Here are my top five favorite sunscreens for all skin types.
Eclipse SPF 50+ is an ultra-sheer, lightweight formula that absorbs quickly for a non-greasy matte ﬁnish. Formulated speciﬁcally for daily use and extended outdoor activities. Eclipse SPF 50+ is a unique fusion of scientiﬁcally advanced physical sunscreens, transparent Titanium Dioxide and micronized Zinc Oxide, coupled with pure Vitamin E. This antioxidant-rich blend provides superior water-resistant broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
A rich, non-greasy, “chem-free” face sunscreen that offers Broad Spectrum Protection against damaging UVA & UVB rays. Infused with youth promoting antioxidants, this 3 in 1 product functions as a face moisturizer, sunscreen and make-up primer. Red algae, aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea provide the face with additional sun defense and hydration. Large doses of uncoated, non-nano zinc-oxide protect the skin while providing anti-inflammatory properties that help with rosacea, acne, and melasma.
A 100% mineral primer in one translucent formula that blurs pores and mattifies skin. Wear underneath makeup for more coverage during the week, or on its own for less coverage during the weekend – and either way, you can rest assured that you’re getting SPF 40 protection. Major bonus points for the fact that butterfly bush extract helps guard your skin from blue light too.
CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50 provides broad spectrum, lightweight sun protection plus 3 essential ceramides to help restore skin’s protective barrier. Water resistant for up to 40 minutes.
DermaQuest Youth Protection SPF 30 blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays while simultaneously combatting signs of aging for a protected, more youthful complexion. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide deflect and shield skin from UVA/UVB rays while shea butter and jojoba moisturize. Lines and wrinkles lighten as antioxidants absorb to nourish your facial features.
Two close girlfriends had baby showers this summer and I set up a DIY body scrub station as a party favor at both parties.
This gave me the opportunity to play around with a lot of fun ingredients and make new combinations for yummy DIY body scrubs!
I’ve always favored sugar over salt as an exfoliating agent and found that adding finely shredded coconut is effective and aromatic.
Here is one of my new favorite combinations:
Makes about 4oz.
5 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons rose petals (I buy dried rose petals and run them through a food processor)
4 Tablespoons avocado oil
5-6 drops geranium essential oil
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Can be kept in the refrigerator if you don’t plan on using it up within 4-6 months. Not recommended for use on the face.
Full disclosure, I’m a fan of injectable neurotoxins. In the hands of the right doctor, they are a great tool to for people who want to look youthful.
I had my first Botox treatment at 35 years old. The vertical line on my forehead had been there long as I could remember, getting more pronounced with each passing year. The prospect of softening it was intriguing.
The procedure itself didn’t feel as invasive as I expected. It took about 10 minutes and the result was subtle. I was so happy with the results, I continued to have injections every 5-6 months.
I’ve paired Botox with other anti-aging treatments (chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and LED treatments) and I’m generally happy with my face a decade later.
Then I had two Botox treatments in a row where the results changed dramatically. My eyes looked heavier and my forehead too frozen. I discussed it with my dermatologist but the corrections he made didn’t really help.
Unsure of what to do, I took a “Botox vacation” and let my face go back to its natural state.
I was curious; had a decade of paralyzing my forehead muscles affected their movement? Was Botox really “preventative” like some doctors said? Would my forehead be smoother than it was before?
My “Botox vacation” lasted a nine months. During that time, all the movement returned to my forehead; I’m happy to know my muscles still work! The heaviness left my eyelids as the Botox wore off but the vertical line on my forehead also returned.
Does my forehead look better now than it would have if I didn’t get all the injections over the past decade? Not necessarily.
I decided to see a new dermatologist and he used a different injection pattern to lift my brow while still softening the vertical line. I’m happy with the results and will probably get back on my regular injection schedule but it’s also nice to know what my face looks like without a little help!
