The Importance of Hats for Sun Protection: The Brim of the Matter

We all know that a hat protects you from the sun, but

did you know for

every 1 inch of brim to your hat = a 10% lower risk of skin cancer to your face!

Ditch the baseball cap, look for brims that go all the way around the hat. Bonus many hats now offer added UPF protection, the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating system measures the UV protection provided by fabric.


Siggi Bucket Boonie Cord Fishing Beach Cap Summer Sun Hat Wide Brim for Women UPF50+


Simplicity Women’s Summer UPF 50+ Roll Up Floppy Beach Hat with Ribbon


Coolibar UPF 50+ Men’s Shapeable Outback Sun Hat – Sun Protective


Coolibar UPF 50+ Men’s Fairway Golf Hat – Sun Protective

Dragon’s Blood in Skin Care – Not Derived from Fantastical Creatures! But Does Amazing Things to Your Skin!

Dragon’s blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. The red resin has been in continuous use since ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye.

Dragon’s blood(Daemomorops draco) crushed incense and ground apothecary’s or pigment grade. Photo: Andy DingleyDragon’s blood resin is also produced from the rattan palms of the genus Daemonorops of the Indonesian islands and known there as jerang or djerang. It is gathered by breaking off the layer of red resin encasing the unripe fruit of the rattan. The collected resin is then rolled into solid balls before being sold.

The dragon’s blood known to the ancient Romans was mostly collected from D. cinnabari, and is mentioned in the 1st century Periplus (30: 10. 17) as one of the products of Socotra. Socotra had been an important trading centre since at least the time of the Ptolemies. Dragon’s blood was used as a dye, painting pigment, and medicine (respiratory and gastrointestinal problems) in the Mediterranean basin, and was held by early Greeks, Romans, and Arabs to have medicinal properties. Dioscorides and other early Greek writers described its medicinal uses.

Locals of Moomy city on Socotra island use the Dracaena resin as a sort of cure-all, using it for such things as general wound healing, a coagulant (though this is ill-advised with commercial products, as the Daemonorops species acts as an anti-coagulant and it is usually unknown what species the dragon’s blood came from), curing diarrhea, lowering fevers, dysentery diseases, taken internally for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach, as well as an antiviral for respiratory viruses, stomach viruses and for skin disorders such as eczema.

When applied topically, the sap dries quickly to form a barrier, much like a second skin. This protective shield helps regenerate the skin and prevents further damage with its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antioxidant qualities. Defending the skin against oxidative free radicals, it may ward off genetic alteration within the DNA of the skin cells. It also has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to stimulate human skin fibroblasts, which ultimately helps to heal the skin when marred by acne or injury. It is ideal for sensitive or stressed skin to plump out fine lines and protect from the elements whilst hydrating the deepest layers of the skin and reduce redness.

Dragon’s blood contains phytochemicals including proanthocyanidins (antioxidants), diterpenes, phytosterols, and simple phenols. Alkaloids apsine and a lignan named dimethylcedrusine. which actually repair collagen, the lattice-like main protein that makes up much of our tissues. Additionally, Dragon’s blood contains taspine, a known tissue-healing agent it has been documented to have anti-inflammatory and wound-healing actions, and when combined with the proanthocyanidins, also shows anti-viral activities.

Though each component plays a beneficial role, it is the combination of elements within dragon’s blood that makes it so special. In a Belgian lab test on rats, dimethylcedrusine, pycnogenol, and tapsine all were shown to effectively heal skin lesions. But the crude resin of dragon’s blood was shown to speed healing four times faster (or 10-20 times faster than using nothing at all). Unlike its isolated chemicals, dragon’s blood was able to stimulate the contraction of wounds, help in the formation of a scab at the wound site, regenerate skin more rapidly, and assist in the formation of new collagen.

