Is Your Sunscreen Protecting You?

It won't be long until we're sitting at the pool or by the beach again. The good news is that sunscreen has gotten a lot safer in the past decade. The bad news is that a whopping 75% of sunscreens tested by the consumer watchdog Environmental Working Group still offer inadequate protection and/or harmful ingredients, including retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.

Some new regulations passed by the FDA have banned false claims like “waterproof” and “sweatproof”. Don’t be duped by false marketing claims, of which there are many in the skin care industry!

My FAVORITE sunscreen is endorsed by the Environmental Working Group, safe for kids, adults, and coral reefs! Find it here.

Packing your swim bag doesn’t need to cause you stress, though. Here are some guidelines:

  1. The convenience is unbeatable, but avoid spray sunscreens due to proven inhalation risk and inadequate coverage.
  2. Go for mineral-only sunscreen featuring zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  3. Avoid sky-high SPF claims, which do not offer superior protection.
  4. Choose both UVA AND UVB protection.
  5. Avoid Vitamin A in the form of retinal palmitate, a common sunscreen additive thought to actually increase skin tumors and lesions.
  6. Avoid Oxybenzone, which is linked to hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.
  7. Avoid the ingredient “Fragrance”, which is often used to mask the chemicalized odor of sunscreen. Fragrance is a very dangerous ingredient in any skin care product.  

Here are all of the sunscreens recommended by the Environmental Working Group. Among them, THIS is my favorite brand. The lotion and stick both give excellent protection, glide on easily, won't leave a pasty, white, or chalky residue. Plus, you’ll love the light, fresh scent.

Air Pollution INSIDE Your Home

You’ll be surprised to learn that the air quality inside your home, even the cleanest home, is terribly polluted! In fact, the Environmental Protect Agency says indoor air pollution can be 50x worse, and even up to 100 times more polluted than the outdoor air of heavily populated cities like Los Angeles! The EPA has even ranked indoor air pollution among it’s top five public health dangers.   

Get my unexpected, even surprising tips to clean the air inside your home in the video below.

The Secret to Detoxing Without Food Rules

Is “getting healthier” one of your goals (aka losing weight, eating more vegetables, working out, sleeping more, more water, etc)? Odds are that one of these are on your list. 

Those of us in the over 40 crowd are focused on slowing the aging process, feeling good, and staying mentally fit. Whether you know it or not, many of the changes we make are in an effort to reduce our toxin load, so that our organs and cells, etc. work optimally to achieve these results. 

There are three primary ways that toxins can get inside us: ingestion, inhalation, and absorption. When we talk about chemicals in pesticides or plastics and food packaging, we're mostly talking about things we ingest. 

But absorption, and even inhalation, are major pathways. In fact, absorption is potent because we absorb chemicals into the bloodstream first, before they eventually make their way to the liver to be processed, if possible.

Absorption happens through the skin, which is our largest organ. Our skin doesn’t absorb absolutely everything that touches it, but it absorbs quite a bit. Imagine soap, lotion, sanitizer, shaving oils, gels, and creams, deodorant, body spray, and perfume. And while I wish I it wasn’t true, most of the products we find at high-end department stores and cheap drugstores are not well-regulated or tested for safety. Therefore, the amount of toxic chemicals that our skin absorbs is virtually unregulated.

A 2004 study by the Environmental Working Group found that 89% of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution. The FDA doesn’t require companies to test their products, or share safety testing if they do. In fact, according to the FDA, “...a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” 

So, we get to be the watchdogs. Now, I’m not a trained chemist, and odds are that you aren’t either. I wish we could trust the industry scientists and experts to be our watchdogs, but for the most part, their interests are quite different than ours. In fact, the personal care industry lobby pushes pretty hard to stay under the radar of regulations. 

Thanks to some extra pressure this past year, from environmental and human health organizations and Beautycounter, the FDA more than doubled the number of banned substances from 11 - 30. We’re a long way off from the EU who’s banned 1400 or Beautycounter who has banned 1500 from its products (Check out their “Never List” to know what’s best to avoid.) Small strides, but forward movement anyway. Here are the 19 that were added in 2016

Without geeking out too much on the safety of specific ingredients, there are a few things you should know in order to detox some harmful chemicals from your system. 

  1. Eating organic while slathering chemicals all over your skin, your largest organ, is cray-cray! 
  2. Women use an average of 12 personal care products containing 168 unique chemical ingredients every single day. Men use about 6, which contain about 85 chemicals every single day.
  3. Many chemicals used in personal care products are known or suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals, allergens, neurotoxins, and/or carcinogens. Really.
  4. Removing chemicals for just a few days greatly reduces their prevalence in your bloodstream. In fact, Good Morning America did an experiment testing just how long it took in this short segment.
  5. Start by avoiding ingredients listed as fragrance, perfume, parfum, and parabens. Here are 1498 other ingredients to avoid.

