Argan Oil Must-Haves

Tuesday, November 24, 2015



I've been writing about the benefits of Argan Oil for years.




Are you using skincare products made with argan oil? If not, you may be missing out. Less known than coconut oil or jojoba oil, argan is truly a special oil. Argan oil itself contains more antioxidant and cell regenerative properties than olive oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil combined.


When applied to the skin, it absorbs quickly, and without an oily film, leaving behind a silky and satiny feel. It also works beautifully to restore shine and lustre to the hair.

Argan oil is commonly referred to as "liquid" gold -- and with good reason. Not just a filler, argan oil provides the skin with many nutrients and a whole list of benefits.

Argan the protector.

Argan oil is rich in phenols, making it a protective oil. It contains 200% more Vitamin E than olive oil. Argan is not just nourishing, it's a potent antioxidant and can effectively fend off free radical damage.


Need moisture? Look no further.

Argan oil is highly moisturizing. It is rich in Omega 6 fatty acids to help plump the skin, boost moisture levels and give a supple and healthy appearance. Choose a facial moisturizer or serum with argan oil to ease dryness (try Beautycounter Lustro Face Oil 1). You will be happy to discover that argan hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy film like other oils often do.


Slower skin aging? Yes, please!

Argan oil may make your skin look younger. Abundant in vitamins to improve skin elasticity, argan also boasts something called Triterpens, which aid in cell restructuring and can slow down the cell aging process. Because of the regenerating properties, your skin will benefit from hydrating products with argan oil. My go-to? Perfectly Posh As Good As Gold Argan Oil Skin Stick. It's the best $13 you will ever spend!


Could this oil help combat acne?

Argan oil may even fight acne, as many believe that it is not only antiseptic, but anti-bacterial as well. It's light and fast-absorbing and will not clog the pores.


Reduce inflammation with argan oil.

Argan oil may help fight inflammation. Evidence suggests that, when applied topically, argan oil may reduce pain, itching and swelling associated with various skin ailments.

We've only begun to hear about the many skincare benefits of argan oil. It seems like new research appears every few months promoting more and more benefits -- but it's not just limited to the skin these days.


What about argan oil in beauty products?

Yes! You will find many cosmetics out there now formulated with argan oil. My new favorite argan beauty item is also my NEW FAVORITE MASCARA! I have been using a new paraben-free mascara the past couple months and I love it so much that I just ordered another. If you have been reading over the years, you will know that this rarely happens. If you have not yet tried it, do yourselves a favor and try the Pur Minerals Big Look Mascara lengthens, thickens, and conditions without irritation, smudging or clumping. It's a winner!




Need a gift idea for the beauty junkie? Head to Sephora for the Josie Maran Whimsical Wonder Argan Oil Color Essentials boxed set.




*Sources:

Guillaume D, Charrouf Z. Argan oil and other argan products: use in dermocosmetology. The European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. 2011;113(4):403–408.

Rawlings AV, Matts PJ. Stratum corneum moisturization at the molecular level: an update in relation to the dry skin cycle. J Invest Dermatol. 2005;124(6):1099–1110.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303768104577460504019108684

Samantha's Bellafill Journey: Part 2

Friday, November 20, 2015


Editor's Note: This is part 2 in a special series featuring a reader's journey with Bellafill -- an acne scar treatment performed by select dermatologists. Thank you to Bellafill for providing this treatment to our blog reader, and thank you to Samantha for sharing your experience!


Hello again! Samantha here for part two of my Bellafill® journey. It has been a crazy couple of months for me with my wedding happening and all my family in town!

Since my last blog post, I went in to Dr. Sabini for my first round of treatment with Bellafill® for my acne scars. My skin test came back negative so I was ready to go! Going into the treatment appointment I was very nervous mostly because I have never had any type of cosmetic injection before. Upon arriving, I was greeted by a very sweet nurse. She put some numbing cream on my face and gave me some ice to place on my face for about ten minutes. I have a feeling they normally don't do this, but she saw how nervous I was and offered it to comfort me. Dr. Sabini was very thorough and injected every scar on my cheeks that she could see as being a fit for Bellafill® treatment. Remember, Bellafill® treatment is only approved for facial rolling acne scars. I do have a few ice pick scars, which look like little holes, but not many. Bellafill® is not for these ice pick scars.


Before she injected each scar, Dr. Sabini would gently break up the existing scar tissue with the needle. This is to help Bellafill® more evenly fill in the scar. It was not as painful as I expected it to be, just a little uncomfortable. The whole process took about an hour, at most. I left the office and drove home just fine. My face did bruise and swell slightly at some of the injection sights, but this only lasted a day or two. Overall, I am extremely happy with this process so far! My wedding date was back in September, and I could see a major difference in my skin just a couple of weeks after the treatment.


