Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Facial Cleansers for Oily Skin

Cleansing the face is an essential part of your skin care routine. Even if you spend a fortune on the best creams or serums in town, you wouldn't get the desired outcome without proper cleansing. Cleansing removes excess oil, makeup, sweat and dirt. If you have oily skin, it is a must to prevent breakouts.

A good facial cleanser should be sufficient to remove grime without harshly stripping the skin's top layer. It's a challenging task for cosmetic chemists to acquire since there must be a balance between having enough cleansing power and being gentle to skin. I've recently written a primer about facial soaps and cleansers in general. If you're interested, you may visit this page to read a more in-depth discussion.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

6 Ways to Save the Environment with Cosmetics

You don't want to hurt this lovely creature, do you?
Image Source: Bill Longshaw | Freedigitalphotos.net
According to Eurostaf statistics on 2007, the annual turnover rate generated by the cosmetic industries worldwide reaches to USD 170 Billion. With that amount in mind, we can hardly imagine how much raw ingredients and packaging materials it takes to manufacture cosmetic products every year. The accumulated wastes acquired from the disposable plastic bottles as well as the skincare chemicals being washed away from our sinks can leave undesirable impact on our environment.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Facial Soaps and Cleansers 101

Photo Source: dusky | Freedigitalphotos.net
The Basic Function of Soaps and Cleansers

Facial soaps and cleansers are the most basic personal care product we use for our face. They are essential for removing dirt and excess oil from our skin. In order to cleanse the skin, soaps and cleansers must include surfactants. 

Surfactants are ingredients that have special properties of being attracted to both water and oil. This enables the surfactants to bind with the oil and dirt found in the skin while lathering. The act of rinsing allows the water-loving end of the surfactant particles to bind to the water, bringing the oil and dirt along and down to the drain. Examples of surfactants that can be found on facial soaps and cleansers are: sodium laureth sulfate, sodium cocyl isethionate, and cocamidopropyl betaine.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Product Review: Clean & Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Wash

Clean & Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Wash
Also available from Amazon.
If you're like me who's been reading a lot of articles and forums posts about skin care, you may encounter some product ingredients that we should avoid. Parabens, silicones, and sulfates are some of them. While some warnings may be based on facts, most of them aren't conclusive yet. Majority of these hype remain highly controversial. That is probably why a number of people get turned off into buying drugstore brands, because even though they cost less, they contain certain ingredients that majority of internet articles warn us against using.

Ingredients-wise, this facial cleanser from Clean & Clear is no different from other drugstore brands. It contains parabens that many women try to avoid. I must admit I had avoided drugstore brands before because I also became suspecting against certain ingredients and that's why I had refrained from using them for some time. In my previous post: What are Parabens: The Highly Controversial Substance, I've mentioned that I wouldn't be completely avoiding parabens anymore, especially if the product is a cleanser (something that would be quickly rinsed off anyway). 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Product Review: Marks and Spencer Gentle and Soft Shower Gel

Gentle and soft, just like Duffy bear.
The skin of the body is not as delicate as that of the face, so I usually just ignore body skin care and focus more on my acne-prone face. My skin care for the body is simple, cleansing with a bar soap, scrubbing, and applying lotion. But I must admit guiltily that I only usually adhere to the cleansing step and neglect the rest of the regimen. 

Then one day, I went shopping to Marks and Spencer. I was really into shopping that day, and decided to buy a shower gel to replace my ordinary bar soap. I wanted to have some kind of luxury for shower use but is at the same time affordable, and so I bought the Gentle and Soft Shower Gel.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What is Facial Exfoliation?

Facial exfoliation is an additional step in a skincare regimen, with the frequency depending on the exfoliant used and the person's skin type. The purpose of exfoliation is to remove dead skin cells that we shed over time. Built-ups of dead skin cells tend to clog the pores - leading to acne breakouts - and make the skin look dull. In addition, de-clogging the pores make absorption of other skincare products more effective.

There are several ways to exfoliate the skin, but can be summed up into two types: mechanical and chemical.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Product Review: Kiehl's Epidermal Re-texturizing Micro-dermabrasion

Also available on Amazon.
And so, after months of using the Kiehl's Ultra Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturizer, I was quite contented with it's performance and went again to the store to buy another jar. The saleslady was nice enough to recommend me some other products within the store. Since she found out I was using a bit of makeup, she introduced me to a facial scrub. I got some samples and was excited to try them out, including the scrub that she was so eagerly recommending.

