Category Archives Health
What initially drew me in to the blog was a post about men and avoiding what the blogger refers to as goop. I continued reading. These words caught my attention:
“Men rarely use these types of products, and for good reason. We don’t care about (or want) silky smooth skin, glittery skin, or wrinkle free skin. We want rough, worked-in, worked-out, calloused skin. It makes us feel rugged like the pioneers of the West…Even those of us men who do moisturize, and there aren’t many, we use special creams in brightly colored bottles which look manly and smell manly.”
Men and skin care: Why the reluctance to try?
What is it about men shying away from using skin care products? Is it the silly notion that creams and lotions are for “girls”? It is the fact that so much packaging out there is flowery and feminine? How about tv commercials and magazine ads? Unless you count the pro sports players and their “manly” shaving creams and rugged mountain-fresh scents, you don’t see your average guy talking about dry skin. I for one would LOVE to have this barrier broken down. MEN — you need to use hand cream and body lotion just as much as women do.
Men don’t need skin care products and other myths
Women — does your significant other use your (seed) products? Have you noticed any differences in his skin? As always, we love to hear your experiences with our products.
What’s really in your lip balm?
Have you ever noticed that you’ve applied lip balm in the past only to have your lips feel even more dry and uncomfortable? Did you know that the ingredients in many lip balms actually dry out the lips? It can be a vicious cycle. Your lips are flaky and dry, so you apply lip balm. They seem fine for a short time, but then you need to keep applying more. That lip balm on your nightstand may be making matters worse. Plus, the ingredients in that lip product may raise some red flags.
Let’s look at the ingredients list from a very well known lip balm.
Active Ingredient: White Petrolatum 45% Inactive Ingredients: Arachidyl propionate, camphor, carnauba wax, cetyl alcohol, fragrance, isopropyl lanolate, isopropyl myristate, lanolin, light mineral oil, methylparaben, octyldodecanol, oleyl alcohol, paraffin, phenyl trimethicone, propylparaben, red 6 lake, titanium dioxide, white wax, yellow 5 lake
The above product is mainly a crude oil derivative. Additionally, there are other forms of crude oil in addition to the white petrolatum. These include light mineral oil and paraffin (a wax). There is artificial fragrance — which may contain phthalates — as well as silicone, parabens and artificial colors. An ingredient is also present that can dry your lips out — camphor. None are healthy ingredients by any stretch. In fact, the Skin Deep Database gives this a 6 out of 10 on the hazard scale.
Stop “nourishing” those lips with unhealthy ingredients. Would you rather apply products to your lips that come from the oil refinery or from plants?
Our newest product line, (seed) Lip Oil, is 100% plant-based. You will never find parabens, silicones or petrochemicals in our products. Ever. We know that 60% of what you apply to your skin is absorbed through your skin. Naturallly, what you apply to your lips truly matters.
What will you find in (seed) Lip Oils? Here are some of our ingredients:
- Grape seed oil: Rich in antioxidants, moisturizes, fast-absorbing
- Jojoba seed oil: Non-greasy, helps protect due to high Vitamin E content
- Sunflower seed oil: Helps to heal sensitive, chapped lips
- Avocado oil: Penetrates deeply to offer comfort and moisture without feeling greasy
- Apricot kernel oil: Abundant in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, this lightweight oil absorbs quickly and offers protective benefits.
We’re sharing (seed) with our fans! We’re so excited to launcch our brand new Lip Oil collection!
FOUR winners will receive our two new oils — each will get a Therapeutic Lip Oil AND a Smoothing Lip Oil!
Enter to win below:
One of the questions I am asked most about is antioxidants — more specifically, how they work for our skin. Whenever my friends ask me about antioxidants, I say that I consider them to be great skin defenders. I am sharing why you should look for these ingredients in your body care product.
Think of the term “antioxidant” as a shield against harmful flying objects. In reality, these “flying objects” are free radicals.Free radicals are molecules that cause tissue damage and aging. These could be things such as cigarette smoke, radiation, UV rays, pesticides, various drugs, smog, and other forms of environmental pollution.
