Is Your Makeup Affecting Your Skin?

Do you wear makeup on a regular basis? 

If so, have you ever stopped to think about the effect that your makeup could be having on your skin? 

While makeup in general, when used correctly, does not really cause any severe skin issues, it can still affect your skin in a number of ways, and this is something well worth knowing more about. 

Allergic Reactions

One of the most common problems that people have with makeup products is that they can often lead to allergic reactions. 

When it comes to these reactions caused by makeup, they can usually be categorized into one of the following: 

  • Irritant Contact Dermatitis – this is when you experience an itching or burning sensation, and tends to only affect the outer layer of the skin 
  • Allergic Contact Dermatitis – this is a deeper and “truer” allergic reaction, resulting in the allergens triggering an immune response from deep within your skin. This usually shows up as swelling, itching, or even as blisters 

Think you’re safe because you haven’t yet experienced an allergic reaction to any of the makeup products you use? 

Think again…

Both forms of contact dermatitis can arise after years of using the same product. The reactions can be caused by repeated exposure, so you can never be certain that you will not experience a form of contact dermatitis from your makeup.

What should you do if you ever experience an allergic reaction from your makeup? 

Immediately stop using the product, and look for a cream or treatment that contains plenty of anti-inflammatory ingredients. A cool compress held against the affected area can also help, but, if your reaction is quite severe, you may need to visit a doctor for some medication. 

You are probably wondering…

Is there any way to prevent these allergic reactions from occurring in the first place? 

Unfortunately, there are so many common allergens often used in makeup products, and this makes prevention quite challenging. 

However, avoiding as many of those allergens as you can can definitely make a difference, especially for those who are prone to allergic reactions. 

Toxic Ingredients

As mentioned above, many makeup products contain allergens and other toxic ingredients that are definitely no good for your skin. Not only can they lead to poor skin health, but they can also have more serious repercussions for your overall health too. 

The list of these ingredients can seem almost endless, but here are a few of the most common ones to avoid: 

  • Parabens – this group of preservatives has earned itself quite a bad rep lately, and for good reason too. Parabens interfere with the way in which your natural hormones function, affecting everything from reproduction to the immune system to the growth of cancer cells 
  • Butylated Compounds – often referred to as BHT or BHA, these ingredients are preservatives that are found in a wide range of makeup products. Not only do they cause skin allergies, but they also mimic estrogen in the body, disrupting hormonal functions while promoting the growth of cancerous tumors 
  • Lead – the use of lead in many different products, such as paint, has been banned, due to the fact that it has been proven to be a harmful neurotoxin. However, many makeup color additives have been contaminated with lead, which can cause havoc to your skin and health. Try using products that have been produced in small batches, and make use of natural color pigments, instead, as this helps to minimize the chance of coming across lead contamination 
  • Fragrance – since cosmetic brands claim that their fragrance formulas are trade secrets, they are not required to disclose the ingredients used to create each fragrance. This means that there are usually hundreds of different chemicals hidden under this label, and these are some of the most common causes of skin reactions

When purchasing a new makeup product, be sure to check the ingredients list to ensure that none of the common allergens mentioned above have been used. 

Acne Cosmetica

If you have noticed an increase in breakouts whenever you wear makeup

This could mean that you are suffering from acne cosmetica. 

Never heard of this condition before? 

It is actually an extremely common type of acne, and is caused when cosmetic products build up inside hair follicles. This leads to clogged pores, resulting in a breakout.

Infographic on clogged pores

How do you know which of your makeup products is causing your acne cosmetica? 

Well, take a look at where your breakouts tend to occur. If they tend to accumulate around the eyes, then the culprit is likely to be one of your eye makeup products. On the other hand, if they are spread quite evenly across your face, take a closer look at your foundation. 

Once you know which product it is that is causing your breakouts, you can stop using it. 

Wondering why these cosmetic products cause acne in the first place? 

It is usually down to the oils that have been used within the product’s formula. 

