Filed under: Quick Tips
Two Experts’ Top Skin Care Tips + The One Product You Should Use

Expert Tips for Naturally Beautiful Skin

Our body’s largest organ deserves some special care. It does a lot of work after all! Every minute our skin sheds more than 30,000 dead cells, renews itself every 28 days, and in hot weather it can release as much as three gallons of sweat.

When our skin is healthy, it makes us feel vibrant and beautiful. But how do we achieve that glow? We know to wear sunscreen, use non-toxic skin care products, drink plenty of water…but how do we get real results? That’s where our skin care experts come in — busting skin care myths and sharing their insider know-how, so we don’t waste time, money, or products.

Dr. Mona GoharaMona Gohara, MD, is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and previous Honest contributor.

“Remember, skin is our largest organ and it is subjected to external toxins and germs 24/7,” Gohara says. “Cleansing and moisturization are essential for keeping the skin’s equilibrium intact. Of course, protection against UV light is also essential in terms of optimal skin health.”

 

 

 

Shani DardenEsthetician Shani Darden tends to the skin of many beautiful celebs including our co-founder Jessica Alba and has her own line of skin care products called Resurface.

“The best thing you can do for your skin is to wear sunscreen everyday no matter what the weather is,” Darden says. “Sun exposure can cause sun damage, discoloration, wrinkles, and skin cancer.”

 

 

 

 

Check out our Q&A and learn more about how to make your skin healthy and radiant!

Sun Protection

 


Q: What level of SPF should most people wear on a daily basis? How do you figure this out?

MG: In order to get optimal protection against harmful, cancer-causing ultraviolet (UV) rays, The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends use of a broad spectrum SPF of 30 or higher. Luckily, the SPF number is usually clearly marked on the outside of the bottle making it easy to find!

Q: What are non-toxic sunscreen ingredients and do they work as well as regular sunscreens?

MG: Look for naturally occurring minerals such as non-nano titanium dioxide and zinc oxide when choosing sunscreen. These ingredients are not only safe, but very effective at creating a physical block against UV light — this means they actually deflect the light before it penetrates the skin!

Q: What’s the one place people don’t think to put sunscreen but should?

MG: Their scalp! The scalp can burn very easily and skin cancers here are not easily noticed! Focus on applying it to the part but massage it onto the entire scalp.

Q: Do we need SPF if we work in an office all day?

MG: If you leave your house, or even if you sit in your house next to a window, a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher should be incorporated into your daily routine. UV light can penetrate windows of homes, offices, and cars (yes, this happens even on a cloudy, snowy, or rainy day). In the United States, left sided skin cancers and facial wrinkling are more common because of driving. Another reason to be diligent with SPF? The visible light that comes from commercial bulbs in our workspaces can worsen skin conditions such as melasma, and other forms of blotchy facial discoloration resulting from sun damage.

Q: If we combine an SPF 15 moisturizer with an SPF 15 foundation, are we getting an SPF of 30?

MG: This is a very common question. The answer is no. SPF is not additive.  

 

Beautiful Skin

 


Q: Are there safe alternatives to retinol that are just as effective? (The EWG recommends avoiding retinol especially for pregnant women).

SD: A great alternative to retinol is glycolic acid. Glycolic acid exfoliates, removing the top layer of dead skin cells which gives you a brighter complexion. It can also help to diminish age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Q: What specific foods and vitamins can people consume for healthy skin from within?

SD: Antioxidant rich foods are great for your skin. Antioxidants help to protect your skin from environmental damage which can cause wrinkles. Carrots, kale, broccoli, oranges, nuts and spinach are examples of antioxidant-rich foods that you should include in your diet. Omega-3s such as fish, walnuts, and flaxseed are also great for your skin and can help to protect it from sun damage.

Q: What are the basic steps and products needed for a skin care routine?

SD: What you need for an effective skin care routine is to make sure you are using the right products for your skin type. In the morning you should cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser, use a topical antioxidant and a moisturizer with sunscreen. At night you should use a gentle cleanser, an anti-aging product, such as a glycolic serum or cream, followed by eye cream and moisturizer. You do not need a lot of products or the most expensive products to have a good regime, the quality of the product is what matters.

