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Archive for skincare

Don’t forget to vote!!

The Break Up with Your Makeup Contest is running through August, 14, 2015. You can vote for your favorite brave soul’s selfie here.

The contest is sponsored by Galderma USA.  It’s a great way to raise awareness about rosacea and its treatments.

Wishing everyone good luck!  Hope you win that $500 gift card!

Break Up with Your Makeup, 2015!

Disclosure: I’m participating in the Break Up with Your Makeup Campaign sponsored by Galderma Laboratories, L.P.

Last year I was pleased to be able to participate in Galderma’s Break Up With Your Makeup Campaign to raise awareness about rosacea and the newest treatment options.

This year’s Break Up Your Makeup Campaign aims to empower women to feel confident in their own skin. According to the results of a new national survey*, the impacts of rosacea go more than skin deep, with half of sufferers saying they feel unattractive, as well as embarrassed (42%) and less confident (30%).

Although I do not have rosacea, I have friends who struggle to manage their outbreaks. Sufferers often try to hide their symptoms with heavy make-up or avoid going out in public altogether. I have stress-induced eczema. When those red, scaly patches take over my chin and cheeks, I feel like wearing a bag on my head. Confidence goes right out the window.

How I feel when my skin breaks out.

How I feel when my skin breaks out.

According to Wikipedia , “It [rosacea] primarily affects people of northwestern European descent and has been nicknamed the “curse of the Celts” by some in Britain and Ireland…. Rosacea affects both sexes, but is almost three times more common in women. Rosacea is commonly found in people between the ages of 30 and 50.”

Rosacea is a common, chronic skin condition that causes redness of the face, tiny red bumps and fine spidery red lines (telangiectasias), redness of the nose… and may also affect the eyes. Although there is no know cause for the condition, there are common triggers, which include: sun exposure, exercise, hot or spicy foods, alcohol consumption and stress. Who doesn’t have at least ONE of those triggers every day?!

Rosacea is estimated to affect 16 million Americans. If you suspect you have rosacea, contact your doctor or dermatologist. There are a variety of treatment options to manage and control the redness and outbreaks.

This year, Galaderma is inviting consumers with rosacea– or those who think they might have the condition– to share a #nomakeup selfie of themselves and tell others how they stay confident even on “tough skin days.” Consumers simply upload their image and story via a digital hub for the chance to win an all-expense paid trip for two to NYC for the New York Film Festival this fall. Submissions must be done by June 24, which will be voted on during a sweepstakes from July 27 – Aug. 14. People who vote on the submissions, during the sweepstakes, will also have the chance to win additional prizes.  Winners will be contacted in August.

#Nomakeup.  In solidarity with my sisters with rosacea, I am posting this no makeup photo.

#Nomakeup. In solidarity with my sisters with rosacea, I am posting this photo of myself sans makeup.

 *This survey, fielded among 500+ U.S. rosacea patients and 300 U.S. dermatologists, was developed by the National Rosacea Society (NRS) and Galderma Laboratories, L.P.

In addition!  Galderma Laboratories, L.P. has generously provided a gift basket of goodies to soothe sensitive skin!  One lucky winner will get the motherlode of Cetaphil products!

Included in the basket:

  • Daily Facial Moisturizer, SPF 15


  • Eczema Moisturizing Body Wash



  • Eczema Moisturizing Body Lotion



  • Cetaphil Cleanser and a sample of Cleansing wipes



I actually use these products!  While they are not sexy like products that contain gold dust and snail slime, they are super gentle and soothing.  When I have an eczema outbreak, these are the products I use to help calm my skin again.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make It Monday: Honey, Honey…


Honey is a wondrous substance.  It sweetens tea, soothes coughs, and can also be used as a burn dressing (keeps the area moist and kills bacteria).

It is also a great addition to homemade masks, can be used as a gentle shampoo and also as a skin cleanser.

I have been using plain honey on my face as a cleanser for the past 3 weeks and can attest that it leaves it feeling clean but not squeaky.  Other cleansers with harsh ingredients can trigger eczema flare-ups and even break-outs.  I had that experience recently with a new cleanser I tried.  But within just a few days of using honey, my skin has calmed down, cleared up, and started to glow again.

