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Thankfully and at all, consumers are growing more aware of and curious about the effects of certain ingredients going onto and into our bodies. Sure, you likely press fresh OJ to boost your immunity during flu season. And yes, we do want certain ingredients—such as retinol, hyaluronic acid, and our other favorite actives—to penetrate the skin, or else we wouldn’t use them.

However, the unfortunate fact is that many unwanted aggressors find their way into our bodies via the skin. This journey can take place through environmental pollutants, a variety of lifestyle factors, and often through the products adorning our bathroom shelves.

Fast Facts on Skin and Body Care

The skin is your body’s largest organ, and special care must be taken to adequately protect it. Since different studies show that your skin can absorb up to 60% of the products you apply, it’s important to know which formulas promote both skin health and overall wellness. Even further, it’s essential to be fully aware of which ingredients you should avoid to prevent disturbances and adverse reactions.

According to a survey by the Environmental Working Group, people use an average of nine topical products daily containing 126 unique ingredients. A quarter of women use upward of 15 products, thus significantly increasing the chemical tally. Next, a 2003 study shows that risky substances can seep into your skin barrier and potentially lead to irritation, inflammation, sensitivities, and greater health risks such as hormonal disruptions and chronic illness. Simply put, even a basic skin and body care routine harness the potential to impact your health.

 

Skin and Absorption

It’s challenging to definitively pin down exactly how much of specific products—and which products at that—can absorb into your bloodstream and thus pose potential risks.

First, each body is different. Absorption levels will vary based on the health and integrity of your skin, which body parts (and their surface area) are exposed to application, and the length of time (daily and long-term) you used certain products.

Next, regarding products and ingredients, different factors come into play. In terms of formulation, the chemical size will be a key determinant. It’s more challenging for larger molecules to penetrate your skin’s protective layers, while smaller molecules have an easier time seeping through. Additionally, absorption will depend on the strength and amount of chemicals in a given product. You’ll know that a certain substance will be more potent if it’s high on the ingredient list (typically within the first five listings), or if the concentration percentage is above average.

How to Protect the Health of Your Skin and Body

The best way to prevent potentially (and proven) toxic ingredients from absorbing into your system is to be an active, educated consumer. To start, do research on the best and worst ingredients for skincare. However, you can’t take everything at face value; be sure to look to the sources and studies behind certain information. It’ll take time and effort, but your health and skin are well worth it.

Looking at the standards set by the EU is a great starting point. They’re much more stringent than the limits in place in the US; over 1,300 chemicals are banned across the pond, while the US has outlawed 11 and restricted not a great deal more.

In addition to avoiding disruptive culprits, swap them for clean skincare products backed by science and research. You can go beyond marketing claims by looking into a given brand’s story as well as its products’ ingredient list. The best skincare and bodycare brands will take care to educate their consumers not only on their offerings but healthy living at large.

At the end of the day, your strongest line of defense will be a healthy skin barrier, which you can maintain by using clean products that reduce inflammation, boost collagen, and replenish hydration and moisture levels.

Author Bio:
Michele Ross is a beauty and lifestyle writer based in Los Angeles. She’s passionate about clean skincare and hiking in the California sunshine (with adequate SPF, of course).

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EWG on Skin Deep + stats

Cosmetic ingredients do not remain on the surface of the skin. They are designed to penetrate, and they do. Scientists have found many common cosmetic ingredients in human tissues, including phthalates in urine, preservatives called parabens in breast tumor tissue and persistent fragrance components in human fat. Do the concentrations at which they are typically found pose risks? For the most part, those studies have not been done. But a small but growing number of studies serve as scientific red flags (Swan 2005, Sathyanarayana 2008, Swan 2010).

 

CLEAR, GLOWING SKIN STARTS FROM WITHIN: The food you put in your body is just as vital as the toners and moisturizers that line your bathroom shelf – you are what you eat and this is true given that our body absorbs the nutrients that we eat and this shows up on our skin.

This is our go-to smoothie for benefits including anti-inflammation, massive amounts of antioxidants, healthy plant-based fats, vitamins and nutrients which helps attribute to clear, gorgeous and glowing skin. We hope that you enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 ½ – 2 cups of water OR Almond Milk 

2 cups Kale (chopped)

1/2 cup Raspberries

1/2 cup Blueberries

1-2 Dates

1/4 Apple

½ Avocado 

½ Apricot

1 teaspoon Chia Seeds 

1 teaspoon Bee Pollen

1 teaspoon Matcha

1 cup ice

Instructions: 

  1. Blend water and kale first. 
  2. Add Avocado, Raspberries, Blueberries, Apple, Date, Apricot, Chia seeds, Matcha, Chia Seeds and ice until thoroughly blended. 
  3. Sprinkle Bee Pollen on top
  4. Add more water if needed.
  5. Drink and ENJOY!

