Can Supplements Prevent Sunburn?

Summer is here and along with summer comes sunburns, that we all hate.  We’ve been told for years to slather on the sunscreen, but still a long day at the beach on on the lake you still end up pink.  So wouldn’t it be nice if you could just pop a few pill and skip the sunburn?

Lets talk for a minute about what makes up the sun, or at least the part that causes damage and pain. Those are the ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are two types UVA and UVB:

  • UVA – These are the UV rays which cause damage to the skin. Think of UVA as UV-Aging. These cause can lead to cancer, dried out leathery skin, etc. These don’t cause the burn though.
  • UVB – These are the UV rays which cause burning, so think of UVB as UV-Burning. UVB rays also cause the conversion of cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D.

Ok, so now a bit about sunscreen. Many sunscreens just block the UVB rays, so they prevent the burning but also block the production of vitamin D, but they don’t block the UVA rays, so the rays which can damage the cells and possibly cause skin cancer get right in.  So when you shop for a sunscreen make sure it is a full spectrum sunscreen that blocks both the UVA and UVB rays.

OK, so about that magic pill that prevents sunburn.  Sadly there isn’t a pill that will totally prevent sunburn, but there are a number of vitamins that have been shown to lessen the burning. So you may still burn, but not as bad. These are:

  • Beta Caroteen – Beta Caroteen is found in high concentrations in carrots – that is what gives carrots their orange color. Many supplements will also use beta carotene as their source of vitamin A.  Your body can break down beta carotene to make vitamin A as it needs it without the risk of too much vitamin A. This, like all those that follow isn’t a morning after pill. It takes 10 to 12 weeks of daily supplementation to reduce the redness and burning.
  • Lutein and Lycopene are carotenoids that also show some protection. Lutein especially for the eyes. (Make sure your sunglasses block UV rays, not all do.)
  • Astaxanthin – This is another carotenoid that is found in krill and salmon giving them their red color. (Note only wild caught salmon have high levels of this. Farm raised salmon (often called Atlantic or Norwegian salmon) are fed feeds which don’t contain astaxanthin, so they add red dye to the salmon’s feed to make the flesh red. Yech.  This works quicker, within a week or two of daily consumption (salmon or astaxanthin supplements)
  • Coco flavanols – Yep, chocolate has been shown to reduce redness from UV exposure in women, though I bet it would work for men too. Unflortunaely eating a handful of Hershey Kisses won’t work (well maybe a bag full) but the chocolate you reach for has much more fat, sugar, and milk that actual chocolate. Instead reach for a 90-100% dark chocolate. My favorite is the Lindt 99% chocolate (hard to find in the US, but you can find the 90 and 95%)
  • Vitamin C and vitamin E – when taken together in high doses daily. One study found that 2,000 mg of vitamin C and 1,000 IU of vitamin E (as d-alpha-tocopherol – the natural form) taken daily for 8 days modestly reduced redness caused by UV light – Equivalent to SPF 2. Note that these higher doses can cause problems for some people. A top rated multi vitamin has 1,300mg of Vitamin C and 400 IU of vitamin E and this is well tolerated by most people. So take that daily for a base, then jump up to the higher levels before you head to Bali – just make sure you don’t have any side effects (common is diarrhea from vitamin C)
  • Pine bark extract (Pycnogenol®, Flavangenol®) has been found in clinical studies to significantly increase the amount of simulated UV-radiation required to cause redness and skin damage, as well as reduce measures of skin damage caused by UV exposure. It has also been found to decrease the color of age spots in healthy young women.

Some supplements like St John’s Wort and dong quai (found in some menopause supplements) can increase photosensitivity, so avoided these if you are going out in the sun.

The big fear is skin cancer. Maintaining optimal  levels of vitamin D and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancers.   This leads to the vitamin D paradox – You need sun to naturally produce vitamin D and vitamin D has been shown to reduce the incidence of many types of cancer, including skin cancers. (Here is an article about vitamin D and its role in skin cancer)  Applying a high SPF sunscreen before going in the sun blocks that production, so you lose that protection.  So go out for 20 minutes or so, then apply sunscreen.  The recommendations above may help lessen the redness and damage and help a bit when you forget to reapply sunscreen. If you’re in and out of the water all day, or sweating and wiping your face, you just forget or can’t keep reapplying sunscreen. Here is an article that explains how sunscreens work and SPF ratings.

So what do I do?  I take our USANA Essentials and Visonex daily.  These provide high levels of most of the vitamins and carotenoids above. I’m not one that tans easily and I run for an hour daily usually around noon plus all the other Colorado outdoor activities, skiing, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, etc. I live in Colorado so high altitude and lots of reflection from the snow in the winter and water in the summer. I rarely use sunscreen unless I’m out all day, then usually just one application around noon. I can’t remember the last sunburn I’ve had.

Enjoy the sun and the water this summer!


Is All Natural Skin Care really better?

bigstock-Beautiful-smiling-blond-woman--15958400When you see an ad or label that reads “All Natural” you must keep in mind that the government has not defined the use of the term “NATURAL”. While a product may claim to be “all natural” unless as a consumer you know what all those ingredients are on the list, you don’t know if any of the the ingredients have been altered through a chemical process for their use.

The claim that naturals are “better” or “healthier" for skin has not been proven in studies. Although that might not make sense to you, the reasons are it is difficult to preserve many naturals without some kind of chemical or process. Also remember naturals are known to be the cause of many different allergies people have.

As a consumer you need to be very sure and check the ingredients because many all natural products may contain unexpected components and ingredients that could be very undesirable for skin. Problems also with some all naturals is they cannot provide things like lightness, easy absorbability, flexibility to avoid cracking, staying blended, emulsified and bacteria free.

Don’t just assume the advertising, read and check all the ingredients of  every product, not just naturals.

For a great skin care line which has no preservatives, no irratating oils, and really gets results please visit Bella Pelle Laser’s Product Page

Want to reduce your risk of Melanoma? Then get out in the sun.

Get your sunshine Vitamin DWe’ve been told for years to not go out in the sun without being slathered with sunscreen, and to reapply it regularly. Sure this prevents a painful sunburn, but it also blocks your vitamin D production. More and more research is coming out showing the cancer preventive effects of vitamin D. Unfortunately our vitamin D levels have plummeted as we’ve been scared sunless.

Vitamin D affects your biological function by influencing nearly 3,000 of your genes through vitamin D receptors. In fact, vitamin D receptors are found throughout your body, which should come as no surprise, given we humans evolved in the sun.

A research study involving 10,000 individuals showed that correcting a vitamin D deficiency can cut your risk of dying in half. Sun exposure also increases nitric oxide production which is great for  lowering blood pressure and increasing heart health and the benefits more than outweighs the risk of skin cancer.

If you’ve been avoiding the sun like the plague, you’ll be relieved to know that melanoma is not caused by sun exposure. Although the reported number of new cases of melanoma in the US has been reportedly increasing for more than 30 years, a landmark study in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests this apparent increase is a result of non-cancerous lesions being misclassified as “stage 1 melanoma.” In other words, people are being diagnosed with melanoma even when they have only a minimal, non-cancerous lesion, and these diagnoses are significantly skewing cancer statistics. The sun is nothing more than a scapegoat in this phenomenon of “increased melanoma.”

The medical journal, The Lancet, wrote“Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect.”  Melanoma also does not predominantly appear on sun exposed skin, but can appear anyplace on your body.

Increased UV exposure can increase the risk of basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas, which are fairly benign by comparison, The risks associated with insufficient vitamin D are far greater.

Vitamin D’s protective effect against cancer works in multiple ways, including:

  • Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
  • Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
  • Causing cells to become fully differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
  • Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous.

Many actually did double harm to themselves by slathering on the sunscreen. Sunscreen typically only block the UVB rays, these are the burning rays, but it is also UVB which stimulates the production of vitamin D. By blocking the UVB rays they didn’t burn as rapidly, so they stayed in the sun longer, but the UVA rays still penetrated deep into the skin which causes skin aging, wrinkles, etc.