The method is super easy.  Massage on some honey, let sit while brushing teeth for 2 minutes, rinse off with warm water.

Other ideas for using honey:

  • Mix a bit with plain yogurt for a brightening mask.
  • Mix a bit with your spirulina-water paste for a super nourishing mask.
  • Mix a bit with pineapple or papaya pulp for a refreshing (and delicious) enzyme mask.
  • Add a smidge of coconut oil to honey for a deeper cleanse
  • Mix with ground oatmeal for a gentle, exfoliating scrub
  • Or, mix with sugar for a more vigorous scrub
  • Dilute with water and use it to wash your hair — this is easier done with short hair than the long stuff.

Have you used honey as a beauty treatment?  Please share your stories and recipes!

A few of my favorite sunscreens

It’s been a long summer and since I work outdoors most of the time, sunscreens play a vital role in my daily routine.

My "office" at Seaport Village in San Diego

My “office” at Seaport Village in San Diego

Here are a few sunscreens that I have used all summer:

Some of the sunscreens I have used most often this summer.

Some of the sunscreens I have used most often this summer.

Banana Boat Baby Tear-Free, Sting-Free Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 50



The active ingredients are: Titanium Dioxide, 3.1% and Zinc Oxide, 4.0%

This lotion is cheap, cheap, cheap at Walmart.  It’s goopy, very water and sweat resistant, and seems to last forever.  This is my go-to body sunscreen when I work outdoors.

Sunology SPF 50 for Face
Sunology sunscreen

Sunology sunscreen

Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide 10.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.5% Inactive Ingredients: Aluminum Hydroxide, BIS-PEG-12 Dimethicone Candelillate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Feruloyl Soy Glycerides, Glyceryl Isostearate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Hydrated Silica, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Propylene Carbonate, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Tocopherol.

When it’s hot and humid, this is what I wear.  Yes, it looks greasy and goes on greasy, but that oil absorbs quickly and protection lasts and lasts.  It’s also non-irritating and reef-safe if you happen to be snorkeling or diving. Just a little goes a long way — if you try to glob it one, you will get white streaks.

Another perk of this sunscreen, my skin has not been as dry and irritated at the end of a long day at the park as it was last year when I used a different daily sunscreen. I like to think of it as a sun shield.  Our local drugstores no longer carry this product, so I found it on Amazon.

Mineral Fusion untinted mineral beauty balm, spf 30 all-in-one BB
Mineral Fusion Untinted BB Cream

Mineral Fusion Untinted BB Cream

Yes, it’s called a BB cream, but since it’s untinted, it’s really a glorified sunscreen.

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% Inactive Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Castor Oil, Polyglycerol-10 Laurate, Mineral-Peptide Blend (Magnesium Asparate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunower) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Rosa Canina (Rose) Flower Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

It is supposed to leave a matte finish, but I find that I get a more dewey look.  The tinted formulas only have an SPF of 9! And both shades are too dark for me.  I use this to lighten other BB creams that are too dark or I just use it on its own as a daily use sunscreen for non-outdoor days.  I am not sure how it stands up to sweating, so I don’t use it when I exercise or work outdoors.

Supergoop Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum, SPF 30
photo from

photo from

Active Ingredients:
Homosalate (Sunscreen) 8%, Octisalate (Sunscreen) 4%, Avobenzone 3%, Octocrylene 2%

Inactive Ingredients:
Purified Water (Aqua), Cyclomethicone, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Glycerin, Ceteareth-20, Polypropylene, Cetostearyl Alcohol, Xantham Gum, d-panthenol, Octanohydroxamic acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Silica, Triacontanyl PVP, Cetyl Dimethicone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG-40 Stearate, Tocopherol, Disodium EDTA , Pentylene Glycol, Panthenyl Triacetate, Sodium Lactate, Lactic Acid, Serine, Urea, Sorbitol, Sodium Chloride, Allantoin, Oleyl Alcohol, Ethyl Linoleate

This was included in Sephora’s Summertime Crushes collection. It goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly.  I like to use it as a first layer of sunscreen underneath a physical sunscreen like Sunology or Mineral Fusion.  It is packed with moisturizers (glycerin, urea, sorbitol) as well as vitamin B5 and vitamin E. It is like a skin treatment with the added bonus of sun protection.