Even when on vacation, I can’t help but check out all things spa and wellness related! I love the history of bath houses and thalassotherapy.
The Glanum archeological site near St Rémy de Provence, France is home to the remains of a healing sacred spring as well as ancient Roman Baths so I had to have a look.
The Sacred Spring was an underground cave with water flow and an additional tunnel that channeled wind. The wind created a noise that caused the people in 200 BC to considered it “devine”. They decided the “devine water” must have healing powers so an alter was built around the cave.
Over the years, this alter became more elaborate, eventually with stairs leading down to the water and treatment areas surrounding it.
Roman solders would travel from all over to receive treatments with the “devine water” for gout and other illnesses. They often stayed at Glanum for months and it was customary to leave a gift of a carved stone pillar in exchange for treatment. These pillars often included engravings of legs which led historians to figure out the water was used to treat disorders of the legs.
Next to the Sacred Spring, there are stone slabs (ancient massage tables) thought to have been used for massage and water treatments. The indent near the top held oil for the treatment.
Around 75BC Glanum became a popular destination for its Roman Bath house. The bath house was for rest and relaxation, not just healing purposes like the spring. Men used a mixture of sand and olive oil to exfoliate their skin before soaking in the pools of water.
The history is fascinating and the site is beautiful. I recommend checking it out if you’re in the area!
Lavender has been called “the soul of Provence”. This region in the South of France currently grows a large percentage of the world’s lavender supply.
On a recent trip to the area, I couldn’t pass up the chance learn a bit about this popular plant. I’ve worked with essential oils for over two decades but haven’t had the chance to see this kind of production up close.
Since WW1, the French Government has encouraged lavender farmers in the area. Farmers cleared almond orchards to make room for lavender. The leaves, flowers, and essential oil from the plant have many uses. Lavender flowers are even an ingredient in the popular cooking spice “Herbs de Provence“.
The plants bloom in late June and are harvested in early August so July is considered peak time to see the purple fields. During our trip in early May, we saw purple flowers starting to bloom but quickly learned these are lavendine plants, not lavender plants.
Lavendine is a hybrid of lavender and camphor. The two were blended to create a heartier plant that can flourish in a wider range of climates and has a longer growing period. This creates a less expensive end product that is used to scent mass produced soaps, candles etc.
You must find “lavande vraie” (literally translates to “lavender true”) for 100% pure lavender essential oil. The expert I spoke with near the village of Les Baux de Provence insists only “lavande vraie” has the medicinal healing qualities the lavender plant. Lavendine will not produce the same results for relaxation, help with inflammation, wound healing etc.
Next time you find yourself in the South of France, I highly recommend learning about the local lavender farmers. It’s a beautiful part of the local culture!
Anti-pollution skin care is a trending but what does it mean?
Environmental pollution at an all time high; how does it affect your skin?
No matter where you live, air and water quality are getting worse and a weakened ozone layer has strengthened the intensity of the sun.
How does skin care protect you from environmental pollution?
Proper cleansing and hydration of the skin is the first step.
The skin is one of your largest organs and it’s primary function is protection.
Clean, hydrated skin functions at an optimal level to protect your system from pollution. Dehydrated skin has a compromised barrier so it becomes more susceptible to damage from environmental pollution.
SPF with a physical ingredient like zinc or titanium dioxide helps provide an invisible barrier between your skin and the environment. These ingredients provide the best protection from the sun as well.
Use a cleanser that removes your makeup, sunscreen, and the traces of dirt from your day. When clients tell me they don’t wash their face at night because they don’t wear makeup, I tell them to run their finger across the window of their car after driving around all day. All the same particles end up on your face!
The combination of an antioxidant serum and a physical sunblock will provide the best protection from the elements on a daily basis. Save the heavy, anti-aging creams for nighttime when your skin is in repair mode.
Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!
This article documenting the radium skin care trend from the 1920’s and 30’s is fascinating.
