Pollution is a growing problem throughout the world. Air pollution not only causes devastation to the environment, it is also detrimental to our skin. In Asia, a region well-known for smog and dangerous air pollutants, anti-pollution skin care products have become an increasingly popular and established trend in the skin care market. With pollution becoming worse in Europe and the United States, these products are beginning to take hold in the west as well.
As these products grow in popularity, it is important for you to be aware of anti-pollution skin care products.
Danger of Air Pollution to our Skin Health
The harmful effects of pollution to our health is well documented. However, the effects pollution has on skin is just now being studied and understood. Air pollution includes chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which are released into the air from burning coal, gasoline, trash, and tobacco products to name a few sources. These chemicals can cause depletion of moisture in the skin. Due to these facts, doctors believe it is a good possibility that continual exposure to air pollution could have negative health effects on skin.
Origins of Anti-Pollution Skin Care Products
The anti-pollution skin care trend had its beginnings in Asia, particularly China, a nation well-known for smog and excessive air pollution. China is the largest emitter of green house gasses in the world accounting for 27 percent of global emissions. The explosive growth of China’s economy has resulted in the construction of hundreds of new coal plants annually. This has resulted in highly increased emissions of harmful air pollutants.
As a result, Chinese women began noticing brown spots forming on their skin and overall declining skin health. Skin care cosmetic firms in Asia quickly researched solutions to protect women’s skin and anti-pollution cosmetic products were born.
From Asia to Europe to Canada
Anti-pollution has been a huge trend in Asia but, in the western world, it’s still relatively new. Air pollution isn’t just a problem on the Asian continent of course. Great Britain’s Capitol of London broke its air pollution level in just the fifth day of the year! This record level occurred three days faster than last year. The level of chemicals in Britain’s air has become so bad that London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a health crisis.
Great Britain is also known as a leader and trend-setter in the beauty and personal care market. This is why experts keep a close eye on the UK market for new emerging products. The numbers show that anti-pollution products have definitely taken hold with an estimated market value of over $3 million pounds. While this is not a relatively large figure compared to the overall market, it is growing quickly.
After securing a niche market in Great Britain, anti-pollution cosmetics are now crossing the Atlantic and making their way to Canada. New companies have already released an array of new products available to the public.
How Anti-Pollution Products Work
As skin care experts know well, the outer of layer of skin has lipids, which are fats that bind skin cells together. Air pollution can oxidize lipids, inflame the skin, and cause a break down of the outer skin. When the outer skin breaks down, it can be a danger to the rest of the body. Since skin is the main immune barrier for the rest of the body’s organs, when the skin starts breaking down, chemicals can get into the body easier.
The main anti-pollution products released in the United States have different strategies to protect the skin. Air pollution has damaged the earth’s ozone layer causing less protection from the sun’s harmful effects. To combat this, new products focus on protecting the skin from harmful UV rays from the sun by applying SPF based products combined with important antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. These vitamins help heal and seal the skin from hazardous chemicals.
In addition to protecting the skin from harmful UV rays, cleansers are also available to wash the skin from microscopic and harmful particles in the air that attach to the skin. While these particles are not immediately harmful, without the use of cleansers, the particles, as noted above, could cause inflammation and skin barrier break down. These cleansers wash off the harmful air pollutants but not the important key oils that protect the skin.
6 Tips to Care for Dry Skin & Hair Naturally During the Winter
The shift from warm weather to cooler temperatures is enjoyable for many people. You get to dig out those sweaters and jackets, walk through fall foliage, and wake up to brisk air streaming through the still open windows. But the flip side of crisp, cool winter – is that something else needs to change: the way you take care of yourself.
Cold air, central heat, increasing winds, and less humidity means that your once luscious skin and hair will begin to dry out, leading to dull skin, an itchy scalp, and cracked feet and hands. While these conditions are uncomfortable, having dry skin also affects your self-esteem. If you don’t think you look your best, you’re not going to feel your best. And as skin is designed to protect us from infection, illness, and allergens, it’s essential to tend to it.
Caring for Skin and Hair in Winter
Good news: There’s plenty you can to do to insulate yourself from the drying climate, and the best time to start is now.
1. Moisturize Frequently
As the outdoor humidity drops, so too does the water content of your skin. In essence, this means it needs better protection – aka a heavier moisturizer. The type you choose depends largely on your skin type. If you have dry or combination skin, pick a moisturizer that’s oil-based rather than water-based, which is what many use in the summer. Thicker, greasier night creams are usually oil based so they can work their magic all night long.
