Over the last few years, I’ve had several conversations with people of color regarding sun exposure and the damage it can cause if one is not cognizant of the amount of time spent in direct sunlight. What I’ve come to realize is a very dangerous myth amongst some of my friends of color, which prompted me to write this blog. Ready for it? Some believe being a person of color gives them a pass on having to wear sun protection. Crazy in this day and age, right?
Here’s the deal…
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the melanin (gives skin its color) of a darker skinned person can have a natural SPF of about 13.4 compared to 3.4 in lighter skin. So yes, the darker your skin color the less likely it is for you to develop skin cancer, however, it is still a real possibility. Why? Because no one is immune!
Where the danger comes in…
Experiencing sun burn has become a “normal” part of many of our lives. We complain about it, grab a little aloe, dab it on, and get on with our lives. Many of us don’t consider the ramifications of burning, which, over time, increases our probability of developing skin cancer. Hate to sound like a Debbie downer, but it is my job to give you all the real deal!
We’ve all heard of Bob Marley and his untimely death at the age of 36. Unfortunately, Mr. Marley died due to a an aggressive form of skin cancer (melanoma) that began under his toe nail. Bizarre, huh? Well…it isn’t uncommon in the Black population. According to Dr. Susan C. Taylor, M.D. in a 2010 interview with Essence Magazine, melanoma often occurs in unusual places in Blacks: soles, palms, toenails, finger nails and on the mucosa of the genitals and mouth.
Is it hitting home yet? Skin cancer can attack anywhere, and the mortality rate is disproportionately higher when it comes to the Black population in our country, especially Black women due to late stage diagnosis.
What you need to know and look out for…
The pictures below are of actual melanoma (skin cancer).
Pictures above are NOT of SKinfatuated's clients. Please click on photo for the original source.
What you need to know...
Ladies and gents, please be safe this summer. Like many of you, I love hitting the beaches of NYC and Long Island. Shoot, I live on the beach. No. Seriously. I live a few hundred feet from the boardwalk. My favorite time of year is summer and I am outdoors as much as my schedule allows. Here's the thing...I literally apply SPF everywhere! My moisturizer, Christian Dior foundation and body lotion all contain varying levels of SPF. My philosophy is to takes risks where they make sense; trying a new restaurant or buying a shade of lipstick you never thought you'd wear. With your health? Nah! Do as much as you can to remain healthy for as long as possible.
Wishing you all great health and lots of love!
We've all experienced a bad, horrible, scorching red sunburn. No matter what your skin color is, or your ethnicity, it happens to the best of us. If you're conscious of toxins that conventional sunscreens contain, you may feel like your only option is to become a hermit and stay inside all summer. In reality, there are many alternatives to store bought sunscreens, which contain various chemicals and toxins, and can actually disrupt your endocrine system and cause other health issues. While you cannot stay out of the sun forever, if you're trying to avoid regular chemical filled sunscreens and protectants, the following is a list of natural alternatives that can help you avoid sunburn, harmful UV rays, and damage that the sun can do to your precious skin.
Choose your base:
Viola! Apply before excess sun exposure and reapply as needed, which should be several times if you are sitting out in the sun.
Going chemical and toxin-free does not mean you have to bake in the sun. Remember, getting that healthy dose is of natural vitamin D is important, so don’t skimp on going outside. If you’re going to be outside longer than 15 minutes, have very sensitive or sunburn-prone skin, or the rays are very intense in your area, make sure to lather up with this natural sunscreen. Be cautious, be aware, and choose wisely when it comes to what you put on your skin!
Unfortunately, acne doesn’t only plague adolescents and teenagers. If you’ve suffered through break outs into adulthood, when everyone you know seems to have gotten past that stage in life, you know how devastating it can be. Conventional acne products contain harsh ingredients that can actually irritate your skin. Those pills available for severe acne? They are just capsules of chemicals and toxins that have awful side effects such as mood swings, a dizzy feeling, and even rashes on your skin. If at all possible, the best way to fight acne, both adult and teen, is to remedy it with natural alternatives.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Tea Tree oil is an excellent acne fighter. Put up to 20 drops into a small amber spray bottle with some water or witch hazel, and use it as a facial toner after cleansing. If you have an awful blemish, apply a small dab directly onto the area. It will work to calm the inflammation and reduce the size of the bump. If you have sensitive skin, test a small patch of skin before applying it all over your face. Follow up with a great moisturizer since Tea Tree can have a drying affect.