Q: Why do estheticians use steam during facials? Does steam offer any benefits to the skin?

SD: Steaming during a facial helps to soften the surface layer of dead skin cells which helps to unclog pores. Steaming also helps stimulate blood circulation which gives your skin a nice glow.

Q: How often should we get a facial for beautiful and healthy skin?

SD: Getting facials once a month will help to remove surface dead skin cells and give your skin a glow. Getting facials will improve your skin by cleaning clogged pores and blackheads, smooth the texture and lessen discoloration marks.

Q: What is a safe and natural acne cure? How do we safely get rid of blackheads?

SD: The best way to remove blackheads is by getting a facial by a skin care professional who can extract them without causing damage to your skin.

Q: At what age should we start using wrinkle serums?

SD: You’re never too young to start using anti-aging products. The best one being sunscreen.

Q: Are under eye creams important for preventing wrinkles and dark spots? What ingredients should we look for?

MG: The most important factor in preventing dark spots and wrinkles is diligent protection from UV light (SPF, hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing). Ninety percent of the visible signs of aging come from the sun, and proper use of SPF, even later in life, can slow the aging process tremendously. That being said, the skin around the eyes is a common culprit for fine lines. To help battle the bags we recommend creams/serums with coffee berry, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Q: Are scrubs good for the skin? We’ve heard mixed things—some say they’re too harsh and scratch the skin, while we’ve also heard that they’re great for exfoliating.

MG: The process of exfoliating is very useful in maintaining skin health. It helps to remove dead skin cells, and allows for penetration of moisturizers and other beneficial skin care products. The key is to be gentle, and to listen to the skin. Based on skin type, each individual should seek optimal intervals for this (perhaps once every few weeks for those with dry skin or once a week for others with oily skin). The act of scrubbing is not ideal for anyone as it creates small micro-tears in the skin and excessive dryness. Be gentle and mindful even when exfoliating.

Q: How long does it take your skin to get used to a product? Should you switch products every so often?

SD: If you are using products that are working for your skin type, there is no reason to switch to new ones. The only time it is necessary to switch is if something isn’t working or when the weather changes. During the summer when your skin is oilier you may need a cleanser with salicylic acid in it, but in the winter when your skin tends to get dry, you may need something more gentle.

Q: How long should you expect to use a product until you see lasting results?

SD: When you are using products for anti-aging or acne, you need to give them time to work. Some products can take up to a month before you see results.

 

Skin Health

 


Q: How often should we have moles checked by a dermatologist?

MG: The AAD recommends yearly skin checks by a dermatologist starting at the age of 40. That being said, someone who has a personal or family history of skin cancers may need to go at an earlier age or more frequently.

Q: Does drinking lots of water really help skin look healthy? 

MG: Staying well hydrated helps in overall health. An added benefit is that it makes fine lines and wrinkles less apparent, and makes the skin appear radiant.

Q: How does our diet impact our skin?

MG: Diets that have a high glycemic index increase the body’s cortisol/sugar levels and can wreak havoc on the skin in the form of acne or aging. Conversely, diets high in antioxidants contribute to skin health and very effectively combat the hands of time.

Q: What is one skin issue you wish people would visit a dermatologist about more often? 

MG: Just to get an overall idea of what an optimal daily skin care regimen entails.

 

What are your tips for beautiful skin? Share them with us in the comments!

 

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary and/or health changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.

Workout Like an Olympian

Are you feeling inspired by the Olympics? We are! Here are two Olympic inspired exercises that you can add to your workouts, created by fitness expert and mommy-to-be, Sara Haley. Both combine cardio and resistance training (with a special focus on the butt, legs, and core) to leave you feeling pumped up — just like our US athletes!

SKI Cardio Montage:  This drill simulates telemark and downhill skiing.

1)  Begin in a lunge with the back foot lifted in a telemark position.