I am excited to see how much more my skin will improve throughout the course of my treatment. Dr. Sabini said the appearance of my acne scarring will be less noticeable as time goes on. It should only take one or two more treatments to achieve optimal results, and she is confident they will almost all be gone. Stay tuned for more in my next blog about my second treatment! :)

Debunking a popular internet beauty myth

Thursday, November 19, 2015

If you have been reading for any of these 8.5 years, you know that I try to link to scientific studies and peer-reviewed articles to substantiate any worries about ingredients. I used to fall for fear mongering. We've talked about this before. I once took the Cosmetics Database as the gospel. As a new mom and as someone who'd just lost a loved one to cancer, I wanted to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to protect my family from being more likely to develop cancer down the road.




And then I took my blinders off and came down to earth and and remembered that EVIDENCE and FACTS are stronger than fear and hysteria. Before I express a concern over an ingredient or product, you will see that I link to sources or mention studies. I am not talking about quoting Mercola, Food Babe or Natural News -- but actual, factual science in terms of peer-reviewed articles and studies.

Just because your cousin's friend's neighbor's stepmother read on Facebook that something is "toxic" does not make it true.

Today I am starting a weekly series on some of the claims floating around social media and the blogosphere that we should examine. Today is the first of many of these in-depth looks at scary claims.


Claim: "It only takes 26 seconds for the ingredients in your skincare products to be absorbed into your bloodstream."

You've seen this claim floating around Facebook and on blogs in colorful memes. It sure sounds scary, doesn't it?

Do not worry, friends, as this is just a MYTH.

To quote the ladies on the popular Esurance commercial, "That's not how it works! That's not how any of this works!”

When it comes to penetration, the 26 seconds claim is not how things work. In fact, there is no scientific data to back this claim, which seems to have originated on an organic health and beauty blog a few years back. The claim has spread like wildfire, but just because you read it on the internet does not make it true. By the way, the "Your body absorbs 60% of what you apply to your skin" is NOT backed by any peer-reviewed studies or other forms of credible science either.

A little skin primer


  • Our skin is made up of three layers. The epidermis is the outer layer that we see and feel each day. The dermis is the layer of living tissue found underneath the epidermis. It has hair follicles, nerve endings, sweat glands, etc. The hypodermis is also known as the subcutaneous fat layer. This is where fat is stored, body temp is controlled, and this is where the upper layers of your skin are attached to muscle and bone.

Some Skincare Facts

A bit of confusion to clear up

Part of the trouble out there is that the words penetration and absorption tend to be used interchangeably. The problem is, these are NOT the same thing.

Let's break it down. Start with a topically applied skincare product. Let's say a body lotion for the sake of this post. You rub that lotion into your skin and what happens? Skin penetration signifies the amount of the topically applied chemical (remember, everything is a chemical) that is between the top and bottom layers of the epidermis. At this stage, the chemical is not absorbed into the body.

On the other hand, skin absorption is when the ingredients get through the skin barrier and into the bloodstream. At this time, it is either filtered out when you go to the bathroom or is let to accumulate.

  • Some ingredients can  penetrate deeply into these layers. Some don't actually penetrate the skin at all. An example of this would be nanoparticles, which are often vilified. 
  • There are many factors that have an impact on whether or not something will penetrate the skin. These include whether an ingredient is water or oil soluble and its molecular size and weight to name just a couple.
  • Most ingredients do NOT actually absorb. They have molecules that are just too large or are only water soluble. They sit on the outer layer and cannot get any deeper into the skin.
  • When it comes to ingredients like retinol, ingredients called penetration enhancers are used so the active ingredients will be able to deeply penetrate the skin.
  • Let's talk about what happens when a skincare ingredient only penetrates the upper layers of your skin. In this case, it does not get absorbed into your bloodstream. These ingredients ultimately accumulate and are naturally sloughed off in the form of dead skin cells.
  • Even when an ingredient does manage to penetrate deeply and get absorbed into your bloodstream, your body will almost always flush it out thanks to the natural "detox" function of your kidneys.

The Bottom Line

Yes, we should be mindful to choose products with wholesome ingredients. However, there is so much misinformation out there. Science matters. Much of what you read on the internet condemning ingredients is written by people with ZERO background in formulation, chemistry, skincare, health, etc. Be wary -- do your own research -- and look for science. Research the websites from which you are gathering your info.



Sources:

C.L. Gummer,R.S. Hinz,H.I. Maibach; The skin penetration cell: a design update, International Journal of Pharmaceutics.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23722409

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19401210

http://www.wellsphere.com/general-medicine-article/do-cosmetic-ingredients-really-absorb-into-the-blood-stream-in-26-seconds/1940812

International Journal of Pharmaceutics 06/2014; 472(1-2).

http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc1969/cc020n08/p00487-p00499.pdf

http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/01/the-impermeable-facts-of-skin-penetration-and-absorption/

The Hypoallergenic Myth

Tuesday, November 17, 2015






HYPOALLERGENIC.

It's a popular, official sounding term, isn't it? It is meaningless, though -- doing nothing other than providing customers with a false sense of safety. "Hypoallergenic" implies that a product is less likely to cause a skin reaction, but science tells us that, in many cases, these claims are truly false.

“The FDA does not regulate or define the term hypoallergenic,” says Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at Baylor and director of Baylor’s Contact Dermatitis Clinic.

There is NO regulation, nor are there any federal definitions or standards when it comes to hypoallergenic. In fact, hypoallergenic can essentially mean whatever a company wants it to mean.

