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True Radical Honesty From Our Community

  • 10 Skincare Habits Guaranteed To Help Treat Acne
    Eating chocolate and greasy fries won’t necessarily give you pimples, and a week in the sun won’t make them vanish, either. But there are certain things that really can help prevent and treat acne breakouts. Here, we’ve rounded up ten of the best…

    Acne is the most common skin woe in the whole of the United States. Not dark under eye circles, not sun spots, not even wrinkles, but acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it affects up to 50 million Americans every year, and around 15 percent of women are plagued by some form of acne during their adult lives.

    Sigh.

    If you’ve had acne on and off for most of your teenage and adult life, you’ll have heard every last trick about how to avoid breakouts. Most of which were probably complete BS. So, we’re here to set the record straight once for all with our guide to the most tried and trusted ways to keep acne under control. 

    1. Don’t Pick

    The world’s fascination with popping pimples shows no signs of going away (thanks mainly to dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper!), but attempting this at home is rarely a good idea. Sure, squeezing that white top might be hard to resist, but it can trigger inflammatory responses in your skin which can delay healing and potentially make your pimples worse.

    Picking and prodding zits also introduces a bunch of new bacteria to your skin and quite frankly, it has enough to deal with already. Finally, if all that wasn’t enough, popping pimples creates trauma to your skin which can lead to scabbing, infections, pigmentation and scarring. Don’t do it. Just don’t.  

    2. Keep Your Skin Clean

    A primary cause of acne is blocked pores that get clogged up with oil, dirt and dead skin cells, and then become inflamed or infected with bacteria. This makes cleansing your skin twice daily extremely important – especially at night after sweat, sebum, makeup and sunscreen have built up on the surface of your skin.

    Try our new Tea Tree Super Cleanser + which is ultralight, super refreshing and mega calming. It also douses your skin with a powerful blend of nature’s blemish-controlling superstar, tea tree oil, and our ultimate secret weapon for breakouts, MSM.

    3. Wash Your Hands

    While we’re on the subject of cleanliness, don’t underestimate the power of clean hands. Of course, you’re far too disciplined to pick at your pimples (see above), but even touching your face or leaning on your hands spreads unnecessary dirt, oil and bacteria all over your skin. It’s a tricky habit to kick because it’s usually an unconscious move, but the least you can do is wash your hands regularly to minimize the after-effects.

    4. Keep Everything Clean

    Not to keep banging on about cleanliness, but there’s more… Towels and pillowcases can also harbor bacteria if they’re not laundered regularly, so make sure you change these out on a weekly basis. And perhaps consider using a fragrance-free detergent if your skin tends to be reactive.

    Also, wash your makeup brushes twice a week (especially if you wear makeup daily); shampoo your hair often to avoid oils from your hair transferring to your face, and wipe down your smartphone with a hand sanitizing wipe as often as you remember.

    5. Use Retinol

    Retinol is an anti-aging given, but it’s also a powerful tool for acne-prone skin. How so? Well, retinol helps unclog your pores by stimulating collagen production and encouraging cell turnover. It also promotes healing and, by keeping your pores clear, can help other skincare or topical acne medication penetrate more effectively.

    Introduce Retinol Serum into your evening routine a few times a week and apply it to cleansed skin before moisturizing – you won’t regret it.

    6. Wear Sunscreen

    This might not be one of the most well-known anti-acne tricks, but it’s important, so hear us out.

    In addition to the obvious protection from UV damage, sunscreen reduces redness and can help skin avert post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (those dark spots that pimples often leave behind). It also reduces the likelihood of your skin becoming dry in the sun which keeps sebum balanced and under control.

    So there you go, sunscreen for acne – surprisingly important. Just remember to avoid heavy, pore-clogging sunscreens that can cause breakouts or make the pimples you have even worse. Instead, try our new SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen which is sheer, lightweight and oil-free.

    7. Moisturize… But Do It With Care

    Acne often goes hand-in-hand with oily skin which can get forgotten about when it comes to moisturizing. It’s a huge mistake to skip this vital step, however, no matter how oily or pimply your skin may be. If you fail to moisturize your skin, the surface will become dry and your sebaceous glands will overproduce oil to compensate. Cue excess oil which can block your pores and make acne worse.

    Your best bet is to hydrate with a light serum like Hyaluronic Acid Serum, then follow with a non-comedogenic moisturizer that’s less likely to block your pores. Oh, and make sure you do this day AND night, especially if you use harsh acne treatments that dry out your skin.

    8. Avoid Over Exfoliation

    Scrubbing your face feels great, but it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make, particularly if you’re prone to breakouts.

