Monthly Archives: March 2015

Your ethics affect your choice of job and skin care products, or vice versa?

How easy is it to associate ones ethical beliefs with one’s work situation? Could you work for the tobacco industry knowing that there is a super strong connection between smoking and cancer? Or a GMO seed and pesticide manufacturer? Or a major polluter of our air/rivers/sea? Can someone who is strictly vegan sell hamburgers? ETC ETC.

I am truly lucky to be able to choose a job that meets my vegan and cruelty free requirements. However, if I am committed to cruelty free skin care, it has to incorporate more than just what I put on my skin right??? Otherwise I would be a major hypocrite (like politicians), and I couldn’t live with myself nor anyone else like that. I certainly couldn’t promote something that is cruel and inhumane. So, for me, cruelty free also involves what I eat. Therefore I am visibly upset by the weekly email from Yelp that is all about San Francisco foie gras restaurants!!!!

I mentioned my horror to someone whom I thought shared my views, and was given a response “it is what it is”… WHAT? Imagine if people said that about apartheid in South Africa, or Nazi concentration camps, slavery or ISIS etc??? If everyone used this very comfortable ‘cop-out’ phrase, there would have been no women’s suffrage, no civil rights, no gay rights etc. There would be no environment to speak of. No wildlife preserves, sanctuaries and pristine landscapes etc…

NO! Inhumane force feeding of geese to make their livers painfully swollen to enable the production of foie gras is so NOT OK! It should not be what it is!!! It’s up there on my list with clubbing baby harp seals to death for their pelts, all fur products, shark finning live sharks and leaving them to drown, killing rhinos and elephants for their horn and ivory.  Just because I don’t wear fur doesn’t mean I’m OK buying non fur products from a store that sells fur products. Just because I don’t eat foie gras doesn’t mean the rest of the food at the restaurant is OK – nope – I spend not a cent at such establishments. There are plenty other restaurants out there that are ethical and worthy of support. So if you want to know which San Francisco restaurants NOT to support because of their penchant to make money out of inhumane foie gras, check out the Yelp list..and there are many others not listed…call and ask directly before you make plans… We managed to get Foie Gras banned in California in 2012, just to have the restaurant and food industry get it legally overturned last year.

On a similar ethical note,  if you want cruelty free skin care, is it OK to go with FDA approved medical treatments and products knowing they are all tested on animals? And those same medical-grade topical skin care products are all preserved with parabens (potential carcinogens) – yet non medical-grade products are prohibited from using parabens as preservatives (in CA). If you like natural products, does that automatically rule out medical-grade (non-natural) products? Is there anything really natural about a highly processed and expensive cream you’re using as a moisturizer after all? If you are concerned about the environment, then would you still use anti bacterial products (with triclosan for example) that you rinse down the drain into the water system and that have a ripple effect of environmental damage? And what about those little plastic beads in so many facial scrubs that are now being found in fish and other water animals? Seeing as no pollution generating energy is required when cool water is used… is it not a good time to start using cool water only on your face and no warm or hot water? And, by the by, that just happens to be just 1 of the 8 important things you should be doing for your skin anyway

Everything we do has a consequence, and it’s impossible to be perfect, but I urge you to start setting higher standards and help your family and friends to reset theirs. All together, we can make a difference 🙂

Shocking info about the Microbiome diet and skin care

The microbiome is an important area of health research, and marketers are jumping in to take advantage ($$$) of the hype. The microbiome refers to all the natural bacteria that make up the human body, especially the digestive tract. The marketing hype usually has something to sell…and makes it all sound so sensible – but it is just hype and unscientific profiteering. Buyer Beware!!

The frustration around this marketing hype is so well expressed by Jonathan Eisen, professor and biologist at UC Davis, and author of the blog Tree of Life, in the following article that I have reproduced from his blog article:

Well this article by Dr. Raphael Kellman has just lots of overstatements about the microbiome: Why The Microbiome Is Your Key To Glowing Skin & Healthy Weight

For example, he writes:

Have you and your boyfriend or girlfriend ever gone out for a feast of delightfully unhealthy proportions only to then find yourselves picking fights with one another once you’re back home and digesting?  Fueling your body with unhealthy bacteria, and then feeding it with more unhealthy bacteria, is a sure-fire way to destabilize your mind-body connection. Instead, focus on supporting the positive bacteria in your belly with fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir and watch your spirits soar.

This implies that somehow the microbiome has some role in such situations and in mediating the relationships between two people.  And it implies that that can be fixed with fermented foods.  And this is without any shred of evidence …

Then there is a discussion that makes the microbome sound like the master controller of all that is human:

Our bodies are cohesive entities, yes, but within each there are several languages spoken.