So, this summer, get outside, enjoy the sun, just don’t get burned.  15-30 minutes of midday sun can give you a good dose of vitamin D, then put on a sun screen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

If you are confined to an office indoors and can’t get some mid day summer sun, then be sure to supplement with vitamin D and get your blood serum levels of vitamin D tested. It is hard to overdose on vitamin D, but a vitamin D deficiency can be deadly.

Is Organic Skin Care Better?

bigstock-Beautiful-smiling-blond-woman--15958400Walk the beauty counter or do a google search for skin care and you’ll see hundreds of products touting the benefits of “Organic, No harmful chemicals, all natural, etc.”  Sounds great, but is it?

  • First the term Organic does not officially apply to skin care, only to food. So no agency will care or verify that their ingredients truly are organic.
  • Natural also has no legal meaning, so again, just advertising like new and improved, just words with no definition behind them.
  • Natural, non chemical, is best.  Is it?  The implication that anything naturally grown is good and anything processed, or with a chemical sounding name is bad.  Poison ivy, hemlock, rattle snake venom, etc are all natural, but you do not want them on or near you.
  • Preservative methods – many skin care lines are advertising that they are paraben free. This is good, but they still must preserve the product otherwise it will have the shelf life of a jar of mayonnaise and must be refrigerated. So how do they preserve the product?
    • Formaldehyde releasing agents. These will have chemical names but their evilness comes from the fact that when the molecule breaks down it releases formaldehyde.
    • Oils – Many will use various oils like grapefruit oil, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, etc.  These are no unhealthy at all, but they are drying and irritating. So they do safely preserve the product, but you don’t want to put something on your skin which is drying and/or irritating.
    • Refrigeration – Some lines are truly all natural and un preserved, but they have very short shelf lives and you must keep them refrigerated. so not convenient.
    • Self Preserving – One line has a unique patented process where they use several processes to make it difficult for bacterial to get a hold, one property is they encapsulate some of the ingredients in micro capsules so that are released when you apply it to your skin.
  • All chemicals are not bad, like all things natural aren’t always good. Every substance has its common name and its chemical name. So weather it is listed by its common name or its chemical name doesn’t change it.  Chemicals are only bad if they are bad for you.

So if your looking for an organic skin care line, maybe look deeper and look instead for harmful or irritating ingredients instead.


Scientific Critique of Many Online Skin Care Sites

A lot of misinformation is available on the internet (especially when it comes to personal care products), and unfortunately it is often the first thing that comes up when people look into ingredients. Organic Consumers Association and others (like cosmetics database,com, Environmental Working Group (EWG), and David Suzuki) are not strictly science-based or impartial.  Many of these organizations are heavily influenced by strong agendas and political activism (there are dozens of sites that are all connected – cosmetics database,com, safe cosmetics,org, skin deep, Environmental Working Group, breastcancerfund,org; many of the leaders and activists in these groups are involved with activism all the way to international groups like Friend of the Earth).  Not that activism cannot be used as a positive tool, but there is great potential for negative as well.  Since it is not strictly science-based, opinions and agendas on these sites can change any time something new piques an interest.
In the past, some these organizations have promoted information that implies some products are unhealthy or dangerous for various reasons.  One example that has come up in the past is that some products contain manganese (an essential mineral) – which some sites have labeled as dangerous from their report “MANGANESE PCA577%Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Neurotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive).”  It sounds really scary, but this is total nonsense.  Manganese has been known to be neurotoxic at relatively high levels from industrial exposure.  This is not a possibility from a typical diet and is not even relevant in personal care products.  They also imply that vitamin E (as tocopherol acetate) is somehow toxic in personal care products, and the list could go on and on.
It is unfortunate, since their intentions are likely good.  But their science and analysis is simply over-the-top in many instances, and at the least, very inconsistent.  For example, they rate known allergenic ingredients like comfrey and other herbs as being no risk, while automatically demonizing most anything synthetic.  They also assign hazards to minerals and other ingredients that have absolutely no relevance to the way they are used in personal care products.
There is one final point to make about the majority of information available about skin care ingredients, and health information in general.  Popularity (or the size of the website) has nothing to do with accuracy.  Passing incorrect or inflammatory information by e-mail around the world dozens of times does not make it valid.  No matter how people dress it up, or for what cause they promote it, inaccurate or flawed information is still false.
A good resource for scientifically based information and regulatory issues related to cosmetic ingredients can be found at the following link:
Here is some more specific information on a few ingredients that these sites have misstated:
Vitamin A – Retinyl Palmitate
There was a report (from the activist group Environmental Working Group) that indicated the possibility that retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) may increase photosensitization leading to the formation of more tumors in the study rats. From this one rat study, it is stated by the EWG that vitamin A in sunscreens is dangerous and can increase cancer risk. It is not responsible or accurate to draw this conclusion based on that data alone.  This is but one small rat study out of decades of research on vitamin A and the skin.  Secondly, most sunscreens do not include vitamin A in high dosages or as an active ingredient.  It is typically added at levels of 0.5%-1% or less to stabilize the other ingredients in the sunscreen, which are vulnerable to changing temperatures due to normal use of the product.
Here is a rebuttal from the American Academy of Dermatology that should help settle their concerns:
There are several products that contain a small amount of retinyl palmitate.  It is included at dosages of 1% or less, and is used to stabilize ingredients, not to provide vitamin A activity. 
Benzophenone-1, -3, -4, -5, -9 and-11 are compounds made from 2-hydroxybenzophenone. These compounds are powders. In cosmetics and personal care products, Benzophenone-1 and Benzophenone-3 are used mostly in the formulation of nail polishes and enamels. These Benzophenone ingredients are also used in bath products, makeup products, hair products, sunscreens and skin care products.
CIR Safety Review: When undiluted, some Benzophenones, were slightly irritating to the skin and eyes. At concentrations used in cosmetics and personal care products, Benzophenoens were not irritating. Benzophenone-3 was nonsensitizing and nonphototoxic. Benzophenones were nonmutagenic when tested both with and without metabolic activation.
FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for Benzophenone-3 (Oxybenzone) and Benzophenone-4 (Sulisobenzone)
Benzophenone-3, listed as Oxybenzone, and Benzophenone-4 and -5, listed as Sulisobenzone and Sulisobenzone Sodium
These respectively, are included in Annex VII, Part 1 (UV filter which cosmetic products may contain) of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union. Oxybenzone may be used at concentrations up to 10%, and products containing 0.5% Oxybenzone when used in sunscreen products must be labeled “contains Oxybenzone.” Sulisobenzone and Sulisobenzone Sodium may be used at concentrations up to 5% as Sulisobenzone.
Link to the EU Cosmetics Directive:
There are studies that suggest that some sunscreen ingredients, including Oxybenzone may have activity like the hormone, estrogen. Therefore, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee for Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCNFP) was asked to consider if UV filters as used in sunscreen products have estrogenic effects which have the potential to affect human health. The SCCNFP concluded that UV filters used in sunscreen products allowed in the European market have no estrogenic effects that could potentially affect human health.
Link to SCCNFP opinion on the potential estrogenic effects of UV filters
A responsibly formulated product line will have been extensively tested under dermatologist and ophthalmologist supervised conditions. Also, all products and ingredients would be reviewed and analyzed by a board certified toxicologist for cytology and toxicology. All ingredients should comply with safety standards set by governmental regulations, which are overseen by the CTFA (Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association). 
*(information adopted from )
Here is some information on sulfates, which are commonly brought up as an issue:
Several common sulfates are sodium myreth sulfate, disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate.  Despite sounding similar to sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, these three ingredients behave quite differently; they are common ingredients which create foam and bubbles and act as detergents, thereby removing oil and dirt from the hair.
Most concerns about laureth-7, disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, sodium myreth sulfate, and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate arise from a misunderstanding of sodium laureth and sodium lauryl sulfate. In this article, we will address this misinformation and provide you with scientific resources to allay any concerns regarding the safety of these ingredients.
A sudden rash of websites and emails have popped up claiming that SLS/SLES cause cancer and industry officials know this substance is harmful. One radical email went so far as to state, “[t]his substance is found in most shampoos, and the manufacturers use it because it produces a lot of foam and it is cheap. But, the fact is that SLS is used to scrub garage floors…and [it] is proven to cause cancer in the long run.”
Contrary to rumors such as these, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate do not cause cancer or make your hair fall out. Both are common ingredients used to create foam and bubbles, and both are found in a variety of shampoos, cosmetic cleaners, bath and shower gels, bubble baths, toothpastes and mouth rinses.  Both compounds are cosmetic detergents, which exert emulsifying action, thereby removing oil and soil from the hair and skin.  We will discuss their safety in more detail in the next section.
Unfortunately, there are now dozens of anti-SLS sites online, all of which repeat much of the same misinformation. If you have encountered these sites, you have probably seen one of the following claims.  We will discuss the actual science behind each claim.
Claim 1: 
SLS is contaminated with carcinogenic nitrosamines.
This statement typically references another claim (made twenty-one years ago) about nitrosamines possibly being formed during the manufacture of SLS/SLES or by the interaction of these two compounds with other nitrogen-containing compounds in a personal care product.  However, searching in any modern scientific research databases fails to return an actual paper or journal article detailing the mechanism behind this claim. 
Rather, it seems plausible that since the sulfate moiety is an oxidizing agent, any nitrogen-containing compound might react to produce a tiny amount of nitrates, which in turn might react with something else to produce a nitrosamine. But the fact of the matter is that your body itself produces a huge amount of sulfates as byproducts of normal metabolic processes.  Additionally, the body also produces countless nitrates by similar mechanisms. These naturally occurring sulfates and nitrates exist in far greater amounts than could possibly be absorbed from a personal care product, so if this was truly a concern, the human body itself would be the greatest cause of it.  (Similarly, the claim on some sites that lauryl sulfate reacts with formaldehyde to produce “nitrosating agents” is simply false, since neither compound contains a nitrogen atom.)
Claim 2:
 Statements supposedly referencing the “Medical College of Georgia.”
You may have noticed that some anti-SLS sites mention “studies from the Medical College of Georgia” or preface their information with “the Medical College of Georgia says…”  Typically these statements are followed with a list of harmful effects that SLS causes on a variety of mammalian tissues.
The actual paper these statements refer to is a 1989 article in the obscure journal Lens & Eye Toxicity Research.  Some sites go so far as to call this twenty-year-old paper “recent research,” despite the fact that it actually makes no reference to any of the supposed harms.
In that article, Keith Green and his colleagues simply made the not-at-all-surprising observation that if there is already a chemical or physical injury to the cornea, a large concentration of the detergent slows down healing. In the actual study, the group shaved pieces off the outer surface of the eyes of rabbits. Not surprisingly, pouring shampoo detergent into the eyes interfered with healing.
Claim 3: SLS/SLES causes cataracts.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is indeed used in a model for cataract formation in the lens of the eye (see J. Biol. Chem. 262: 8096-102, 1987). What these misinformed sites don’t mention is that these experiments immersed transparent lens proteins in concentrated solutions of detergent, similar to what you might do with very dirty clothes. As a result of this immersion, the proteins were altered and reduced to mere translucency.
The application of this to normal shampoo usage is irrelevant, since these transparent proteins are only found within the lens itself, which is deep beneath the surface of eye.  The lens won’t be exposed to the shampoo even if you were to splash SLS directly into your eyes.
Reviews of extensive studies by independent panels of medical, scientific, and industry experts have demonstrated the safety of both sodium lauryl and sodium laureth sulfates in personal care products designed for brief, discontinuous use.
Other claims
For information regarding other bogus SLS/SLES claims, the American Cancer Society has put together the following document:
The truth about SLS/SLES

