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The Beginner’s Guide to Clean Living 

It’s clear that we’re in the midst of a beauty and lifestyle renaissance, and it’s all centered around this idea of “cleanliness”—that is, the cleanliness of our diets, our beauty routines, and our home and lifestyle products. This renaissance is due, at least in part, to research that has been steadily mounting over the past decade, which shows that the human body absorbs chemicals that go in and on it. Scientific studies have shown that the human skin is capable of absorbing a worrying percentage of chemicals on contact (in fact, research suggests the skin absorbs up 60% of the products we apply). Research conducted by a UK-based personal care brand famously made headlines when it concluded that the average women comes into contact with 515 chemicals per day through her beauty and grooming products alone. One Swedish study found that there are even potentially harmful chemicals found in our clothing. It’s all very scary (and overwhelming) stuff, and it’s only made worse by the amount of contradictory information, fear-mongering, and op-eds that are available in a sinlge Google search. So, what are we supposed to do?

First, take a deep breath, because no one lives a completely “clean” lifestyle. Even those clean beauty bloggers you follow on Instagram, who wear organic cotton and shop at local pesticide-free farmer’s markets aren’t 100% clean. Do you want to know why? Because the word “clean,” doesn’t even have a set definition. A clean diet can mean one thing to one person and something entirely different to another. Clean beauty is the same way. It generally refers to products made from only non-toxic ingredients. However, seeing as the FDA has only banned 11 chemicals in cosmetics, it’s up to brands (and consumers) to define the word for themselves.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is become conscious of our daily routines and the products that we make part of them. The worst thing we can do is stress out about how we can live a completely clean lifestyle (that won’t help anyone). Keep scrolling to see all of the easy swaps you can make on the journey to a cleaner life.

Diet

Let’s start with food, because there’s a lot of emphasis on so-called clean eating. Most experts agree that organic food is best, so if you can, consider incorporating more organic fruits and vegetables into your diet. Avoid processed foods, because they’re just as bad for your skin as they are for the rest of your body (fresh foods, on the other hand, provide vital nutrients and hydration to our skin). That means swapping out bags of crackers and chips for veggies and hummus or a handful of nuts, choosing wild-caught fish or lean meat instead of red meat, and drinking filtered water instead of flavored drinks that contain added sugar and dyes. Making these simple changes each day is an easy way to start on a cleaner, healthier path, without feeling deprived, overwhelmed, or frustrated.

Skincare

The US has banned 11 potentially harmful ingredients from skincare. The EU has banned over 1300, which is why an easy way to feel more confident in the cleanliness of your skincare products is to make sure they follow EU regulations (most brand will tell you in the FAQ section of the website). Keep in mind, though, there are many American skincare brands that are committed to producing healthy, non-toxic products as well, and all it takes to find them is a little research. Before buying, read up on a brand’s ethos and mission statement. Scroll through a product’s ingredient list. Ask for clean skincare recommendations from friends, family, and acquaintances. In short, a little research can go a long way.

On that note, if you’re unsure about whether or not a product is healthy or not even after doing thorough research, plug it in to EWG’s Skin Deep database. This database is operated by the Environmental Working Group, and it acts as a resource for health-conscious consumers. Thanks to a clear numeric rating system, it’s easy to see how your favorite cosmetics rank in terms of cleanliness.

To avoid overhauling your skincare routine all at once, Dr. Goldfaden recommends swapping out your cleanser and your treatment first, since these are the products that generally have the most impact on your skin. When it comes to cleanser, swap out your old one for Dr. G’s Pure Start Gentle Detoxifying Facial Cleanser, which is full of plant-based actives like rose hip oil, grapefruit, and seaweed. Because what’s left out is just as important as what’s left in, it’s important to note that this cleanser is formulated without any silicone, parabens, mineral oil, or alcohol, all of which can be potentially harmful to the skin.

As for treatment options, there are many. If you’re struggling with dullness and discoloration, try Dr. G’s Brightening Elixir Protect + Hydrate Brightening Serum, which uses ferulic acid and vitamin C to firm and brighten the skin and treat discrepancies in tone. If it’s dullness, dryness, and rough texture that you’re looking to fix, try Dr. G’s Fresh A Peel Multi Acid Resurfacing Peel. Lactic acid, sugar cane, and vitamin C will smooth the skin’s texture, unclog pores, and purify the surface of the skin.