The microbiome works like a translator for all of these systems, deciphering and decoding so that one process can communicate with the other for more efficiency and effectiveness (helping our systems to work as a team instead of independently alongside one another).

And then there is evidence free claims about fatigue and the microbiome:

I’ve found that this kind of unexplained fatigue is often linked to a lack of diversity in the microbiome and can be remedied, despite what conventional medicine says

Whenever someone critiques “conventional” medicine and then presents no evidence for their claims, one should be wary, very wary.

And it ends with
Your inner ecology, your microbiome, is influential on your physical health, and that shows through glowing skin, a balanced weight and a youthful essence.  

So – if you want to be youthful and glowing and have good sex and relationships and get rid of your fatigue and fix your automimmune disorders and obesity and connect all of your systems together, all you have to do is fix your microbiome.  Simple.  Oh and how do you do that?  Why funny you asked, because I am selling this new book on the Microbiome Diet to solve all your problems.  Ridiculous.  And dangerous.

And thus I am giving out an Overselling the Microbiome award to Dr. Kellman.

I have referred to skin bacteria and digestive bacteria in previous blog entries of mine, and, by the way, being a bacteria-phobe is not smart on any level of body and skin health. And of course, I continue to promote a healthy diet of 5 fruit and 5 vegetable servings every day, because it will naturally fortify the way your body is supposed to work. A healthy and balanced body will result in a healthier and more balanced skin (baring genetic and acquired serious skin conditions). Simple!

Apart from treating your body right by way of a healthy diet, you should also treat your skin sensitively.

The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. Please see your doctor or a trained medical professional should you have any concerns.

How to reduce pore size – REALLY

I received a request for information from the blog site recently, concerning how to minimize pore size – especially for sensitive skin… They stated the deadline was the 27th, but they published their article on the 26th! Oh well, they probably would not have been interested in my scientific approach to the subject any way. I maintain that good skin care cannot be reduced to 5 second soundbites…:-)

The Request: We’re looking for a skin expert to comment on how to 1) naturally minimize pores and/or 2) the best products to minimize pores. We’re looking for the information to be curtailed to those with sensitive skin.

Firstly, we all have the pore size we’re genetically born with. We can’t selectively change pore size by using any medical of cosmetic products.

Secondly, pore size can ‘appear’ larger because sebum and dry skin stuck in the pore makes it appear disgorged and larger. For this, proper cleansing and exfoliation will help reduce clogged pores and make them appear ‘normal’ for that individual.

Thirdly, a loss of elasticity in the skin as we age will ensure that gravity will make pores appear larger.

Solutions for #1 are makeup related. Conceal the skin and your pore size with masses of makeup. I am not a fan of masking the skin – rather treat it properly and gently with good skin care and be proud of the skin you are in. That’s the most natural approach!

Solutions for #2 will be very different from the norm when considered for sensitive skin:
Gentle cleansing with an oil based cleanser. Dirt and debris (including makeup) naturally attaches to oil – it’s just a scientific fact. A good, light, oil cleanser will include small amounts of emulsifiers so that it can be removed from the skin with cool water (the oil turns milky when water is added). Oil cleansers do not strip your natural moisturizer (lipid barrier) off the skin. Squeaky clean is unnatural and bad for the skin.
Use cool water only. Hot or warm water is terribly bad for sensitive skin. Hot and warm water relaxes the skin and makes the pores appear larger.
Cleanse only once per day – most importantly the evening. Cleansing 2x per day is bad for all skin, but especially bad for sensitive skin. Never use detergent cleansers, even so-called ‘natural’ ones.
Do not overstimulate the sebaceous glands and thus create more opportunity for sebum to clog in pores. Over cleansing the skin and using hot or warm water will naturally over stimulate the sebaceous glands.
Gently exfoliate the skin at night using a very mild enzyme or alpha hydroxy acid that is no lower than a 4pH. Most sensitive skins can tolerate these. The alpha hydroxy acid should be no more than 3% in concentration. Because it is a slightly lower pH than the skin, some sensation should be expected. It is not to be feared. The exfoliant should be splashed off the skin after 3 – 5 minutes to neutralize the effect on the skin. Scrubs and brushes should never be used as exfoliators – especially not for sensitive skin. Exfoliation reduces the build up of dry/dead cells in the pores. Exfoliation should be carried out 3 nights a week for sensitive skin, but may be done 5 to 7 nights a week for best effect of maintaining ‘normal’ pore size.
Apply a soothing, simple, hydration gel to the skin after exfoliating. Hydration gels bind water to the skin and help reduce appearance of wrinkles and pore size.
Apply a light or rich lipid based moisturizer over the hydration gel – depending on what your skin needs. Squalane from olives is good. Shea butter is good. Coconut oil is good. The medium chain fatty acids of coconut oil (capric/caprylic triglycerides) are found in most moisturizers.
Other important aspects of treating sensitive skin can be found at Sensitive Skin Clinic.