The facial scrub is actually called a micro-dermabrasion - sounds fancy and expensive right? The product is indeed expensive, but Kiehl's fans seemed to be unbaffled by the high price of this product, as a real micro-dermabrasion session would cost even more. Plus, it's always a wonderful idea to be able to have a micro-dermabrasion session right at the comforts of home. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Proper Care for Your Skin Care Products

One way to get beautiful skin is to apply good skin care products. Skin care products protect your skin from stress, pollutants, UV radiation (for those that contains SPF), dryness, and free radicals. But skin care doesn't just stop there. Your beauty products degrade over time, and if not taken of properly, may even do more harm than good to your skin. So taking proper care of your beauty tools is a must. 

But how do you take care of your beauty products? First, you need to know what degrades them. Heat, direct sunlight, air, moist, dirt, and germs all contribute to lessening your products' potency. By avoiding these variables, your products will tend to stay fresh and effective throughout their shelf life.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Product Review: Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen

Why spend lots of bucks on different anti-aging serums or creams if you can simply prevent the culprit (that is, the sun's harmful UV rays) of premature aging by investing on a sunscreen? Sunscreen is indeed a basic skin care product that every woman (and man) should have. Many women may simply gear toward the SPF-containing cosmetics for their sun protection, but a heavy-duty sunscreen is still the best way to go.

I had been looking for a sunscreen that is affordable, noncomedogenic, has UVA and UVB protection, and has at least SPF 30. The Skin Cancer Organization provides a list of suncreen brands bearing the Seal of Recommendation, meaning the sunscreen is very photostable (doesn't break down under the sun, thus offering an effective layer of protection). The list shows some familiar brands yet only a few are accessible in the malls I frequently visit in Manila. I was glad to find Alba Botanica in the list, which I knew was being sold in Healthy Options stores. So off I went to the store and among a small range of Alba Botanica sunscreens, I chose Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen because it contains moisturizing ingredients - which means I can simply skip my moisturizer during my daytime skin regimen. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sunscreen, Makeup, and Skin Care Products

If you're one of those ladies who go out a lot but rely mainly on BB creams (or other cosmetics with SPF) as your sole protection against the sun, then think again. I admittedly use my multi-functional BB cream during those days when I only needed to go out for a few minutes, and skip the sunscreen due to the usually greasy effect they give on my face. However, BB creams alone wouldn't be enough for longer sun exposure - even those with a high SPF and broad spectrum protection - because BB creams are only supposed to be applied sparingly on the face. Unless you're willing to slather your face with a full-shot-glass amount of BB cream, a tiny amount of BB cream will never be enough to keep you protected, and so comes in the heavy-duty sunscreen.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sunscreen Photostability

Source: graur codrin | Freedigitalphotos.net
As you may have already read in this post, a good sunscreen requires protection for both UVA and UVB. Yet, even if the formulation offers protection against the harmful rays doesn't mean it's 100% reliable. Another step that manufacturers need to look at to ensure sun protection is photostability of their sunscreen ingredients. To be photostable means that the sunscreen UV filters must remain stable under sun exposure. Some sunscreen ingredients break down immediately under sunlight, rendering their protective capabilities as useless. An interaction between different ingredients needs to be carefully analyzed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Product Review: Happy Tea Time Cleansing Foam (Green Tea)

If you have read the About page as well as my dermatologist experience, you probably already know that the only skin care routine I had adopted in my younger days was cleansing the face. As a teen, I used to just wash with a bar soap - any bar soap that I was using for my body. Pretty economical, yet a major facial skin care flop. Then, I somehow upgraded to a bar soap especially made for the face. It was good enough to deal with my acne, but it became too effective for fighting off my zits that my skin became overly dry. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What Are Parabens: The Highly Controversial Substance

Parabens are compounds commonly used as preservatives in skin care products. They are important because they prevent bacteria and fungi from contaminating the products. Since the report of EWG about it's possible carcinogenicity, parabens have become widely controversial. Despite this, the scientific community concluded that it is generally safe to use.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Prevent Acne

Nothing is worse than waking up in the morning to 
find out a large pimple on your face!
We all get acne at some point in our life. The breakout of acne is often noticeable during puberty, but adults may have acne problems too. It’s hard to pinpoint the real cause of acne.  Genetics, hormones, and some dietary factors yet to be determined might play a role.

What is Acne?