View Lisa’s step-by-step smoothie video here. 


Meet Cecilia Wong. A Manhattan-based lifelong health and wellness enthusiast with a mission of offering natural but effective alternative skincare solutions. Cecilia treats skin concerns from the root cause using Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy and supplementing with her holistic skincare line. Cecilia has a long list of celebrity clients who swear by her non-invasive, holistic approach to deliver long-lasting results. The universe brought Cecilia and Goldfaden MD together in a perfect synergy that has turned into a working and personal friendship. We highly suggest you run don’t walk to get a treatment from this truly talented healer.

We sat down to get a little sneak peek into Cecilia’s wellness world.

 

Where did you grow up?

I came to the US from Hong Kong when I was 9 years old. Growing up, I moved a lot.. from Long Island to Queens and finally settling in NJ.

How did you get interested in skincare and all things wellness?

It started at a young age. Growing up, I battled with acne and pigmentation. My mom always told me to eat more fruit and vegetables and she made meals that incorporated a lot of Chinese herbs in it.  I was in the kitchen prepping a dish of fruit, I started playing around with papaya and blueberries, mashed them together and used it as a face mask. That immediate feeling of coolness on my skin and the redness, inflammation was much calmer. I did that for a week and my skin slowly healed. That was my aha moment, I knew then I wanted to help other people with their skin problems.

What are the most important steps for healthy skin? 

The important steps to healthy skin are really a combination of taking care of ourselves both internally and on the outside. It’s nourishing our organs with the right nutrients and vitamins that our body needs and using those same nutrients on our skin.

Tell us about your most popular treatment:

My most popular treatment is lymphatic drainage facial. It’s a combination of diamond tip microdermabrasion, manual lymphatic drainage massage, gua sha techniques, meridian point acupressure, micro-current and a blast of hyperbaric oxygen. This is great for all skin types with immediate results. This treatment helps with lifting and toning of the facial muscles and the skin, eliminating excess water (puffiness) and toxins, and contours the face.

Why is microcurrent so important for skin health? 

Think of this as a workout for the face. We exercise our bodies but we often neglect the face. Micro-current facials lift and tone the facial muscles, droopy eyes work as lymphatic drainage by eliminating excess water and toxins. It also contours jawline, and cheekbones. In addition, micro-current also helps with eliminating sinuses.

Which ingredients are vital to overall skin health? 

There are several vital ingredients that are great for skin health. Vitamin A, B, and C are just a few of our skin needs. Regular use of these vitamins will help to fight free radicals, sun damage that causes fine lines, wrinkles, and premature aging.

Which products do all your clients walk out of treatment with?

Our star product is the Black Currant Serum. Every client has this and is obsessed with it. Other products that I’ve introduced to my clients are Goldfaden MD’s Doctor’s scrub and the Energetic Eye Cream. They can’t live without it.

What is the secret to having healthy youthful skin as we age? 

I think the secret is Simplicity.  Using what your skin needs at that moment and not overusing skincare products.

What is your personal take on wellness in your everyday life? 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key to happiness. When you eat well, take care of your skin and body; you’ll look and feel good. In turn, that makes you a happier person.  Happiness makes a person more youthful.

How do you start your day and finish your day? 

I wake up, brush my teeth, wash my face with a Vitamin C cleanser, then I apply a toner, eye cream, and massage my face a few minutes with a serum. I also dry brush my face for a few minutes. Then, I take a shot of chlorophyll and a glass of lemon water. For breakfast, I make oatmeal with chia seeds adding collagen powder and wheat germ as a topping. Then I have a cup of ginger tea with black sugar. After that, I either head to hot yoga or do a home workout with Figure 8. This is a great dance fitness exercise that really wakes up my body. Take a shower and head to work. For lunch, I usually have quinoa with veggies or homemade Chinese food (mostly veggies, melons and chicken) with brown rice. For a snack, I usually eat an apple and sometimes, I’ll sneak in a few pieces of cookies. When I get home, I head to a barre class. When I arrive home, I take care of my dogs first. Then, I wash my face with Vitamin C cleanser, exfoliate with Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub, apply the Detox Facial Mask, toner, eye cream, serum, and moisturizer. For dinner, since I don’t like to eat the same things all the time, it’s always the different style of cuisine but, I always have a dish of veggies, meat (usually fish or chicken) and three times of out of the week, I’ll make an herbal soup.  An hour later, I take another shot of chlorophyll and make myself a cup of maca golden milk. And I’m in bed by 9:30 pm.  Throughout the day, I’ll drink either water or different types of teas (dandelion, milk thistle, or green tea).