

While 100% of every chemical we put on our skin does NOT reach the bloodstream, many chemicals have UP TO a 60-70% absorption rate (some have a 0% absorption rate or will only be absorbed if skin is broken – i.e. a cut, scrape or open blemish). Each chemical we apply to our skin has a varying penetration and absorption rate. Some chemicals in presence of others increase absorption rate and broken skin significantly will increase rates as well. Molecule size affects the ability of products to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which is why there are certain chemicals we don’t have to worry about being absorbed like gluten (the molecule size in it’s non-hydrolyzed state is too large to penetrate the skin barrier) and silicone (which creates a barrier blocking absorption but can also clog pores). 

 

Think you’re completely immune to what goes on your skin entering your bloodstream though? I ignored the facts for years until I read countless studies showing correlative and causative links between the ingredients I was putting on my skin and my chronic health issues that DO NOT RUN IN MY FAMILY. I recommend using PubMed to do your own research too (search words like “phthalate”, “paraben”, “triclosan” “personal care products”) to find science-backed articles examining these particular chemicals. 

 

In fact, phthalates are one of the most heavily studied environmental toxins used widely in the personal care industry with dangerous health effects documented in hundreds of studies worldwide. Not only do their metabolites show up in your urine, but men with higher concentrations of phthalate metabolites in their urine also demonstrated decreased total sperm count and concentration as well as altered sperm morphology.

 

IF YOU WANT TO NERD OUT, HERE ARE 38 ARTICLES ON PHTHALATES EFFECTS JUST ON MALE SPERM AND FERTILITY.

 

 

HOW QUICKLY CAN WE DETOX THESE CHEMICALS OUT?

 

Did you ever see this ABC news segment showcasing the lab work results for the anchor who eliminated toxic chemicals from her skincare/makeup routine? Within less than a week of eliminating her previous products, her lab work showed a significant decrease in levels of harmful chemicals.

 

In a separate study, in just 3 days teenage girls who eliminated toxic personal care products saw a  significant reduction in the concentration of hormone-disrupting chemicals in their urine. Our bodies have several mechanisms for proper detox and methylation – they just need a break from the daily load in order to regain efficiency. Trust me, your internal organs will thank you for the support! We live in a toxic world and many of the toxins we simply can’t avoid (i.e. Round-Up impacts all of our air quality not just farmer’s), but the ones that touch our skin… we have an immediate ability to say “No” and choose better.

 

THE (HARD TO HEAR) FACTS

  • More than 200 chemicals have been found in the body of nearly all Americans – including newborn infants – and the majority of them have toxic or potentially toxic effects. These chemicals are frequently absorbed via the skin and respiratory system.

  • 16 different hormone-disrupting chemicals, linked to early puberty, hormonal imbalances, reproductive concerns, PCOS and more, were found in the bodies of teenage girls

  • Currently, more than 85,000 chemicals are registered for use in the marketplace with the vast majority of them with little to no safety testing

  • Only 2% of the chemicals in the marketplace have been verified for safe use on children

 

WHY I CHOSE BEAUTYCOUNTER OVER OTHER SAFER CLEAN BEAUTY BRANDS WHEN I WAS MAKING THE SWITCH

 

The clean beauty industry is growing rapidly which means there are plenty of safer options in the marketplace now. You can’t even walk down the beauty aisle of Wal-Mart without seeing packages adorned with green leaves and words like “all-natural” which hold no industry regulation. Greenwashing, or the marketing industry’s slippery tendency to use words, colors and images that mislead consumer’s to believe their products are “healthy” is a whole OTHER topic though.

 

The reason I personally support Beautycounter and joined their mission as a Consultant is because they set the bar high for industry safety standards. Our headquarters also works tirelessly to lobby for stricter regulation at the federal and state level – so we’re not just changing the industry with our products but with legislation too. I wanted to be able to provide my audience a solution to the very real problems I was presenting; a solution that I trusted, loved using myself and have been using on myself and my kid (soon to be kids) for over two years now, nearly exclusively.