In 2007, researchers in China identified eight new flavonoids and 14 known compounds in dragon’s blood extract. After pitting the dragon’s blood compounds in test tubes against ulcer-causing H. pylori bacertia and thromin (a blood-clotting agent), the scientists discovered that many of the compounds were successful at combatting these bacteria. Once additional experiments lab experiments verify these findings, dragon’s blood may eventually be prescribed to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Today, practitioners are reporting that preparations made with dragon’s blood have shown to be beneficial for stomach ulcers, ulverative colitis, and Crohn’s disease when taken internally. In the Amazon it is used in primary first aid.

Photo: Maša Sinreih in Valentina Vivod

Chocolate as a Skin Care Ingredient!

source tumblr

A study in the Journal of Nutrition gave women high or low flavanol powder dissolved in water and discovered that flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light, help protect and increase blood flow to the skin and improve skin’s hydration and complexion [Source: Journal of Nutrition].

Check out few outstanding benefits of dark chocolate for skin here:

Contains antioxidants protect your skin from free radical damage and uv rays.

Has skin toning and brightening caffeine.

Has stress-relieving qualities reducing elevated stress hormones that can cause breakouts and dull skin, as well as anti-inflamatories.

Boosts blood circulation giving your skin a healthy glow and the scalp which may help your hair.

Making Homemade?

Keep in mind……..

Store bought chocolate may contain salt or sugar particles with jagged edges that can scratch your skin as well as other ingredients added to the chocolate. Look for pure coco powder the darker the chocolate the better!

Mask:  Mix plain yogurt with dark chocolate powder and a small amount of oil (ex. olive, sesame, rice bran, or almond).

Eating Chocolate:

From a brand of scientifically designed chocolate called Esthechoc; accordinging to the brand their chocolate does the following:

A 7.5-gram piece of the seemingly magic chocolate packs in more antioxidants than 100 grams of regular dark chocolate and 300 grams of Alaskan salmon. During clinical trials, 50- to 60-year-old participants ate a piece a day of the 70 percent dark chocolate “Esthechoc” and watched it boost blood supply and reduce inflammation to the skin within four weeks — resulting in healthier skin. Sugar levels are low enough for it to be safe for diabetics, and each piece of edible goodness adds up to only 38 calories, making it a safe choice for moderate consumption.

Guess what just eating a small piece of regular store bought dark chocolate still has a lot of health benefits too!

My Must Haves This Month!

2015-06-30 22.13.26

Laura Mercier Paint

Wash Liquid Colour

2015-06-30 22.15.55

Yves Saint Laurent Volupté


2015-06-30 22.18.10

Sephora Teint Infusion Ethereal

Natural Finish Foundation

2015-06-30 22.18.42

Artis Elite Mirror Collection

Make Up Brushes

2015-06-30 22.23.33

Perricone Chloro Plasma

2015-06-30 22.26.00

IBM Repair Gel Polish

2015-06-30 22.35.25

Onomie Bright Concealing Elixir

2015-06-30 22.38.25

Revlon Photoready Kajal

Matte Eye Pencil, Matte Marine

2015-06-30 22.38.31

Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over!

Hydrating Gel Facial Moisturizer

2015-06-30 22.38.36

Bioré Combination Skin

Balancing Cleanser

2015-06-30 22.42.50

Les Senteurs Gourmandes

Eau de Parfum, Vanille Violette

2015-06-30 23.07.29

Sumigaki Japanese

Charcoal Toothpaste

Algenist Genius Ultimate

Anti-Aging Bi-Phase Peel

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour

Skintuitive Blush, Energy


My Favorite Products of the Month ~ June!


Living Proof Perfect

Hair Day Night Cap

Overnight Perfector

– it’s amazing!

Sephora PRO Kabuki

Contouring Brush 82

Kiko Milano Lasting Colour

Eyeshadow Cream Crush 04

Too Faced Melted Liquifed

Long Wear Lipstick

Melted Chihuahua

MAC Lipglass Lychee Luxe

L’Occitane Vanille &

Narisse Eau du Toilette 

Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte

Eau de Toilette 

Peter Thomas Roth

Camu Camu C x 30

Vitamin C Brightening

Sleeping Mask

– apply a tiny bit it

dispenses way too

much, gently pat on!