A report from an expert panel of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review committee (and released by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association – CTFA) concluded the following:
“On the basis of available information…Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate are safe as presently used in cosmetic products.”
A search of credible, peer-reviewed medical research journals yields no legitimate evidence linking SLS/SLES to cancer in humans.
As mentioned above, one of the common sources of misinformation regarding SLS is an article by Keith Green, PhD, DSc, of the Medical College of Georgia.  Dr. Green began studying SLS and related compounds in 1982, and he had the following to say about the internet rumors described above:
“These rumors on the Internet are absolutely ridiculous. Like many other chemicals, it is the manner of usage that is important. As long as you don’t rub it all over your body and reapply it every hour for 24 hours, it’s perfectly safe.
“We did a study using diluted SLS as an eye drop. We put the test amount on the eye of a rabbit and after a certain amount of time we found that SLS got inside the tissues, heart, brain, lungs, but in very minute amounts… Second, all of it washed out in 96 hours.”
As a matter of interest, Dr. Green also noted that SLS behaved differently in younger rabbits than in adult rabbits.
“It [SLS] went in faster and came out faster. Whatever you place on the eye, only 1/1000 of that amount gets inside the eye. So, if you put on one milligram, one microgram goes in…The eye stayed pristine. There was no redness and no irritation. These were not toxic effects.”
It is also important to note that Dr. Green’s research primarily concentrated on SLS as an eye irritant.  Despite the common misuse of his data, Dr. Green was not studying whether or not SLS causes cancer, and he notes that he is not aware of any studies in this area at this time.

As you can see from the preceding information, “don’t believe everything you read” is apt advice – particularly with a medium such as the internet that allows anyone (knowledgeable or not) to post an interpretation of data. We hope you have come to the same conclusion we have: that articles proclaiming “anything with SLS/SLES is bad” are full of inaccuracies, innuendos, and outright lies.  These sites are irresponsible to brand any compound as toxic without providing appropriate scientific or experimental information to back up such a bold claim.
If SLS/SLES are indeed toxic or carcinogenic, there should be clear scientific evidence on the matter.  However, searches of current medical research literature have failed to turn up any legitimate reports of carcinogenic effects as a result of using products containing SLS/SLES.
The bottom line: you may continue to use your SLS/SLES-containing shampoo and toothpaste without worrying about acquiring cancer or any other health condition as a result.
Alcohols are a large and diverse family of chemicals with different names and a variety of effects. In cosmetic labeling, the term “alcohol,” used by itself, refers to ethyl alcohol. To prevent the ethyl alcohol in a cosmetic from being diverted illegally for use as an alcoholic beverage, it is usually denatured. Denaturing is the process of rendering ethyl alcohol unfit to drink. Due to very strict regulations most cosmetic products use denatured alcohol. In cosmetic products, denatured alcohol functions most often as a solvent. Solvents are necessary liquids used to dissolve other components within cosmetic products.
The alcohol in the toner is denatured ethanol.  The second ingredient in the product may be the second most in percentage, but this is not necessarily an indication of absolute amount.  In other words, it takes a certain dosage or absolute amount to be irritating.  Just because it is the second ingredient does not mean there is a lot of it in the formula. If the first ingredient in a product, for example, is 75% of the total, the next ingredient could be 5%, followed by 20 other ingredients that make up the total.”
PEG or Polyethylene Glycol
As far as the PEG ingredients, the following is an explanation from a 3rd party cosmetics expert (Paula Begoun): “Also listed as PEG on ingredient labels, polyethylene glycol is an ingredient that self-proclaimed “natural” Web sites have attempted to make notoriously evil. They gain a great deal of attention by attributing horror stories to PEG, associating it with antifreeze (however, antifreeze is ethylene glycol, not polyethylene glycol), and there is no research indicating that PEG compounds pose any problem for skin. Quite the contrary: PEGs have no known skin toxicity and can be used on skin with great results (Sources: Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, June 2002, pages 587-606; and Cancer Research, June 2002, pages 3138-3143). The only negative research for this ingredient indicates that large quantities given orally to rats can cause tumors, but that is unrelated to topical application.
Polyethylene, when it is not combined with glycol, is the most common form of plastic used in the world. It is flexible and has a smooth, waxy feel. When ground up, the small particles are included in scrubs as a gentle abrasive. When mixed with glycol, it becomes a viscous liquid. In the minuscule amounts used in cosmetics, it helps keep products stable and performs functions similar to those of glycerin. Because polyethylene glycol can penetrate skin, it is also a vehicle that helps deliver other ingredients deeper into the skin. It is also used internally in medical procedures to flush and clean the intestinal tract.”
The answer to your question about fragrance can be found at the following link on our database:
Fragrance is an integral part of the success of personal care products, and even products that claim to be “fragrance free” are not necessarily void of fragrance ingredients. The FDA has made the following regulation regarding this claim:
“Fragrance Free: implies that a cosmetic product so labeled has no perceptible odor. Fragrance ingredients may be added to a fragrance-free cosmetic to mask any offensive odor originating from the raw materials used, but in a smaller amount than is needed to impart a noticeable scent.”
Fragrance is an integral part of the success of personal care products, and even products that claim to be “fragrance free” are not necessarily void of fragrance ingredients. The FDA has made the following regulation regarding this claim:
Fragrance Free: implies that a cosmetic product so labeled has no perceptible odor. Fragrance ingredients may be added to a fragrance-free cosmetic to mask any offensive odor originating from the raw materials used, but in a smaller amount than is needed to impart a noticeable scent.”
As this states, fragrances are part of almost any product – even fragrance-free ones.  We have gone to great lengths to find and use a fragrance that is non-allergenic for most individuals.