We also want to mention that when it comes to skincare, simplicity is key. After all, your skin really only needs a few effective products to stay healthy and glowing. Don’t overdo it with steps and products you don’t need. Be conscious of what you’re using and listen to your skin. It’s really as simple as that.

Makeup

There are a lot of clean makeup brands that we admire. These include such brands as RMS Beauty, Kosas, tenoverten, W3ll People, and Ilia. To us, they’ve struck the perfect balance between clean beauty and effective beauty, because at the end of the day, we need products that work. If you’re shopping RMS, try the iconic Lip2Cheek, which is a creamy lip and cheek tint that comes in an array of flattering colors. When it comes to Kosas, try the brand’s Weightless Lip Color, which really does feel weightless on the lips. We like tenoverten’s non-toxic nail polish, W3ll People’s Expressionist Volumizing Mascara, and Ilia’s Polka Dots & Moonbeams Illuminator. Like we said, there are a lot of clean makeup products out there, but these are just a few of our personal favorites.

Homecare

We can’t talk about clean living without talking about homecare. This could be anything from cleaning supplies to personal care and beyond. Some of the worst chemicals we keep in our homes fall under this category (just think of how many chemicals you could be keeping in the cabinet under the sink…from bleach to bathroom cleaners and beyond). So, in order to avoid using unnecessarily harsh cleaning products, we like ordering from Grove Collaborative. It’s a site that curates a wide-range of non-toxic homecare and lifestyle products, so you can shop (and swap) with confidence.

One more thing. There’s also a consumer database for homecare products. It’s called GoodGuide, and it gives personal care items, homecare products, and even childcare products a simple health rating, which is very useful when you’re shopping for a product or brand that you’re unfamiliar with. We recommend looking up new products on the database to make an educated decision. After all, a swap is only as good as the product you’re incorporating into your routine.

If there’s one thing we want to leave you with, it’s this: don’t beat yourself up about being perfectly clean in all of its definitions. Simply stay cognizant of the products you’re using each day and make simple swaps in favor of healthier products. Your body and your skin will be all the better for it.

Written by, Kaitlyn McLintock

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Kaitlyn McLintock is a beauty and wellness writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in such publications as Popsugar, Byrdie, Hello Giggles, Who What Wear, and more. When she’s not writing, researching, and editing, or testing out the latest skincare and makeup products, she’s drinking coffee and spritzing Goldfaden’s Mist RX all over her skin.

Dr. G is a pioneer in the beauty and wellness community, who practices what he preaches. We sat down to ask him about the most crucial vitamin for the body and the skin. The answer may surprise you as its been around forever.

We talk about this time and time again – the importance of both internal and external health is what leads to optimal skin health because our skin is our largest organ (60% of our body). That being said, Dr. Goldfaden recommends ingesting Vitamin C through foods or supplements and also applying Vitamin C  for optimal health and exterior glow – arguably the most important Vitamin for glowing + radiant skin.

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radicals, supports the immune system and helps make collagen in the body. Vitamin C has also been shown to lower LDL (the bad cholesterol), ward off heart disease and absorb iron in the body. However, tricky humanslack the ability to produce their own vitamin C. Oral supplementation is important for optimum health, 65-90mg per day should do the trick. Don’t take too much as it can interfere with the absorption of other crucial vitamins and upset the digestive system. Eating foods rich in Vitamin C is also beneficial, like red peppers, bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, kale and fermented foods (like kimchi or sauerkraut) all rank super high in Vitamin C.

Why is ingesting Vitamin C not enough?

Just eating foods high in Vitamin C is not necessarily going to deliver all the incredible benefits to the skin. Due to the fact that the absorption of vitamin C is drastically limited by active transport mechanisms in your intestines, very little of what you eat or take orally ever makes it to your skin cells. Essentially, the only effective method for replenishing the vitamin C in your skin is to go straight to the source and apply it topically. In fact, it’s been shown that applying vitamin C to the skin is 20 times more effective than oral ingestion. Another advantage to applying vitamin C topically is the fact that once it s absorbed into your skin, it can’t be washed or rubbed off. Significant amounts of it continue to remain active in your skin for up to three days.

What role does Vitamin C play in our body?