 

Beautycounter’s strict ingredient screening (from source to finished product), contaminant and heavy metal testing, and commitment to only using ingredients they feel confident will not have a harmful effect on human, animal or environmental health is bar none. I’ve never found another makeup company that tests for heavy metals – let alone TRIPLE tests for them in every single batch. I find it empowering each day I’m applying my lipstick or foundation that I know *not just am guessing* my makeup has been tested this stringently.

And what makes every lifestyle change more doable? If you love what you’re doing or using! Think of how much easier it is to make a healthy dietary switch when you’re armed with the best-tasting recipes or starting a new fitness routine when the activity gives you joy! Same goes for personal care products – and Beautycounter has made the switch to safer so much easier for me because the products PERFORM like all my old toxic faves that I had so much fun playing with!

 

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You need to try the Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel!

… AKA MAGIC SKINCARE POTION

I’ve been bottling up my excitement for over a month about Beautycounter’s new at-home Overnight Resurfacing Peel!

FIRST: Let’s clear up a few misconceptions about the name of this new magical spot and line-busting treatment!

#1 It does NOT peel your skin. The word “peel” here means that it is dissolving and sloughing off thousands of dead skin cells (invisible to the naked eye), resurfacing skin to reduce hyperpigmentation, dryness, dullness, fine lines and oil-prone areas of your face.

#2 You do NOT peel it off your face. It looks, feels and goes on like a serum, and in the morning, you simply wash your face to wash away the dead skin. No extra steps needed, friends!

#3 It gives the RESULTS of an in-office treatment but without any downtime, redness, skin peeling, or burning. For some people, the first few applications may tingle, but this just means you’re benefitting from the AHAs!

#4 Yes, it’s safe to put acids on your face. In fact, the skin prefers acidic conditions and naturally creates an “acid mantle” on the top layer to protect from environmental hazards like bacteria, viruses, microbes and harsh weather conditions. Alpha hydroxy acids are commonly found in skincare products because of their powerful exfoliating capabilities.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED BEFORE YOU ASK

How Often Can I Use It? You may use the Overnight Resurfacing Peel at night, after cleansing and toning, and before moisturizing. Start with applying up to 3 nights a week. I have found I can use it 7 nights a week prior to my usual serum and moisturizing routine without any skin sensitivity, but I probably apply it closer to 5x a week to make it last longer.

How Do I Use It? Cleanse and tone skin as you typically would. My favorite way to prep skin for the Overnight Resurfacing Peel is cleansing with the Cleansing Balm and toning with the Rejuvenating Toner Pads. Apply 1-2 pumps of the Overnight Resurfacing Peel to face and neck, massaging it in in circular motions to increase circulation. Let sit for 1-2 minutes to dry and allow the actives to penetrate skin before proceeding with your regular oil, serum and/or moisturizer nightly routine.

Can Sensitive Skin Use This Product? Yes, just be sure to do a test spot behind your ear to make sure you’re good to go, but generally at-home acids are a great choice for sensitive skinned individuals who cannot tolerate in-office prescription-strength treatments, chemical peels or microdermabrasion. Ask your dermatologist before use if you recently received an in-office chemical peel or are using high-powered prescription creams.

Can I use it if I’m pregnant? If you are pregnant, I would just check in with your doctor & let them know it contains a small amount of over-the-counter salicylic acid (oral salicylic acid is the main concern during pregnancy, FYI). I personally would feel comfortable applying 2x a week as a pregnant woman, but I think the decision should be up to you! A 2011 study on skincare safety during pregnancy noted that the amount of salicylic acid that penetrated the skin varied from non-detectable to 25% (when used in high, daily doses, or on open wounds).

 

Okay’s let chat about what’s IN the peel that makes it a product I think every woman and man needs in their bathroom!

The Overnight Resurfacing Peel contains 15 total acids including 7 resurfacing AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) to slough off the top two layers of the skin that have the hardest time shedding.

These top two layers are responsible for dryness, dullness, build-up that can cause breakouts, blackheads and large pores, and also where visible hyperpigmentation, sun damage, scarring and fine lines is most evident.