Going to enjoy some fun in the sun this weekend? If you forget your sunscreen, then just skip the shower.

This holiday weekend many of us will be heading out to the beach, lakes, mountains, or just gardening in the yard. The forecast here is for lots of sun, so lots of sunburns on that winter white skin.

So many will grab the tube of sunscreen out of the medicine chest, slather it on, and think they are safe. It could be our obsession with sunscreen which has given way to the rise in skin cancer in the past decades. Lets back up for a bit of physics and biology.

The sun’s rays consist of visible light, inferred, which we feel as heat, and Ultraviolet, which we can’t see, but these very short wavelengths can penetrate out skin. The two ranges we often hear about are UV-A and UV-B.

UV-B is the shorter of the two and is the one responsible for the sunburn we are all probably too familiar with. UV-B is also the wavelength which converts cholesterol in our skin into Vitamin D.  Most of the sunscreens were designed to block the UV-B rays to help prevent a burn (Remember UV-B like Burn)

UV-A is the longer wavelength, which can penetrate deeper into the skin, and play a major role in skin aging and wrinkling. UV-A also can cause mutations and DNA damage in the basal layers of the skin where most skin cancers begin.

Lets talk a bit about Vitamin D. There is an avalanche of research coming out on Vitamin D over the past years and it is a key ingredient in your bodies anti-cancer defenses.  Vitamin D is fat soluble and is produced by a reaction in your skin brought on by exposure to UV-B rays. Once vitamin D is produced it resides in the surface oils in your skin and takes 18 hours or more to be absorbed deeper into the skin where it can become available to the rest of your body.

So lets take a look at a couple of scenarios:

  • The common scenario for the past few decades: You go out in the sun, slather on a traditional sunscreen so you don’t get a sunburn. If you were good you reapplied it ever few hours. Keep reapplying and you could stay out in the sun all day without burning. So what was the end result? You didn’t burn, you didn’t produce much vitamin D, AND UV-A rays did lots of damage to your deeper cells and may have pushed you one notch closer to starting the cascade of events which lead to skin cancer.  Vitamin D could help prevent this, but you didn’t produce much because you kept the sun screen on which blocked the UV-B rays.
  • The other common scenario is that you didn’t put much sunscreen on, or maybe none at all, you were in the sun for a little while, started burning, and covered up or went inside (or maybe stayed out a bit longer and fried yourself.  so in this scenario, you produced a ton of vitamin D. You didn’t do near as much damage to your deeper skin from less exposure to UV-A. Then you went in and very gently took a shower to get the salt water, lake water, sweat or what ever else off. Well doing that just washed all that vitamin D down the drain. So you’ve done less damage than the first scenario, but still lacking vitamin D.
  • A better scenario:  you slather on a full spectrum sunscreen which has agents to block both UV-A and UV-B rays. So you don’t produce the vitamin D, but you don’t burn nor damage your skin long term.  
  • Well there is one common scenario: Go out have fun hiking, biking, in the boat, etc. Get some good sun, maybe a little pink, but hey, you’re out camping, so you don’t take a shower until you get home, so that vitamin D has a chanced to get into your system and offer some anti cancer protection.
  • The final scenario, which is what I try to do, is I take 5,800 iu of vitamin D per day in supplements spread out twice a day. Then I use a full spectrum sunscreen as much as I can. I try to keep a shirt on my pasty white body which hasn’t seen the sun all winter.  
The labeling laws are changing, and I’m not up on the current laws as to what they can or can’t say, but grab your tube of sunscreen, or daily face cream and see which of the following ingredients it has in it. The table below lists most of the sunscreen chemicals and which range of UV radiation they block BUT read the next two paragraphs before you run for your skin care.
There are also the physical sunblocks like zinc oxide (that white stuff the life guards used to put on their nose) and there are also powders with tinted minerals, like zinc oxide, which block the sun fairly well, but don’t look like the life guards nose.  These are great for every day used.

There are numerous chemical names for each compound, so you may see something else listed on the label. For example Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is also known as Oxybenzone.  Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate and Octyl Methoxycinnamate are also known as Octinoxate. So it may take some research to see which chemicals are the sunscreen agents.   A good source for honest scientific skin care ingredient information is  

FDA-Approved Sunscreens
Active Ingredient/UV Filter Name Range Covered
UVA1: 340-400 nm
UVA2: 320-340 nm
UVB: 290-320 nm
Chemical Absorbers:
Aminobenzoic acid (PABA) UVB
Avobenzone UVA1
Cinoxate UVB
Dioxybenzone UVB, UVA2
Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) UVA2
Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimiazole Sulfonic Acid) UVB
Homosalate UVB
Meradimate (Menthyl Anthranilate) UVA2
Octocrylene UVB
Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate) UVB
Octisalate ( Octyl Salicylate) UVB
Oxybenzone UVB, UVA2
Padimate O UVB
Sulisobenzone UVB, UVA2
Trolamine Salicylate UVB
Physical Filters:
Titanium Dioxide UVB, UVA2
Zinc Oxide UVB,UVA2, UVA1

So go out and enjoy the sun this long holiday weekend, just make sure you have a full spectrum sunscreen and you’ve taken some vitamin D. Or go out get fried, just resist taking a shower for a couple days.  
Just as a note, the daily skin moisturizer I use has three different sunscreens in it blocking both UV-A and UV-B rays and is rated as SPF 15. It is also free of parabens, formaldehyde releasing agents, and all other chemical preservatives.  I’ve used this when I go running and skiing and have never burned – And I take my vitamin D.

Want more beautiful skin? Then get out and exercise!

It’s hardly news that exercise is great for your heart, lungs, and mental outlook. Here’s another reason to get moving: Regular exercise is one of the keys to healthy skin.

People tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant.

If you have dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, or psoriasis, you may need to take special care to keep your skin protected while exercising. But don’t let skin problems prevent you from being active. Here’s why.

By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin . In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products and toxins, including free radicals, from working cells. Contrary to some claims, exercise doesn’t detoxify the skin. The job of neutralizing toxins belongs mostly to the liver. By increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system – it is cleansing your skin from the inside.

Exercise has also been shown to ease stress. By decreasing stress, some conditions that can be exacerbated by stress can show some improvement. Conditions that can improve when stress is reduced include acne and eczema. Although researchers are still investigating the link between stress and skin, studies show that the sebaceous glands, which produce oil in the skin, are influenced by stress hormones.

Regular exercise helps tone muscles, of course. That doesn’t have a direct affect on skin, dermatologists say. But firmer muscles definitely help you look better overall.

The Healthy Skin Workout

For all its many benefits, however, exercise can pose risks to your skin. Fortunately, protecting your skin is easy.