Murad Essential-C Sun Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 35


from Murad's website

from Murad’s website

This is another gem from the Sephora Summer Crushes collection.  It’s a cute little stick that is non-greasy and very easy to carry anywhere.  Although it’s a completely chemical sunscreen, it’s still a useful tool to have in your purse or workout bag.

Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46


Active Ingredients: 9.0% Zinc oxide, 7.5% Octinoxate Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane

I discovered this product last year and still am in love.  It’s broad-spectrum, has a physical sunscreen, and actually calms my skin when it’s feeling red and stressed. It is not water or sweat resistant, so it’s definitely not something I wear when I’m exercising or working outdoors. But for those days when I’m just running errands or doing a lot of indoor gigs, this is the sunscreen I reach for.

These are a few of my favorite sunscreens this summer.

Have you tried any of them?  What are your favorites?

Friday Fitness: Hit restart again


It’s been a sobering week for health and fitness.  I saw my regular physician last Friday with a list of concerns… and other than finding out that I don’t need a Pap smear for another 3 years due to revised guidelines, the news was not pretty.

I have a heel spur and plantar’s fascititis in my left foot (I had PF in my right foot last year).  The prescription: wear orthotics (already do), rigid night splint and gel heel cups.  Long term solution: lose at least 20lbs to reduce the stress on my feet and joints. If that doesn’t work, see a podiatrist for custom orthotics…

The spots on my face that I thought were just recurring hormonal breakouts on my chin are actually pre-cancerous spots of interest: pre-actinic keratosis.  The prescription: keep an eye on them; increase sun protection.


The heel spur is pretty easy to deal with — although I am not happy about the prospect of pain lasting for several months.

I knew I was 20 lbs overweight, but now I have more incentive to lose that extra baggage.

The spots of interest have got me worried. I am a diligent sunscreen user.  I wear hats and scarves and uv sleeves when I walk… and I wear spf 50 on all exposed skin as a matter of course — even when I don’t think I’m going outside. That has probably prevented a lot of spots of interest… but I can only speculate about why I have two on my chin…


My usual walking gear — SPF 50 hat with back veil from Columbia Sport (it’s vented for heat management), an SPF 50 scarf from Coolibar, SPF 50 Hi-Tec UV sleeves, and Banana Boat Baby Tear-Free Sting-Free SPF 50 Lotion (it’s got zinc and Titanium Dioxide and is really cheap at Walmart)

Skin cancer runs in my family — which is no surprise since I come from pale Irish stock.  I know it’s very treatable, if caught early.  My sister-in-law went through treatment last year; it wasn’t pleasant.  An uncle declined treatment… and ultimately died from complications… this is serious and scary stuff.

My doctor is a young thing who probably just graduated last year and has been trained to speak in “plain English”… which is probably why after I left the office, I was confused by a lack of specific terminology.  I sent a message asking for clarification, but have yet to receive a reply.

So in the meantime, I am wearing gel heel cups in all my shoes.  They really help with the pain, although not being able to wear sandals in the summer is a sad thing.  I ordered a heel-gel sock thing from Amazon which, if it works, would let me wear sandals again… hope it arrives soon… and hope it works as the product description claims.

AND, I have added stick sunscreen to my regimen; it’s waxy and hopefully more sweatproof than the sport sunscreen I have been using.  I layer the stick (right now I am liking Badger unscented Face Stick in SPF 35) on top of my regular facial sunscreen (CeraVe SPF 50 Sunscreen for face) and after applying a thin layer of tinted BB cream (SPF 20-30, depending on the brand), I dust everything with Mineral Fusion SPF 30 Brush-On Sun Defense. I am wearing a hat more often, even when I’m not working or walking.

And I am trying to stay calm as I wait for more information. My brother-in-law, the doctor, suggested vit D supplements for both the heel spur and the skin condition.  He feels we are chronically deficient in vit D which leads to poor metabolism of calcium (creating “bone” spurs) and also makes us more vulnerable to certain kinds of cancers.  He prefers supplements over an hour of sun exposure per day during 10am and 2pm…. so I have added 1000 IU to my vitamin pile.

And we shall see.