    Exfoliation is great for boosting cell turnover and keeping your pores clean and clear, but too much can cause redness and inflammation – something you definitely don’t want to encourage if acne is already making your skin both of these things. Stick to once a week max, or better yet, allow chemical exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid to gradually do the job for you.

    9. Manage Your Stress 

    As with seemingly everything, when it comes to acne, stress only makes matters worse. Research has pointed to a direct link between stress and acne, thanks to stress-related hormones like cortisol encouraging your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Cortisol also reduces your skin’s natural levels of hyaluronic acid which makes your skin more dehydrated and further triggers sebum production. All this excess oil is a veritable playground for bacteria to breed and acne to worsen.

    Of course, keeping stress under control is no mean feat, but breathing exercises, yoga, or taking a short walk each day may help clear your mind. Go for whatever form of relaxation suits you and helps take the pressure off, even if only for a few minutes. And remember to get your seven or eight hours of quality sleep while you’re at it. Sleep is SO important.

    10. Strike Down Inflammation, Inside and Out

    As helpful as skincare tips may be, acne is often an inside job rooted in internal factors influenced by diet and hormones. While addressing these triggers is an important part of getting chronic acne under control, it’s also key to hit back at topical inflammation. This beauty baddie not only exacerbates breakouts, it can increase the likelihood of hyperpigmentation and scarring, so it’s especially critical to diminish it as much as possible.

    To help do this on the daily, look for skin saviors with anti-inflammatory clout like vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate, as well as MSM and aloe, all of which have a reputation for mitigating inflammation and blemishes alike. You can find them teamed up in our Vitamin C Serum, as well as across several other TruSkin formulas—because we know how invaluable these good guys can be for all skin types.

     

     

    Acne
    10 Skincare Habits Guaranteed To Help Treat Acne
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  • 5 Things You Never Knew About Hyaluronic Acid
    You might not be able to spell hyaluronic acid, but who cares? What you really need to know is what it does and exactly why you need to include it in your skincare regimen.

    Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a veritable darling of the beauty world, and almost every skincare brand we know has harnessed its powers to help bring your skin to a better place. But it’s one thing to see this wonder ingredient on your ingredient list and think, ‘Yeah, I’ve heard of hyaluronic acid. That stuff’s supposed to be good,’ to truly grasping what HA can offer.

    As you probably know, our main MO is to fill in these little gaps to help give you a better understanding of your skincare options so you can make excellent decisions for the benefit of your skin. Because knowledge is power, right?

    Well, here are five things you might not know about hyaluronic acid.

    1. Hyaluronic Acid Is A Humectant

    Hyaluronic acid, otherwise known as hyaluronan, is a sugar molecule that’s naturally found by the bucketload in your body. It’s present in your joints, eyes and cartilage, but around 50 percent of the body’s total amount of HA is in your skin, where it helps keep things cushioned and lubricated. How does it do this? Well, HA is known as a humectant, which means it works like a sponge to attract water to hydrate the skin – either from the air or from deeper within the skin’s dermis. Other humectants include the likes of aloe, glycerin, honey and urea.

    The amazing thing about hyaluronic acid is that it’s been proven to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. And if that sounds like a lot... well, that’s because it is.

    2. Age-Related Hyaluronic Acid Loss Is A Thing

    Aging is a privilege, but it’s also darn hard on your skin. As you know, much of the good stuff that keeps your skin plump, radiant, soft and youthful decreases as you get older. Collagen and elastin are the obvious ones here, but your levels of naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid also diminish over time.

    According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, HA loss can begin as early as your 20s, with levels reducing by as much as half by the age of 50. Ouch! This is one of the main reasons your skin feels more dehydrated as you get older, and of course it contributes to those fine lines and wrinkles creeping up on you.

    It’s also why counteracting this massive loss with some topical HA in your skincare routine is such a fine idea.

    3. If Used Incorrectly, Hyaluronic Acid Can Actually Dehydrate Your Skin

    Shut the front door.

    This is an interesting one because sure, HA is a moisture-loving skincare ingredient that’s great for adding much-needed water and hydration to the surface of your skin. But it can also do the opposite. Bear with us for a minute…

    As we’ve already explained, HA needs water in order to hydrate your skin. Well, it has to get this from somewhere and if there’s no water on the surface or if you live in a climate that’s seriously lacking in humidity, any HA you apply will pull water up from deeper within your skin. And that’s not ideal.