Green tea is a wonderful, anti-microbial tea. It is perfect for drinking, which can help cleanse you from the inside out. This can help clear up your skin from the source and internally. Another option is to apply the tea externally by brewing up a strong batch, letting it cool, and applying it with a cotton pad. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week for cooling benefits!
Image courtesy of zirconicusso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If you suffer from acne scars, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice can help with discoloration and dark spots. Dab some on freshly cleansed skin, directly onto the mark. If done daily, you can expect to see your blemish spots lighten within a few weeks.
The best face mask for acne prone skin is honey. It has anti-bacterial properties that get deep into pores to clean them out. The honey itself is soothing and works to smooth skin. This is important because, even though you may be working on drying out acne, you still have to moisturize and keep your skin “happy”. Unhappy skin is inflamed, red, and prone to breakouts!
Aloe Vera gel works wonders on dry, irritated skin. It may not directly fight acne, but instead aloe improves the appearance of angry skin. It helps reduce red bumps and flaky areas that come with the acne-prone territory.
Image courtesy of SOMMAI at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Putting your best face forward is the best way to keep your confidence high. Having acne prone skin can be a pain to deal with, but with these natural alternatives, you can easily keep the blemishes at bay. Be sure to use these remedies daily to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure your acne!
It’s no secret that we’re fans of essential oils and alternative beauty. When it comes to hair care, it’s no different. Using hair care products filled with chemicals can actually make the problem worse and aggravate your scalp. Treating frizz? Chances are, your “smoothing” shampoo contains ingredients that will actually irritate your hair shaft and cause more frizz. A better, more effective option? Choose ingredients that naturally smooth, de-frizz, and put moisture back into your hair!
Lavender and chamomile essential oils are calming, making them the perfect option for frizzy, out of control hair. They work to soothe the hair shaft, which will in turn smooth and de-frizz your mane. Chamomile can actually lighten your hair, so be sure to use caution if you aren’t looking for highlights.
Similar to frizzy hair remedies, lavender is a great alternative to so-called “moisturizing” hair sprays and serums. Myrrh, although slightly on the pricey side, is another great choice for locking in the moisture and preventing dry hair in the colder, less humid months. Combine the two for a moisturizing power house to keep your ends well hydrated and to prevent splitting.
Working to balance the oil in your hair is your best bet to combatting the excess oil. Oil starts at your scalp and works its way down the hair shaft, and lemon essential oil can help the extra that’s making your mane appear greasy. It helps decrease the oil production directly at the source. Again, lemon can actually lighten your hair and give you highlights, so if you want to keep your dark locks, choose another oil, such as ylang ylang or rosemary. Both will distribute and balance the natural oil on your head.
Scalp Care/Hair Growth:
Hair growth goes hand in hand with overall scalp care simple because your scalp needs to be healthy in order for your hair to grow. If you have a scalp condition, chances are, you hair isn’t growing the way it normally does. Rosemary and cypress essential oils work to stimulate the scalp, getting the blood flowing. Peppermint essential oil is also a stimulant, and causes a cooling sensation (perfect for those hot, humid, summer days!). Tea tree oil fights bacteria, which can actually clog hair follicles. Getting rid of the excess bacteria yeast that has been inhibiting hair growth may help your growth cycle get back to normal.
Apply the essential oils to your hair by making a hair oil and/or a DIY scalp spray. For the hair oil, choose a carrier oil (coconut or olive oil) and add in the essential oils of choice. Apply this to the ends of your hair, making sure not to get too close to the scalp. For a scalp spray, mix water (or rosewater, or herbal tea..) in a small amber spray bottle and separate sections of your hair after a shower, concentrating directly on the scalp. Be sure to mix this thoroughly, as the oil and water will separate.
Happy DIY hair care!
An extra DIY tip from our very own Esthetician, Anna.
Hydration avocado mask (great for all hair types)
1 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoons castor oil
10 drops of Rosemary essential oil
10 drops of Patchouli essential oil
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Generously apply to damp hair, paying special attention to your ends. After making sure it is spread throughout your hair, wrap your hair with a plastic wrap and leave on for a minimum of an hour. Double wash your hair and style as usual.
Many people try to remedy their skin problems with heavy creams and other over the counter products. In all reality, these tubes and tubs only treat the outer problem, and they only target one area at a time. Changing your diet can not only improve your skin (clearing up many problem areas), but will also improve your overall glow. By glow, I mean that beautiful radiance that all women (and a lot of men, too) attempt to achieve. It always seems to fade too quickly and never stays long enough, but with the following foods, you can create the healthy environment your skin needs to become and stay beautiful all year round.