If you have oily skin, your skin may actually relish the loss of moisture in the air, and you might not need to make any transition until winter fully arrives. However, if it starts to feel tight or itchy or looks as if it’s drying out, it’s time for the big guns. Either way, natural moisturizers work best. Olive oil and coconut oil are my saviors, though shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, and vitamin E oil also work well.
Lest we not forget, thorough skincare means moisturizing from the inside, too. Taking vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids – either as supplements or through increased intake of nutritious foods, such as fish, nuts and leafy greens – helps to improve your skin’s elasticity.
And don’t forget a critical rule of skincare in any season: Use sunscreen. Even in fall and winter, especially with snow glare, the sun shines damaging rays. This is the fastest way to age your epidermis. If possible, find moisturizers that contain sunscreen. Otherwise, make sure you apply a good quality SPF 30 simultaneously. If you are concerned about the efficancy of your sunscreen, consult the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide for a list of the best sunscreens on the market.
Always moisturize head to toe right after a shower, when your pores are open wide. However, if your skin is prone to acne, this could clog your pores and cause a breakout – so experiment to see how your skin responds best. When you find something that works, stick with it.
If your skin is super dry during the height of winter, consider doing your hands, face, and neck hourly with a natural moisturizer sans any irritating chemicals.
2. Protect Your Hair
Just as your skin takes a seasonal beating, your locks get dry and frizzy as well. Flyaway hair and split ends are often reported from the lack of humidity, so hair needs a thick moisturizer to coat each strand and protect it from blow drying on top of the outside air.
This is my personal favorite, a miracle product many people don’t know about. I use it in my hair, on my skin (even my face), and even as an additive in food and coffee. It’s so multipurpose I actually buy it in bulk.
What’s so great about it, you ask? Well, besides smelling great, it is loaded with vitamin E, helps control dandruff, contains lauric acid (an antimicrobial that can slow hair loss), and coats the hair shaft with proteins to build strength, repair damage, and improve shine.
Coconut oil becomes a liquid at 76 degrees. Simply melt a couple tablespoons in the microwave for a couple of seconds (don’t overheat!), or use warm water to melt it down, then massage into your hair and scalp. Let it sit a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly. You can also use solidified coconut oil to tame frizz and add shine. Simply rub your fingers on the coconut oil and massage it into your hair and scalp. If your hair is thin, you might find coconut oil weighs it down, so use less and smear it on the hair but not the scalp.
Coconut oil is available in most large grocery stores or in natural food stores like Whole Foods. Some health and beauty chains, such as The Body Shop, sell coconut oil specifically for hair and skin, but it’s quite expensive. You can save far more buying a tub of it from a market or from Amazon.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda
Shampooing in general tends to strip hair of natural oils, and that’s why many people choose natural shampoos. Some use baking soda and apple cider vinegar exclusively to wash their hair. If you search online for “baking soda hair” or “baking soda shampoo,” you’ll find countless stories of people who say their hair is fuller, healthier, and stronger using these two natural ingredients. My husband uses apple cider vinegar several times a week for his dandruff, and it works far better than any expensive shampoo. So making this switch is clearly a cost cutter as well.
Use the baking soda as a wash by mixing one tablespoon in one cup of water. It’s easier if you put it in a squeeze bottle. Let it sit a couple of minutes, then rinse with the vinegar by mixing one tablespoon with one cup of water as well.
Once you first start using this regularly, your hair might actually react by producing more oil – but this is normal. Your hair is used to having all the oils stripped out by shampoo and then replaced with conditioner, so it might take several days, or even a few weeks, until it adjusts. Then it will balance out – and look amazing and much healthier.
3. Exercise and Stay Hydrated
Ever notice how much healthier people look during the summer? That’s due to several factors: We spend a lot of time outdoors absorbing vitamin D; we are more active; and, partly because of the heat, we drink a lot more water. Then the seasons change, and we slowly move into hibernation mode. And quite simply, stagnation and sitting isn’t good for any part of your body.
In the chillier months, it’s essential to keep up your level of exercise. It not only makes you feel great, but it helps remove toxins from your system and gives your skin a healthy glow. There are plenty of ways to work out at home, so a gym membership isn’t a necessary purchase. I gave up mine years ago in favor of doing yoga at home, and I’d never go back to slogging on a treadmill!
