Category Archives: Animal Cruelty Free Skin Care

Making something good out of a bad Yelp review

On April 12, 2013 at 2pm, Gianna Leandro came in for a facial and consultation at Blue Turtle Spa. Her skin looked great after the $80 facial. She felt the same way and voluntarily selected to leave a 20% ($16) tip. Tip’s are never expected – but appreciated if the client feels I did a great job on their skin. We then discussed the skin care ingredients that would be best for her skin and her skin care goals. As usual, I never try and sell products. It’s the client’s choice as to what they want to do with their skin. All my skin care information resources are available through my public website. My website clearly states that I’m about scientific skin care that is animal cruelty free. I’m open and honest about my approach to skin care.

Fast forward 2 years and Gianna Leandro launches a vitriolic attack on me through a Yelp review. Naturally, I wonder why she tipped me if she hated every moment of her time with me? No tipping is totally an option with the Square Payment system on my iPad. I’m also left pondering what psychological issue precipitated this Yelp attack 2 years later, seeing as she has written numerous Yelp reviews over that 2 year period.

Needless to say, I am totally uncomfortable benefiting financially from such a negative situation, so I immediately donated that $96 to the Humane Society of the US. At least there is somewhat of a happy ending to Gianna’s very unhappy state of mind 🙂

Here is Ms Gianna Leandro’s Yelp

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 🙂

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.

Is that a hip cool cosmetic line or just part of a major corporation

Do you like hip and cool, independent, products? Well you have to do a lot of searching… Most of the skin care and cosmetic brands available in stores and online are owned by some big mega international corporation….

I have clients who say they like Kiehls or Body Shop or Aveda or philosophy products because they are independent, natural, organic etc etc etc…well they are just part of some marketing giant that knows how to spin you a story about those brands…. Marketing people are like politicians, they know how to lie and separate you and your money :-0

Your ‘environmentally friendly’ company may be owned by a major polluter who spend money trying to stop politicians regulating what they do! Toms of Maine, Burts Bees and Aveda are on the list of companies owned by the kind of marketing companies you hate… Check to see if your favourite skin care cosmetic brand is independent or mega corporate. You can also check out this Huff Post article.

I was reading an article today about how the junk food chains are trying to mask their names out of some new so-called ‘independent’ ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ restaurants. It’s all a facade of marketing! They are doing this because the hip cool millennials are not so impressed with big brands…but with the millennials having constant access to information via the omnipresent smart phone, one would think there would be more research going on before buying into fake independent hip cool brands…

As the article states “millennials aren’t as impressed by big brands when it comes to food, and instead take pride in discovering and sharing new places and products with friends on social media networks”. Although do you really know which is what?  “The (US Taco Co) shop in Huntington Beach, California caught the attention of Christina Kaoh, a 30-year-old research coordinator who was in the area paddle boarding with friends.”I figured it’s going to be a hip version of tacos,” Kaoh said. She only learned it was owned by Taco Bell after reading an article that mentioned the link in Mother Jones. Kaoh said she wouldn’t go back since she tries to support independent establishments, and didn’t particularly enjoy the food. The ownership of smaller brands by major corporations isn’t a deal breaker, of course.”

It’s hard to be an independent, natural, and cruelty free skin care line when these mega marketing corporations blast their marketing hype over every available communications channel and confusing the hell out of the buying public, because the net of it all is that frequency of message (via money) matters. But for me, the cruelty free vegan and vegetarian compliant products of Sensitive Skin Clinic and Blue Turtle Spa matter more. I’d rather be happy everyday that I’m doing something right for the planet. I blog because I want to put the truth out there…and hopefully it can be found in amoungst all the marketing hype, BS and lies of the mega skin care and cosmetic manufacturers…