Picture these harmful microscopic contaminants swirling around you. Antioxidants will help shield you from harm, essentially. Think of them as superheroes! They are special molecules that can help stop those free radicals — they are able to neutralize their effects.
Eat an antioxidant-rich diet.
According to a study published by The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries are ideal sources of antioxidants. These are commonly referrred to as superfoods. New research suggests that there are actually many other food sources of antioxidants, from kale to chia seeds. In fact, there was a great article about this recently in
Other food sources that contain antioxidants:
- Green tea
- Black tea
- Red wine
- Dark chocolate
Antioxidants protect skin cells.
For your health, antioxidants are believed to help inhibit cell damage and are said to help prevent skin damage from the sun’s UV rays, lower the risk of heart disease, help prevent Alzheimer’s and more.
Antioxidants are also wonderful when used in skin care products. Earlier in this post, I mentioned those nasty little free radicals. These not only impact your health, but they also impact your skin. UV damage, smoke and other pollutants can wreak havoc on your skin, accelerating the aging process and damaging cells. This damage causes collagen and elastin to break down, making you look older. If your skin is looking older, applying an antioxidant-rich body cream or oil may help improve its appearance.
When you apply skin care, body care or lip care treatments with antioxidants, you are shielding those areas from harm.
Look for these antioxidants in your body care and lip products:
- Grape Seed Extract
- Vitamin E (tocopherol)
- Omega Fatty Acids (Such as Omega 6)
- Raspberry Seed Extract
- Green Tea
- Rosemary Leaf Extract
Check your labels! Many products are abundant in potent antioxidants to help protect your skin. Our entire collection features formulation which are truly antioxidant-rich to help improve the appearance of your skin at an affordable price.
Are you still using baby oil on your children’s delicate skin? What was once routine practice — baby oil with a powdery smell and pink cap — is not the best option for the skin. Today, we’re taking a look at “baby oil” and sharing why you will want to try something else.
I am not naming names here, but when you look at the most popular drugstore brands over on the Skin Deep Database, you will notice something alarming — the scores given to these products.
Here is an example of a “Fresh Baby Scent” body oil. Do body oils need parabens and formaldeyde-releasing agents? Absolutely not. Yet, this is a product so many parents have stocked in the nursery. This is a screenshot from the Skin Deep Database:
In addition the the harmful ingredients found above, the majority of all products marketed as “baby oil” contain mineral oil, a petrochemical. “Mineral oil is harmless,” many will tell you. Or “mineral oil has been used for years.” Just because something has become the status quo does not mean it is healthy or of value.
Mineral oil is a synthetic, petrochemical-based ingredient. Animal studies have revealed that mineral oil can cause anemia, spinal cord damage, as well as damage to the kidneys and nerves. Petrochemicals have also been linked to cancer. And why is it in so many body care products? Because it is DIRT CHEAP. It costs pennies on the dollar compared to healthful, natural oils to create products with petrochemicals such as mineral oil.
From the Organic Consumers Association:
“Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly, and mineral oil causes a lot of problems when used on the skin photosensitivity (i.e., promotes sun damage), and it tends to interfere with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping. You are being sold a product that creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.”
Here is another helpful resource from the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services. It is a fact sheet about mineral oil. Hazards of mineral oil exposure included in this guide: skin rashes and irritation, lung irritation, coughing, shortness of breath, and more.
If your baby oil contain mineral oil, it is not because mineral oil is of benefit to the skin, but rather because it makes it cost less for companies to formulate.
You can still massage an oil into your children’s skin. Natural oils are best. I use (seed) Fragrance Free Body Oil on my two boys, Nick and Ben. They can even spray it on themselves after they step out of the shower. I do not have to worry that they will spill oil all over the place, and I certainly do not have to worry about harmful chemicals being absorbed through their skin.
For comparison, here is how (seed) ranks in Skin Deep. Again, this is a screenshot for the EWG website:
Make the switch today! Have you tried (seed) Body Oil? Tell us what you like about it in the comments section. We’d love to know your thoughts.