2) Jump up (or modify by stepping like Sara) and switch the feet and land in a lunge so you are skiing with the opposite leg in front.

Olympian 2

3) Slalom by jumping (or modify by quickly stepping like Sara) feet together and over to the right sitting into the right hip.  Work to keep heels on the floor and knees and feet together; counterbalance with your arms.

4) Jump (or modify by quickly stepping like Sara) to the other side.  Repeat sequence for 60 seconds.

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SNOWBOARD Booty Burn:

1) In an exaggerated snowboard stance sit into a squat with hands out in front of you or on your hips for balance.

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2) Shift your weight into right leg, picking up right heel into a Side Slip & hold for 8.

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3) Place heel down & glide by tapping left foot back behind the right foot and back out to the side 8 times.

The best way to increase the intensity of body weight exercises (meaning exercises with no equipment) is to either make your movements bigger or faster. For instance, in the exercises provided, you could keep your movements a little smaller and work for speed or you could make them a little bit bigger and add more power, whether that means jumping higher or farther, or even just moving deeper into your lunges (for those of you wanting to keep it low impact).

Has watching the Olympics inspired you to take-up a new sport or hobby, or simply workout more often? Tell us in the comments!

 

Sara Haley is an international fitness expert and creator of The Daily Sweat. She’s a certified trainer and instructor by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and has traveled the world teaching master classes and educating other fitness instructors and trainers. Sara helped develop programs for JUKARI, the branded workout series between Reebok and Cirque du Soleil, and created and starred in numerous Reebok & Gaiam DVD workout programs. Sara is most well-known for her best-selling pregnancy workout program, Expecting More®

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for health advice. Before undertaking any course of exercise, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.

Newborn Care: Tips & Tricks from Nurses

Sleeping baby yawning

One of my biggest life-altering events was the birth of my two boys. If you feel anxiety about being a new parent, you’re not alone. Many new parents feel overwhelmed when it’s time to bring their new babies home from the hospital. As a nurse in the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU), I am positioned to help give you the confidence in caring for your newborn. Continue reading for helpful newborn care tips!

 

Getting Started Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a team effort between you and your baby. One of the keys to successful breastfeeding is simply sitting up while you breastfeed—sit up in bed, in a comfortable armchair or in a rocking chair. Use pillows behind your back, under your elbow and on your lap to support the baby. Use a footstool to bring your knees up or use pillows under your knees if you are sitting up in bed. You should be relaxed with none of your muscles straining. Your baby should be lying on his side with his whole body facing you and his knees pulled in close to your body. There are a number of breastfeeding pillows to help, but you don’t necessarily need one of those to succeed.

Overcoming a Poor Latch During Breastfeeding

Getting your baby to latch onto your nipple properly helps promote successful breastfeeding. A poor latch (nipple is too shallow in your baby’s mouth) at the breast will cause discomfort and can make your nipples sore or cause them to crack and bleed. Here are some suggestions to help overcome poor latching:

  • Get as much help as you can when you are in the hospital after giving birth. Ask for a nurse or lactation consultant.
  • Before each feeding, make sure you are comfortable—empty your bladder, get some water for sipping, and take your time getting into position.
  • Your baby should be awake and ready to nurse. It helps to unswaddling them and change their diaper.
  • Your baby’s mouth needs to be open wide for a proper latch. You can tickle their upper lip with your nipple to get her mouth to open. Once her mouth is open, bring her into your breast.

Mary, my fellow RN Remedies blogger, talks about how to properly handle, store, and thaw your breast milk.

 

Curing a Stuffy Nose

Babies are born nose breathers, probably because that how they breathe during breastfeeding—mouth breathing begins later. If your newborn has a stuffy nose, not only does it interfere with breastfeeding but it can cause other respiratory issues. If your baby shows signs of a stuffy nose (e.g. nasal secretion around their nostrils, sneezing) here are some ways to help clear their nasal passage to promote better breathing. One of the most effective ways to remove blockage in their nose is to use a bulb syringe:

  1. Press on the bulb syringe to remove air. Do not release the bulb yet.
  2. Place the tip of the bulb syringe into your baby’s nostril.
  3. Gently release the bulb pressure and allow it to suck up the mucus from your baby’s nose.
  4. Clean the bulb syringe with hot water and soap. (Make sure the syringe is empty of water for the next time you use it, and that you are not shooting water into your baby’s nose.)