One way to avoid purchasing makeup products that could potentially lead to breakouts is…

By looking for products that have been labelled as non-comedogenic. This means that their ingredient will not clog up your pores. 

Common pore-clogging ingredients that are often used in makeup products include: 

  • Cocoa butter 
  • Grapeseed oil 
  • Coal tar 
  • Coconut oil 
  • Lanolic acid 
  • Linseed oil 
  • D & C red dyes

Another tip would be to make sure that the skin care products you use are also water-based, rather than oil-based. Adding excess oils to your skin before applying your makeup will only exacerbate the problem. 

Bacterial Infections

Many people don’t realize that the use of makeup can sometimes lead to bacterial infections on the skin. 

How? 

In a couple of ways…

Firstly, cosmetic companies are not required to display expiration dates on their products, although a few still do. While this may be the case, it can be difficult to ascertain when a makeup product has expired, especially when it still seems to be working after a couple of years. 

However, even though it may seem as though that forgotten-about product is still doing its job, what you won’t be able to see is all of the bacteria that is now living in that product. 

To avoid unnecessarily infecting your face with bacteria, follow these guidelines when it comes to throwing out expired makeup products: 

  • Liquid Foundation – 2 years 
  • Powder – 2 years
  • Blush – 2 years 
  • Lipstick – 1 year 
  • Eyeliner – 1 year 
  • Eyeshadow  Powders – 2 years 
  • Concealer – 2 years 
  • Eyebrow Pencils – 1 year 
  • Lip Liners – 1 year 
  • Mascara – 6 months

Of course, those shelf life guidelines will be even shorter if you don’t store your makeup products correctly…

Make sure that you tightly screw on any caps and lids once you are done using them, to prevent the products from drying out and to also prevent the ingredients from oxidizing. Keep your products away from extreme temperatures too, as this will only have an effect on their consistency. 

Don’t forget, the tools that you use to apply your makeup, from brushes to sponges, can carry bacteria too. These need to be regularly cleaned in order to prevent bacterial skin infections. 

How often should you be cleaning them? 

Ideally, give them a quick clean after each use, and then a deeper clean every couple of weeks, or at least once a month. Brush cleaners are available for this, or you can simply use some warm water and a gentle soap. 

Accelerated Skin Aging

While makeup itself does not cause accelerated skin aging, failing to remove it before you go to bed at night definitely does. 

How are the two connected?

Well, each and every day, your body produces thousands of free radicals. These are basically unstable molecules within the body that go around attacking healthy cells, and this includes your skin cells.

Free radicals are created by exposing the body to so many different environmental factors, from the sun’s UV rays to pollution, making them pretty much impossible to avoid. 

What does this have to do with your makeup? 

Well, your makeup actually holds on to free radicals. When you remove your makeup at night, you are clearing away those free radicals along with it. However, failing to remove your makeup means that the free radicals end up causing even more damage than usual to your skin. 

Leaving your makeup on at night can lead to: 

  • A breakdown in the collagen and elastin in your skin 
  • An increase in fine lines and wrinkles 
  • A rough skin texture 
  • Skin dullness 

Of course, leaving your makeup on at night also means that there is more chance of your pores becoming clogged, resulting in breakouts. 

When it comes to removing your makeup…

A simple swipe of a cleansing wipe simply will not do. 

Although these wipes may be super convenient, they only end up smearing your makeup across your face, along with the dirt, oil and dead skin cells that were also on your skin. 

While a cleansing wipe is better than nothing on those evenings when you are just too exhausted to properly cleanse your face, you would be far better off with a proper cleanser for all of the other nights.

When using a proper cleanser, make sure that you massage this into dry skin, rather than damp. 

Why? 

Because damp skin means that the water that is already on your skin will end up diluting the cleanser, meaning that it will not do as good a job of removing every single makeup particle. Instead, massage it into dry skin for about 30 seconds, before adding a bit of warm water and continuing to massage for another 30 seconds or so. 