 


More about Beautycounter: 

Beautycounter (as in counter to the rest of the personal care industry and their lobbyists) is working hard in Washington to effect change. Beautycounter is moving the market by asking chemical companies to provide data on the chemicals they make and are truly pioneering the future of safe products.

It's a movement that has been so exciting and fulfilling to be part of! The caliber of passionate women (and a few passionate men) that I get to collaborate with has been the best surprise! And the ever-growing paycheck is the cherry on top. 

 

Take the Job

Why I took the job and think you should too! 

Consultants just received a beautiful, thoughtful, eloquent video from CEO & Founder of Beautycounter, Gregg Renfrew.

Instead of giving the usual weekly update, she spoke to the election. She encouraged us all to reach out, be kind, connect, and find common values. She celebrated the fact that as a democracy, we are entitled to our own beliefs and values.

But she also spoke to the inevitable truth which is that the senate is no longer moving in Beautycounter's favor. This means that our battle for safer personal care products is an even steeper climb.

So - to try to take some action on another one of Gregg's inspiring messages - I'm asking you: If you believe in safer cosmetics and personal care products, if you believe in this mission: Take the Job. Become a part of our team. We can do so much more together. And together is what we need, now more than ever.

I've never been more proud to work with Beautycounter.

Tips for Radiant Skin in the Fall

If you are packing away your shorts and flip-flops, it’s also time to update your skincare routine to match the changing weather. A change of season typically means a change in the way skin behaves. The cooler, windy weather of Fall coupled with the drying effects of heated air, mean we need to treat our skin differently to avoid dryness, breakouts, and lackluster skin. Fall is the season to focus on renewing, moisturizing, and protecting. With a few simple updates, you can have glowing skin in the Fall and Winter too! 

 

  1. Exfoliate with an oil-based scrub - Exfoliating is imperative for repairing and brightening the complexion. Use an oil-based exfoliator to even skin discoloration (such as sun spots and acne scars), remove dull, tired, dry skin and encourage fresher, plumper cells to form. Exfoliating occasionally will give your skin a flawless finish. For the face use a gentle exfoliator 1-2x per week. Avoid those plastic micro-beads, and look for an oil-based exfoliator with jojoba esters, such as Beautycounter’s Nourishing Cream ExfoliatorIt’s okay to exfoliate your body more often than your face. I love brown sugar scrubs for my body, especially one like this that’s in a mineral-rich blend of oils. 
  2. Ditch the soap - Choose a creamier cleanser for your face and body. For the face, I love a cleanser that does everything and is safe for my skin, my body, and the environment. I use the Nourishing Cream Cleanser  because it’s lightweight yet deeply moisturizing, and contains witch hazel to tone skin, and coconut oil and aloe to help hydrate. (Even if you have oily skin, your skin will benefit and become less oily by using an oil based cleanser.) For my body, I rely on a body wash that is rich in marula and mongongo oils, ingredients that help soften and protect skin while sealing in moisture. My skin has never felt so soft!   
  3. Turn up your moisturizer - Switching from a lotion to a cream for the colder months is critical to focus on repairing from the effects of the harsh summer sun, moisturizing, and protecting against environmental toxins and the drying weather. In the same way that your body craves different foods in the different seasons, so does your skin. On my face I use the Nourishing Cream (AM) , Rejuvenating Night Cream (PM),  and I lather my body in mongongo oil by using the Enrich Body Butter. This is the only product that has helped my husband’s winter-time itchy legs. 
  4. Protect your lips - When you are out in the elements, keep your lips nourished and protected. I recommend this long-lasting, shea butter-and-avocado-oil-packed, hydrating powerhouse, because it works super well under lipstick too. Must be why Glamour named it Best Natural Beauty Product of 2016! Order here.
  5. Help your hands - My guess is that your hands are always helping others. Give them some love too. Use gentle cleanser and moisturizers during the day, and also treat them to overnight treatments regularly. I recommend this hand wash and cream. Our powerhouse product, Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm, is a winner, not only for the face, but for your hands too! It’s a great overnight treatment (face and hands, plus it works great on my cuticles!) Plus, it’s on sale through September!! 

Making Back-to-School Count

Making Back-to-School Count

Do you, like me, fantasize about how you’d like things to be better or different this school year? Have you thought, “I’m going to get up earlier for some me-time” or “I’m going to make time to exercise this year?” or “I’m going to use the school time better and …(maybe find a job or start a business)"

Let’s use this Back-to-School momentum to make real, positive change that sticks. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.