    Thankfully, this is easily rectified – you just need to apply your HA moisturizer or serum (and may we suggest our awesome Hyaluronic Acid Serum?) to damp skin, straight after cleansing. Then, if you’ve gone for a serum (and just to reiterate, you probably should!), apply moisturizer over the top to seal all that water in. Serums, while awesome at delivering active ingredients to your skin, often lack emollient or occlusive ingredients like fatty acid-rich oils, which are vital because they help lock moisture into your skin. We repeat, always follow your serum with a creamy moisturizer like Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer.

    4. Hyaluronic Acid Is Not Just About Hydrating The Skin

    Far from a one-trick pony, hyaluronic acid offers countless other benefits for your skin – other than the obvious effects of improved hydration like smoother, stronger skin and fewer visible lines and wrinkles. For starters, HA works hard to help fortify your skin’s important barrier function, which helps your skin defend itself from environmental factors like pollution, sun damage and toxins.

    HA is also an anti-inflammatory and, not to be a complete show-off, but it boasts awesome antioxidant properties, too. Antioxidants are super important for the health of your skin because they target skin-damaging free radicals, helping to neutralize them before they seriously harm and age up your skin.

    5. Hyaluronic Acid Works For Most Skin Types

    Unlike some active skincare ingredients we won’t name (because we love them just as dearly), the form of botanical HA we use in our formulas is known for being gentle and well tolerated by most skin types. After all, it's designed to mimic the the naturally-occurring HA in your skin, so it's less likely to cause irritation, sensitivities or trigger existing skin conditions like rosacea or acne. Our Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream is packed with botanical HA for these very reasons.

    Of course, there’s always a slim chance you might have a mild reaction to hyaluronic acid but this is more common with HA fillers than with skincare. We always recommend performing a patch test just in case. In fact, this is something you should do when using any treatment or active skincare formulation for the first time. Then you can catch anything untoward before it's too late, and make a decision on whether that particular product is right for you.

    Other than pairing well with most skin types (even sensitive), botanical HA also works seamlessly with other active skincare ingredients like retinol, niacinamide and vitamin C. In fact, HA and retinol get on VERY well together, hence the popularity of our Retinol Facial Moisturizer, which contains both.

    Now, can we have a big hurrah for hyaluronic acid, please? For it truly does deserve every bit of praise it receives.

     

    Hyaluronic Acid
    5 Things You Never Knew About Hyaluronic Acid
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  • 5 Awesome Ways To Give Stressed Skin A Break
    Skin in total freak-out mode right now? Then it’s time to de-stress and give your poor complexion a break.

    Stressed skin is one of life’s vicious circles. First, emotional stress sends your hormones out of whack, making your skin dry, oily, itchy or break out. Sad times, indeed. Then, to add insult to injury, you get the 'pleasure' of having to deal with cruddy skin and, heck, that just ruins your self-esteem and makes you feel even more stressed. As we said, a vicious circle.

    It’s true, emotional anxiety has a massive impact on the look, feel and health of your skin. This is because when you feel stressed, your brain stimulates the release of various hormones (cortisol, to name just one) which upset the equilibrium of your body, disrupting your immune system, wreaking havoc on your skin’s barrier function, interfering with the healing process and triggering all sorts of problems, mainly irritation and inflammation.

    If this is ringing too many bells in your head right now, chances are your skin and, more importantly, your emotional wellbeing are crying out for some much-needed TLC. Not sure where to start? No problem, we’re on it…

    1. First, Try To De-Stress Your Mind

    Chilling the heck out is easier said than done, but reducing (or at least attempting to reduce) your levels of emotional stress is a major step to mirroring the same effects for your skin. If things are all too much at work, for example, speak out, delegate tasks or learn how to say no. According to the Mayo Clinic, asserting yourself in the workplace – or, in fact, any situation – is one of the best ways to de-stress because it reduces internal conflict and helps you more successfully manage everyday life.

    You could also keep a journal. It’s amazing how much of a relief it is to write stuff down and get things off your chest. And if you’re worried someone might get hold of your pent-up thoughts? Easy, write them down on a scrap of paper instead of a proper journal, then when you’re done, you can toss it in the trash.

    Of course, these are just a couple of the many ways to help manage stress. There are many tricks for calming your mind and improving your emotional wellness, so if life is kind of overwhelming right now, please make sure you seek professional advice to identify its causes and help you learn to cope.

    2. Practice Some True Self-Care

    Can you honestly say you’ve been looking after yourself recently? Maaaybe… but probably not. The thing is, exercise and a healthy, balanced diet are awesome stress relievers.

    Exercise stimulates endorphins which are known as ‘feel-good’ chemicals for good reason. Hint: they make you feel good! Try to up your levels of daily physical activity as much as possible. You might not be up for a 10-mile run at 6 a.m. every morning, but small things like a brisk walk, gardening, swimming, cycling or even doing some household chores will get those endorphins pumping and help lift your mood.