After that, rinse the cleanser off and follow up with the rest of your skin care routine. Make sure to never leave your skin bare after cleansing, as it is quite vulnerable at this time and will be prone to dryness and sensitivities. 

One more thing to keep in mind when removing your makeup…

Make sure that you are extremely gentle when handling your skin. It may be tempting to tug at parts of your skin, such as your eyes when removing mascara, but avoid doing this. The skin on your face is so thin and delicate, and any extra tugging and tension will only lead to an increase in facial sagging and fine lines. This is especially the case when dealing with the fragile skin around the eyes. 

Dry Skin

Not only can certain makeup products exacerbate dry skin, but they can sometimes even cause this in the first place. 

How? 

Well, if you have dry skin, then this means that your skin has a lack of natural oils. These help to prevent moisture from evaporating out of the skin. 

Certain makeup products, such as powders, actually absorb the oils on your skin. If you already have a lack of these oils, then losing the little that you do have means that you will quickly experience the symptoms of dryness. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of hydrating powdered makeup formulas available now. You could also try applying a moisturizer onto your skin and then waiting for a few minutes before applying the powder over the top of that. Not only will this keep your skin more hydrated, but it will also give your makeup a fresher and dewier finish. 

In general, creamy makeup formulas tend to be better than powders for those who have dry skin. The creams will be so much more moisturizing and nourishing, and there is little chance that they will cause your skin to dry out. 

For most people out there, wearing makeup will not really cause any skin problems. However, it is always good to be aware of the potential side effects, so that you can recognize the symptoms and deal with them as soon as they start to appear. 

Surviving Summertime Colds and Allergies

It’s summer! The time for you to be sporting your summer highlights, beach body, and barely their makeup, but instead, you’re sporting the nasal crease, swollen adenoids, and dark circles under your eyes. While your friends are dancing in the desert, you’re breathing through your mouth and battling with post nasal drip. No time is a good time for allergy and colds, but summer is especially brutal. If you’re finding yourself a target of the summertime blues because cold and allergies have got you down, here are some tips for summer survival.

Summer Colds
Even though the symptoms may be similar, the cold and the allergy are two very different animals. According to Randy Wexler, MD, “A cold is a virus and is different from allergies. The seasonal difference is due to different virus strains in the summer and winter.” That means that just because the majority of people don’t get colds in winter, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Nancy Elder, MF says, “Colds. or upper respiratory infections occur all year round but are more prevalent in colder months. The main difference between summer and winter colds is how commonly they occur.”

Why does it seem that summer colds are worse than winter ones? According to Dr. Elder, it’s all about the timing. “Because colds occur less often in the summer months, I think some people feel a bit put upon when they get a summer cold- it just doesn’t seem fair.”

So what can you do if you find yourself a victim of this injustice? Wexel says, ” The most important precaution is hand washing, and not sharing cups or utensils.

vine vera banner presents Surviving Summertime Colds and Allergies

Summer Allergies
Not much more glamorous than summer colds, summer allergies can usually be identified by congestion, coughing, a runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. How can you tell whether it’s an allergy or a cold? Elder says, “Allergies have a more watery runny nose with lots of sneezing, itchy watery eyes and can change based on physical location ( meaning symptoms may worsen or improve depending on whether or to someone goes from the outdoors into a filtered air house).”

Another way to differentiate between cold and allergies is by the times at which they occur. Seasonal allergies will probably strike about the same time every year and continue throughout the allergy season, while summer colds tend to go away within ten days.

Coping with Colds
Here are a few ways to help survive a cold summer or winter

  • Take an OTC decongestant for a stuffy nose
  • Use a saline spray to keep the nose irrigated
  •  Take an OTC pain reliever to keep fever down and ease pain
  •  Take throat lozenges and cough drops for a sore throat and persistent cough
  •  Gargle with warm salt water to manage and soothe a dry throat
  •  Get plenty of sleep and avoid strenuous exercise
  •  Drink water regularly

While these treatments may relieve symptoms, it is important to know that they may not make the cold go away any quicker, but may help you to be a bit more comfortable while your body fights infection. Allergy sufferers will do best with OTC antihistamines and prescription nasal sprays.