 

Clipping Nails

Your newborn’s nails grow quickly and will require a trim at least once per week. If you forget, you’ll be reminded by a small scratch on your arm or hand, or they may accidentally scratch themselves.

  • Trim your baby’s nails when they are sleeping.
  • Before you use nail clipper, try filing your baby’s nails.
  • If filing does not work, press down on your baby’s fingertip so you can get the clippers around both sides of the nail.
  • If there are sharp edges after clipping, use a nail file to soften and trim them down.

 

Safe Sleep for Your Newborn

Since 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under 1 year of age. Even though there is no way to know which babies might die of SIDS, there are some things that you can do to make your baby safer:

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep, even for naps.
  • Place your baby on a firm mattress.
  • Remove soft, fluffy and loose bedding, including blankets, crib bumpers, and stuffed toys from your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not use a sleep positioner to hold your baby on their back or side.
  • Use a sleep sack rather than blankets while your baby is sleeping.
  • Your baby’s room should be at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Too many layers of clothing or blankets can overheat your baby.

It helps to educate anyone who cares for your baby about safe sleep for your baby. This RN Remedies blog post can help.

 

By Robert Giesler, BSN, RN, CPST, Pediatric Nurse, Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

To read more of Robert’s pediatric health care tips, visit WeTreatKidsBetter.org!

Jessica Alba’s Party Makeup Tips

JA makeup

Attending a party can be the silver lining to a busy month, especially December. It’s a time when you can take a break from the shopping, present wrapping, and traveling of the season to relax with family and friends. So throw on your festive cocktail dress, slip into those killer high heels you love, and follow these makeup tips from our co-founder Jessica Alba for a gorgeous holiday party look.

First thing’s first, though, read labels on your beauty products and know what to avoid. After years of getting her makeup professionally done, Jessica has tried tons of products. Some work wonders, while others can cause breakouts, trigger allergic reactions, or expose you to questionable ingredients. (Yikes, considering that whatever you put on your skin ends up in your bloodstream — and that exposure can add up, possibly impacting your health!). But worry not, Jessica has used her personal experience in combination with current scientific research and advice from our Chief Product Officer and co-founder Christopher Gavigan to clean out her beauty cabinet and find the safest makeup and skin care products.

Jessica opts for natural or non-toxic makeup products that are free of the following ingredients:

avoid4

Now the fun part — getting Jessica’s stunning nighttime look! Here’s what she says:

Even for a holiday party, I like to keep my makeup simple and sexy. I’ll do my basic makeup routine, but bump it up a notch by wearing a red lipstick or a dramatic shade of eye shadow. The trick is to highlight one feature, not both. Right now, I’m a big fan of a bold lip. Then I finish the look by adding a little shimmer into makeup to make my face glow.

 

The Steps

1.  I used to think primer was a waste of time, until a makeup artist made me try it. Now, I’m a convert. It is the best investment you could make in your beauty routine because it makes your skin look poreless and keeps makeup fresh longer.

2.  Next, apply a light layer of foundation starting on the outside of your cheeks, working toward the center of your face and blending it well with a sponge.

3.  I apply concealer over the foundation because it gives me a much cleaner look. I use a brush or sponge to apply concealer under my eyes and along the sides of my nose, and any areas that need spot treating.

4.  Powder is essential for setting makeup and preventing too much shine (although a little shine is always a good thing!).

5.  Speaking of shine, you’ll also want to add some sexy shimmer in the form of highlighter to make your face really glow. My dear friend and makeup artist Lauren Andersen applies it to the tops of my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, and under my brow bones. It’s very subtle but brightens up my face!