    Yoga and pilates are also awesome stress relievers because they help dial back your sympathetic nervous system. This is your body’s ‘quick response’ system which produces that pesky stress hormone, cortisol. If you can, try to combine a mixture of heart-pumping exercise with more relaxing, muscle-strengthening activities for a complete, all-round regimen.

    When it comes to your diet, too much sugar, salt, processed carbs and fried foods are absolute devils on your skin, causing harmful free radicals that break down collagen and accelerate inflammation. Instead, feed your skin with stuff it loves – namely antioxidant-rich fruit and veggies, oily fish, nuts and lean protein. Oh, and as tempting as it may be to deal with stressful situations with coffee and doughnuts, try not to make this a habit.

    3. Give Your Barrier Function A Break

    Your skin’s barrier function is its uppermost layer – the very top of your epidermis, which acts like a security guard to protect you from the outside world. It works super hard to stop moisture from getting out and nasty irritants from getting in.

    When your skin is suffering, this is a sure-fire indication that your barrier function has been compromised. Many things contribute to this, not least of all stress itself, which depletes your skin’s natural production of healthy oils and alters its pH level.

    Your skincare routine also has a vital role to play here.

    Harsh cleansing with chemical-fueled products can completely strip your protective barrier of important proteins and lipids, so this is a massive no-no, for starters. Cleanse gently with mild, sulfate-free formulations like our Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser and only ever use lukewarm, never hot, water to wash your face.

    Another thing: don't forget to moisturize after cleansing, which is VITAL for healthy, stress-free barrier function. Dryness is seriously damaging to your skin’s barrier, leaving it vulnerable to transepidermal water loss (TEWL) as well as external aggressors like pollution, UV radiation and the like. Choose smart, all-round moisturizers that combine ingredients to not only help draw water into your skin (eg. aloe, glycerin and hyaluronic acid) but also lock moisture in (eg. shea butter and stearic acid). Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer is always a great shout.

    4. Think About Everything You Put On Your Skin

    Bombarding your skin with active ingredients like retinoids and glycolic acid can be way too much for some skin types to cope with. Sure, these ingredients are awesome for tackling lines, wrinkles, dark spots and acne, but you can most definitely have too much of a good thing.

    If your complexion is feeling totally out of whack, it’s worth looking at your routine to see if it contains too many active ingredients that are potentially fighting against each other or are simply proving too potent for your complexion. Pare back on treatment serums (you really only need one in the morning and one at night, anyway) and consider dropping down your usage to two or three times a week. You never know, this could easily de-stress your skin with very little effort.

    On the flipside, ingredients to include in your routine are those crammed with calming, hydrating or soothing benefits. Aloe, vitamin E and niacinamide are three that immediately come to mind and – bonus – you’ll find all of these ingredients in our Niacinamide Facial Serum. Just saying.

    5. Optimize Bedtime

    Getting your beauty sleep is essential for the health of your skin because overnight is when it repairs and heals itself from the slings and arrows of the day. Skip too many zzzs and your skin misses out on all that vital time in which collagen production ramps up to boost regeneration and antioxidants kick in to reduce damage and revitalize your skin.

    As you know, eight hours of sleep is the recommended amount (or somewhere between seven and nine hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation) but it’s not all about quantity. In fact, the quality of your sleep is just as important.

    To totally boss your best night’s sleep, ensure you nail this checklist:

    • Go to bed at roughly the same time each night.
    • Don’t go to bed hungry, full or having just drank a ton of caffeine or alcohol.
    • Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and at a comfortable, slightly cool temperature.
    • Avoid using your phone, laptop or tablet for at least an hour before bedtime.
    • Take a few deep breaths as soon as you get into bed to lower your heart rate and make you feel relaxed.
    • Gently cleanse, tone, treat and then moisturize your skin with Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream to give your skin the best chance to rejuvenate itself.

    Finally, remind yourself how well you’re doing at life – every single day. And when you look in the mirror, try to see the good stuff. A positive outlook on life is absolutely priceless for stress-free skin.

     

     

    Acne
    5 Awesome Ways To Give Stressed Skin A Break
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  • How To Nail An Effective Anti-Inflammatory Skincare Routine
    Inflammation and facial redness? Good. Bye. 

    Whether your inflamed skin is self-inflicted (here’s looking at you, sunshine) or down to more underlying concerns such as rosacea, eczema or acne, there’s no denying the frustration of having to deal with red, angry skin. We’re talking mild annoyance at best, true discomfort at worst.