The main danger if you exercise outdoors is sun exposure. Sunburns increase skin cancer risk and can rapidly age the skin, erasing any benefits your skin might get from exercise. The key is to make sure you have optimal levels of vitamin D in your system. I you exercise in the winter outside in the northern hemisphere, then you won’t receive enough of the UVB rays to produce vitamin D, so put on the sunscreen otherwise the UBA rays, which cause cancer and age the skin will still make it through. In the summer though, put sunscreen on your face, but let your skin absorb the beneficial UVB rays on your legs, arms, and torso.

Don’t count of sunscreen alone to protect you, however. Sweating can remove the sunscreen that athletes put on and there is evidence that sweating actually increases the chance of burning. After athletes sweat, it takes 40% less UVA rays to burn than when they are not sweating.

Another skin problem that can arise during activity is chafing, which can cause rashes. For people prone to acne, the irritation and increased perspiration caused by tight-fitting workout clothes may lead to a form of acne aptly called acne mechanica. The two keys to prevention are to wear moisture-wicking clothing, such as bras and hats, to keep skin drier and cooler and to shower immediately after exercising. Wearing loose-fitting workout clothes can also help. Make sure your skin is clean before you work out to prevent clogged pores that lead to acne. Avoid wearing makeup when you exercise. After showering, apply a soothing skin moisturizer or powder to help prevent skin irritation.

Rx for Exercise-Related Skin Problems

Several other skin conditions can be exacerbated by physical activity, including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. That’s no reason not to exercise. The benefits of exercise outweigh any temporary problems it can cause. And there are simple strategies to prevent flare-ups when you work out.

For rosacea sufferers, increased body temperature and the skin flushing that accompany exercise can cause flare-ups. The best strategy, dermatologists say, is to exercise in a cool environment. One of the best choices is swimming, since the water keeps skin cool even when you build up body temperature. Brisk walking in an air-conditioned mall or waiting until the cool of the evening to jog outside are other good options. If you do get flushed and overheated while exercising, apply cool compresses to problem areas of the skin immediately after your workout.

Eczema or psoriasis sufferers can also experience flare-ups after strenuous activity, usually caused by salt from perspiration. Apply a moisturizer before a workout to provide protection from sweat. Be especially careful to moisturize your arms and legs and areas with skin creases, such as underarms and groin. If possible, exercise in a cool environment to reduce perspiration and the need for showering after exercise. Washing too often can cause dryness and exacerbate eczema and psoriasis.

Physical activity can definitely pose a challenge, but in the long run it will pay off with a toned, better looking body, and more radiant skin.

Skin and Sun Tanning (or Burning) and What About Sunscreen

Skin, the body’s largest organ, is its protective covering that receives external sensory stimuli. It consists of the outer layer, or epidermis, over a thicker layer, the dermis.

Epidermis is made of cells that include immune defenses, sensory receptors, pigments cells and keratin producing cells. Keratin producing cells migrate to the surface and form a dead, relatively dry outer layer that continuously sloughs off.

Dermis contains sensory nerves and blood vessels within connective tissue. Fibers of collagen and elastin make skin tough yet elastic.

Is a suntan, as opposed to sunburn, good for you?

No, because there is no safe way to tan. Melanin is the body’s substance that gives pigmentation to skin and helps protect the skin from sun. A tan is a telltale sign of skin damage. When ultraviolet rays penetrate the epidermis, the skin’s outer layer, the body produces more melanin in response to the injury.

With each tan, damage accumulates. It increases your risk for all types of skin cancer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and International Agency for Research on Cancer panel have declared ultraviolet radiation from the sun and from artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sunlamps, to be a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).

Ultraviolet light damage also accelerates the aging process. Chronic exposure to ultraviolet light, both natural and artificial, changes the skin’s texture, causing wrinkles and age spots.

What in ultraviolet light causes the damage?

Ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays can each cause harm.

  • UVA rays penetrate deeper into the dermis, the thickest layer of the skin. UVA rays can cause suppression of the immune system, making it harder for your body to protect against development and spread of skin cancer. UVA rays also lead to premature aging of the skin through wrinkling and age spots.
  • UVB rays are the burning rays. They are the primary cause of sunburn.

How do you treat sunburn?

  • It can take up to 24 hours for all of the effects of sunburn to show.
  • The two most common types are first-degree and second-degree burns.
  • First-degree sunburns cause redness, but will heal, sometimes with peeling, within a few days. Cool baths, moisturizers and over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams can help.
  • Avoid “caine” products, such a benzocaine, as they might cause sensitivity to broad range of chemicals. Anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can help ease the pain.
  • Second-degree sunburns cause blisters. Such burns can be considered an emergency, if a large area of skin is affected. Don’t break the blisters because it can delay healing and lead to infection. A layer of gauze may be used to cover the area until healed.
  • If severe sunburn is accompanied by headache, chills or fever, seek medical help immediately.

What about sun and vitamin D?

  • Sun exposure prompts vitamin D production in the skin.
  • Wearing sunscreen does decrease the production of vitamin D. Those who worry about not getting enough vitamin D should talk to their doctors about getting sufficient vitamin D from food and vitamin supplements.

Now what about Sunscreen

Is SPF 30 twice as protective as SPF 15?  Sadly no,

Definition and Workings of Sunscreen:

  • Sunscreen is a lotion formulated with unique chemical components to absorb UV light.
  • When sunscreen is applied to the skin, the chemical molecules form an invisible, protective layer on the skin that protects from penetrating UV rays.
  • All sunscreens protect from UVB rays, but only “Broad-Spectrum” sunscreens protect from both UVB and UVA rays.
  • UVB rays affect the top layers of the skin and are responsible for Burning.
  • UVA rays affect the lower layers of the skin and are responsible for Aging.
  • Remember to always buy a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum!

SPF… What’s it All About?

  • SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor.”
  • Always wear a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher!
  • SPF was developed to describe the amount of protection that a sunscreen provides. No sunscreen can protect your skin from all of the UV rays, but a higher SPF number indicates protection from more rays.
  • The SPF number tells you how much longer you can stay outside without burning while wearing the sunscreen product as opposed to not wearing any sun protection product. SPF measures “time to burn.”

SPF Math

SPF Number x Time to Burn Without Sun Protection = Time to Burn while wearing sunscreen*

*assuming that sunscreen is applied properly

Example: If your skin would burn in 10 minutes in the afternoon sun without any sun protection, and you applied a sunscreen with an SPF 15, you would have 15 x 10 = 150 minutes (2.5 hours) before you would burn.

Percentage of Protection from damaging UV rays:
SPF 15 = 92%
SPF 30 = 97%
SPF 40 = 97.5%

There is some controversy about very high SPF numbers and just how much more protection they provide. As you can see from the percentages of protection of the different SPF numbers, the difference in UV ray protection in SPF numbers becomes minimal as the number increases past about 30 or 40. The difference of protection between SPF 15 and SPF 30 is great (5%), but the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 40 is minimal (0.5%).

The Confusing Part About Sunscreen

  • Many people think that SPF values can be added. Actually, SPF values cannot be added – if you apply a sunscreen of 8 and then one of 12, you will not have the protection of an SPF 20. You will only be getting the protection of an SPF 12.
  • Reapplication only helps to ensure that you have the amount of protection and time before you burn that you calculated when you first applied sunscreen that day. Since no sunscreens can protect your skin from all UV rays, some rays will get through.
  • After your calculated “time to burn” has expired, your skin has absorbed all the UV rays that it can handle before it will start to burn. Even if you reapply sunscreen at this point, you will still burn because some rays will get through to your skin and your skin has already been saturated with UV. Therefore, you need to get out of the sun at this point and let your skin rest before exposing it to more rays.
  • Reapplication only ensures that you have your original time outside – sunscreen can wear off because of sweat, wind, and other factors you need to reapply in order to be protected.
  • So what’s the lesson to be learned about sunscreen? If you know that you will be in the sun for a long period of time, start with a higher-SPF sunscreen in order to have protection for the entire time that you are exposed.

Your Skin Care Products may be Causing Skin Cancer!