When a company claims that their product is hypoallergenic, they do not have to submit any research or documentation to substantiate that their product is hypoallergenic.

MYTH: Here is a quote from a "hypoallergenic" skincare brand's website: "Hypoallergenic products do not contain allergens." 


TRUTH: This is nonsense.


 Here is what Co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Stacy Malkan, says about this-- "People think 'hypoallergenic' means there are no allergens. That is just not the case." 

If you have ever had an adverse reaction to a product, you know all too well the redness, itching and irritation associated with that experience. Unfortunately, companies use that as an angle to market their products and provide a false sense of trust that their product is safer for you.

Do not fall for this. Anything can cause an allergic response. There is no regulation of this marketing buzzword and it is just a gimmick leading consumers to spend more money on their products.

Let's talk "hypoallergenic" skincare.


Many of the products on store shelves labeled as hypoallergenic contain the most well-known irritants there are.

Researchers at Loma Linda University School of Medicine confirmed that products bearing the hypoallergenic label, especially those marketed at children, actually contain common allergens. In fact, of the products they studied, 89% contained one or more chemical known to cause contact dermatitis.

When one examines the ingredients found in "hypoallergenic" skincare, it is troubling. For example, Methyisothiasolinone, a common preservative, was found in more than ten percent of the "hypoallergenic" products tested by Loma Linda researchers. For those unfamiliar with this preservative, it is one of the most irritating ingredients used in skincare and was named "Allergen of the Year" in 2013 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Another ingredient known to cause an allergic response: fragrance -- both synthetic and those which are natural, such as essential oils. Fragrance can be highly allergenic, yet there are companies hawking their "hypoallergenic" products formulated with large amounts of fragrance.


One such product with this claim is Musti Eau de Soin Spray. It is a "hypoallergenic" perfume with the following ingredients:



AQUA, PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, PARFUM, GLYCERIN, SODIUM BENZOATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, TARTARIC ACID, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA FLOWER EXTRACT, MEL EXTRA


The third ingredient is parfum. It also contains chamomile. While I am in no way suggesting chamomile is bad - it's not - it is actually a common allergen. I find it quite disturbing, though, that this brand markets the product as hypoallergenic and with instructions that say, "Musti can be used from the day your baby is born." Babies do not need perfume. Babies don't need the above ingredients sprayed on them from day one. Why on earth risk baby's extremely delicate skin?


Mustela, which makes Musti, isn't the only brand marketing so-called hypoallergenic products to parents of young children. 

Johnson's Baby Lotion claims to by "hypoallergenic" as well. While this formula is now paraben free, Johnson's should really know better than to say that their lotion (silicone + petrochemicals) is hypoallergenic. FYI, here are the ingredients:


Water, Isopropyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Mineral Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Fragrance, Carbomer, P-Anisic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Red 33

It's just not those two brands. Burt's Bees is also guilty of making this claim. They market their Baby Bee products as hypoallergenic, when they very clearly contain ingredients more likely to cause a response. 

Here is a look at their Baby Bee Shampoo & Body Wash:

Aqua (water, eau), decyl glucoside, coco-betaine, lauryl glucoside, sucrose laurate, glycerin, parfum (fragrance), betaine, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, sodium chloridexanthan gum, glucose, citric acid, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, limonene

Again, understand that I am not calling these products unsafe, bad, or that you should not ever use them. I am saying that these contain artificial fragrance and other ingredients known to cause contact dermatitis.

Be an informed consumer. Do not fall for meaningless marketing gimmicks. Much like "chemical free", "dermatologist tested", "non-comedogenic" and other popular buzzwords, you need to be an ingredients detective!


Here are some of the most common allergens in skincare. Some may surprise you!


Fragrance
Parabens
Sodium Laureth/Laureth Sulfate
Essential Oils 
Triethanolamine
Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives: Quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, bronopol
Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
Lanolin
Kathon CG (the preservatives methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone)




Sources:



    Zirwas, M. J., & Stechschulte, S. A. (2008). Moisturizer Allergy: Diagnosis and Management. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology1(4), 38–44.


    Kenneth A. Arndt, Jeffrey T. S. Hsu. Manual of Dermatologic Therapeutics

    University of Gothenburg. "Even Natural Perfumes May Cause Allergies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2009.


    Wallace DV. Pet dander and perennial allergic rhinitis: Therapeutic options. Allergy Asthma Proc 30:573–583, 2009.

    European Commission. 2013. Cosing, the European Commission database with information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. Accessed on March 1, 2013 at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/ .

    Löffler H, Pirker C, Aramaki J, Frosch P, Happle R, I. E. Evaluation of skin susceptibility to irritancy by routine patch testing with sodium lauryl sulfate. Eur J Dermatol. 2001;11(5):416-9.

    Foti C, Bonamonte D, Mascolo G, Corcelli A, Lobasso S, Rigano L, et al. 2003. The role of 3-dimethylaminopropylamine and amidoamine in contact allergy to cocamidopropylbetaine. Contact Dermatitis 48(4): 194-8.

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