Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our first give away contest!

Describe yourself in one word for a chance to win 3 free mini-size face cremes (day, night and eye cremes) from hydrOtion! Contest ends Saturday night!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Naturally Beautiful Lips

Your lips are one of the first things that people notice when meeting you. They are also one of the most delicate parts of your body. Unlike the skin on the rest of the body which has up to 16 layers, the skin on the lips is much thinner; only three to five layers deep. Here are some tips to keep your lips healthy, smooth and kissable:

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene. When you smile, you show off your gums and teeth as well, so nothing can improve or detract from your smile more than the condition of your pearly whites. Don’t forget to add a little
gloss to those lips for a natural youthful glow to your pouty pout (all the while, this vitamin rich gloss will also protect those lips)!

Stay Hydrated! Hydration is the absolute most important factor in keeping your lips plump and healthy. To maintain those plump puckers, make sure you are drinking the recommended 8-10 cups of water each day. If your lips are dry or chapped, avoid licking or biting at them, as this will further reduce moisture and increase irritation. Use a natural and soothing lip balm or conditioner.
hydrOtion lip conditioner is equipped with pomegranate and almond oils to provide essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants like vitamin E. Precious rosehip oil also provides massive amounts of vitamin C (which together with vitamin E) provide necessary protection against UV damage.

Stay Protected From the Elements. The common causes of dry, chapped lips are sunny, cold, windy, and/or dry weather conditions. Asides from being thinner, the skin of the lips also contains fewer melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin and provide the skin with its color. Due to this transparency, the color of blood vessels shows through the lips and gives them the beautiful red glow. Unfortunately melanin also protects the skin against UV damage and lack of it makes lips more vulnerable to these elements. This is why it’s essential to protect your lips from these conditions and keep them luscious and healthy through daily use of moisturizing, alcohol-free lip balms. Try
hydrOtion lip conditioner or lip salve to protect your lips or repair existing damage. If you have dry or chapped lips, the organic east African shea butter in our lip salve will heal, soothe and protect against further damage.

Shed the Gunk. Because the skin of the lips is so thin, the idea of exfoliating it has been controversial. We recommend that as part of your nightly beauty routine, you (very gently) wash your lips to remove any products, dirt or dead skin. Apply facial moisturizer or a moisturizing lip balm, such as
hydrOtion lip conditioner or lip salve , before bed to help heal lips and maintain moisture while you sleep.

Applying these lip healthy tips to your daily routine will protect your pout and help keep your luscious, smooth lips smiling all day long.

hydrOtion team

Friday, September 10, 2010

Natural Solutions for Itchy, Scaly, Psoriasis

An estimated 7 million Americans suffer from psoriasis, one of the most embarrassing and difficult to treat skin conditions. It is a chronic condition that can appear and disappear randomly, appearing as red, itchy, scaly patches of skin, known as plaques. These plaques are most often found on the scalp, elbows, knees, and knuckles. Psoriasis is caused by a quickening in the time it takes for the skin cell regeneration process. Usually, it takes about a month for your body to create new skin cells and slough off the old, dead skin cells, allowing for continuous regeneration of skin. For people with psoriasis, this process can be reduced to 3 or 4 days, resulting in a build up of dry, dead skin cells on the surface, creating plaques. The overall cause of psoriasis is still unknown, making it difficult to create very effective and targeted treatments. But, there are a lot of treatments out there, both prescription and natural, which have been shown to help relieve, reduce, or even temporarily cure the effects of psoriasis.

There are a variety of prescription and over-the-counter treatments that can help. There are several biologic and systemic prescription medications being FDA approved lately. Although they have shown to be effective, most are administered through regular injections, have severe side effect risks, and require regular check-ups and tests. They also tend to only work for a limited time frame (1-3 years) and result in severe psoriasis outbreaks after ending the medication. It’s no wonder many people search out easier and safer treatment options.

The most common treatments are salicylic acid and steroid based topical creams and ointments. While these can be effective with minimal risk of side effects, they can sometimes be harsh on your skin and many people have an aversion to regular steroid based medications. Another common treatment is coal tar, which can be found in shampoos and creams. Unfortunately, coal tar treatments are messy, have a horrible smell, and can easily stain fabrics. These also can increase sensitivity to sunlight and have been shown to lose effectiveness over time, leaving those suffering to search for other options.