“Radior” Chin straps are guaranteed to contain Radio-active substance and Radium Bromide. If placed on the face where the skin has become wrinkled or tired the radio-active forces immediately take effect on the nerves and tissues. A continuous steady current of energy flows into the skin, and before long the wrinkles have disappeared, the nerves have become strong and energised, and the tired muscles have become braced up and “ready for service.”
It was thought to literally give you a glowing complexion!
Clients of all ages ask me “Should I get Botox?”.
The answer is never a simple yes or no. First, think about what you are trying to change.
Botox will temporarily soften lines on the glabella, the forehead and the “crows feet”. It works by paralyzing the muscle so it is considered to be very effective.
However, just because you’ve paralyzed a facial muscle and no longer have a wrinkle, you still may not look the way you expected. It may require several session to perfect the injection pattern and get the results you want.
Botox relaxes the muscle under the skin but does not treat the surface of the skin. If you are unhappy with the texture of your skin, have large pores and discoloration Botox alone will not make your skin perfect.
You will need to have a treatment every 3-6 months depending on how fast your body metabolizes the product. Injectables are very effective anti-aging tools but consider the overall cost when adding them to your routine.
If you decide to try Botox, find a reputable dermatologist who does a lot of injections. The science behind injection patterns and dosing is constantly being adjusted for better results. Choose a doctor who is up to date.
Avoid discount websites and deals that seem too good to be true, this is your face!
Do you ever wonder how people protected their skin from the sun thousands of years ago?
Clothing, scarves, and shade were early methods of protecting skin from the sun. However, applying products to the skin for additional protection also started thousands of years ago.
Early civilizations used a variety of plant products to help protect the skin from sun damage.
Ancient Greeks used olive oil to protect their skin from the sun and to condition it after sun exposure. Modern science tells us olive oil has an SPF of 7-8 (and this protection breaks down when the oils is heated) so it is NOT considered effective protection from the sun but given their options, it was better than nothing.
Ancient Egyptians used extracts of rice, jasmine, and lupine plants. Again, these ingredients offered low levels of sun protection but were proven to be very beneficial to the skin and are still used in skin care products today.
Burmese women have used Thanaka cream to protect from sunburn for over 2000 years. Thanaka is a creamy paste rich in vitamin E and is applied on the face in pretty designs. It also provides a cooling sensation and has anti-inflammatory properties to calm acne.
Zinc oxide, a popular sunscreen ingredient today, was being used for medicinal purposes as long ago as 500 B.C.E.
In the 16th century, pale skin was very important to the the upper class. The clothing of the era covered the body from head to toe but ladies were required to wear uncomfortable Visards to protect their skin from the sunburn when traveling in open carriages.
Thankfully, by the 17th century parasols and bonnets had become popular as a means of protecting the face from the sun.
The production of sunscreen as we know it today started in the 1940’s. More user friendly versions appeared on the market by the 1960’s and in the 1970’s the formulas protected against both UVA and UVB rays.
When faced with options like a Visard or a can of greasy “red vet pet” I’m happy to have my Suntegrity!
A few months ago, I started drinking 100oz of water per day.
Drinking 100oz of water per day is no small feat. The first few weeks were rough, drinking water all the time seemed like a chore and I was running to the bathroom every hour.
Between week 2 and week 3 my body adjusted. Bathroom breaks became less frequent and I woke up craving water. I easily downed 32oz before leaving my house in the morning.
What else did I notice?
I drank less coffee without even trying, my morning water became almost as important.
Four people complimented my skin and asked if I had tried a new treatment!
I don’t get hungover from two glasses of wine like before!
My one PMS pimple has stopped making it’s monthly appearance.
The jury is out on whether increased water consumption will directly hydrate your skin, but the positive effects have been obvious for me.
I’m fortunate because I can sip on fruit flavored spa water all day and I’m never far from a bathroom.
This is one lifestyle experiment I’m happy to continue!