Resurfacing the skin means treating and decreasing our most common skincare concerns that our regular routine may not effectively or deeply target enough.

IF YOU HAVE…

Dullness/Uneven Tone

Dryness/Redness

Fine Lines/Wrinkles

Hyperpigmentation (i.e. sun damage, light scarring, melasma, age spots)

Large Pores/Blackheads

Oily/Breakout-Prone Skin

THE BEAUTYCOUNTER OVERNIGHT RESURFACING PEEL IS FOR YOU!

 

GLYCOLIC ACID: sourced from sugarcane, this acid is the one of the most common high-powered exfoliators to treat signs of aging, skin discoloration and melasma. It is also indicated for use in oily skin, blackheads and acne.

LACTIC ACID: sourced from fermented sugarcane (to keep this product dairy-free) is another popular AHA that resurfaces skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines, skin discoloration, acne, and dullness. It also helps improve skin elasticity and plumpness by stimulating collagen synthesis.

PHYTIC ACID: sourced from plant extracts like beans or oats (no concern for gluten from these extracts, safe to use if you don’t eat oats or beans – it’s not the same as ingesting them at all). Phytic acid’s main benefit is lightening and brightening skin. I have sun damage from growing up in Florida as well as melasma on my shoulder from pregnancy & I saw an improvement in skin evenness after the first night!

SALICYLIC ACID: derived from willow bark and probably the most commonly used BHA (beta hydroxy acid), salicylic acid is a workhorse for sloughing off any of the dead skin the other acids can’t get to and an acne healing and prevention powerhouse.

MALIC, TARTARIC, ASCORBIC AND HYDROXYSTEARIC ACID: these acids are all powerful in their own way. Malic acid is used to decrease hyperpigmentation, tartaric acid smoothes and evens skin texture, ascorbic acid is a soothing vitamin C-derived acid that brightens skin, and hydroxystearic acid is a safe fatty acid that provides antioxidant support to skin.

HYALURONIC ACID: this acid holds up to 1,000x it’s weight in water to provide ultimate hydration, improving skin elasticity and plumpness. As we age, our production of HA significantly decreases, so it becomes important to supplement it in your skincare routine.

ARGANINE: increases blood flow and oxygenation as well as hydration

RASPBERRY SEED OIL: a nourishing plant-based oil that is thought to help with UVA and UVB protection, protection from free radical damage, and hydration to name a few. It also contains phytoesterols which are thought to be beneficial for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, although this product is not intended to treat any specific skincare condition.

 

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR OVERNIGHT RESURFACING PEEL

How to Avoid Heavy Metals in Your Makeup

 

For this month’s safer skincare post, I’ll be chatting about the problems and pervasiveness of heavy metals in your makeup and how you can avoid them!

Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post for my April Beautycounter gift!

 

WHAT ARE HEAVY METALS & WHY DO THEY MATTER?

Heavy metals are found naturally in the earth but become more concentrated with human activities like mining and manufacturing. Common routes of exposure include air pollution, dental procedures (mercury amalgams), water (arsenic), food, cigarettes, work, school, the home environment (i.e. lead in paint) and color cosmetics including children’s play makeup and face paint.

Many heavy metals have been demonstrated to be harmful to humans. The metals lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic pose some of the biggest risks to health. The effects of heavy metal exposure can include lowered IQ, neurological effects, cancer, headaches, extreme irritability, and kidney, lung and heart damage (Heavy Metals in Makeup, Beautycounter). 

Heavy metals can be particularly problematic for children whose detoxification systems cannot handle the environmental assault of even a minor amount of heavy metals. Neurotoxins like heavy metals can have dramatic effects on a child’s intellectual and physical development (EWG). 

 

HEAVY METALS IN MAKEUP: HOW COMMON IS THIS?

Companies do not intentionally include heavy metals in their makeup yet their ingredients are often contaminated with these harmful compounds. Beautycounter tested several luxury and natural brands’ makeup via third party testing and found that every single product tested had some level of heavy metal in it.