Luckily, there are several natural treatments that have shown to help relieve the effects of psoriasis. Although many of these also can lose effectiveness over time and each treatment may not work for everyone, there is a wide range of healthy treatments to choose from.

The most effective treatment, natural or otherwise, is sunlight. The ultraviolet (UV) sunlight helps to reduce skin inflammation and slow down the skin cell process. Studies have shown that 60% of psoriasis sufferers have found significant improvement or even complete clearing of psoriasis through limited, daily exposure to sunlight. The downside, of course, is that sunlight also has negative effects on skin, increasing the risk of cancer and premature aging of skin. This makes it very important to use this treatment method carefully by limiting your daily exposure to short periods of time. As an alternative to natural sunlight, many dermatologists have turned to the use of UVB emitting lamps and lasers for treatment, creating a more controlled exposure to the UVB rays, while eliminating the more harmful UVA rays. This has shown to be a very effective and safe treatment, with most people finding complete relief of plaques after 10 treatments. But, this treatment can be costly and some insurance plans may not cover the costs.

There are also a variety of safe, effective, budget friendly, natural treatments that can be found around the average house. One of the most effective at-home treatments is sea salt, by taking regular sea-water baths or applying sea-water to affected areas on a daily basis. It is often recommended to follow up sea salt treatments by applying olive oil to the affected areas. Other recommended involve applying compresses onto the plaques made from warm, de-veined cabbage leaves, fresh banana leaves, warm green tea bags, jasmine flower paste, or apple cider vinegar. These will help moisturize the skin, reduce inflammation, and help loosen and remove plaques. Using mild soaps and applying a daily, unscented moisturizer is also an important part of treatment. Also, regular application of aloe, vitamin D, oat extracts, and tea tree oil, either directly or included in a daily lotion, can also be helpful.

These are just a few of the many treatments that have been helpful to people suffering from psoriasis, but no treatment has shown to be reliable for every person and there are no miracle cure for this condition. But, there are many options out there to test and find which treatment works best for your situation. The important aspect of any psoriasis treatment should include an approach toward overall healthy and hydrated skin. In addition to the topical treatments, it is also important to incorporate exercise and a healthy diet, including one rich in omega fatty acids, as many have found that a general healthy lifestyle can also help relieve the effects of psoriasis. So, while psoriasis can be a difficult skin disorder, a healthy lifestyle, maintaining skin moisture, and use of some natural treatments can help reduce outbreaks and make this condition a lot more manageable.

-- The hydrOtion team

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mama knows best: keeping your baby's skin soft and healthy

We all smile at the touch of that soft, smooth skin of a tiny baby… and frown when their super-sensitive skin gets dried out, flaky, and sometimes even painful. Well, I’ve scoured the world (okay, maybe just the World Wide Web and a couple of local stores) to find the best lotions available to keep that baby soft skin, without the harsh chemicals found in many lotions. These will also work well to keep Mom’s skin soft and smooth and are highly recommended for anyone with sensitive skin or skin conditions, such as eczema.

The most important thing I found, when searching for a good baby lotion, is to find one that is free from irritants, coloring, and fragrance, although very few products meet all of these factors. I came up with two great choices, both of which are healthy for the skin, pleasant to use, affordable, and safe for the most sensitive skin.

1. Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion (Approx. $15 for 8 oz.)
Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion another good choice for baby lotion, especially for those looking for a more organic option. It is all-natural, paraben-free (a highly controversial preservative), made with 95.2% organic ingredients, and certified vegan. It is also free from any artificial fragrances or dyes. Containing aloe, rooibos, and shea butter this lotion is a great choice for extremely sensitive skin or eczema. Angel Baby absorbs quickly, gives off a pleasant, natural scent of oranges and vanilla, and leaves the skin smooth and radiant. On the downside, although I found no claims of irritation regarding this product, the citrus that gives this lotion its wonderful scent, is known as a potential skin irritant. Overall, Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion is a great, all natural option for maintaining that soft baby skin.

2. Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion (Approx. $8 for 8 oz.)
Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion is a more economical but highly recommended baby lotion I found. It is hypoallergenic, non-irritating, surfactant-free (no detergent cleaning agents), and paraben-free. It is also fragrance-free, while still maintaining a very pleasant smell. Furthermore, it contains natural oatmeal powder, which could provide some healing properties, making it a great choice for irritated or broken skin. Now, on the downside, I did find some reviews claiming that it can have a slightly sticky texture at times, although, most of those reviews found it minor and still highly recommended it, and several other reviews claim a smooth, non-sticky application. Overall, Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion seems to be an excellent choice for any sensitive skin.

We hope this is helpful to mom's who are always looking to care for and protect their little ones. If you have used any of these lotions or have other lotions you recommend please let us know.

--The hydrOtion team

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Food Tips for Healthy Skin

We live in a society where everyone seems to be on a diet, but make sure you continue to eat foods that are essential for skin, hair and whole body health. For healthy skin and hair, eat foods that are high in antioxidants, essential fatty acids and don’t forget to hydrate! Here are some tips.

Anti-oxidants prevent collagen breakdown and premature aging by fighting free-radicals that can damage your skin. What foods are high in anti-oxidants?

1. Fruits. Some delicious examples are Berries (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and cranberry), pomegranate, grape, orange, pineapple, avocado, date and plum.
2. Nuts. For example pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts and my personal favorite: almonds!
3. Vegetables. Artichokes, beans, spinach, broccoli, arugula, Radicchio, peppers and asparagus are high in anti-oxidant power.
4. Other. Cinnamon, oregano, clove, green or black tea, rice bran and last but not least, red wine.

Essential Fatty Acids:
These essential fatty acids are required (hence the word “essential” in the name) for proper health and must be ingested since the body does not have the capability to synthesize them. There are two types of essential fatty acids: omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid ) fatty acids which can be obtained from a variety of foods and help skin retain moisture while strengthening skin cell membranes.

Essential fatty acids can be found in Flaxseed oil (very high), flaxseed meal, hempseed oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, chestnut oil, sunflower seeds (raw), cold-processsed, unrefined canola oil, soybean oil, wheat germ oil, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens, collards, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and albacore tuna.

Water, water and more water! It plumps your skin cells giving it a healthy and youthful look. It also flushes the toxins out of your body and is the major component of your body. The average person loses about 2 liters of water (or eight cups [8 ounce]) each day through urination, sweating, etc. You need to replace this amount daily. Soda, coffee, beer, wine and even tea do not take the place of water; in fact these are diuretics that dehydrate you. For more information about water intake, you can visit the Mayo Clinic website.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Good Skin Nutrition: Vitamins from Inside and Out!

Many lotions and crèmes advertise that they contain vitamins, but what does this mean for my skin?

Vitamins C & E:
Damage due to sunlight exposure is one of the main sources of accelerated skin aging. Photoaging is associated with skin pigmentation (dark spots), dehydration, wrinkles, droopy skin, broken blood vessels, leathery skin and can contribute to skin cancers. Recent research highlights a remarkably protective role for vitamins against photoaging, particularly for vitamins C and E.

Topical application of vitamins C & E can provide “appreciable photo-protection” according to Duke University researcher Dr. Sheldon Pinnel and colleagues presenting their research at the annual meeting of American Academy of Dermatology. This is perhaps not surprising, since the antioxidant properties of vitamins C and E have been known for some time. Antioxidants fight free radicals that result from sunlight, smoke or pollution and can eat away at the collagen and damage cells. Indeed, a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology saw less DNA damage in skin cells of people who take vitamins C and E, which correlates with decreased sunburns from exposure to UVB radiation.

These anti-oxidants are not just good for your skin, they are good for your entire body. The best solution for your body is to ensure you have enough of these vitamins in your diet. The recommended daily intake value for vitamin C is between 1500-2500 mg (though vitamin C does not become toxic until much higher doses; what is not absorbed by the body is excreted). The recommended daily value for vitamin E is 400-600 IU. For Healthier skin, chose lotions and Day crèmes that contains these vitamins and be sure to apply to your skin before and after exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin B Complexes:
There are several types of B vitamin complexes and when it comes to your skin you should pay attention to at least two: biotin and niacin. Biotin is essential for skin and hair health and the slightest deficiency will manifest itself in imperfections in skin and hair. Niacin has anti-inflammatory and protective properties and crèmes containing biotin or niacin can give skin a healthy and youthful look even in a short amount of time (5-6 days).

