Ingredient Spotlight: Retinol

You’ve heard of it, right? The magical potion derived from the Fountain of Youth itself!! Well, that’s how it seems to be marketed anyway.

But, do you really know what it is/does to your skin? I’m going to go over the basics of retinol and why you should be wary of using it. And don’t worry- I know no one wants to age (myself included)- so I’ve got some better (read: safer) alternatives for you stay ~forever young~.

Ok, so what actually IS retinol? It’s a type of retinoid (retinoid= umbrella term for derivatives of vitamin A). So, retinol is vitamin A. It’s found in food, dietary supplements, and of course, as we know, skincare products. It is known for its anti-aging functionality, which to be fair is highly effective in the short term.

Here’s how it works- our skin cells renew and replenish, turning over to create new cells. When we reach about the age of 30, this turnover slows down significantly, and continues to slow. Therefore, we’re producing less collagen, and our skin cells are older, causing us to look aged. This is where retinol comes in to “save” the day. It stimulates the production of cells and collagen in our skin…which sounds awesome, right? Well, it is- in the short term. But then we start noticing some problematic issues.

First, these skin cells (since they’re being renewed so quickly) don’t function as well as normal skin cells. The point of skin is to be a barrier to outside forces, but weakened cells don’t do a good job at that. This is why people start experiencing flaking, redness, and peeling. It’s especially bad for people (me!!) who have sensitive skin already. People with rosacea and eczema- don’t even think about it.

Second, it makes you SUPER sensitive to sunlight. You should be wearing (and reapplying) a very high SPF on your face after retinol and some skincare professionals recommend not even using retinol during the day because it’s so difficult to protect skin from sunlight while using it.

Third, normal cells divide a finite number of times. (Remember how retinol works? By expediting the cell turnover process.) So, if you’re putting retinol on your face as a young person (read: 20’s-40’s) you’re using up all of those turnovers and cell divisions and by the time you get to be 50, 60+, you’ve got no more in the tank! Because instead of storing those away for when your skin needs them, you ran threw them all too early.

So, in the long term, retinol won’t do you any favors…not to mention, you can’t use it while you’re pregnant, nursing, have sensitive skin, the list goes on. But again- no one wants to age quickly. Here are some good, safer, more natural alternatives to retinol or vitamin A:

  1. BAKUCHIOL: an antioxidant found in the seeds of the plant psoralea corylifolia that has a similar effect on skin as retinol, but is plant-based, vegan and less irritating. It’s also completely safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  2. JAMBU EXTRACT: also known as Acmella Oleracea- an extract from the Spilanthes plant that can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles by relaxing and soothing the facial muscles (similar to Botox but plant-based).
  3. CRANBERRY SEED OIL: an oil rich in vitamin E and powerful antioxidants that fight those free radicals in the skin which cause it to sag and wrinkle with age.


My Why Story

Hello all.

This is my VERY first post on this blog and I’m so excited to welcome you here and share my ‘why’…the ‘why’ that was the catalyst for not only this website, but also my seemingly abrupt change in career paths and my new outlook on life. So, first of all, I want to thank you for coming along on this journey with me or checking in to see what I’m up to.

I think it might truly just a part of growing older, but in the last year, I have seen what feels like a lot of people pass away. Thankfully, none of these people were my close friends or family members, but they were friends’ close friends and family members. I saw a lot of people I know hurting and the worst part, I felt, was that all of this death was unexpected. They were suicides, aneurisms, freak accidents, and late-notice diseases. I don’t mean to negate any other kind of loss or death because let me be clear, NONE of it is fun or easy to deal with but the people I saw go were young, healthy, and alive one day, then none of those things the next.

It made me feel a strange sense of helplessness. “If these people were taken out of nowhere, is anyone safe?” For some people, this helplessness may have manifested into a reckless, ‘we’re all going down anyway, what’s the point’ kind of way, but for me it didn’t. Instead, for some reason, I felt like there were SO many factors out of my control that I wanted to find some, any controllable factors to focus my energy on.