However, heavy metals are frequently found in makeup because they contaminate the colorants that companies use. Whether those colorants are natural ingredients that come from the earth (where heavy metals are present at random and may attach to the intentionally mined ingredients), or whether they are synthetic, heavy metal contamination can be found in both luxury and natural brands (Heavy Metals in Makeup, Beautycounter). 

Currently, the FDA does not require companies to screen, test or limit heavy metals in their cosmetics. If a company discovered dangerous levels of lead in their lipstick, they do NOT have to recall the product. 

 

HOW BEAUTYCOUNTER IS PROTECTING YOU FROM HEAVY METALS 

Beautycounter sends every single color cosmetic to a third-party testing facility during formulation, at the end of formulation AND then during every single production batch going forward.

Beautycounter tests for 12 heavy metals: antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and selenium. Our goal is to achieve non-detectable levels of heavy metals in all of our products, and we have established extremely low level limits for all metals, much lower than Health Canada’s current allowable levels (some of the lowest in the world).

You can feel confident using TRIPLE TESTED products from the only brand I am aware of that screen, tests and reformulates for heavy metals. Beautycounter’s #1 mission is to provide safer products for everyone, which is why we’ve also expanded our lipstick line to compete with long-wearing, high-performance department store lipsticks.

 

 

THE NEW COLOR INTENSE LIPSTICK COLLECTION

Okay, I don’t think I’ve ever been this stoked about lipstick in my LIFE! Our newest makeup line is the Color Intense Lipstick Collection which includes 8 BRAND NEW shades from neutrals to pinks and bold reds – a color for every skin tone!

Here’s a cheat sheet to help you choose the best colors for your skin! Lipsticks are similar to foundation – you should know if you skin is warm, cool or neutral to choose the best shade.

The first safer LONG-WEARING, ONE-SWIPE, GLUTEN-FREE, SOY-FREE, NUT-FREE & VEGAN LIP STICK YES!!

 

 

Safer Sunscreens for Your Family

For almost 3 decades, I slathered coconut-scented drugstore sunscreen all over my body for a good part of the year. When you grow up in Florida and spend as much time outside as I do, protecting yourself from the sun is important. While our beautiful sun provides us necessary vitamin D, boosts mood and regulates circadian rhythms, it can also can premature aging and skin cancer.

Why sun exposure is important for health.

Unprotected sun exposure allows for vitamin D synthesis through a metabolic process that involves the conversion of a vitamin D precursor to the useable form vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 can also be consumed through supplementation but sun exposure is more ideal, if possible. Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to multiple sclerosis, cancer, neurological disorders, decreased immune function, mood disorders and insomnia. Spend a day outside at the beach and note the mental and physical benefits – a better night’s rest and an improved mood almost instantly!

 

Most people with fair to medium skin receive enough vitamin D conversion with 15 to 20 minutes 3 days a week of direct sunlight on 50% or more of skin exposed (i.e. arms, legs & back) during summer months. Darker skin individuals need longer unprotected exposure for similar vitamin D conversion. During fall and winter months, aim for 2x this amount of time 3 days a week at minimum. 

 

But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. We do need to protect our skin from the sun’s UVA rays which are associated with premature skin aging and UVB rays which are associated with the development of skin cancer.

I wear sunscreen when all 3 of these conditions are met:

  • Outside in direct sunlight with minimal clothing (i.e. no hat or long sleeves)
  • Unprotected for longer than 15 to 20 minutes between the hours of 10 am and 4pm
  • During spring and summer months

 

 

What’s in common chemical drugstore sunscreen?

