It is no secret that I have a soft spot for San Francisco, one of the most iconic cities in the US. Back in the mid 90’s, when I was introduced to the Armistead Maupin books, I became increasingly eager to visit the city. I always had a great imagination, so his books were the best way of escapism when I felt a bit overwhelmed at university.
Niacinamide is an old time favourite ingredient in the green beauty industry. The niacinamide properties and the high tolerability even on sensitive skin, made it a star vitamin, widely used in skincare. It is naturally derived from nicotinic acid found in many cereals and brewer’s yeast. Once isolated, it undergoes a chemical reaction to become Niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3 or vitamin PP.
When you marry botanical extracts and technology you are in for a rewarding skincare treat, this combination undeniably feeds the skin with functional ingredients that are both, effective and safe. Right now, some innovative raw material companies are shaking up the industry by launching new ingredients, which are the epitome of soft power, gentle to the skin yet highly performing.
If you’ve been considering going green with your beauty routine, the first question you need to ask yourself is what you are hoping to achieve? To make the switch to natural beauty, I believe you need to have a clear purpose to enable you to stick with it successfully.
It’s not a totally straightforward answer, but I’m inclined to say no. Skincare products are designed to be stored at room temperature. However, before they launch new products, reputable manufacturers undertake several tests in skincare fridges to assess the stability of the new product. One of the tests is to leave a sample in a fridge (4C) and observe the behaviour, changes of colour, precipitation of ingredients and a range of other variations over 3 to 6 months.
Squalene, to me, represents the perfect natural alternative to the most common ingredient in skincare, “paraffinun liquidum”which is from a chemical point of view a hydrocarbon, same as the squalene, which comes in liquid form due to its unique structure. I use the stable version which is called squalane.
After last week’s post, it is the time to focus on what not to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some of the studies on ingredients I have found are not complete enough to establish a proper negative list. In my opinion, while some conclusive data arrives, it is better to avoid them completely.
I have received many emails lately regarding which products are suitable to treat some skin issues during pregnancy, especially, which ingredients to look out for. For this reason, I decided to dedicate today’s post to share all the information I know about this subject.
How to deal with stretch marks:
To prevent them I recommend the following oils, wheat germ, avocado, St John Wort and sweet almond. These oils, increase the softness and elasticity of the skin. They are also very soothing and are able to stimulate the production of fibroblasts (connective tissue cells). Other key ingredients include, ginseng, ivy, horsetail, horse chestnut, centella and echinacea. Also the massage is as important as the actual product or the oil we use.
Once the stretch marks are formed are more difficult to get rid off, but not impossible.
How to deal with hyperpigmentation:
The most common hyperpigmentation case is called melasma, known also as “pregnancy mask” due to the aspect of the dark patches across the face or “moustache” if it appears above the upper lip. It usually fades away, right after giving birth. To prevent, but also to treat, the following ingredients work wonders: mallow, Yarrow, Peppermint, Heath speedwell, Lemon balm, Cucumber, Primula, Buddleja, Lady’s mantle, niacinamide (at least 5%)
Sometimes a vertical line across your abdomen, called “linia nigra” appears, however it fades post-partum.
How to deal with acne:
In an ideal world, it would help to keep your acne under control before pregnancy as it could get worse later on. So if you are thinking of getting pregnant the following ingredients should be part of your routine: panthenol (decreases sebum), vitamin E (avoids the oils secreted from the sebaceous glands to go rancid, linoleic acid (keeps a healthy balanced skin). Also, I always recommend to use a toner, which have usually lowers the pH of the skin, by using this, it avoids bacteria proliferation as they prefer to live in more alkaline (higher pH) environments.
Once you are pregnant and acne appears, I personally like a combination of clay masks together with soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile and sebum-like jojoba oil. The use of exfoliating acids is strictly discouraged.
How to deal with itchy skin:
It is a very common symptom linked to high levels of oestrogens. It usually appears without a rash.
Incorporating ingredients such as bisabolol, allantoin, calendula oil, squalane, oat, chamazulene, rice oil or ruscus aculeatus extract will bring temporary relief.
In my opinion, skin cleansing is the most important step of the beauty routine. The cleanser has to be highly compatible with the skin composition to avoid the harsh effect of the process but at the same time it has to be effective.
Green beauty has become such a cool subject and currently there are thousands of self-proclaimed beauty experts together with new green hand blended skincare brands launching everyday.
According to the World Health Organisation the urban population in 2016 accounts for almost 58% of the total global population, up from 34% in 1960. Little wonder that pollution seems to be the word that appears in every beauty chat across the globe. Despite the hype, it is not a new marketing strategy; pollution, unfortunately, affects the skin.
With temperatures soaring an UV levels at an all time high, Pedro Catalá of Twelve Beauty counts down the 10 natural ingredients with SPF benefits you need to stock up on.
Discovered in the 70’s, Hyaluronic Acid was initially found in chicken’s crests and until recently, was still extracted from animal sources. Luckily, in the last few years scientists have developed several methods to obtain Hyaluronic Acid from some species of friendly bacteria.
“As a formulator, I always get excited when I find out about new and exotic ingredients. However, I always keep in mind how great and beneficial some of the more traditional ingredients are. Today, we will focus on Aloe Vera, known as the prodigy of nature”.
Our skin changes season to season and so too should our skincare. Long winters, fluctuating temperatures in the Spring and overexposure to Sun in the Summer can play havoc on our skin if we don’t take the right measures to ensure it remains as healthy as possible.
The run up to the festive season can be chaotic with braving the crowds for shopping, Christmas parties and work deadlines. The lack of sleep, increased tension and fluctuations of temperature (normal during the cold season) can lead to a dull complexion.