A study in the “The Journal of Investigative Dermatology” found that topical applications of moisturizers such as Dermabase, Dermovan, Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream, Vanicream, or other lotions containing Mineral Oil could increase skin cancer risk.

In the study mice were irradiated with UVB, basically receiving a sunburn, and were treated with the mineral oil containing moisturizers exhibited a significant increase in their rate of tumor formation and increase in tumor size per mouse. Treatment of the mice with these lotions for 17 weeks increased the total number of tumors by 69 percent.

Mineral oil is a known carcinogen and applying it to sunburned skin appears to greatly increase this effect.

In light of the potential tumorigenic effects of mineral oil on UVB-exposed skin, it stands to reason that this is NOT an ingredient you want in your suntan lotion or tanning oil. However, that’s just what you’ll find in many tanning products. Unfortunately, just because you don’t see it on the label, it doesn’t mean it’s not in there. Mineral oil has countless different names, but each has the same effect… one you’ll want to stay away from!

Alternate names include:

  • Adepsine oil
  • Albolene
  • Drakeol
  • Lignite oil
  • Liquid paraffin / paraffin oil
  • Mineral seal oil
  • Petrolatum
  • White oil
  • Baby oil
Mineral oil also clogs your pores and can cause blackheads as well as preventing the absorption of any beneficial ingredients which may be in the products.
I think back on my high school and college days laying on the beach slathered in baby oil.
We’re fortunate now though that our skin care line doesn’t contain any mineral oil, by any name.

Skin care: Five tips for healthy skin

Good skin care — including sun protection and gentle cleansing — can keep your skin healthy and glowing for years to come.

Don’t have time for intensive skin care? Pamper yourself with the basics. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay the natural aging process and prevent many skin problems. Get started with these five no-nonsense tips.

1. Protect yourself from the sun

The most important way to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, freckles, age spots and rough, dry skin. Sun exposure can also cause more-serious problems, such as skin cancer. For the most complete sun protection:
  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. You might also opt for special sun-protective clothing, which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays while keeping you cool and comfortable.
  • Use sunscreen when you’re in the sun. Apply generous amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, after heavy sweating or after being in water.

2. Don’t smoke

Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — may contribute to wrinkles.
If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.

3. Treat your skin gently

Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin, so keep it gentle:
  • Limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time, and use warm — rather than hot — water.
  • Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers.
  • Shave carefully. To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it. Of course laser hair removal eliminates the need for shaving daily.
  • Pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.
  • Moisturize dry skin. Find a moisturizer that fits your skin type and makes your skin look and feel soft. We recommend a skin health line we carry in our salon. It is free of all chemical preservatives as well as free from “Natural” preservatives which are safe, yet irritating to skin such as tea tree oil, lavender, etc.

4. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne is clear — research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and a broad spectrum of antioxidants and low in fats and carbohydrates may promote younger looking skin.

5. Manage stress

Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results may be more dramatic than you expect.

Fish oil and healthy skin

Fish oil containing the Omega 3 essential fatty acid EPA helps to prevent wrinkles and can delay the aging process of the skin according to recent research published in the Journal of Lipid Research in 2005. Scientists have also found that fish oil containing EPA can limit the damage to the skin produced by overexposure to the sun and help to reduce the negative effect of UV rays. This has particular relevance when we consider the recent and dramatic rise in cases of skin cancers caused predominantly by exposure to the suns harmful rays.

Essential Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are known to play a critical role in promoting healthy skin. They help to regulate cellular function and maintain elasticity and suppleness in the skin. Consequently, a fatty acid deficiency will show up as skin problems. Most of us do not get enough of the Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet whereas Omega 6 fatty acids are in plentiful supply. Symptoms of Omega 3 fatty acid deficiency include skin problems like eczema, dandruff, dry and flaking skin and poor wound healing.

Three reasons why EPA is so beneficial to the skin?

  • EPA is known to reduce inflammation by helping the body to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. These are hormone-like substances that are responsible for regulating all the cells in our body.
  • EPA helps to inhibit the production of androgens, which are hormones that influence the production of sebum in the hair follicle. Excess sebum production can lead to acne and other skin problems.
  • EPA helps to limit production of Arachidonic acid, which is responsible for pro-inflammatory responses in the body, high levels of which are found in people with inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis.

The Omega 3 fatty acids are ALA, EPA and DHA. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is found in dark green leafy vegetables and algae. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can be found in oily fish such as salmon, herring, anchovies, mackerel and Tuna. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can also be found in oily fish. We can convert ALA to EPA and DHA but the conversion is very inefficient and dependent on a number of factors. However, we can convert EPA into DHA if we get enough EPA.

Supplementing with fish oil that contains EPA can alleviate the symptoms of skin disorders such as dry and flaky skin, psoriasis, eczema and acne as well as many other inflammatory skin conditions. However, it is important to choose a fish oil that is high in EPA as DHA has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of EPA.

Fish oil supplements can contain mercury. To be safe take only a pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement.

Fifteen facts you probably never knew about vitamin D and sunlight exposure.

Fifteen facts you probably never knew about vitamin D and sunlight exposure.

Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and even effects diabetes and obesity. Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition. That’s probably because it’s free: your body makes it when sunlight touches your skin. Drug companies can’t sell you sunlight, so there’s no promotion of its health benefits. Truth is, most people don’t know the real story on vitamin D and health. So here’s an overview taken from an interview between Mike Adams and Dr. Michael Holick.

1. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.
2. The healing rays of natural sunlight (that generate vitamin D in your skin) cannot penetrate glass. So you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.
3. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your own body.
4. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their diet.
5. The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Canada, the UK and most U.S. states are far from the equator.
6. People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D. That’s why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men — it’s a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.
7. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
8. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body’s bones and nervous system.
9. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease — by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
10. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.
11. If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
12. Vitamin D is “activated” in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used.
13. Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body’s ability to activate circulating vitamin D.
14. The sunscreen industry doesn’t want you to know that your body actually needs sunlight exposure because that realization would mean lower sales of sunscreen products.
15. Even though vitamin D is one of the most powerful healing chemicals in your body, your body makes it absolutely free. No prescription required.

On the issue of sunlight exposure, by the way, it turns out that super antioxidants greatly boost your body’s ability to handle sunlight without burning. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful “internal sunscreens” and can allow you to stay under the sun twice as long without burning. Other powerful antioxidants with this ability include the superfruits like Acai, Pomegranates (POM Wonderful juice), blueberries, etc.

Diseases and conditions cause by vitamin D deficiency:

* Osteoporosis is commonly caused by a lack of vitamin D, which greatly impairs calcium absorption.
* Sufficient vitamin D prevents prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, depression, colon cancer and schizophrenia.
* “Rickets” is the name of a bone-wasting disease caused by vitamin D deficiency.
* Vitamin D deficiency may exacerbate type 2 diabetes and impair insulin production in the pancreas.
* Obesity impairs vitamin D utilization in the body, meaning obese people need twice as much vitamin D.
* Vitamin D is used around the world to treat Psoriasis.
* Vitamin D deficiency causes schizophrenia.
* Seasonal Affective Disorder is caused by a melatonin imbalance initiated by lack of exposure to sunlight.
* Chronic vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia because its symptoms are so similar: muscle weakness, aches and pains.
* Your risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes and cancer is reduced 50% – 80% through simple, sensible exposure to natural sunlight 2-3 times each week.
* Infants who receive vitamin D supplementation (2000 units daily) have an 80% reduced risk of developing type 1 diabetes over the next twenty years.

Shocking Vitamin D deficiency statistics:

* 32% of doctors and med school students are vitamin D deficient.
* 40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient.
* 42% of African American women of childbearing age are deficient in vitamin D.
* 48% of young girls (9-11 years old) are vitamin D deficient.
* Up to 60% of all hospital patients are vitamin D deficient.
* 76% of pregnant mothers are severely vitamin D deficient, causing widespread vitamin D deficiencies in their unborn children, which predisposes them to type 1 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia later in life. 81% of the children born to these mothers were deficient.
* Up to 80% of nursing home patients are vitamin D deficient.