EOS  Shave Cream

Skin Care Ingredient: Menthol – Do We Really Need That Icy Tingle?

Menthol Crystals

What is it?

It is an organic compound made synthetically or obtained from corn mint, peppermint,  other mints, eucalyptus and pennyroyal; it is a compound made from herbal volatile oils (technically an alcohol). It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above.

Menthol’s ability to chemically trigger the cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin is responsible for the well-known cooling sensation it provokes when inhaled, eaten, or applied to the skin. In this sense, it is similar to capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the spiciness of hot chilis (which stimulates heat sensors, also without causing an actual change in temperature).

Menthol’s analgesic properties are mediated through a selective activation of κ-opioid receptors. Menthol also blocks voltage-sensitive sodium channels, reducing neural activity that may stimulate muscles. A study showed that topical absorption of ibuprofen is not increased by menthol, but does note the complementary effect of the menthol as a pain reliever itself.

Some Uses:
  • In nonprescription products for short-term relief of minor sore throat and minor mouth or throat irritation.
    • Examples: lip balms and cough medicines.
  • As an antipruritic to reduce itching.
  • As a topical analgesic, it is used to relieve minor aches and pains, such as muscle cramps, sprains, headaches and similar conditions, alone or combined with chemicals such as camphor, eucalyptus oil or capsaicin. In Europe, it tends to appear as a gel or a cream, while in the U.S., patches and body sleeves are very frequently used.
    • Examples: Tiger Balm, or IcyHot patches or knee/elbow sleeves.
  • In decongestants for chest and sinuses (cream, patch or nose inhaler).
    • Examples: Vicks VapoRub, Mentholatum, vapoRem.
  • In certain medications used to treat sunburns, as it provides a cooling sensation (then often associated with aloe).
  • In aftershave products to relieve razor burn.
  • As a smoking tobacco additive in some cigarette brands, for flavor, and to reduce throat and sinus irritation sometimes caused by smoking. Menthol also increases nicotine receptor density, increasing the addictive potential of tobacco products.
  • Commonly used in oral hygiene products and bad-breath remedies, such as mouthwash, toothpaste, mouth and tongue-spray, and more generally as a food flavor agent; e.g., in chewing gum, candy.
  • In a soda to be mixed with water it is used to obtain a very low alcohol drink or pure (brand Ricqlès which contains 80% alcohol in France); the alcohol is also used to alleviate nausea, in particular motion sickness, by pouring a few drops on a lump of sugar.
  • As a pesticide against tracheal mites of honey bees.
  • In perfumery, menthol is used to prepare menthyl esters to emphasize floral notes (especially rose).
  • In first aid products such as “mineral ice” to produce a cooling effect as a substitute for real ice in the absence of water or electricity (pouch, body patch/sleeve or cream).
  • In various patches ranging from fever-reducing patches applied to children’s foreheads to “foot patches” to relieve numerous ailments (the latter being much more frequent and elaborate in Asia, especially Japan: some varieties use “functional protrusions”, or small bumps to massage ones feet as well as soothing them and cooling them down).
  • In some beauty products such as hair conditioners, based on natural ingredients (e.g., St. Ives).
  • As an antispasmodic and smooth muscle relaxant in upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

The Good:

When it comes to skincare, menthol can reduce redness and increase circulation to invigorate dull, tired complexions. Acts as an anti-irritant and leaves your skin feeling tingly and cool. Menthol can also be an analgesic (pain killer), local anesthetic, or decongestant. It can aid digestion, treat sunburn, and even fight bad breath.
It carries a score of 1 on the EWG website

The Bad:

If you have sensitive skin, be careful not to overdo it on the menthol. It is an alcohol and can, in some cases, cause mild irritation or skin dehydration. It is an allergen to some as well. If your skin is really sensitive, look for L-Menthyl Lactate, a combination of menthol and lactic acid, which is less irritating but comes with the same cooling, calming effect.