I’d like to share some of my most favorite tips for staying cool this summer:
1. Keep your head cool.
Experts agree that keeping your head cool is essential for keeping the rest of your body comfortable. We have air conditioning in the cars and indoors, but I take long brisk walks after dinner. When it is hot, I feel absolutely miserable after coming inside. I get hot, sweaty, and tired.
After showering, if I am still hot, I put a wet washcloth in my fridge for a few minutes and then I do something a bit unorthodox–I apply a few drops of (seed) Relaxing Body Oil to the washcloth and then put it on the back of my neck. Not only do I start to cool down, but the lavender oil gives me a sense of calm and relaxation thanks to the benefits of aromatherapy!
2. Drink PLENTY of fluids.
We all know that drinking water is important. In hot weather, preventing dehydration is even more important. I fill a pitcher with water and then add lemon slices, mint leaves, and some berries to it. I do not drink soda or juice and this flavored water is so refreshing and delicious over ice!
3. Happy Feet
Another fun trick with (seed) — In super hot weather, I store my Invigorating Citrus Body Cream in the fridge. At the end of a long day, I massage this cold, citrusy cream into my tired feet and they feel so much better! By the way, this will work with any of your favorite (seed) lotions or creams, not just citrus. I just love the way it smells in the summer.
4. Don’t Overdo It.
“Exercise” caution when working out. It is so hot out there–you may want to take the workouts inside. You can also take a more leisurely walk and do it early in the morning or just before dusk, when it has cooled down a bit. You can also walk at the mall for exercise. Do you have a big yard to mow? Can it wait a couple of days until it is cooler? Please just be careful–and BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR WATER.
And a PSA:
We are all dog lovers here. PLEASE do not leave your dog in the car when it is hot. Not “even for a minute.” And speaking of the pooch, make sure you are not walking him or her on the hot pavement. Keep the water bowls full of cold water. I know my own dog is drinking so much more than usual. Sometimes, he likes to sleep in my son’s room, so we make sure he has access to cold water at multiple spots throughout the house so he doesn’t have to run up and down the stairs.
How do YOU stay cool int he summertime?
“Stop drinking so much coffee and start drinking more green tea.” I hear this advice almost every time I go to my doctor. We know that Green Tea is highly regarded. It is frequently talked about on health-themed shows such as Dr. Oz and featured in magazines. It is also found in many skin care products, including ours. Why?
1. Green Tea is abundant in polyphenols, making it a potent antioxidant. Skin cells can be protected by Green Tea!
2. Green Tea has more antioxidants benefits than Vitamin C or Vitamin E.
3. Green Tea is anti-inflammatory. It can help soothe red and irritated skin and ease symptoms of many forms of dermatitits. It also can be used to help soothe a sunburn.
4. Green Tea– because it is both antioxidant AND anti-inflammatory– can actually help to make your sunscreen perform better.
5. Green Tea can help keep your skin looking more youthful, thanks to the mix of catechins and polyphenols.
Green Tea and (seed)
Find Green Tea Extract in all of our Body Lotions & Body Creams. Do you like Green Tea? I will be honest. I am not in love with the flavor of hot green tea. Over ice, though, is another story! It is one of my favorite summer drinks. I brew my green tea at night and then remove the tea bags. I chill it in the fridge, adding in lemon and fresh mint leaves from my garden. Delicious and healthy!
New warning on tanning from the US Surgeon General
This week, the US Surgeon General urged the public to avoid getting too much sun exposure, citing an increase in skin cancer rates, many of which are caused by indoor tanning. In fact, Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak called skin cancer a “major public health problem”.
Over the past several years, there has been a very active–and necessary–campaign convincing the public to wear sunscreen daily in order to prevent damage from the sun’s UVA (skin aging) and UVB (skin burning) rays.
Wearing an effective sunscreen on a daily basis is something that can not only prevent burning, but it can help prevent skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there are anticipated to be more than 70,000 new cases of melanoma in 2014.