Because you also need to keep drinking water when the temperatures dip, try to develop a routine at work where you sip throughout the day and aim for a full eight glasses by the time you go home. Once you’re in a good groove, try to extend the routine to the weekends. And use a small cup so you have to walk more to fill it up. Every step counts.
4. Don’t Turn Up the Hot Water
When the weather gets cold, it’s tempting to turn up the hot-water heater to make those showers extra toasty. However, hot water actually dehydrates your skin and hair, especially in drier air. Soaking yourself in a too-hot tub is like cooking the moisture out of your skin, stripping it of natural protective oils – and you actually risk surface burns. By contrast, a comfortably warm bath can help seal in skin’s moisture, especially if you add oatmeal, dry or liquid milk, and even honey to the water.
To help temper your use of hot water, keep the water heater at the same position all year round – or better yet, see if you can edge it down in the fall and winter.
5. Exfoliate Naturally
Skin cells are constantly dying. As sad as that sounds, it’s actually a healthy thing, because they’re always being replaced with fresh new cells. When you exfoliate – scrub away the dry, dead cells – you accelerate that process and prevent your skin from looking dull and pasty. I use oatmeal as a natural exfoliant, as it’s great on dry skin, especially when blended with milk and honey. If you have oily skin, use baking soda and water. Both work wonders and are far cheaper than commercial masks.
Scrub your skin with a quality exfoliant at least twice weekly during the cooler months. If your skin is especially dry, you might want to opt for three or four times.
6. Use a Humidifier
During the winter, chances are your heat runs constantly. In my home, the moisture level indoors can be as low as 25% without a humidifier. To put that in perspective, the Mojave Desert often has a humidity level of 20%. A humidifier running quietly in the rooms you use most keeps a necessary level of dampness in the air. There are single-room units and even whole-house humidifiers that connect to your HVAC system. Consider it money well spent.
It’s especially important to use a humidifier overnight. In addition to keeping your skin and hair moist, this keeps your sinus passages clear and better equipped to fight off germs. Plus, you no longer wake up with gunk in your eyes.
These are just some of the things you can try. Another strategy is not to walk outside without gloves on. Your hands have far fewer oil glands than other parts of your body, which is why they’re so vulnerable to harsh winter air and so much harder to keep moist. Keep them wrapped up when outside, and use a natural moisturizer like coconut or olive oil right when you come back in.
With proper tending, your skin and hair can thrive all year round. My skin used to get so dry and itchy starting every November, and I was in misery until the warm rains of April. But thanks to the natural products I use now, I look just as good in December as I do in June.
It happens every year; summer winds down and the cool weather slowly makes its way in. As hard as it can be to pack away those shorts and summer dresses, it feels good to drag out the sweaters and the jeans.
Don’t forget though, just because your jeans and sweaters cover your skin doesn’t mean that you can take a break from your skin care regimen. Proper care can mean the difference between healthy skin and dry flaky skin.
Here are 10 skin care tips for fall to keep you looking beautiful through the fall season.
Reassess Your Body Cleanser
In the summer, fruity shower gels are a popular treat, but just be sure that your current favorite isn’t going to dry out your skin when the dry cold weather comes in. You’ll want to find a shower gel that is soap-free as well as hydrating. In the fall and winter, I like to put away the gels and bring out a creamy body wash.
Fresh: Milk Bath and Shower Cream (compare prices) is a great mild scent for fall, but be on the lookout for fantastic nutty or fall scents like pumpkin or oatmeal cookie.
Try an Oil-Based Scrub
We think oily based scrubs are perfect for fall and winter because you are getting the exfoliating benefits with the extra bonus of hydrating oils. And when it comes to oily scrubs, the choices are endless! You can find scrubs that have a lot of oil swimming on top all the way to scrubs that are more of a solid consistency.
Moisturize Every Single Day
I can’t stress this enough; if you want to keep dry skin at bay, you must hydrate your skin on a daily basis. The best time to apply your lotion is right after you’ve dried off after your shower or bath. Seal in the moisture that’s already been absorbed into your skin.
Analyze Your Skin
When the seasons change, you may notice your skin type changes as well. This is the time where some with oily skin might notice their skin turns a bit normal, or those with normal skin might consider their skin is suddenly dry.