Great Article on Menthol by Future Derm

Kakadu Plums The New “It” Skincare Ingredient!

Terminalia ferdinandiana, also called the gubingebillygoat plumKakadu plum or murunga, is a flowering plant native to Australia.


Its vitamin C concentration may be as high as 1000–5300 mg/100g 


That’s 55 Xs the vitamin C than oranges!

It was used as a traditional medicine for the treatment of numerous ailments. The fruits were eaten by Australian Aborigines on long treks or hunting trips and were considered more valuable as a medicine rather than as a food. The inner bark of the tree was used to treat a variety of skin disorders and infections including wounds, sores and boils.



Together, with other antioxidants (like vitamin e and lutein), minerals (like zinc and iron to name a few!), bioactivs and gallic and ellagic acids (which have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties), it’s no surprise many brands have included it as a key ingredient in their products.


Charcoal: Why Use This Onyx Skin Savior!

Charcoal this messy wonder is to many of us is associated with many things: art, cooking, camping, fireplaces, fuel, and trains. However charcoal is also used for purification and skincare.  I know not the first thing you would to put on your face when there are much more glamorous ingredients out there to use.
Why bother?
Black Charcoal
Activated Charcoal
White Charcoal


Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores


Charcoal may be activated to increase its effectiveness as a filter. Activated charcoal readily adsorbs a wide range of organic compounds dissolved or suspended in gases and liquids. Activated carbon is used in water purification, medicine, and air filters. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Because of its natural detoxifying properties, it can be used to whiten teeth, remove poisons from your body, and cleanse!
Charcoal is a clear winner for absorbing oil and debris from pores on your face and body.
It is known to absorb 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities.
There isn’t a lot of clinical data for the use of charcoal on the skin, its been used for thousands of years and from my own personal use on my skin only I find it to be effective. See a medical professional if you want to take charcoal internally. (see data below)
Origins Skin Diver Active Charcoal Body Wash


Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge with Bamboo Charcoal
Lush You Snap the Whip Body Butter
GlamGlow YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment Mask
Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser

Indigo: An Ancient Skincare Ingredient Given New Life!

Geisha have been in the know using soothing, calming, and healing ingredient Indigo for centuries!

This is the color that is called indigo in the Japanese traditional colors, a group of colors in use since beginning in 660 CE in the form of various dyes that are used in designing kimonos.  The name of this color in Japanese is ai-iro, which means indigo color.  In fact, during the Edo Period, the Samurai warriors wore a layer of indigo-dyed cotton beneath their armor to help skin wounds heal, earning the color the nickname “Samurai Blue.”

It is also widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for Psoriasis!

I know when you think of indigo you think of the rainbow, visible color spectrum (ROY G. BIV -Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Indigo and Violet) or demin jeans (the dye used to color jeans comes from indigo!)  Denim is a tone of indigo Crayola which resembles the shade of indigo used in denim. Crayola created this color in 1993 as one of the new 16 colors.

Babyface Face & Cream

Get Real Denim Suds Soap

India is believed to be the oldest center of indigo dyeing in the Old World. It was a primary supplier of indigodye, derived from the plant Indigofera tinctoria, to Europe as early as the Greco-Roman era. The association of India with indigo is reflected in the Greek word for the ‘dye’, which was indikon (ινδικόν). The Romans used the term indicum, which passed into Italian dialect and eventually into English as the word indigo. The country of El Salvador has lately been the biggest producer of indigo.  The same indigo dye is contained in the woad plant, Isatis tinctoria, for a long time the main source of blue dye in Europe. Woad was replaced by true indigo as trade routes opened up, and both are now largely replaced by synthetic dyes.

D-Kuru from Wikimedia Commons

I’m Fabulous Firming & Lifting Cream

Indigo has anti-inflammatory benefits!  Wild Indigo extract stimulates beta endorphin release and provides relief for sensitive skins.