Anything dark, green, and leafy. I’m talking about you, kale chips! When it comes to nutrient-dense powerhouses, kale is your best friend. Not only does it provide a ton of radical-fighting nutrients, kale also contains a bunch of vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which help firm skin. The darkest and greenest options are your best bet, but if you’re not a fan of kale, you can also try spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, or other dark green lettuces. Give raw recipes a shot, as they’ll deliver the most nutrients directly to you. If you’re new to this healthy-eating lifestyle, start gradual with a side of steamed spinach with pink Himalayan salt and black pepper to ease yourself into it.
Anything Orange. Orange fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkins and carrots, are high in carotenoids, which help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. They are also packed with vitamins and enzymes that help cleanse the skin from the inside out. Add bite-sized carrots to your lunch, shave a few for a dinner salad, or experiment with different pumpkin recipes once the holidays come around. You’ll love the skin beautifying benefits and your family will love how festive your house smells!
Turmeric. This spice is my go-to for almost every dish. I sprinkle it on rice and beans, oatmeal, and even in my coffee. It has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe everything from irritations on the skin to joint problems. If you’re prone to allergy flare-ups or skin puffiness, regularly consuming turmeric can help calm these problem areas.
Green Tea. I have always noticed a difference in my skin when I drink green tea. Whenever I get one of those embarrassing, awful blemishes, this is where I turn. The polyphenols in green tea make your skin smoother and increase elasticity, and the catechins boost blood flow and oxygen within the skin. With all of these skin-loving attributes, you are sure to glow soon after starting your two-cups-a-day green tea habit.
Lemon Water. This is another favorite of mine. Lemons are known for being detoxifying for the liver, but they also help detoxify your skin. When eliminating toxins and other outside damage, glowing skin shows through. Packed with vitamin C, lemon water helps rejuvenate the skin from the inside out. Try it cold in a pitcher of ice water on those hot days and in warm water on cold mornings. Although, nothing is better than a nice warm mug of lavender tea with some fresh squeezed lemon to relax you for bedtime.
As you can see, achieving and maintaining glowing, healthy skin is extremely easy to do. All it takes is a few tweaks in your diet and a few healthy additions. While you’re at it, throw out all of those toxic face creams because, chances are, they are exacerbating the issue. Always work your way from the inside out. Create the perfect base for beautiful skin with these foods and drinks and you will not be disappointed.
At one point or another in our lives, we have all dreamed of having that beautiful, shiny head of hair. Some of our fantasies include a long, straight mane, while others have been about a beautiful head of natural curls with tons of sheen. Whatever you dream about, what you eat and what you are putting into your body heavily determines how your hair looks. In laymen’s terms, if you are eating an unhealthy diet, consisting of nutrient-less foods, your hair will show this by being dull and thin. Eating a balanced diet full of nutrient-dense foods will provide the perfect base for beautiful, shiny, and thick hair. Start incorporating the following foods to really see a difference in your mane:
Healthy Fats. People tend to run for the hills when they hear the word “fat” in specific foods. Believe it or not, fat is not the enemy. It is the type of fat you consume. Foods such as avocados, coconut oil, and almonds have healthy fats that keep your hair shiny and smooth. Without these fats, hair would look dull and unmanageable. Take baby steps by switching out your normal cooking oil with coconut oil. If you’re pro, blend some coconut oil into your coffee or tea, or even whip up a delicious avocado ice cream dessert.
Protein. This is where it gets serious. Your hair cannot grow if you are not getting enough protein. Not only is protein considered the “building blocks” for your body, they essentially are the “building blocks” of your hair, as well. Since hair is made up of keratin (a kind of protein), it needs it in order to be nourished and healthy. Getting in enough protein without going overboard on calories is easy: swap out a 4oz serving of salmon at dinner; it has about 100 calories and 20 grams of protein. Or, try a cup of Greek yogurt for breakfast; at 160 calories and about 20-25 grams of protein, it is the perfect, satisfying, high-protein start to your day.
B Vitamins. These are important because they help carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. This includes hair follicles. These essential nutrients and oxygen boost blood flow, thus causing healthy hair growth. Without enough B vitamins, hair can break and fall out directly from the root because there is not a strong support system in place. In all reality, if you skimp out on B vitamins, you aren’t giving your hair a fighting chance. Give your scalp the best boost with beans, eggs, and brown rice, which all contain good amounts of different B vitamins.