What you can do:
Sensible exposure to natural sunlight is the simplest, easiest and yet one of the most important strategies for improving your health. I urge you to read the book, “The UV Advantage” by Dr. Michael Holick to get the full story on natural sunlight. You can find this book at most local bookstores or through,, etc. Note: This is not a paid endorsement or an affiliate link. I recommend it because of its great importance in preventing chronic disease and enhancing health without drugs or surgery. This may be the single most important book on health you ever read. If more people understood this information, we could drastically reduce the rates of chronic disease in this country and around the world. Sunlight exposure is truly one of the most powerful healing therapies in the world, far surpassing the best efforts of today’s so-called “advanced medicine.” There is no drug, no surgical procedure, and no high-tech procedure that comes even close to the astonishing healing power of natural sunlight.

And you can get it free of charge. That’s why nobody’s promoting it, of course.
(Compiled by Mike Adams, based on an interview with Dr. Michael Holick, author, The UV Advantage)

Unfortunately most people can’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun, so supplements are available.

Five Types of Parabens Detected Intact in Human Breast Tumors

From Cornell University – Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research.


Parabens have been used as preservatives since the 1920s. Parabens are used to prevent the growth of bacteria in a wide range of consumer products, including a variety of foods and pharmaceutical drugs. The most prevalent use has been as a preservative in cosmetics, including facial and body cosmetics, skin care products, shampoos and conditioners, sunscreens, underarm products (antiperspirants and deodorants), colognes and perfumes, and soaps, including liquid hand soap. One of the most widely quoted sources of information on use, exposure and safety of the four most commonly used parabens was published in 1984 in a report authored by Elder (1). This report estimated that parabens were used in over 13,200 different cosmetic products.

Parabens have been widely accepted and used because of past reports of their effectiveness as preservatives, low cost, and rapid excretion from the body (both human and animal testing). However, recently some scientists have raised concerns that further assessment of parabens may be needed. This is based on recent evidence from over a dozen scientific studies indicating that several types of parabens can bind to the estrogen receptor and can cause estrogen-like responses when tested in laboratory animals or in a variety of tissue culture assays (see under Endocrine Disruption Bibliographies). In whole-animal studies, the estrogenic effects of parabens were not seen when fed to the animals, but only when applied to or injected under the skin. But, these were short-term, high-dose studies. Little to no information exists on whether use of products with low levels of parabens over many years results in accumulation of parabens in body tissues and whether there are or are not any health effects associated with use of paraben-containing consumer products.


The study by P. Darbre and colleagues (2) was conducted to assess whether any of the six parabens commonly used in consumer products in Europe could be detected in human breast tumors. The names of the parabens studied were: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben and benzylparaben. The prefix (e.g. “methyl”) indicates the name of the side-chain structure of each paraben. In this study, 20 samples of human breast tissue were obtained from patients undergoing surgery at the Edinburgh Breast Unit in Scotland, UK. The samples were frozen, and then tumors were minced and homogenized to help break up the tissue. Solvents were used to extract the parabens from the tumor sample, followed by the use of thin-layer chromotography to isolate any of the parabens present in the samples. Another method called high-pressure liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry was used to identify the type and the concentration of each paraben. For each batch of samples, a blank was included that had no tumor tissue, which was run through the same extraction and detection procedure. The authors were surprised that the blank was not zero, but had some parabens. The authors thought parabens in the hand soap used by technicians or in the detergent used to clean the glassware may have contaminated the laboratory equipment. Blank values were subtracted from sample paraben values to correct for this problem. At least one type of paraben was detected in 19 out of 20 tumors. Methylparaben was the most commonly observed paraben (18/20) and was detected at the highest average level.


This study is the first report of the detection of parabens in human breast tumors. The authors are careful to point out that the results of this study do not show that any of the parabens caused breast cancer in these women. This study is not evidence of cause and effect. The study did show that five of the six parabens widely used in consumer products can be detected intact (not changed or metabolized) in human tissues. This is an important initial finding, but more research is needed to see if exposure to parabens does or does not affect breast cancer risk.

For instance, this study did not show if levels of the parabens in breast tumors were any different from nearby normal breast tissue in these women. Also, this study did not include any women without breast cancer. To evaluate breast cancer risk, a study would need to compare levels of parabens in women with breast cancer (cases) to women of similar age without breast cancer (controls). This study was very small, with only 20 tumor samples. A larger, case-controlled study would be needed to more fully evaluate whether parabens do or do not affect breast cancer risk. This study did have some other problems, such as the contamination of the blank samples mentioned above. Another problem reported was in the analytical method. An important way to measure the ability to accurately detect the chemical includes adding (spiking) a known amount of paraben to a sample to see how much of the known amount can be recovered from the sample. For instance, if you add 100 units, you would like to have a high recovery of over 90%. In this study, the recoveries of added paraben averaged just under 50%. Hence, the method used to extract the parabens from the sample needs to be improved.

This study has received attention in the popular press because the authors are interested in exploring the hypothesis of whether estrogenic parabens used in underarm products (like deodorants and antiperspirants) increase breast cancer risk. This study did not test this hypothesis. The results did show that intact parabens can be detected in human tissue. It did not however, make any attempt to find out the source of the parabens. The women who donated the tumor samples were not interviewed. In fact, no reports of their age or tumor status were included in this study. No information on other factors that may have influenced their breast cancer risk, or information on past use or patterns of use of products with parabens was obtained. It is not known if the major exposure was due to the parabens from food or via topical application of a certain type or a variety of personal care products.

Better studies are needed of whether or not long term use of paraben-containing consumer products affect human tissue levels. Given the ubiquitous nature of paraben use in consumer products and recent evidence of the estrogenicity of parabens, I would agree with other scientists who have called for a reassessment of the safety of parabens. Most of the risk assessments conducted on the safety of parabens were done before it was known that parabens can act as an environmental estrogen and before it was known that levels are detectable in human tissue. A recent study on the safety of propylparaben does acknowledge the estrogenicity of this chemical, but does not fully explore possible human health risks (3). More recent data is needed to update the 1984 study by Elder, which is one of the few reports estimating exposure to parabens from food, drug and cosmetic products. While use of parabens is widespread, product-to-product use is variable. In a survey of products in my own bathroom and kitchen, I found a type of paraben listed as an ingredient in liquid hand soap, two hand lotions, one out of three shampoos (the “natural” brand was the one with the paraben), one out of two hair conditioners, and three out of five sunscreens (including two made for use by children), but in none of the three antiperspirants that my family uses.

At this point in time we do not have information on whether or not paraben-containing products are used at a level that affects human health. But, research indicating that several parabens can act as weak environmental estrogens and the preliminary results of this study do support the need for more vigorous research in this area. Unlike other environmental contaminants, use of personal care products represents a choice made by the consumer and a choice by the manufacturer who determine the ingredients of the product.

1) Elder, RL. Final report on the safety assessment of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben, Journal of the American College of Toxicology, vol. 3, pp. 147-209, 1984.

2) Darbre, PD, A Aljarrah, WR Miller, NG Coldham, MJ Sauer and GS Pope, Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumors, Journal of Applied Toxicology, vol. 24, pp. 5-13, 2004.

3) Soni, MG, GA Burdock, SL Taylor, NA Greenberg, Safety assessment of propyl paraben: a review of the published literature (Review), Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 39, pp. 513-532, 2001.

There are some companies which produce paraben free skin care, but often they use formaldehyde releasing agents, or natural oils to preserve the product.

CoQ10 Improves Aging Skin Health

Did you know that aging skin is functionally anaerobic. Skin cell energy metabolism shifts to a predominantly non-mitochondrial pathway and is therefore functionally anaerobic with advancing age. Since coenzyme Q10 positively affects cell metabolism, it is is beneficial for human skin as it rapidly improves mitochondrial function in skin in vivo. In other worlds, taking Coenzyme Q10 will help your skin keep looking younger.

Want to imporve your skin? The Great Skin Diet

This article from Self Magazine shows you what to look for, and what foods to AVOID to improve your complexion. And to optimize the results from your diet, don’t forget to supplement with omega-3, coenzyme Q10 and grape seed extract and use skin care products that are safe for the skin!