6.  When it comes to blush, I prefer a cream blush to give my cheeks a nice stain without leaving chalky powder behind, but you can use either cream or powder (powder usually works best for oily skin). Just remember to apply it where you naturally flush using a brush or sponge for a natural look.

7.  Keep eye shadow light since you’ll be playing-up your lips. Bronze colors look great on brown eyes. Dusty silvers make blue eyes pop. And red-toned browns look great with green eyes.

8.  I love the drama that eyeliner brings to my eyes, but the key is not to overuse this powerhouse, especially when doing a bold lip. You can use a thick pencil with a smudge tool to create a smoky eye, or for something more polished, go with liquid eyeliner. If your eyes are small or closely set, only line the outer third of your eyelid to make eyes appear larger and wider.

9.  Brows frame the face, so fill in any sparse areas with a brow pencil. I buy brow pencil one shade lighter than my hair color so they don’t look overdone.

10.  Curl lashes and apply mascara. Inky black is perfect for a nighttime look.

11.  To create a sexy red lip, line your lips starting from the inner crease, and then even that line out by retracing it. Completely fill in your lips with liner and top with a matching lipstick. To make the edges really crisp, with a steady hand apply some concealer to the outside edges.

Voila! Your makeup look is complete and now you’re party-ready!

 

Adapted from “The Honest Life” by Jessica Alba. Copyright (c) 2013 by Jessica Alba. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.

 

Save Time & Break a Sweat With This Fall Workout

The next time you’re at the park with your child or watching her sports team practice from the sidelines, squeeze in some fitness for yourself. The toning exercises below will sculpt you from head-to-toe and allow you to make the most of your busy schedule.

Sara Haley’s Daily Sweat Fall Outdoor Fitness Circuit: Pick and choose the exercises you like, or perform the exercises in the following order at least four times through for a fun and intensive workout.

HOP THE LINE: This cardiovascular drill targets the heart, plus the burpee provides some added core work.

  • Hit the pavement — literally. Find yourself a long stretch of sidewalk and start at one end with your feet together.

HoptheLinePart1

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  • Step one foot out and over the line between each sidewalk square and the other foot should quickly follow. This way you end-up syncopating a little hop. Make sure to begin and land with your knees soft in a small squat.
  • Continue hopping the lines all the way down to one end of the sidewalk and then come back to where you started.  Repeat down and back for one minute. Take this to the next level by adding a burpee after each hop.

 

FALL IS IN THE AIR: This exercise works your bottom, core, shoulders, and triceps  total body!

  • Begin in a squat position. Swing your arms back and push through the heels to jump into the air. Clap your hands and feet together.

Springisintheairpart2

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  • As you land, reach your hands to the ground behind you with your fingertips facing toward your glutes. (By doing this outside in the fresh air, you’ll have the soft grass underneath you in case you fall.) Rock back onto your heels and crab-walk back on your hands eight steps (four walks with each hand). Then push yourself forward to your squat position and repeat the sequence in its entirety. Repeat as many times as you can for one minute.

SpringisintheAirPart1

 

TREE PLANK CHALLENGE: This challenge works core, shoulders, glutes – another total body exercise! 

  • Take your traditional plank to the next level. Find a tree with a trunk thick enough to fit the balls of your feet. Walk your hands out to a push-up position and then walk your feet up the tree.

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  • Squeeze your abs, bottom, inner thighs, and ankles together. Stop when your body is in a flat back. Hold for one minute or do 3 sets of 20 seconds each. This exercise is advanced. Modification would simply be to keep one foot on the ground.

TreePlankModification

We hope you worked up a sweat! Tell us how you fit in time to workout. 

 

Sara Haley is an international fitness expert and creator of The Daily Sweat. She’s a certified trainer and instructor by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and has traveled the world teaching master classes and educating other fitness instructors and trainers. Sara helped develop programs for JUKARI, the branded workout series between Reebok and Cirque du Soleil, and created and starred in numerous Reebok & Gaiam DVD workout programs. Sara is most well-known for her best-selling pregnancy workout program, Expecting More®

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for health advice. Before undertaking any course of exercise, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.