How do you handle your hot weather colds and allergies? Let us know and feel better soon!

Woman sneezing into napkin

Staying Well During Cold And Flu Season

It’s finally Fall! Season of the Pumpkin spice everything! Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice ice cream, hey, you even think you saw some pumpkin spice potato chips the other day! Not only that but fall also means you can let that bikini bod slide just a little bit, maybe relax the intensity on the treadmill a little, cut the routine from 5 times a week to 3. Trade in those Daisy Dukes for some classic fall sweaters and jackets. And, best of all, you get to cuddle with your new significant other while looking at decorative gourds.

There’s only one catch; you’re sick. Your throat hurts, your nose is stuffed and doesn’t feel like leaving your bed. Worst of all, the thought of pumpkin spice is turning your stomach. What can you do?

1.Flu shot
Get a flu shot. The flu shot is the most effective way of flu prevention. They are available at most pharmacies.

2.Wash your hands
There is no such thing as washing your hands too much. No matter what professional environment, you are in, you run the risk of being exposed to contagion. Doctors and nurses constantly keep soap and water in the close vicinity. To completely rid skin of viruses, scrub for at least 20 seconds. Dr. Alan Pocinki,MD recommends singing “The Birthday Song” twice while thoroughly washing under nails and between fingers, although you may get strange looks if you do this in public.

3. Hand Sanitizer
An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can kill germs from cold and flu.

4. Avoid Close Contact with Sick People
Tery Remy, MD, director of Medical Associates at Beauregard in Alexandria VA gives advice on how to politely turn down a handshake. “Just explain, ‘To keep transmission of colds and flu down, I’m not shaking hands. But hello! Nice to meet you!’ They understand.”

5. Keep Your Environment Clean
If you want to stay well, roll up those sleeves and get scrubbing! Paramedic Beth Geoghegan starts every day by cleaning her office with germ-killing soaps. If her day has included visits with flu bearing patients, she, “takes her uniform off the minute I get home, put it in the wash, and get right in the shower.” Geoghagan advises, “looking at your environment and thinking, ‘What could be contaminated? All it takes is a tiny droplet. It may already look clean, but it might not be.”

6.Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Keeping up a strong immune system is one of the most important ways to avoid sickness. Low protein diets can deplete your immune system. Stick to high protein options like fish, yogurt, and eggs. In addition, make sure to get enough rest, don’t smoke, and keep allergies under control. Allergies cause inflammation of the upper respiratory system which sets the body up for getting a virus.

7.Drink Tea
Ah, steaming tea with milk and honey. Just mention it and you start to feel better. Inhaling steam helps the cilia to move germs out of the nose more efficiently. Honey gets rid of bacteria and lemon helps to thin mucus. So, start getting better so you can join the pumpkin explosion!

Woman sneezing into white napkin

Environmental Allergies and Dark Eye Circles

Are the dark circles under your eyes getting you down? Well, hear this! It seems that there is a whole army of people with dark circles under their eyes who wear these features as badges of honor. Dark circle mantras include,”Those dark circles under my eyes are not from being tired, they’re from being awesome.” Benicio Del Toro defends his dark circles by saying, “Before I was ever in high school, I had dark circles under my eyes. I have dark circles under my eyes, deal with it.”

But if you don’t feel ready to bin your concealer, here are some facts that may be helpful. Dark circles under the eyes can usually be attributed to exhaustion, age, or illness. But those dark circles can also be a product of environmental allergies and can be fought accordingly.

Seasonal Allergies
Allergies, like hay fever, cosmetic allergies, food allergies and allergies from the workplace are all likely to cause dark circles. The blood vessels under the eyes to swell and rub the thin skin of the eyes, resulting in a darker color. Blocked nasal passages can also contribute to the formation of dark circles as the veins connecting the nose and eyes become dilated and dark. In the winter season, pollen from certain flowers can cause allergies which create dark circles.