Follow these simple steps and start eating these healthy foods for your best hair ever. Incorporating these ingredients into your regular eating routine is simple because they are all fairly basic and can fit into various recipes. Just be sure to use healthier alternatives (such as brown rice over white) and switching out foods that contain more nutrients you need for a healthy scalp. As a general rule, all-natural foods that are not processed are the best for you. Not only will you hair benefit, but so will your skin, heart, brain, and every other part of your body.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, detoxification is essential to healthy living. Without it, our bodies hoard all of the artificial toxins that go with day to day experiences. The consequences include weight gain, a sluggish feeling/fatigue, the inability to sleep, mood changes, and even infertility. Although it is impossible to detoxify your body 100% and completely avoid toxins in the environment, there are crucial steps that you can take to make yourself look and feel better. Here are the top tips for external detoxification:
Bentonite Clay. This amazing powder can be used in baths, as a face or hair mask, and also internally. The concept behind it comes from the clays ability to remove heavy metals and toxins from the body, making it the perfect addition to a relaxing, night time bathing routine. All you do is add half a cup or so to the warm water and soak! Easy enough, right? Another great way to get all the benefits from the bentonite clay is to use it as a face mask. A personal favorite is mixing the clay with apple cider vinegar, with non-metal utensils. If you have sensitive skin, opt for plain water in place of the ACV. Since the clay removes a bunch of toxins from your body, it is common to feel a little drained afterward. So, if you’re doing a full body detox in the form of a bath, be sure to do it right before bedtime. Heck, add in some lavender and diffuse some essential oils for an even deeper relaxation experience.
Benefits and Uses
Shampoo Cuts & Scrapes
Deodorant Food Poisoning
Facial Mask Burns
Toothpaste Bug Bites
Detox Bath Digestive Issues
Oil Pulling. Did you know that the health of your mouth can greatly determine the overall health of your body? The point of oil pulling it to pull toxins from your insides, through your mouth. As a lover of all things coconut oil, I am a huge fan of oil pulling. Not only have I noticed better oral health, it improves the whiteness of my teeth, as well. You can also oil pull with sesame and olive oils, according to your preference. The trick is to literally pull the thick oil through your teeth, not just swish it around. Do this for 10 to 20 minutes, be sure NOT to swallow anything (hello, bacteria!), and even add in some essential oils for extra health boosting properties. I personally love Clove essential oil for the taste, but it has been used for centuries as a natural dental anti-bacterial agent.
Skin Brushing. As the largest organ, it is impossible to skip over treating your skin when it comes to detoxification. The act of skin brushing- brushing with a natural-bristled brush in circular motions toward your heart- aids in the natural detoxification process of your skin. It increases circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system, and even gets rid of dead skin cells for a radiant glow. Do this daily to see the best results, generally before a shower. Be sure not to scrub your skin to the point of making it raw. The point of skin brushing is to aid the skin, not scrub it to death. This helps with the body’s natural elimination process, 10%-15% of which occurs naturally though the skin itself.
Rebounding. This is slightly different from the other tips, but it is still worth mentioning. Rebounding, jumping in small motions on a mini-trampoline, helps drain the lymphatic system. If you are not aware, the lymphatic system sometimes goes by another name: the garbage disposal of the body. Meaning, all those disgusting toxins we are encountering on a daily basis just get accumulated in there. The slight up-down movement helps get the lymphatic system moving, aiding in general drainage and overall detoxification. The easiest way to fit in rebounding (and the most effective way I’ve found) is to keep a mini-trampoline in the living room and bounce during every TV commercial. Feeling drained? The quick movement increases energy and improves focus when you’re feeling that afternoon slump.
Your body is meant to heal itself, and with some TLC, it will become a rejuvenated infection-fighting machine! Remember, detox is essential to healthy living. With these tips and tricks, it can be made easy for everyone. The key is to find ways that work for you. Maybe you really aren’t feeling the skin brushing thing, but are you willing to soak in a warm, lavender bath filled with bentonite clay that will help you sleep better before hitting the hay? Yeah, I thought so.
We’ve all been there.
One minute, you’re looking in the mirror, applying eyeshadow or something of the like, and all of a sudden you’re tugging and staring at those tiny little lines that have appeared out of thin air under your eyes. They weren’t there yesterday, right? While aging is a completely natural part of life, a few things can be done to slow down the process. Don’t want to slather chemical-laden creams on your precious, sensitive eye area? No problem. Essential oils are the perfect, effective alternative to conventional wrinkle remedies.