LED therapy uses therapeutic light wavelengths to treat the skin. The technology has been scientifically proven to stimulate fibroblasts that increase collagen and elastin production as well as kill acne causing bacteria.
Over 40 years of research shows LED has powerful therapeutic benefits on living tissue. In the 1960s, it was noted that certain single wavelengths had therapeutic effects on treatment tissues through a process called photo-stimulation.
Cancer researchers discovered a single red frequency combined with a topical cream kills certain types of skin cancer cells. The skin tissue regenerated and the appearance of the skin also improved with these treatments. The red LED light alone produced positive results in the treatment of rosacea, aging skin, and sun damaged skin.
NASA found LED light waves helped to stimulate cell growth which promoted healing in weightless environments.
LED light therapy is a cleared by the FDA as a cosmetic procedure. It is painless, safe, and effective to help reverse the signs of sun damage and aging as well as heal acne lesions and rosacea,
Red LED light encourages collagen production and increases blood flow to the skin therefore increasing cellular metabolism and strengthening the capillary walls.
Blue LED light is effective for treating acne. In clinical studies, blue light has shown to generate singlet oxygen which attacks the bacteria which is the root cause of most acne flare ups.
My sugar cravings have always been out of control.
I can skip alcohol most nights and I love green vegetables, however a decadent dessert paired with a cappuccino gets me every time.
I don’t worry about my moderate coffee consumption but sugar doesn’t do my skin or body any favors.
I’ve seen the memes on social media; “Eat spinach when you are craving chocolate, your body really wants magnesium”. Would you really eat a plate of spinach instead of a slice of chocolate cake? I wouldn’t.
Additionally, it takes almost two ten ounce bags of spinach leaves to meet an average adult’s daily recommended magnesium requirement. That’s a lot of spinach!
My neurologist recently recommended a daily 400mg magnesium supplement to help my migraine headaches, it had the bonus side effect of curbing my sugar cravings. I didn’t need to eat mountains of spinach when I was craving chocolate cake, I just stopped craving chocolate cake!
After a few months of decreased sugar intake, I have seen positive changes in my skin, my sleep habits and my mood.
According to WebMD, the daily recommended does of magnesium for adults is 320mg for women and 420mg for men. Always consult your doctor before taking adding new supplements to your daily routine.
As I approach my mid-40’s, I see more signs of aging in my eye area so I’ve stepped up my anti-aging eye routine.
The delicate skin in the eye area is 10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face. This skin is also in a constant state of movement, so fines lines or “crows feet” are commonly one of the early signs of aging.
I’m not opposed to surgery or injectable solutions but I’d like to save surgical options for my next decade and I have mixed feelings about the results I’ve seen from Botox for “crows feet”.
Eye lifts were in the list of the top five esthetic surgical procedures performed in the United States in 2016 according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
While working to expand my online store last year, I tested many eye creams and ended up with irritated eyes on a few occasions. I learned a lot about what ingredients work and which ones to skip.
The right combination of topical peptides, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and stimulants can give this delicate area the extra boost it needs to get me thru my 40’s without going under the knife.
This is the routine that has made a visible change for me:
Alchemie Forever Rejuvenating Eye Balm
This lightweight eye balm is perfect for daytime. The antioxidant rich formula protects against environmental assaults while the Vitamin K reduces the appearance of dark circles.
sowd therapy for skin: firming peptide eye therapy
The creamy formula uses Matrixyl 3000 to stimulate the cell renewal that slows with age. It also contains anti-inflammatory ingredients so you wake up with less puffiness. When I have an extra few minutes, I use my Jade Roller to massage the eye area before applying.
Patchology Energizing Eye Patches
These are amazing! The patches are embedded with gel-activated galvanic micro current technology, after 20 minutes my eyes look years younger. I use them once a week or before I have an important event.