Before I go into details how to prevent acne, you should first understand how it develops. Our skin has pores with hair follicles. Our skin naturally has oil to act as a natural barrier. The sebaceous glands are responsible for the oil or sebum production. Sometimes, these glands produce more sebum than necessary. The sebum, plus the dead skin cells, gets clogged in the pores. A trapped sebum leads to the formation of whiteheads or blackheads. Sometimes they go away by themselves, gradually releasing the trapped substances. At other times, rupture occurs along the follicular wall, leading to inflammation. Red bump starts to appear around the pore. A bump on the surface that gets infected is called a pimple, whereas a blockage that occurs deep in the pore becomes a cyst.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Product Review: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
I've never tried anything from Kiehl's before. The first time I entered their shop was during my search for a hair product. I got turned off immediately because of the expensive price. However, during my trip to Singapore with friends, I found myself again inside a Kiehl's store. My friends highly recommended their products, and so I got convinced to buy my first Kiehl's item - a Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream for SGD 48.00.

(See more updated reviews below.)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Physical and Chemical Sunscreen

Photo: eltaMD , a combination of both physical and 
chemical sunscreen (Source: Amazon)
What's the use of all the promising skin care products if you don't apply sunscreen? After all, it's the sun's harmful UV rays that give you sunburn, dark spots, age spots, and premature wrinkles. Dabbing on some antioxidants on your skin would only give little help if you don't prevent the culprit that has been causing your skin problems in the first place.

Sunscreens are also particularly very useful to people using acne medications such as myself. Topical acne treatment such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Also, sun exposure promotes hyperpigmentation, leading to further darkening of acne marks.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sunscreens for Oily Skin

In my previous post, I've given out five tips when it comes to choosing a sunscreen, so if you have no idea on how to choose a sunscreen, you might want to check this blog post first.

Once you get the general idea of the do's and don'ts of choosing a sunscreen, shopping for a sunscreen can become a breeze, especially if you have normal skin type. However, if you have sensitive skin, a closer look at the ingredients list is a must! You should know if the sunscreen contains physical or chemical UV filters. Certain ingredients may trigger an allergic reaction, such as fragrances and colorings. 

If you have oily skin type, you should watch out for comedogenic ingredients. For aesthetic reasons, you may also want a sunscreen which is less greasy and matte. It's a challenge as many sunscreens are greasy and sticky, some of the ingredients may also clog the pores and trigger a breakout.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What are Silicones?

Silicones are ingredients commonly found in our personal care products. They are derived from silica, or silicon dioxide, a naturally occurring substance. They are added to skin care products to provide a slippery, non-greasy, and non-sticky base. Aside from skin care products, silicones may also be added on topical drugs to make them more aesthetically appealing to the patients.

Before silicones became common, many of the topical products available are formulated with petrolatum or mineral oil. While petrolatum provides a protective layer on the skin, it does not appeal to many users due to it's thickness and greasy feel. Nowadays, we can find a lot of  topical products containing silicones in several different forms. Just like petrolatum, silicones also provide a protective layer on the skin. It seals in the moisture beneath the skin, and makes the product easier to spread across the skin.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Product Review: The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Boost

the body shop vitamin c skin boost
I have very oily skin, and the tropical climate in the Philippines only exacerbates the oiliness. That is why I have to choose my skin care products with utmost care to control my skin's sebum production.

I've been searching for the best moisturizer (even oily skin needs to be moisturized), and just stumbled upon this product from The Body Shop - Vitamin C Skin Boost. It's a serum, meaning it has a concentrated amount of key ingredient - in this case, Vitamin C - not a moisturizer, but I still decided to get this product as an addition to my beauty arsenal.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What to Know About Skincare Product Labels

Can't decide which skincare products to buy? As for many buyers, they tend to just read the bold labels without analyzing the ingredients list. This is not good as many manufacturers would try to lure a consumer into buying their products by using eye-catching terms that don't really mean anything. Here are just some of the words or phrases you'll find in the packaging:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Food for Healthy Skin

Nutrition for Skin Health
Source: Photorack.net

Maybe you've been very diligently choosing the right skincare products, reading all the labels and fine prints of all the bottles, tubes, and tubs in the beauty aisle of the store. Having the best of these products in your beauty arsenal doesn't guarantee though that you'll have great skin. Aside from the products you apply topically, don't you know that one basic skin care is also eating the right kinds of food?