According to Allan C. Halpern, MD, Chief of the Dermatology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, more people are getting checked for skin cancer and he says that he believes “that part of the increase in incidence is due to greater awareness of melanoma.” In addition to skin cancer, a majority of skin’s premature aging and damage can be linked to sun exposure.
If you get an up close look at the skin of those who do not wear sunscreen or who go to tanning beds (please don’t!), you most likely will notice brown spots, uneven texture and tone, more noticeable fine lines, and wrinkles. I know so many people equate a tan with good health.
People will argue that having a tan will make you look thinner, younger, healthier, etc. A tan, though, is evidence of skin damage rather than good health. I am super fair. I burn very easily. Any natural “tan” I get comes a couple weeks after a painful sunburn.
I am all for having a bronze glow. I don’t want to put on shorts or my bathing suit and see porcelain legs anymore than most of you do. I wear sunscreen and any tan I have comes from a bronzer or self tanner.
There is no such thing as a safe tan. Not even “just a little one” unless it comes from a bottle and is applied to skin that has been protected with sunscreen. “Base tans” are dangerous. Period. Tans are signs of skin damage at the cellular level.
I really believe in my heart of hearts that wearing a natural sunscreen is one of the single most important things we can do for our skin. There is so much credible evidence out there that advocates the importance of wearing sunscreen. I live in Upstate New York where it is cloudy for much of fall through spring.
I do not avoid the sun altogether, though, because there are benefits– a more uplifted mood in many cases as well as the benefits you get from Vitamin D. I do soak up a half hour each morning, sitting on my desk (when it is not snowing) with my iced green tea or coffee. Then I apply my sunscreen.
That said, I do take care to protect myself against the UV rays. I wear my sunscreen even in January’s cloudiest days–and there are many of those days in this neck of the woods.
Avoiding harmful ingredients when it comes to sunscreen, though, can be very difficult. There are some toxic ingredients used in sunscreens and it is up to the consumers to read the ingredients list and know what it good and what is not. I want to provide you with a simple guide to choosing the best sunscreen for your family.
Here are some tips that I recommend:
Make sure that a sunscreen’s UVA protection is sufficient.
Both UVA and UVB rays are harmful, but UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and can cause the cell changes that are linked to cancer.
Do not choose powders or sprays.
While I realize that a spray can be quick and convenient, you end up inhaling what is in the product and this can be harmful to your health. Most sprays also contain artificial fragrance, another health hazard linked to asthma and other health issues. Yes, it may take a bit longer to apply and thoroughly blend in, but you do not want to sacrifice good health and adequate sun protection by choosing the wrong formula. There was recently an FDA warning about spray sunscreen usage on children, so exercise great caution.
Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone.
This is a synthetic estrogen and some believe it can be carcinogenic.
If you see a product with a label of higher than SPF 50, be suspicious.
I have seen products at the store claiming to be “SPF 100+.” That sounds super protective, doesn’t it? It isn’t. The FDA says that numbers beyond SPF 50 are misleading. This gives people a false sense of safety and often makes them think they can stay in the sun all day long.
The reality is that higher numbered sunscreens really are NOT more effective! You may see a product on the market with an SPF of 50, but in reality that may be much less effective than a natural mineral sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or 20 that also provides broad spectrum protection, which is what you need.
Mineral sunscreens are best.
Look for products with zinc oxide. These are generally a safer option because they are what is known as a physical sunscreen. Zinc oxide provides the best protection against UVA rays. Zinc oxide is also STABLE, which is important. Choose formulas marked non-nanoparticle or non-nano.
Myth #1: Natural sunscreens are all thick and hard to rub in.
Natural sunscreens generally are thicker than their chemical-laden counterparts. However, the most natural sunscreens these days are fortified with emollients such as olive oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, shea butter and more. These not only moisturize the skin, but they absorb beautifully into the skin.
Myth #2: Natural sunscreens leave a white film behind on the skin.
