Archive for May, 2013

Parabens: What’s the Big Controversy?

Have you heard about the parabens controversy? What are parabens and what’s the big deal? Parabens are a group of chemicals used as preservatives in skin care and cosmetic products. They are also used in shampoos, deodorants and other personal care products. Their role is to prevent bacteria and fungus from forming within the products. Parabens have been used for many years and are found in about 90% of skin care products. They are effective and very inexpensive for manufacturers to use.

However, there have been concerns over whether parabens impact estrogen levels which can in turn be associated with some forms of breast cancer. Studies have been done on laboratory rats where it was found that parabens entered the body through the skin and estrogen-like activity was found in the animals. For comparison, it is important to note that the estrogen found from parabens was much weaker than estrogen levels found in products like those used for hormone replacement therapy. Also important is that the studies that have been done so far have been too small not entirely thorough to prove anything for certain. This is still being researched and any new data will be reviewed by the US Food & Drug Administration. For now, there is no definitive answer on whether parabens cause cancer.

It is understandable that some consumers still want to avoid any potential risk of cancer. Paraben-free products can be difficult to find, but are becoming more available. If you are concerned, simply look for parabens on the ingredients list before you buy. Some common parabens you may find are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Be prepared to spend more since paraben-free products can be expensive. They also have a lower shelf life due to the absence of preservatives, and will need to be replaced more frequently than products containing preservatives.

So what are your thoughts? Do you plan to ban parabens from your skin care routine? Are you waiting for more substantial data confirming there’s a link to cancer? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

Slather It On!

In just a month it will officially be the first day of summer. School will be finishing up for some and we will be enjoying beaches and other outdoor activities. Let’s face it, we had a long winter and want to enjoy the beautiful summer weather! But slow down now. Are you forgetting something? It’s time to be even more diligent about wearing sunscreen. Sure, we’ve all had those moments where we thought “Oh, it’s a little cloudy. I will be fine for just an hour.” Then you return indoors and see the red glow on your skin. Wearing sunscreen is crucial in protecting our skin from sun damage, premature aging and even skin cancer. The time to start thinking about sun protection is now. Sunscreen should actually be applied all year long to exposed skin. We expose much more skin in the spring and summer months, so it is especially important to make sunscreen a part of your daily routine.

Here are some helpful tips to help you understand how sunscreen works and to find the best one:

  • SPF. SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor.” It is a measure of the sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB damage, which is the redness from a sunburn. You should choose a minimum of SPF 15, which will block approximately 93% of the sun’s rays. The higher SPFs will block more, but it is important to note that no sunscreen will block 100% of the sun’s rays. SPF 30 will block 97% and SPF 50 will block 98%. While very fair skinned individuals or those with a history of skin cancer will get the most benefit from these higher SPFs, most of us can get by with just an SPF 15 or SPF 30.
  • Broad-Spectrum. It is important to choose a sunscreen that is labeled as “broad-spectrum,” as it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Even though UVB rays are what causes sunburn, both types of rays can cause skin cancers and skin damage.
  • Apply. Sunscreen should be first applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. This will allow enough time for the sunscreen to sink into the skin. This isn’t the time to skimp. It will take 1 oz of sunscreen to provide the proper amount of coverage.
  • Reapply! Sunscreen needs to be reapplied at least every two hours to be effective, or more often if you sweat, get wet, or towel off. Even water-resistant sunscreens need frequent reapplication.

So be smart this summer and all year long. Find an effective sunscreen and commit to using it daily. Your skin will thank you by looking healthy and youthful for many years!

Bridal Trend: Airbrush Makeup

Last month we discussed spray tans. Did you know that the same airbrush method can be used to apply makeup as well? It is a popular method in the film and theater industry and was even the official makeup used for the 55th Emmy awards. In fact, the technique dates back as far as 1925, when it was used on actors for the film, Ben Hur. This is a perfect method to use if you have closeup planned in front of a high definition camera! However, airbrush makeup is no longer just for film and television personalities. It is a hot trend for the general public as well. In fact, you can even find kits to purchase for home use.

So exactly what is airbrush makeup and how does it work? A diluted foundation formula is custom blended for your skin. This formula can be water or silicone-based. (Note that alcohol-based formulas are meant for body painting and not the face.) The makeup is then applied with a small spray gun tool, which sprays tiny dots of foundation onto the skin. The makeup lays on top of the skin in a very thin layer, which helps to fill in flaws and cover up skin imperfections without looking heavy or caked on. Airbrushing allows for a smooth and even application of makeup without cracks or streaks. It is also very quick to apply and feels surprisingly lightweight. The overall result is excellent coverage, flawless and natural looking skin. Since the makeup can last anywhere from 12 to 18 hours and won’t rub off, it’s an obvious choice for many brides to be.

Are you interested in learning more about airbrush makeup and how to apply it? For more information on when our next workshop will be offered, please call 781-935-3344 ext. 243.

Heavy Metal Skin Care

When you think of copper, the penny may come to mind. Who knew that this common metal would become another growing trend in skin care products. Copper peptides, such as the GHK copper peptide, might just be the key to improving your skin’s elasticity. The benefits of copper peptides was discovered in the 1970s by Dr. Loren Pickart. He found that copper peptides helped to heal wounds and skin lesions by regenerating the skin. Today, these same copper peptides are found in lotions, creams and serums, which help to protect and rejuvenate the skin. The main benefit is that it helps to stimulate collagen production and make the skin more elastic. The ingredient breaks down large collagen deposits to help smooth the skin and reduce fine lines. When used with antioxidants, they work together to remove free radicals from the skin and slow the aging process. The result is younger looking skin overall. Suddenly, those old copper pennies look to be a little more valuable, don’t they?

An important side note: It is possible to get too much of a good thing! Over use of products containing copper peptides can have the reverse effect on skin by causing increased aging. These products should always be used in moderation to ensure you are getting the best possible effects.

Have you tried lotions containing copper peptides? We’d love to know how you liked them. Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page!