Beauty Bonanza at Whole Foods

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post at the invitation of Whole Foods and their Summer Fun promotion. All views and opinions, however, are my own.

Last week, Whole Foods in La Jolla, CA held a beauty blogger’s dream event — an open house that showcased product lines carried in their stores — and also a goodie bag of delights!  The sparkling sodas and salad mixer with other bloggers was an added bonus!

There were four product line stations.  I started at Evan Healy‘s station.

Evan Healy discusses her philosophy of skincare.

Evan Healy discusses her philosophy of skincare.

Evan Healy, the founder of her eponyous skincare line was actually right there to explain her products, how to use them, why they work, and her philosophy of treating the skin and body gently to encourage balance. All of her products use the highest quality plant and mineral materials, many of them organic.

Each blogger got a quick assessment of primary skin issues and was given a skincare kit with 2 weeks worth of products. As a mature person dealing with hormonal breakouts (two of which I have since learned are actually pre-cancerous objects of interest and NOT breakouts — more on that in another post…), I was given the Rose Treatment Kit since its key ingredient, Rose Geranium essential oil encourages hormonal balance and is also good for aging skin.

The Rose Treatment Kit contents: Cleansing Milk, Rose Hydrosol,

The Rose Treatment Kit contents: Cleansing Milk, Rose Geranium Facial Tonic Hydrosol, Roship Treatment Facial Serum, Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer, French Rose Clay for weekly treatment masks.

All of the kits feature a treatment serum which consists of a special blend of oils and essential oils.  The key is to put a few drops of the serum oil into your palm, then spritz a few sprays of the hydrosol on top, mix quickly and massage onto your cleansed face.  The combination absorbs almost instantly, leaving the skin super-refreshed.

I am currently testing this group of products and so far I love it!  My breakouts have calmed down significantly and I no longer get dry patches by the end of the day.

The next station featured Aura Cacia Products.  I was already familiar with this line since I use their lavender and eucalyptus essential oils in my henna paste.  They have a high standard of quality at very affordable prices. Their environmentally friendly farming and packaging policies are also a plus.

Aura Cacia Bath Salts

Aura Cacia Bath Salts

The Aura Cacia representative gave out full-sized sample packets of aromatherapy Mineral Bath salts.  He also demonstrated that you can make your own therapeutic bath salt mix by adding several drops of essential oils to either Kosher Salt (shown in the tin above) or epsom salts.  He also recommended massaging a drop or two of peppermint oil on the soles of your feet before going for a run to increase circulation.  And a drop of peppermint oil rubbed in the palm and then inhaled gives a quick caffeine-free boost.

Next up, Dr. Bronner’s station.

One of the Bronner clan discusses the many benefits of the classic liquid soap.

One of the Bronner clan discusses the many benefits of the classic liquid soap.

Dr. Bronner’s All-One Magic Soap is practically a hippie institution.  I remember buying the classic peppermint soap at our local health foods store in Nashville (run by the good hippies from The Farm, a utopian community). The scent was a blast of peppermint and it made everything tingle when I used it in the shower.  But it wasn’t just for showers… it was (and still is) the jack-of-all-soaps — dish soap, floor wash, window wash, hand-wash soap, shampoo (albeit a bit harsh), flea-repellent dog wash, eco-friendly bug spray for garden plants… the list goes on and on.

Now the company makes much more than just liquid castille soaps — there are lotions, hard soaps, baby products, hand sanitizers (made from natural coconut alcohol), lip products, and natural cooking oils.

The 4th and 5th generation descendents of the original German soapmaker immigrants have taken the All-One transcendental philosophy and applied it in their practices of partnering with Fair Trade farmers and promoting organic integrity, the reintroduction of industrial hemp production in the U.S. and fair trade practices.

I still love the liquid jack-of-all-soaps — and make sure I have a bottle on hand both at home and when we go camping.

The final station was the Mineral Fusion Booth.

