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.