Tatcha’s Indigo Skincare Line

ESPA Repair and Restore Intensive Serum

Remedy Olivamine Skin Repair Cream

KOSE SEKKISEI SUPREME Revitalizing Cream and Lotion

Yes, the same plant that gives your jeans their characteristic hue turns out to be an under-appreciated! It has been known to be particularly beneficial to those with dermatitis and eczema.

Jeffrey James Botanicals The Creme Hallelujah

Huang Qin Gao Ointment (ShiZhen brand)

Pure Life Soap, Wild Indigo Shampoo and Conditioner

Indigo is added to many black hair dyes to enrich the black and give black hair that beautiful blue shine.

Auromere Ayurvedic Soap, Lavender-Neem

Kama Sutra Feel More Sexier Pheromone Body Lotion

Why All Natural Skin Care Isn’t Always Better!

Recently, I have been receiving a lot of e-mails from women who are dedicated to only using products that are all-natural or completely free of chemical preservatives. From my reading, while I acknowledge that some ingredients, like sodium lauryl sulfate, are known to cause skin irritation in many patients, other ingredients, like parabens, have only been found to raise health concerns in the majority of patients only when used in concentrations much higher than normally found in skin care products. Many chemicals that are reported in databases to have been found to raise health concerns were used in exceptionally high concentrations in scientific studies as “extreme dose” cases, not in testing actual skin care products. Some websites even report that chemical skin care ingredients, like parabens, build up in the skin over time, which has been found not to be the case. My concern with the “natural not chemical” skin care movement is two-fold. One is that many consumers are believing that “natural = safe,” which is not always the case. Take, for example, the all-natural ingredient chamomile, which is known to be soothing for the skin. Repeated exposure to chamomile has been known to induce a very irritating rash resulting from a ragweed allergy, according to the nutritional guide The Prescription for Nutritional Healing (and yours truly, who experienced the said effect after using chamomile for two months). Many other “natural” ingredients, such as the arnica montana used to treat bruises, are also able to induce detrimental effects after repeated exposure. In fact, according to Dr. Leslie Baumann’s Cosmetic Dermatology, “Prolonged treatment of damaged skin [with arnica] often causes edematous dermatitis with the formation of pustules; long-term use can also give rise to eczema.” My second problem with the “natural not chemical” movement is simply that consumers are often ignoring the numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center studies backing certain chemical ingredients in favor of clever marketing giving the impression that natural is always better. And that is a problem, because there is no research to date demonstrating that all-natural skin care products are always better, while there is substantiative research indicating that certain chemical ingredients – retinol, niacinamide, vitamins C & E, and chemical sunscreens, to name a few – have proven long-term benefits for the skin. Of course, this is not to say that chemical always trumps natural either. Based on what I have learned thus far, there are good and bad chemical ingredients, just like there are good and bad natural ones. And while you may catch me pitching my beloved chemical Bath and Body Works bubble bath for its very high concentration of sodium lauryl sulfate and avoiding certain chemical ingredients when I am pregnant someday, you won’t see me trading in my awesome (chemical) Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (with vitamins C and E), Phloretin CF (with phloretin and vitamin C), Olay Regenerist (with niacinamide), Green Cream (with retinol), or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 85 (with avobenzone/oxybenzone) any time soon. My point is, don’t be dragged into “natural” products like they’re matte makeup products and leg warmers in the 80’s. Although natural sounds healthier and more beneficial now, natural ingredients can hurt your skin too. Be careful – check with your dermatologist before starting a new skin regime, consult actual scientific research journals (not cautionary databases that make the FDA seem like a sitting duck) about your skin care ingredients, and be aware that natural skin care companies are no different than regular skin care companies, selling you products. Some are great, sure, but just like with the chemical products, some aren’t. Be aware. Balance chemical and natural, and go with what your dermatologist recommends and what makes your skin look and feel its best!

Via Future Derm
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