I am already a big fan of Mineral Fusion — but had not tried their nail colors. They are Formaldehyde, toulene, camphor and dibutyl pthalate free — and come in 61 gorgeous colors!  Whole Foods in La Jolla had the full range of nail products as well as their acetone-free nail polish remover and treatment products.

a small selection of Mineral Fusion Nail Products

a small selection of Mineral Fusion Nail Products

The representative had 2 gifts for us:

Mineral Fusion Mini Polish Trio

Mineral Fusion Mini Polish Trio


Mineral Fusion Lip Sheer Pencil

Mineral Fusion Lip Sheer Pencil

The nail polish colors are perfectly yummy — the sea green is now my favorite summer shade…. and the Sheer Moisture Lip Tint is exactly what it says it is: a sheer wash of super-moisturizing color.  It is totally goof-proof and not only makes your lips feel amazing, it smells good, too.

If that weren’t enough fun for one evening, Whole Foods gave each of us bloggers a reusable shopping bag filled with full-sized body care items for us to try.

The goodie bag...

The goodie bag…

My husband immediately took the Desert Essence Coconut body lotion… reminds him of Hawaii… and it takes care of the chapping he gets from working in the garden.

Some of the items in the gift bag.

Some of the items in the gift bag. Reviews are in the works.

Squee!!! I suppose not many people get a thrill out of cotton balls… but as someone who uses them all day long to prepare skin for henna, I truly appreciate a quality cotton ball… these are made from organic cotton — so you know there’s no nasty pesticides used in growing the cotton (better for the planet, and the birds, bees and other beneficial insects).

Organic cotton balls are just a small item that shows the company’s commitment to lessening harmful environmental impacts from unnecessary (and toxic) chemicals — and its investment in the future of the planet.

Another way Whole Foods shows its commitment to a healthier planet is its stance on not allowing microbeads in any of the products they sell.  Microbeads are very small plastic beads used as exfoliants in soaps, body washes, body scrubs, facial scrubs, and some toothpastes.  These beads are plastic which means they never biodegrade, but just accumulate in our fresh and saltwater environments. Illinois has already banned products with microbeads; Hawaii and  New York are currently debating the issue. Microbeads are a serious problem in the Great Lakes, causing malnutrition in fish who see them as food and cannot digest or get rid of them. In addition, the beads absorb toxic chemicals and are a haven for bacterial blooms. According to NPR, “Lake Ontario’s levels are highest, with counts of up to 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometer.” Pretty scary stuff.

In addition to being committed to caring for the planet on a large scale, Whole Foods also has stringent quality standards for its beauty and body care products.

  • They only sell personal care products that have not been tested on animals
  • They are committed to high-quality products with a proven track record.
  • They promote products with naturally-derived and plant-based ingredients, pure essential oil fragrances, gentle preservatives and non-petroleum ingredients.
  • They carefully evaluate each product they sell.
  • They aim for products with minimal environmental impact in both manufacturing and packaging.
  • They make sure their personal care products are accurately labelled, have established safety data and are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergies.

I had sort of known about the standards but was very impressed when I checked out the website to see the full measure of their policies and the practical ways these are implemented. It makes me even more impressed with their own store brand, 365 — to know that their own products are also made with strict standards of quality. (Which I knew empirically through use, but it’s nice to see it in print.)

Whew!  That was a lot to cover in one post!  Thanks for hanging in for the duration!

As a special gift for my San Diego readers, Whole Foods has given me a coupon good for Friday, June 27, 2014 only — at any of the San Diego Whole Foods locations: Del Mar, Encinitas, Hillcrest, and La Jolla….

(I love you, Whole Foods, but can you please open a store in East County? Thanks!)





Break Up with your Makeup… and a chance to win!

Disclosure: I’m participating in the Break Up with Your Makeup Blogger Contest Sponsored by Galderma Laboratories, L.P.

As a skincare junkie, I am a bit obsessed with my skin… and do what I can to keep it as healthy and glowing as possible.  However, sometimes bad things happen to good skin.  Although I have had bouts of stress-related eczema from time to time, I count myself as lucky to have not experienced symptoms of rosacea.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, rosacea  is a common skin condition characterized by facial redness, often with small,  red bumps that sometimes are pus-filled or look like acne. Rosacea can happen to anyone… but  women between the ages of 30-60 with fair skin and a family history of rosacea are at the highest risk.  As a middle-aged  woman of Irish-Norwegian-Czech descent, I’ve got 3 out of 4 risk factors. I could get rosacea at any time. Researchers have not pinned down a “smoking gun” cause for the condition and it can affect anyone at any time. Once you have it there are many triggers — including, spicy foods, strenous exercise, stress, and sunlight, among others. Some of those triggers are mighty difficult to avoid!