    What’s more, inflammation can occur at any time, often with zero warning. So, if you’re noticing unusual changes in your skin right now, including things like redness, itching, chapping and/or stinging, your skin is clearly crying out for help.

    Thankfully, we’ve got your back because here’s a deep dive into skin inflammation, including what to look out for, plus how to treat upset skin with some simple lifestyle choices and anti-inflammatory skincare.

    What Is Skin Inflammation?

    Inflammation (of any type) is your body’s way of reacting to some kind of unwanted disruption. It’s basically an immune response that occurs when your body is subjected to an injury, infection, allergen or existing disease or internal condition.

    When it comes to your skin, inflammation causes blood vessels beneath the surface to dilate. This allows your immune system to be able to reach, and therefore deal with, the affected area quicker and more easily. Pretty smart, granted, but not a nice experience because skin inflammation often manifests itself as some kind of rash that goes hand in hand with redness, itching, flaking or burning.

    No. Fun.

    What Causes Skin Inflammation?

    Skin inflammation comes in two guises: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the quick-fire (no pun intended) version that develops quickly and is your body’s response to a certain trigger. These triggers can be anything from overexposure to the sun to an ill-advised skincare ingredient. And good news: this kind of inflammation is usually short-term.

    Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a more long-term kind of inflammation that builds up over time and hangs around longer than it really should. It often occurs as an autoimmune response to stress or something in your diet but can also be genetic, manifesting as chronic skin conditions like rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.

    Chronic inflammation can last months or even years, so if your skin inflammation isn’t going away, see your doctor or a dermatologist to try to get to the root of the problem. Diagnosing chronic inflammation? Priceless.

    Acute inflammation, on the other hand, typically goes away after a few days or weeks. You just need to make a few smart tweaks to your lifestyle like avoiding overexposure to the sun, sleeping well, simplifying your skincare routine and eating an antioxidant-rich diet. And it’s imperative to include some gentle, anti-inflammatory ingredients in your skincare routine.

    Let’s look at some of the best, shall we?

    6 Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients Your Skin Will Love

    1. Aloe

    Used for centuries to soothe and calm the skin, aloe is one of our all-time favorites – in fact we love it so much, we pack it into almost all of our products. The good stuff comes from its leaves, which contain a water-rich, medicinal gel that’s packed with skin-loving enzymes, minerals, amino acids, vitamins and a whole bunch of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. Together, these are known for helping to reduce swelling, minimize itching, accelerate healing and even fight breakouts.

    Aloe also contains phytosterols – cholesterol-like molecules that reinforce the structure of cell membranes by increasing collagen and hyaluronic acid production. This strengthens the skin’s barrier function and helps reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL), making it an ideal way to hydrate and moisturize your skin.

    Try: Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer

    2. Green Tea

    Not only is it great as your morning brew, but green tea (aka camellia sinensis) also makes for an awesome skincare ingredient thanks to its high concentration of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that work to protect plants from UV damage. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which make them a shoo-in when it comes to soothing and protecting your skin from unwanted redness and irritation.

    Try: Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum

    3. MSM

    Otherwise known as dimethyl sulfone or methylsulfonylmethane which, granted, are both a bit of a mouthful, MSM is a naturally-occurring sulfur compound. Sulfur is often called ‘nature’s beauty mineral’ because it’s somewhat of an overachiever when applied to your skin. How so? Well, it’s been shown to boost circulation, fight inflammation and accelerate collagen and keratin production. Its anti-inflammatory qualities, in particular, are great for reducing puffiness and swelling and it’s often used to help conditions like acne, eczema and rosacea.

    Try: Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser

    4. Niacinamide

    Here we have another fabulous anti-inflammatory vitamin (B3, to be exact). Studies show that niacinamide is super effective for treating inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and acne. It happens to be very well tolerated by most skin types and works hard to reduce redness, dryness and itching.

    Research also shows that applying topical niacinamide may help increase the production of ceramides in the top layers of your skin. What are ceramides? Well, they’re waxy lipids that are an essential part of your skin’s barrier function, holding it together to help retain moisture, reduce irritation and protect your skin from external nasties. Of course, like all good things in your skin, ceramides deplete with age, so anything you can do to improve levels is a win-win. Hello niacinamide!

    Try: Niacinamide Facial Serum

    5. Vitamin E

    Every anti-inflammatory skincare routine must contain antioxidants to help skin fight inflammation caused by free radicals. And vitamin E is up there as one of the best. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that supports cellular function and improves the health of your skin. Thanks to its awesome emollient and humectant properties, it’s also naturally moisturizing and super healing. Very important qualities in any skincare ingredient, we think you’ll agree.