Watch your skin as the weather turns cold to see if you need to change up your skin care products and switch them accordingly. If you aren’t sure whether your skin needs a new regime, talk to us. Many times we can ask you simple questions to see what skin care type you fall in.
Organize Your Skin Care Routine
With facial masks, facial exfoliators and other extra skin care steps, it can be hard to remember when you applied your last peel or took the time for your last mask. This is a problem or irritation that you won’t ever have to worry about if you take the time to make a skincare routine.
I know it sounds funny, but if you know that every Sunday morning you’ll apply a facial mask, and Tuesdays and Fridays are saved for exfoliating, you’ll no longer have to think about it. Make your schedule for the days that work best for you and stick with it. Your skin will have the constant benefits, and you’ll see it in your face.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen
Just because you may not be laying on the beach doesn’t mean you can forget the sunscreen for the next 6 months. Sunscreen is a daily essential, so don’t set it aside.
Use a moisturizer with SPF 15 at the minimum and reapply with a facial sunscreen throughout the day as needed.
Remember Your Feet
Repeat after me, “I will not let my feet go without proper care this fall and winter”. Say it, and mean it. Your feet are going to be stuck inside your boots and heals for months to come, and if you continue taking care of them and exfoliating them on a regular basis, you’ll have no problem popping back on your sandals when the time comes.
Plus, having nice feet just make you feel good, so grab a foot scrub and keep it in your shower. Scrub your feet 1-2 times a week and you’ll enjoy soft feet that won’t snag your sheets. Ew.
Invest in a Cuticle Oil
One tell-tale sign of cold weather is dry cuticles. And many times your regular hand cream isn’t heavy-duty enough to tackle dry cuticles. By investing in a cuticle oil, you can quickly take care of the cracked skin and avoid that painful condition that’s so wide-spread in the cold months.
Simple apply oil onto your cuticles and rub in. Do this a couple times a week for best protection.
Ditch the Pastel Polish
Fall is a great time to take a look at your nail polish collection and see what you are lacking in terms of deep colors. Pack away the cotton candy pinks and pastels and bring forward the burgundy’s, plums or even grab a chocolate brown, which is bold, but easier to wear than black.
Indulge in a New Hand Cream
Your hands are in and out of water on a very regular basis, so you need to apply moisturizer more frequently to your hands than the rest of your body. That’s why it’s so important to have a hand creme in your handbag. When you are out and about and need to wash your hands, you’ll have the hand creme by your side instead of at your sink. (Which of course you should have one there as well!)
Even if you don’t like the scent of highly scented lotions, you can find a fun hand cream to spice up your day.
Have an awesome Summer!
The change of seasons can be very stressful on your skin, especially when going from warmer summer months to cold, windy drier winters. This transition most commonly makes your skin look dull and older than its years, but it can also spur flare-ups of skin conditions such as acne and eczema. One of the biggest mistakes people make with the change of seasons is they neglect adjust their skin care routine, if they are even sticking to one in the first place. The good news is that there are simple changes you can make to prevent the stress of cold weather from affecting your skin.
Decreased temperatures mean a drop in humidity levels, taking moisture not only out of the air, but also out of your skin. While staples like a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water are crucial for healthy skin, making a few skincare changes and adopting a handful of new habits can help manage the discomfort of Dry Skin Season and keep your skin feeling silky smooth year round. Here’s my quick hit of easy skin care tips for cold weather:
1. EAT THE HARVEST.
The best high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables in their peak season right now. My favorites are cranberries, blueberries, pumpkin, pomegranate and squash. These foods will help feed your skin from the inside out and keep it looking its youngest most beautiful best.
If stubborn dry skin is causing extreme discomfort, seek out professional advice. A dermatologist can analyze your skin type and create a customized skin care routine. In certain cases, extremely dry skin can be an indicator of a larger medical issue, such as diabetes or an underactive thyroid. Work with a health care professional to determine a more specified treatment plan.
2. DON’T CRANK UP THE HEAT.
Turning up the heat indoors seems like a natural response to chilly winter weather, but raising the thermostat indoors dries the air, and skin out even more. The result is dry, flaky skin that is itchy and uncomfortable.
3. START USING YOUR HUMIDIFIER.
To remedy a dry home, bring in a humidifier and set humidity level between 45% and 55% to infuse the air with enough moisture for you skin to reap the benefits.