If left untreated, rosacea can get worse over time.The symptoms may flare up and then subside for months before flaring up again. Rosacea is often mistaken for an allergic reaction, adult acne or other skin problems.

Sufferers often try to hide their symptoms with heavy make-up or avoid going out in public altogether.  According to surveys conducted by the National  Rosacea Society:

…more than 76 percent of rosacea patients said their condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41 percent reported that it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements. Among rosacea patients with severe symptoms, 88 percent said the disorder had adversely affected their professional interactions, and 51 percent said they had even missed work because of their condition.

Fortunately, although rosacea cannot be prevented, it can be treated.

That’s why I’m excited that Mirvaso, the only FDA-approved treatment for the persistent redness of rosacea, is hosting this sweepstakes to raise awareness of the treatment, encouraging people to Break Up with Your Makeup.

Mirvaso works fast, providing same-day results that last up to 12 hours before the redness returns, leaving skin that’s beautiful to bare!

You can check out more information, and enter to win a trip to the Emmys in Los Angeles! 

Download rosacea infographic

Download rosacea make-up and beauty tips

In addition!  Galderma Laboratories, L.P. has generously provided a gift basket of goodies to soothe sensitive skin!

•             Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

•             Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths

•             Cetaphil RestoraDerm Skin Restoring Body Wash

•             Cetpahil RestoraDerm Skin Restoring Moisturizer

•             Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Important Safety Information Indication: Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33% is an alpha adrenergic agonist indicated for the topical treatment of persistent (nontransient) facial erythema of rosacea in adults 18 years of age or older. Adverse Events: In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions (≥1%) included erythema, flushing, skin burning sensation and contact dermatitis.

Warnings/Precautions: Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with depression, cerebral or coronary insufficiency, Raynaud’s phenomenon, orthostatic hypotension, thromboangiitis obliterans, scleroderma, or Sjögren’s syndrome. Alpha-2 adrenergic agents can lower blood pressure. Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with severe or unstable or uncontrolled cardiovascular disease. Serious adverse reactions following accidental ingestion of Mirvaso Gel by children have been reported. Keep Mirvaso Gel out of reach of children. Not for oral, ophthalmic, or intravaginal use.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit WWW.FDA.GOV/MEDWATCH or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Sunscreens… more to consider if you snorkel or swim in the ocean…

As a person of fair complexion (and Irish/Norwegian genetic heritage), I need to be careful in the sun. This is fairly easy to do on land. Slap on some sunscreen, wear a hat, and try to stay in the shade as much as possible.

Beautiful Hanauma Bay on Oahu, Hawaii.

Beautiful Hanauma Bay on Oahu, Hawaii.

Things get complicated, however, if you want to stay protected from the sun AND like to visit our ocean’s coral reefs. There is a growing concern about sunscreen ingredients washing off people and causing damage to already fragile reefs.

According to scientific studies cited by National Geographic and NatureNews, chemicals in popular sunscreens trigger viral infections in the symbiotic algae within the coral and when the algae die, so does the coral… leading to a phenomenon known as “coral bleaching.” Dead corals.

The chemicals that appear to cause coral bleaching are: Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) as well as Butylparaben, a preservative, caused the release of viral particles and bleached the coral. Other chemicals tested from the sunscreens had no effect.

Their study concludes that mineral sunscreens are safer protection for coral reefs.

Not so fast! There are also studies that conclude the zinc and titanium particles from mineral sunscreens cause a sunblocking sediment on corals that keeps the algae part of the coral from being able to photosynthesize effectively.

Corals in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii

Corals in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii — the corals that are closest to the surface take a real beating from millions of snorkelling tourists each year…

What’s a white girl that wants to go snorkelling to do?!

Clothing. Wear UV protective clothing.  It doesn’t wash off.  It protects you very thoroughly and it’s re-usable.

Aloha snorkelling!

Aloha snorkelling!

Admittedly, it’s not a very sexy look.  But, it’s reef-safe and sunsafe. I got my swim shirt and tights from Coolibar.  There are other places with excellent UV protective clothing as well.