Cue my digging into how to combat some, if not all, preventable diseases/health problems. I came up with the usuals- eat healthy, exercise, drink water get enough sleep, blah blah blah. We all already know all of those and I’d say I’m pretty good at those already.

BUT- I also stumbled upon something else, and it totally blew my mind: the products that we use on our bodies can have just as much of an effect on our health as what we put in them.

Here’s the thing y’all: I’ve never been a huge makeup/skincare/haircare person. I always opt for the cheapest, most effective potion to use on my body without thinking twice about what’s in it. I wasn’t interested in the beauty industry at all before this revelation.
What I found out, through research, was that there are LOADS of toxic ingredients in the beauty products we use everyday and this toxicity seeps into our skin, builds up and can wreak serious havoc on our bodies from the inside out.

AND…Did you know that there has not been a law passed in the personal care industry since 1938?? This means that the industry is virtually unregulated…AKA companies can put whatever ingredients they want into products, not tell consumers what those ingredients are, and then make any kind of claim about them (i.e. ‘natural’, ‘clean’, ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’, etc.) and we will never know the difference. I don’t know about you but that really fired me up.

To put this into perspective, imagine if food was handled this way…you think you’re eating something that’s organic, healthy, helpful for your body but it turns out it’s been pumped with toxic chemicals. And, not only, that but you’ve been lied to about its ingredients in order for some company to be able to sell it to you. ?!?!? People would go crazy, and for good reason.

So, here’s what I know: We can’t control everything in life. We don’t know if today will be our last. We can’t tell if we’ll get hit by a car or killed in our sleep or murdered by a serial killer (I watch far too much true crime), so why wouldn’t we, at the VERY least, control those little things we can: like the food we eat, how much sleep and exercise we get, and the beauty products we use?

Well frankly, with the beauty industry there is good reason not to: it requires work. In this unregulated industry, there is so much misinformation out there that it’s a time-consuming and difficult job to get to the actual truth.

SO, I’m doing the hard work for you. You just have to come here to consume the non-biased, already vetted info. I’m already on this journey for good, beautiful, safe , non-toxic skin, so why not share it with as many people as possible? Let’s do this thing. Together.

WhyWednesday: Moisture Matters

Why moisturize??

I think a lot of people wonder this and there are SO many reasons to do it aside from the fact that it just feels nice. No one wants cracked, dry, irritated skin, but there are other consequences of not moisturizing than discomfort. So, here’s the deal on why you need some added moisture on your skin, even if you’re not in a super dry climate (like me in Colorado).

Skin needs moisture to repair itself, so cells can turnover and expose new skin cells- especially on your face, because that skin turns over quicker and is more sensitive. Moisturizing helps keep the skin in balance- whether you’re naturally more dry, naturally more oily, or a combo, you need that moisture to have healthy skin.

Moisture is especially necessary after you shower, because hot water strips moisture and oils out of your skin, making it even drier. This is the hardest for me. I LOVE the hottest temperature possible for my showers. If it isn’t scalding my skin, I don’t want it. It is horrible for your skin and I know it. It’s such a hard habit to break, but this is my suggestion to start: keep your shower temperature hot for most of your shower, but at the end turn the temperature cooler and stand in it for a short time before you get out. This helps heal the skin slightly and maintain moisture after that hot water has damaged it.

Here are some more tips for moisturizing:

  • Drink water
  • Use alcohol-free soaps/detergents
  • Pat don’t rub skin to dry
  • Use a humidifier (especially in dry climates!)
  • Use sunscreen everyday (not just in the summer)
  • Keep moisturizer on you for after you wash your hands
  • Try not to use super hot water in shower (and use colder water at the end)
  • Apply moisturizer on damp skin to lock in the moisture- skin is more absorbent when wet (i.e. right out of the shower)