4. TAKE QUICK WARM (NOT HOT!) SHOWERS.
A long hot shower may feel heavenly on cold mornings, but it strips out the water and natural oils in your skin, thus drying it out. Limit showers to 15-minutes or less, using warm water, rather than hot hot water.
5. DON’T USE HARSH SOAP.
Deodorant and antibacterial soaps are especially harsh on your skin, compromising your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Instead, opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers.
6. USE A MULTITASKING MOISTURIZER.
After showering, blot excess water off your body, instead of roughly rubbing your skin with a towel. Next, apply a body moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Use a formula that gently sloughs off dry, dead skin cells, while also locking in moisture. Look for a cream over a lotion in the winter and also check for ceramides on the ingredient list, which are naturally found in the skin’s outer layer, help to retain moisture and can help to replenish the skin’s moisture barrier.
7. GIVE YOUR HANDS EXTRA TLC.
Moisturize hands every time after washing. Trade in traditional hand sanitizer for a combination sanitizer that contains moisturizer or lotion.
8. SOFTEN YOUR SOLES.
Your regular body lotion may not be enough for your feet. Look for a thicker cream to penetrate rough, dry skin on feet.
9. EASE UP ON FACIAL EXFOLIATING.
Reduce the frequency of facial peels and masks to avoid irritating your skin.
10. ALWAYS GO FRAGRANCE-FREE DYE-FREE OPTIONS.
Avoid irritants often found in everyday products by selecting fragrance-free or dye-free options. Un-scented means there’s a masking scent and this is just another form of fragrance designed not to have a smell.
11. WEAR SOFT CLOTHING.
Avoid putting on abrasive or irritating fabrics like wool or polyester directly against your skin, especially the neck. Stick to soft fabrics, such as cotton, especially if they are in direct contact with your skin.
5 TIPS TO HAVING THE SKIN YOU WANT!
Have you ever asked someone in their 60’s “how the heck are you in your 60’s?!” With not a wrinkle in sight, little to no age spots and a solid brow you wish you had in your 20’s, well that’s either super impressive genes or someone who has taken extremely good care of her skin.
For a long time it was a general rule of thumb to follow the regime you learned from your mother, grandmother or aunts. Nowadays you can just hop on Instagram and learn a new tip or trick and get reviews on all the available cosmetics out there.
The problem is that neither one of those ways are customized for you. Chances of breakouts, blotchy skin, excess oil or dry patches can occur because you didn’t have the proper guidance to purchase the products designed to keep YOU youthful!
So here are a few tips to getting the skin you want!
MONTHLY VISITS TO YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD SKIN SPECIALIST
Facials, chemical peels or microdermabrasions shouldn’t be treated as a luxury service for your skin but a vital part of the process in achieving the skin you want! Having a monthly skincare treatment will lessen the need for more invasive services later in life.
HOME CARE ROUTINE
Along with your monthly deep cleansing, it is equally important to maintain your skin at home daily. Using soap and water or heavy cold creams just don’t cut it for most. If you are new to the skin maintenance game, or have a small budget to get started, using a standard three product system such as cleanser-toner-moisturizer is a great way to start!
If you use Instagram or Facebook then you have definitely seen this pore mask that is all the rage! It’s kind of gross watching people peel the mask and remove these deep blackheads, yet sort of satisfying right?! However, the damage you can do by using something so aggressive on the skin is not good! If you know a beauty professional, it is best to ask their advice before purchasing things you see online.
SHOP LIKE THE PROS DO!
Okay so I will agree that there are some brands that have a price tag that only a Kardashian could afford every two to three months, but, generic drugstore brands are not the answer! Real beauty professionals use results-driven products that have quality ingredients. Again, if you want the right brand for you-ask for professional advice! One of our favorite brands at TSPA is Dermalogica. Using the most advanced technologies in skincare and superior ingredients, Dermalogica provides quality and innovation to every product. No matter what your skin concerns or needs, they’ve definitely got you covered!
Following all of this advice and not finishing off with sunscreen is a big NO-NO! Sun damage and the effects of UV rays can reverse any positive changes you have made to your skin. Did you know that UV rays are strongest in the winter months? That means SPF is needed all year round!
If these tips are old news to you, then good! You are on your way or have already achieved the perfect beauty routine. For those of you who are a little behind, I think it’s time to take a trip to TSPA!