And then I use mineral sunscreen (click here for a review of a few of my favorites…) for the few parts that aren’t covered by clothing and just hope that it all balances out in the end.

The world’s coral reefs are facing many challenges with changes in the ocean’s pH levels, temperature, and carbon dioxide levels from global climate change.  Pressures from sedimentary run-off, pollution, careless tourists, on-shore development, and careless fishing practices don’t help matters.

As a concerned citizen of the world who loves the beauty of the ocean and coral reef systems, I have to try to minimize my impact. And to encourage everyone I meet to at least think about the world’s reefs and do what they can to help protect them. Something as simple as lessening the amount of sunscreen chemicals and particles that a reef is exposed to could make a difference.

At a deeper level, the corals in Hanauma Bay are much healthier and part of an amazing ecosystem.

At a deeper water level, the corals in Hanauma Bay are much healthier and part of an amazing ecosystem.


Honey do… Honey Girl!

We went to Kailua Beach on Saturday and it wasn’t really a swim in the ocean kind of day…

Overcast, windy and cool -- not the best day for the beach

Overcast, windy and cool — not the best day for the beach

So we headed into town to see what was there… and found a Whole Foods.  Whole Foods is one of those stores that is my nemesis.  I can never spend less than $100 there.  But, there we were and so we shopped.

I looked for local beauty products and found several.

Native Hawaiian products scored at Whole Foods

Native Hawaiian products scored at Whole Foods

I am usually a fairly minimal fragrance person and like things clean and green.  Pikake has become my scent of passion over the past week. It just makes my nose happy.

Our neighbor's pikake bush

Our neighbor’s pikake bush

Our neighbors have a pikake bush and they are as fragrant as they are elegant.  The shower gel by Hawaiian Bath and Body captures that scent without being overly sweet.  And the Bungalow Glow lotion (in Seaside Pikake) by Bubble Shack Hawaii also has gotten that fragrance just right.  The shower gel cleans without being drying and the lotion makes my skin super soft and silky with no stickiness.

5starsFive stars for both products.  They were not cheap — but nothing here is.  However, they smell fabulous and work very well.

The next find was Honey Girl Organics.

The sampler kit, the facial wash and a few extra freebies from the skin care associate at Whole Foods.

The sampler kit, the facial wash and a few extra freebies from the skin care associate at Whole Foods.

This was the only line of Hawaiian-made skin care they carried.  The sales associate said she liked the toner, but the creams were too rich for her 20-year old skin.  However, she said her mother back in Oregon couldn’t get enough of the Night Cream.

Mom likes it.  That’s good enough for me.  Sold!

My skin has been breaking out around my chin for the past month or so.  I thought it was due to the super dry conditions in San Diego.  But it has gotten worse since we moved to the super humid and hot weather in Hawaii. The shift  has been a challenge for both my skin and my husbands… both of us have had increased numbers of break-outs.

Enter Honey Girl Organics.

Concentrated skin nutrition made with: raw honey, beeswax, propolis, bee pollen, royal jelly, blended with organic extra virgin olive oil and essential oils

CRUELTY FREE ABSOLUTELY NO: parabens, glycerin, fragrance, hormones, silicones, petroleum products, artificial preservatives, fillers, multisyllabic additives, unnatural additives

This line claims its products not only moisturize and condition the skin, but  that the honey, bee pollen and propolis are anti-inflammatory and help heal skin irritations and acne.

Their ingredients are simple: Hawaiian grown honey, beeswax, extra-virgin olive oil, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis.  You could practically eat their products.

I got the Facial Cleanser and the Skincare Kit (body cream, face and eye cream, lip balm) and two free samples from the Sales Associate: Night Cream and Extra Sensitive Night Cream.

I am not usually one who spends money on cleansers since they just need to clean your skin and are rinsed off too fast to do anything else. But the ingredient list intrigued me and it’s the early part of the trip so I still have some cash, so I got it.

Ingredients: Purified water, organic extra virgin olive oil, Beeswax with pollen & propolis, Raw Pupukea Honey, and essential oils. Hive ingredients are harvested from our holistically managed beehives.