Environmental Allergies
Environmental allergens include dust, mildew, mold and smoke. Pet dander can also cause allergies which lead to dark circles. Environmental allergies can lead to congestion which accelerates blood flow to the nose. Because of the delicate texture of the skin under the eyes, the excess blood flow creates a purplish color and makes the blood vessels around the eyes larger, creating a drier hue. Add to that the fact that allergy sufferers suffer adrenal fatigue and don’t sleep properly.

Food Allergies
Although the way foods affect allergy sufferers differ from person to person, the most common culprits are peas, chocolate, citrus, mustard, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Foods with high sodium and potassium contact can also lead to dark circles.

Remedies for Dark Circles

  • Eye Cream: A topical cream containing ingredients like Vitamin A, cucumber extract or green tea extract can be effective on dark circles.
  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress on the eyes can reduce the appearance of dark circles by reducing inflammation, Place them on the eyes for about 15 minutes to affect a change.
  • Cucumber slices: Cucumbers are known to have natural bleaching properties and their pulp contains and solution that reduces skin swelling and restores texture. Apply cold slices to eyes for about 10 minutes and rinse with cold water. Potato slices and moist chamomile tea bags can also be effective.
  • Medication: While seasonal allergies can usually be effectively treated with OTC meds, allergy sufferers are also known to be deficient in folic acid, B6 and B12. Multivitamins can help to restore levels of these vitamins to the system.
Woman sneezing into napkin outside

Natural Ways to Beat Allergies

Ugh, allergies! They’re such a pain not to mention that they can really put a damper on your lifestyle! But you know what can be just as bad or worse than allergies? Allergy medication! With side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, upset stomach, constipation, blurred vision, dry mouth or nose…who needs them? Isn’t there some way that you can fight allergies naturally? Well, sources say that there are natural ways that will help you avoid allergic reactions, and they may be more accessible than you think!

Probiotics
Tracey Beaulne of Naturopathic Family Medicine in Toronto says reaching for probiotics like acidophilus should be one of the first steps you take in correcting the root cause of allergic reactions. Taking a daily dose of the BB536 strain year round from food and following any course of antibiotics with acidophilus for double the length of time you were taking the medication, can influence the immune system to prevent allergic reactions while boosting digestion and immunity.

Butterbur
This is a herbaceous perennial plant with forms of hydrocarbons in its essential oils called sesquiterpenes. These are said to possess anti-inflammatory properties and can be just as effective as an antihistamine. The recommended dose is one tablet four times daily.

Vitamin C
According to Liz Bruckner at Reader’s Digest Best Health, adding vitamin C to your day prevents the formation of histamine, which is directly responsible for symptoms like excess mucus, tearing and runny nose. For best results, take it with bioflavonoids throughout the day and aim for 2000 mg daily.

Quercetin
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that can benefit your diet and minimize the occurrence of watery and itchy eyes, asthma and hay fever, and it is most commonly found in onions. “Quercetin has been proven effective for allergies…and has some promising research as an effective mast cell inhibitor for allergic conditions,” says Beaulne. Take it in conjunction with vitamin C in doses of about 2 grams a day.

Fish oils
Natasha Turner, Toronto naturopathic doctor recommends healthy types of oils, like fish oil, that have essential fatty acids. Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they can have a beneficial impact on health and can help with the effects of hay fever. Take 2,000-6,000 mg daily for with meals for best results.

Adrenal Support
Supplements that support adrenal glands can be helpful in maintaining energy and reducing the effect of stress and allergies on the body. “I like supplements like TAD+ or Cortex as both contain adrenal glandular which are nutrients that support these glands as well as licorice, an herb that I love for stress adaption and immune function,” says Turner.

Healthy Diet
Diet plays an important role in overall health and allergies are no exception. Recent studies show that following a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, can be effective in reducing allergy symptoms and also help children with asthma. In general, it is best to follow a hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory diet during allergy season. It’s also a good idea to keep a food diary and pinpoint foods which might have led to a flare up so you can avoid these foods in the future.