The great-skin diet

All sorts of supplements, special eating plans and complexion drinks promise glowing skin from the inside out. But not everything that is being dished out is based on science. SELF digested the research and polled experts to determine which foods to add to your diet to truly benefit skin, which may be worth an occasional munch and which to pass up. Get ready to eat, drink and be beautiful!

By Beth Janes
From the October 2008 Issue

Proven complexion perfecters

Pile these on your plate. All pack nutrients essential for healthy skin.

Strawberries, citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli

Beauty benefit: a smooth texture
Eat-right evidence: Vitamin C, plentiful in this produce, is vital for the production and formation of collagen, skin’s support structure, says Toby Amidor, R.D., director of nutrition for in New York City. And a strong support layer helps smooth what’s on top and prevent wrinkles, she says. Aim for: two 1-cup servings of fruit and 1 cup of red peppers and/or broccoli a day

Sunflower seeds and almonds

Beauty benefit: sun protection
Eat-right evidence: These seeds and nuts are loaded with vitamin E. Collectively, antioxidants act like an army, protecting skin from UV-spawned free radicals. But E is on the front lines; skin’s top layers contain high levels that guard cells’ outer membrane so cells stay healthy. Plus, strong membranes hold water in, keeping skin hydrated. Aim for: 2 tablespoons hulled seeds or 23 almonds daily

Dark orange, leafy green and red veggies

Beauty benefit: a fresh complexion
Eat-right evidence: Squash, sweet potatoes and spinach are full of the antioxidant beta-carotene. Your body converts it to vitamin A, which regulates cell production and turnover so skin’s surface is smooth, says Valori Treloar, M.D., coauthor of The Clear Skin Diet (Cumberland House Publishing). Carotenoids may also decrease skin’s sensitivity to sun. Aim for: three 1-cup servings a day

Fortified cereal, lean meat, pork, poultry, oysters

Beauty benefit: a youthful glow
Eat-right evidence: You’ll get zinc and iron, minerals key to skin functioning. Zinc contributes to cell production, plus natural cell sloughing, which keeps dullness at bay. Red blood cells need iron to carry oxygen to skin, helping give you a glow, says David Bank, M.D., a derm in Mount Kisco, New York. Aim for: 1 serving of cereal (a cup), 1 palm-sized serving of meat or poultry or 3 oysters per day


Beauty benefit: dewy skin
Eat-right evidence: Skin cells contain mostly water, and if you’re dehydrated, skin will look and feel parched, too. But you needn’t chug 8 cups a day; University of Pennsylvania researchers found no studies to back up the recommendation. Simply ward off dehydration—and dryness—by drinking when you’re thirsty. Aim for: 6 cups a day. It’s a good starting point, says Keri Gans, R.D., of NYC.

Smart skin suggestions

New research hints at these foods’ beauty power, but effects aren’t totally proven yet. No need to wait, though; the goodies are part of a healthy diet.

Wild salmon, Atlantic mackerel, walnuts

Beauty benefit: fewer wrinkles
Eat-right evidence: These fish and nuts, plus fortified eggs, are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation in the body caused by sun and stress. “Inflammation produces free radicals, and free radicals contribute to aging by attacking collagen,” says Susan Taylor, M.D., a dermatologist in Philadelphia. But research still needs to connect the dots definitively and show that the anti-inflammatory abilities of omega-3s translate to younger-looking skin, she says. One study did find that older people who consumed more fish and veggies over their life had fewer wrinkles than those who ate more meat, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reports. The research didn’t focus solely on fish, however; vegetables’ antioxidants, for example, may have been a factor. Aim for: two 5-ounce servings of fish per week; on other days, 1 oz of walnuts or 2 omega-3 eggs

Whole wheat and grains

Beauty benefit: clearer skin
Eat-right evidence: In the past, derms have maintained that unless you wipe greasy fingers on your face, food doesn’t cause zits. But some are rethinking the party line: Australian researchers found that a low-glycemic diet (more whole grains, protein and produce versus refined carbs such as white bread) may reduce acne. One explanation: Low-glycemic foods keep insulin steady, and refined carbs and sugar spike it. The surges may boost production of androgens, hormones that, when elevated, can cause zits. After 12 weeks of a low-glycemic diet, subjects’ pimple counts dropped 20 percent, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes. More studies are needed to prove the link, but no doctor will discourage you from eating whole grains and veggies! Aim for: 3 servings a day (one serving equals a slice of bread or 1/2 cup cooked grains)
Today’s special: gorgeous skin If your complexion could choose everything you ate for the day, here’s what would be on the menu, says Keri Gans, R.D., who put together this plan.


  • 1 cup whole-grain, fortified cereal such as Total
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries or 1 medium grapefruit
  • 1 cup green tea


  • Grilled chicken sandwich
  • 5 oz chicken breast
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1 leaf lettuce
  • 1/8 of avocado
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 medium apple


  • 5 oz wild salmon
  • Spinach salad
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • Toss with 1 tbsp each olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato


  • 8 oz nonfat plain yogurt or 1 part-skim string cheese
  • 1 oz sunflower seeds
  • 1 small orange or 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 oz dark chocolate or 1 glass red wine

Beauty treat or trouble?

Guess if the following foods are good or bad for your skin—and find out the reasons why.


Trouble Chowing candy and other sugary snacks may make you feel like a kid, but it’s likely aging you. The rush of glucose into your bloodstream sets off a process known as glycation, in which sugars attach to proteins and form advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These molecules naturally build up in skin as you get older, but the more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you have. Bad news: They cross-link with collagen and elastin fibers, making the normally resilient tissues weak or inflexible, Dr. Bank says. And skin that doesn’t bounce back easily leads to wrinkles and sagging. In fact, the study showing fish lovers had fewer wrinkles revealed the opposite for those with a sweet tooth.

Dark chocolate

Treat Although there might be some truth to the claims that sugar-laden chocolate contributes to acne (and wrinkles), the high-quality, dark variety—70 percent or more cocoa—may actually be good for your skin. Preliminary studies found that cocoa’s flavonols (a potent type of antioxidant) can help increase blood flow, supply skin with oxygen, improve skin hydration and reduce sun sensitivity. But dark chocolate is high in calories, so treat yourself to only 1 oz a day.


Trouble Got acne? Milk may not be doing your skin good. Three new studies have found a connection between teens’ milk intake and pimples. This could potentially translate to adults; however, it’s not been proven. More research is under way, but the probable explanation is hormone-related. Androgens naturally found in milk (even organic versions without added hormones) may add to a drinker’s own level of androgens, which are associated with oily skin and acne. Milk also raises insulin levels and contains growth factors that act like insulin, Dr. Treloar says. Both may lower the production of molecules that bind to and deactivate hormones—meaning there may be more free-roaming androgens able to cause pimples. It’s too early to prescribe a dairy ban for anyone zit-plagued. But it may be worth experimenting with a milk-free diet if you have excessive, stubborn breakouts, Dr. Treloar says. (Be sure, however, to take a calcium supplement with vitamin D.)

Spicy foods

Trouble Rosacea sufferers know to avoid five-alarm meals. But if you have fair, sun-damaged skin, hot-and-spicy foods may lead to the condition or to a red, blotchy complexion. “UV exposure weakens blood vessel walls. If your skin then repeatedly flushes, which swells vessels, they may not be able to shrink back down,” Dr. Treloar says.


Treat Reds are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that help fight skin-damaging free radicals. But sip no more than one glass a day, says Katherine Brooking, R.D., of NYC. Excessive alcohol halts your body’s release of its antidiuretic hormone. As a result, you make extra visits to the ladies’ room and end up not only feeling dehydrated, but having skin that looks dry, with a dull tone and more visible wrinkles. So enjoy wine in moderation—and make a toast to great skin!

What if you can’t get all the right foods every day? Then a high quality pharmaceutical grade supplement which provides optimal levels of all the essential nutrients should be part of your daily diet.