    But that’s not all. Studies suggest that vitamin E helps shield your skin from UV damage. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are partly to thank for this, but experts agree that vitamin E has the innate ability to physically absorb some of the energy from UV radiation itself. This means there’s less of it available to do its dirty work on your skin. You've got to love that.

    Try: Vitamin C Facial Serum

    6. Witch Hazel

    A natural astringent, witch hazel is harvested from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel plant, a small tree that grows wild in Asia and the east coast of North America. Witch hazel extract is full of anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant compounds, including tannins (a type of polyphenol). It can be used topically to treat anything from hemorrhoids and dandruff to bug bites and acne. It’s also wonderfully healing and great for oily skin, as its astringent properties have been shown to reduce sebum and minimize enlarged pores.

    Try: Ocean Minerals Daily Face Super Toner

     

     

     

     

    Acne
    How To Nail An Effective Anti-Inflammatory Skincare Routine
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  • Why Everyone’s Talking About Skin Barrier Protection
    Skin barrier protection is on everyone's lips right now. Why? Because this uppermost layer of your skin is a real workhorse – and it needs looking after if you want it to function properly. Here’s how…

    Like many skincare brands, beauty blogs and glossy magazines, we often talk about the skin barrier. It's super important for the health of your skin. Which means it’s also super important for how your skin looks and feels on a daily basis.

    But what is this elusive skin barrier? And why does it play such a vital role? Well, your skin’s barrier is basically its uppermost layer  the very top of your epidermis that’s made up of around 20 layers of cells and known in the beauty biz as the stratum corneum. This top brick wall-like layer arguably works harder than the rest of your skin put together because it acts like a security guard to protect your skin and your body from the outside world, preventing moisture from getting out and external irritants from getting in.

    Of course, the aging process weakens your skin’s barrier as it naturally loses vital moisture, ceramides and cholesterol over time. Which is a bummer. And if you suffer with sensitive skin? Well, that's got a lot to do with having a thin or compromised barrier that’s unable to effectively keep pesky irritants like pollution, toxins, UV radiation and harsh chemicals at bay. These environmental stressors not only cause things like irritation, dryness, dehydration and redness for your skin, but they simultaneously keep chipping away at your skin’s barrier function, weakening it and making it even more prone to damage.

    The basic premise is this: you must keep your skin barrier thick and resilient if you're serious about achieving and maintaining healthy, strong skin. An efficient, hardworking barrier will make your skin look far better than one that's not doing so well – think radiant, smooth, even... you know the drill.

    So, want more intel on how to protect your skin’s all-important barrier? Read on for our five golden rules…

    Rule #1: Pare Back Your Skincare Routine

    Gosh, it’s tempting to lavish your skin with every vitamin, acid and goodness knows what other skin-loving ingredients you can get your hands on. And while complicated skincare routines might sound awesome in theory, too much of a good thing can reap disastrous results – especially where your skin’s barrier is concerned.

    The key to a solid barrier-strengthening regimen is to keep it simple, yet effective. Easier said than done? Actually, no. Just avoid overloading your skin with tons of serums, essences, oils and potions containing active ingredients that could work against each other and irritate your skin. It’s as simple as that, really. Stick to a basic cleansing, toning and moisturizing routine, and add in just one treatment product, two at the absolute max – one for use in the morning and one for nighttime.

    Our favorite serum for nourishing barrier function is Niacinamide SerumNiacinamide has been shown to help boost ceramide production and is one of the best antioxidants for sensitive skin. Apply it before moisturizer for fabulous results.

     

    Rule #2: Up Your Moisturizing Game

    Moisturizers are key for hydrating the top layers of your skin and preventing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). And as you know, moisturizing is an important step in any skincare routine – whether your skin is oily and prone to breakouts, dry and itchy, or somewhere in between.

    When it comes to skin barrier protection, the key is to find an effective moisturizer that’s packed with reparative ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, ceramides and botanical oils rich in essential fatty acids. We love Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer.

    Extreme dryness can seriously damage your skin’s barrier, leaving it vulnerable to external aggressors like pollution, UV radiation and the like, so if your barrier function has gotten out of whack and you’re experiencing a lot of dryness and abnormal sensitivities, moisturizer alone might not be enough. This is where a barrier cream may be needed. Barrier creams not only hydrate the skin and prevent dryness, but they also provide a kind of protective seal over your skin to repair damage, allowing your barrier to heal itself and therefore do its job better.