The ability of Vitamin C to revitalize aging skin is largely due to its beneficial effects on collagen. Collagen is a tough, fibrous protein that is relatively inelastic and very strong. It supplies the basic framework that gives your skin its form, firmness, and strength, while elastin provides flexibility. Overall, the amount of new collagen that your skin produces declines with age, while the rate of its destruction increases. Fortunately, topical vitamin C has been scientifically proven to help stimulate collagen synthesis. It also helps block the production of enzymes that break down collagen, making it one of nature’s most effective anti-aging nutrients. Vitamin C is not only essential for collagen production and maintenance, it’s also a very powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in your the skin.

His challenge to us this fall, is to up our diets with foods high in Vitamin C as well as apply a daily serum containing Vitamin C. Our Brightening Elixir serum was created for this purposes. Loaded with 10% Vitamin C (gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin), Vitamin B3 + B5, Ferulic acid and Vitamin E, this serum will keep you even, glowing and healthy all year long.

Your face and skin are windows into your health. Skin issues and other undesirable facial flaws are often thought of in terms of how they’re unpleasing to the eye and take away from a person’s natural beauty. But this way of thinking disregards the important fact that circles under your eyes, red cheeks and unusual acne that pops up in places such as your ears or along your forehead can tell a tale about nutritional deficiencies and the health of your organs.

What your FACE can tell you about your health (including spotting if you need to go on a diet based on where your blemishes and wrinkles are).

 

Acne/Breakouts

Adult acne or breakouts can be caused by all sorts of issues, but are most directly related to hormones and stress. Genetics can play a role in adult acne.  Acne can be caused from hormonal changes or imbalances related to birth control, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and peri-menopause. When stress levels rise the body produces more stress hormones, which cause over production of oil and thus a higher chance of a breakout. Lifestyle choices like exercising and sweating may help to get circulation and blood flow going.

“Chin or jawline breakouts are typically hormonal acne. Try exfoliating more on the chin and forehead and be aware of any hair product that may be getting on your forehead. Always clean your cell phone anything that may touch your chin.  Clean all makeup brushes as to not spread bacteria.”  Dr. Gary Goldfaden

While food doesn’t cause acne, it can attribute to it and make for an unclean, unhealthy appearing complexion. Glycation is the main enemy of skin and the aging process of the body.. The glycation process, which is basically, sugars (from food and alcohol) breaking down the collagen fibers in the skin, which excels the aging process. Foods that feed glycation/cause inflammation in the body/skin are carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, fatty meats and alcohol.

Puffy Eyes + Dark Circles:

Ordinary swelling around the eyes means you have an excessive accumulation of fluids, called edema, in surrounding skin tissue. Because the skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin in the body, swelling and discoloration can be quite prominent. Overconsumption of salt, which causes fluid retention, Allergies Sinus problems, Dehydration, Fatigue and lack of sleep, Stress, Crying, and Aging that can cause inflammation and swelling.

Puffy eyes could also be related to kidney problems, and these should be investigated by your doctor.

Redness:

Blood vessels are more apparent in people who genetically have thin skin, but red skin can also be the result of aging and skin damage. Sun exposure can increase redness, inflammation, and eventually skin cell damage all over the face.

Dr. G says increase anti-inflammatory, cooling and soothing ingredients /foods

  • Red Tea (Rooibos)
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Green Tea
  • Oatmeal
  • Cucumbers

If excessive redness does happen, try applying a cool compress, splashing your face with very cold water, going indoors and allowing your body to cool off. Wearing a little concealer on areas that do tend to get red can help too.

You are what you eat:

Diet: “Eat a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods such as leafy greens and berries and foods high in essential fatty acids (salmon and almonds). Stay away from foods that can encourage and cause Glycation. Some people may benefit from cutting dairy products out of their diet.”

“Overall signs of loss of elasticity, fine lines, wrinkles and sagging may be caused by Glycation. The Glycation process (sugars from food and alcohol, that break down the collagen fibers in the skin) speeds up the aging process. Foods that feed Glycation and cause inflammation in the body and the skin are carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, fatty meats and alcohol. “

“Smoking can attribute to dull and sallow looking skin tone, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, enlarged pores and an overall unhealthy complexion.” Dr. Gary Goldfaden