This is not always the case. When natural sunscreens first came on the market, they were usually formulated solely around zinc oxide. This is the ingredient that blocks the sun’s rays, but it also can leave that white residue. Products are being formulated to still protect the skin naturally, but also be more user friendly nowadays.
Myth #3: Natural sunscreens do not protect your skin as well as traditional, chemical-filled sunscreens.
Not true. As long as you use the recommend amount, natural mineral sunscreens will work just as well as chemical sunscreens. By the way, this applies to all sunscreens. If you’re not using the proper amount, they won’t work as well. Did you know that the Skin Cancer Foundation says that two tablespoons of sunscreen are needed for adequate protection? Take care to reapply throughout the day. If you do not reapply as recommended or fail to reapply after swimming, they also will lose efficacy.
Myth #4: Natural sunscreens are too expensive.
Natural sunscreens generally are more costly than chemical-filled and potentially harmful sunscreens. This is true. If you walk through Wegmans or Whole Foods, though, they are now offering more and more healthy alternatives to chemical sunscreen, so do check those out. I live by Wegmans and purchase a natural zinc oxide-based sunscreen for my family for under $10.
What is so important to remember, though, is that a good sunscreen is going to be your best anti-aging product. Since much of aging can be attributed to UV damage, sunscreen is imperative.
Most people will not hesitate to spend quite a bit of money on a night cream or serum or on a handbag or shoes. In fact, I know of people who will spend $250 on a handbag, but do not want to spend the money on an effective natural sunscreen.
Think of it this way: you only have one skin. It should only make sense that you take care of it. Sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer AND help prevent the signs of aging. Not many products can say that!
Myth #5: Natural sunscreens are too hard to find.
This used to be the case. Not anymore. As people become more and more aware of the importance of sun protection and harmful ingredients, more and more natural sunscreens are hitting the market. You can find natural sunscreens with ease now at Wegmans, drugstores, and mass merchadise stores. Look for sunscreens with zinc oxide.
Myth #6: Coconut oil works as well as any other sunscreen.
I also would like to address some things I have read from people who take the idea of natural ingredients to a whole other level. You know I am very cautious when it comes to ingredients I use on my skin and my boys’ skin. I don’t use parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, formaldehyde-releasers, or artificial fragrance to name a few. However, I also am realistic. While all-natural is great in most cases, it isn’t always the answer for everything.
Chances are your friend told you, another blogger told you, or your holistic-minded Aunt Betty told you — “Coconut Oil is a natural sunscreen.” Or perhaps, “Olive oil and shea butter are natural sunscreen.”
Folks, this is not–I repeat, not true. These natural oils may (I say MAY) contain very minor sunscreen properties to a certain extent, but they do NOT provide any UVA protection. They only can very mildly protect against UVB rays. This is because of the cinnamic acid found in shea butter, which anecdotally has been shown to provide some level of protection.
Posts on the sun and skin care that (seed) has shared before
Here on the (seed) blog, we’ve talked about how our products can protect and soothe your skin post-sun exposure. Let’s review–
Parabens. They are a very controversial, commonly used synthetic preservative found in everything from eye cream and body scrubs to children’s allergy and cough medicines. Some people think parabens are OK–that there isn’t enough research out there to call them a real health threat. I think otherwise.
In the September 1, 2011 edition of Carcinogenesis, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center released their findings showing that both BPA and Methylparaben at even low concentrations found in humans have negative health consequences such as an increased breast cancer risk.
It also went on to mention the ever-increasing male breast cancer rate, which is another alarming trend. These findings are quite similar to an older study on parabens from about 12 years ago. In this compelling study in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, parabens were linked to breast cancer as they have shown to be hormone disruptive and lead to tumor growth.
I am the mother of boys. What really made me take notice of this issue was a July 2002 article in the Archives of Toxicology. According to Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health, exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.”
When I read about that study, I vowed never to use a product made with parabens on my children. So many children’s products contain parabens and to think that I could be rubbing a lotion on my boys that could alter their reproductive systems and have grave consequences to them later in life was very upsetting to me.