    Rule #3: Press ‘Go’ On The Ultimate Protection Plan

    Supercharged moisturizing is all well and good for building up your barrier function and healing your skin, but you also want to prevent further damage, right? Right. Well, on top of applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, another great way to do this is to incorporate a topical antioxidant into your daily routine.

    Antioxidants are the bee’s knees at neutralizing cellular damage caused by environmentally-induced free radicals. This means they’re a must if you want to look after your valuable collagen and elastin supplies. And, btw, you absolutely do want to look after collagen and elastin because they’re crucial for the integrity of your skin’s barrier – and your skin’s health, in general.

    But as we mentioned, don’t overcomplicate your routine by bombarding your skin with too many antioxidant treatments. Find one you love for the morning (vitamin C is awesome!) and apply another before bed. Our Retinol Serum is a fantastic overnight treatment boasting antioxidants known to boost cellular turnover for stronger, brighter skin. Retinol can be potent, however, so always patch test it first and introduce it slowly into your routine to make sure you don’t compromise your skin’s protective barrier.

    Rule #4: Try Not To Stress The Small Stuff

    Stress is an ugly beast when it comes to your skin’s barrier. Not only has it been proven to deplete your skin’s production of healthy oils and valuable moisture, but stress also alters your skin’s pH level, produces unnecessary free radicals and triggers various hormones (hi there, cortisol), which can result in inflammatory reactions and all sorts of consequences like itching, redness and flaking skin. Stress has also been directly linked to chronic skin conditions including rosacea, psoriasis, acne and eczema. All of which are barrier issues. Sigh.

    Managing stress isn't simple and unfortunately, there’s no solution that fits all. You could be totally into meditation or you might hate the thought of it. But try to think of something that relaxes you and do this for a good amount of time, every day. Perhaps it's reading a book, deep breathing, or going out for a walk. Even just watching your favorite show. Whatever your jam, find time to regularly do it. Honestly, this is the best place to start. And your skin will thank you for it.

    Rule #5: Say A Big NO To Harsh Skincare Ingredients

    We believe some ingredients have no place on your skin. Cleansing detergents like sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) and sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), for example, alter your skin’s pH and strip your barrier of essential oils. Yes, they’re fabulous at getting rid of built-up dirt and debris, but tbh, they’re almost TOO good, so they end up leaving your skin’s barrier fragile and weak. The good news is we don’t include such nasties in our face washes, so you know you're getting good and clean with Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser or Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser.

    While we’re on the subject of too much of a good thing, you might want to avoid synthetic fragrance in your skincare (which can seriously irritate sensitive skin) and try cutting back on physical exfoliation with things like cleansing brushes, mitts and abrasive scrubs. These can also upset your skin’s barrier if not used with care.

    Of course, we can’t leave before finally mentioning a few other lifestyle habits that can do a real number on your skin’s barrier. Smoking, cruddy sleep and a poor diet are just a few and we’re sure you can think of many others – one of which starts with an ‘a’ and ends with an ‘l’.

    The simple answer to this whole skin barrier protection game? Be nice to both your body and your skin. That is all.

     

     

     

     

    Hyaluronic Acid
    Why Everyone’s Talking About Skin Barrier Protection
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  • How To Deal With Your Most Niggling Beauty Bugbears
    It’s time to take control of your least favorite skin concerns with these simple skincare updates.

    Let’s get one thing straight: perfect skin is the stuff of fantasies. What you see on the red carpet, for example, requires hours of preening and painting, not to mention the years’ worth of treatments and tweakments undertaken at the doctor’s office. 

    However, in-office treatments aren’t for everyone and constantly striving for perfection can be an exhausting game to play. That's why we prefer to work with what nature gave us by looking after our skin through smart skincare and lifestyle choices. Sure, these kinds of habits will never eradicate wrinkles, plump up thin lips or make sunspots miraculously disappear overnight, but taking positive action will absolutely help your skin in the long-term. At the same time, it does wonders for your mental wellbeing.

    Whatever your skin bugbear, our advice is simple. 1. Try not to sweat it too much. It’s really not the big deal you make it out to be, plus other people probably don’t even notice it. And 2. Ensure you’re choosing and applying the right skincare so as not to make matters worse. Because you know what? Great skincare and good lifestyle habits are an awesome way to prevent AND treat your concerns.

    Here’s how to tackle some of your most common skin worries…

    An Oily T-Zone

    Dealing with a greasy nose, chin and forehead is bad enough at high school, but when oily skin continues to irritate the hell out of you in your adult years? Enough already.

    First, the good news: overactive sebaceous glands mean your skin is less likely to prematurely wrinkle. So, at least there’s that. However, oily skin is still irritating, especially in the summer months when it gets doubly worse.