I eliminated 90% of the added sugar in my diet and reduced my alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per month. Cutting out alcohol isn’t a problem for me, I enjoy drinking less as I get older but I love sugar and seem to crave it at times. I discovered a calcium/magnesium supplement helped curb my sugar cravings so much.
Keep up your water intake and eat a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. When you becomes dehydrated, your eyes are the first place it shows!
When I discovered QC Terme, I thought it was too good to be true!
On a recent trip to Italy, we had a 6am flight out of the Fiumicino airport following a week on the Amalfi Coast. I wanted to find accommodations as close to the airport as possible to ease our transition.
QC Terme is resort hotel with a spa 10 minutes from the airport, the perfect solution.
The QC Terme brand has properties all over Italy, follow their Instagram and you will want to make time to visit them all!
I booked a package including a hotel room, unlimited access to the thermal mineral pools, massages, and breakfast. After traveling for 2 weeks, it seemed like the perfect last day in Italy.
The day we arrived consisted of a ferry from Sorrento to Naples, followed by a 2 hour train ride from Naples to Rome so we were ready to relax.
The hotel is rated 5 stars and was lovely in a typically European way. Service at check in was wonderful but after that, we were left to wander the facility alone which was a little confusing.
We managed to find our way to the “wellness farm” and relaxed in the thermal mineral pools before our massages.
The massage facilities were top notch; heated beds and luxurious rooms. Plus I had one of the best massages I’ve had in my travels to European countries, generally the pressure is too light and they use too much oil but this was perfect.
Sadly, we had to rush out very early in the morning the following day. I would have loved to enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the grounds.
Overall we had a relaxing stay at QC Terme Roma, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a spa break before or after a long flight!
The fast pace of modern daily life creates stress and your skin will suffer if you don’t take time to balance your activity with some downtime.
What is your favorite way to take a time out, create balance in your life and help your skin when life gets overwhelming?
When my life is at “peak stress”, time is always scarce. I embrace daily wellness tips I can incorporate into my routine without taking up much time.
When you wake up in the morning, you are dehydrated, no question.
Reach for a large glass of room temperature water before you start on the coffee and keep sipping throughout the day.
This insures you stay hydrated and helps keep your energy levels up, I drink less coffee if I start with water and feel better overall.
Decide on an electronic end time for your day and stick with it.
This is the time your phone gets turned off (use an auto-reply for your email if you need too), stop checking social media and replying to text messages. There is nothing that can’t wait until you “clock in” the following morning.
This gives your brain some much needed downtime and gives your skin a break from screen time.
It’s not the time to throw caution to the wind and run to the nearest department store with your credit card or break your diet with an entire cake but do a little something special for yourself.
I usually default to getting a manicure for a few reasons; I won’t regret it when my credit card bill comes next month, I’m forced to set aside my phone and relax while my polish dries and for the next week my pretty hands make me feel like I’m pulled together when I may be on the brink of disaster internally!
A face mask makes everything better. Throw it on while you’re brushing your teeth, washing your hair, even while you are reading this blog…
Is it time to spring clean your skin care closet? Once a year, take the time to clean out your collection of skin care products.
Divide your skin care products into three groups:
- Skin care products you use regularly and work well for your skin type, your “core routine”.
- Skin care products you stopped using because your skin changed and they no longer work for your skin type.
- Skin care products that were gifts or impulse purchases, some of these items may even be unopened or you only used them once before deciding they were wrong for your skin type.
First, discard any items that have been open for more than one year or are past the expiration date printed on the bottle. The active ingredients will no longer be effective. Also, discard any unopened items you have had for longer than three years. Preservatives start to fail around this point so there is no guarantee the product will be safe for use.
Next, re-evaluate the products in group two. Are these items you might use when on vacation in a warmer or colder climate? Can you re-purpose any of these items? For instance, can you use a granular scrub that’s too harsh for your face on your heels or elbows? If not, toss them.