So what do you need to eat for a healthy looking skin? Here are some of the things you should look for:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

List of Comedogenic Ingredients

I've previously written about ingredients that won't clog pores. Within that post, I have placed a link to a very helpful website about the topic. Now, I myself have been studying rigorously about comedogenicity (which is the ability of an ingredient to clog pores, resulting to comedones or acne), because admittedly, I have never fully overcome my acne condition. Some days I get nearly perfect skin, but many times, zits would reappear from one spot to another. It's really frustrating to achieve a flawless skin especially that I have a very oily skin.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Product Review: The Face Shop Face It Aqua Tinted BB Cream

The Face Shop Face It Aqua Tinted BB Cream
The Face Shop Face It Aqua Tinted BB Cream
Several years ago, long before Korean dramas became a hit in my country, I was already immersed into watching them. I just loved to see the chemistry between two gorgeous leads, listen to the beautiful OST, and watch the romantic story unfold. But somehow, I've outgrown watching these dramas already. Nevertheless, the fangirl inside me got convinced to buy myself a Korean skincare product - just because the endorsers happen to be one of the most irresistible Korean actors.

The frustration that came across me though is that most of these products lack English labels. How am I supposed to choose a product good for oily skin if I can't even understand Korean? So off I went to different Korean shops to try on the products, then came back home and did my research. I've found some reviews and ingredients information. Finally, I came with my decision.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Online Resources on Cosmetic Ingredients

Source: Philippe Sainte-Marie | Fotopedia.com
Different governments have their own way of regulating cosmetic products within their jurisdiction. By following these strict guidelines, manufacturers can formulate their products with consumer safety as the main priority. Despite these, a non profit organization, by the name of Environmental Working Group, continually alerts the public for unsafe products in the market. According to this group, many hazardous chemicals are being used by manufacturers of these products. The group even warned the public against buying specific products on their website. Though many ingredients' safety are still debatable, many manufacturers continue to use these ingredients. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

BB Creams for Oily Skin

When you choose a skincare product, you have to look for products that suit your skin type. Say, if you have oily skin, you should choose products that are water-based and noncomedogenic. If you have dry skin. products that are oil-based and heavily moisturizing for your daily regimen are preferable. If you have sensitive type skin, choosing the right products require a closer look at the ingredients. Aside from avoiding the specific ingredient that causes allergy, choosing products that are colorless and odorless tend to lessen the likelihood of irritation.

Same with BB cream. Since BB creams are cosmetics with skincare benefits, you have to look for those functions that will help improve your skin condition. There are many functions of BB creams such as anti-aging, whitening, hydrating, and acne-fighting. It's up to your skin which of these BB creams you should choose.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Skincare Tips for Oily Skin

Source: Photorack.net
If your skin appears to be always shiny, even after a few hours of washing the face, then you probably have an oily skin type. Though the sebum (or oil) may act as a natural lubricant for the skin, which makes oily-skinned people less prone to wrinkles, but too much of it isn't a good thing. The sebum produced by the oil glands passes through the skin pores to wash away dirt. When there is too much sebum, the pores will tend to be clogged, trapping the dirt and bacteria within, a condition that is known as acne. 

Cause of oily skin is usually due to heredity. Our genes determine how much oil our glands should produce. Aside from heredity, oil production is also determined by our bodies' hormonal changes. Fluctuation of hormones responsible for sebum production usually occurs during puberty, before a woman's menstrual periods, menopause, pregnancy, or too much stress. So you may notice more acne breakouts around those periods.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Product Review: Za Total Hydration BB Cream UV

Za Total Hydration BB Cream UV
BB cream might be the latest fad now when it comes to beauty products. In fact, as soon as I've learned about BB cream, I was immediately amazed by the concept behind this product. Who wouldn't love a product that offers coverage for skin flaws, and at the same time, moisturizes and protects the skin - a makeup but with the added benefits? 

I've already heard and seen a lot of brands of BB cream - from Maybelline to Neutrogena, from BodyShop to Ponds, and from Skin79 to Missha. Yet, I ended up buying my first ever tube of BB cream from Za. I got the Za Total Hydration BB cream UV (natural color) during my shopping spree in a Hong Kong beauty store (Sasa).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Benefits of Natural Ingredients

When shopping for skin care products, you may notice a lot of products boasting about certain natural ingredients that they contain through their labels. As I've mentioned in my earlier post about natural ingredients, to benefit more from them, check if they're listed as the first few ingredients in the label. That would mean that the product contains a relatively larger percentage of that ingredient compared to the rest of the ingredients.  If you're rather clueless about the specific benefits of certain natural ingredients, the following list might help you choose the right product for you. Do keep come back to this post as I will keep adding new ingredients in the list.

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