Parabens have been proven to penetrate the skin. As we already know, it’s estimated that more than 60% of what we apply to our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. We already know for certain that parabens fall into this group. What is so alarming is that parabens have been shown to mimic the hormones in our body. This is really a big deal. With so much research linking parabens to estrogen-driven cancers, why are companies still formulating with them? There are much better alternatives out there.
Even if you ignore these studies, you do not want to use parabens anyway, even if there was no link to breast cancer.
Methylparaben has been linked in several studies to premature aging. So while you’re buying your $70 anti-wrinkle cream that is formulated with parabens, keep that in mind!
As always, label reading is a must. Look for these ingredients on your labels. If you see them, remember that they are parabens:
Proper preservation of your body care (and other personal care product) is crucial. Without it, the integrity of the formulation is at risk and you develop serious infections from using improperly preserved products, including Staph. However, with many safer options on the market, parabens are not worth the risk.
I have been thinking about food allergies quite a bit lately, as the little boy next door was recently diagnosed with a milk allergy.
I have shared here before that my own son, Nicholas, was severely allergic to milk and egg whites until he was about four years old, requiring us to carry an EpiPen with us everywhere we went. When I was talking to the mother of the little boy about her son’s allergies, she said she didn’t even think about the ingredients in skin care containing milk products. Many products do, though, and this can pose a problem.
I remember the guilt I felt as a mother once I found out that my son was, indeed, allergic to cow’s milk. In addition to vomiting and hives, Nicholas had eczema. Being a person with an extensive background in skin care, I noticed his eczema right off the bat. I did what I believed to be best at the time. I slathered a natural lotion made with buttermilk all over his skin. And I did it several times a day in an attempt to treat his condition. My pediatrician had suggested a product filled with petrolatum, which I wasn’t fond of applying since it is essentially crude oil. I wanted something natural, something better.
I did this because the natural lactic acid and probiotics in buttermilk can be highly beneficial as a natural eczema remedy…unless, of course you are allergic. In fact, if you were to look up natural ingredients to treat eczema online, buttermilk and other dairy products are some of the most common recommendations.
I vividly remember my Nick’s eczema getting worse and worse. We soon found out from an allergist that Nick’s issue was a milk allergy (egg whites, too). That is when it became so clear to me that what we apply to our skin can have a major impact to what happens INSIDE our bodies. Think of it like this — sometimes your skin reacts to the way you feel on the inside. If you are super anxious or nervous, your skin may rebel and you will break out in hives. Flip it around–if you do something to your skin, it can impact how you feel internally. I know some people debate the claims often heard about 60% of what we apply on our skin gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
I was one of those people who doubted that because there was only anecdotal evidence. My opinion quickly changed after I saw what applying milk ingredients to my milk allergic son’s skin did to him. Once the allergy was diagnosed and I stopped applying milk-based ingredients to his skin (and stopped feeding him dairy), his eczema significantly improved.
I keep hearing about more and more people developing food allergies. I am one of them. For years, I have enjoyed clam bakes each summer. I loved clam chowder, linguini with clam sauce, and clams casino as an appetizer. All of a sudden, at the age of 38, I developed an allergy to clams last summer. It was sudden and no one knows why. It can just happen. I was rinsing clams before I steamed them and my arms started itching. I thought nothing of it and then I steamed them. I put them on my plate and started eating them, only to develop hives and a swollen tongue. I was having an allergic reaction. I thought it was just a strange coincidence, so I attempted to eat clams again. I had another reaction. Adults can develop food allergies, just as children can.
While there are no skin care products that I know of containing clams (how odd that would be!), when you have an allergy to soy, gluten, dairy or anything else that may be in your skin care or beauty products, you may find that applying these products will trigger the same reaction you experience when you eat them.
At (seed), every product with the exception of the hand scrub is dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free. Our hand scrub is dairy-free and gluten-free. Providing you with natural, safe products matters to you and matters to us.
If you have food allergies, pay very close attention to your ingredients. Everything from body wash and shampoo to conditioner and body lotion potentially has ingredients that may be derived from the very food ingredients you are allergic to.