Vitamins A & K:
Vitamin A is essential for repair and maintenance of healthy skin. Having sufficient levels of vitamin A can lead to reduction in wrinkles, fine lines and acne. If you take a multivitamin, you are probably equipped with enough vitamin A to keep your skin healthy but if you find yourself with premature wrinkles or acne, it may be worthwhile to increase your intake of vitamin A. The recommended intake value for vitamin A ranges from 5,000 – 20,000 IU.
On the other hand, when it comes to your skin vitamin K is better topically applied than taken in your diet. It’s particularly good for dark circles and bruises and a combination of vitamins A and K in your eye crème can be even more effective than either one alone.

The trickiest part with skin care products is to make sure they are fresh, since vitamins and minerals can degrade over time (most are stable in powder form, but degrade much faster once in a soluble solution such as a lotion). Look for a manufacture date and buy items that are less than 3 months old (keep in mind, you want it to last for another three months while you use it) and don’t bother with items that are over a year old. If it doesn’t have a manufacture date, that’s not a good sign! All hydrOtion products are made with a manufacture date on each jar to help you ensure your products contain high levels of active ingredients and vitamins.

Feel free to send us questions regarding vitamins and skin care or skin care in general at

Monday, July 5, 2010

What goes in your (and your baby's) body?

I know reading the labels of cosmetics products including lotions and cremes can be excruciatingly painful, but you really should know what you're putting on your body! Not to worry. The environmental working Group (EWG) has a fantastic cosmetics database where you can search for brands or particular ingredients to assess safety. It's easy to use, give it a try at

Also use common sense, the FDA dictates that all cosmetic ingredients must be written on the label in order of concentration. That means you can also have a general idea of how much exposure you are getting to each ingredient. This goes for both good and bad ingredients. For example, Shea butter is a great plant extract. Not only is it an excellent moisturizer, it is full of vitamins A and E and can have healing (particularly for chapped lips or wrinkled skin) as well as anti-inflammatory properties. You may see a lot of lotions and cremes that claim to have shea butter in them, but where is it on the ingredients list? Is it below 15 other petroleum based chemicals?

Avoid cosmetics that contain dangerous chemicals (even in small concentrations) such as phthalates and parabens. All hydrOtion products are free of phthalates, parabens, BHA and other toxins.

Perhaps even more disturbing is a new study showing 300 contaminants in the umbilical cord blood of new born babies. This video is an eye opener (just under 2.5 minutes).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Determining your skin type

Skin is the largest organ and most the visible part of our body. Healthy skin is associated with beauty and youth while acne, discoloration and wrinkled skin are found unattractive. For thousands of years the human race has obsessed over covering and concealing imperfections, particularly in the face, for a coveted young healthy glow. Traditional medicine and modern science alike have spent incredible amounts of time and resources on repairing and restoring damaged skin. The best solution, of course, is not to conceal these flaws, but to prevent them in the first place! Before we get started on how you can improve the health of your skin (and the rest of your body along with it), let’s help you determine what skin type you have. This is very easy.

When you go to bed at night, wash your face with lukewarm water (and a gentle cleanser if you are wearing makeup or lotion). Do not wear a night crème or lotion. In the morning, when you first wake up, grab a clean piece of absorbent tissue (use tissue rather than a towel so you can see how much oil comes off of your skin). Oil generally comes out of the pores on your nose, forehead and cheek areas. Gently blot or wipe these areas separately, observe your skin in the mirror and look at the tissue after each wipe.

If you have Normal skin, the oil is not visible on the tissue and your skin is left feeling elastic and soft.

On the other hand, if you see oil blotches on the tissue from all three areas, you have Oily skin.

You have Combination skin, if the oil comes off of the nose and forehead (areas around the center of your face) compared with the cheeks and outer areas.

If there is no oil residue on the tissue but your skin is left feeling dry, stretched or parched, you have Dry skin.

If your skin becomes easily irritated, red or blotchy, particularly when you apply products to your face, then you have Sensitive skin.

Different types of skin care products are designed to cater to your specific skin type. In fact, using the wrong type of skin care product can do more harm than good. Just like you step on the scale every once in a while, you should perform the above skin test at least once every few months to keep up with how your skin is changing.