You need to shake the bottle before using because the ingredients tend to separate.  Just one pump gives the perfect amount to massage all over the face.  Then you take a wet washcloth and wipe away the cleanser and all your make-up and dirt.  I tried it, and it worked!  I usually remove my make-up first with a cleansing cloth (love the Up & Up ones from Target), and then cleanse my skin — and given that I am now wearing a ton of waterproof sunscreen under my bb cream and sunscreen powder, that will not change.  But I did try the single cleanse with this product and it DID remove all my make-up and leave my skin feeling soft and fabulous.

The night cream (and the extra sensitive night cream) is a fairly thick golden cream. I can see how the young salesgirl with oily skin might shy away from it.

Ingredients: Organic extra virgin olive oil, purified water, Beeswax with pollen & propolis, Raw Pupukea Honey, Royal Jelly, rose oil, other essential oils.

During the day, I use the Face and Eye Cream which absorbs quickly.  It’s not as effective an eye cream as other products, but it works very well as a facial moisturizer.

Ingredients: Organic extra virgin olive oil, purified water, Beeswax with pollen & propolis, Raw Pupukea Honey, oil of rose, Royal Jelly, Vitamin E, other essential oils.

I was a little skeptical of slathering such thick products on my breakouts, but I tried it.  The next morning, the inflammation had gone down significantly and by the end of the next day, the pimples were gone.  After 3 days of using Honey Girl products, I am happily without any breakouts! And my skin is soft, moisturized and glowing.


The prices are comparable to other mid-range products such as The Face Shop or Vichy.  Not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either.  I know that when my trial sizes run out, I am heading back to Whole Foods to find the full sizes!


2013: Beauty Resolutions… how did I do?

Every January brings new hope and the will to turn over a new leaf and make changes… often the steam in the engine of change disippates after a few months and the resolutions are completely forgotten by September….

These were my resolutions from January 2013…let’s see how I did…

My vision board for 2013

My vision board for 2013

#1: Accept the things I cannot realistically change (I am not getting surgery to tighten the flabby bits), take responsibility for the things I can change (I will use magnifying mirrors so I can see those chin hairs so I can pluck them), and just accept myself the way I am.
2013 was definitely a year of acceptance as my skin developed sensitivities and I had to learn that what worked in the past does not necessarily work now…. my new beauty mantra is “moisturize, moisturize, moisturize…”

#2: Take better care of my hands.  Give them some of the TLC I routinely give my face.  Moisturize them after washing. Wear gloves 100% of the time when doing dishes. Be diligent about daily sunscreen use.
I admit, I forgot about this resolution.  I did try to wear gloves most of the time while doing dishes and I always included them in my morning sunscreen slathering… but I wasn’t very good about moisturizing or reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.

#3: Learn how to shape my brows and then maintain them.
Well, this didn’t happen.  But I DID discover eyebrow gels (my current fave is Benefit’s Gimme Brow Volumizing Micro Fiber Gel) and that has gone a long ways to making my brows look neat and tidy most days.

#4: Use my skincare products for a reasonable length of time (at least a month) before trying something new.  Part of my addiction is to accumulate new products and want to try them all yesterday.  This year I will slow down and actually give things a chance to work…or not…and then blog about it.
I actually was able to follow this resolution until December when skincare kits went on sale… so now I have all the skincare I’ll need for several months!  You’ll read all about them in future posts!

#5: Get healthier by losing 25lbs and walking at least a half hour 5 days per week.  I would like to walk a 10k by the end of the year. I am also going to create a simple weight routine to build and maintain muscle tone.
Partially successful on this one.  I did lose 25lbs (and am now hovering around 165lbs). I walked 4 10ks this year.  Woo hoo!  I fell short with the strength routine… I had some good ones, but had difficulty following through. 2 out of 3 fitness goals accomplished.

#6 Eat more salads.
This is another resolution that went by the wayside after a few months.  It wasn’t all my fault… I think I was a little too gung-ho in the beginning… and then Mr. Junkie decided he didn’t want to eat more salads… and I got tired of making them just for me… and I eventually just stopped making them.

So, some successes.  Some not so successful attempts.  All in all, it was a pretty good year even if I didn’t follow my resolutions to the letter.  And good enough is truly good enough.

How did you do with your resolutions this year?