Solutions for #3 require strengthening the skin collagen and elastin:
Light peptides in a gentle silicone base. This will create a non-irritant formula for sensitive skin. Peptides will strengthen collagen and elastin and reduce the visible effects of aging and gravity.
An esterized Vitamin C will enable the best form of Vitamin C (tetrahexydecyl ascorbate) to penetrate the skin and stimulate collagen growth, provided it is in a non irritant oil base and utilizes anti irritant ingredients like sea whip. It can be applied to the skin under a soothing and hydrating mask, left on for 15 minutes and splashed off with cool water. The results on reducing the appearance of wrinkles and pore size is amazing. This can be done 3 to 5 times per week.

Artificial means of temporarily reducing pore size usually entails astringents (like lemon juice or witch hazel) or light inflammatory agents like retinols that induce slight edema (swelling) so visually reducing wrinkles and pore size. This approach is highly contraindicated for people with any level of sensitive skin.

All medical solutions approved by the FDA are tested on animals and I find that to be abhorrent. I prefer skin care products that use vegan or vegetarian compliant ingredients.

Will a cleanse or detox help your skin

The media and the web are full of hype about ‘cleanses’ and ‘detox cleanses’ and crazy idea diets. Will any of them help your skin? NO! and by that I mean NO!

Your skin and your body requires multitudes of nutritional elements, every single day of your life. A cleanse is as stupid to the human body as trying to run your refrigerator on a AAA battery. Give it ALL it needs, not some stupid idea that you can make it as clean and disinfected as some hideous clorox cleaner does to your bath and toilet… Your body is not an inanimate object like a plastic drain pipe, so it does not need to be cleansed and stripped naked like a plastic drain pipe….

The only cleansing you should do is cleanse (aka eliminate) all processed food from your diet. Processed food is toxic for your body – and definitely your skin – and most especially for sensitive, acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis etc type skin. To put it really simply…eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and nothing that looks like it came out of a factory. Watch this video….it’s fun and dead-on the mark.

So instead of forcing your body to experience the equivalent of  flash flooding or high voltage shocks, just eat a regular healthy diet every day. Here is an example of a healthy diet… This will get your body and skin in a balanced and strong mode within a very short period of time – give it a week to a month and you’ll see the difference. And if you like to be titillated by those ‘top 10’ kind of lists, well then check out the 50 best foods on the planet

And as for crazy ideas that non-scientists have about detoxing the skin…well they simply don’t understand skin physiology, or they choose to ignore it in their desire to make money out of you. The only way you detox is through your liver and your kidneys. And anyone claiming that you detox your skin when you sweat is crazy and just plain ignorant of anything to do with physiology. Sweat is just water, electrolytes and salt. Now which of those would some idiot like to call a toxin? Maybe they need to firstly look up the definition of the word toxin. Please run a mile away from idiots who espouse the detox theories – both skin and body. To learn more about how the skin works, watch this video.

By the by, processed = pastry, bread, ice cream, snacks/chips, soda, soft drinks made with so-called real fruit, and anything that comes from a factory. The term ‘whole fruit and vegetables’ means the real things – not a sauce made from them that is wrapped in a processed covering or pastry…

A vegan diet is pretty easy because it is all about fruit and vegetables – except you should still eat nothing processed. If you’re vegetarian then consume whole eggs and whole milk (non factory farm stuff). If you have problem skin, stay away from dairy products completely…by that I mean zero… If you’re a carnivore, eat grass fed beef (because cows don’t naturally eat corn) and non factory farmed meat. Factory farms treat animals cruelly and are just plain disgusting and inhumane. All junk food/fast food/processed food comes from factory farms….

Your skin care products should be simple, natural, and non aggressive. Treat your skin sensitively at all times, even if you feel you don’t have sensitive skin. It’s the only skin you’ll ever have so keep it strong and balanced and it will do a damn fine job of protecting your body. A vegan diet and using vegan skin care products is the most cruelty free skin care approach on the planet.

The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. Please see your doctor or a trained medical professional should you have any concerns.