The items in group three can be difficult to part with because the packaging is so pretty or they cost so much! That’s why you were moved to buy them impulsively. Host a swap party for your friends; have everyone bring several new or barely used skin care products that don’t suit them and trade for items better suited for their skin type. Everyone wins!
The skin requires a healthy dose of antioxidants every day to prevent new damage and reverse prior skin damage. Layer your antioxidant serum under your SPF for added sun protection.
Retinol helps increase skin cell turnover which in turn encourages collagen production. The end result is smoother, brighter skin with less breakouts and clogged pores.
Everyone needs sun protection, end of story. If you don’t spend much time in the sun, an SPF 15 in your daily lotion is fine, if you get more exposure bump it up to SPF 30.
I love Korean spa day (in San Francisco we only have one, Imperial) so I jump at the chance to explore the variety Koreatown in Los Angeles has to offer.
On recent visits to Koreatown, I’ve noticed a trend toward the traditional jjimjilbangs; giant complexes that are open 24 hours, have a restaurant, are family friendly and include a fitness center in addition to many spa amenities (a large section of which are co-ed).
In Korea, families go to the spa together and some people actually stay over night sleeping on the heated floor in the communal area.
On the recommendation of a friend, I tried Spa Palace, one of the newest in the area. I visited on a Monday during the day and the large facility was quite empty.
I booked a traditional body scrub/oil massage combo when I checked in ($80 for 70 minute treatment, includes use of the entire facility).
The Korean Body Scrub isn’t for the faint of heart, it can be described as invigorating or painful depending on your preference! I have one 5-6 times a year to get rid of dead skin build up, I’m a fan of intense exfoliation.
You are issued one large towel, one small towel and a “uniform”(shorts and tee shirt) to wear in the co-ed areas. Since I was traveling, I didn’t have my own robe or flip flops but I would recommend them to anyone planning a visit.
The women’s facility was very large, I was given a locker in the “VIP Area” which had its own sink and amenities. The women’s spa area was thru a door at one end while a hallway at the opposite other end led to the co-ed “jjimjilbang”.
The layout is a little confusing so I didn’t hesitate to flag down a spa attendant and ask questions. The facility is large and it wasn’t crowded so it wasn’t abundantly clear what was women only and what was co-ed.
The women’s spa area is equipped with the basic steam, dry sauna, 2 hot tubs and cold plunge in addition to “western” and Korean showers. The room is BIG! One of the biggest I’ve seen.
The co-ed area has a Himalayan Salt Room, a warm (not hot) sauna with salt bricks lining the walls and salt rocks on floor. I like to use pink Himalayan salt in my bath so I guess this may have a similar effect on the body.
Next door is the Ice Room which I would describe as cool, it isn’t as jarring to the body as the cold plunge in the spa area. It’s a nice break between the other warm rooms!
The Gold Sauna was quite warm, almost as hot as a traditional sauna. I have no idea if sitting in a warm room lined with gold does anything but it was pretty!
The Loess Forest Sauna was comfortable and smelled nice, the floor was covered with clay “marbles” (presumably made from loess soil) so you can lie down and they conform to the shape of your body.
The center of the communal area has a giant heated marble floor for napping, a large screen TV and a cafe.
I had a lovely afternoon checking out all the different amenities Spa Palace has to offer. I will be back on my next visit to Los Angeles!
How often do I need a facial?
Facials feel great and most of us would get them all the time if we had plenty of free time and money!
How often should we get facials for optimal health of our skin?
A skin cell cycle lasts between 28-35 days depending on our age, this cycle slows as we get older.
This is why getting a professional facial every 4-8 weeks is great for most people with normal or combination skin. The treatment will help slough off dead skin and take care of the new skin that is revealed.
If you have excessively oily or acne prone skin, a professional treatment every 2-4 weeks will help control breakouts and/or oil production.
When treating acne scars or pigmentation, professional treatments every 2-3 weeks can be very effective since the skin is treated twice in the same cycle.
Consult your esthetician to set up the best treatment plan for your skin!