  • Oxybenzone

    • Hormone disruptor that acts like estrogen in our body (i.e. a xenoestrogen)
    • Found in blood, urine & breastmilk samples from American population, meaning it penetrates the skin and infiltrates our circulatory system.
    • Associated with endometriosis in women
    • Alters sperm production in animals
    • High likelihood to cause skin allergy
    • Found in the urine of 97% of Americans when sampled by the CDC

 

  • Octinoxate

    • Found in breastmilk samples from American population, meaning it penetrates the skin and infiltrates our circulatory system
    • Hormone-like activity in the body
    • In animal studies, it alters thyroid, reproductive & behavioral systems
    • Moderate likelihood to cause skin allergy

 

  • Retinyl Palmitate

    • This is a carcinogenic form of vitamin A that speeds the speeds the development of skin cancer when skin is exposed to sunlight… yes you read that right!
    • Vitamin A toxicity can occur if applied in large amounts and repetitively over time.
    • Can form free radicals that contribute to aging

 

  • Fragrance

    • That familiar, noxious “sunscreen” scent may bring up feelings of nostalgic childhood trips to the beach, but it’s actually an unregulated harmful toxic that has been linked to allergies, immune toxicity and dermatitis. Companies don’t have to tell us which chemicals they use in their “fragrance/parfum” which is the most troubling part of it all.

(source: EWG “The Trouble with Oxybenzone“, “The Problem with Vitamin A“)

 

 

A note on SPF: No evidence exists that an SPF of greater than 50 provides a higher level of sun protection. In fact, many sunscreen manufacturers boost the perceived SPF level which only protects against UVB rays without increasing the UVA protection giving consumers a false sense of safety that they are properly protected from both types of rays.

 

 

How to switch your family to safer sunscreen

 

Mineral sunscreens provide quality, long-lasting broad-spectrum protection from premature aging and skin cancer without any of the above potential for toxic harm. Mineral sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, most commonly, and appear slightly white when applied. There is no evidence of hormone disruption from either of these minerals and they are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

 

Not all mineral sunscreens are created equally though. The suspension ingredients in some mineral sunscreens can still include some known harmful toxins that you may not want to put on your skin (and likely in your bloodstream). The trick is to find a company who screens and tests their suspension ingredients for safety like Beautycounter & Badger.

 

beautycounter sunscreen

 

 

BEST BODY SUNSCREEN

Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen

This sunscreen has the lowest hazard rating in EWG’s Skin Deep Database while many of the drugstore brands sit in the avoid-at-all-costs high hazard categories.

 

  • Contains 19% non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UVA & UVB protection that doesn’t penetrate deeper than skin level
  • Unscented (does not contain “fragrance/parfum”)
  • Aloe for hydrating skin
  • Green tea extract and blood orange for neutralizing free radicals
  • Water-resistant: apply every 40 minutes for best protection
  • Lightweight and very easy to blend
  • Safe to use on adults and children

 

I use all of Beautycounter’s Sunscreen products on myself and my daughter. I used to break out in a fine, red skin rash from drugstore sunscreens (likely from the oxybenzone) and am happy to report, I have not experienced a single reaction from these products! Neither my daughter nor I have burned while using them either!

 

 

face sunscreen beautycounter

 

BEST FACE SUNSCREEN

Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen

This sunscreen is easily portable, easy to apply to the hard to reach places like ears, the back of youDonr neck, and shoulders AND it smells amazing (just a little like fruit and cocoa butter). I keep it in my diaper bag and one in my stroller so that I am always able to protect myself and my daughter from overexposure!

 

  • Contains the same non-nano zinc oxide as their body sunscreen
  • Suspended with shea butter, coconut oil and fruit oils to help hydrate the skin and make the sunscreen easy to apply and blend
  • Can be worn under or over makeup daily
  • Easily applied by children
  • Easy to apply to babies without excessive rubbing on their delicate skin

 

 

Don’t forget to also use non-sunscreen sun protective measures such as wearing hats, sunglasses, long-sleeve rashguards for infants and toddlers and seeking shade whenever possible. If you or your child does get a sunburn, I have found the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm to be super helpful in soothing and clearing up burns quickly. Just apply as a moisturizer and leave on overnight.

 

 

UNTIL APRIL 30TH, 2017: Purchase a Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen & receive a free deluxe travel size product of your choice. Be sure to choose your free product at checkout when it prompts you!