    What to do, then? Well, don’t think moisturizing is pointless, because if you fail to moisturize your skin after cleansing, it will just produce even more oil to counteract the dryness. Not cool. Choose light, moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and glycerin rather than heavy oil-based formulations, and invest in a cleanser that contains activated charcoal to draw out toxins and mop up excess oil. Try Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser.

    Sagging Jowls

    Aging skin isn’t solely about wrinkles. A lack of firmness (thanks to the natural loss of collagen) can be another frustrating bugbear that causes your skin to seriously slacken and head south, especially around the jaw area.

    Facial exercises are a good way to strengthen the muscles in your face and neck to help keep jowls under control. One of our favorites is called "Kiss the Ceiling". To try this one, tilt your head back, pucker up your lips and really push them forward as if you’re trying to kiss someone extremely tall. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat five times every day.

    You should also include a hardworking antioxidant serum in your daily routine to help stay on top of free radical damage – one of the biggest offenders for collagen breakdown and skin aging. Vitamin C Super Serum+ is a great choice for lax skin, as it contains MSM, retinol, botanical hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to build strength and firmness. A no-brainer, if you will.

    Stubborn Blackheads

    Blackheads strike when overactive sebaceous glands block up your pores with sebum. This sebum then combines with dead skin cells, breaks through the pore and oxidizes (turns black) as it hits the air. They most commonly strike on and around your nose but can appear anywhere, especially if you have naturally oily skin.

    Just like a shiny T-zone, blackheads are best kept in check through sebum control, so ensure you cleanse thoroughly (but gently) morning and night, and always after exercising. Never squeeze blackheads, as it can cause inflammation and/or scarring. Instead, embrace skincare that contains salicylic acid, which not only cuts through excess oil but also dissolves the bonds between dead skin cells, encouraging them to slough away more efficiently.

    Our Tea Tree Super Serum+ works as a fabulous spot treatment for stubborn blackheads. Simply apply it 2-3 times a week to targeted areas or all over.

    Puffy Eyes & Dark Circles

    The skin around your eyes is super fragile and also lacks fat and muscle support. This is why it’s often one of the first places to scream ‘aging’!

    Unfortunately, aging concerns around the eyes are often hereditary and if you have pale skin, you’re more likely to notice dark under eye circles than if you have darker skin. Sun damage is also a major player here, so always wear UV protective sunglasses when you’re outside, sleep with your head elevated to reduce water retention under the eyes and apply a daily eye treatment containing antioxidants to further fight the damaging effects of the sun.

    We love Peptide Eye Gel as it contains peptides (obvs!), plant stem cells, botanical hyaluronic acid, licorice extract and a bunch of other ingredients that have a rep for gradually improving the look of fine lines, dryness, morning puffiness and dark circles.

    Red Cheeks

    Facial redness can be caused by many things. It arises when your blood vessels become dilated, accelerating blood flow to the surface of your skin. The big question, however, is why your blood vessels dilate more than others. And the answer? Well, how long have you got? Genetics is a major factor in things like eczema, acne, rosacea and psoriasis, all of which result in facial redness. But then there are other issues like over-exfoliation, allergies, hormonal fluctuations and stress.

    The best ways to deal with facial redness is to check in with a skincare expert so you can diagnose the issue, understand what’s causing it and then treat it. Of course, a gentle skincare routine is also key to reducing redness and irritation, so go steady with potent ingredients like retinol and glycolic acid, and make sure you moisturize your skin twice daily.

    Niacinamide Facial Serum could be a good option for you because it has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. But always check with your dermatologist and do a patch test first.

    Hormonal Breakouts

    Hormonal acne, which makes you break out during your periods or menopause, affects around 25 percent of women in their forties and a whopping 50 percent of women in their twenties. That’s a lot of women having to put up with zits and pimples at a time when there’s so much else to deal with. Sigh.

    Menopausal acne is believed to arise because estrogen levels drop as your periods slow down and eventually stop. At the same time, androgen hormones like testosterone increase – cue breakouts.

    There are many options for dealing with hormonal acne, including prescription meds, but retinol is a great shout if you’re looking for an effective way to up your skincare game. Retinol activates certain genes underneath the surface of your skin to boost cellular turnover and stop dead skin cells from lurking around way past their sell-by-date. The result? Clearer pores and fewer breakouts. It’s a very powerful ingredient, however, so slowly introduce Retinol Facial Serum into your routine after patch testing first.
     
     
     
     

    Acne
    How To Deal With Your Most Niggling Beauty Bugbears
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