Creating a blend of these essential oils are the best bet to combating those pesky wrinkles. An eye serum (applied beneath and around the eyes) can be made, or a serum for your entire face. Apply either of these (or both) after cleansing, preferably twice a day. Don’t you dare forget about your neck area! It shows just as much age as your face, if not more. Keep it firm, hydrated, and smooth with the following essential oils in your anti-aging regimen:
Frankincense. The grandfather of essential oils, Frankincense is a powerhouse when it comes to aging skin. Even if your skin is youthful and full of elasticity, this oil will do nothing but benefit you. It rejuvenates skin cells, and works to keep existing skin cells healthy. The result? Firmer, healthier looking skin that better retains that sprightly, glowing appearance.
Lavender. If you’re looking for one essential oil to start out with, Lavender is your gal. Trust me, this little bottle does everything. When it comes to aging skin, a huge concern is moisture and hydration. When your skin becomes dry, it looks dull, and fine-lines pop up from the woodwork. Lavender helps to soothe and creates the perfect atmosphere for smooth skin. Again, if you want to start out small, a bottle of Lavender is the way to go.
Carrot Seed. Similar to Frankincense, Carrot Seed essential oil rejuvenates skin, increasing cell regeneration to reveal the glowing under layer. It is also fantastic at fading skin discolorations. Have an age spot? No problem! Make a concentrated Carrot Seed essential oil serum and watch it lighten with time. This is a great option for those with blemish marks, which only add to the aged appearance.
Most essential oils need to be diluted before they are applied to the skin, and an allergy test should always be done beforehand. There are a plethora of carrier oils (oils that the essential oils are put into, to dilute them) out there, but a personal favorite for face serums is grapeseed oil. It is one of the most lightweight oils out there, absorbing quickly in the skin and not leaving any sort of residue.
Take a stab at one of these anti-aging serums; you can make one yourself or even try to find a premade version. Make sure to research the quality of any essential oil you purchase, since there are tons of fakes out there. Be sure it is an essential oil, not a fragrance oil, and learn about the company before buying the product. Whatever you do, get ready for some serious all natural wrinkle crushing action!
Not all essential oils are created the same, as many have been altered with other additives. For more information on Young Living essential oils, please contact us at 404-519-0593.
When you read the word “detoxification”, I know what you’re thinking: that means only drinking that spicy lemonade stuff for ten days, right? Wrong. Detoxifying your body from everyday chemicals and toxins is much, much easier than you think. No, you don’t have to cut out all solid food and gulp a lemon juice-cayenne pepper-maple syrup mixture for any period of time, because, honestly, who would want to? All it takes is a few simple switches, and the mindfulness to be smart about what you’re putting in your body.
Why do I need to detox, you ask? Well, for many reasons! If you have ever felt any of these symptoms:
· Inability to sleep
· Inability to concentrate
· Dull, dry, tired looking skin
· Dull, dry, thinning hair
…then it is time that you try a healthy detox.
The first step to a better complexion is the elimination of processed, refined, and artificial foods. Yes, we’re talking about you, artificial coffee sweeteners! No, you don’t have to give up that morning cup o’ joe that you rely on ever so heavily, you just have to be smarter about the kind of coffee you consume and what you’re putting into it.
Buy organically. Pesticides are just harmful chemicals. That’s all. In reality, there is no positive side to pesticide use because the risks greatly outweigh the benefits. Toxins from pesticides accumulate in your body and create harmful reactions that cause your dull skin, thinning hair, and overall bad mood.
Cut back on refined sugars. Most people aren’t aware of the natural alternatives to sweeteners. Refined sugar has literally been stripped of all its nutrition, including vitamins and minerals. Stevia is an amazing choice to naturally sweeten most anything, and there are even studies showing it can help lower cholesterol. Growing a stevia plant and using its leaves (which are 200-300x sweeter than sugar when dried) is your best bet, but if you lack a green thumb, store bought stevia is also a great option. Another fantastic choice: raw honey. Add some to your coffee and experience a whole new level of deliciousness.
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Watch out for hormones. Genetically modified animals pass on all of those hormones the are injected with to you, which can cause an array of problems. When hormones are out of whack, acne forms, weight is gained, and mood is negatively impacted. Look for grass-fed meat and organic dairy to avoid these symptoms.
How much has changed over the years.
One thing worth pointing out in terms of detoxification is how easy it is. Simple steps can be taken every day. Healthy, fresh foods can replace frozen dinners and natural beauty products can replace toxic chemicals found in face creams. Any way you plan to do so, transitioning to a healthier, chemical free life will do nothing but benefit you, your skin, and the way you glow on the outside.